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Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Asimo posted:

Ghostbusters (WEG, 1986) and Marvel Super Heroes (TSR, 1984) are other contenders for the earliest use of inspiration/luck point mechanics there depending on how you want to define them. Top Secret would probably predate both, but I haven't seen the original versions, just the Top Secret/S.I. one from '87, so I can't say personally.

I'm pretty sure James Bond 007 (1983) was the first game to include a luck/hero/fortune point system. I don't recall the original 1980 Top Secret having any system like that.

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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

Selachian posted:

I'm pretty sure James Bond 007 (1983) was the first game to include a luck/hero/fortune point system. I don't recall the original 1980 Top Secret having any system like that.

The Companion did but that came out in '85 I think.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



My explanation has been to further integrate Vampire.

Which is to say: there are vampires in the leadership of TF: Valkyrie. Specifically, they are middle management. The leaders of Task Force Valkyrie are humans. Ghouls and blood dolls, specifically. And they are absolutely in charge of the vampires.

TF: Valykrie is run by the Sun-Walking Knights. And they're doing it because they're American intelligence and armed forces guys who found out about vampires and decided that they needed a few on their team. The dark secret isn't that vampires run TFV - it's that they work for it.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I've always seen TFV as more Delta Green than X-Files- they've fought fire with fire for a long time. If you were involved with the US government at all before you encountered or turned into whatever super, you either work for Valkyrie or you get terminated, even if you don't know you're supernatural. American supernaturals, especially werewolves, may get covert or even overt help if it's in the interests of national security.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kavak posted:

I've always seen TFV as more Delta Green than X-Files- they've fought fire with fire for a long time. If you were involved with the US government at all before you encountered or turned into whatever super, you either work for Valkyrie or you get terminated, even if you don't know you're supernatural. American supernaturals, especially werewolves, may get covert or even overt help if it's in the interests of national security.

I lean a bit more on X-COM, myself. Whatever Valkyrie may have been at the beginning, by now it understands most supernaturals and what they can do better than the supers themselves. They're infinitely outmanned, but when they bring their teeth to bear they can use most supers' abilities and weaknesses better than the actual supers.

My group runs it as a light-hearted beer and pizza game. Our first session had a simple premise: the President has been captured by vampires. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



There's a short fiction story before each chapter. The bit before this one is about a were-bear trucker getting mad at construction workers for laying down pavement.

quote:

Some 'bear' I am! My thick rear end dents a dry peeling cushion that used to be some cousin's hide. What possessed me to buy a truck with leather seats, I don't know. There's Coca-Cola aftertaste burning on the back of my tongue. That's not hibernation fat jiggling over my belt - it's 100% pure grade-a flabby American man-tit. Sure I'm a furry old cuss but if I had the slightest shred of self-respect I'd open this rattletrap's door and swipe a few of those heads right off their loving necks.
But I need it, I tell myself. I need that road paved. So I hold my breath as the flaggers wave us by, trying not to imagine the earth screaming under her thick black skin. Trying not to think about the roadkill. Trying not to imagine the dens displaced, the streams diverted, the poisons boiling through the air or leeching intot he water table from this monument to my convenience.
This is not how you write a "tortured soul", Brucato, this is how you write a "hypocrite".

quote:

And it just doesn't work. I can't not think about it. The stink of Hell is too great to ignore.
I try to ignore the itching underneath my skin. the ache in the bones beneath my face. The sledgehammer chorus in my heart and the phantom sear of asphalt stench that follows me all the way home.
I can't not think about that either.
I need to go out. Soon.
There's a billboard near my house: THERE ARE NO BEARS IN OUR WOODS. I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean. There's no attribution or advertisement attached. Is the message bragging? Mournful? Alarmed? Were the sponsors of that board saying that the lack of bears was a good thing or a bad thing?
All I know is that they're mistaken.
And tonight, I'm going to prove them wrong.
Yes, how dare those construction workers facilitate your livelihood, You go forth and kill them bear trucker dude.

Chapter One: The Wild Heart

Man has convinced themselves that animals are just simple beasts. Being called "an animal" has becomes the insult given to serial killers and politicians. But when we say it we also hold them in admiration because they are vicious throwbacks to an older humanity. Except no? It just means we think they're subhuman, Phil.

"Before you can take on a feral's skin, you have to know at least a little bit about what's going on behind her eyes. Always, though, there'll be unanswered questions. Mystery is part of an animal's allure" ...ffffffffff.


Anyways, in older times there were great beasts that "unenlightened scientists would call dinosaurs", but the ferals know as the great old ones. With their death the great old ones came the birth of the First. But not the first Ferals, no, the first living beings... that... weren't the great old ones.

CLEAR LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT PHIL.

quote:

It has been said that our First ancestors could shift between animal and human forms as easily as you or I can breathe. Other stories, though, speak of bargains struck, of tricksters and mothers and children born from moonlight. I have heard that we changers were shaped from Coyote's dung, or from the tears of angels cast down from heaven. Travel far enough and you'll hear about women giving themselves in love and lust to beasts, or of lost gods who spread their seeds in mortal wombs. The Snake that tempted Eve, it has been said, was her lover, too; still other legends speak of Lilith, who lay with gods, men, and beasts alike in the days before Eve was born. Perhaps the djinn cloaked themselves in flesh and took passion with all species, or the gods of Egypt rose from holy unions to stand beside men and beasts.
:stonklol:

Why, yes that sure is an entire paragraph devoted to the various ways that humans and animals may have gotten it on.

quote:

Humanity and the beasts lived in savage harmony then, taking food when necessary, sharing favors when they could. We hunted together, loved together, fought together, died together. Love and blood were our communions, and the Clever Monkey knew his place. A pity that wasn't to last.
Man discovered language, spears, cave paintings, fire, and clothing. And the beasts ran away from these new tools. I'm still kind of struggling to grasp how precisely they thought mankind lived in those days without spears and knives to actually kill their prey. We're kind of ill equipped to murder most animals, even prey animals. Or did we not need to eat in the halcyon days of Bestialitystock 20,000BC? Then man created cities and Gods, false gods of course, the only true god is nature. This was of course a terrible thing that the Ferals needed to correct, at least I think so.

Again we reach a problem with the book, in the past page alone I've had about five or six different "unforgivable turning points" that set nature against man, but they keep coming up with more and more of them. Finally the game says that Nature just kind of let the Changing Breeds die out until recently to "lull man into a false sense of security" before bringing them back in abundance to punish man for his crimes. Which seems counterproductive compared to stopping the crimes from happening in the first place.

The Changing Gift

quote:

"Wow, you're weird!" That's the common litany of a shapechanger's childhood. Whether those words are spoken in Bantu, or Bronx English, the refrain's the same. That weirdness isn't always a bad thing, of course. As the child soon discovered, some people will find that oddness utterly compelling. "Animal Magnetism" is more than just a phrase to a feral person. From childhood onward it is a fact of life.
Regardless of their animal species most shifters have long luxurious hair, expressive eyes, sharper than average senses, and, He cannot stress this enough because he'll say it a couple hundred more times during this book, they're all attractive.


ATTRACTIVE

Every Feral has an animal spirit and are attuned to only one type of animal. They may feel a kinship with all animals but they only have one Nahual. Animals will also notice and respond to their inner beast even before their first change. So every cat and/or dog person is probably actually a cat/dog shifter. Other people might notice it too, and get them gifts of their animal totem or nickname them after their animal. So if your father has ever called you "Tiger" as a diminutive you had better watch out.

Also, unlike "false religions", you cannot convert a Nahual. If you have a feral soul you cannot become a mage, vampire, or werewolf.

Contradicting what he said last chapter, the first change apparently is apparently a tumultuous experience. As the time of their first change approaches, a feral enters The Storm. They will wake up from night terrors, see the shadow of their beast soul in the corner of their eye. See their Nahual in the mirror. Be stalked by beasts in the woods. Animals will attack them, their Nahual kin will try to be closer to them. The Feral themselves will begin acting like their animal, hissing, biting, digging, becoming increasingly aggressive or withdrawing entirely. In older, more enlightened, times these Ferals would be sent off to Shamans, Oracles, or Warrior-Priests.

quote:

These days they're sent to therapy. Instead of initiation, she gets medication... or worse yet, punishment. A kid might run away from home, take drugs or break every rule in sight. Cutting, loving, praying - nothing seems to help. Until the beast and human reach harmony, self reflection is a nightmare. Even if both aspects had seemed harmonious before, the edge of the First Change cuts them like rusty wire.

I am honestly and morbidly curious as to what kind of upbringing Brucato had. He keeps trying to tie normal teenage rebellion to external supernatural sources, he paints religion as the great evil of our age, and is overly eager to point out how much sex his characters are having and how natural sex is.

Anyways, the first change is... honestly it is needlessly brutal. The beast must be free, you see. And whatever it needs to do to be free it will do, if that means slaughtering a bus full of nuns(I poo poo you not this is the given example), it will do it. The first change also hurts. The physical form is ripped apart, clothes are shredded, and the beast revels in its freedom while the human mind screams in terror. Eventually the beast will find a reflective surface and the human and beast will talk to each other and find their Accord, their soul song. Of course after the first change, the feral will probably be naked, miles from home, with a torn up room and a couple thousand dollars of devastation in their wake between where they were and where they are. Thankfully Ferals have The Delusion to cover for them. Which is literally nWerewolf's lunacy under a different name. There's not even a very good explanation for it, "nature covers for her own" is apparently enough to explain why videotapes foul when used to film a Feral in their war form.

