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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Robindaybird posted:

My god, he actually ripped off Videodrome for his lovely TTRPG, and most his evil is just petty or bizarre "Dance the goat dance"

That doesn't sound like Videodrome. Videodrome means letting the TV signals spawn a mangina grow in your abdomen so you can store your gun that shoots cancer bullet in it.

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Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Oh, I forgot to quote the thing that prefaces the Social Standing text.

quote:

“In the name of Satanis!?! Who was that thing covered in the blood of human children and beating the Drum of Secrets with the femur of his former master?”

The Drum of Secrets! Ooooh scary.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Down With People posted:

Oh, I forgot to quote the thing that prefaces the Social Standing text.


The Drum of Secrets! Ooooh scary.

The Bucket of Truth sounds far more menacing.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 04:21 on Jan 23, 2014

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Rifts was like that too.

As I noted in Triax, getting the option to take a lot of Rifts' classes is ridiculously rare. There's also the chance of dying in chargen, but only when rolling a non-human Crazy in the "Ultimate Edition".

In the current book I'm writing up there's a class where a randomly rolled human has a 1% chance of qualifying for the class. And it's not even a good or powerful class, it's actually a terrible, terrible class that... only 1 out of 100 characters will qualify for.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




wdarkk posted:

at the Core Route. I cannot loving believe that they named all the sector blocks along the way.

Holy poo poo you're right. To be fair I think they were using some kind of auto-generation software, but still. The Galactic Core is about 27000 lightyears from Earth, somebody figure out how many sectors that must be.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Down With People posted:

So let's say you roll a 3. You get a fuckload of ears, worms for legs and insect wings. What if you're playing a Rive-zella, and already have insect wings? Do you get a second set? Or how about a Vahs-vra? Do you think having worm legs instead of snake legs is going to be a huge difference in your life? Is this something Fiends are going to notice, that you're walking on worms instead of snakes? It feels like another mechanic that's poorly thought-out, but lets Dishaw come up with more scary monster descriptions, so it went into the book.

Here's a question: What happens when your SS rating starts bouncing up and down like an excited kid? Do you lose the mutations when you go below 6, do you just become more and more of a clusterfuck of oog, or is the first hit the one that sticks?

And if SS is something that you spend, why would you? The overfiends probably aren't.

Ningyou
Aug 14, 2005

we aaaaare
not your kind of pearls
you seem kind of pho~ny
everything's a liiiiie

we aaaare
not your kind of pearls
something in your make~up
don't see eye to e~y~e




Intermission: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Changeling After Dark

Since I'm not quite ready for another round of the banal (haw) slog that is writing up the next chapter of Destiny's Price or Autumn People, time for an intermission!

So this last weekend, someone who hates me and wants me to suffer threw more Changeling books at me, and I want very much to share this gift with you all! More specifically, I'd like to share terrible White Wolf fuckchat with you.

Because, you know, White Wolf is kiiiinda loving weird about sex/kink stuff. This is pretty evident in Destiny's Price, between the stuff I've talked about already and the section on how you might lead your very own campaign into a BDSM dungeon later in that book, and on skimming the Changeling books I've noticed some of the splatbooks are kind of, uh.....frankly some of them are rife with awkwardly shoehorned-in asides about the sexual mores and appetites of tabletop game characters! And I'm going to tell you alllllll about them. So, without further ado:

Kithbooks: Boggans, Eshu, Trolls, Sluaghs

So I guess Kithbook Boggan doesn't actually exist, except in the form of an unofficial online supplement! The online supplement doesn't really mention smutty stuff (other than...well, does a three-point Flaw that essentially says "you're super hirsute and don't like clothes and if you can't go naked for at least one full day in a week BANALITY WILL SLOWLY POISON YOUR SOUL OKAY" count as weird quasi-smutty stuff?) 'cos Boggans are basically the fat friend from every romcom ever.
Eshu are "seductive in an exotic way," also they break a lot of hearts because people just don't get that they have ~~the wanderlust~~. That's about it, though.
Trolls are stoic secret romantics (OMG YOU DONT EVEN KNOW SOMETIMES THEY CRY BECAUSE FLOWERS WILT), practically sexless in how they're described.
Much like myself, Sluaghs love tea and asexual moping.

Kithbook: Nockers

There's a full page of this stuff, starting with way too many about how Nockers are ugly and ill-tempered and Nocker marriages resemble endlessly-bickering Jewish couples who stay together for ages because HAW HAW MARRIAGE = FAERIE TITHE TAX SHELTER and also because goshhhh of course they love each other why would you think otherwise? And they get divorced early and often, or they're ~*~*~polyamorous~*~*~, it's written kind of unclear.

And then it's on to a bunch of Nockers' very own conventional wisdom about having sex with members of other kiths because this is an invaluable resource for any campaign i mean why *wouldn't* you want this

In no particular order:

Trolls are "too" "big" if "you" "know" what the narrator "means" (wiiiiiiink) (this means they have terrifyingly large veiny blue horse dongs)
Eshu are too whimsical and wanderlusty to get regular-lusty
Boggans are who cares i mean tiny helpful house gnomes aren't sexy to whoever wrote this and/or to whatever they imagined Changeling's core demographic to be
Sidhe have to be manipulated into fuckin' BUT REALLY THE BEST WAY is to make them gently caress you as payment for your amazing inventions 'cos they'll act all aghast but eventually acquiesce!! but you should be careful because if you have sex with them you will fall in love with them and turn obsessive and lovesick for months.
Satyrs are huuuuuge sluts (ahahaha you think i'm paraphrasing but NOPE this is what they actually say) and Nockers totally film porn of them with their fantastical Dreaming-cameras and sometimes it's illegal because of those fun-ruining Sidhe and Boggans
Redcaps = scary hardcore sadomasochism all day erryday
Sluagh = "spooky Goth stuff" all day erryday
Pooka are almost universally boneriffic and here have a bunch of mildly creepy gushing about cat/skunk ladies and most of them will totally friendzone Nockers and it's BULLSHIT HRNGH but sometimes they're magickal porn stars and you can totally get yr gently caress on with them because they're not SNOBS like the SIDHE UGH

Kithbook: Pooka

"Although rapists exist among the Kithain, especially among ravaging Unseelie, most faeries agree that this is a heinous crime and do not condone it."

Yep.

Welcome to three pages of fuckchat and rapechat and a segment about the feasibility of a sparrow pushing out a live human child.

Anyways, let me back up a bit! So, the book tells us, changelings come from a magical land where HIV/AIDS and other STIs never existed. While the book tells us that Kithain can fear contracting STIs just the same as boring old humans, it goes on to tell us that the vast majority of changelings don't "suffer a moralistic approach to any kind of sex," maaaaaaaan. Anybody who says sex is for makin' babies or that you should abstain 'til marriage or anything? They're capital-b Banal, gosh. Also I guess Pooka and changelings in general "abhor any kind of restrictions on love" (any at all!) and some Pooka are gay because bonobos exist and also because "some animals don't even have a sex, but are androgynous, both male and female in one body."

So this is a thing to start off with!

Very very very few changelings moralize about sex at all ever.

"Most" changelings think rape and child molestation are bad, the latter because victims lose their childhood innocence and often become banality-ridden, sexphobic, homophobic mundanes.

Yep.

From here there's a smooth segue into two pages of animalperson fuckchat.

See, the book tells us that pookas' animal types inform their sexual proclivities and "romantic habits." Sometimes, they even end up in heat!

....buuuuut this doesn't mean you have to spend half a session listening to some charmer in your gaming group as they lovingly describe humping everything in sight, no! Sometimes being in heat means falling madly in love, pursuing somebody, and then discarding them after you've gotten your gently caress on. It's totally a thing that comes easy to pooka, too, because they "often reek of sexuality!" Even if they're outwardly shy, they inevitably turn into animalistic sexpots in bed! also they aren't much for longterm relationships because eww commitment, except they are 'cos many of them "have a proclivity to settle down and raise children," and it's totally not Banal or anything because ????fuckyou

Before they get to that point, though, there's courting to be done, and Pooka courtship as described in the book is...it's a thing. See, sometimes they see catching some cutie as a "game or a battle to be won" and they try to seduce by "[imposing] their dominance," and sometimes they "[discard] social ritual" in favor of a "more direct expression of desire and need!" Sometimes they stalk their prospective sweetie because animals, sometimes they ~woo with words and caressing touches~!

oh god i read this again and all i can think of is creepyaggressive PUAs in fedoras and dalmatian footy pyjamas and TBQH IT'S NOT A VERY PLEASANT MENTAL IMAGE

Also i guess some species naturally lend themselves to "the male taking the dominant role and the female taking the submissive role" or vice versa and sometimes a pooka's human life just reinforces this but y'know unlike those stuffy closed-minded humans pooka are totally open-minded about gender roles and stuff because the animal kingdom

Oh, right, speaking of all that....


YEP

"Many Pooka want to be dominated, enjoy the pain, and get off on submission."

See, not all Pooka are cutesy wacky fuzzballs, because some of them have "the urge to bite and claw, the desire to take without asking, [and] the taste for blood" and just adore "bondage, sado-masochism, and a variety of other practices which most of society would consider offensive." (Like, I don't know, like rape.) Other changelings totally don't judge, though, so long as it's not rape rape nonconsensual, and even if it is i guess it's sixty-forty as to whether they'll condemn it or go WOOOOO ALL ABOARD THE S.S. SEXUAL PREDATOR

Oh oh oh and did I mention one of the major NPCs written up in the book is a "sexy, sensual" and tiny and vaguely Asian-looking because of course spiderlady dominatrix who likes bondage and biting and scratching and also turning everyone she gets involved with into a psychologically broken heap of human wreckage? (Again, their words, not mine. )

More later (including the Satyr Kithbook, which gets into fuckchat by page twelve.)

