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
Urch
Jan 17, 2015


Pussy Cartel posted:

Wait...did Mr. Furry Libertarian write rules for tech advances in the setting or something? :crossarms:


PurpleXVI posted:

All the stuff he said.

Pretty much this. There's leaps and jumps in tech with no bigger explanation other than "The corps did it because they're noble now." There's no explanations, just vague "Oh well they did this because feelings so they LOOKED TO THE STARS." That's not how a corp works. A corp will go for the cheapest possible solution, and space has been proven to be anything but cheap.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




Off-brand not-Vault Boy continues to be absolutely and unintentionally hilarious. :allears:

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Asimo posted:

Off-brand not-Vault Boy continues to be absolutely and unintentionally hilarious. :allears:

Oh good, it's not just me.

Kaja Rainbow
Oct 17, 2012

~Adorable horror~

Something that strikes me about the Exodus RPG is how heteronormative it is. Not only that practically magical charm gaze attack but also the fake ads which're all about women swooping over men's equipment. If it was just that charm talent, it would still be eyebrow-raising (if nothing else for its mechanics alone) but the ads just add on to that feel even more.

Oh, yeah, and

Asimo posted:

Off-brand not-Vault Boy continues to be absolutely and unintentionally hilarious. :allears:
This is true.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




The ads are part of the Fallout retro aesthetic, but they shouldn't be advertising things from the post-apocalypse. With notable exceptions like Caesar's Legion, post-apocalyptic society is supposed to be pretty egalitarian.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 11b: CyberCatholicism For Dummies

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but the worldbooks are very poorly organized. The Cyberpapacy book gets into the major power groups before it actually gets into the locations of the realm itself.

Although I suppose in this case, it makes sense. Unlike most of the other realms, the Cyberpapacy has a lot of different organizations operating in its name and inside its borders.

Of course, sitting at the top of the whole shebang is The Avignon Papacy. They've been in charge of Magna Verita for the last 600 years, and Malraux has been in charge of the Papacy for just over 100 years now. Below the Cyberpope is a more traditional papal power structure, but there's little doubt about who's calling the shots.

The papacy itself consists of a number of sub-organizations. First and foremost is the College of the Way, which is (technically) composed of 60 cardinals. In actuality, there's only 40 cardinals at the moment. Of the original 60 cardinals, half were outside of France when the Tech Surge hit. For the 30 cardinals that were at "Ground Zero" if the Surge, things were a little rough. Only 16 of them are left: two fled from the Cyberchurch and are currently in hiding, six were found to be heretics and were installed into spirit chips, two went back to Magna Verita to oversee the cosm, and four cardinals are permanently trapped in the GodNet.

The College's purpose is to manage the rest of the organization for Malraux so he can concentrate on higher concerns, or to act as remote "managers" for the outlying areas of the realm. All the remaining cardinals are completely loyal to Malraux thanks to a combination of belief in the power of God and some rather invasive surgeries.

Church finances are handled by the Apostolic Chamber. It's main purpose is to collect taxes and tithes from around the Papacy and manage these funds in the fight against the Antichrist and his followers. The Chamber has benefited greatly from the Tech Surge, having moved from rooms full of scribes with abacuses and hand calculations to rooms full of hackers manipulating national finances. One of their most important tasks is to keep an eye out for any Kanawa Corporation operations and deal with them before they get rolling.

The Chancery is responsible for the management and dissemination of Papal decrees. In the light of the tech surge, they're also responsible for keeping a record of citizens with legal cyberware. Of course, if you don't have legal cyberware but still want to join the church, you can bribe officialsbuy indulgences and get forgiveness. Joining up with the church's fight against heresy simply involves going to a Chancery-approved location and getting your information recorded by the Cyberchurch.

Of course, if you want to grease the karmic wheels a bit, you can also pay to have your sins absolved. The going rate for a minor crime is a thousand francs, but large-scale public heresy can cost you up to 25 million. Still, how can you put a price on not getting arrested and tortured by the Inquisition?

The Cyberchurch's legal and bureaucratic needs are handled by The Penitentiary. This branch handles punishments of "smaller" heresies, such as not paying your taxes or failing in your job for the church. They're also responsible for converting heathens, due to their ability to know how far you can go when dealing with said heathens before you commit heresy.

quote:

Père Jean is not one to deny the chance of salvation to his people. Everyone, including Jews, Muslims, the godless and heretics are given a chance to convert. This is a sign of the Cyberpope’s magnanimity. Admittedly they are treated as second-class citizens, who will be ultimately contained within ghettoes and watched carefully to ensure that they embrace the Cyberpope’s teachings completely. Even heretics who willingly confess their heresy and repent are accepted back into the fold.
The newest branch of the church is the Council of Monitors, who are responsible for monitoring activity in the GodNet. They monitor the system for suspicious or illegal activity, and send Church Police forces to arrest hackers.

At least, that's the idea. Unfortunately, Papal tradition gets in the way.

See, when suspicious activity is detected, what is supposed to happen is that a virtual messenger is sent to Babel Central (the church's "core" in the GodNet), giving word to the Council. But there's two problems with this.

First off, and we'll talk more about this later, the GodNet operates at normal human speeds. It's not like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk where a decker can spend two virtual hours hacking a system and in meatspace it took five minutes. If you spend two hours hacking a system in the GodNet, then that takes two hours in meatspace too. Yes, there are virtual vehicles and shortcuts, but it still takes time.

The second problem is that, according to six centuries of Papal tradition, the messenger has to stop at each data exchange along the way to Babel Central to inform the Abbot Monitor there of six things: where he's going, who he's delivering the message to, who the message is from, how long the message is, which exchange he just came from, and which exchange he's going to.

Then, once a week, the Monitor Abbot sends other messengers to each exchange he's connected to with a list of who arrived, where they were going, and so on. The Abbots compare this information with each other to make sure that all the original messenger's information was legit.

It's a very primitive method of error-checking, and wasn't too bad back home where everything was done on paper and on foot, you got maybe two or three messengers a month, and you didn't need an answer right away. Now, though, they're monitoring information across an entire self-contained internet.

As you can imagine, the hackers had a loving field day with this. Any illegal activity wouldn't even be noticed by the main authorities for at least a week, making it pretty easy to run rings around the early Cyberpapal security systems.

Cardinal-Priest Roger-Bernard, head of the Council of Monitors, realized that this set-up didn't work any more, and got special permission from Malraux to create virtual "seals" that allow messengers to just move through exchanges without having to stop and announce themselves. This has made it possible for the Council of Monitors to actually deal with hackers in "real time", making the battle against these heretics a little more even.

Moving on, we come to the Cyber Council. Headed by Malraux himself, the Council is a collection of scientists and industrialists gathered to advise the CyberPope on the best way to exploit cybernetic technologies. The members of the Cyber Council are the richest people in the realm outside the actual church hierarchy, and are also under the closest scrutiny.

So remember how I talked a few paragraphs ago about how there are four Cardinals trapped in the GodNet? Well, three of these GodNet Cardinals were actually sucked in during the creation of the GodNet and have transformed into virtual archangels. The fourth Cardinal, Cardinal-Bishop August-Challier, entered voluntarily and acts as Marlaux's Legate in cyberspace. August-Challier is ambitious, and sees his existence in the GodNet as a way to expand his own personal power. He's smart enough to not make any overt moves against the CyberPope, especially since the other Cardinals are still fiercely loyal to Malraux.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: The Inquisition.

quote:

The Cyberpapacy is geared towards ensuring the subjugation of the flesh to the spiritual will of the Pope. In practice, the Pope is an absolute monarch with the power of life and death over all his subjects. Ultimately, the Inquisition is the body which ensures that society conforms to the Pope’s wishes. Anything else is classified as heresy.
The Inquisition has been running into problems since the invasion. Back in Magna Verita, the church was in complete control so there was no opposition to the Inquisition. This let them get away with literal murder in the name of God. Suspicion of heresy by the Inquisition was enough to condemn someone, and nobody would resist. Now, in this new world (where the axioms are different), people are capable of fighting back, and even other members of the church have begun questioning the Inquisition's methods.

Needless to say, the Inquisition is having none of this backtalk. As far as they're concerned, the church should be the ultimate basis of society and the people within are just there to serve the church. Breaking a law is a direct act against the church, and forfeits your rights as a member. Questioning the church or its methods is "intellectual arrogance" (because you're daring to question the CyberPope), something that is to be burned out at every opportunity. The church is the extension of God's will, and the Inquisition seeks those who would dare to go against God's will or lead others astray, and does so without rest or mercy. Nobody but the CyberPope himself is beyond the reach of the Inquisition.

Guidance for Inquisitors posted:

“Either the heretic confesses and is proved guilty, or he refuses and is equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses. If a heretic confesses the whole of what he has been accused, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole; but if he confesses only a part, he ought to still to be regarded as guilty of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of guilt as to the other points of the accusation.

“Bodily torture has ever been found the most salutary and efficient means of leading to spiritual repentance. Therefore, the choice of the most befitting mode of torture is left to the Judge of the Inquisition, who determines according to the age, sex, and the constitution of the party....

“If, notwithstanding, all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he is to be considered as a victim of the Devil: and, as such, deserves no compassion from the servants of God, nor the pity and indulgence of Holy Mother Church: he is a son of perdition. Let him perish among the damned.”
From the Inquisitor’s Black Book
The Inquisition has adjusted to the post-Tech Surge world with disturbing eagerness. Access to widespread monitoring devices and the GodNet has made weeding out heretics much easier, and this constant threat of punishment has made CyberFrance a very dark place. It's common knowledge that the Inquisition is watching and waiting for you to make a misstep, and this has created a culture of paranoia and fear throughout the realm.

So what exactly is considered "heresy"? Glad you asked!

quote:

“Every human being must do as the Cyberpope tells him. To act otherwise, is to fall into heresy.”
- Cyberpope Jean Malraux I

Heretical Acts:
† Showing disrespect to the Cyberpope and his decrees.
† Eating meat on Fridays.
† Omitting Easter duties.
† Not attending church.
† Reading false Bibles — only the Malraux Bible is true and holy.
† Speaking ill of a cleric.
† Saying it is a sin to persecute for sake of conscience.
† Committing sacrilege, blasphemy, sorcery, or witchcraft.
† Licentious behavior.
† Refusing to pay taxes.
† Sloth in the service of the church.
† Possession of a forbidden book.
† Possession of unsanctified cyberware.
† Accessing the GodNet without the clergy’s permission.
† Living in or visiting Paris, the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.
† Harboring heretical thoughts.


The lower ranks of the church have been affected by the tech surge as well. Cyberpriests and cybernuns exist both inside and outside the GodNet; some were pulled in involuntarily (and permanently) by Ebenuscrux during the GodNet's creation, while others took up the vows later and operate mainly in the real world. No matter how they operate, cyberpriests and cybernuns are the "workforce" of the church, and have jobs in most of the branches of the Papacy. They tend to have large amounts of high-end cyberware and are more resistant to cyberpsychosis than most.

The Church Police are the church's military arm. Monty Python references aside, they're dangerous because for all intents and purposes they're crusaders with high-power firearms. Front-line combatants and hit squads who don't feel the need to even pretend to be secretive, the Church Police are the CyberChurch's strong, sweeping arm and its pitiless, stomping boot. When the CyberChurch wants to make a show of force, these are the people they send in. Related to (but separate from) the Church Police are the Hospitallers, the elite warriors who are used for more advanced or important operations, or to deal with any threat that needs something a little more effective than disposable troops.

So that covers the CyberChurch itself. There are still a few more important factions operating outside of (or against) the church.

For starters, there's a large number of priests who came over from Magna Verita who were horrified at the Tech Surge and the sudden changes in the church overall. Some of the old guard who came over with the initial invasion force refused to "upgrade", and (thanks to the new axioms) have actually managed to rebel and escape the Inquisition's grasp. These preachers travel around CyberFrance proclaiming that Malraux is, in fact, the Antipope and has been corrupted by the forces of darkness. Technically that is indeed what happened, but they're still pretty much bad guys because they're still loyal to the "old" fire-and-brimstone church.

Witchcraft (a.k.a. normal Torg magic) was practiced back on Manga Verita despite the Inquisition's best efforts, and some sorcerers have managed to get to Core Earth to escape the Inquisition and help stop Malraux. They're finding their work difficult, partially due to the way magic works thanks to the Law of Heretical Magic, and partially because the Inquisition now has all these friggin' video cameras everywhere. Still, it can be worth the risk, especially since you can get access to the magics of other realities to grow your own power. Witchcraft has it's own built-in risks, because thanks to the Law of Heretical Magic all spells cast in this realm or back in the cosm are tainted by demonic energies.

The French Armed Forces have pretty much collapsed. When the original axiom wash happened and all their technology stopped working in the face of the invaders, commanders scrambled to seize any supplies they could before they were transformed. Then the Surge happened, causing their equipment to start working again, but by that point the armed forces had splintered into lots of small individual forces. Some of these forces actually gained higher technology thanks to the Surge, and used their advanced weaponry to seize supplies from former allies. Some military units have joined forces with the CyberChurch since they're the current governing force, while others have set themselves up as warlords or brigands, taking advantage of the confusion in the outlying areas of the realm. Other units have set themselves up as the "Militia of Paris Liberté", defending the Paris hardpoint from the Cyberpapacy.