Balancing Act
Regardless of if a Feral returns to their previous life or runs away to join the wolf circus, a feral now has to balance their human and animal souls. If they do try to tough it out at home they will still be forever changed, a nerd might become an athlete, a jock might become a hippie, a stoner may go sober and become an honor student while they ponder their next move. But at night they will all slip out beneath the stars and seek the new destiny beneath their skin.

quote:

He might meditate in the dark, take up dance or athletics, join an occult fellowship or seek out others of his kind. He could adopt an animal companion, draw or paint self portraits of his animal self, make clothes or costumes that match his Nahual or even join a group of "otherkin" - people who believe (sometimes correctly) that they're not entirely human.
Emphasis mine.

Regardless of what he does, the Nahual demands open spaces. He must run free on open earth beneath clear sky. Because in Nature there is harmony between the man and beast selves. "This isn't, though, a floaty New Age state. 'Feral' means 'like a wild beast,' and our feral's sense of harmony has a very wild edge." Really? It isn't new age? cause with all the sex they're having I was a bit confused. Anyways, they also can't be too bestial or too wild, if they're too human the beast will retreat and her supernatural abilities will fade. If they're too bestial the animal will take over even in their human guise. They can be trapped in one form, grow demented, or lose their ability to hide what they are. Occasionally their Aiaetha will become visible to other people. "Folk tales of Kitsune women with foxlike shadows come from such discords, which could be blamed on the culture's rigid codes of behavior." Wait. Was that just a judgement on Japanese culture? Where the gently caress did that come from? I'm really glad that that's all he says on the matter because I really wasn't looking forward to typing up a 5 paragraph long screed on the fox shifters stole men's penises because Patriarchy.



A shapeshifter who falls too far out of balance renounces their changing gift. They either become an animal who forsakes humanity entirely, or she loathes her bestial self and stays locked in human form. Both are monsters. As beasts they tear humans to shreds for fun; as humans they stalk and torture animals because they can. Yup. They literally turn into puppy kicking monsters. Ferals try to hunt them down but they're clever hunters and not so easily caught.

Accords: The Heart-Paths
After roughly 3 paragraphs prattling on about the music of the animal soul in a wolf's howl (Did I mention that Brucato is trying to make an TRPG about music? Because he is.) We are finally told precisely what the Accords are. Also, unlike Nahuals, Accords can change.

Den-Warder: The Protector
The Den-Warder guards his place in the world. He nurtures and defends the things he loves, like the Guard Dog or Mother Bear, they are devotion, honor, loyalty, and affection incarnate. They're usually even-tempred, honest, and ethical. "Their voices are often melodic and comforting, like the music in their souls." They're also stubborn and gullible and if betrayed they will probably murder someone.

Heart-Ripper: The Predator
The "can I just loving kill it already" accord. They are sadistic, violent, and cruel. Their human guise may be a serial killer, slaughterhouse worker(seriously brucato?), or gun-nut. "The blood she spills may be metaphorical most of the time (this type loves sadistic mind games!), but every so often the Heart-Ripper must kill for real."

Root-Weaver: The Builder
Remember all that poo poo about how humans built tools and that made us monstrous? Brucato doesn't. "If building seems to be a human trait, just watch birds, ants, or beavers at work. Innovative and industrious, the Root-Weaver creates structures and technology for pleasure or survival." "Mere nature" is not enough for the Root-Weaver.

Sun-Chaser: The Rebel
The token trickster archetype because of course there's a loving trickster archetype. "His animal self could be seen as the playful puppy who shits all over the house; on a darker note, though, he's the rogue Hyena prowling the streets, who's not too proud to add a child to his meal." So, scat fanatic or murderer. Those are the options here I guess? Okay.

Wind-Dancer: The Seer
"The visionary vagabond who's lantern lights a distant path." "Drawn to secrets but prone to secrecy" "Her inner song rumbles like a night time storm, rich with promises and threats." "Just as the wind they blow through life, flying but never settling."
....
No I have no loving idea what they're supposed to be either.

Living Feral

So you've got a bear living in your soul, what do you do now? Well you should probably learn to hide. Your nature-given job is probably going to run afoul of the law and Delirium or not you're going to leave behind evidence of your human self. If you keep a permanent address the cops are probably going to come knocking. Of course you could also become a "stay at home folk" who hides behind a computer screen and finds kinship on the internet.

Hint hint.

In rural areas it's easier to hide. "Third world nations, wilderness and war zones." I.. war zones? "Perfect playgrounds for a Heart-Ripper who doesn't mind the constant possibility of death. Away from the media cirsuit, these regions provide shelter for many modern werebeasts." But what about your nature given duty to protect nature from the predations of man? Nope just gonna kill a bunch of folks that would have died anyway? Okay then.

For the flamboyant there are plenty of subcultures you can get lost in too. "Homeless folks, hitchikers, Rainbow People, Ren Faire performers, therians, entertainers, hunters, backpackers, bikers - such people slip in and out of sight by virtue of what they can do. Grab a guitar, a pack and the right clothes, and you can travel constantly." I'm reasonably certain he means the Rainbow Family not Rainbow People. Because I'm pretty sure you can't just join in with wealthy shipping magnates. "For wealthy or beautiful ferals, there's the jet-set, where entertainingly exotic company is always welcome." .... Okay fine.

Of course you could also become (gasp) HOUSEBROKEN and try and settle down. Of course a feral is a wild animal at heart.

quote:

Once changed a feral's temperament deepens. He'll pick fights, snarl, snap at jokes and cry for no reason. He may go days or weeks without bathing; if he wants to gently caress he'll say so bluntly. In fights he'll bite hard and may even transform. If the feral seemed weird before, he's really weird now.
Okay seriously why with the bathing? Animals clean themselves, it's a thing they do. We just have to do it more often because we sweat so much more than other animals, if they can sweat at all. And if keeping your human and bestial lives in balance is a thing then why the gently caress isn't bathing just as important as going out for a run on four legs every once in a while? Also, mating cycles and estrus kind of preclude the kind of animal mindset that would go "I am going to have sex with you right now and you are going to let me." (That's also sort of rapey. Just putting that out there).
And honestly that's most of the problem with this kind of mindset, they keep talking about harmony and balance, but whenever the two sides come into conflict the book always has the animal win.

So back in the world of the book, you must always account for the needs of your beast. A hawk-soul will probably have an easier time adapting to their lot in life than an ocean born. "A land locked Were-shark, for example, should move to the coast... or find herself a really good aquarium." Not included in this book: Rules for weresharks.

Power Animals
While the world has millions of animals, most Nahuals are "Power Animals", read "animals Brucato thinks are cool": bears, cats, horses, hawks. "In short, they're big, strong, and often fierce." Hawks only meet one of those 3 criteria pal. "Humans revere such beasts (Symbolically, at least), and that reverence plays a large role in the werebeast bond." Wait, what? I thought mankind wasn't reverent to nature. Stop contradicting yourself! "Not all power animals, though, are large." Stop contradicting yourself! "Hares, rats, cats, and insects share close bonds with humanity, too. Shapechanger lore is filled with such creatures, and although most folks might laugh at the idea of a 'wereroach', the specter of a man dissolving into a sea of roaches is enough to send most folks shrieking towards insanity.

The breed groupings are
  • The Bastet- Were cats, natch.
  • The Land Titans - elephant and rhino men.
  • The Laughing Strangers - the "Trickster" breeds, weasels, rats, hares, raccoons, and foxes. They also say Coyotes are Laughing Strangers but..
  • The Pack - dog-bloods, hyena-people, and wolfkin. Not werewolves, mind you, also not Coyotes.
  • The Royal Apes - Yes, were apes. Yes, the art for them is laughable.
  • The Spinner Kin - Spiders.
  • The Ursara - Were Bears
  • The Wind-Runners - Stags, Elks, horses, and deer.
  • The Wing Folk - Anything that can fly.
After that the book gets into another self-contradictory fit arguing with itself that there aren't enough werebeasts around for them to congregate in groups. Except for the Pack who definitely do. And for, ostensibly, the player characters. Because this is supposed to be a group game. Also changing blood can sometimes run in family lines except when it doesn't. And animal souls also tend to congregate around where their non-supernatural kin live, except when they don't.


SPIDERS!

Changing Shape
Most shapeshifters only have 3 forms, the Man-Guise, the Primal-Beast, and the War-Beast which is "An uncanny synthesis of human, animal, and god." :doh:

Some can also assume a "Throwback" form between human and war beast, and the Dire Beast form which is between primal and war beasts. Though "it's a trick that can take years or even decades to master".
It's a four dot merit and available at character creation.

Also, don't ask how shapeshifting works, they don't even try to explain it like W:TF did. "It's Nature's magic, and it works Nature's way. The so-called laws of science mean nothing when the Changing Gift takes hold." The change does have it's limits, however. There has to be room for them to assume their new form. And synthetic clothing or man-made materials don't change with them. Unless you're wearing leather, skins, or raw silk it's best to strip before changing. Anything you want to take with you when you leave must be carried in leather pouches or worked skin bags. Jewelery will stay along as long as it only includes bone and precious stones, precious metals however won't for some reason. Piercings will work because they're metal because they're embedded in the skin. Also, any items of technology will stop working when a shapeshifter transforms. Just because. So most shapeshifters dress in archaic or tribal fashions and go without modern conveniences such as watches and cell phones.

Remember, keep your human and beast lives in balance!

Nature's Gifts
First off all shapeshifters have keen senses. "Shapechangers can see in near-darkness, hear outside the human spectrum and feel with devastating clarity. The flipside, of course, is that Man's world is filled with noise. Ferals in urban environments live in a constant state of sensory overload and grow twitchy as a consequence." *sigh* moving on.

They also have Beast Talents, which are the accoutriments that come with being an animal. Dolphins can swim, birds can fly, cats gots claws. Though these only apply to the primal beast through war beast forms. HOWEVER some talents DO carry over to the human shapes.

