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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

Tasoth posted:

And I believe that C.J. Carella is the person responsible for Nightbane. Oddly enough, while he was at Eden Studios, he started work on Beyond Human. It was supposed to be Unisystem much like AFMbE with no defined setting and rules for creating things from scratch. The focus was going to be on super/para/abhumans. But it's been in limbo for 10+ years at this point.

Unisystem Nightbane would have been rad.

CJ was responsible for Nightbane and he created Witchcraft for Eden Studios which was the first appearance of Unisystem (even before AFMBE). Before that Eden used a mess of a system for Conspiracy X.

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Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Princess: the Hopeful
Glossary -or- The thing that's in every WoD book, including Genius except this one

Apparently, the wiki for the project has a Glossary of terms. However, the book itself does not. This may be intetional if the purpose of the book is to compile the wiki's contents. That raises the question of who needs it compiled and why doesn't the drat compilation also have this glossary? For the sake of everyone and myself, I'll go over the contents of this before heading into the rest of the book.

Beacon - Special mortal with no powers but a close relation to the Light of Hope. Light of Hope is not in the glossary.
Blossoming - The first time a Princess transforms
Calling - the X-splat for Princess. They are: Champion, Grace, Mender, Seeker, Troubador
Charm - The name of their magic skills. Coincidentally comes in ten categories: Appear, Bless, Connect, Fight, Govern, Inspire, Learn, Perfect, Restore and Shape. Each Calling is connected to three of these groups.
Hopeful - Used to refer to anyone touched by the Light of Hope (context based on this makes me assume that it's their power source)
Invocation - Another form of magic. They are Aqua, Aria, Fuego, Lacrima, Legno, Specchio, Tempesta and Terra.
Kingdom, The -

quote:

the once great and noble civilization that came before the current debased World of Darkness, there is very little actually known about it but a large amount of speculation.

Nobility - Collective name for Princesses
Phylactery - The storage unit of a Princess's soul and how they can turn into Liches A Princess's transformation item
Prince(ss) - Who the game is about
Queens, the - Group of powerful people who were around before The Fall. There are five Radiant Queens and three Twilight Queens
Radiant, the - the Radiant Queens: The Queens of Clubs, of Diamonds, of Hearts, of Spades and of Swords and/or those that follow them
Regalia - the stuff a Princess has on when they transform as well as gear granted by Charms
Sworn - People empowered by the Princesses
Twilight, the - as like the Radiant. Their Queens are of Tears, of Storms and of Mirrors

This Glossary is far, FAR, from comprehensive, but it's a start. Things like Nakama and the Dreamlands and the like will be explained when they come up. But more preface before we dive further and deeper into this madness

Next time: Fluff and nonsense and pictures to keep the post from being too boring

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

Nessus posted:

Maybe someone should do a writeup of that old Guardians of Order Sailor Moon RPG guide.

I could have sworn someone did, but all I can find in my database is the Sailor Moon CCG.

I guess what I'm saying is .

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Xelkelvos posted:

Kingdom, The -


Excuse me, I have some old German Hunters on line one, they say that's a gross exaggeration of what the Rmoahals were like.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

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



Clapping Larry

Mors Rattus posted:

It's big enough for a core book but I don't know who could reasonably write one focusing on the earnest, Sailor Moon/Pretty Cure types all that well. And of course most gamer nerds would play it terribly. (Golden Sky Stories would do well in the job of being an 80s Magical Girl game.)

You could 100% play The Magical Witch Girl And Her Animal Friends with Golden Sky Stories. GSS isn't big on singling out a protagonist but I don't think that's a weakness.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Didn't Ewen Cluney release like one or two straight up magical girl games?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Plague of Hats posted:

Didn't Ewen Cluney release like one or two straight up magical girl games?

Magical Burst is explicitly based on the darker/adult-focused stuff like Madoka and not the earnest stuff.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Mors Rattus posted:

Magical Burst is explicitly based on the darker/adult-focused stuff like Madoka and not the earnest stuff.

He's dropped that and also Magical Fury which was a more rules-light affair, as I understand it, and might also have been designed to be lighter in tone. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet though so I can't say for certain.