Oh, and a sparrow pooka definitely can't give birth in sparrow form. You know, if y'all were wondering.

Ningyou fucked around with this message at 06:48 on Jan 23, 2014

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Holy poo poo that picture. I thought that was a pigman before I realized it was BDSM Cat Slave Dale Gribble.

Whoever gave that guy direction for that picture did not do a good job asking for "sexy".

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Gimp masks aren't very sexy by nature.

But holy fucksticks - there's definitely something not right with the guys writing this.

WINNERSH TRIANGLE
Aug 17, 2011



SEX
KIT
TEN

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


EDIT: fuckin beaten on the sex kitten thing

Bieeardo posted:

Here's a question: What happens when your SS rating starts bouncing up and down like an excited kid? Do you lose the mutations when you go below 6, do you just become more and more of a clusterfuck of oog, or is the first hit the one that sticks?

This poo poo is

~never explained~

Down With People fucked around with this message at 11:08 on Jan 23, 2014

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Ningyou posted:

Oh, and a sparrow pooka definitely can't give birth in sparrow form. You know, if y'all were wondering.

Well of course not. She gets a stork to drop it off for her!

I think my favourite line from KB: Nockers is 'Nockers don't make love; they spawn.' It makes me imagine a nature documentary filled with sweary salmon.

Down With People posted:

This poo poo is

~never explained~

I am beginning to sense a theme!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


It's amazing how "free love" and PUA bullshit become indistinguishable past a certain point. It doesn't help that I've been dredging that kind of crap up for another thread.

This is making me flashback to my early days online playing C:tD as a childling pooka (I thought it would help me avoid sexual misadventures, so naive) where her guardian pooka, a wilder, locked her out of his apartment in the middle of winter so she could sex a sidhe. When she went to the freehold to crash, she got in big trouble for that, too...

... it's amazing I kept up MUSHing as long as I did after my experiences there in retrospect.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Ningyou posted:

"Although rapists exist among the Kithain, especially among ravaging Unseelie, most faeries agree that this is a heinous crime and do not condone it."

So are we talking "the vast majority" here or like, 3 out of 5?

pkfan2004 posted:

BDSM Cat Slave Dale Gribble

Mods

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Alien Rope Burn posted:

... it's amazing I kept up MUSHing as long as I did after my experiences there in retrospect.

The secret is never loving go near a WoD MUSH. Or any tabletop one in general, really.

Also any of them that are run by total creeps and assholes.

...I know of three! Total.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012


Alien Rope Burn posted:

... it's amazing I kept up MUSHing as long as I did after my experiences there in retrospect.

So it turns out when the Mod of a Multi-splat WoD MUSH PMs you to ask about how to integrate Garou into their game, the reason is probably "Because one of my players wants to screw one/play one as a sex toy", so they probably won't care that there isn't much in the city for the wolves to actually fight or even do other than changelings, or the fact that wolves tend to do badly when stressed in social situations. "Oh don't worry, all the public spaces are enchanted to not allow violence, so they can't Frenzy."

Oh, and don't tell them about Metis or the Litany because "That's not in theme with the MUSH".


Mors Rattus posted:

The secret is never loving go near a WoD MUSH.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg



Fairy Meat: Let Me Tell You About Fairies, No Wait Where Are You Going

The book starts off with an anatomy/society chapter, telling us what fairies were, are, and have become. They are "approximately 23mm high" (), aren't really part of the animal kingdom, and are of unknown origin but "probably didn't involve evolution of any sort." Their mannerisms and dress change alongside human trends, but traditionally lean towards the "hippie" side - tie-dye and moccasins and such. They all have wings (which are magic!) that only "exist" to other fairies and the air (so a person's finger would pass straight through them), and their physical appearance is mostly androgynous, leaning towards female, with no muscle tone or genitalia to speak of. Yes, the book has a footnote about fairy genitalia: "shame on you for even thinking about it." There's a paragraph about fairy innards, which mostly assures the reader that they're wet and warm and gross:

Fairy Meat posted:

To describe the loathsome details of what lurks within that warm, wet, wretched place would require dissection on the part of the author, as there are no medical resources pertaining to such things. The author thinks dissection is icky and smelly. The author was intentionally absent from biology classes on several occasions as a youth. You're a sick, naughty little badger for even wanting to know what a fairy's slimy bloody gully-wuts are like. Boys are so gross. Ick.

After anatomy, the book goes into how fairies started in on the whole "anarchy and cannibalism" thing. Basically, a fairy named Merryzot was hungry one day, stumbled upon a dying mouse, and learned that meat is delicious. The practice spread, expanded, and then - thanks to fairy ADD and lack of ethics - turned into cannibalism once it was discovered how magically-delicious fairie flesh was. Unfortunately, it turns out fairy meat is both magically empowered and fatally addictive, and new fairies are born in a state of withdrawl (and an instinctual knowledge that cannibalism is the way to make the pain go away).

All in all, cannibalism has led to the total collapse of anything you could call "fairy society" in favor of Circles and warbands that come together for strength of numbers, hunt, share food, and then collapse into anarchy again when some of them get bored and try to eat each other.

Introduction

After society and anatomy, we get the introduction page, which is your typical "what is a game?" section gone a little loopy. See, Fairy Meat is a very accurate representation of fairy warfare: it takes place on a 1:1 scale, and since hunting for meat leads fairies out of the forest and into our world you're encouraged to just sort of play wherever, incorporating anything laying around as terrain. The book actually has a list of suggestions:

Some Rather Nice Places to Play Fairy Meat posted:

A local forest preserve
A cluttered table or desk
That filthy mess you call a bedroom
A church or other place of worship
The food court at the mall

Some Very Bad Places to Play Fairy Meat posted:

Darkened movie theaters
The intensive care ward
The middle of the road
Prison (unless you're already there)
Subterranean steam tunnels
On a table being used by other gamers (the fairies landed here and started fighting! Honest!)

There's a "what you'll need" section, which calls out that the game uses a deck of cards (rather than dice), minis*, and a ruler or measuring tape, marked in inches - "the Metric system is forbidden, as it makes too much sense".

Next post: I guess I start on the rules?

Miniatures were eventually made for Fairy Meat, but at the time of first printing the designers clearly weren't expecting much; the middle section of the book (the one with all the cards and counters and such) has a page of paper paper minis along with a page of paper fairy wings to tape to those Warhammer minis you have laying around, to make them feel pretty.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018



Ars Magica: Transforming Mythic Europe



Transforming Mythic Europe examines ways that wizards can (without any new abilities - just uses of existing ones) completely alter the world of Europe. It also discusses why wizards might want to, and what obstacles might prevent it from happening. The end result does not resemble our world or the way history ended up in any way - this stuff is always through the lens of Ars Magica, and that's important to keep in mind.

There are three main scenarios the book examines: First, integrating the Order of Hermes into medieval society as a full and complete part - a fourth estate, not those who rule, those who pray or those who toil, yet fully part of how people view the world, rather than outside it, as the Order has been. Second, a scenario in which the Order abandons Europe entirely for a new land, created in the oceans by magic. Wizard seasteading. Last, it discusses magi as inventors, creators of new technology via magic and how that can affect society.

So let's look at the Fourth Estate scenario. Magi, of course, are forbidden to interfere with mundane events, and there's a ton of different legal definitions of interference that magi argue over all the time. But, surely, their magic could benefit the world if they did not follow this self-imposed law of exile. How could the world be changed? To become a fourth estate, they must find a position that makes them equal to the Church while nonthreatening to the nobility.

Some magi would argue that the Order is already integrated. However, this is simply untrue. Magi avoid mundane justice, don't pay taxes in most cases, avoid feudal obligations and do not use their power for the betterment of society as a whole. How many magi have casually used Mentem magic to avoid paying tolls or refused to give counsel to nobles in need for fear of Oathbreaking? Who do a covenant's grogs owe feudal service to? What right allows a magus to raise a tower for himself? Magi of the Order do not obey the rules of society save those they choose - they obey only the Code of Hermes.

The book does have an end state in mind here: the Order integrated into European society. They will become recognized and covenants will become legal entities, with the right to rule their own lands and influence governance. Of course, rights are not all that will be gained - as members of society, magi will have responsibilities and obligations as well, along with their increased independence from Hermetic politics. Magi within society are free of the worry over how their actions will be perceived by other magi, may make the world more prosperous not only for themselves for the benefit of their lieges and vassals, and will be able to help the mundane and magical worlds coexist.

The biggest change, at the heart of things, is that Europe will recognize the moral authority of the Order to deal with certain things. Nobles have the moral authority to rule, the Church has the moral authority to hold even rulers to account and the peasantry have the moral obligation to support society via toil. The Order will be granted the moral authority to deal with the supernatural, particularly Faerie and Magic, as it deals with the resto f the world. This is something many covenants already do, but now society will recognize and reward that contribution. This moral authority will be gained when the nobles and church, and therefore also the peasants, kneel to the Order when these situations arise. It will give magi power in politics in a way the Order has never had it. And because the Order is part of society, not outside it, that authority can be widened to other matters via compromise, gaining rights and power in exchange for obligations and responsibility.

So, what rights would the Fourth Estate gain? The Order would have a say in the world, gaining influence over rulers by becoming advisors, controlling covenant lands fully and guiding lieges just as any other ruler might. The Order only has its ability to run its own legal affairs due to its relative obscurity. Currently, should a magus become the victim of a mundane crime, revenge would seem the only option. This makes the magus a criminal, usurping the right of rulers to preside over justice. Under the new way, magi would become legally protected against others...and mundanes would be able to see their legal complaints against magi be brought to court, though a court of magi. This model follows that of clergy and their right to be tried and judged by other clergy.