They also all have fast healing because werewolves have fast healing BECAUSE NATURE! WHY DO YOU QUESTION NATURE!? Some species, like dolphins and bears, can also heal others.

Some species also have Symbolic Traits, like a chameleon might be able to literally turn invisible. They also may have Beast Magic which are powers ripped straight out of the mage and werewolf core books.

Downsides

The beast must hunt and is hunted in return. By what? ...by something! The beast is hunted! Seriously he puts for the idea that there's someone out there who both knows enough about were-bears to want to hunt them and wants to mount their head on their wall.

They're also vulnerable to MOONBANE I mean, silver.

They also are prone to going Berserk, which comes in two forms. The Rabbit Run is a "GTFO" mode, a blind panic and a race to escape. The other Berserk mode is the Tiger Storm. Which is a "Kill everything that isn't me right now" mode. As a counterpoint to going berserk there is The Fury which is the instinctual revulsion with humanity that all ferals have. Depending on the feral's species and the offenders deeds this can range from pissing on their car, smashing their window, or killing them. It's not a wild rage, it's calm and calculated. But it's still anger so it's not precisely wise.

Friends, Family, and Companions

Feral Clans and Dynasties
So remember how sometimes the changing blood runs in families? Sometimes the families are aware of that fact. But these exist almost exclusively in rural areas. Because in an industrial society everyone knows you can't turn into an animal. Even if you are explicitly aware of that fact due to it being a family trait.

Purging the Curse
So some families might not like that they're 'cursed' so they'll try to purge it out of their children. Insert an entire half a page bulleted list of ways parents can try and torture the beast out of their children :psyduck:. It never works. Mind you, and all it does is traumatize the child. But they do it anyway because... again I'm questioning Brucato's upbringing here.

Supporting the Gift
On the other hand they might know about it and love it. "A known shapeshanger may be treated like a prize breeding horse or an honor student, with all the attendant pressures." They also don't want an "Unworthy" offspring to secure the family legacy. So they will be tested, prodded, watched, and trained. The truly fortunate are born into a family that values their gift and their freedom. Also, there's a list of things that this kind of family will do as well.

...right.
And then theres... what is...

What is wrong with you Brucato?

Regencies: Feral Dynasties
Hey let's get even more insane, sure. Regencies are mortal houses of humans who have shapeshifter blood running through their veins. Because Ferals themselves don't have any kind of greater organization. But the hangers on who view them as property and status sure as hell do. :psyduck:

To stay a regency your house needs to have had a feral birth of your house's totem animal within the last 25 years. And all of them are "power" animals, there was once a "Vulgar" house, the Divous clan who had a Boar as their crest. But they have long since fallen out of favor. Regency members are expected to be eloquent, brave, clever and intelligent whether they posses the gift or not. They act like they're "old money" even if they're not. They are expected to be vigorous and ruthless, those that do not meet those criteria are... fed to the ferals in their house. :psyduck: :psyduck:

Those that do breed true are given constant tutelage, respect, and supervision. They are living embodiments of their family's honor so they have access to all the wealth and privilege their family is capable of giving. However they must play by the family's rules or risk their wrath.

The regencies, then, meet in remote and luxurious locations, with plenty of room for their animal selves to run free. Deals are made and alliances are arranged. While it's debatable whether or not the regencies actually "control" world affairs they all command a formidable amount of wealth and influence. And just to prove that this is actually happening and I'm not just making this up.

Remember how this was supposed to be a game about shapeshifters railing against the inhumanity of man rather than men peddling the flesh of ferals like candy?
Those were some fun times.


Urban Tribes
these are 'tribes' in the sense of a grouping of people that you associate with, not the families. We just had that... and I wish they didn't. And honestly this section really isn't that necessary since they kind of went over it before already. The only bits they didn't touch on were things like a group of orphans being ruled by one feral who treats them like his children. A gang being run by a feral who uses them as his pack. And Theraians and Furries.
Yup.

quote:

Who better to chose as a feral tribe than people who already believe they're animals at heart? Whether they take the idea seriously or regard it as a playful kink, furries and various therians(People who feel like animals at heart) envision themselves as non-human souls trapped in human form. They share a feral's deep affinity for certain beasts and animal behavior. True, the furries and therians' idea of "animal" is often idealized, but such folks make excellent friends for people with truly wild hearts... so long as they don't wind up with real hearts bleeding on their living room floors
Moving on.


Caretakers, Lovers, Devotees and Kin
So rather than societies, these are the individuals that a shapeshifter tends to attract into their life. And I do mean attract because he uses "Animal Magnetism" here again.

Caretakers
Even the most ferocious beast can invoke a "Dawwwwwww..." response when it is wounded. These are the people who help a feral when they are in need. They might find the feral when they are injured or in distress, probably looking human at the time, "But it's usually the animal that gets their attention." They help out despite their best interests because they're attracted to the beast within. Depending on how the Feral handles the situation it will grow into a more permanent relationship or end in bloodshed and tears.

Lovers
Human lovers, thankfully. But while you might hope that this is about having a healthy loving relationship it is instead four paragraphs about sex. The mating drives of humans and animals are very different, and when they're both happening at the same time they can cause problems.

quote:

Animals are rather... direct about their desires. Feral people are often the same way. An amorous shapechanger could purr, lick, sniff or bite the object of her attentions. She might head-butt him, preen like a mating bird, or simply grab him by the collar and slam him into the nearest wall. As usual, the ways in which shapechangers behave when they're affectionate depend a lot on the inner beast - a courting crane and a lusty Rajan will handle their desires very differently. In both cases though, the animal instincts show, and by human standards, they can seem embarrassingly forward. Sure the human side can bridle the beast's passions, but it takes a bit of effort to do so... and removes some of the fun from the mating game.
Yes, being slammed into a wall and having sex forced upon you is "fun".

From there, things hop on a "Roller-coaster ride through heaven and hell." Some breeds mate for the moment, while others mate for life. And yes, spider-shifters may try to eat their mate afterwards. Depending on the feral's devotion to the relationship it can be abusive, affectionate or a mix of both. "Either way it won't be boring." Also, ferals tend to be jealous lovers... just putting that out there.

Devotees
Devotees are people who are people who know what the shapeshifter is and revere him for it. But they can't know too much or they might be in danger. They're also kind of redundant because next we have.

Kin
Kin know what the changing breed is but they're family. Not literally family, though they can be. They can be relatives, friends, lovers, groupies, cultists, or even slaves... What? If they are your family why are they your slaves!?

quote:

Either way they're still considered part of the shapechanger's "Family," and will be protected and cared for as low-status but valued members of his band.
Kin know the score. They recognize, respect, and often revere the Changing Gift. True ferals hold higher status in the social pecking order... but that is as it should be. A shapechanger, after all is incredible, while kin are "ordinary". Some kin get jealous or discouraged, while others accept their lot. Smart ferals, meanwhile, treat their kin respectfully. Disgruntled kin can be incredibly dangerous, as they know a feral's strengths and weaknesses. The most fearsome hunters began as abused kin, and they carry that grudge to any werebeast they can find.
Surprise, more unhealthy relationships. Also I didn't add any emphasis in there, that's all straight brucato.

Animal Companions
But where people fail, animals come through. Indeed beast-friends are often trusted more than human kin can be. If possible a feral often keeps one of more of his Nahual species close at hand. Some have an easier time than others. A Bastet or Pack can keep their Nahual around as their pets. A Gator shifter is gonna have problems if he isn't in the bayou. And a land titan isn't going to keep an elephant in Manhattan. So most shifters live in their Nahual's natural environment. Beast companions are like siblings, not pets. Any harm that comes to one will evoke an immediate response from the other, usually a fatal one. And their relationship will seem odd to human eyes, sniffing, licking, rough housing and curling up together.

But no it doesn't stop there.


Not only can ferals breed with their animal kin, they can have animal babies. They can get pregnant with animal babies. And on occasion their feral mates will birth a human child.

:argh: Brucato!

Feral Society
Finally the game is going to explain how the gently caress people are supposed to play this game together.

Hopefully with their pants on.

Bands are the small tribes formed of shapechangers from different species drawn together for a common purpose. They maintain their cohesion through dominance, submission, and overall cooperation. A band always has an Alpha, who leads through force. Either of personality or might. If there is a disagreement the alpha will end it swiftly, not with death but his opponent will know he is beaten. Occasionally a pack will have a pair of alphas, and regardless of gender they will usually be mates.

Beneath the alpha(s) everyone else sorts them self out in the group. And such appointments are practical. A werecrow doesn't care that you're a CEO in your former life, just about what you bring to his flock. Vital members rise to the top, hangers on sink to the bottom. Weaker members will be teased, hassled, and beaten by stronger ones. Until they toughen up, leave the group, or accept their rightful place at the bottom. Still a pack takes care of their own. Only they get to beat up on the scrawny guy. A packs "Social personality" depends on the alpha. A spider-led group will be subtle. a bull-led group will be brutal.

Also, it can happen that predators and prey find themselves in the same Band... it rarely works out well. A Lion will not accept a Rabbit as his alpha, and in the heat of battle a Lion may accidentally eat his gazelle packmate. Nature is not kind.


And here we find the major problem with were-apes.. that's literally just a dude with a baboon mask. Look at those feet.

Here we find out that when Brucato says "Band" he means it in the "Musical Group" way because it is apparently the alpha's job to "Call the Tune" of his band. He determines how they live, how they work, and what they do. Usually it's a good idea for him to pick a vocation that allows them to live relatively normal lives. Be that as a construction crew, a hiking troupe, or wealthy CEOs.