One group that's sort-of allied themselves with the Church is the Hands of God. The HOGs aren't so much an organization as a loose confederacy of neo-facists, survivalists, and right-wing nutjobs. Their main unifying traits are a hatred of foreigners, a return to "traditional values", and a desire to wipe out Jews, blacks, Muslims, liberals, intellectuals, hippies, and other such undesirables. Shortly after the Tech Surge, Malraux sent agents to these various groups to supply them with funding and advanced weaponry. He managed to get the various groups organized (so to speak), pointed them at Paris, and let them loose. HOG members tend to be pretty collateral with their damage, espousing their values and saying they're "trying to save France" as they mow down innocent bystanders and blow up civilian buildings with rocket launchers. They're mainly used by Malraux as a distraction from his own operatives that has the added benefit of wearing down his enemies' defenses. The only reason the HOGs aren't as much of a threat as they might be is because they engage in as much in-fighting as they do attacks against everyone else. In the grand scheme of things, they're cannon fodder. Dangerous cannon fodder, but cannon fodder nonetheless.

It should come as no surprise that the Roman Catholic Church is in a bad place right now. The elements of the Roman Catholic Church that were in France were, unsurprisingly, crushed by the invasion. At first, they declared that the invasion was a hoax, but the Collapse, Tech Surge, and appearance of the CyberPope forced that view to change. The Roman Catholic Church in France actually supported Malraux's inauguration as CyberPope due to the axiom wash, and many more people joined later as they saw actual miracles being performed by the CyberChurch.

Outside of France, things are a little different. The RCC is in direct opposition of the Cyberpapacy; they see the Cyberpapacy as a complete abomination, a society where the word of God is twisted, corrupted, and enforced at gunpoint. Those RCC priests who have braved heading into France to speak against Malraux have either transformed or vanished in one way or another, and the RCC is reluctantly coming around to the idea that they need to approach this in a more militant manner.

It should go without saying that Malraux wants Rome. He wants it so bad he can taste it. He knows that if he can gain control of the seat of Core Earth's Roman Catholic Church it would be a game-changing victory on a lot of levels. As it is, he's declared that Pope John Paul II is in fact Antichrist, setting his followers against him.

The RCC's position is further weakened by the fact that Italy (and therefore Rome) is nearly cut off from the rest of Europe by the Cyberpapal realm, leaving them badly isolated. Not only that, but Malraux is in constant battle with Dr. Mobius for control of the Mediterranean Sea, so Italy is constantly having to deal with the fallout of battles between futuristic naval ships and giant robo-squid-submarines.

Let's take a second to talk about the whole Antichrist thing for a bit. The concept of the Antichrist is a large part of Cyberpapal doctrine and propaganda, and is basically a focal point for Malraux to rail against, an enemy he can point to. Everything Malraux does, he does to stop the forces of the Antichrist from destroying France and the loyal followers of the church. Everything bad that happens, every freedom fighterterrorist attack, every agent of an opposing High Lord, every natural disaster, is the work of the Antichrist and it is only the love and faith of the Cyberpope that keeps it at bay from the loyal adherents of the church. For those occasions where just his word isn't enough to keep people in line, Malraux has a few demons on hand that he can let loose on the population for the sole purpose of stopping them himself.

And last, but not least, is The Resistance.

quote:

With the overthrow of the legitimate government of France, the Cyberpope looked set to impose his will without opposition. But many refused to meekly accept the fate that lay in store. Liberals, socialists, communists, trade unionists, nationalists, dissident Roman Catholics and members of heretical religions, have banded together to oppose the Cyberpope. They have established a Resistance Movement that seeks to halt and turn back the spread of the Cyberpapacy.
The Resistance is not organized in a traditional sense, instead being composed of hundreds of independent cells. Each cell works in secret from the others in order to minimize threats if a cell is compromised or captured. Communication is handled through physical dead drops, messengers, or the "wilder" sections of the GodNet. The actual headquarters of the Resistance is located in Paris, since it's the biggest Core Earth hardpoint in France. Outside of Paris, though, each cell is pretty much on its own. Malraux's smart enough to set up false Resistance cells throughout France, and has managed to infiltrate a few more through skilled agents, by capturing the loved ones of Resistance members, and flat-out bribery.

Still, the Resistance has managed to hold its own against Cyberpapal forces because, as stated previously, the church still isn't used to the idea of people rebelling against it yet. It wasn't until the Tech Surge and the mixing of Core Earth's, Kandara's, and Magna Verita's axioms that it was possible for anyone to openly rebel against the Avignon Papacy in the first place.

The church may have high technology, heavy weapons, thousands of loyal troops, and control over the nation's communication networks, but for the most part they still think in their old, established ways. Look at the example above about the messengers, for instance. The habits of 600 years of doctrine aren't easy to break (especially when a Darkness Device is in play preventing societal evolution), and it took a lot of time for someone to realize "hey, maybe we don't need to have a messenger stop at every single exchange, do an infodump, then not check his credentials until the end of the week", whereas someone native to Core Earth would realize what a bad idea that was and come up with a workaround in a matter of minutes.

The Cyberpapacy has numbers and high technology at its disposal, but at its core it's still a large organization that literally hasn't had to deal with change or serious rebellion for centuries. Not only are they being opposed by people for what is (from their point of view) the first time ever, the rebels and heretics are people who can embrace change, have a better understanding of technology (having grown up with most of it), and did this once before against a world-threatening fascist regime. They were pretty drat good at it, too.

Viva La Résistance, bitches.


NEXT TIME: A tour of CyberFrance

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

Asimo posted:

Off-brand not-Vault Boy continues to be absolutely and unintentionally hilarious. :allears:

He vaguely reminds me of those awful Not-Calvin-Pees-on-Thing stickers on white people trucks.

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:

So what exactly is considered "heresy"? Glad you asked!

...they do know that Friday abstinence has only been a thing only in the US since like the 1960s, right? I mean, everybody's got their own practices and they've varied throughout Church history. Make up some small-b byzantine ones, go hog wild!

Also if somebody brought the CyberPope to Paris, would he explode?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Glazius posted:

...they do know that Friday abstinence has only been a thing only in the US since like the 1960s, right? I mean, everybody's got their own practices and they've varied throughout Church history. Make up some small-b byzantine ones, go hog wild!
Really? I honestly didn't know that. What brought that about?

quote:

Also if somebody brought the CyberPope to Paris, would he explode?
Probably not, because he'd have access to an effectively infinite pool of P-energy to fuel a reality bubble around himself.

That, and the High Lords very rarely leave their realms.

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:

...awesome stuff about the Cyberpapacy


This. This why I love Torg. The rules are poo poo on toast, but the grand concept and the majority of the invading realms are so loving cool.

My order of the initial realm love is:
  • Nile
  • Cyberpapacy
  • Orrorsh
  • Kanawa
  • Aysle

Living Land can suck a bag of dicks though.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


So if you wanted to play a Fallout RPG, would you actually want to paint the identifying marks back on and use Exodus? Or is it just not very good even if it was a licensed product?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

This. This why I love Torg. The rules are poo poo on toast, but the grand concept and the majority of the invading realms are so loving cool.
Likewise. I can't stand the rules, but I unabashedly love the setting stuff. It's so interesting and gameable, but then the game itself gets in the way.

quote:

Living Land can suck a bag of dicks though.
Living Land is the poster child for wasted potential.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

This. This why I love Torg. The rules are poo poo on toast, but the grand concept and the majority of the invading realms are so loving cool.

My order of the initial realm love is:
  • Nile
  • Cyberpapacy
  • Orrorsh
  • Kanawa
  • Aysle

Living Land can suck a bag of dicks though.

If I were to ever try to run the game again (And absolutely with a different system) I'd probably just straight up replace the Living Land with the Land Below, because "We're being invaded by the Hollow Earth!' is pretty great. There would totally still be lizard people/Eidenos though because Sleestaks. Possibly blind albino cave Eidenos.

Forums Terrorist
Dec 8, 2011



I'd really love to give running Torg in FAE a go. A lot of the reality mechanics would be easy to replace with Aspects, I think.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Forums Terrorist posted:

I'd really love to give running Torg in FAE a go. A lot of the reality mechanics would be easy to replace with Aspects, I think.

I'd do it in Core myself, just so you have the full skill system, and then add four or five new ones to kind of fill in gaps.

Someone on RPGNet pointed me towards this: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0pCN0cqMakRYTQ4MTRmNzEtMzlkZS00NTY5LWJlN2ItNmJiY2Q0YjQwMWYx/edit?hl=en_US

although it's a bit more Dresden Files than Fate Core (especially with powers/nonhumans having reduced refresh), but if I had the ability to focus on a game writing project I'd be making my own hack of that hack.

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:

Likewise. I can't stand the rules, but I unabashedly love the setting stuff. It's so interesting and gameable, but then the game itself gets in the way.

Living Land is the poster child for wasted potential.

The sad part about Living Land is it is almost a perfect locale for Lost World shenanigans, but the disconnection mechanic penalties make it so severe that no players want to go anywhere near it.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Evil Mastermind posted:

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

CyberFrance is starting to look like my favorite cyberpunk setting. It takes the archaic notion of "cyberspace" as propagated by 90's comics, combines it with a few historical periods and turns it into something beautiful :allears:

Asimo posted:

Off-brand not-Vault Boy continues to be absolutely and unintentionally hilarious. :allears:
It's like a high-ish quality bootleg or something.

Crasical posted:

So if you wanted to play a Fallout RPG, would you actually want to paint the identifying marks back on and use Exodus? Or is it just not very good even if it was a licensed product?
I think that depends on how close you want to follow the actual game mechanics. There is an offical version using the actual SPECIAl system, though that makes armor a bit clunky. I've seen a streamlined version based on the Bethesda games, though. Dunno how they are, though.

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG


Chapter 4: Styles

quote:

“The way of Koukugenryu Karate is invincible! Real tough!
– Takuma Sakazaki, King of Fighters '95“
I would like to make a clever retort here, but I don't wanna mess with Mr. Karate

Just like SF:STG, creating a character involves picking a style. Unlike SF:STG, you can have multiple styles if you want, like Gen from Street Fighter!

Styles in Thrash are not something you just pick once and be done with it. Like Disciplines and some Advantages, Styles come in levels, which directly affect your Accuracy (basically your skill used for attack and defense) and Action Points. A bit like a D&D class in that regard.
Styles are also a bit like a D&D race in that you get a small Attribute bonus and a couple more or less severe benefits and flaws, usually cost modifiers along the line of "X Maneuvers cost Y CP more/less". You also get a small selection of starting maneuvers to go with, in addition to the basic maneuvers everyone has.

Not all Styles are born equal. Because of this, some Styles are considered Discipline Styles. They're the dirty peasants among the Styles who are barely allowed to hang out with the others, usually having their flaws outweight their benefits or just being plain worse than other Styles. Buying and raising them however is just as cheap as a Discipline (hence the name), allowing for cheap Accuracy boosting. Unfortunately, they increase Action Points much slower than proper Styles (+1 every 2 levels, instead +1 per level), ultimately leaving their user in the dust when it comes to speed.

Having multiple Styles requires nothing fancy, just buy more than one and you're good to go. Every maneuver you buy has to be tied to one of your styles, and it will only ever use that Style's Accuracy and be affected by its cost modifiers. Keeping every Style's Accuracy high is very pricey, but every Style still raises your universal pool of Action Points, making this a no-brainer at high level.

In case you don't want to have to raise multiple Styles, you can slam two Styles together and have yourself a Hybrid Style, taking everything from both Styles (or the best in case of overlap). Doesn't give you twice the Action Points though, and it's more expensive to raise your level aka Accuracy (though not as expensive has having seperate Styles). There's also no reduction in cost if one or both Styles are Discipline Styles, so forget about including those.

I guess this as good as anytime to give a short summary on the various maneuver categories (the book takes its time with that):

  • Athletics: Jump at stuff.
  • Block: Block stuff.
  • Evasion: Dodge stuff.
  • Focus: Hadoken stuff.
  • Grappling: Piledrive stuff.
  • Kick: Kick stuff.
  • Punch: Punch stuff. Also includes head butts because there's nowhere else to put them.
  • Weapons: Whack stuff.
  • Super Attacks: Spirit Bomb stuff.

Now on to the Styles themselves. They all have a quote from a "typical" practitioner, but there's really only one that's any interesting.