Further, apprentices are often kidnapped and many rarely see their families again. Few may see it as a loss, but it truly is, to both magi and family. For some magi, it means loss of rightful inheritance - and so the Order will gain right to both land and titles. Magi are not clergy and should not be sidelined when inheritance comes up. Thus, magi can own and dispose of land and income under their own names in the new way, potentially even holding noble titles. Once magi are part of soiciety, covenants are more likely to have legal right to hold their land and will not have to find the increasingly rare allodial land, which is owned by none. The world is changing, with more and more people being born, and competition for land is inevitably increasing. While outside society, the Order cannot use society's legal protections, though gaining right to land includes obligations.

Now, if magi are expected to cousnel both Church and nobles, they will expect to be given dominion over magical and faerie matters. Formal deals can be made over individual resources, promoting the Order's recognized right to auras, regiones, vis, magical beasts and so on, for the benefit of all. This can be achieved only via negotiation at the highest levels - with kings and ultimately the Pope. For this, the Order must be able to appoint negotiators and formalize relations. Covenants will be given their own rights as liege lords over vassals - typically, just their peasant farmers, but in some cases perhaps even knights.

Next time: The Obligations of the Fourth Estate

JohnnyCanuck
May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free


AmiYumi posted:


Miniatures were eventually made for Fairy Meat, but at the time of first printing the designers clearly weren't expecting much; the middle section of the book (the one with all the cards and counters and such) has a page of paper paper minis along with a page of paper fairy wings to tape to those Warhammer minis you have laying around, to make them feel pretty.
Are there any rules for using gummis as minis? That would seem to be thematically appropriate.

Or Peeps!

Gummis with Peep steeds!

Nihilarian
Oct 2, 2013




JohnnyCanuck posted:

Are there any rules for using gummis as minis? That would seem to be thematically appropriate.

Or Peeps!

Gummis with Peep steeds!
I want to play this game. My character will be a bear riding a chocobo.

Majuju
Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

Yo just popping in to say Traveller is the greatest, I have huge fond memories of it for the two PC games (THE ZHODANI CONSPIRACY and QUEST FOR THE ANCIENTS) that were my formative RPG exposure as a small child. I'm still pretty sure you can neg-stat yourself enough to die in Mongoose Traveller, too. Also if you like starships and random universe generation, Stars Without Number has a ton of good tables behind all its crazy-lethal Basic rules.

Also d20 Modern combat breakdown is coming along slowly.

Majuju fucked around with this message at 18:36 on Jan 23, 2014

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I wonder if anyone is interested in doing Diaspora, which is a FATE-based love letter to Traveller designed to do the same thing without all the math. I'm going to be tied up with Dune.

Egregious Offences posted:

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

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

Syrg Sapphire posted:

I've never finished a single thing I've started in here. It's fine. Chill.
If it's not too presumptuous to offer advice, the thing that helps me the most is trying to be as concise as possible. Fact is, if someone is curious enough about an old RPG to want meticulous detail, they're going to download a pirated copy and read it themselves. I've gone overboard in the past (and probably will again) because I wanted to convey the overwhelming insanity of games like Immortal, but one of the things that keeps me sane while reviewing Everlasting is noting that I don't need to write a 20 page overview of a 40 page chapter, and I don't need to single out every tidbit of crazy.

(Speaking of which, the next chapter is going to be...difficult. I just realized it contains not only a grab-bag of finicky 90s rules, but the magick system.)

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


JohnnyCanuck posted:

Are there any rules for using gummis as minis? That would seem to be thematically appropriate.

Or Peeps!

Gummis with Peep steeds!

There are rules later on for edible terrain (like getting zonked on mushrooms), as well as for animals both rabid and magically-enthralled. There's an aside about raiding the dollar store for animal lawn ornaments, then painting over their eyes with swirlies and adding flecks of blood to their teeth.

But yeah, if I can convince anyone else to play this soon I'm definitely going with a "gumdrop forest/kitchen in the middle of Easter decoration" theme.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


My secret is not to post until I'm about 80% to 90% done with an F&F. I have a number of F&Fs sitting at like 20% or 40% that may or may not see the light of day, but I like to make sure I have all the hard parts done so I can post leisurely. That's how I've sometimes bookended reviews, because one is in post while the other's being written. Having occamsnailfile picking up the slack here has been a tremendous help for me on Rifts, too. But it was ultimately getting the work done in advance that made projects like Pathfinder even possible.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013


I don't really know much about Classic Traveller, but Mongoose Traveller doesn't have all that math, besides grade-school level stuff. No more vector math needed to fly your ship, though.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Mors Rattus posted:

The secret is never loving go near a WoD MUSH.

Too late.

Far, far too late.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

A story about the Order of Hermes would be interesting, although I think that with the Order as it stands in 1220 it would be absolutely doomed. The Order has been gradually evolving away from its current fragmentary form for a while, but it still has a fairly large number of members who want to do whatever they want to and set anybody who disagrees on fire. Like, the number of Tytalus magi who would consent to this plan is basically zero.

(Not that anybody would miss them if House Tytalus was set on fire.)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Rand Brittain posted:

A story about the Order of Hermes would be interesting, although I think that with the Order as it stands in 1220 it would be absolutely doomed. The Order has been gradually evolving away from its current fragmentary form for a while, but it still has a fairly large number of members who want to do whatever they want to and set anybody who disagrees on fire. Like, the number of Tytalus magi who would consent to this plan is basically zero.

(Not that anybody would miss them if House Tytalus was set on fire.)

The scenario examines all that; House Tytalus actually isn't the primary opponent of the plan. House Bonisagus is.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Mors Rattus posted:

The scenario examines all that; House Tytalus actually isn't the primary opponent of the plan. House Bonisagus is.

Interesting! I'll have to read this book when it comes out in PDF in like 2016.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011

I mean, if you're a successful actress and you go out of the house in a skirt and without underwear, knowing that paparazzi are just waiting for opportunities like this and that it has happened many times before, then there's really nobody you can blame for it but yourself.

Mors Rattus posted:

The scenario examines all that; House Tytalus actually isn't the primary opponent of the plan. House Bonisagus is.
Dollars to donus that Tytalus is 'yay' just because Bonisagus is 'nay.' It's the kind of contrarian thing they would do.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ars Magica: Transforming Mythic Europe

So, we know what magi could gain now. But what would they lose? No one in European society is truly free to do as they will. Everyone has rules to obey, conventions. Socially, magi would be expected to dress the part - scholars and clerks. Breaking convention and acting outside your social class makes people react badly, Gifted or not. And beyond that...well, Magi will owe feudal service to those who hold land they use. Traditionally, that's 40 days of military service each year, in which a magus must leave their studies. Further, the Order's attitudes on women and the elderly are not the same as those outside it. Would a woman magus be expected to do the same service as a man? Could an elderly magus be expected to do the same service? After all, the longevity rituals mean magi are vigorous even into what would normally be old age. On top of all this, being an advisor isn't service - that's just normal expectation. The wisdom and insight of a magus is valuable, even if there will be some distrust at first. Advising nobles is a key obligation and will draw magi into politics. Magi also gain responsibilities to their vassals, both in behavior and in taking responsibility for their actions. Magi will now have to arbitrate between vassals in conflict, ensure justice and keep their vassals from fighting each other.

So, given all this, why does the Order have any reason to change things from the default setting? Well, for one, they may someday have to. Magi steal apprentices from society, and the world is no longer so simple and easy that people do not seek retribution for it. More and more people live in cities and are wise to the world's ways. Every trade needs apprentices, and while a parent may be happy for a child to join a craftsman, they can at least keep contact then and expect the child's support in old age. Taking a child away as a magus denies that to them. Further, the Order maintains its nominal join-or-die policy on hedg ewizards, which can be problematic. The Order sees it as actinign within Hermetic bounds, but the authorities of the mundane world may not. Killing another outside court process is murder, and the nobles don't like murder. Thirdly, covenants generally occupy lands outside the feudal structure, but within feudal kingdoms. Arguably, no one owns the land, but kings and princes tend to not favor usch arguments, and will expect at least some deference. There is practically no land in Europe that someone doesn't claim...and so when a covenant claims a vis source, who are they claiming it from? The covenant cares for magical harvest, not ownership, but what if the local duke who owns the land puts it to other use? The covenant currently has no recourse. Even something as simple as laws on classes of people wearing certain fabrics can be problematic. They won't become particularly onerous for another century or so, but they can cause trouble, as magi are accustomed to dressing as they like regardless of fashion, convention or local law. And then there's familiars - even beyond the chance of having to chase a beast throughn oble lands, there are questions about whether magi can actually own some beasts. Birds of prey, for example, are trestricted to nobles by law. By influencing nobles, magi can establish these rights for themselves, gain jurisdiction over vis, and gain power.

A working example of Hermetic magi living beside mundane society can be foound in the Transylvanian Tribunal. Even there, however, it's slightly distant - a state of sorts, but outside the purview of kings. The authoritarian model may be unorthodox, but it is certainly efficient. It is also not the Fourth Estate - the Transylvanian Tribunal has seized the moral authority to rule over lands from outside society, while in this scenario, magi seek to take that authority from within.

So what makes this change hard? The Code, obviously. Interference with mundanes. This clause must be heavily clarified or even lifted for magi to be able to act opnely in society as advisors. This could be done simply by bringing causes through the Grand Tribunal, getting the Peripheral Code to enshrine the meaning of 'interference'. Once that's been done and a consensus has been built within at least one Tribunal, the freedom to act openly will be possible. So how do you get there?

Well, it's going to be a lot of work - a lifetime's, perhaps. First, you'll want to get acquainted with the difficulties of living close to yet apart from society. Once you understand them, you should work out what the rights and responsibilities of society are in your ideal world - what magi will accept. Then you'll want to take test cases to Tribunal and push for good judgment. Once that's dine, you should start persuading others to toyur cause. Then head back to Tribunal and start working to clarify the Peripheral Code. After that, go negotiate with the Church and nobility. Take the results you get and go to another Tribunal to get their support. Once all this is done, head to the Grand Tribunal and argue your case.