Every Band needs new blood from time to time and newbies will be initiated in a fashion according to the Alphas tastes. Usually involving 3 tasks, including one task that runs counter to their nature. A tiger will be forced to sneak small items past human guards, a werefox will be forced to face off against a powerful brute. These tasks aren't impossible, but only just. If an alpha didn't want them in their pack they wouldn't even give them the chance to prove him wrong. If an alpha likes the candidate the tasks may be easier than if the Alpha were hostile. Some Alphas will play good cop/bad cop, or be mean to someone they like just to see how they're react. Either way the entire pack tries to provoke and unnerve the candidate because if they can't be trusted in a pinch then they won't be counted on at all. Assuming they're accepted their initiated with a ritual of some kind then the entire pack goes beast and runs together.

Even family has limits and if someone pisses off the Band too much they might get run off. Usually after a few warning and one good rear end-kicking. If they don't get the message they're taken down, hard, given a formal renunciation of status, and run out on pain of death.

Bands and even solo Ferals also have territory that they own and patrol. Yes, they mark their territory, Yes, they do it how you think they do.

Bukota
A bukota is basically a feral house party. Some generous feral will open up his territory to guests for a time. The idea is incredibly ancient and rules of predation go out the window. In a bukota no vistitor gets eaten. Hospitality bans violence so long as guests follow the rules of the host. So, yes, in a pack a lion will not abide a hare. In a bukota they're probably fuckbuddies. (He literally says "The lion can lay with the lamb") However if you're not beast blooded you are probably dead, even Kin are forbidden from a bukota.

Communication
In addition to "poo poo-speak" (dropping a load in someone's bed is an excellent way of saying "I hate you") Ferals also have a common set of pictograms that work like hobo code. And these are universal across all the breeds because sure why not. They can also speak the first tongue of the spirit world. Why? Because werewolves can, of course.

The Quiet Codes
Of course they have a rip off of the litany too. It's not an official one, hence why they're 'quiet', it's just the ones that everyone adheres to because they should and because they're animals they do.

The Tiger feeds the Worm
"Don't get too proud of yourself", more or less. When you die someone will eat you no matter how high you are on the food chain.

Revere the gifts and ways of Nature
Enjoy the sunshine because man doesn't.

Don't poo poo where you Eat
This is both metaphorical and literal. But mostly literal.

Let Night Be Your Concealment
Translation, "This is the world of darkness, nothing interesting ever happens during the daytime." To the storyteller it is "If they do anything during the daytime make sure there's a human there to notice."

Balance Beast and Man as one
Hahahahahahaahaha.

The Man-Hunter becomes the Man-Hunted
That... is stupid wording. Basically no matter what you do there are more humans than there are werebeasts, and if you bring down the wrath of all of humanity on your head you will die.


That man does not look fearful, he looks like he's in awe of the lion-man's junk which is being conveniently hidden by the flames shooting out of the hood at right angles.

The World: Hunters and Prey
So let's go over the enemies of the beastfolk
Mankind
I'm not going to write down another 3 pages of this. Basically, man has done terrible things to the world, man has also done wonderful things for the world. He is both the cultivator and the despoiler. You cannot just wipe him off the face of the earth without destroying something beautiful. So kill the despoiler, and help the cultivator.

Werewolves
Werewolves are supposedly stronger than the other changers. That is explicitly not the case, sadly, but that's how the Changers act. So just avoid them if possible.

Mages
Either friends or enemies depending on the mage! They can bend nature to their will but don't really like dump pollution out of their rear end when they do it so it's sort of okay?

Vampires
While they are consummate social alphas, and thus worthy of respect. They are hideous monsters outside of the normal cycle of life and death. They are also undead. So destroy them

Spirits
While they can't step into the shadow world, some shifters do deal with spirits. And are able to learn werewolf gifts from them. How? Iunno, game doesn't really say, it can just happen.

Horrors
There are other things, you should probably kill them too.

Up Next: Rules stolen from better games

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Merit: loving the Dog (* to *****)

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


Geez, I forgot how skeevy that entire book was.

Kurieg posted:

Werewolves
Werewolves are supposedly stronger than the other changers. That is explicitly not the case, sadly, but that's how the Changers act. So just avoid them if possible.

Welcome to 2E. :getin:

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



Oh I know, I'm writing the book from a 1e perspective though, at the time it was written basically everything can take the werewolves to town twice over.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Cythereal posted:

I lean a bit more on X-COM, myself. Whatever Valkyrie may have been at the beginning, by now it understands most supernaturals and what they can do better than the supers themselves. They're infinitely outmanned, but when they bring their teeth to bear they can use most supers' abilities and weaknesses better than the actual supers.

My group runs it as a light-hearted beer and pizza game. Our first session had a simple premise: the President has been captured by vampires. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?

X-COM only works when you're going loud- learning about the enemy should involve more than mind-ripping and vivisection.

My TFV can beat up yours prefers to act or look like local agencies, and sends in "Fireteams" to subdue threats that the public would accept SWAT and Special Forces being called in to put down. A Gangrel operating out of the city dump getting filled with Dragon's Breath becomes "Manhunt for Serial Killer Ends in Fatal Shootout with SWAT". If subtlety's gone truly out the window, they call in a "Berserk Squad"...


EDIT:

quote:

I am honestly and morbidly curious as to what kind of upbringing Brucato had. He keeps trying to tie normal teenage rebellion to external supernatural sources, he paints religion as the great evil of our age, and is overly eager to point out how much sex his characters are having and how natural sex is.

Either a super-repressive Christian upbringing or a waaay too permissive hippy upbringing, maybe one plopped in the middle of an area full of another?

Kavak fucked around with this message at 03:47 on Mar 29, 2015

Heliotrope
Aug 17, 2007

You're fucking subhuman


Kurieg posted:

Wind-Dancer: The Seer
"The visionary vagabond who's lantern lights a distant path." "Drawn to secrets but prone to secrecy" "Her inner song rumbles like a night time storm, rich with promises and threats." "Just as the wind they blow through life, flying but never settling."
....
No I have no loving idea what they're supposed to be either.

I guess they're supposed to be mysterious seers who see the future but speak in cryptic riddles or some poo poo.

quote:

"A land locked Were-shark, for example, should move to the coast... or find herself a really good aquarium." Not included in this book: Rules for weresharks.

The fact that this sentence is in the book but you can't make this character is absolute bullshit.

Kobold eBooks
Mar 5, 2007

EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AN OPEN PALM SLAM A CARTRIDGE IN THE SUPER FAMICOM. ITS E-ZEAO AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE THE MAIN CHARACTER, CORPORAL FALCOM.

Kavak posted:

Either a super-repressive Christian upbringing or a waaay too permissive hippy upbringing, maybe one plopped in the middle of an area full of another?

I'm thinking that, similar to my own experiences, one or both of his parents hit a spiritual crisis and went from being Mormon as hell straightlaced Christian straight into silverravenwolf books crystal hippy insanity.

I could see myself turning into Brucato had some things in my youth gone differently, and I'm so glad I didn't.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kavak posted:

My TFV can beat up yours prefers to act or look like local agencies, and sends in "Fireteams" to subdue threats that the public would accept SWAT and Special Forces being called in to put down. A Gangrel operating out of the city dump getting filled with Dragon's Breath becomes "Manhunt for Serial Killer Ends in Fatal Shootout with SWAT". If subtlety's gone truly out the window, they call in a "Berserk Squad"...

My group tends to attract more... exotic situations. :v: In our campaign, the IRS headquarters relocated to Los Angeles courtesy of the TFV PCs to serve as the seal on a True Fae that was draining the spark of creativity and imagination out of Hollywood. It just couldn't handle the sheer concentrated banality of the IRS and so is effectively imprisoned. Coincidentally Hollywood subsequently started to improve substantially in quality.

quote:

Either a super-repressive Christian upbringing or a waaay too permissive hippy upbringing, maybe one plopped in the middle of an area full of another?

I'm guessing the latter, personally. I've known plenty of the former, many of whom fell away from that as adults, and this guy feels to me like the kind of man who would use the word "sheeple" unironically.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kavak posted:

X-COM only works when you're going loud- learning about the enemy should involve more than mind-ripping and vivisection.

My TFV can beat up yours prefers to act or look like local agencies, and sends in "Fireteams" to subdue threats that the public would accept SWAT and Special Forces being called in to put down. A Gangrel operating out of the city dump getting filled with Dragon's Breath becomes "Manhunt for Serial Killer Ends in Fatal Shootout with SWAT". If subtlety's gone truly out the window, they call in a "Berserk Squad"...

Ahem, you mean a "Zombie Squad"...


Vampires, Werewolves, and Mages are the Disease. Meet the Cure.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




bathroomrage posted:

I'm thinking that, similar to my own experiences, one or both of his parents hit a spiritual crisis and went from being Mormon as hell straightlaced Christian straight into silverravenwolf books crystal hippy insanity.

There's no fanatic like a convert. He might've started out incredibly religious and converted to superhippyism, but retained the same general outlook and personality traits as before. You see it a lot with the most militant internet atheists- they retain the same hatred of the other, just redirected back at their old faith. I don't know if that explains the bestiality, though.

Young Freud posted:

Ahem, you mean a "Zombie Squad"...


Vampires, Werewolves, and Mages are the Disease. Meet the Cure.

I meant stick a pack of werewolves in a van, equip them with dedicated body armor and .50 cal machine guns, open the back doors, and watch the fireworks.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I'm only super familiar with a small selection of the best expansion books for nWoD. How many of the others unnecessarily flesh out a bunch of world building like CB seems to? One of the things that I like about the ones I've read is they take pains to put a lot of that stuff into a table's hands, but this poo poo...