  • Aikido: A self-defense style that makes most Kicks and Punches more expensive, but reduces the cost of Grappling and Focus maneuvers (because nothing says self-defense quite like blasting your foes to kingdom come).
  • Arnis/Escrima/Kali: Three closely-related Philippine styles all about sticks and/or knives, making Weapon maneuvers cheaper but disallowing any Punch maneuver other than Head Butt. Strangely, the cost reduction doesn't actually say anything about being limited to sticks and knives. Whoops.
  • Bojutsu: Japanese staff-fighting, but the Style can also represent any other staff-fighting style that is not Arnis/Escrima/Kali. Considered a Discipline Style, because it's not like staffs are very flexible weapons or anything. The Style's not even that much worse compred to the above, it just reduces Weapon maneuver cost by 1 instead of 2. There's again no mention on limiting this to staff only, so I guess it can just be assumed to be that way. Oh well, I can live with that.
  • Boxing: The classic Discipline Style, because screw anyone who does not kick. Doesn't actually give you a cost reduction for punches, but rather Block maneuvers.
  • Brawling: Basically amounts to "You don't really have a style". Limits you to one specific Focus maneuver (Focus Rage) and prohibits any normal non-Grappling maneuvers that cost more than 2 CPs, locking you out of most maneuvers unless you're willing to nerf them. Sure, it's not too bad specializing in Grappling only, but it hurts not getting easy access to some of the very useful Block and Evasion maneuvers, and no beneficial customization at all. Also, no starting maneuvers. Gently caress this Style.
  • Capoeria: The archetypical Brazilian fighting style. No punches apart from head butts, but you get cost reductions for Kick and Athletics.
  • Generic Style:

    quote:

    "What style do I practice? Well... er... uh..."
    This is the boring and bland human race among the styles. It basically amounts to one free Attribute Point and 7 free CP to buy maneuvers with. This style will save you a lot of headache during conversions, because some characters (sometimes even entire video games, like anything made by Arc System Works) so don't lend themselves to any kind of general fighting style (aka "What the heck are Kula and Bridget supposed to use?")
  • Hwarang-Do: The Korean art of kicking the crap out of people. Cheaper Kicks, more expensive Punches.
  • Jeet Kune Do: The style invented by Bruce Lee himself. Hilariously just a more restricted version of Generic Style (o_O)
  • Jujutsu/Judo:Heavy focus on Grappling at the cost of a very limited Punch and Kick selection. Essentially the much better cousin of Brawling.
  • Kalaripayit: Indian boxing with a bit of weapon usage. The cost modifier is nothing too fancy (-1 CP for Focus maneuvers, because Dhalsim), but it has some hefty Attribute bonuses (+1 Will and Focus, as well as +5 Chi).
  • Karate: One of those standard styles. Rather useful in that the cost modifier can be either for Kick or Punch maneuvers, depending on your taste.
  • Kenjutsu: Japanese swordfighting. Very limited in terms of Punch and Kick maneuvers, but you get a cost reduction on Weapon and Focus maneuvers. Also another Style with hefty Attribute bonuses (+1 Agility, +2 Will)
  • Kempo: A distant Japanese relative of Kung Fu. Is literally the same as Karate, but you get an additional +1 to Agility.
  • Kung Fu: Another gold standard. Makes Focus maneuvers cheaper. Also mentions the huge amount of different sub-styles (hinting at the Thrash Sourcebook where you get to see a lot of them).
  • Muay Thai: Thai kickboxing. Only reduces the cost of Kick maneuers, though, at by 2 point no less. Doesn't have Attribute bonuses for some reason.
  • Ninjutsu: The ancient art of fighting like a ninja. Reduces the cost of Athletics and Focus, so I guess this can also be used as the base for a fireball-slinging luchadore.
  • Pentjak-Silat: Self-defense made in Indonesia, with a focus on the Kris knife. No Grappling here, but you get Weapon and Focus maneuvers for cheap. Also has a list of whacky powers a "true" Kris might have, whatever that means.
  • Savate: French kickboxing, focusing on Athletics and Kicks. Thankfully not as hilariously broken as the SF:STG version.
  • Special Forces: The style for real American heroes. More expensive Acrobatics, Focus and Super maneuvers, but you get cheaper Grappling maneuvers and any maneuver labeled "Disabling" or "Killing" (which amount to a little over half a dozen, and this is the only Style that requires such a labeling).
  • Sumo: You're a fat guy in diapers. Reduces the cost of Athletics and Grappling, the former probably solely because of E. Honda's shenanigans.
  • Swordfighting: An inferior version of Kenjutsu, used for any swordfighting style that is not Kenjutsu, because gently caress gaijins. Also mentions how you can have LARPing as your character's excuse for knowing how to swing a sword.
  • Tae Kwon Do: Another Korean one. Cheaper Kicks, no Weapons allowed.
  • Tai Chi Chuan: A philosophical taoist style. Very cheap Focus and Evasion, but very limited everywhere else.
  • Wrestling: Your general wrestling style. Cheaper Grappling (duh), but no Kicks or Weapons. Is also considered a Discipline Style, because knowing how to dislodge limbs in at least five different ways is totally just as inferior as "I can hit things with my fist".
  • Wu Shu: The stereotypical Chinese lady style. Cheaper Ahtletics, Evasion and Kick maneuvers, more expensive Focus and Punch maneuvers.

The chapter then ends with telling us how Appendix 3 has guideline for style creation, and how you can make your boss characters cheesier by giving them broken Styles. Yay :D !

Now I just have to slog through the maneuvers chapter before we actually learn how to play the game. Though I suppose I can already start making a character. If you can't convince me otherwise, I'm going for a Scottish girl (because why settle on "racial stereotype" or "otaku magnet" if you can have both?) using the ancient art of "Fist of the Highlands" (aka "I'll be using the Generic Style out of spite") to see how much I can break the system.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:28 on Jan 20, 2015

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013
Probation
Can't post for 3 hours!


Whenever the Cyber-Papacy is mentionned I think back to Jodorowsky's Technopopes.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 11c: A Cybertour of CyberFrance

France has had a rough time of it lately. The invasion of the Cyberpapacy brought not one but two distinct axiom washes, both of which had very heavy effects on the country. First there was the Collapse, where all the technology stopped working, then not long after was the Tech Surge, where Core Earth's technology not only started working again, but advanced by leaps and bounds.

Before we get too deep into that, though, let's take a look at the realm map.


The Cyberpapacy, about three weeks after the initial invasion.

The Cyberpapacy is the smallest of all the realms, barely extending outside the borders of France (although between the core set and the release of the sourcebook they actually manage to extend a zone into Spain). It's also in a very bad position: the map doesn't show it, but the Cyberpapacy is boxed in both to the north (by Aysle) and south (by the Nile Empire).

Aysle's borders go right up to the English Channel, meaning that at some points there's literally only a few miles between the Ayslish and Cyberpapal borders. The proximity of the two realities (three, if you count Core Earth) means that the English Channel is one big perpetual reality storm with the added bonus of sea monsters. The proximity between the two realms was actually done on purpose, because Malraux had allied himself with Uthirion, Aysle's former High Lord. The two became allies due to "a common interest in pain" (Malraux because it purifies the soul, Uthirion because he was a sadistic gently caress), but the recent ousting of Uthirion has put a bit of a crimp in the alliance.

The Nile Empire is a little further away, being on the far side of the Mediterranean Sea, but that doesn't mean Mobius isn't a problem. There is constant warfare between Malraux and Mobius over control of the Mediterranean, and while the Cyberpapacy has the better technology, Malraux can't keep up with the insane creations of Dr. Mobius. Especially since Mobius actually has a better grip on technology than the Cyberpapacy does.

So that leaves the east and west for expansion. Expanding to the west is possible, but ultimately a dead end once you reach Portugal. And standing in the way to the east is Germany, and that's become a problem.

Remember, Torg originally takes place in 1990. At this point, Germany had literally just reunified, and now all of a sudden they've found themselves as the only thing stopping the Cyberpapacy from expanding into eastern Europe and Russia. But we'll get more into that when I'm done with the "core" realms and talk about Core Earth in general.

So let's get back to France, and talk abou the Collapse and the Tech Surge.

Malraux's maelstrom bridge did not drop down upon Core Earth's Avignon, but instead dug up into the dungeons and basements of the city. When the bridge "dropped", all Core Earth technology just...stopped working. Electricity ceased to flow, engines failed, and essential services collapsed. Millions were killed as planes died in mid-flight, hospitals went dark, and the population began to riot.

This was, of course, all according to Malraux's plan.

As part of the initial prep work for the invasion, Malraux sent his own agents to Earth via dimthread to start converting people to Magna Verita's version of Christianity so he'd have enough believers to power the stelae. In the outlaying areas where Malraux had converted the population, things weren't as bad. In the major metropolitan areas, it was a different story. Lack of technology meant lack of communications, so hysteria spread through France rapidly as theories ranging from "World War Three" to "The Antichrist" were bandied about.

And into this chaos came the Church, ready to help the needy and to ease the suffering.

Malraux's Church was ready to start seizing control right away, and had organized many right-wing groups to act as muscle (c.f. the Hands of God). Roman Catholic priests who were stuck in the realm were a high-priority target for the Church, in order to cement Malraux's "God" as the One True God.

Just over a month after the initial invasion, the Church's forces converged on Paris. Paris is a Core Earth hardpoint, and as a result it was vital for Malraux to take it down. His forces burst through the city's defensive forces, and attacked the National Assembly without mercy.

quote:

Seizing the outer chambers, they set fire to the building and mercilessly turned their guns on those fleeing from the inferno. A Papal Legate proclaimed that the Church was now in control. The savior was coming in the form of the Pope. France would be safe from the Antichrist now that the godless socialists had been destroyed.
At this point, Malraux still hadn't come across the bridge to his new realm. He had one last "step" in his invasion plan. In order to cement his position as savior to the people of France, he released two demons from Magna Verita into the country. He would allow them to ravage the countryside, establishing themselves as a major threat, and then appear to publicly defeat them (thanks to the power of his Darkness Device) to show how only he could defend his people from the forces of the Antichrist.

As he waited in what the Core Earthers called the "Dreamtime" for the correct moment to arrive on his bridge of light, he was waylaid by Storm Knights.

This is the attack by Dr. Hachi Mara-Two I talked about back here; the sudden vision of the high-tech reality taking place in a spiritual realm had a severe effect on Malraux. Seeing this as a "vision from God", Malraux's personal axioms were altered to a mix of Magna Verita's and Kandara's.

When Malraux entered the new realm, he carried these new axioms with him. Powered by the Darkness Device, a second axiom wash occurred across the realm. Technology that had ceased functioning came back to life, devices that had been transformed completely by the initial invasion changed back, and Possibility-rated people found themselves fluctuating between the two axiom sets.

It took surprisingly little time for the changes to settle, but once they did a new reality was formed; a mix of medieval mindsets and high technology ruled now; the Church was no more, and the Cyberpapacy took its place.

The Church has adapted surprisingly well to the new situation. Not perfectly, as established previously, but the axiom wash and Malraux's tight grip on the church power structures have kept it in control of France throughout the changes. The main linchpin of Malraux's control is, of course, the GodNet.

quote:

Information contained within the GodNet was at first fragmentary and confused. Thanks to the work of the cyberpriests, data has been collated and systemized within the vast data bases of the GodNet. The Cyberpope now has instant access to information detailing the extent and structure of his new realm. Confident in its workings, the Cyberpope has decreed that all loyal Catholics will be connected to the GodNet and their activities monitored by it. Information is currently being compiled on the activities and locations of all heretics and opposition groups. The Cyberpope is tightening his grip to create the perfect totalitarian state.
Currently, the Inquisition is focused on rounding up heretics and subversives, while Malraux is focusing on the public at large. He has published a new version of the Bible (the "Malraux Bible", which expouses cybernetics as the work of God and the body of Christ), a list of banned books, and appears on regular television broadcasts to help cement his position as savior to his people. Not that he really needs to (thanks to the Darkness Device), but every little bit counts.

quote:

The Malraux Bible was the first order of business for Père Jean, and it encapsulates the Cyberpope’s message of salvation through Cybernetics. It is based upon the Julian Bible of Magna Verita, but adds a final book: the Cybernetic Vision.

Within its pages, the vision experienced by Jean Malraux when the dataplate, Dream Time and his mind interacted is described in lurid terms. The Cyberpope’s role as saviour of the world and the threat posed by the Antichrist is elaborated in great detail. Its message is clear: Salvation is only possible through complete acceptance of the Cyberpope’s teachings and the power of the GodNet. To reject the new technology is to reject hope itself.

God has provided the GodNet for His people. It is the Cyberpope’s task to bring everyone into the fold.

So we've talked about the GodNet, but haven't really said what it is yet.

When Mara-Two slapped the dataplate onto Malraux, he wasn't the only one overcome with visions. Ebenuscrux, his Darkness Device, also saw the visions of Kadandra. While the visions were strange to it as well, it was better equipped to analyze and understand them than its master was. Where Malraux saw "the face of God", Ebenuscrux saw a tool that could be used to spread misery and destruction. As the second axiom wash happened, Ebenuscrux began to create a sort of sub-reality in the restored telecommunication systems and technology. It was like weaving a web, with the Darkness Device at the center and symbology drawn from its master's mind.

quote:

When it had finished, it had created a matrix of data and communication comprised of biblical images. Databases and computers took on the shapes of religious buildings. Huge Gothic cathedrals came into being in its cyber landscape. Churches and shrines appeared which held less important data. In the center, where the arms of the cross met, it raised a cybernetic Tower of Babel. Signals are routed through and monitored through here. In Avignon, monitor screens and cyberdecks were established to allow the cyberpriests to watch over this new tool of Papal power.
As the GodNet came into being, the strange mix of realities and pocket dimensions caused the strong spiritual energy of Magna Verita and the magical energy of Core Earth's Dreamtime to flow into the systems being created. As a result, the GodNet can be manipulated as much by the power of faith as by technology, and strange creatures have appeared in this new sub-realm; monsters, demons, and angels roam the digital land, as do numerous cyberpriests whose minds and souls were sucked permanently into the GodNet by the Darkness Device itself.