Covok
May 27, 2013
Probation
Can't post for 29 days!


LornMarkus posted:

He's dropped that and also Magical Fury which was a more rules-light affair, as I understand it, and might also have been designed to be lighter in tone. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet though so I can't say for certain.

Magical Fury also has a darker tone, IIRC. Ewen Clueny prefers Dark Magical Girls.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


LornMarkus posted:

He's dropped that and also Magical Fury which was a more rules-light affair, as I understand it, and might also have been designed to be lighter in tone. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet though so I can't say for certain.

It looks like Magical Burst is gearing back up with plans for a fifth iteration according to Ewen's blog (Dated March 15 of this year). Magical Fury also has a Companion book now.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Princess: the Hopeful
Chapter 1: Noblesse Oblige -or- eight pages of WORDS WORDS WORDS with nothing about how to actually play the game

Every chapter from here on, there's no pieces of fiction that actually deepens the world. Instead we get a quote from a famous person before they tell us everything there is to know. We start off Chapter 1 with a bit of how Princesses (or the Nobility) see the world and here we already deviate from the established notions of the WoD where greys are the sum and the whole.

quote:

Light and Dark
Ask any of the Nobility and they will tell you that of course there is such a thing as objective good and evil. To the Radiant the world they inhabit makes this as clear as daylight. A Princess draws her magic from the Light. A force created by love, friendship, by effort to improve the world or just effort to help a stranger out. The Light probably isn’t the absolute axis for all that is good but if it could think you could say it’s making a sincere effort to reach that exalted height. For the Nobility this is enough to point at for proof that good really does exist, because what Princesses compare the Light to is the Dark.

The Dark is the Light’s opposite in every way. It is a force of banal corruption; it festers where people commit acts of cruelty and inflict suffering on each other. Everything it touches is tainted with its own nature. If left unchecked it would cause an unending torrent of corruption until the Dark finally succumbed to its own nature and starved upon an empty wasteland. The scholars among the Nobility are divided upon one key question about the Dark. Its origins. Some say that it is a dreadful alien being attacking our world through humanity’s cruelties for it’s own sustenance. Others say that we ourselves are the Dark’s true origin, our sins created it and we shall forever be haunted by our crimes until such a day as we rise above them.



Yeah, I don't know the point of hypothesizing about the source of The Dark is other than some metafictional masturbation. The next section is all about the origins of the realms of the Nobility. Really don't know why it's relevant or necessary at this point, but we're here now and the train's already off the tracks. Consider it similar to when Mage talks about the Fall of the Supernal realm. In this case, it's the Kingdom with the only remainder being a place known as the Alhambra. (The others for potential namedrop reference are Andarta, Aztallan, The Confederacy of Four Winds, Crystal Heril, Danann, Gonel and Wen-Mung.) Due to each place being so different, the assertion of those differences by their reigning Queens allowed Darkness to enter. Eventually the Kingdom fell, blah blah blah, past now remains shrouded in mystery, I stopped caring.

Next is what happened after The Fall (the name of what they call the Kingdom's fall). Three new figures are name dropped: The Red, White and Black Queens. They're powerful individuals tainted by darkness and created a trap within the Dreamlands (no explanation as of yet as to what this is and how it relates to other realms) to keep the Nobility there and away from the Earth by creating an illusion of the Earth there. The period is called The Long Night and the trap made it so any Princesses who did incarnate on Earth for whatever reason, alone and without help. The Twilight Queens are name dropped here: The Lady of Alhambra, the Seraphic General and the Queen of Mirrors (who doesn't get a special name) and are shown to be one of the three major factions in the game.

quote:

In July 1969 mankind first set foot on the moon. The hope released by this single event was so great that for the briefest instant the Light shone brighter on Earth than it did in the Dreamlands. In a flash every soul trapped within knew that they were not on Earth as they believed. The five Queens mustered their armies against their jailors and shattered the machinery of their prison. Their victory was swift and brutal; after millennia of imprisonment the Kingdom was once again free.