Is it because it's Werewolf? I've never been into nWolf at all.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Selachian posted:

I'm pretty sure James Bond 007 (1983) was the first game to include a luck/hero/fortune point system. I don't recall the original 1980 Top Secret having any system like that.
The original 1980 TS had it as an optional rule in the back. Characters had Fortune and Fame points - the GM rolled a D10 at character creation and didn't tell the player what the result was. This was his Fortune pool, and the player could spend points out of it to reduce fatal injuries to having just 1 hp left. The player had no idea how many points he had left, so he always ran the risk of running out of luck. Also, there was no way to regain the points once spent. Once you were out of luck, you were out of luck. Fame points had the same effect, but you got one every time you gained a level so you knew how many of those you had and how many you had spent.

TS was a weird, clunky mess of a game, even by early RPG standards, but it did have some important innovations.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kavak posted:

I meant stick a pack of werewolves in a van, equip them with dedicated body armor and .50 cal machine guns, open the back doors, and watch the fireworks.

That could work. I know a bunch of my friends staged an referee-sponsored intervention in an out-of-hand Vampire LARP as a bunch of Bureau 13 operatives that included a werewolf in body armor. It was certainly surprising when the vamps fired soft-nosed silver bullets into a Second Chance Hard Corps Class IV vest that's rated for AP rifle rounds.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Plague of Hats posted:

I'm only super familiar with a small selection of the best expansion books for nWoD. How many of the others unnecessarily flesh out a bunch of world building like CB seems to? One of the things that I like about the ones I've read is they take pains to put a lot of that stuff into a table's hands, but this poo poo...

Is it because it's Werewolf? I've never been into nWolf at all.

No, Werewolf avoids all that poo poo- its worldbuilding is the kind of broad strokes suggestions that the other lines get "This is generally how crap works in other parts of the world, this is how this group generally operates, blah blah". CB is part of the core WoD line for a reason.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rand Brittain posted:

It's also a small industry where everybody is struggling, so I don't think it's really surprising for fans to get defensive and try to push back against bad reviews, since they can meaningfully hurt the game by putting a few people off who might have been interested.

I think it is just the general tilt of fandom to take any slight against your interests to be a slight against yourself.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Pardon the interruption on the "What the gently caress is wrong with Brucato?" chat, but here's the last bit on the Log Horizon TRPG.


With only Cat people to shame itself in furry appeal.

Sample character generation
For those that are curious, here's what the official cahracter sheet looks like

Somebody who can into Moonrunes can probably translate all of that stuff, or it can probably be inferred from the pregen sheets already up. :effort: on my end in doing that that though and the amount of stuff to keep track of isn't a lot outside of skills.

Doresh posted:

No I'm reminded of these Pathfinder discussions that basically amount to how dual shield wielders make for the best sword-n-boarders.

Oh well, let's make a Fox Tail Guardian that is also an Elder Maid

Unfortunately, the only offensive Dual Shield wielders in this game are Clerics (filthy casters getting all the fun) and there's really no way around it beyond Changing Equipment all the time (it takes a Minor action to do so). Also, it's not even possible to really use the shield as a weapon by RAW until Rank 3 with the Skill Clerics get. Everything's written fairly clearly in this game though, so making up a skill shouldn't be too hard. (Balancing it might be difficult though). Apologies to the poster in ADTRW who also requested a character, but I don't feel like making another character as of this moment unless an actual game of this is ran or other circumstances call for it.

So Fox Tail Guardian, Sub-Class Elder Maid. I honestly have no idea what Elder Maid is supposed to be other than something referenced on one of the skills. The source material also has a few dozen other skills I may have not listed while others were probably lost in translation. But away we go!

Base Stats
First we'll genreate their base Stats from their Race and Class. Since they're a Guardian, we should boost their STR as high as it can go (7) and then put the remaining two wherever.

STR 4+0+3=7 -> 2
DEX 2+0+1=3 -> 1
POW 1+1+0=2 -> 0
INT 3+1+1=5 -> 1
HP 50+8=58
Fate = 1

As a note, it's obvious, I could actually have a Stat lineup of 2,1,1,1, but I didn't. Why? No reason really. It does change when a Stat goes up though if that's at all important. The way I have it now means that at Rank 2, they'll have a lineup of 2,1,1,2 as opposed remaining at 2,1,1,1. At rank 3, they're even so where the spare 5 base stat points are allocated doesn't actually make as much difference in the long run compared to picking up gear or Skills that boost Attributes associated with them.

Skills
Before we get to our final stats, we can pick up Skills. Since she's a Guardian and a Maid, her duty should be to protect and server her master, so we should pick up skills to reflect that. Each new character starts with three Combat Skills and one General skill
The skills we'll pick up are:
  • Covering - A Warrior skill. For a number of times per round equal to Covering's SR (Skill Rank), the user can take the damage and effects of an attack for an ally in the same square as them.
  • Tank Descent - Another Warrior skill. This one, as a Move Action, has you make a [Normal Move] in your speed spaces. Along with it though, you can take a willing target and have them make a [Safe Move] to your square. Basically, it's like you're carrying them to safety. This can only be used SR per Scene, but it doesn't count if you're doing it with Extras (unnamed NPCs). Doing this as a Minor Action lets you increase the distance by +1 Square.
  • Standout - A Guardian skill. SR/Scene, during initiative, pick an ally with Hate Top. Your Hate is now that +1
  • Weapon Bash - A Common Skill. Get 2 Hate, make a [Weapon Attack] and deal [Attack Power + (SR+3)D] damage. Crits increase the damage by +2D
Tank Descent is the General skill while the others are Combat skills. The first three skills are essentially to protect allies by taking hits, moving them away from danger and drawing attention away from them respectively. Weapon Bash is a more powerful alternative to the basic attack (Attack Power +1D) just to round out the character since I felt the character needed at least one offensive option. As a note, most of the Guardian's moves are Defensive. Only 4 of their 23 skills are any sort of Weapon Attack and it makes sense for a Class all about protection.

In a previous iteration of this build, I chose the Fox Tail Skill Substitute Tail which allows access to a General Skill that the character couldn't normally get such as a Racial Skill belonging to another race. In exchange, the character's max HP is reduced by 10. In the long run, this is a pretty good exchange, particularly for Warrior classes since it's little more than a Rank's worth of HP lost for a Skill that should more than compensate for it. I did this iteration instead since it seemed like a more realistic build. :shrug:

Gear
Starting characters get 350g to spend on stuff to start. No rules listed for starting at a higher Rank. We'll need armor, a weapon, a shield and maybe something else depending on what's leftover. Since our starting character is Rank 1, they only have access to Rank 1 items. Each race has a Skill that allows them to use or equip items of a rank 2 higher than their current. For referrence, the Fox Tail's Skill is for [Light Armor], [Boot]s, and [Cloak]s so it's not very useful for us. The Dwarf has a good onefor Guardians since theirs is for [Heavy Armor], [Medium Armor], and [Shield]s. By Rank 9, this skill is worthless though since there's no listed items above Rank 9. Making an item that follows the scaling is easy enough though, but I doubt the writers of this system care enough to write for those ranks.
  • Ring Mail - [Heavy Armor], 7 PDEF, 2 MDEF, -2 Initiative, 130g
  • Buckler - [One-Handed], [Shield], 3 PDEF, 2 MDEF, 50g
  • Short Spear - [One-handed], [Spear], 3 PATK, +1 Initiative, 60g
  • Iron Helm - [Accessory], [Helm], 2 PDEF, 60g
  • Healing Potion I - [Consumable], [Medicine], [Rare], Timing: Minor, The target regains 25 HP, 40g
  • Favorite Sandwich - [Consumable], [Food], [Preparation], The target's [Fatigue] rating decreases by 5, 10g
Other starting freebies include:
  • Backpack - [Bag], +5 Inventory slots
  • Adventurer's set - "Contains: chalk, flint, writing implement, spade, hammer & chisel, ten meters of rope."
  • Favorite Sandwich - as above
If we wanted to go double Shield, the Iron Helm or the Consumables would be dropped in exchange. I'll show the effects when I tally up the Attributes

Ability Scores and Attributes
  • Athletics: 2(STR)
  • Endurance: 2(STR)
  • Disable: 1(DEX)
  • Operate: 1(DEX)
  • Perception: 0(POW)
  • Negotiation: 0(POW)
  • Knowledge: 1(INT)
  • Analyze: 1(INT)
  • Accuracy: 2(Highest = STR)+2(Battle Master skill) = 4
  • Evasion: 1(DEX)
  • Resistance: 0(POW)
  • Max HP: 58
  • Starting Fate: 1
  • Attack: 3(Spear)
  • Magic: 1 (using unarmed Magic)
  • Recovery: 0
  • Physical Defense: 4(STRx2)+7(Armor)+3(Shield)+2(Helm)= 16
  • Magic Defense: 2(INTx2)+2(Armor)+2(Shield)= 6
  • Initiative: 2(STR)+1(INT)-2(Armor)+1(Spear)= 2
  • Speed: 2
If we decided to double shield, our Defenses, Attack and Initiative would all end up changing. PDEF would go up to 18, MDEF to 8, Attack falls to 2 since it's now based on Unarmed Attack which is STR and Initiative would go to 1. A Guardian Skill for Shield bearers of note is a Combat Skill called Shield Master which gives +(SRx2) to an equipped shield. At rank 1, this is a +2 pushing PDEF to 20 and MDEF to 10. Finally, if the Dwarven equipment skill is picked up, instead of a Buckler, we can pick up a Small Shield which is +1 to both defenses compared to the Buckler as well at the next tier of Armor. The costs of just the Armor and the two shields would leave us with 70g left for either a backup weapon, a defense Accesory or some consumable. Just the armor and shields gives a final PDEF of 4(STRx2)+9(Armor)+6(Shield 1)+4(Shield 2)= 23 and a MDEF of 2(INTx2)+3(Armor)+5(Shield 1)+3(Shield 2)= 13. A 7 point difference in Defenses is fairly significant since this is a one to two die difference in damage that can be taken in exchange for a relatively meager attack damage, going just a little later in initiative, -10 starting HP and using up two of our Starting skills. Like I said in the previous post, this is where the Chargen minigame kinda rears its head, and while it can be satisfying to cheese out the highest Starting Defense possible, it kinda harkens back to D&D where instead of starting with a concept and making a character based on it, it's more reasonable to make a character and build a concept to justify it.