Change obviously begins with the PCs. They are the driving force, in almost all cases. Many covenant Hooks from the Covenants book will be helpful in learning the bounds of current society and Hermetic interaction, as many force you to interact with outsiders. They provide many potential reasons to seek change. Once aware of the needs, the PCs can begin finding test cases. Perhaps a covenant using a forest finds a noble wants to clear it out, and wishes to stop them, while another covenant feels this would be interference, but allowing the forest to be cut would unleash a minor dragon. Can a third way be found, accomodating the rights of all involved? Once you have some test cases to use as precedent, you'll want to clarify the Peripheral Code - amending and defining language. A Verditius might want to clarify the exact extent and allowance of item sales, while a Jerbiton might want to clarify the definition of interference to allow patronage to artist, or a Flambeau might seek the right to sell their services at tournament to the highest bidder, arguing that since they favor no noble specifically, it is not interference in political affairs.

Most Tribunals are inherently conservative - they don't like to change from their local traditions. Thus, it'd be easiest to start in one of the Tribunals with the most structured and open ideas on interference - places like Normandy or Transylvania. It can also help your debate to get mundanes to come in and testify on your behalf - it's not a lot of help, but every little bit counts. The key is to normalize your ideas as quickly as you can, so that the conservatism of most Tribunals works in your favor. Once you have your coalition of magi and Code revisions ready, you can head elsewhere, bring your ideas with you and using your Tribunal as a precedent. That makes you rather more persuasive to outside Tribunals - if it works over there, well, it might work over here.

Now, House views. These are general - any given magus can easily vary from the general view of their House, depending on personal interests. Still, there is a default response one can expect from each House. House Bonisagus is certainly one of the most resistant Houses - the Oath and its provisions are deeply tied to both Bonisagus and Trianoma. Altering the Oath and the Code denies that either is a work of genius that needs no change. Provisions are one thing - but this cuts at the heart of a key clause! To change it would be disrespectful and dangerous. House Bjornaer is ultimately slef-centered. They have no ideals in this fight - they just want to pursue their own interests. They are tied to the animal world and can see the threats of mundane expansion to the wild places. If agreements with nobles and the church can protect those places, then it might be worthwhile to compromise.

House Criamon see a balance here. On the one hand, their philosophy states that magi are no better than the rest of humanity, and abandoning the rest of humanity to its fate is sinful. That pulls towards integration. However, the House also understands that its quest for the Enigma is vital, and allowing its members to be distracted by lesser concerns of society is bad. It is likely that House Criamon would be aggressively neutral but leaning towards against. House Ex Miscellanea for once has something it can mostly agree on. Many of its lineages are tied to the world and society, and many of them would welcome this change. House Flambeau is more than happy to March on those that break the Code...but they also know what it means to stand by principle even against the Code. And further, loosening the restrictions on mundane interaction would allow them more causes to fight for. Flambeau is tentatively for the change.

House Guernicus cares deeply about the Code and would never allow a key provision to be removed. However, they might allow it to be clarified and altered if they could be convinced it would not trivialize the Oath and would promote good governance. Still, an upward battle. House Jerbiton was on board with this idea before it was cool. House Mercere has very few Gifted members, and by and large will likely abstain from vote. However, they are the closest to the mundane world, being normal people, and they understand the dangers and hardships of the world. If there is a moral case to be made on either side, they are best equipped to make it.

House Merinita, like House Bjornaer, is basically self-interested. They distrust the mortal world on principle, but recognize te vitality that mortals give to the fae, and the loss of lands for the faeries caused by encroaching Dominion. Like Bjornaer, they might be convinced if an argument was made that appealed to their desire to protect the fae. House Tremere, of course, likes anything that makes magi accept responsibility for their actions, and they love the idea of gaining rights in exchange for responsibilities. Plus, they tend to view interference leniently - just look at Transylvania. Of course, they'll expect a change to go along Tremere lines, but they could be a very valuable ally.

House Tytalus are likely fractured on the issue, and will trade votes for favors. Still, the magi aegroti - the leper magi of Tytalus - are likely to have the most consistent view. They are healers and masters of longevity, and their powers are not limited to helping magi. As lepers, they are usually distrusted by others, and so they have a unique perspective on the downtrodden and their views. If any group in Tytalus could be said to truly support the idea, the lepers could. And House Verditius. often seen as greedy and venal, will love the chance to expand their work, gain alliances among craft guilds and gain profit. Profit is a secondary goal, though - every device the Verditius make has a purpose, and too many at present cannot fulfill their purpose because of the inability to send them where they are most needed.

Next time: The Grand Tribunal and the Primi

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 9f: The GodNet v1.0

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

We're actually going out of the Cyberpapacy book and backing up to the core set. The reason for this is because the Cyberpapacy book itself doesn't have any real detail on the GodNet. The basic information on the GodNet and decking are in the World Book that came with the core boxed set, but were then expanded later when the GodNet got its own supplement. In point of fact, the rules in the Cyberpapacy book direct the reader to the GodNet book, not the World Book, for the rules on hacking and such.

I'm not going to cover the GodNet book itself until I'm done with the Cyberpapacy book, so let's take a break and look at how the GodNet works.

And even this early in the line things aren't presented in an order that makes sense. We learn how to enter a computer network before we're even told anything about the GodNet itself.

It's been established that the GodNet is a "virtual experience" that allows users to enter a virtual reality that represents the computer networks of CyberFrance. To access the GodNet, you need a neural jack and a cyberdeck.

quote:

Neural interfacing, or jacking, can be done by any person who has been equipped with a neural jack. A neural jack's visible component is a socket, usually on the head or the neck. Its most important pieces are the miniature axion amplifier (called an ax) for boosting nerve current and the dipolar receding chip (dipchip) for translating mental commands and images to the computer net, and vice versa. Neural jacks are fairly easy to implant. A user can jack straight into a VX net with no additional hardware needed.

If you only use a neural jack to interface with the 'net, you can't do much. Straight neural interfacing is like browsing through a public dumb terminal, except that this was 1990 and the idea of the web as we use it nowadays didn't exist yet; we were still rocking usenet, Gopher, and FTP sites. So you can use the neural interface to create a basic "virtual self" that looks like you, access file systems and email, but that's about it. You don't get much control over what you see and can do unless you use a cyberdeck.

Cyberdecks are portable devices that, well...

quote:

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.

Uh huh.

Whatever, you need a cyberdeck to really use the GodNet for more than checking your email. Using a cyberdeck requires either the cyberdeck operation Cyberpapacy-specific skill, or the scholar (computer science) skill, but if you use this skill it's considered untrained use.

When using a cyberdeck, you can alter your virtual self's appearance to hide your idenity and give yourself a cool cyber-persona. You can also use it to hack computer systems.

Oh, and before we get into the nuts and bolts of things, I should point out that time in the GodNet actually passes at the same rate as it does in the real world. Unlike most other cyberpunk games at the time, it doesn't have the setup where things in cyberspace happen at the speed of thought, and hacking involves the decker getting his own little side-adventure while the rest of the group sits around doing nothing because said side-adventure only takes two minutes in game time even though the ~decker's magical netrunning adventure~ takes hours to run.

Every cyberdeck has four stats:
Response is how fast your deck can react to things in the GodNet, and improves your effective Perception stat in the GodNet. It also determines how fast you can read files.
Stealth is how well the cyberdeck lets you avoid security systems, and adds to your stealth rolls.
Processor power determines the maximum adds of software you can run at once.
Storage is how many programs you can store in your deck.

Just working with the Worldbook, we only have three cyberdecks available, and can't custom-build our own designs. The "standard" cyberdeck is the Delicious, which has Response +1, Stealth +1, Processor Power 3, and Storage 4, and costs 17,000 francs. The other options are the Marseilles Hermes and the ICROM Custom Vee but the only actual difference is just that the stats are a point or two higher.

When you're in the GodNet, you can use all your skills as normal because the GodNet is a weird mix of virtual reality and pocket dimension. You skill's "net value" is your skill value plus your cyberdeck operation or scholar (computer science) skill.

Your net skills can be improved through the use of programs. You can buy software for any normal skill, so you can get find +1 to improve that skill in the GodNet. Here's the problem though: there's no list of what skills you can buy software for. There are examples of programs for normal skills like find or stealth, but you can also apparently buy attack or combat software instead of having to buy programs for the specific normal combat skills.

Anyway, programs are rated from +1 to +3. Your deck's processor power is the total number of pluses of software you can have running at once. So the Delicious can have one program running at +3, or three or +1, or one at +2 and one at +1. You can have more programs than that stored on your deck and can swap them out as needed. Unfortunately, we're not told how this interacts with your deck's storage stat. So I don't know if it's supposed to represent how many programs you can have all told, how many pluses you can store, if that's backup storage for software, or if it's total storage for everything.

And now we smash cut into talking about the GodNet itself.

quote:

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 from that we go right into GodNet combat. All GodNet combat is virtual (of course), but because you're hooking everything up to your brain the neural feedback mean you take real damage. Well, real mental damage, but still damage. If you die in the MatrixGodNet, you die for real.


A goon...of THE FUTURE!

Net combat works like normal combat, but your combat skill values for attacking or defending equal your skill value plus the adds you have in your cyberdeck operation skill plus your deck's Response stat. So if you have fire combat at 10, two adds in cyberdeck operation, and a deck with +2 Response, then your effective fire combat skill in the GodNet is 14.

Oh, now we learn what attack and defense programs are. They're basically the weapons and armor of net combat, except that they work off your Mind stat.