The effects were far from instantaneous. The first reincarnated Princess to once again Blossom was in 1987 and the second was not until 1994. No one is even sure if the commoners of the Kingdom reincarnate at all but no one has turned up with accurate memories of a past life in the Kingdom so far.
Mention is made of reincarnation in this section and the previous one, but it's not made clear as to what it refers to specifically and how that's all supposed to work. Unfortunately, it isn't, so it's left somewhat vague and confusing for now. Also, the years seem oddly specific for a WoD game and should have some significance. They probably do, but they're not relevant to the game at all and are totally unnecessary. The moon landing being a key date as opposed to VE-Day or the Fall of the Berlin Wall seems to be a sort of personal choice by whoever wrote the section, but it still seems way too specific.

Being a Princess
As a note, to remind everyone again for those who may or may not have forgotten, both males and females (and whatever other genders there are) can become a Prince/Princess.

With regards to the Blossoming, the first transformation, I'll skip most of the fluff to the paragraph that sums up the inevitable.

quote:

No matter the precise trigger, though, Princesses are frequently idealistic or visionaries in some way, although that does not necessarily correlate with naivety; one can be aware of the flaws of the world and still want to improve it. In the end, all that the Hopeful have been able to detect among the circumstances which granted their powers are broad trends and patterns. Almost inevitably, there will be an exception to any rule they devise.
Before reading, I thought this was some sort of puberty analogue. I'm thankful that I'm at least partially wrong. So yeah, while there are broad trends to Blossoming, there's always exceptions so a player can be that speshul snowflake Princess who awakened at the age of six or something. The general trend is anyone in their mid-teens and up can blossom with older individuals triggering during some life changing event. Virtue or Vice have no bearing and stick out oddly as mechanical features mentioned in the middle of a fluff section as though an individual's Virtue and Vice were some constant metaphysical trait akin to alignment.



quote:

From the moment she Blossoms every Princess has the ability to Transform. With the simplest effort she pushes her dreams and aspirations outwards from her soul. They flow through her body, transforming her into the woman she always wanted to be.

The Nobility often tell each other that Princesses don’t do magic; they are magical and Transformation is the proof. In her mundane identity a Princess is hardly recognisable as having any magic at all, but in her transformed identity... Ah, what a difference that is. Magic flows through her body; it is on the level of blood or bone. Her magic makes her stronger, more charismatic, or smarter.

Even her personality is different, but not by much. Part of it is the just the natural result of her magic: She is more confident because she is more capable, she makes more witty remarks because she can think of them faster. Other changes come from the Transformation itself though nothing important changes. Both of her two selves are fundamentally Her. The changes are little things, she uses different phrases and expressions to say the same concepts, her mannerisms are different. Like the changes to her physical body these changes are an expression of the person she wishes to be, drawn from her innermost hopes and made physical by her magic.
From this, it means one could go from to or if they wanted as far as I can tell.

In exchange for these powers, Princesses gain a form of super-empathy called Sensitivity and it increases as a Princess gets stronger. The negative product of Sensitivity are Shadows. There are mechanical bits attached to these things, but they're not elaborated on here. Wisps are their magical resource. I'll skip over the talk about Invocations and Charms since it doesn't really explain anything about them that isn't just fluff. Suffice to say, a Princess needs to feel the emotion necessary to use her abilities. Learning new charms and such is a matter of training (i.e. experience) :facepalm:

Next we get into the Dreamlands:

quote:

Within her dreams a Princess travels beyond her mind and into the very soul of humanity. Within the Dreamlands the hopes and aspirations of mankind take life, they form vast cities. Beautiful vistas with all the incomprehensible forms of a dream. The Dreamlands are more than just a metaphor; they are a true world. The inhabitants have lives, hopes and dwell in functional societies. Many Princesses are surprised to discover something so ordinary amongst dreams and flights of fancy, but is it really so surprising than a Princess’ dreams would form after how she sees the world? For the Princess who cares so much about friendship and community when she is awake, what else would she dream about?