So what does this all mean for the inhabitants of the CyberPapacy? What's life like in modern day CyberFrance for the millions of ords?

It should go without saying that life in France has changed pretty drastically since the invasion. For the people who live in the cities, or who can afford all the new things the increased Tech axiom allows, the standard of living has actually improved, and these people are more capable of dealing with the dangers the new world puts in front of them. Those who cannot, however, find themselves in a pretty bad position.

CyberFrance is isolated from the rest of the world in several senses of the phrase. The entire country is surrounded by reality storms, and is (again) boxed in by Asyle and the Nile Empire. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get basic supplies shipped in from other countries.

The biggest issue this has caused is the lack of oil and gasoline. Cars are basically luxury items now, because oil shipments can't get into the country. It doesn't help that most of the oil in the world is currently controlled by either the Middle East (who are heathens) or by Mobius (who Malraux hates with a fiery passion), of course. Electric-powered cars are starting to become available to the populace at large, but as it stands now most Core Earth vehicles are out of the picture.

The Collapse did a number on the existing industries, of course, but the Tech Surge just compounded the problem with the advent of cyberdecks. Factories and large-scale services came back online, but now are either fully automated or can be done by a few people with cyberdecks instead of a full-fledged workforce. Millions are out of work, and the economy is suffering for it.

One good thing that happened in the wake of the Tech Surge is the transformation of existing electric and nuclear power plants into more powerful and safer power production. Basic services (like electricity) are provided free to every home now.

Rural France has remained pretty much the same for the most part. There's a larger pressure on the farms to produce since they're the sole food producers for the realm, and as a result farms and rural areas tend to be targets for gangs, rebels, and thugs working under the umbrella of the CyberChurch. The Cyberpapacy has a strong hold on these regions thanks to the protection they offer the "farm belt".

Unfortunately, the lack of food production is taking its toll on the urban centers. Food riots are not uncommon, and the Cyberpapacy doesn't tend to intervene unless church property is directly threatened. The Church has even been known to instigate a riot or two on its own, blaming Jews, Muslims, and other assorted "heretics". The Cyberchurch sees the riots as a sort of pressure release for the population, and if a few innocentsheretics get torn to shreds that's just a bonus.

The GodNet (and, by extension, the CyberPapacy) is also isolated from the rest of the world. The GodNet doesn't connect to any outside data resource or communication network; it is completely and intentionally off Core Earth's global grid. This means that the Internet, television, phones, even radio transmissions from outside France can't get into the country. The Church has a hard lock on what information is available to the public, with the news networks filtering any major news events through their needs. Most major news events from the "outside world" are spun to seem worse than they are, are attributed to the forces of the Antichrist, and reinforce how only the Cyberpope can protect his people from the evils of the rest of the world.

Of course, the Cyberpapacy has a few other ways of keeping the populace in line. The big three are Faith Chips, Homers, and HolyVids.

Homers are small implanted devices that transmit basic homing signals to a range of 25 km, which can be (and are) recorded in the GodNet. If you have a homer installed, then the Church will always know where you are, where you've been, and will probably have some suggestions on where you're going to end up.

HolyVids are mass-produced "entertainment systems" that are distributed to the faithful once they prove themselves "worthy". HolyVids are simple virtual reality systems that plug directly into the GodNet. You don't need cyberjacks to use them, so they're safe for the whole family! A HolyVid allows the users to project themselves into fully immersive recreations of Biblical events, allowing the faithful to experience them first-hand as if they were really there. It should come as no surprise that HolyVids are psychologically addictive, and contain subliminal messages that let the Church control the flock. These devices are the most widespread of the three main control points, because they don't require the user be cybered to use it. On top of that, they're becoming popular means of escapism in a rapidly deteriorating society.

But the worst of the three are Faith Chips; these datachips are installed directly onto a person's cyber-control system (i.e., the spine/brainstem region), and cannot be removed without major surgery. A Faith chip broadcasts the Cyberpapacy's beliefs and doctrines directly into the victim's brain, making him a fanatical follower of Malraux who will kill or die for the Church without question or hesitation. When you're fitted with a Faith Chip, you fully believe in the threat posed by the Antichrist, and that only the Cyberpope is capable of saving the world from it. Trying to perform any action that goes against Cyberpapal doctrine requires a very difficult Spirit check to perform. Failing the check means you have to follow doctrine. But don't worry. Sooner or later, you'll love it.

Ultimately, Malraux wants to install Faith Chips and homers in the entire Cyberpapal population, and eventually in everyone in the world. As stated previously, he doesn't care so much about becoming Torg; his goal is controlling the world (for its own good, of course).

Now, at this point in the chapter, there's a bunch of stuff about all the individual provinces in CyberFrance. It's another case of things not being presented in a logical manner; we go from background to "life in CyberFrance" for about two minutes now we're in a province-by-province breakdown of what's going on across the country. This whole part of the chapter can be summed up as follows:

1. The city of Avignon, the capital of the Cyberpapacy, is expanding rapidly.
2. The farming areas are pretty much under Cyberpapal control, and the Church is trying to meet demand by applying new technologies to farming, with mixed results.
3. In the industrial areas, unemployment is at an all-time high thanks to the new technologies. One guy with a cyberdeck can control a whole factory now, so who needs workers? It doesn't help that unions are considered "heretical".
4. The Resistance has been gaining strength on the outskirts of France.

The situation in Belgium deserves special mention, though.

quote:

The stelae planted in western Belgium isolate the Belgian coal fields from the industries of Brussels. Fierce reality storms have set fire to the underlying coal seams turning the west of Belgium into a raging inferno. Thousands of Belgians have been killed in the resulting disaster and now lead a precarious existence amongst the smoking ruins.

The Cyberpapacy’s policy is to maintain this area as living representation of Hell in order to further its claims that the Antichrist continues to assail France.
From here we learn about Cathedrals and Monasteries. So of course we start by talking about the GodNet. Have I mentioned that these books aren't very well organized?

The GodNet does get its own sourcebook (which I'll talk about in more detail later), but for now let's cover the basics. The GodNet is France's Internet, and is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Due to the Tech Surge, people are able to interface with it through cyberdecks, and view it as a 3-dimensional "virtual experience" (VX for short). Churches, Cathedrals, and Monasteries act as system relay points, data centers, and network control points.

Because of this, and the importance placed on the GodNet, data cathedrals and churches are rapidly becoming the central focus of most communities.

quote:

The concept of a neighborhood is undergoing rapid change. Now the center of the neighborhood is the cathedral, even more than it was in medieval times. Everyone connected to the GodNet is two short exchanges away from a meeting place for thousands of people, and similarly connected to hundreds of businesses. Mass at a cathedral has become a focal social point for hundreds of thousands of French citizens. They go to Mass, enjoy the sense of awe and belonging which is magnified many times by the nature of the GodNet, and then meet friends who might live hours away by car. Their own image is more attractive in the VX environment, and they feel themselves more capable. This facet of the GodNet gives Jean Malraux I a seductive and powerful tool for getting the French citizenry to voluntarily and loyally join his cause.
Cyberpapal stelae that the appearance altars, and are ritually prepared by Malraux himself. Malraux keeps a few back-up stelae "prepped" near important live ones, so if Storm Knights do manage to take one out he can have Ebenuscrux quickly energize a new one and keep the zone from collapsing.

And that's the "Cathedrals and Monasteries" section of the chapter! From there we logically move to Getting Around.

France is a big country, and since it's pretty much cut off from the rest of the world now transport is...tricky.

Normal air service everywhere in France is pretty much done. Between the lack of fuel and the constant weird weather, it's just not practical anymore. The Cyberpapacy is trying to introduce new planes with alternate fuel sources, but for the most part that effort is going into combat jets. People who own chartered planes are still going about their business, but again the lack of fuel is driving prices up.

Ground services haven't fared much better. The Collapse didn't do wonders for the road system, and even after the Tech Surge fixing the roads wasn't really a high priority. Cars are rapidly becoming luxury items, and (again) alternate fuel sources are being rolled out slowly.

The only mass transit system that's still working is the rail system. If anything, it's improved thanks to the Tech Surge allowing bullet trains that are faster and safer than Core Earth's.

I do want to point out that there's a map in the book that shows all of France's major roads, and another that shows all the rail lines. Previously, there was a map of all of France's provinces. I just find that quaint, a relic of a time before you could just type "France maps" in Google and get all the maps you want. But it's also an unnecessary addition; does anyone really care what the "real" roads are, and what connects to what? I can't imagine some player going "wait, you can't just drive from East Generic Village to Otherville! MY IMMERSION!" It's just another example of Torg's ridiculous need for detail nobody wanted, made even funnier by the fact that this is the only realm book that has maps like this.

I am ten pages into this chapter.

The next section is about Avignon, and it's not much we don't already know. The city is expanding rapidly due to new cyberware factories being built and the assorted needs of the thousands of pilgrims streaming into the city. Avignon is a historical city; the papacy was located there from the early 1300's to the early 1400's, so there's a lot of old buildings reflecting the ancient glory of the church.

As you can imagine, Malraux has "improved" on that.

Ancient frescoes have been replaced with holographic projections. The Palace of Popes has had a monitor tower attached to it, broadcasting the word of Malraux across the skyline. The bell tower of the Avignon cathedral has been replaced with a giant glowing cross visible from anywhere in the city.

Subtle, it is not.

The next part of the chapter is a "typical locations" deal again, and you'll forgive me for not getting into too much detail here. Provided are maps and NPCs for a Cyberlegger Hideout (basically a street doc/chopshop), a GodWare hospital (complete with techpriests, innocent patients, and cyberboosted guard dogs), and Church Police Checkpoints. Interestingly, we don't get sample cathedrals or other places where you'd go to actually deal with Cyberpapal personnel or get your cyberhack on; those are in the GodNet book.

The last part of the chapter is about how CyberFrance gets along with its European neighbors. As you can imagine, it's "not well".

Germany is probably in the best and worst position. Unification had just happened when the invasion hit, and they were not ready to deal with a major national threat at all. They had a few NATO forces available, but sending modern troops into Collapsed France didn't work out so well. Falling back from the French border, the German and NATO forces got a front-row seat for the Tech Surge. It wasn't long after the Surge that the CyberPapal forces attacked in earnest: demons and cybered-up troopers poured over the border.

But by this point, people had started to get a handle on how reality mechanics worked. German forces basically played a defensive game; they'd "retreat" while fighting, drawing Cyberpapal forces deeper into Core Earth and wait for them to disconnect. Germany couldn't really attack in the traditional sense, but they could at least hold the line.

As it stands now, Germany has found itself awkwardly trust into the role of "major world power". It's no secret that Germany is pretty much the only thing between Malraux and Russia, and thus has found itself as a launching point for Storm Knights who want to get in on the action in the Cyberpapacy, Aysle, or the Nile Empire. The main focus now is on defense; missile silos are rapidly being set up along the western border, and there's a greater push on industrial production. In fact, due to North America and most of Europe being off the grid, Germany has also found itself becoming a major player in the world economy. Fortunately, the Japanese government has been helping out with that, giving them money and helping improve their technological frameworks. It's a good thing the Kanawa Corporation is there to help, huh?

Luxembourg didn't make out quite as well as Germany. Between the reality storms sweeping through the tiny country and the almost constant influx of refugees from France, the government has pretty much collapsed. NATO troops tried to get things under control, but they're not having much luck since they need to focus more on keeping Germany strong. At this point, Luxembourg is pretty much a done deal as a nation.

Italy isn't having a much better time. Italy isn't completely off from the rest of Europe, but the Cyberpapacy controls about half of the national border, plus Italy has to deal with being stuck in the middle of the wars over control of the Mediterranean Sea. The other problem is that the Roman Catholic Church is Malraux's primary target. Malraux has declared that Pope John Paul II is the Antichrist, and taking out the Roman Catholic Church (or better, converting it) is at the top of Malraux's to-do list. Rome, for its part, has declared that Malraux is "an abomination under God" and is currently engaged in propaganda wars throughout Italy. Unfortunately, the Cyberpapacy backs it propaganda up with assassinations and mass violence, and the Roman Catholic Church is having a hard time adjusting to needing to hire mercenaries and Storm Knights. The recent awakening of Core Earth's spiritual power has helped, though.

quote:

Miracle at Saint Peter’s Square
At the Vatican, the Pope holds masses more frequently, and miracles are commonly reported. His public appearances and speeches have helped greatly to bolster the hopes of the faithful. Since the Possibility Wars began, the Roman Pope’s verve and charisma seemed to have increased dramatically. During one mass, the Pope was attacked by four hospitallers masquerading as pilgrims. The assailants made quick work of the Swiss Guards who tried to intervene, but as each hospitaller attacked the Pope, his cyberware failed. Fatally. Roman Catholics everywhere have taken this incident as the surest sign that God is on their side.
As stated earlier, Belgium is kinda...broken. The western part of the country is in bad shape due to the underground coal fires sparked by the reality storms along the border. Most of the country's resources are tied up dealing with the refugees from the western part of the country and trying to support Germany.