Combat results work a little differently in the GodNet than they do in meatspace. A "knockdown" scrambles your connection so you can only defend for a round, and you can't swap programs for that round. Getting KO'd screws up your cyberdeck so you can't access any of its programs for three rounds. Taking enough shock to knock you out still knocks you out both inside and outside the net (whatever that means). Wounds pretty much work the same way, except that your virtual self shows your wounds. Taking too many wounds will still kill you.

So now that we know how to fight in the GodNet, what exactly can we fight? That's where Net Defenses come in.

quote:

The GodNet has a number of defenses, most of which are not yet known to net raiders or even to priests of the Cyberpapacy. The Darkness Device is responsible for most of the GodNet's defenses, and the purpose, presence and strength of many of them are unknown even to the Cyberpope. The first line of defense, and the most numerous, are the priests who man the terminals hooked in through Babel Central. They share a massive CompPlex which is larger, more powerful than the mobile cyberdecks used by the net raiders. The standard terminal is the Penitence IV.
The most common form of defense is, of course, the cyberpriest. Babel Central has hundreds of cyberpriests jacked in at all times, with access to the best cyberdecks and software the Cyberpapacy can aquire. Even outside Babel Central, all GodNet exchange cathedrals have their own cyberpriests in place to defend them from outside hackers.

The cyberpriests, as numerous and well-equiped as they are, are not the main problem when it comes to hacking. The big problem is the Entities.

When the Darkness Device created the GodNet, self aware...things began to appear within. Some were the minds of the cyberpriests that were sucked in during the GodNet's creation, but others are unique beings that were born with the net. Part program, part spirit, these being inhabit certain areas of the GodNet (which we'll get to in a minute) and have their own agendas. They appear as angel, demons, and other mythological beasts out of Cyberpapal doctrine.

In the World Book, only one of them is stated up, of course. It's also given without any context or goals; it just is.

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.
The only net creature the GM starts with, and it's this TPK monstrocity. That really sets the tone. It's also worth pointing out that all those programs the Beast has would not be defined mechanically until the GodNet sourcebook itself came out about a year later.

Anyway, we close out our basic-set review of the GodNet by going through the various regions of the GodNet itself.


This is pretty much what we thought the future was going to be like, back in 1990.

First off, the Darkness Device Ebencrux has physcially moved itself into the GodNet. It hangs in the exact center of the pocket dimension, even though very few people know what it is or its true nature.

The operational center of the GodNet is Babel Central. It appears as a giant cathedral tower made of the fundamental cyberpunk elements: chrome, glass, and light. The inside of Babel Central is a made of stairways and corridors, and you can see thousands of VX user avatars milling around like some sort of futuristic Facebook town-management sim. Security and traffic guidance are handled by Gatekeeper programs. They appear as friendly human monks, except that (and I quote) "hey have perfectly white, nearly glowing teeth, upon which encoded signals occasionally flash."

Most of the real papal work is handled in the thousands of cathedrals dotted around the net. The physical cathedrals are basically holy server farms, and are often populated by civilians performing their cybercatholic duties. They are always manned by cyberpriests or cybernuns, and if they're lucky they may have an Entity hanging around.

Unsurprisingly, there is a Heaven, and very few have ever entered its doors. It is surrounded by a low wall, but nothing can be seen over it, it repairs all damage instantly, and attempting to climb over it makes it grow higher in response. The only gate is guarded by a VX simulation of the archangel Peter (at least, everyone thinks it's a sim), and only he can let people into Heaven itself. Very few have entered, and even fewer have returned. Those who have say that they were able to speak to angels, who relayed their messages to God Himself. Those who asked for large-scale changes GodNet itself say that the changes were worked into the system, which raises some interesting questions about the GodNet's nature.

And of course, if there's a Heaven, there must be a Hell. The sole gate to Hell is guarded not by a three-headed dog, but by a judge wearing a headress in the shape of a bull's head, and wielding a whip that destroys and absorbs the programs of anyone struck by it. No one who has entered Hell has ever returned. The souls of those excommunicated by the Church are sent straight to Hell.

Between Heaven and Hell lies Purgatory. This realm is only accessable by those unfortunate souls who are the target of a nasty miracle called Net Damnation that sends to straight to Purgatory the next time you jack in. It's a blank, endless plain where you can see all the other damned souls, but are unable to reach or communicate with them. It is a world of isolation and despair that can only be escaped when a cyberpriest removes the damnation, or your soul is uploaded and trapped forever in a "spirit chip"; a special piece of chipware that allows anyone who plugs it into their cybernetics to access your skills and memories. Although if you're good, you might be able to take over your host. Still, better than eternal damnation, right?

Of course, there's a lot more to the GodNet, but in true supplement treadmill fashion there's just enough to get you started but you'll need the sourcebook to really get any serious use out of it. And don't worry, I'll cover the full-on 90's cyberdesign when I finish the main Cyberpapacy book. Which we'll be returning to...

NEXT TIME: Non-l33t skills!

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Am I getting ahead of you by bring up that Kadandra, the cosm that the Cyberpapacy's cybertechnology actually came from, has a backdoor into the GodNet?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

Am I getting ahead of you by bring up that Kadandra, the cosm that the Cyberpapacy's cybertechnology actually came from, has a backdoor into the GodNet?

Yeah, I'm going to cover that when we get to the GodNet book. (although it's unconfirmed if it's a backdoor to the reality or a simulation). I just wanted to hit the (skimpy) basics.

Egregious Offences
Jun 15, 2013



Part 2: Marc Miller teaches us how to die.
Or, Character Generation.

It's a well known fact that character generation in Traveller can take a while. A long while. That's because Traveller characters don't start play as plucky adventurers with a longsword and something to prove, but as skilled and accomplished individuals in their 30s and 40s. Essentially, character generation builds your character's skills and experiences from 18 to (usually) 42, in 4 year chunks called "Terms".

Another well known tidbit of character generation in Traveller is its lethality. Although it may seem like some relic from the olden days of gaming where writers longed for "realism" in their elf/space-elf games, it has a purpose in Traveller: balance. Early Traveller didn't have a hard cap set on how many terms a character could have, and characters with more terms are much more powerful than those with less, having more skills and more benefits. So, the chance to die during chargen made you think about how much you really wanted this character with great stats to go for another term. Now, though, character's can't die that easily in Mongoose Traveller, since failing your survival roll just makes you roll on a "Mishap" table and get booted from the career. To compensate, Mongoose tells the Referee to set a cap on how many terms a character can have.

Anyway, chargen in Traveller begins where many other games do: rolling stats. You roll 2d6 six times, and allocate them to whatever stat you wish. There are six stats: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education and Social Standing. Social Standing works kinda like Charisma in other games, but mostly in formal settings and when it comes to interacting with the bureaucracy. However, if you play as another race, they switch out SS with some other stat; the Vargr use Charisma, Aslan use Territory, the K'kree and the Droyne use Caste. The Zhodani (good luck getting that past your Referee) use Social Standing, but in a different way, and the Hivers, well...I'll get to them later.

After rolling stats, you choose a planet to be from, if your Referee provides a map, and you choose two of the planet's qualities to gain skills from. Living on an asteroid will give you Zero-G, living in an ice-capped world will give you Vacc-Suit, you get the idea. If your Education bonus is 0 or higher, you pick 1 or more additional skills as "Education" skills. All these skills you get are level 0. Then, you are 18 years old and can attempt to join a career.

And all that is is just going "I'm a pretty tough guy, I'll go out for the Marines!", roll and adding the given stat to see if you beat whatever TN it is (in this case, Endurance 6). If you do, , you're a Marine! If not, you can either go for the draft (you can only do it once, but you should) or be a drifter for a term (bad idea). You then get your "Basic Training", where you get all your career skills at level 0, and one free roll on one of the skill tables for your career. Skills you roll are gained at level 1, not 0. Then you roll for Survival (insert dramatic music here), which is determined by what specialization you chose. Some specializations are easier to survive in, some harder. If you succeed, you roll on the Events Table, which will give you a random event that happens to your character over that four year period. Then you roll for advancement (getting a promotion), and if you succeed, you get whatever benefits are listed for your rank and another roll on the skills tables. If you fail...nothing happens. Increase your age by 4 years, lather, rinse, repeat.

So, after rolling on tables for a couple hours, you finally reach the end of your 6th term. Last thing to do is to roll for benefits and cash. You get a number of rolls in a career equal to the number of terms you spent in it plus a bonus depending on your rank in it. However, you can only roll three times on the cash table. Benefits may include weapons, armor, stat increases, equipment or ship shares. Ship shares are favors, credit, savings and other financial things that can help players pay for a ship. One percent at a time. Which is why you want a lot of them, because your mortgage has to be payed once a month for the next 40 years.

So, next week (or maybe this weekend, if I have the time) I'll post a two-fer about skills and combat.

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

Traveller has some of the best PC Alien races from any game in terms of interesting backgrounds. Plus the most dangerous to humans race is not the one you think.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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




Yeah if the fact that the first half of the book was solely back-story, world fluff and how to make a character wasn't clear, UM is not a game that demands a lot of dice-based attention. It is, however, gonna make it really hard to heal your drat character without the help of a Doctor. It's a real stickler for "realism", you see. This is a game where Gigantism is a benefit and a curse and Albinism is a straight-up curse. A lot of other games would let you say that you have tuberculosis as part of your latent Illness Corruption but this game actually lets you take Consumptive as an Impediment because yeah why not make sure your character is gonna die.

So without further hacking, coughing and wheezing, here's Unhallowed Metropolis.



CHAPTER THREE: THE FORMULA (or LONDON SUCKS, THEN YOU DIE)
PART ONE


So I sure hope you have some d10s because that's what you need. ATTRIBUTES AND SKILL ROLLS are really, really easy. Roll 2d10, add the relevant Attribute or Skill. Beat the Difficulty Rating? Congrats, you succeeded. Didn't? Whoops failure. The GM is encouraged to set the DR themselves and add modifiers as appropriate. A common one is "you can do the job in half the time at -2 penalty" or "you're in bad conditions to do this, -x modifier" or "you took the time to do this properly, +y modifier".