Travelling to the Dreamlands offers many practical advantages to a Princess; she can find friends and mentors among the population including the Radiant Queens. Objects of power, often created and traded by Dreamlanders, can be formed into Bequests. However the Dreamlands is not just frolicking and sunshine; it contains all mankind’s fears and hates as well as it’s hopes and dreams; and it was once used by the Darkness to construct a trap for the souls of the Kingdom. Though the trap is broken it’s creaky machinery and the remnant of the prison’s old wardens still seek to imprison the Enlightened in a blissful dream.
Every supernatural apparently needs their own special realm (exceptthe ones that don't) and this is theirs.

The culture section is next and it's best preserved in its original form:

quote:

The Nobility are really good at community; in the short time since the Release a sprawling culture has grown across a network of blogs, forums and social networking sites. The Hopeful community covers more than just Princesses; Beacons and Sworn are welcome and even ordinary people can often be found on the comment threads. The online Radiant community is hardly a walled garden; it spills forth onto related subjects. Princesses can often be found blogging about and arguing in forums related to politics, current affairs, activism and social justice. Many blogs or forums are considered to be both hubs of the Radiant community – for the author or prominent members are Princesses – and considered to be ordinary websites by their mundane viewers – for the Princesses are still in the closet (at least under this username).

Many Princesses eagerly flock to debates about occult theory or magical phenomena, but on this subject the Nobility often retreat to their own private communities for a Princess talking about her emotional variety of magic often causes her to clash with both mortals – who eagerly latch onto occult principles (accurate or otherwise) to make up for the fact they cannot perform magic – and actual magicians – for whom occult principles form the foundation of their power – some young and naive princesses have caught the attention of experienced magicians who simply recognised the way they talk and think about magic.

Inevitably debates between so many young, passionate ideologues – on the internet no less! – often descends into a morass of arguments often about the most pointless things, if only because it’s easier to join an argument when you don’t need to have read about the subject. At least most Princesses are socially competent and able to spell. People often wonder how Princesses, a group who live by the maxim “School, friends, royal duties, sleep, choose three” ever find the time to argue on the internet. In truth it’s common for Princesses to vanish entirely from their online community when an actual problem comes to their town; lives have even been saved because somebody decided check up why a someone stopped posting.
Yeah...At lot can be said about this section particularly concerning the last quoted paragraph (I skipped the last actual one since it's mostly a transition into Nakamas). The snide passive aggression is practically dripping off of that paragraph.



quote:

The word “Nakama” means a group of friends; translated into English you might say “buddies” or“gang” in the playful kids’ use of the word.

Princesses use the word “Nakama” no differently than ordinary people. A Nakama is first and foremost a group of friends. They go shopping, see movies, plait each other’s hair or compete in fun magic contests.



Fluff on Queens, not really relevant; Campaigns (why?), so an in fiction reason for large groups to get together and fight as though the players and the ST couldn't think of one; and finally the Language section where the creators try to make in-universe explanations for their naming conventions.

quote:

Terms in Japanese originate from Bonnie Getsuei, an American (and complete Japanophile) who forged much of the Radiant’s community in San Francisco and even provided a common entry point to the online Radiant community for English speaking princesses (presumably actual Japanese Princesses also use their native tongue).

Italian words can often trace their origin to the Queen of Heart’s earliest followers in the United Kingdom (The Court of Hearts had a late start in America, as the first impressions of that court often clash with America’s national ideals. Today few Princesses even remember what the fuss was about.) Influenced by Andartan culture those Princesses chose to use a romance language, and since they didn’t want to use French; Princesses everywhere sprinkle their magic with Italian terms.

Greek and Latin words both share origins in the Court of Diamonds; the early Lights were the first to attempt to begin classifying and studying hopeful magic and related phenomena. This project was split between those who were more influenced by their Queen and wanted to use Greek and those who were more influenced by human academia and wanted to use Latin. The argument was never settled and various words from both languages have become part of the Princess lexicon, mostly for things a Princess can go a while without encountering as everything else was named through informal, and therefore faster, channels. Exceptionally nerdy Princesses sometimes use Greek instead of the Latin terms or Latin instead of the Greek, and Latin or Greek instead of English, Italian and Japanese terms.

...