The Netherlands got hit hard by reality storm-powered tidal waves that were created by the insanely close proximity of the Ayslish and Cyberpapal borders. The waves actually reached as far inland as Amsterdam, destroying most of the city. The Netherlands, like Luxembourg, are devistated. People are abandoning the country en masse as anrachy reigns.

Switzerland is slowly falling to Cyberpapal influence. The government hasn't been very effecting in dealing with the destruction the invasion caused, and lynching of "heretics" is becoming more widespread thanks to Cyberpapal agents.

Spain is pretty much hosed. Completely cut off from Europe, and with the Cyberpapacy already getting a foothold, the country tries to hold onto their faith and resist the invaders as best they can. In fact, Spain is one of the few countries that seem to be able to resist Cyberpapal doctrine. Spain has enacted a sealed-border policy, letting nobody into the country. Unfortunately, agents of the College of the Way managed to get into Spain before the border was closed, and are slowly worming their way into the lives of the people.

As for the rest of the world...well, Malraux knows he needs to keep his physical forces focused on Europe. He also knows that Core Earth religious artifacts have probably transformed into hardpoints or eternity shards, so any forces he has that aren't trying to take the rest of Europe or stomp Mobius are dedicated to artifact hunting. Outside Europe, the Cyberpapacy is focusing on winning hearts and minds. Healing miracles are used in front of as many people (particularly Catholics) as possible in an attempt to undermine the Roman Catholic Church's spiritual base, and high-tech medical procedures and alternate power solutions are winning over the atheists.

---

And...done.

This is a long-rear end chapter. Well, technically it's not, it's only 20 pages. But it feels a lot longer than it is. It once again suffers from the two main problems that plague the Torg sourcebooks: there's too much goddamn detail you'll probably never use, and it's not presented in any kind of logical order. I don't need to know what's going on in every single province in France; just give me a quick list of common problems and little things like "in northeastern France the farms are having a lot of trouble with bandits and Cyberpapal forces clashing" and we're good. Don't bounce from background to maps to the GodNet to talking about trains. None of it follows!

Still, this is probably the roughest part of the book to get through, so hopefully things will get more interesting from here.

NEXT TIME: The Free City of Paris

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




There's an easy house rule for multiple styles in Street Fighter: Style is a Background that everyone gets 5 free points in; you can have multiple styles, but can't learn maneuvers that cost more than your level in style.

I'm sure there are abusive things you could do with it, and I only used SF for one-shots in my own group.

ascendance
Feb 19, 2013


MonsieurChoc posted:

Whenever the Cyber-Papacy is mentionned I think back to Jodorowsky's Technopopes.
I'm sure The Incal was an inspiration for the Cyberpapacy.

boo-osterous
Feb 23, 2013






Doresh posted:


  • Aikido: A self-defense style that makes most Kicks and Punches more expensive, but reduces the cost of Grappling and Focus maneuvers (because nothing says self-defense quite like blasting your foes to kingdom come).
  • Aikido: Japanese staff-fighting, but the Style can also represent any other staff-fighting style that is not Arnis/Escrima/Kali. Considered a Discipline Style, because it's not like staffs are very flexible weapons or anything. The Style's not even that much worse compred to the above, it just reduces Weapon maneuver cost by 1 instead of 2. There's again no mention on limiting this to staff only, so I guess it can just be assumed to be that way. Oh well, I can live with that.

Two Aikidos?

moebius2778
May 3, 2013


biosterous posted:

Two Aikidos?

Given where in the ordering the second Aikido comes in (after Arnis but before Boxing), I'm guessing that it's either Bo or Bojutsu.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Doresh posted:

CyberFrance is starting to look like my favorite cyberpunk setting. It takes the archaic notion of "cyberspace" as propagated by 90's comics, combines it with a few historical periods and turns it into something beautiful :allears:

It's especially cool when you start putting in stuff about the medieval Catholic Church that didn't get printed in TORG, like the Church having a bank that gives out no-interest loans to it's allies (you know, because usury is a sin). I want to say this is implied because there's a lot of corporations in the Cyberpapacy that existed pre-Surge and become allies to the Cyberpapacy.

Also, Evil Mastermind didn't touch on this in the base rules, but I was rereading through the book and found you can have Faith (Atheism). It doesn't perform miracles but it's existence is shutdowning miracles. I'd like to imagine Possibility-aided Richard Dawkins walking around the Living Land calling everything bullshit and shutting down Lanala with his Faith (Atheism) score of 25.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Also, Evil Mastermind didn't touch on this in the base rules, but I was rereading through the book and found you can have Faith (Atheism). It doesn't perform miracles but it's existence is shutdowning miracles. I'd like to imagine Possibility-aided Richard Dawkins walking around the Living Land calling everything bullshit and shutting down Lanala with his Faith (Atheism) score of 25.

I actually did, because I love the fact that you can have faith in not having faith.

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!


The description of the GodNet and the Cyberpapacy in general gives me huge Shin Megami Tensei vibes. I don't suppose Torg has rules for demonic pokemon, does it?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



PurpleXVI posted:

The description of the GodNet and the Cyberpapacy in general gives me huge Shin Megami Tensei vibes. I don't suppose Torg has rules for demonic pokemon, does it?

No, but if they did you can bet they'd be poorly explained and ridiculously complex. You just loving know they'd try to work in EV values and poo poo.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

e: Never mind, repeating something I forgot I said a couple of pages ago.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 11d: Paris Liberté with Cheese

This is a surprisingly short chapter, especially given the density of info the last one. And again, it's a bit of an artifact of an earlier time where you didn't have the ability to just go onto Google or Wikipedia and get basic information about a country, like population breakdown or the layout of the metro system.

Of course, I'm not going to cover that stuff because nobody gives a poo poo. Instead, I'm going to talk about the changes the invasion has had on the city.

As stated previously, Paris (to be specific, the Eiffel Tower) is a Core Earth hardpoint. Core Earth's axioms still hold sway in the city, and have since the initial invasion.

That's not to say that Paris weathered the Collapse without a problem, of course. When Malraux dropped his bridge, all of France except Paris started dropping off the grid. There was no way to contact people outside the city to see what the hell was going on, world communication was cut off, and it wasn't long before people started to panic. Many people fled the city out of fear or to find out what happened to loved ones in the outlying areas, only to find castles, manor houses, and carts where suburban areas once stood.

It didn't take long for people to find out that Paris wasn't changing like the rest of the country, and thousands headed there to seek shelter from the changing reality. Papal forces managed to infiltrate the city by coming in with the waves of refugees, and took out the city leaders as discussed in the previous chapter.

Not that they needed to do much to destabilize the city, really. Core services collapsed due to the lack of technological or financial support. Supplies dwindled rapidly, and it was impossible to get basic needs like food from outside the city. Gang warfare became common over such important locations as gas stations and food warehouses. The Hands of God did their part, too, egging on conflict and just flat-out wrecking poo poo.

Things went from bad to worse when the food supplies started running out. Rationing was instituted, for all the good it did. It wasn't long before people started fighting to the death over food, then pet food, then pets, then any animal you could catch and cook.

By the time the Tech Surge came around, the damage was done. Still cut off from the rest of the world, the citizens of Paris eek out a tenuous existence surrounded by the enemy.

That's the Paris of the Near Now: once one of the most spectacular cities in the world, now reduced to a post-apocalyptic wreck.

With the fall of the French government, Paris has had to set up its own government. In response to the insanely right-wing forces taking over the rest of the country, a body of liberals, communists, and socialists was rapidly elected into office. The leadership of Paris is called "The Commune", and they wasted no time organizing people to fight back against the HOGs and Church forces. It took a lot of fighting, but eventually the Church's forces were driven out of the city. Despite the victory over Malraux, things are still pretty shaky for the Commune. Basic supplies are still hard to come by, refugees still pour into the city, Cyberpapal forces still attack the outlaying areas.

The peacekeeping force in Paris is the "Paris Liberté Militia" (PLM), and is a militia in the traditional sense: citizens who are willing to take up arms in defense of what's theirs. If these folks have their own guns, so much the better. PLM "troops" patrol the streets in small groups searching for Cyberchurch agents and keeping the numerous gangs at bay.

The PLM has no standard uniform or gear. They identify themselves by wearing red armbands on their left arm and using whatever weapons or defensive gear they can scrounge. They're headquartered just outside the Eiffel Tower.

It should be pointed out that while not well-equipped for the most part, the PLM do have access to twelve tanks (two of which are mobile), four functioning Apache helicopters, and sixteen missile sites. Obviously, none of these see any regular use; they're pretty much all for emergency use only. Despite all that, Paris's best defense is still the reality storm raging around the city.

The population of post-invasion Paris is just over 13 million people. Which doesn't seem so bad until you realize that the population just before the invasion was 10.5 million. Needless to say, that much of a jump in a few months means there's not a lot of free space in Paris right now. Refugee camps are set up anywhere you can stick three tents together, and the strain is being felt on basic human services.

Life in Paris is nasty, brutish, and short. Street gangs and leftover HOG forces roam the streets battling for territory and supplies, not caring who gets caught in the crossfire. The Metro no longer runs due to being too expensive to operate, and the tunnels have been taken over by punks and nutbags who've been driven off the streets. Any building large enough to hold people is used as shelter, even if that wasn't the original purpose. Landmarks like the Louvre and Le Pantheon have become overcrowded shelters. Outside the borders of the City, Church Police forces keep anyone from leaving the city, while at the same time ushering refugees into Paris, putting further strain on a city that's one bad day away from collapse already. The overcrowding has also put a strain on everyone's general health; lack of medical supplies combined with forced close quarters means that disease runs rampant, with cholera and typhoid making big comebacks.

Despite all this, Paris remains free. Yes, it's overcrowded and starving, but the people of Paris have a unique viewpoint on it: they may be trapped, staving, and surrounded by the enemy, but their souls are still theirs. The people of Paris refuse to give in to hopelessness or despair. They're not going to let some monster who thinks he's the mouthpiece of God control their souls. The Marseille is played on public address systems throughout the city, and the French flag still flies from the top of the Eiffel Tower. They may be trapped and beset on all sides by an insane tyrant representing the worst of both the past and the future, but the people of Paris aren't going down without a fight.

Viva Liberté indeed.

The Eiffel Tower is the hardpoint that keeps Paris working as a Core Earth zone. Everything within about 100 meters is a pure zone, and beyond that it's Core Earth dominant to about 4 kilometers. Sometimes the reality storms shift, and the effect can go out as far as 6 km. Reality storms rage around Paris 24/7, and on occasion they ground themselves out as electrical storms on the Eiffel Tower. When this happens, the storms have been known to blow the tops off the larger buildings in the city.

The reality storms in and around Paris are a little different than most. While most reality storms strike with impunity and without direction, the ones around Paris seem to target the invading forces rather than Core Earthers. Nobody knows why this is (the top theories are that the storms are reacting to the population's desire for freedom, or that it's a sign from God), but every little bit helps, right? This actually has a mechanical effect in that anyone from Core Earth who gets involved in one of these storms has a +3 bonus to their reality total, and folks from the Cyberpapacy have any damage value caused by the storm increased by 3.

Because most of Paris is a dominant zone, cybernetics and related technologies still work there. Cyberleggers have begun setting up shop on the outskirts of the city, getting "supplies" from dead Cyberpapal agents and dealing mainly with the street gangs. Most cyberware in Paris is subdermal; nobody wants to look like they work for Malraux if they can help it unless they actually want to get lynched. Still, in the rougher areas of Paris it's nice to have a set of cyberclaws or a skinweave to give yourself a bit of an edge. And, of course, the gangs like to go full chrome anyway because otherwise what's the point?

Now, the next few pages are just general info about Paris, but it's nothing you couldn't look up on Wikipedia or Google Maps. So I'm going to skip them and get to the part you really want to know about : Cybergangs of Paris!


Cyberpunks in their native habitat, fighting against the machine.

Oh come on, like you didn't know that was coming at some point.

Any major city has gangs. But when the city is hit by a sudden spike in technology and a downturn in overall quality, the street gangs upgrade to cyberpunks. And these are totally 90's RPG cyberpunks, with the weird outfits and gimmicks and everything. This is street trash mixed with Generic 90's Cyberpunk then dumped into The Warriors. Seriously, the Baseball Furies would not be that out of place here. Just give them, like cyberbats or something.

One thing I haven't mentioned yet about the Cyberpapacy is West End's attempt at coming up with cyberslang. You know how bad they were with humor? They're not any better with this stuff.

I did not change a word of this posted posted:

Crimes against the citizens of Paris began with the normal theft and muggings. Then came drugs. Then came zipyanks, murders in which the victim’s organs or cyberware were removed for sale; fry-bys, where punks drive by citizens and attack them with energy weapons modified so as to ignite the victim; grabaways, where the victims, usually entire families, are kidnapped and assaulted.

The PLM cannot stop the all gang activity, so they're forced to prioritize its responses. Muggings and thefts are ignored, and zipyanks are tolerated as long as an unofficial “quota” is not exceeded. However they, and Paris at large, draw the line at grabaways and fry-bys. These crimes provoke a considerable response. Most PLM members consider such crimes reprehensible enough to dispose of any legal niceties they are supposed to observe as law enforcement officers. Mob justice has been invoked, and at least one gang, the NazBoys, was hunted to extinction after a rash of grabaways.