You automatically fail impossible tasks because, uh, they're impossible. This is a common sense thing and depends on what you're trying to attempt. An example:
SIMPLE TASK: Buying cocaine from your dealer friend Sampson.
MODERATE TASK: Making your own cocaine because Sampson ran out.
COMPLEX TASK: Convincing a policeman to let you go because you tried to sell him cocaine, idiot.
HARD TASK: Getting a guard to let you into a higher society party so you can sell your cocaine to aristocrats.
VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK: Convincing Princess Lotte of Prussia to do cocaine with you because sex is better high.
IMPOSSIBLE TASK: Convincing her mom, Queen Nadja, to join you.

Failures depend on what it is you're doing. In that previous (intentionally dumb) example, you could blow up your lab, get arrested and sent to jail, get the guard mad enough to detain you, anger a Prussian princess into calling her guards or probably being straight-up kidnapped and executed. Sometimes failure means you have to look in another library for that book, sometimes failure means you didn't defuse that anarchist's bomb and now there's a bunch of police gibs raining from the sky. Failure also might make success increasingly harder and unlikely in future attempts: that party guard is gonna remember that you're the dickhead who only tried to slip him a couple of shillings to get you in so you better be a hell of a lot more persuasive.

On that note, CONTESTED ROLLS are pretty easy: you both roll 2d10+modifiers, higher number wins, no DR involved.

There's also CRITICAL SUCCESS and CRITICAL FAILURES which come from Snake Eyes and Double Tens respectively. Both should be memorable in their own ways.

ATTRIBUTES IN PLAY


The number written on your sheet is your Base Attribute, which means you can take a whole bunch of drugs to get temporary super strength, or you can get shot repeatedly in the chest with a revolver, but one way or another your Vitality is gonna return to the number on your sheet. In the meantime, though, you use that modified number until you're your normal self again.

VITALITY gets some bonus abilities depending on level. 1 is weakling, 2 is normal, 3 is exercised and fit, 4 is BUFF, 5 is BUFF, 6 is SUPERNATURALLY RIPPED, 7 is AN AFFRONT TO THE GODS OF MUSCLES. Anyone can dead lift but you need to have 3 to be able to kick in doors and 5 to be able to bend bars with your bare hands. And more maybe! Seriously, there's some leeway for the GM to let exceptionally buff characters do strong things.

COORDINATION handles climbing and falling. You can fall Coordination x 3 and not get hurt but every 3 feet extra adds +1 damage to a damage roll. What's a damage roll? We'll see in a bit. Coordination also handles leaping.

WIT can be rolled for Perception which really is the same catch-all HEY YOU NOTICE THIS IMPORTANT THING roll.

INTELLECT handles general knowledge and research.

WILL is necessary for Fear Rolls. Fear Rolls are always Everyone's Favorite Thing Ever because oh boy do I love my character being forced to do stuff. Failing a fear roll gives you -1 to all skill rolls while you're within range of the thing freaking you out and you have to make another fear roll. Pass that and you stand and st-st-stutter and shake like it's Scooby Doo. Fail and you run for it and then you have to keep making Will rolls to stop running aimlessly away from danger (and if the GM is a dick into other sources of danger).

CHARM has Credibility and Guile and Intimidation and those are pretty much what they sound like. I could stand here and explain to you that Credibility is all about convincing people that you are doing/can do/am/am not certain things and it depends on how convincing you are and if you have the walk to back up the talk but gently caress that because after this section is COMBAT.


COMBAT: Hey so fighting hurts and kills people easy. So you need to be quick and you need to be accurate. INITIATIVE is determined by rolling 2d10 and adding your Prowess to it. Your Prowess gives you a variable bunch of actions you can make per round and your turn is over when you make all of your actions. Highest Initiative goes first, if tied the character with a higher Coordination goes first. This order doesn't change. There are also SURPRISE ATTACKS which is when someone says I ATTACK before combat is officially declared. You resolve the attack before it initiative is rolled.

For example: Lord Humphrey is challenged to a duel by Baron Reynolds and frankly Humphrey just cannot be assed to deal with this poo poo because Reynolds is just a dick and needs to be taken down a peg. So, on the dueling grounds, Humphrey's player rolls to attack before the GM asks for an initiative to roll for the duel, casually shoots Reynolds in the leg and smacks him in the face with his glove for good measure (although now Humphrey is gonna get some flak for being dishonorable).

So in combat you can hold an action, which means you can reserve some extra actions (if you have them) to immediately respond to something. Like say being shot at and using the held action to return fire or dive for cover. You have to announce that you're holding an action and you also can't use it to interrupt an action. You can use it to run away from the anarchist with a bomb, but you can't shoot the bomb in his hand before he throws it as he throws it.



To attack, roll 2d10 and add the appropriate skill to it. Unaware (or should I say Flatfooted) targets have a DR of 11 to hit, aware have 11+Coordination+relevant GM/action modifiers to hit. Man they really did crib quite a bit from D&D for this. Beat the DR and it hits. Oh and offhand weapons are -3 to hit because y'know D&D. Remember that your Combat Skills can have modifying Combat Stunts depending on what level they are. Critical Successes are relative to the attack, Critical Failures are too (but they do recommend accidentally shooting an ally or something).

Movement: moving costs an action. Running forfeits all actions and lets you run Coordination x 10 feet. You can take Evasive Action which is really just running fast and weaving but it forfeits all future actions. If you're attacked and have held actions/have not had your turn, you can parry or dodge thrown weapons or melee attacks.


Melee: 2d10+Vitality to do damage, plus or minus modifiers depending on where you hit and what you're using, then subtract relevant armor. That amount determines the kind of wound the character suffers and we'll get to that later because you really need to know right now that Improvised Melee weapons have -2 to hit or parry. However a solid blow to the head with one has a good chance of causing a Serious Wound or knockout. Unarmed attacks also require 2d10+Vitality and include Biting (-5 to hit if not grappling), Kicking (+3 to kick legs, -8 to kick someone in the head/-3 damage unless target is prone), and Punches (nothing special for punches). Kicks and punches have a higher risk of doing Serious damage to someone's head and knocking them out.

There are also GRAPPLE RULES which amounts to: roll Unarmed Combat+2d10. If it hits, they are grappled. A max of five people can grapple one person at once, make a Vitality+Unarmed Combat+2d10 contested roll to escape a grapple. You can choose to pin someone or strangle them to death, it's up to you and both have rules that amount to "make an action to do that, roll to do that, see if you did that". Using them as a human shield is different because you can just automatically do that.



Ranged: roll 2d10 and add the weapon damage and modifiers to an attack, only add Vitality if it's a thrown weapon, then remove armor. You can throw a balanced (meant to be thrown) weapon Vitality x 10 feet or unbalanced (anything else) Vitality x 6. There are modifiers, see the chart, it's nothing special. But you know what is special?

DAMAGE

Getting shot in the head/vital squishy bits adds +5 damage to an attack. Hands or feet adds -3. For everything else there's no modifier. You only suffer the penalties of your greatest wound and they don't add up unless there's Complications (to be explained). Tracking health and wounds is...weird and kinda different. It's not like D&D's hitpoints, it's not like nWoD's damage track. If you suffer a Fatal Wound, you die. If your Vitality is reduced to below zero from multiple wounds or injuries or circumstances, you die. If you have enough Incapacitating Wounds that are untreated equal to your base Vitality score, you die.
  • FLESH WOUNDS: -1 to all skill rolls until treated, if the hand is injured you have to make a Coordination roll to not drop something, no long term complications, heal in two weeks maximum. Cut and scraped knees, lacerations, bruises.
  • SERIOUS WOUNDS: Big cuts, big wounds, minor breaks, blood loss. If the leg is hurt, make a roll to not fall over. If a hand/arm is hurt, roll to not drop things. Serious Wounds inflict -2 Coordination and Skill rolls until treated. You may have your Prowess temporarily reduced for a while but Coordination can't drop past 1. After treated but not fully healed characters have -1 to Prowess but everything other hindrance is removed. Serious Wounds heal in a month maximum.
  • INCAPACITATING WOUNDS: Immediately life threatening and bleeding heavily. Roll to resist passing out and going into shock. If you fail, you succumb for a spell and are helpless. -3 Coordination and Skills, reduced Prowess, Coordination can't go lower than 1. If your leg is hurt, you collapse. If your arm/hand is hurt, you drop anything you're holding. You also end up with a Complication (to be explained) either when someone inspects your wounds or when combat is over.
  • FATAL WOUNDS: Thou art dead.

COMPLICATIONS: Hoo doggy. So Incapacitating Wounds are a pain in the rear end because they leave behind long-term effects that kick in when the wound is treated. You roll on a chart depending on where you've been wounded. Sometimes they happen automatically depending on what happens, like a man with a bat breaking your knees. Basically the best way to handle a Complication is to see a doctor immediately and do your best to get what you need fixed. And even then actual medicine is gonna disable your character for a spell depending on the damage done. I'm gonna share these because they can range from minor issues to "whoops your arm is gone".