Character Data
This includes Connections, Subclass, name, Level, Gender, "Guilding Creed"(Why the PC is actually out and about and not still moping about missing the real world) and so forth. Whatever.
We're an Elder Maid called Foxy. Our connection is to another PC that we've sworn to protect :effort:

Final notes
So that's our character. In order to see how effective they really turned out, let's compare them to some Enemies. Most enemies are of a rather similar nature in stats though which is convenient for anyone looking to run a game. Also note that I'm ignoring the damage reduction via one of the character's starting moves since it also increases Hate which makes calculations a bit harder. The reduction is also only by 2 so the only difference is about a turn or less of survival.

Kobold - The humble Kobold. Normally, Goblins are the typical starting mook, but in this game, it's the Kobold. Goblins are Rank 3. Kobolds use Kobo Slash as their attack. It has an accuracy of 12 versus Evasion (1+2D) and deals 23+2D physical damage. Odds are, our Guardian isn't going to be avoiding that attack anytime soon. It's a 1 in 12 for Foxy to successfully dodge it. The damage, however, is a better bet since PDEF subtracts from damage rendering that 23 to a 7. Without factoring in Hate damage, it would take 5 consecutive turns for the Kobold to finally kill Foxy (14 average damage from the Kobold). Unfortunately, the Kobold has a trick up its sleeve that, for a Minor action, they can add +5 to the damage dealt. This bounces it to 4 turns, again without Hate bonuses. Can the tank kill the Kobold faster than they kill us though? The Kobold has an Evasion of 8 while our roll is 4+2D (Average 11). This means that 5 out of 6 of the Guardian's attacks should go through. The basic attack is Attack+1D damage which means an average of 6.5 damage per turn. With an HP of 16 and a PDEF of 6, it would take about 39(?) attacks to take the Kobold down. Abysmal. Weapon Bash gives us a Attack+4D in exchange for 2 Hate which is an average of 11 (average 17 - 6 PDEF) Damage per hit. It would take about two hits in this case. Much better. Even if that meant taking and additional +4 damage (2 Hate and the x2 Hate Modifier from the Kobold) per attempt (net +2 per turn since each time the Kobold lands a hit, it's -1 Hate).

This is a solo fight though and against a part of Kobolds, the likelihood of victory, even if only one of them was focusing on the Tank is worse as each additional Kobold in the same square gives a +1 to [Dodge checks]. Three other Kobolds in the same square make it such that there's only a 1 in 6 chance to hit the Kobold.

Pixie - An even worse foe. 34 HP, an evasion of 2+2D, an attack that rolls at 3+3D and deals 25+2D damage. Foxy hits less often with about the same chance to get hit (90%). While the pixie deals more damage at base, they don't have a way to increase it. It still takes the same about of turns to kill Foxy however since the average damage is a 16. The pixie has the same PDEF as the Goblin, but with a little more than double the HP, it would take more than twice the time to kill. Worse for our Tank, but the Pixie's chance to get hit doesn't change, even if there's a swarm of them.

Brier Weasel - A magical enemy. 40HP, 1+2D Evasion, and 4 PDEF. It makes a Magic attack with a 4+2D roll against Resistance (2D6) and 4+2D magic damage. Unfortunately, the difference in PDEF is negligable and it would take about the same amount of time to kill as compared to the Pixie. The Weasel hits 5 out of 6 times, but the net damage is so low, I'd swear it was a typo. It's consolation is a once per scene trick where it can deal 10 extra damage on a hit and with its high initiative makes it an excellent cleanup hitter.

Kobold Shaman - Same defenses and dodges as the Weasel, 27 HP. It takes about 5-6 attacks to kill it as long as it's alone. It's attack rolls at 2+3D for 17+2D Damage which is another 90% chance to hit and a net average 18 damage per hit. Thus, the shaman needs only 4 hits to kill the Tank.

Skeleton - For demonstration's sake, let's try a Rank 2 opponent and see what happens when the Tank is up against something stronger than it. The Skeleton has 21 HP, 9 evasion, 8PDEF, has a 13 Accuracy with 30+2D damage. Would take 3-4 hits to kill and would kill Foxy in about 3. As a consolation, the Skeleton would fall under the category of Weapon Master for that set of enemies so its damage is the highest amongst its peers. Unfortunately, it's also the lowest HP and throwing Foxy against the other tanks is a similarly losing proposition do to some of the tricks they can pull off.

Full Tank mode - If Foxy went into full armor, doing the math, it looks as though that there's a net 1 turn increase in survival in 1v1.

So the Guardian does its job fairly well, all things considered. It takes hits and can do okay with an attack Skill that isn't the base one. Guardians do have a few personal offensive options based on their gear though. Notably, Onslaught which requires a Two-Handed Weapon and gives 3 Hate in exchange for dealing [Attack+(SR+4)D] Physical damage and gives a +1D hit chance to the next attack. Alternatively, there's Shield Smash which is a Minor Action that requires a Shield and will give an opponent [Stagger] for their turn as long as you or an effect deal them at least 1 damage. [Stagger] is -1d for any Major action taken. As I write this, I realize that this is probably much better than picking up Standout.

That's all though! With a few fixes and tweaks, this could definitely be a 4e-esque game without all of the bloat 4e has. I also want to reiterate that allowing multiple characters to share a square adds a whole new dimension to tactical combat that's amazing and more games should do it.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Changing Breeds is also depressing because Forsaken is generally really awesome. Of course, Forsaken turned off a lot of Apocalypse fans by actually being horrific and interesting and not just being a wanky collection of teenage-level prejudices White Wolf writers had, wrapped around a murderous power fantasy. (Nature good! Science bad! Gypsies cool! Frats bad! Hobos cool! Suits bad! Etc.)

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 07:17 on Mar 29, 2015

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Hence why Changing Breeds was generic WoD instead of being a part of the Forsaken line.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








How does Forsaken compare to Apocalypse 20th Anniversary, in your opinions? The question's moot at the moment but three folks in my group got into an argument over whether Forsaken was better than original Apocalypse, and I was wondering how much changed between editions of the latter.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Changing Breeds is also depressing because Forsaken is generally really awesome. Of course, Forsaken turned off a lot of Apocalypse fans by actually being horrific and interesting and not just being a wanky collection of teenage-level prejudices White Wolf writers had, wrapped around a murderous power fantasy. (Nature good! Science bad! Gypsies cool! Frats bad! Hobos cool! Suits bad! Etc.)

It took them a few books to get there though.

I came to a realization a few weeks ago that The reason I look on W:TA with a positive light is that I didn't start playing it until Revised. So all the books I was reading were after Skemp took over, or the books from the 2nd edition-revised crossover that were not completely terrible. Now that I've found copies of all the really really bad 1st ed books it's clear that they really did need to clean off all the cruft that was left over from 1st edition Werewolf, and they definitely needed to get rid of the terrible racist splats. But they seemed almost vindictive towards W:TA players.

Ghost children read like "Oh hey, did you like metis? Well gently caress you! Here have a cosmic horror growing in your womb! Oh and it hates you! And everyone like you! And even ripping out your womb won't make it go away! In fact here are the rules for what happens if you try doing that!" when "it doesn't work, it's always a painful miscarriage" would have probably been enough.

NGDBSS posted:

How does Forsaken compare to Apocalypse 20th Anniversary, in your opinions? The question's moot at the moment but three folks in my group got into an argument over whether Forsaken was better than original Apocalypse, and I was wondering how much changed between editions of the latter.

W20 is basically just W:TA with a few rules patches. The canon that was true in revised is still true in the 20th anniversary edition.

Forsaken 2nd edition, which just came out earlier this month, is super good.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Mar 29, 2015

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Kurieg posted:

Ghost children read like "Oh hey, did you like metis? Well gently caress you! Here have a cosmic horror growing in your womb! Oh and it hates you! And everyone like you! And even ripping out your womb won't make it go away! In fact here are the rules for what happens if you try doing that!" when "it doesn't work, it's always a painful miscarriage" would have probably been enough.

I like the horror of your own baby turning into a monster that wants nothing more than you dead (As well as the "NO YIFFING" part), but after seeing and playing with the really hosed up situation it creates with Wolf-Blooded and how it borders on "Women who have sex outside the norm should be punished far more than men" stuff, I'm glad it's gone.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Kavak posted:

I like the horror of your own baby turning into a monster that wants nothing more than you dead (As well as the "NO YIFFING" part), but after seeing and playing with the really hosed up situation it creates with Wolf-Blooded and how it borders on "Women who have sex outside the norm should be punished far more than men" stuff, I'm glad it's gone.

Don't forget the picture of the wolf blooded woman wearing a silk negligee reclining on her bed while a naked male werewolf in Urhan swings in from the window.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Kurieg posted:

Don't forget the picture of the wolf blooded woman wearing a silk negligee reclining on her bed while a naked male werewolf in Urhan swings in from the window.

:spergin: The man-wolf form is called Dalu. Urhan is the regular wolf form, which would be even more messed up.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kurieg posted:

But they seemed almost vindictive towards W:TA players.

TBF the amount of open bestiality in the Apocalypse fandom was a real problem. They overreacted but it's not hard to see why..