God, I feel so stupid just using those slang terms.

Anyway. We get the down-low (as it were) on six of Paris's biggest cyberstreetgangs. Street cybergangs? Whatever, let's just enjoy this glimpse back to an earlier age.

First up are The Sun Kings and Queens, who, and I quote, "are streetwise posers who dress in the style of Ancièn France with pomaded wigs, chalked faces (complete with beauty spots) and elegant clothing."


Pictured: A Cyberpunk

Regardless of how they dress, Sun Kings and Queens are usually pretty cyber-ed up and are good fighters. They control the docks of Paris, and anyone dumb enough to enter their territory while possessing cyberware will quickly find themselves swarmed by gangers and dragged to the local cyberlegger to be stripped for parts. Their normal activities boil down to protection rackets and "sin-palaces". They also have a small presence in the GodNet, and their data base (yes, that's what it's called) is a virtual recreation of the Palace of Versailles.

The current leader of the Sun Kings and Queens is Louis XIV; the leader of the gang is always called Louis or Marie. They're nothing if not unoriginal. For some reason, the "number" of the leader always counts down, not up. Also for some reason a map for the Sun King and Queens' HQ is provided.

Next up are the Carrion Dogs. As I'm sure you can all guess, these guys are all street-wolf-ish, dressing in dirty rags and living it up on the streets. Every member has fangs, and most have either slicers (finger- or toe-blades) or slashers (forearm blades). They'd be considered a pretty bad joke if it weren't for two factors: one, they're pretty much all cannibals and like pack-hunting innocent people, and two, they all have modified their fangs to inject victims with rabies. Yes, rabies. Unfortunately for the Dogs, most of their cyberware is so low-quality that the disease holders leak and the majority of the gang members have rabies themselves. If it wasn't for the secret backing of the Cyberpapacy, these guys probably would have died out on their own a long time ago.

Like all true cyberpunks, the Crucifaces have large brightly-colored hairdos and tattered leathers. They also paint crosses on their faces with the crosspiece going across their eyes. They also favor slicers/slashers, or just normal knives if they can't get the tech, and perform what can be best described as "basic level" street crimes. You know, muggings and shakedowns. And that's pretty much it for these guys. No idea why they're here because they get no info beyond "they exist" and "they dress like this".

And we move into Obvious Pun territory with the Warewolves. The Warewolves are obsessed with cyberware, installing as much as their bodies (and souls, but we'll get to that later) can handle, and then tagging on a few extra parts just to be on the safe side. They get most of their cyberware through theft or (ugh) zipyanking. Their "emblem" is a side view of a howling wolf's head stitched out in metallic thread, and they hang out around the edge of the dominant zone because I guess they like the thrill of knowing that if they disconnect they'll probably die?

Next, there's The Tri's. And yes, the apostrophe is there; it's because they wear the French tricolor on their jackets as their "gang symbol" as a representation of their defiance of Malraux. Not that they're allied with Paris; a full 95% of their crimes are committed against the Parisian public. It's more the idea of their leader Anne Druillard; she figures that with everything going on, Paris is going to focus on the more serious threats. So she sets her gang up as "Robin Hood" style bandits, working with the PLM to fight other gangs, organizing very public attacks against the Cyberpapacy, and so on. So far it seems to be working in her favor, even though her tactics tend to get a lot of her own people killed. But hey, plenty more where they came from.

We close out the chapter with the last "gang": Spacers and Crazies. Well, they're not really a gang, just a convenient category for the various nutjobs and burnouts that litter the streets. Spacers are people who've fried their brains out on drugs or who've succumbed to cyberpsychosis. These are the ones who live on diets of drugs to ease the pain of life, and will kill whoever they need to to get the money to buy said drugs. Crazies are people whose minds snapped after the two reality shifts, or who can't handle the joy that is life in modern-day Paris. A lot of crazies have dangerous cyberware (somehow), and more and more appear on the streets thanks to the Cyberpope funneling them into the city.

So yeah, there's cybershit all over the streets now. And I just have to say I love the fact that Paris itself gets less book time than the rest of France, even though it's a pretty important place in the scheme of things.

At this point, though, we're pretty much done with the setting stuff so it's time to start getting into the mechanical side! I can't wait!


NEXT TIME: Axiomatical!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Halloween Jack posted:

There's an easy house rule for multiple styles in Street Fighter: Style is a Background that everyone gets 5 free points in; you can have multiple styles, but can't learn maneuvers that cost more than your level in style.

I'm sure there are abusive things you could do with it, and I only used SF for one-shots in my own group.

I would say this comes down to what maneuver combinations are now possible. And how does this houserule determing your starting Chi and Willpower?

biosterous posted:

Two Aikidos?

That was a failure on my part. The second one is supposed to be Bojutsu. Fixed >_< !

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Doresh posted:

I would say this comes down to what maneuver combinations are now possible. And how does this houserule determing your starting Chi and Willpower?
Eh, you would just pick a "Primary" style.

As for combinations, it could be a godsend to the weaker styles--putting 3 points in Kabaddi and 2 points in, say, Kung Fu gives you access to Kabaddi's great cost breaks on some Focus maneuvers, but enough good cheap maneuvers from Kung Fu to get you through until you have some XP under your belt. But it's probably a better idea to just make crap styles not crap, which is easy--just put some more good maneuvers on that list.

Ironically, overlapping two good styles would be a stupid idea in most cases, because having a somewhat larger pool of good cheap maneuvers isn't worth making it harder to learn Dragon Punch and Cannon Drill later on. Probably the most abusive thing you could do is combine a good striking style with a grappling style so that you can have the best cheap Punch/Kick and the best cheap Grab right out of the gate.

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:

Really? I honestly didn't know that. What brought that about?

Sorry, misworded that. It's that ONLY "eat fish on Friday" is how the ancient practices of fast and abstinence have shaken themselves out in the modern United States. Things in the past have been far more restrictive. Here's a small primer.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Gettin' the rehashes out of the way!

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


Part 11e: World Laws and/or Reality Storms

Time to start digging into the mechanical side of the Cyberpapacy, and that means we start by talking about the realm's axioms and world laws. I covered this stuff briefly in the first Cyberpapacy post, but now we're going to get into a little more detail.

The axioms of the Cyberpapacy have been bouncing up and down thanks to the Collapse and the Tech Surge. The Cyberpapacy is currently a rough mix of the axioms of Magna Verita, Core Earth, and Kadandra. All of the Cyberpapal axioms were affected in one way or another, and in a lot of ways the culture is still catching up. The Church hasn't had to deal with real change for literally centuries, so while they are adapting to the new technology available, the other changes are making their lives difficult.

The Magic axiom is 10, allowing for full-on spellcasting, enchanted items, and witches turning people into toads. It's also just high enough to allow for the existence of supernatural creatures such as gargoyles, and magic is even capable of affecting the GodNet. For the most part, magic hasn't changed that much from Magna Verita's original level, although the increase from Core Earth's magic axiom has caused more mages to appear in France.

It should be pointed out that the general public at large is aware of the existence of magic, but according to Cyberpapal doctrine magic is the work of the Devil. Witch hunts are common, and even being suspected of being a practitioner of magic is enough to get you burned at the stake. Literally. That's a thing that happens with disturbing regularity

The Social axiom is 18, which is actually a little lower than Core Earth's (21), but is a significant increase from Magna Verita's original axiom of 13. From a Core Earth point of view, it's a step backwards from France being capable of a democratic government to being under the bureaucratic control of a single totalitarian government. The only real chance France has at finding freedom on its own is the fact that the Church doesn't know how to deal with widespread change. While technically speaking the social axiom is a drop from Core Earth's, it's a large step up from Manga Verita's.

Before all the axiom mixing, the citizens of Manga Verita had no civil liberties, no personal rights, nothing like that. The influx of new social ideas is creating a new problem for the Church because the society is starting to evolve out of the idea of "whatever the Church says goes". Papal doctrine has to start allowing and accepting various forms of societal advancement instead of suppressing them, and some parts of the Church are having a harder time adapting than others.

(There's also the fact that the increase of the social axiom allows for a level of rebellion so you can have cyberpunk gangs and whatnot.)

The Cyberpapacy has a Spiritual axiom of 14, which isn't actually too high compared to the other realms. Aysle and the Living Land have higher spiritual axioms, but the Cyberpapacy belief system is more about following the will of the Church rather than the will of God. It's like Small Gods; people believe in the structure of the religion instead of the religion itself.

That being said, spiritual power is provably manifest in the world. Believers can perform miracles, and angels and demons exist in the GodNet. While the focus of faith is more the Cyberpapal structure (and therefore the CyberPope), the power of Malraux's God is undeniable.

Lastly, the Technology axiom jumped from Magna Verita's original 15 (medieval technology) to 26. We all know what this has meant for the realm, so there's not much to say here. The technology jump has been a bit uneven; even though cybernetics and man/machine interfaces are commonplace, things like robotics and weaponry are lagging behind despite being possible at this tech axiom. Demand for high technology is also outstripping demand, since France's industrial infrastructure was hit hard by the Collapse and hasn't been able to get caught up to the level needed by the Tech Surge.

Meanwhile, back in Magna Verita, nobody knows that the technology level has improved by leaps and bounds; it's just that nobody knows it yet. Malraux has sent augmented operatives back up the bridge to keep a tight control on how technology will advance back home. He's also created a GodNet correction across the bridge and set up a few data centers on Magna Verity, but again only the loyal hierarchy of the Church know about. As much as Malraux has embraced the new technology available, he wants to control how it spreads across his home cosm as opposed to the pretty out-of-control way it's evolving in the realm.

There are four world laws that are remnants of Magna Verita's reality, and weren't really altered by the mixing of realities. In the interest of repeating information, I'll just quote myself.

quote:

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.

The chapter closes out with a discussion on the maelstrom bridge and the reality storms that surround the country.

The Cyberpapal maelstrom bridge connects the Avignon in Magna Verita to Avignon in Core Earth. The Darkness Device keeps one eye on the bridge, and if any Possibility-rated person tries to cross the bridge without permission the Device will invoke a reality storm against that person in an attempt to transform them to Cyberpapal reality. If it succeeds and the target transforms, they automatically gain a neural jack in the neck or temple, and one to three more cyberdoodads of the GM's choosing. Presumably this is also the case for anyone who transforms to Cyberpapal reality, since the fiction of the book has been heavily implying that people had automagically getting cyberware and whatnot when the Cyberpapacy formed. Technically that shouldn't be possible because of the whole "living to living/unliving to unliving" transformation rule, but reality storms can apparently completely ignore that.

The reality storms that surround CyberFrance are pretty much standard to the rest of the game. The biggest issue are the storms on the border that touch the English Channel. The Channel separates the Cyberpapacy and Aysle, and in some parts the reality borders are about a mile apart. The close proximity of three separate realities makes the storms even stronger than normal, and the fallout of the storms affects pretty much everything touching the Channel.

Even though the English Channel is being hit by reality storms 24/7, the storms around the Cyberpapacy's border do fade from time to time. When this happens, refugees and realm runners stream over the borders in both directions.

It should be pointed out that if a Cyberpapal character transforms to a different reality, he actually loses one to three pieces of cyberware. Exactly how that works or interacts with the whole "living to living/unliving to unliving" rule is never explained. While a cyberhand would turn into a hook-hand, and a cybereye might turn into a glass eye, what would subdermal armor turn into? What about something like a skillchip port, which is wired pretty heavily into your nervous system? I'd hate to think what a retractable forearm blade or cranial jack would change into.

--

Again, another short chapter without much to really say. I mean, it's only five pages long. But don't worry, we're going to get into bad mechanics soon enough!


NEXT TIME: Hanging with the console cowboys in cyberspace!

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Jan 29, 2015

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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




Now we're into the Alliance and Horde compendium: AKA "All the poo poo from the Frozen Throne Blizzard didn't tell us about until the last minute." In here we have the new races introduces in frozen throne, the new classes introduced in frozen throne, and the mass combat rules so you can pretend you're playing a Real Time Strategy game in your Turn Based d20 game between two characters with the leadership feat.

Or you could just play Warcraft 3.

Races!:

This isn't... terrible.. Metzen artwork.

First up we have Wildhammer Dwarves which are like Ironforge Dwarves, sort of. Ironforge Dwarves are classic Tolkien Dwarves but they're a bit friendlier to outsiders and enjoy their drink more. Wildhammer dwarves instead live above ground, so without their whole "kings under the mountain" thing they have devolved into full blown Scottish stereotypes. They love their drink even more, wear kilts and plaid, tattoo themselves, paint their faces with woad, they even live in highlands and earthen barrows. The one thing they do have that's unique is that they've got a somewhat symbiotic relationship with the Gryphons that live around their homes, and are where the alliance get most of their aerial cavalry.
As far as their racial traits, they're Ironforge Dwarves except they have low light vision instead of darkvision. Don't have stonecuning, Don't have a bonus on appraise checks, Don't get stoneflesh, and don't get martial proficiency with guns. Instead they get a +1 bonus on attack rolls with hammers. a +4 bonus on saves against fear, and a +2 bonus on ride/handle animal checks involving gryphons. Also their favored class is Barbarian instead of Fighter, because Scottish.
Definitely a downgrade.


There it is, let the edgy goth elf flow through you.