ARM
  • Severed Artery: massive blood loss, bed rest for three months max, requires a doctor's care.
  • Amputated Hand: massive blood loss, your hand is off. A doctor can put it back on or if you can't get your hand back then they can clean the wound before it gets infected. A stump takes six weeks to heal, a reattached hand takes two months and the hand can't be used until the end of that wait.
  • Severed/Destroyed Fingers: Can be fixed or reattached, depending. Six weeks for not fixed, two months for fixed. Either way the hand can't be used for that span of time, if not fixed you get a permanent -2 to rolls involving the bad hand.
  • Broken Fingers: -2 to damage and skill rolls, a month to heal if set or six if left unchecked. If not reset, permanent -2 to using that hand.
  • Torn Muscle: -3 to Skill rolls and ow that hurts. Heals naturally over two weeks if you take it easy, a month if you don't.
  • Broken Arm: Ouch. Can't be used until it's healed fully, takes two months to heal regardless of whether or not you have a doctor set it. If you don't set it, you have -2 Vitality to all Vitality rolls regarding that arm because it's now permanently weaker.
  • Compound Fracture: Ouch. This needs to be tended to by a doctor within a day or you will get an infection from having a big ol' hunk of bone jutting out. Takes two months to heal, leaves no lasting issues.
  • Amputated Arm: Well poo poo. You now have to contend with massive blood loss and having a missing limb. If you don't reattach it, you permanently lose it and the stump heals in two months. If you do, it takes three months to heal.
Okay, I want you to take a look at that. Those are all results on a roll from 2 to 20, 2 being a severed artery, 20 being a lost limb. Broken Fingers and a Torn Muscle are nestled firmly on top of the bell curve of common roll results with Broken Fingers being results 7-9 and Torn Muscle being 10-13. Now, I will give them credit for having the two most "minor" possible results being among the most common and for them not taking a hell of a lot of time, but you're still looking at a 50% chance of not being able to use a hand for a month or an arm (strenuously) for two weeks. That's a lot of time in game! It really is! Now, granted, this is the ceiling of how long it'll take. That Mourner I mentioned with a Doctor friend would take two days to have her arm muscle fully heal and it'd take her fingers four days to fully set and be usable. It would take her a little over 11 days for her severed arm to be fully reattached and usable. And yes, there are certain drugs you can take to help cut the healing time in half again, so when all's said and done it would take her six days (ish) to lose an arm and get it working after losing it. That still means you gotta take time out in the game for everyone to end up back at the top of their game, ready to go back out and kick some rear end until they have to spend a week in bed recovering from their injuries. One of the problems with realism in games, to a certain degree, is that it turns some players off to be told "okay so your character is gonna be laid up in bed for a few weeks because of that cut artery". They want to get back into the action, which is why fantasy games have clerics or healing potions and even in something like nWoD there are generally minor supernatural ways to cheese away damage and injuries. It's just not particularly fun for the plot and players to be repeatedly put on hold because someone's injured in the game. You run into deciding whether or not you all wait IC for them to be healed before the team regroups and gets back into the mission or if the standing players keep going. One way or another, at least one person isn't having fun and if you all just wait then it really strains the suspension of disbelief that the plot is literally willing to wait a week considering what's going on in this game's canon.

So with that, here's what happens if you get hit in the head too hard.
HEAD
  • Severed Artery: Three months in bed.
  • Destroyed Jaw: It ends up severed or completely shattered and gone. A doctor needs to see you so you don't get an infection from it. -2 charm, can't talk, you're gonna have trouble eating anything that's not a thin liquid (like scop or gruel). A doctor can reattach or reconstruct your jaw and it takes two months to fully heal, during which it's kinda hard to talk.
  • Dislocated Jaw: No speaking or biting until it's reset somehow. Pop it back in place and it's fully fixed in two weeks.
  • Concussed: Concussions are actually a status effect that will be covered later.
  • Disfiguring Scar: -2 to all Charm rolls except Intimidation but you get +1 to Intimidation due to having a massive scar on your face. You can have a doctor treat you before it starts to heal for -1 to all Charm but no Intimidation bonus. If we were playing Prussians, you probably could lie about it being a cool dueling scar, but we don't get to play sky pirates right now.
  • Disoculated: Ow. One of your eyes is out of its socket. If you don't have a doctor put it back in within two days, you lose the eye. If not treated in a day, it gets infected. If you lose the eye or it hasn't been put back in/replaced yet, you take -2 to all Perception rolls and Skill rolls involving vision. If you do get it treated, -1 until it heals. Losing the eye or keeping the eye takes three weeks to heal.
  • Lost Eye: Bam, gone this time. Needs to be tended to in a day or it gets infected. You can get your eye replaced or keep the empty socket, but so long as it's empty you get the same -2 hindrance as Disoculated. Takes three weeks to heal.
  • Shattered Skull: The big whammy of this chart, it'll knock you out immediately and must be treated. If the doctor fucks up their medicine roll treating you, every failure costs the injured 1 Attribute point permanently due to brain damage. After a successful treatment, the patient wakes up two hours later and needs to spend three months in bed with a taped-up dome.
LEG
  • Severed Artery: Three months in bed and no points to Gryffindor.
  • Amputated Foot: Crap. Massive blood lost and amputation ensues, until it's back on you have -2 Coordination (down to 1 Coordination) and you can no longer run, kick or dodge. If left a stump it heals in six weeks, if reattached it heals in two months. Either way you can't be on that leg.
  • Broken Foot: -2 coordination, can't run, kick or dodge, your foot needs to be set. A set foot heals in a month, during which you should be careful on your feet. If not treated, it heals in six weeks and permanently costs you -1 Prowess.
  • Torn Muscle: -1 Coordination, take it easy for two weeks to heal or if you still have to do things it'll take a month.
  • Broken Leg: -2 Coordination, no running, dodging or kicking, no jumping off the high dive into the pool. If tended to it'll heal in two months, if not it takes three and you permanently lose -1 Coordination.
  • Compound Fracture: Your leg goes one way, the bone goes the other. It has to be healed or you risk infection. You end up with -3 Coordination (down to 1), you really can't do anything but hobble and cry, and it has to be reset by a doctor. When treated it heals in two months.
  • Amputated Leg: Blood everywhere! It leaves you unable to do anything other than hop weakly, reduces Coordination by 2, heals in two months if left a stump or three if sewn back on.
TORSO
  • Damaged Heart: Like a severed artery but with a cut on your heart. If a doctor doesn't tend to your massive internal bleeding fast, you're probably going to die. Recovery consists of resting in a bed for three months.
  • Spinal Damage: This is the kind of thing that immediately puts your character in time out for a spell. You can't do anything until you go to a doctor and frankly this is not the kind of thing you would just "sleep off". If a doctor messes up poking around in your spine to heal you, your Vitality or Coordination permanently drops by 1. If either hits 0, you don't die but you are permanently a paraplegic. Recovery requires two months of bed rest with a doctor keeping an eye on you.
  • Fractured Hip: You can't stand without help and lose 3 Coordination temporarily (down to 1). Getting treatment results in two months of healing and rest and not going to a doctor takes three months and permanently reduces Coordination by 1.
  • Broken Ribs: Temporary -1 to Vitality until healed. Seeing a doctor gets you healed in six weeks, sucking it up heals in eight. Don't be such a baby, ribs grow back.
  • Major Organ Damage: Well you're pretty much left screaming in pain as something gets ruptured. If in combat, you have to make a Will roll to resist collapsing in pain, unable to do anything. You have to go to a doctor due to internal bleeding and potential organ failure. So long as it's untreated, the character has -1 Vitality inflicted per hour until death. A medicine roll will stabilize the patient and getting medical treatment will stop all future damage. Healing this requires six weeks of bed rest and every week after treatment your Vitality recovers by 1 point until it's back to normal.
  • Collapsed Lung: Major Organ Damage's ugly meth-smoking sister, a collapsed lung results in massive bleeding and the patient needing to be stabilized. Medical attention results in a month of bed rest, it's not something you can just deal with because you will die otherwise.
  • Disemboweled: MOD and CL's inbred mutant brother, Disemboweling means that the character can do nothing but scream and try to put their guts back in as they bleed everywhere. Medical treatment can result in surviving with a permanent -1 Vitality (to a minimum of 1 Vitality) and four weeks of bed rest recovering from being disemboweled and surviving.

Getting treated in a shithole by anyone who doesn't have Field Medic training results in them having -3 to treatment rolls.

So that's what it's like to get your rear end kicked in London. My apologies for the general lack of actual art and if I was too long-winded or blathering. That's the majority of the chapter done with a bit more to come and then that's all the mechanics done. And then we can move onto the real fun, like monster rules and big ol' tables of equipment! Oh I can hardly contain my excitement.

NEXT TIME: LIMB TRANSPLANTS, CONCUSSIONS, GETTING SET ON FIRE, DROWNING, BREATHING PURE SMOG AND MORE FUN THINGS TO DO IN LONDON

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 00:57 on Jan 24, 2014

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.



In his dotage, Cyclops turns to--what? We've already made a joke about Marvel characters who wear red glasses? Well, poo poo.

Quick update tonight to clear the decks for the full-on insanity of Chapter Seven this weekend.



Chapter Six is the last of the player-centric chapters, and it's the first (and only) chapter in the book that has an in-character voice. The chapter opens with an e-mail from one Judith Seales to tl_chastain@yahoo.com. Judith is a member of the Society, and after telling Chastain that the Society is on the cusp of discovering Usher's ultimate truth, she says she's sending him all the Society's old case files, along with some general best-practices for the investigation of flying saucers and weird energy vortices. It wraps up with this rather mysterious statement:

Judith Seales posted:

I wish I could share more with you Terrance, as you’ve been a good friend these years, but we both know that is impossible. Like Jericho before us, only a select few can understand or undertake this voyage. However, we are optimistic that, one day, humanity will be able to make the pilgrimage as well.



Anyway, I'd make fun of Chastain for using a Yahoo address, but the e-mail is dated December 21, 1999, so I guess that's historical accuracy. (December 1999, you'll remember, is when the first incarnation of the Society vanished forever.)

What follows is some "babby's first investigative game" player advice: Take notes on everything, collect evidence, gather witnesses, and for God's sake document everything. All fairly obvious, but good for kicking players out of a "kick in the door and stab things" mindset. Nothing really crazy or noteworthy here.