Finally English is, obviously, the de-facto language of English speaking Princesses. Anything that did not get a catchy enough name quickly enough is likely to be in English. One unusual, and uniquely American, fact about English is that many Princesses adopt a more “royal” manner of speaking in their Transformed identity, which is to say a British accent ranging from “BBC English” to “not even The Queen lays it on that thick”. Princesses who are actually from the United Kingdom usually use their natural accent, though as the British will parody anything some have been known to play up, or adopt, incomprehensible regional accents when around Americans.
I don't know either.

That concludes Chapter 1 and now we can get to the really important stuff concerning the game. There's still a lot more fluff to go though so there's still stuff that everyone can groan over.

Next: The skeleton and bones of the system and the spookiness therein.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Between 'a force of banal corruption' and that wanky focus on the Moon landing, I'm already sensing way too much oChangeling influence.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.





Anime-free shenanigans time! Enjoy our dumb Afterthought 6th episode where we manage to stay on the planned topic for about three minutes, then veer off for an hour of reflavoring the Hamburglar and inventing Mr. Bucket-style toys. Oh and answering your questions. And shilling for our new t-shirts, which are incidentally at our TeePublic Store now, where they are on sale for the next three days.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Nightbane - The Introductioning

I was introduced to Nightbane by a friend of mine who got me a copy of it for some holiday or other. I'd enjoyed the concept of RIFTS in general and he was himself a fan of the system - it had been his own first game. At first I thought this was just some gag that he was sharing with me, but as time has gone on, I've come to appreciate...



on its own merits.

Come with me, and let us explore this world... of Nightbanes.

Nightbane was first published in 1995, which may help you contextualize it. The physical copy I have was printed in 2006 so there may be minor discrepancies. I don't know, and judging from how Simbieda lives his life, that may not actually be the case.

But before we get started...

Warning! posted:

The fictional World of Nightbane ™ is one of horror, violence, and brutality as well as heroics and triumph. It is filled with supernatural monsters and other dimensional beings, often referred to as "demons," many of whom torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, angels, gods and demigods, as well as magic, the paranormal, insanity, and war are all elements in this book.

Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

Just so we're all clear.

Also, we're going to be in this introduction for a while. This... is merely... a beginning.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I have a first printing, back from before they had to change the name from 'Nightspawn'. This is going to be something(TM).

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Bieeardo posted:

Between 'a force of banal corruption' and that wanky focus on the Moon landing, I'm already sensing way too much oChangeling influence.

So this is going to be the NO gently caress YOU to nChangeling the way Genius was to nMage?

zephyr42
Apr 19, 2012


theironjef posted:

Anime-free shenanigans time! Enjoy our dumb Afterthought 6th episode where we manage to stay on the planned topic for about three minutes, then veer off for an hour of reflavoring the Hamburglar and inventing Mr. Bucket-style toys. Oh and answering your questions. And shilling for our new t-shirts, which are incidentally at our TeePublic Store now, where they are on sale for the next three days.

I can't wait to buy the t-shirt and then never wear it because I don't want to bother explaining it to people

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



zephyr42 posted:

I can't wait to buy the t-shirt and then never wear it because I don't want to bother explaining it to people

Just tell people it's a restaurant in Vegas or something. The best thing that could possibly happen is people believing that Cheese Dudes is a real place.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Why do you zip your mp3s? Are you really hurting for those 3MB of bandwidth? Also, since I'm actually criticizing you this one time, I'll go ahead and mention that your metadata is kind of a mess. I mostly gave up on that the first month after following more than one podcast, but it's still annoying!

Anyway, deffo going to buy a Cheese Dudes shirt when I can.

theironjef posted:

Just tell people it's a restaurant in Vegas or something. The best thing that could possibly happen is people believing that Cheese Dudes is a real place.

This forever.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

Why do you zip your mp3s? Are you really hurting for those 3MB of bandwidth? Also, since I'm actually criticizing you this one time, I'll go ahead and mention that your metadata is kind of a mess. I mostly gave up on that the first month after following more than one podcast, but it's still annoying!

Anyway, deffo going to buy a Cheese Dudes shirt when I can.