Next we have Blood Elves who are High Elves who have gone whole hog into their magical addiction after the undead blew up the Sunwell partway through Warcraft 3. Appearance wise they're identical to high elves except they give themselves demonic looking tattoos, dress in reds and blacks, and give themselves hairstyles that "no high elf would ever wear". So yes, they're super edgy teenage elves who don't trust the Alliance anymore because of a series of unlikely circumstances involving the most stereotypically racist bastard Blizzard has ever written.
Statwise they're completely identical to High Elves except instead of the sudden empower ability, they automatically gain access to the warlock spell list for any arcane caster class they have. If they take levels in warlock then they gain sudden empower but only for warlock specific spells, one of which actually deals damage. So they're better than a high elf if neither of them take levels in a warlock class, but weaker than a high elf if both do.

Up next are Furbolgs which were honestly an odd inclusion at the time, considering the entirety of their racial development was 'those annoying mobs you kill with your hero unit to level them up until you reach level 5 and have to actually interact with the other player'. They're a peaceful shamanistic race as long as they don't get corrupted by demon energy, at which point they go loving insane and try and murder everyone. They're not aligned to the alliance or the horde, but maintain friendly relationships with both the Night Elves and the Tauren.
Statwise they're large(tall) with +2 str and +2 con, land speed 30, with both a bite and claw attack and +2 natural armor. They also have a +2 bonus on Knowledge Nature and Survival checks and a +1 Level Adjustment.

Thankfully someone at Blizzard reminded White Wolf that Gnomes exist. And we get the explanation as to why they were absent from Warcraft 3, Troggs had invaded their city from underground and they sealed themselves in to prevent them from reaching Ironforge. Unfortunately one of their civic leaders went loving mental and decided the best way to save his people was to detonate a nuke in their hermetically sealed city. Fortunately much of the race was able to escape to either the upper reaches or outside into Khaz Modan before the detonation hit but a large number of their race are now insane irradiated husks. Oh and the ones that aren't are with the alliance
Statwise they're pretty great. +2 int +2 cha -2 Str. Small. land speed 20, low light vision, and gnomish weapon familiarity. That's all well and good. They also have a +2 bonus on all craft checks and listen checks. A +2 bonus on all saving throws, and a free technological feat. Their favored class is Tinker, because of course it is, but as the only race with a charisma bonus they're actually the best sorcerers the game has. Particularly because they don't have a level adjustment.

Unlike the Naga. I guess I'll give a rough timeline of the descent of the elves. Night elves were the first, and they ruled the world back when everything was one continent with the well of eternity in the middle. They gathered around their Queen Aszhara who was a mage of incredible power. Unfortunately ARCANE POWER CORRUPTS so she ended up summoning the demons through the well of eternity because of promises of power and blah blah blah. Some of the night elves rebelled and allied with the dragons and the ancients and drove back the demons into the well and detonated it, Sundering it into the malestrom and separating the continents into Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Those Night Elves that allied with the others but still used arcane magic were eventually banished and became the High Elves, those that were allied with Azshara were cast down to the ocean floor when the well detonated. Awash with arcane energy they mutated into the Naga. They also have sexual dimorphism in which the women are lithe intelligent spellcasters and the men are large dumb brutish warriors. Years on the ocean floor mutating into more and more horrific forms hasn't really improved their disposition much so they're independant for the time being.
Statwise they're almost two different races at once. They're (mostly) all medium. Males get +2 str +2 dex and +2 natural armor. Women get +2 dex +2 int and +1 natural armor, and a +4 racial bonus on spot checks and uncanny dodge since women all have snakes for hair. Both sexes have base land speed 30, swim speed 50, heal at twice the normal rate underwater, and can breathe underwater. They also all have a mutation of some kind, this can range from a Bite attack, Claws, Extended Darkvision, an Ink Jet, an additional +2 natural armor, or tentacles which give them a constriction attack. Or they can choose a GREATER MUTATION which includes extra arms, a +4 natural armor bonus with attendant +2 bonus on fort saves, fast healing 1(2 underwater), even stronger tentacles which give them the improved grab feat and deal 1d10 damage, grow to size large, or men can choose to get both bite AND claw attacks, and women can choose to grow two extra arms.
Or they can give up their low light vision and get blindsense.
If the Naga was content with a lesser mutation theyr'e LA+1, with a greater mutation they're LA+2
I really don't think they thought this level adjustment thing through very well. A natural attack is powerful yes, but having one more natural attack isn't by itself enough to bump you up a level adjustment. Nor is having an extra pair of arms. And Blindsense DEFINITELY isn't worth it. Also they value a strength bump highly enough that it can apparently offset having racial uncanny dodge.

Pandaren are, well, a joke race. Mostly. The lead artist, Samwise, really loves pandas. Metzen also loves pandas, so a anthropomorphic panda drunken master made it into Frozen Throne as an independent hero. At this point in Warcraft's lore development this is basically all that's known about the pandaren and they've had to back-fill a lot of lore into what the gently caress this race is. And they're independant because they're peaceful and at harmony with all things.
Statwise they're +2 dex +2 con +2 Natural Armor and medium. Their base land speed is 20 and they have a climb speed of 15. They've got low light vision and can drop to all fours to increase their speed by 10 but they can't hold anything in their hands while doing this. They've got weapon familiarity with some race specific things but they also have a bite and two claw attacks.
And they forgot to give them a level adjustment. The Manual of Monsters would correct this oversight but as I've mentioned before actually getting your hands on a Manual of Monsters to find this out was difficult before the advent of pdfs and file sharing.

Jungle Trolls are the last race here. Unlike other trolls who are barbaric voodoo practitioners who sacrifice intelligent beings to please their dark and savage gods. These trolls are barbaric voodoo practitioners who try to avoid sacrificing intelligent beings when other people are looking, at least the ones that decided to ally with Thrall. They're also exclusively matriarchal and women only exist to pop out more trolls. Because that is clearly the correct way to balance out the fact that Night Elves are amazons.
Statwise they're vanilla PHB Half-orcs cranked up to 11. +4 Str +2 Con -2 Int -2 Cha. Medium, Darkvision, Fast Healing 1. a +4 bonus on hide checks in jungle environments, and a +1 level adjustment. So if all you want out of your character is to rage for 2 extra rounds and bash someone's skull in REALLY HARD while occasionally hiding better in jungle trees then this is your race.

Up next: Prestige classes, including the long awaited NecromancerAnd you're probably going to want to keep waiting for one more book where they release an even better necromancer

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 19:32 on Jan 21, 2015

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 11f: The GodNet 1.0 (functionality in next release)

I'm jumping out of the chapter order of the cosm book for a moment, so I can discuss something important to the whole cyberpunk milieu that surprisingly doesn't get a lot of space in the Cyberpapacy book.

That's right...it's time to talk about The GodNet! Let's see what we thought the future Interwebs were going to be like back in 1990!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7tazcxWUwk

This is going to be tricky, because the netrunning rules actually exist in two different books, neither of which are the actual Cyberpapacy book. The first third of the rules are in the Worldbook that came with the core book, and the last two thirds of the rules are in the GodNet book that came out months later. The GodNet sourcebook is pretty big, so for now I'm going to stick to the just-under-four pages of rules in the Worldbook.

And in keeping with Torgish tradition (Torgdition?) it's not presented in a logical order. Which means that before we even know what the GodNet is in a general sense (apart from being "a super computer network"), we learn how to jack into it.

There are two ways to access the GodNet. The first is the method used by most of the population: using trodes or a neural jack will allow you to directly enter the global network and perform simple actions through an interface called a Virtual Experience.

quote:

Virtual experiences (VXs) are computer generated situations, characters and sensations which can pass for the real thing. Touch, taste, sight, sound, smell—all sensation can be duplicated through VX. A VX can damage a person, for the images/experiences are relayed to the user through a neural interface.
Using this method is the equivalent of using a modern OS and browser. You can access shared file systems, system records, and so on. And, um, well...that's about it.

(Remember, in 1990/91, email wasn't in very common public usage yet and the web as we think of it wouldn't exist for a few more years yet. At the time, the main use for computer systems was for file storage.)

Anyway, when you access a VX system, you create a "virtual self" that is based on your mental self-image. This isn't really discussed until later books, but this is because the GodNet is both a computer network and a sort of pocket dimension you project your mind into. This means that when you jack into the GodNet, you not only retain all your skills, you can also use any mental or "spiritual" abilities and tools you have available to you (as well as pulp powers, as revealed in errata). Still, you can't really do much that the system won't allow. Doing anything beyond checking email and opening files you have access to anyway requires the use of a cyberdeck.

This is the first paragraph of the cyberdeck section:

quote:

While jacking into a net is enough to VX, it gives users little control over the experiences they have. Comp-Plexes have the capacity to modify VXs sent to users. CompPlexes are axion boosters, dipolar recorders, cyber-signal (cygnal) filters, and media chips integrated into a horrifyingly complex system coordinated by vast computing power. Cyberdecks are portable CompPlexes, with small VX work areas (compared to a full net) within them. Within these work areas the net's VX are modified by programs carried with the cyberdeck and controlled by the user. A cyberdeck can give a sophisticated user significant ability to control his experience in the net.
Is it just me, or could they have just gotten away with that last paragraph?

Using a cyberdeck requires the use of the Cyberpapacy-specific skill cyberdeck operation (which is based off Perception), or the scholar (cyberdeck operation) skill, but going that route is considered being unskilled.

The first real benefit of using a cyberdeck is that you can alter what your VX image looks like. Normally you look like yourself in the GodNet, but being able to alter your appearance can actually help you avoid detection by cyberpriests and hostile programs. How? Dunno. Doesn't say.

Regardless, every cyberdeck has four stats:
Response, which measures how fast your deck can react to events. This is rated from +1 to +5, and this value is added to your Perception to determine your movement speed and how fast you can read data in "blocks" per round.
Stealth, which prevents detection by hostile software and systems. This is also rated from +1 to +5 and adds to your stealth skill.
Processor Power determines how many programs you can run at once. This goes from 1 to 5, and that value is the max number of skill adds the deck can provide at once.
Storage is how much data your deck can store. It can range from 3 to 10 blocks.

This is a basic cyberdeck:

quote:

Delicious: Response +1, Stealth +1, Processor Power 3, Storage 4.
Cost: 17,000 francs (value 13).

Doing things in the net is handled through normal skill rolls, except that you add your cyberdeck operation adds to the skill. You can also use programs to boost or fake skills. Programs are rated from +1 to +3, and take up an amount of storage equal to their plus. You also can't have more pluses worth of programs running than your deck's Processor Power. When using a skill that you have a program running for, you use the larger adds as your skill. So if I have the find skill at +1 and a find program running at +3, then my effective skill is +3.

Programs are generalized, so there's an attack program, a find program, a combat program, and so on. And no, I don't know what the difference is between the attack and combat programs because no actual list of available programs is provided in the base set or in the Cyberpapacy book. The base set gives the costs for programs based solely on their rating, but apart from the in-text examples of attack/find/combat there's nothing about what programs are actually available.

Oh, now we're going to actually talk about the GodNet itself.

quote:

The GodNet is the spiritual and technological core of the Cyberpapacy, a computer network with the power to process tens of thousands of neural interfaces simultaneously, and its capacity is growing rapidly. The GodNet is now the true heart of France. Unwary users are awed by the sophisticated virtual experiences provided by the GodNet. As the VX is bolstered by strong, visceral religious symbolism, thousands of citizens within the realm are converted to the Cyberpope's religion each week.

Once he has jacked in, the first impression a user has of the GodNet is of a huge glowing cross with pulsating lines of circuitry etched into it and flowing out of it; the user is connected by a gossamer strand thrown off from one of these lines. As the user follows the strand down toward the cross, the other lines disappear and the cross expands to fill the field of vision, stretching to the vanishing points along the horizon. At the junction of the crosspieces is an angular, stepped tower which stretches into the sky. This is Babel Central. All information (including jacked-in users) entering the GodNet is routed through Babel Central for clearance and surveillance.
And now we're done talking about the GodNet itself. No, really, that's the full "GodNet" section.

Now it's time to talk about net combat. It works like normal combat, and because your brainmeats are hooked directly into the GodNet, any damage your virtual self takes is real damage. If you die in the GodNet...you die for real. Of course, some combat effects are a little different; getting knocked down means you can't swap programs (swapping programs is not explained anywhere), getting a KO scrambles your deck for three rounds which prevents the use of programs. On the plus side, you can't get knocked unconscious when you take enough shock damage because technically when you're netrunning you're already unconscious. Also, when you're in net combat you add your deck's response value to your skills.

And that's all we're told about net combat. Does it use normal initiative? How long does it take to do things in the GodNet compared to meatspace? How do you heal? No loving idea, because those rules, again, didn't exist until the actual GodNet book came out months later.