Next, oddly tucked under its own heading between the investigation advice and the sample case files is a little section about "Vile Vortices." Coined by Ivan T. Sanderson, an early follower of Charles Fort, these vortices are natural places where air and water currents create odd zones of paranormal energy. Examples include the Bermuda Triangle and Lake Baikal in northern Mongolia. Vile Vortices can be places of healing or places of great violence, but they're also frequently linked to the phenomena the Society investigates.

Now we get a whole bunch of Sample Case Files. Actually, that's a bit of a misnomer, since almost all of them are more a broad classification of weird phenomena than specific adventure seeds. Each includes applicable cross-references to consult for more information, a location where the phenomenon has been observed, a number of verified occurrences, and typical numbers of witnesses.

If you're starting to think this feels as much like an adventure-building toolkit for GMs as a setting resource for players, you're not wrong. Some highlights:

  • Virgin births are incredibly rare and understandably hard to verify (since really the "virgin" part is a misnomer; we're talking here about human parthenogenesis, a pregnancy without male fertilization of the female egg). The only potentially valid claim the Society investigated happened in rural Indiana in 1982, in which a woman named Sarah Jessup gave birth to a son. Both Jessup and her daughter claim that the boy was born nine months after a mysterious alien encounter, and that Sarah was in fact post-menopausal at the time. I guess that's why it was considered potentially valid, but since medical records are spotty-to-nonexistent it's never been conclusively settled. It is noted that nearly all of the virgin birth stories featured in myth and religion involve a son, though.
  • "Unusual precipitation" is weird, varied, and usually bullshit, but small animals plummet from the sky often enough to warrant their own entry.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion typically features "one witness, a handful of survivors." Get it? Because
  • Agriglyphs, better known as crop circles, are usually the result of bored English kids.
  • This:

    I'm... not sure whether to be afraid of the falling rats or those horrifying nightmare children.
  • Back in the early 90s, a psychiatrist named John Mack commenced a decade-long study of people who reported alien abduction phenomena. He found that many reported a significant change in spiritual outlook and a general feeling of increased connection with the universe. He likened these changes to those experienced by ancient hunter-gatherers during "vision quests."
  • Likely drawing from a lot of the same inspirational sources as Changeling: The Lost, Aletheia posits that "alien abductions" are just a modern take on much, much older phenomena like faerie abduction or the Biblical tales of prophets taken up by the angels to speak with God.
  • The Society pays news collection agencies to follow reports of UFOs because there are so drat many of them. This usually works out about as well as you'd expect.
  • Just about every near-death experience the Society ever investigated turned up the same "peace and love, white light and dead relatives" reports. Except this one dude, Tom Vargt, who reported experiencing icy cold and intense terror, and conversed with a being of pure darkness. Vargt had no criminal record or history of antisocial behavior, and was in fact a devout churchgoer and frequent giver to charity. Spooooooky.
  • Ghosts are classified as Class A (full manifestation with environmental interaction) to Class M (sensory effects only). This deprives me of the ability to refer to ghosts as a Class 5 Full-Roaming Vapor and is therefore objectively wrong.
  • The town of Taos, NM has a hum. Nobody seems to know what it is, and it doesn't seem to do anything, but any Society member who goes to Taos can hear it. Hmmm...

    GimpInBlack posted:


    Julio's
    This door opens onto a massive junkyard outside Taos, New Mexico that seems to have a bit of everything. The owner (whose name is actually Julius) claims that "if it isn't here, it wasn't made." Nobody's proved him wrong yet.
    Hmmm.

  • With 837 reported cases of psychic surgery, the Society's only witnessed three. Two were obvious hoaxes, the third cured a dude's cancer.
  • Phenomena included but not really interesting enough to pull a comment from: EVP, Automatic Writing[/url, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_time]Missing Time, and Folie à Deux. All offer some variation on "a lot of these cases are easily faked, but some appear to be real!

The chapter concludes with an e-mail response from Terrance Chastain to Judith Seales. It seems he received the shipment that supposedly had all the Society's casefiles, but the boxes were empty! Dun dun DUN! Obviously in her excitement to trip the light fantastic, Judith forgot to actually fill the boxes before mailing them. Psychic vision-questers, amirite? Terrance is also getting a little frustrated at being kept in the dark about all this paranormal stuff and the details of the society's findings, but he "knows his place" in the scheme of things. Come on, 7DS, throw the poor guy an authenticated Patterson-Gimlin Film or something.

Thoughts so far: Not a ton to say here. It's a fine chapter for getting players into the mindset of the particular kinds of Forteana this game is going to feature, and I like that each entry addresses some of the common skeptical explanations for these phenomena and making it clear that yeah, a lot of them are bullshit. It's a nice change from the breathless "but it's all truuuuuuuuuuuuuuue!" you get from a lot of these games. It's a fairly diverse spread, but with three entries explicitly about aliens/UFOs and a few more strongly linked to UFO activity, it's pretty clear who the star players are. Or so we think, at least.

Next time:

PleasingFungus
Oct 10, 2012

in my pope game,


Halloween Jack posted:

I wonder if anyone is interested in doing Diaspora, which is a FATE-based love letter to Traveller designed to do the same thing without all the math. I'm going to be tied up with Dune.

I thought the name seemed familiar: according to the table of contents, Byers2142 started a Diaspora writeup way back in the first thread.

It was abandoned after two posts, though, so there's plenty of room for someone else to have a shot at it!

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Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.


Empire Of Satanis: sad marshmallow clouds of gore and entrails



Magic Skills

Magic skills work roughly the same as normal skills, with a few new bits and bobs. Your level of success determines how long a spell lasts and how much it can affect. Magic used in Sha-la is twice as powerful and lasts twice as long, because take that, humanity! You can also use magic to damage peeps directly, which has the benefit of being unsoakable by Endurance. Instead, anyone who gets magic cast on them rolls Willl + Magic Resistance (a skill I didn't cover because it's self-explanatory); if they get a better success, they ignore the spell.

All types of magic use the Magical Aptitude attribute except for Nightmare Technology and Candy Land Magic, which both use Theoretical Knowledge instead. Both of those can't be countered with Magic Resistance either, nor can they be used to damage someone directly.

You can also combine two or more types of magic to get a specific effect, a la mages in World Of Darkness. Combined spells get a big boost in effectiveness, since you use the skill level of each type of magic together in the dicepool. For example, if you wanted to fill your opponent's blood with hallucinogenic mushrooms, you would roll Magical Aptitude + Blood Magic + Fungus Magic. However, combined spells also cost more spells-per-hour.

Of course, you're not a dumb, so you have hella Social Standing and are surrounded by tonnes of minions. This gives you infinity kazillion spells-per-hour and means you may as well keep casting combined spells to get the maximum possible effect.

The magic skills are as follows:

Black Arts:
Can do pretty much any effect, but takes a lot of faffing about with black robes, candles, live sacrifice, etc. Its effects are weaker than the other types of magic, and the book stresses that it may work in unusual ways if it works at all. You will never want to do this type of magic, unless trying to get an unimaginable success just to kill someone sounds like a good deal to you.

Blood Magic:
Magic blood powers! Get your target's blood to find out intimate details about them! Magically imbue a sample of your blood and give it to someone to make them think differently of you! This magic is cool because it works in real life: give someone a little zip-lock bag of your blood and see how their opinion of you changes!

Candy Land Magic: The long-awaited Candy Land Magic lets you summon cutesy poo poo like puppies, chocolate and starshine. But watch out! All of these things have a sinister edge to them. Those puppies will distract your opponent. They'll eat too much of the chocolate and get a tummy-ache.

quote:

Candy Land Magic comes from a different plane just like Nightmare Technology. It is a realm of hideous silliness and frivolity, a dimension ruled by a slavering, unholy childlike deity!

“...what dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty.”

Dimension Magic:
gently caress around with other dimensions! Hide in a pocket dimension, or take things out of another dimension! What dimensions? What things? Never explained.

Dream Magic: Manipulate dreams, yours and others! Conjure up a dream self and astrally project to travel great distances!

Flesh Magic:
Manipulate flesh and bone! Tear big chunks off of people and watch 'em scream! Of course, any injuries will eventually reverse themselves when the spell duration is over, but you could rip off someone's arm, wow!

Fungus Magic: Seriously, it just lets you make magic mushrooms.

Hideous Twilight Magic:
The really loving dumb name for illusion magic. It lets you do illusions!

Hyperspace Sorcery: Fly through hyperspace unaided! Travel to new worlds and dimensions!

Mask Magic: Wear magic masks that change who you are, or even let you become someone else entirely!

Nightmare Technology: Create mad science poo poo! The book offers some tips for ways you can combine it with other magic skills:

quote:

Nightmare technology might enhance another form of magic to give it a dark awareness... qualities of a black living ooze with amorphous ink-colored tentacles and slime. It can make a magical puppet into a puppet of flowing, thinking darkness so that it can fly or grapple someone with its new ichorous tendrils. The magician with this skill could make a magical plant live and breath with sentient oozing blackness making it grow shadowy heads that will converse with you in the night…

The book also describes one Nightmare Technology invention, 'Soggothian servitors', which are shoggoths except called Soggothian servitors for some reason.

Plant Magic: Be Poison Ivy! Grow magic plants for fun and profit!

Puppet Magic: Create magic puppets! They'll follow your commands while you see through their eyes!

Shadow Magic: Control light and darkness! Become a shadow yourself!

Word Magic: Control words and their meanings! gently caress up what someone's trying to say, or make yourself sound less goony than you are!

The big thing letting down all of these powers, all of these powers, is that their effects probably won't last longer than an hour, maybe a day in Sha-la. Your Soggothian servitor will very explicitly dissipate after its time is up.

Next: A little over halfway into the book, we are taught how to make characters.

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