This forever.

Oh you mean like how sometimes it shows up twice in feeds and stuff? That drives me insane! Any idea how to fix that? Also we zip them so people can download them if they want, they always come with the unzipped mp3 as well. Honestly we'll probably drop that zip thing since there's so many other ways to get the shows. It'd save us like 40% of our space, too.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Bieeardo posted:

Between 'a force of banal corruption' and that wanky focus on the Moon landing, I'm already sensing way too much oChangeling influence.

It's even funnier, because in new Werewolf the moon landing is the event that brought back the idigam. Unleashing Cthulhu on the world, the ultimate expression of hope.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

Oh you mean like how sometimes it shows up twice in feeds and stuff? That drives me insane! Any idea how to fix that? Also we zip them so people can download them if they want, they always come with the unzipped mp3 as well. Honestly we'll probably drop that zip thing since there's so many other ways to get the shows. It'd save us like 40% of our space, too.

I've had duplicates in my feed from other things, but not System Mastery, and I've never figured out how to fix it, sorry.

When I mention metadata I'm talking about track info in the mp3. I've mostly resigned myself on that front because all but one podcast I follow is actually good about their metadata.

There's the embedded mp3 player that I don't see a download option on, so the only download readily available is the link below when I go to the web page, which is the zip file.

I've never set up an RSS feed, so I don't have good smart words to advice. I'm just a spoiled baby who wants a "DOWNLOAD MP3 HERE" link in my feed.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Nightbane - The settening

quote:

What We Are
(First published on May 8th, 2001)

It's been a year and a day since Dark Day, the coming of the Night into this world. Before then, our kind were few and far between, hiding in the shadows, or in plain sight, hiding our True Form from the eyes of unsuspecting mortals. A Neophyte could expect to be recognized and helped by an older Nightbane. Not any longer. So many of us have now appeared that there is little hope to educate them personally; not like the old days. For this reason, I am consigning these documents to the wondrous electronic network where information flows as freely as water. My younger friends will make copies everywhere, hoping that they will reach those in need.

Do you know what you are? Allow me to tell you.
We're plunged into an introductory piece of fiction which, as you can no doubt tell from this excerpt, is drawing heavily from the World of Darkness mythopoetic pool, such as it is.

Nightbane (singular and plural both) are apparently humans who are seized around their Puberty Time by the pressure of becoming something powerful and monstrous which gives them terrible abilities, changes their appearance, and generally serves as an extended metaphor for puberty... if puberty kicked rear end!

Much like puberty, the young Nightbane who reaches his First Change, er, BECOMING, often reacts poorly, as the physical transformation is profound. If he does not freak out completely, he regains the ability to turn back into human form. Human form is called the "Facade," whereas the form in which you are a really sick practical movie effect is called the Morphus.

Balthios here (he's not actually named Balthios but I have to call him something) discusses some details here. Nightbane in their Facade are tough but are like 'main character in a realistic work of fiction' tough - they can take more than the average but aren't invincible. In Morphus they are not necessarily invincible but are real tough, strong, et cetera - and they get their own unique powers of various sorts. He also establishes that Nightbane are semi-immortal - Balthios here says when he "Became," a Pharaoh ruled Egypt and his people hunted pigs with wooden spears. Now he looks like a man in his sixties. However, they can be killed by violence and accident... or by the INQUISITION. (Never again the Burning Times, folks!)

Fun Fact: If you die in your Facade your carcass rots normally. If you die as your Morphus, you dissolve into nothinginess after a while.

But that's not all. There's another world out there, on the other side of the mirror. When one crosses through the "mirror wall," there's a world where no sun or stars ever shine. Brutal. This planet, the Nightlands, however - sucks. It's not some steampunk gothique Neathy delight festival, it's ruled by the Ba'al, the Lords of Night! The Ba'al hate humans and Nightbane, have a bunch of sick-rear end minions (the Dopplegangers, doubles of mortals in Earth! the Hounds and the Hunters, merciless metal-clad warriors!) as well as a bunch of other awesome crap.

Oh yeah, and in 2000 AD they invaded Earth.