From here we get some information on the types of defenses you can come across in the GodNet. Or, defense singular, I guess, because the only thing listed in this section is a typical jackpriest.

quote:

Jackpriests and cache monitors are hooked up to the GodNet from terminal stations throughout the Cyberpapacy. The largest terminal station is in Avignon, and has become known as Babel Central, although the real Babel Central is actually a VX construct. The priests and the monitors have 24-hour surveillance on the GodNet. They do not always pounce upon intruders. Often they "tag" them, trying to trace signals emanating from the intruder's VX persona to discover from where the intruder is jacking in. They then notify Church Police and the Inquisition of the location, and leave it at that.
The GodNet is also occupied by entities, self-aware programs created by Ebenuscrux during the Tech Surge and creation of the GodNet. And while most of them are technically tools of the Church, there are others that have their own agendas. Like this thing:

quote:

Beast of the Apocalypse: DEX 10, STR 22, TOU 25, PER 14, MIN 26, CHA 10, SPI 12.
Skills: stealth 22 (until beast manifests), find 17, missle combat 15, unarmed combat 17, trick 17, test 27, taunt (23), intimidate 17 (23), reality 14.
Net Values: net attack (melee) 20, net attack (missile) 18, net defense 14, net find 20, net stealth 25, net manipulation 17, net track 17.
Possibilities: 12.
Response/Processor/Storage: 3/16/32.
Programs: Onslaught 6 (5), Scramble 3 (3), MindWipe 3 (4), BrainBurn 1 (2), Surge 1 (2), DeckWipe 2 (3), Armor 4 (3), Scan 3 (3), Trace 4 (4), Grapple 2 (3).
Natural Tools: claws, damage value 28; bite, damage value 29; gaze, damage value 26, hide, armor +4.
Note: gaze is a missile combat attack. The pupils of the beast's eyes seem to whir and detach, propelled at unbelievable velocity toward the victim. The pupils reform in a round; its vision is unaffected by the attack.
Description: This entity is rumored to be able to appear in any region of the GodNet. Looking like the huge Apocalyptic beast, with seven heads, horns and a diadem, this horrible creature can cause such a surge of power that net raiders literally explode on the ends of their neura-jacks. The beast can travel nearly undetected, until it manifests itself by generating a VX form to use its attack and defense programs.
This is the only net entity listed in the base game, and it's pretty much guaranteed to kill anyone dumb enough to try and fight it. Oh, and I know this will be a shock but there's no descriptions anywhere about what its programs do.


It wouldn't be a 90's RPG without some Bradstreet art.

The initial GodNet info rounds out with a list of some of the regions of the GodNet.

The main hub of the GodNet is Babel Central, a glass-and-chrome tower with rather Esher-ian internal design. It's mostly manned by VX entities who sort through and organize all the incoming data. Oh, and we get a second entity! Gatekeepers are guides and security forces that appear as friendly monks.

The major server points of the GodNet are housed in Cathedrals throughout France. Every data cathedral feeds into Babel Central, and in meatspace they are where the faithful jack in for the weekly sermons. It should be pointed out that a "data cathedral" doesn't have to be an actual cathedral; most are really just small churches. Regardless, they're always built into places of worship.

It should come as no surprise that the GodNet contains a Heaven and a Hell. No net raider has managed to infiltrate either of these regions (or at least done it and returned), although the Church has allowed a few faithful to return from Heaven.

Heaven is surrounded by a low wall that cannot be crossed, and beyond the wall runners can only see endless plains. The only way in is a single gate guarded by a VX simulation of Saint Peter. Those few who've come out of Heaven report that they were actually able to communicate with God Himself through His angels, and have seen changes they've requested in the GodNet actually happen.

Hell, on the other hand, remains a mystery. Nobody who's gone in have ever come out. The sole gate is guarded not by Cerberus, but by a bull-headed demon dressed as a judge.

Even a religion as rigid and unforgiving as the Cyberpapacy needs to offer the hope of redemption. That is the (theoretical) purpose of Purgatory; to store souls and determine who is saved and who is damned. A cyberpriest can sentence someone to Purgatory by the use of the net damnation miracle, which automatically sends the target to Purgatory then next time they jack in. Purgatory itself is a misty, lonely limbo where the trapped souls are unable to communicate with each other. They shuffle through the miasma, their only human contact being the few cyberpriests whose job it is to determine who's worth saving. Those deemed worth of saving have their souls uploaded into the eternal prison of a spirit chip, where their skills and experiences will by used by Church operatives. Those deemed beyond saving are sent straight to Hell.

It's only the hope of redemption, after all.

---

And that's it. That's the basic GodNet rules available in the core set, all five pages of it. Oh, what's that? You want the rules you can actually use? You want to know what those programs do, or how you move around the virtual landscape? You want some other things to throw at the netrunner, like security AIs? Oh, well, you'll have to buy the GodNet book for that.

For what it's worth, the GodNet book will cover what you actually need to know to use the GodNet in your game. But the basic information is so scattershot it's unusable. And while the GodNet book does build on the stuff we have here rather than contradicting or overriding it, it does highlight the biggest problem with Torg's mechanical presentation: it's not written for the GM.

I've said a million times that the books are poorly organized, and I think the reason is because the designer knew all the rules already. So when he started putting them in the book, he knew how everything worked, so he naturally left out a bunch of chunks because he didn't think about those mechanics anymore; they were internalized. The books never feel like they were handed off to someone outside the design crew to see if someone who hadn't been up to his ears in Torg for however long this was being developed could follow it.

Or maybe they just weren't very good at writing.


NEXT TIME: Sk1llz and m1r4cl3z!

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Were you just waiting for someone else to post something so you didn't have two Torg posts abutting each other?

Evil Mastermind posted:

Now it's time to talk about net combat. It works like normal combat, and because your brainmeats are hooked directly into the GodNet, any damage your virtual self takes is real damage. If you die in the GodNet...you die for real. Of course, some combat effects are a little different; getting knocked down means you can't swap programs (swapping programs is not explained anywhere), getting a KO scrambles your deck for three rounds which prevents the use of programs. On the plus side, you can't get knocked unconscious when you take enough shock damage because technically when you're netrunning you're already unconscious. Also, when you're in net combat you add your deck's response value to your skills.

So it's like real world combat except since you can't knock your opponent unconscious anymore the only way to defeat them is to kill them, and killing them in the matrix makes them die for real. Why the gently caress would anyone use the internet if dying because someone decided to prank you was a palpable threat?

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 19:38 on Jan 21, 2015

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kurieg posted:

Were you just waiting for someone else to post something so you didn't have two Torg posts abutting each other?
No, I actually just finished the post just now.

quote:

So it's like real world combat except since you can't knock your opponent unconscious anymore the only way to defeat them is to kill them, and killing them in the matrix makes them die for real. Why the gently caress would anyone use the internet if dying because someone decided to prank you was a palpable threat?
I'm not sure what you mean by "prank", but remember that 99% of the population isn't using a cyberdeck, so they're doing the equivalent of only using an browser and Windows Explorer. People who aren't decking can't really do anything forbidden because they don't have the hardware that allows them to do so.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Evil Mastermind posted:

No, I actually just finished the post just now.

I'm not sure what you mean by "prank", but remember that 99% of the population isn't using a cyberdeck, so they're doing the equivalent of only using an browser and Windows Explorer. People who aren't decking can't really do anything forbidden because they don't have the hardware that allows them to do so.

So it's like shadowrun except rather than being able to organially grow from "someone who browses the internet" to "Zero Cool" you need both a special rig and special training to do so?

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Man, dandypunk sounds rad.

And this whole situation gotta mess with German public opinion. We don't have much love for our military, though having to deal with daily attacks of demons and cyborgs would probably change that a little.

Halloween Jack posted:

Eh, you would just pick a "Primary" style.

As for combinations, it could be a godsend to the weaker styles--putting 3 points in Kabaddi and 2 points in, say, Kung Fu gives you access to Kabaddi's great cost breaks on some Focus maneuvers, but enough good cheap maneuvers from Kung Fu to get you through until you have some XP under your belt. But it's probably a better idea to just make crap styles not crap, which is easy--just put some more good maneuvers on that list.

Oh well, White Wolf has already balance problems with stuff that is rules legal. It's a small wonder this can happen if you make house rules.

Thrash: Anime and Fighting Game Martial Arts RPG


Interlude: Here Comes A New Challenger!

So imagine you're in the design team of a long-running fighting game franchise, working on the newest entry. You've already borrowed from your rivals in the past, and people are starting to get tired of your archaic practice of re-releasing the same game every couple months with a more ridiculous name and tweaks/content that normal people would just sell as DLC.
You've decided to aim for nostalgia bait by designing a new character the "classic" way (aka "he's a very stereotypical bloke from some random country"), with him being a Scotsman being an obvious choice as they basically design themselves (just give him a kilt and a funny dialect). Sadly, the fighting game genre ain't as big as it used to be, so to make sure that sales are alright, you decide to make it a young lady to attract the otaku crowd. This is the result:

Sherry McTappington

After some martial artists decided to have some fun by smashing up every last barrel of her father's whisky distillery - leaving the poor guy shocked through his core in a way he has yet to fully recover from -, then 16-year old Sherry abruptly ditched school and returned to her family's home, located near Loch Lomond in the Scottish Highlands. As her father's only child, it was up to her to continue her clan's age old tradition of cold-blooded revenge.
She spent the next 2 years learning the ancient arts of "Fist of the Highlands" from the village elder. It's essentially boxing, but much more potent since training involves lifting logs, throwing logs, catching logs and punching logs, combined with a strict diet of haggis and porridge.
With her training complete, she decided to leave her home, joining tournament after tournament in search for the barrel breakers. Little did she know that she will eventually face a nefarious organization that is somehow trying to conquer the world in a way that requires holding martial arts tournaments across the globe...

Looks: She has long, braided reddish-brown hair and essentially wears a fetishized mixture between a British school uniform and traditional bagpipe player getup. Her fists are rarely not raised during combat (except when she punches, of course). And of course, she wears very thick glasses for some meganekko bonus.

Personality: She is actually quite cheerful, but has no warmth to give to her opponents, who she tries to demoralize with colorful Scottish taunts. She likes cooking and playing musical instruments, but Scotish traditions for either one don't find much love outside of her homeland...

Quote: "Ye shoold've eaten mair haggis!"

To start out character creation, We have to first roll to see how many attribute points we get. The 6d10 come out as... 31, which is a tiny bit below average. Oh well, a total of 51 has to suffice.

I distribute those as follows: Intelligence 6, Focus 4, Charisma 4, Will 6, Strength 8, Agility 10, Stamina 8, Appearance 6

(The free +1 gained from the Generic Style went into Will, since I don't feel like min-maxing too hard yet)

She is below average in terms of intelligence, looks and willpower, a bit below average in terms of social aspects (she's a bit peculiar), maxed out Agility (because Mekton Z teaches us to do so) and generally very high physical stats because Scots are tough as nails.
We don't plan on doing anything fancy in terms of optional stuff, apart from maxing out her Upper Body Strength by lowering her kicking power (which we won't use, anyways).
With the above stats, we have 56 Character Points (CPs) to play with. Wanting to emphasize her punching power, getting 3 levels of Iron Fist for that +1 damage sounds like a good deal. We also get 4 levels of Body Hardening because Scots are tough.
We can't forget to put points in her Style. 4 ranks sound about good for a start, giving us a +4 on all maneuver rolls and a total of 14 Action Points.

Sherry's advantages & disadvantages are rather straightforward:

  • Area Specialisation (Punch) (3 CP): Punching stuff is second nature to her
  • Delusion (Minor) (-1 CP): She is convinced that "Scootland is th' best!", which can get annoying, but doesn't really prevent her from functioning normal
  • No Kick Training (-3 CP): Kicking things is for Englishmen. I could've probably also gone for Area Difficulty (Kick), but I want to save the really silly stuff for the maneuvers chapter.
  • Pacifism (No killing) (-1 CP): Why yes, I would like to have a free point for being a good guy.

We then spend a couple points on the skills First Aid, Intimidation, Lore (Scotland), Survival, Swimming and Taunt, and get the language skill for her native tongue for free at level 3. No Cooking or Musical instrument (bagpipes) here to reinforce the stereotypical joke.

With that out of the way, her character sheet looks like this:

Sherry McTappington
Attributes: Intelligence 6, Focus 4, Charisma 4, Will 5, Strength 8 (10/6), Agility 10, Stamina 8, Appearance 6
Base APs: 12
Chi: 13 Health: 32
Dizzy Threshold: 16 Rage Threshold: 17
Base Damage: Strength: +4 (+6/+2) Focus: +0
Skills: First Aid 1, Intimidation 3, Language (Scottish) 3, Lore (Scotland) 3, Survival 3, Swimming 2, Taunt 4
Advantages & Disadvantages: Area Specialisation (Punch), Delusion (minor, "Scootlund is th' best!"), No Kick Training, Pacifism (no killing)
Disciplines: Body Hardening 4, Iron Fist 3
Styles: Fist of the Highlands (Generic Style) 4

(This is the official character sheet formatting, and it could really use some more abbreviations)

But our future munchkin is far from finished! We still have 28 CPs to spend on maneuvers, so join me next time when we tackle the maneuvers chapter and get our first glimpse at breaking the system!

(Hint: The secret is hidden in her name :ssh: )

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Doresh posted:

Oh well, White Wolf has already balance problems with stuff that is rules legal. It's a small wonder this can happen if you make house rules.
Yeah, I don't think anything you could do with mixed Styles would be as broken as the Animal Hybrid and Cyborg Backgrounds from the Player's Guide, not to mention some of the Styles they added.

  • Locked thread