Kavak posted:

I like the horror of your own baby turning into a monster that wants nothing more than you dead (As well as the "NO YIFFING" part), but after seeing and playing with the really hosed up situation it creates with Wolf-Blooded and how it borders on "Women who have sex outside the norm should be punished far more than men" stuff, I'm glad it's gone.

Yeah. I thought the basic idea was suitably horrific; that the Forsaken can't find romantic solace in each other and are cruelly punished for trying, but it has the exact issue you describe. Or, alternately, one can just get around it by engaging in anything but vanilla hetero sex, IIRC.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah. I thought the basic idea was suitably horrific; that the Forsaken can't find romantic solace in each other and are cruelly punished for trying, but it has the exact issue you describe. Or, alternately, one can just get around it by engaging in anything but vanilla hetero sex, IIRC.

It's baked into the game's moral code- mating with another werewolf at all is a violation of the Oath of the Moon.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Kavak posted:

It's baked into the game's moral code- mating with another werewolf at all is a violation of the Oath of the Moon.

And Garou shall not mate with Garou was the first tenet of the litany. It's still a technically forbidden love and the people who gravitate towards that kind of poo poo ate it up. The fact that the punishment for hetero sex was that much worse was a bonus.

Which is why I'm glad WtF second just made it not special anymore. I mean, it's not like they're doing it in the war form unless they want to invoke one hell of a death rage

A Fancy 400 lbs
Jul 23, 2008


I really hope any convention that allows Brucato as a guest is 18+ only, because I would not let him around children(or pets).

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Even though we've seen the highlights of Changing Breeds before, I still can't get over how loving poo poo it is. Brucatto is pretty much Fields with a budget and an admitted love of dogfucking.

Oberndorf
Oct 20, 2010





What's strange is that I don't remember his Mage stuff being particularly into sexytimes. Hippie as hell, yeah, but not quite so focused six inches below the waist.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Cythereal posted:

Eh, go sign up with Task Force: VALKYRIE. Their superpower is "Our R&D department has unlimited funding and collaborates with DARPA."

Money: what can it not accomplish?

Kurieg posted:


There's a short fiction story before each chapter. The bit before this one is about a were-bear trucker getting mad at construction workers for laying down pavement.

I'm surprised why Gaia bothers with these hypocrites. Wouldn't it make more sense to pimp out the flora and fauna instead?

WTF am I reading?! posted:

Humanity and the beasts lived in savage harmony then, taking food when necessary, sharing favors when they could. We hunted together, loved together, fought together, died together. Love and blood were our communions, and the Clever Monkey knew his place. A pity that wasn't to last.

Nothing says "back to the roots" quite like beastiality.

quote:

Anyways, the first change is... honestly it is needlessly brutal. The beast must be free, you see. And whatever it needs to do to be free it will do, if that means slaughtering a bus full of nuns(I poo poo you not this is the given example), it will do it. The first change also hurts. The physical form is ripped apart, clothes are shredded, and the beast revels in its freedom while the human mind screams in terror. Eventually the beast will find a reflective surface and the human and beast will talk to each other and find their Accord, their soul song. Of course after the first change, the feral will probably be naked, miles from home, with a torn up room and a couple thousand dollars of devastation in their wake between where they were and where they are. Thankfully Ferals have The Delusion to cover for them. Which is literally nWerewolf's lunacy under a different name. There's not even a very good explanation for it, "nature covers for her own" is apparently enough to explain why videotapes foul when used to film a Feral in their war form.

"Sure, Gaia has 1337 hacking, mind control and EMP sk1llz, but she only uses it for her beautiful snowflakes, instead of shutting down technology for good."

quote:

Not included in this book: Rules for weresharks.
Dammit <_<

quote:

The breed groupings are

  • The Bastet- Were cats, natch.
  • The Land Titans - elephant and rhino men.
  • The Laughing Strangers - the "Trickster" breeds, weasels, rats, hares, raccoons, and foxes. They also say Coyotes are Laughing Strangers but..
  • The Pack - dog-bloods, hyena-people, and wolfkin. Not werewolves, mind you, also not Coyotes.
  • The Royal Apes - Yes, were apes. Yes, the art for them is laughable.
  • The Spinner Kin - Spiders.
  • The Ursara - Were Bears
  • The Wind-Runners - Stags, Elks, horses, and deer.
  • The Wing Folk - Anything that can fly.

So you can be a "Wind-Runner Wind-Dancer"? Or is that "Wind-Dancer Wind-Runner"? That will probably not get confusing at all.

quote:

Also, don't ask how shapeshifting works, they don't even try to explain it like W:TF did. "It's Nature's magic, and it works Nature's way. The so-called laws of science mean nothing when the Changing Gift takes hold." The change does have it's limits, however. There has to be room for them to assume their new form. And synthetic clothing or man-made materials don't change with them. Unless you're wearing leather, skins, or raw silk it's best to strip before changing. Anything you want to take with you when you leave must be carried in leather pouches or worked skin bags. Jewelery will stay along as long as it only includes bone and precious stones, precious metals however won't for some reason. Piercings will work because they're metal because they're embedded in the skin. Also, any items of technology will stop working when a shapeshifter transforms. Just because. So most shapeshifters dress in archaic or tribal fashions and go without modern conveniences such as watches and cell phones.

Being a Feral with a pacemaker must blow.

quote:

Nature's Gifts
First off all shapeshifters have keen senses. "Shapechangers can see in near-darkness, hear outside the human spectrum and feel with devastating clarity. The flipside, of course, is that Man's world is filled with noise. Ferals in urban environments live in a constant state of sensory overload and grow twitchy as a consequence." *sigh* moving on.

It's not like most herbivores have very poor eyesight and may even lack depth perception. Or that even predatorial species can be a bit color blind. Or species like bats and moles whose eyes barely do anything. Nope, everyone has at least low-light vision like some sort of D&D race because animals are perfect.

Xelkelvos posted:

Pardon the interruption on the "What the gently caress is wrong with Brucato?" chat, but here's the last bit on the Log Horizon TRPG.


With only Cat people to shame itself in furry appeal.

Hey, having her use a shield and spear works even better for an Elder Maid, especially if you can convert the spear into a broom :D

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Kavak posted:

It's baked into the game's moral code- mating with another werewolf at all is a violation of the Oath of the Moon.

Actually, they removed that in 2e along with the werewolf abortion murder ghost babies, because they decided that poo poo wsa creepy.

'Don't gently caress wolves' is still in though, thankfully.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Actually, they removed that in 2e along with the werewolf abortion murder ghost babies, because they decided that poo poo wsa creepy.

'Don't gently caress wolves' is still in though, thankfully.

Well, that's a relief. I have no idea what the hell they were thinking in WtA with the wolf loving.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Night10194 posted:

Well, that's a relief. I have no idea what the hell they were thinking in WtA with the wolf loving.

Same thing everyone who writes porn stories thinks. :fap:

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.


Come with me on a journey back to a simpler time. A time when nature was a thing to be respected, feared, and endured, not used as a half-assed justification for murder and public pooping. A time when a loyal hound was your faithful hunting companion, not your fuckbuddy. That's right, it's time for more



Now that we've got the core rules out of the way, it's time to delve into the aspect of Beyond the Wall that really sets it apart: character and scenario creation, and getting the game itself kicked off. The introduction lays out the thinking behind all this pretty clearly: long, sweeping campaigns are great and all, but a lot of us (particularly as we get older, start careers and families, and so on) just can't commit the time for a weekly, bi-weekly, or whatever game, let alone GM prep time between sessions. Thus, Beyond the Wall gives us the tools to create reasonably fleshed out characters, a setting, and an adventure that should be playable in a single 3-4 hour session of play.

The second reason, and the one I actually find more interesting in terms of "things to think about when writing an RPG book," is that a lot of tabletop RPGs don't often provide much in the way of tools to help you get playing "out of the box." At best you might get a collection of pregen characters and a canned sample adventure, but that's only really good for one game. Even games like Apocalypse World or Trollbabe (which I should really finish my F&F review of) rely heavily on the GM's improv abilities to get playing right off the bat. Beyond the Wall, "Playbook" terminology aside, actually reminds me more of Fiasco: prompting story by giving you a bunch of random tables full of short, evocative descriptions that are concrete enough to run with but also open enough to riff on.

The introduction wraps up with the caveat that the Playbook rules completely replace the quick character creation rules in the previous section. Which is a good caveat to have, because in at least one instance, Playbook-created characters end up breaking the rules in that section: depending on how you roll, you can end up with a third (5th for rogues) Skill using the Playbook tables.

Playbooks and Scenario Packs
Okay, we've talked a lot about Playbooks and Scenario Packs so far, but what, exactly, are they?


Pictured: The Best Playbook

Character Playbooks are very similar to the playbooks in Apocalypse World or the skins in Monsterhearts: a self-contained package that encompasses an archetypal character (the Village Hero, maybe, or the Nobleman's Wild Daughter if you want to play Arya Stark). Each gives you your starting ability scores (usually two at 10 or one at 12, the rest at 8), and by the time you've gone through all the tables in your playbook, you'll also have your final ability scores, skills, all your class features, starting equipment, and at least the skeleton of a backstory and relationships with the other PCs and your village's NPCs. Because Beyond the Wall is a game about young people going off and having adventures in the wild, all the playbooks start with the assumption that the PCs are young, talented, but not-truly-tested people, all of whom grew up in the same village and who have been best friends since childhood. Think the very start of the Wheel of Time novels before poo poo went off the deep end and the main character got three super hot wives, and you've got the idea. One of the free expansions Flatland Games has released, The Nobility, tweaks this a bit and allows you to create sons and daughters of the local lord, but even then their manor house should be in or very near the village and the noble kids should be friends with the village kids. The core book provides six: The Village Hero, The Untested Thief, The Would-Be Knight, The Young Woodsman, The Self-Taught Mage, and the Witch's Prentice.