On Dark Day, March 6th 2000 e.v., at exactly 6:02 AM Eastern, the entire planet was plunged into night-time darkness for 24 hours. There was mass hysteria... monster sightings, suicide epidemics, riots and so on and so forth. After this, the Sun came back, thank God.

HOWEVER... all the latent Nightbane on Earth (all apparently orphans) underwent their first change here. They called themselves the Nightbane because it was at night that they were transformed-- reborn!

Meanwhile, the "Preserver Party," whose platform seems to be the usual It Can't Happen Here line of platitudes, swept the elections, helped by a mysterious rash of scandals, suicides, and so forth on Republican and Democrat sides.

I'll just do another quoteblock here because this really is something else.

NIGHTBANE posted:

Political analysts predicted that the government would become frozen by "gridlock" as the three parties all pulled in different directions. However, shortly after the new government got underway, many Republican and Democratic members of Congress and the Senate fell into line with uncharacteristic meekness, voting the way President Carson wanted them to vote, time after time. Rumors of blackmail, bribery and corruption soon swept the Capital. Reporters who tried to investigate the matter were frustrated by a lack of any evidence to support any such claims of impropriety. However, the situation became increasingly troubling when a number of investigative reporters met with accidents, madness or simply disappeared; more strange coincidences in a long string of unlikely happenstance.

Meanwhile, the new Congress started passing a number of laws designed to "reestablish order." The new laws greatly reduced individual rights and included expanding police discretion to conduct searches without a warrant, a national ID card, gun registration and ownership restrictions. The new Congress also restructured the Secret Service, disbanded the NSA, and created a new security agency, the National Security Bureau (NSB), with extremely broad powers and expansive jurisdiction. Less than a year later, the NSB "discovered" a massive plot by the FBI, CIA, and DBA to overthrow the U.S. government. The National Security Bureau's probing investigations indicated that Dark Day and the growing crime-rate around the country was also part of the same plot. They also uncovered acts of alleged insurrection by, or corruption within, other government agencies.

The public, long-accustomed to stories of government abuse and desperate to find somebody to blame for the Dark Day, believed the story. The NSB purged those agencies of "conspirators," with scores of (innocent) government agents convicted of terrible crimes and executed as traitors or imprisoned. Others resigned and many vanished — fleeing justice and evidence of their guilt, according to the NSB. Some really did "vanish," whereabouts unknown even to old allies and loved ones (presumed dead or imprisoned somewhere), but several hundred went underground, to be later featured on America's Most Wanted as "Enemies of Society."

In the year 2004, President Carson was re-elected with an amazing 76% majority of the popular vote. A number of newspapers and news agencies claimed that the elections had been rigged. Civil liberties continued to be restricted. Gangs of Preserver Activists (later known as "Preeverts") started acting as unofficial terror squads, bullying and sometimes attacking people who made too much noise against the government. The National Rifle Association was one of the organizations to fall. The NSB continued making arrests left and right.

By 2006, President Carson announced he'd be seeking a third term in office, claiming that the current situation needed stable leadership, and drawing comparisons between him and Roosevelt in the 1930s and 40s. Reports continued pouring in about strange goings on in the White House and the Capital, despite increased repression and news control.

And monsters continued to walk the streets after dark.



I actually think this is kind of clever because not only does it present the "normal" view of events - you can sort of buy that after some kind of really weird poo poo like this, there would be a lot of rallying around the flag - it also carefully takes care, not to offend nobody, but to kick both sides in the neck here. Are you running Nightbane(tm) for your local Young Democrats? Fine! Are you running it down at the Cato Institute Youth Nights, as a compromise choice between GURPS and Pathfinder? Dandy! And by being vague, why, you can pick your favorite candidate and lead them to power with your dark and unholy powers... if you dare.

You may be asking what's going on here, and in a shocking twist of events, the Preserver Party here is being run by a bunch of people working for the Ba'al in the Mirrorlands to stage a huge invasion! Sort of like the Reptilians, but unlike the Reptilians, made up - and significantly less charming. The Ba'al apparently cooperated to break down the Gauntlet barriers between worlds enough to get in, but now that they're in they have no real interest in cooperating with each other.