Each Playbook consists of seven tables in two sections. The first three tables represent childhood, and they're the same for every Playbook (well, the Nobility gets a modified version of the first one, but otherwise). The intent of having them be the same is to create some connections among the PCs. If two players roll "your parents were merchants," that probably means those characters are siblings--or maybe not, and their parents were business rivals. The golden rule here (and throughout this process really) is: "It's a small village. If two Playbook results describe a similar character, they're probably the same person."

Example: Table 1 asks you to roll 1d12 to answer "What did your parents do in the village? What did you learn from them?" If you roll a 4, "Your family worked a small farm outside the village." You gain +2 Con, +1 Wis, +1 Cha, and Skill: Farming. A 7, on the other hand, means "Your parents ran the local inn. You grew up meeting many travellers and hearing their tales (+2 Cha, +1 Int, +1 Dex, +1 Wis)."

The next four tables are where the Playbooks differentiate themselves, and describe how the character became a warrior, rogue, or mage. Typically you get a skill and one of your class features defined by the playbook, then roll on the tables to fill in the rest and modify some more attributes. One of the tables describes an event that both you and one of the other PCs were part of, and gives both of you an attribute boost, so no matter what you're guaranteed to have a relationship with at least two other characters.

Example: The Would-Be Knight says: "As you came of age, you began your quest to become a great knight. You become a level 1 Warrior. You gain the class abilities Weapon Specialization and Knacks, and the skill Riding. The tables below will further define your class abilities." The first table asks you to roll a d6 to answer "How did you begin your quest?" You might roll a 1 and learn that "Raiders from the north sometimes reach the village, and you were always the first volunteer in the forces which defended against them." You gain +3 Str and Skill: Command. Or you might roll a 5: "When traders from the south came to the village, you found an old warriorís training manual and you studied it every day thereafter." You gain +3 Int and Skill: Military History. Other tables will tell you what weapon you're specialized in, your Knacks, etc.

The playbooks also have the occasional icon (either a hand or a map) next to the tables, which indicate that at this point the player should add an interesting person or location to the Village Map (which is just a blank sheet of paper with a masrk for "the local Inn" in the middle; players and GMs can add stuff to it throughout the process). The thing they add can be inspired by the table they just rolled on, but doesn't have to be. It's a classic way to not only move some of the heavy lifting off the GM, but also get the players invested in the setting. Finally, you get a preset bit of equipment, usually some basic adventuring gear, maybe a weapon or armor, and at least one odd little trinket.

As a brief aside, yes, the Playbooks are all randomized. The rules do allow you to ignore the result of one out of your seven rolls and pick something from the table instead, but otherwise it's all random. While the book doesn't expressly say so, it seems to me you could probably let players pick without breaking things too horribly, though you might see slightly higher primary attributes that way, if your players are more system-focused than story-focused. The book does tell us that, while it's not terribly likely it is possible to end up with one attribute in the 18-20 range, or even higher. Regardless of rolls, though, the highest any attribute can start is 19, and any points in excess of that are lost. Sucks, but a 19 attribute is enough reward in its own right.

Scenario Packs meanwhile, are the same thing, but for adventures. The core rulebook includes two: the Angered Fae (somebody pissed off the faeries and now it's up to you to make things right!) and the Hidden Cult (your neighbors are Chaos-worshiping lunatics, oh no!), with the Goblin Infestation available as a free download. They've got some prompts you might expect, like random lists of names for when you need a quick NPC name and various "what's the core of the problem?" tables, but my favorite thing is the blank table. The idea is, as the players are going through their Playbooks and establishing important NPCs, you fill those names in on the table. Then, when you need an NPC for some plot point (maybe to figure out who's in the cult or who pissed off the Fae Lord, or just "whose house do the goblins set fire to?") you can roll on the table and boom! Instant personal stakes. Scenario Packs also have random events to fire off if the momentum starts to flag, some scene-setting preliminary events that draw the PCs into the story (and provide a handy place to teach attribute and skill checks), and suggestions for hooks to extend the story into future adventures, if that's your bag.

Example: The Angered Fae Scenario Pack suggests throwing a random, seemingly unrelated problem within the village into the mix after about a half hour if things are lagging. Maybe "Someone of import to the characters is going through an extremely difficult delivery. The witch needs help of some sort to get her through it." Or maybe "An ancestral feud has been rekindled, and the entire village is split over the matter. Worse, the charactersí families are on opposite sides of the quarrel."


Future adventure hook: "gently caress you, got mine.'

Getting Ready to Play
This section is pretty straightforward, outlining the jobs of each player during the setup phase. Players, obviously, should be rolling on their Playbook tables and recording the results, but more importantly they should be talking about what their results mean, kibbitzing with the rest of the table to flesh out the story and relationships, and so on. The GM has some tables to roll on too, but mostly she should be guiding the players and taking notes on everything. Everything the players come up with here is potential fodder for the adventure. The last thing to do is to have each player roll on the Recent Events table for the Scenario Pack. These are short, inciting incidents that include an attribute check that might give the players some advantage in the story if they pass, or create complications if they don't. The PC to their left is also involved somehow, and can help out with skills or Fortune Points. Each scenario has 15: 12 on the table and three "special events" that only kick in if players roll a duplicate event.

Example: Again in the Angred Fae Scenario Pack, you might start off with this:

Unlikely couples have been falling in love throughout the village as a result of faerie magic. Test Charisma (gossip related skills may help).
Success: you learn that one member of each of these new couples has recently angered a wisewoman in the forest. Failure: your favorite cousin falls in love with someone you disapprove of.

Or this:

The village well is filled with wine and you are sent to the witch to ask about it. Test Charisma (social skills may help).
Success: the witch tells you to save some of the wine; begin the game with two healing potions. Failure: the witch turns the wine back to water, but not before the whole village gets drunk.

If someone rolls the "well filled with wine" result again, they might instead get this:

Your faerie godmother came to visit you last night and said that she takes pity on the village. Test Charisma (socializing skills may help).
Success: she gave you a blessing which allows you to see through all faerie illusions for this adventure. Failure: You accidentally insulted your godmother, who left saddened and said she would not bother with you again, but not before giving you a token which grants +1 to all saving throws against fae magic.

Finally, the Scenario Packs helpfully contain a couple pages of appropriate monsters if you need to throw a fight at the players on the fly.

Running the Game
This is a very brief GMing advice chapter. Not a lot here, and more than anyplace I think this is where the game shows it's geared more toward experienced gamers. The main bullet points are Keep Things Moving (don't let things lag; if the players seem stuck throw a new problem at them), Make it Personal (again, use the stuff in the Playbooks and the important people and places the PCs come up with when you need stuff to happen), and Avoid Illusionism (let the PCs' choices matter). There's also a nice little essay on the tone Beyond the Wall strives for (gritty, but not grim: the peril is real, but not omnipresent, heroes can save the day, and even in the most dangerous places there is beauty and enchantment) and this delightful sidebar:

Special Items posted:

Many of the Character Playbooks give some truly odd items to a starting character: a branch from the Dark Heart of the Wood, an engraved ring, etc. These trinkets may be useful or not, but they are a great source of hooks for the gamemaster.

Often, in the source fiction from which Beyond the Wall draws inspiration, heroes find that they have held something special all along which is useful to them. You might find it useful to have one or more of these trinkets be minor magical items which are important in the adventure.

For instance, perhaps the branch which the woodsman pulled from a twisting hawthorn in the forest is actually a charm against the fae, and will hold them at bay for several rounds in a dangerous combat. Or maybe the noblemanís daughter has been holding on to an ancient standard which has the power to rally the men of the village to her side in the most dire moment of an attack from the north.

This works best if you plan it at the start of the game and give the players hints, but donít be afraid to pull it out at the end if the players get in a serious bind and itís needed.


Next time: The obligatory sample character creation post! Actually, hell, I'll go through a whole Scenario Pack prep just to show how all of this works. We'll definitely be making a Witch's Prentice, because hell yeah, but I'll let the thread vote on two other compatriots and which Scenario Pack to use. So, thread, how about it? Pick two from the following Playbooks:
  • The Village Hero
  • The Untested Thief
  • The Would-Be Knight
  • The Young Woodsman
  • The Self-Taught Mage
And one of the Scenario Packs:
  • The Angered Fae
  • The Goblin Infestation
  • The Hidden Cult
Voting closes... eh, whenever the hell I feel like starting the next update, maybe later tonight, maybe tomorrow.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


GimpInBlack posted:

Next time: The obligatory sample character creation post! Actually, hell, I'll go through a whole Scenario Pack prep just to show how all of this works. We'll definitely be making a Witch's Prentice, because hell yeah, but I'll let the thread vote on two other compatriots and which Scenario Pack to use. So, thread, how about it? Pick two from the following Playbooks:
  • The Village Hero
  • The Untested Thief
  • The Would-Be Knight
  • The Young Woodsman
  • The Self-Taught Mage
And one of the Scenario Packs:
  • The Angered Fae
  • The Goblin Infestation
  • The Hidden Cult
Voting closes... eh, whenever the hell I feel like starting the next update, maybe later tonight, maybe tomorrow.

I would go for the Self-Taught Mage (sounds like it'll have some hilarious accident-related events) and Young Woodsman (because I'm curious how this game does ranger-type characters).

For the Scenario Pack, I would go with "The Angered Fae", because I'm really curios how pagan-ish RPG products look like when written by people who aren't creepy lunatics.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:53 on Mar 29, 2015

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