And hey: Remember those Dopplegangers? Well, this Carson dude is one! Many people are. It's unclear if Dopplegangers exist for every Earth human or if they only exist for some - the Mirrorlands are kind of lovely. However, they've replaced many people in high positions of police, military and government offices - so if nothing else, you don't have to feel bad about waxing evil cops.

Next up, the Nightbane factions. Oh yeah - you know they're there. However, a quick summary: Nightbane seem to have appeared occasionally throughout history, and there were a lot of "potential" Nightbane who never "hatched." This is connected to legends of demons, changelings, and so on. Every potential Nightbane DID hatch during or after the Dark Day, though, so there's a huge population increase, even if a whole bunch of them shot themselves and what-not.

I have reached Page 16 in this book so far. It's pretty wild.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

I've had duplicates in my feed from other things, but not System Mastery, and I've never figured out how to fix it, sorry.

When I mention metadata I'm talking about track info in the mp3. I've mostly resigned myself on that front because all but one podcast I follow is actually good about their metadata.

There's the embedded mp3 player that I don't see a download option on, so the only download readily available is the link below when I go to the web page, which is the zip file.

I've never set up an RSS feed, so I don't have good smart words to advice. I'm just a spoiled baby who wants a "DOWNLOAD MP3 HERE" link in my feed.

Huh, no idea how to post a downloadable unzipped mp3 without it automatically popping up the player thing. I'll look into it.

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I Forgot To Hail King Torg


theironjef posted:



Anime-free shenanigans time! Enjoy our dumb Afterthought 6th episode where we manage to stay on the planned topic for about three minutes, then veer off for an hour of reflavoring the Hamburglar and inventing Mr. Bucket-style toys. Oh and answering your questions. And shilling for our new t-shirts, which are incidentally at our TeePublic Store now, where they are on sale for the next three days.
Yay, one of my questions made it! And went to a horrifying Weekend At Bernie's direction!

Time to go buy a Cheese Dudes shirt.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



AmiYumi posted:

Yay, one of my questions made it! And went to a horrifying Weekend At Bernie's direction!

Time to go buy a Cheese Dudes shirt.

They'll all get in there eventually!

TyrsHTML
May 12, 2004

There is a difference between "you can have sex with anything" and "Anything can have sex with you".

theironjef posted:

Huh, no idea how to post a downloadable unzipped mp3 without it automatically popping up the player thing. I'll look into it.

That would be neat, as I download the podcast directly to my phone, and having to unzip it is an extra step. (I'm terrible about not downloading it till I'm at work, so there you go.) I'm also god awful about Itunes and the like, so just having the option to download it from your site is great, but I know I'm an outlier.

This is all moot now, as the podcast app Jeff mentioned works fine. thanks Jeff

TyrsHTML fucked around with this message at 16:03 on May 19, 2015

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, Odds and Ends

Not much to this section, just miscellaneous crunch.

Unmada

A genius' life is often a lonely one. You know you're brilliant, filled with such amazing ideas, yet everyone you try to explain your ideas to thinks you're eccentric at best, genuinely insane at worst. They just can't see the things you do, make the connections you can. The fundamental purpose of the Peerage is to remind you that no, they're not crazy for not seeing things the way you do. You're the crazy one. Unmada, on the other hand, believe they're the sane ones and it's everyone else who's crazy. Now for some crunch on them.

Genius posted:

An unmada experiences the following modifiers and special conditions:

• Attempts to argue against them (usually Persuasion checks) based on external facts about the world,
or to change their mind with regard to facts about the world―but not about moral or Obligationbased
considerations―suffer a penalty equal to half their Inspiration.
• An unmada suffers double the normal Jabir penalty.
• An unmada loses one point of Mania per day instead of regaining one like other geniuses. The genius
cannot refuse to spend this point of Mania.
• An unmada generates a field around herself, called an unmada field, its extent based on her
Inspiration. An unmada who cannot spend a point of Mania (see above) cannot sustain her field,
which collapses until she gets a point of Mania. (Once she has Mania, she immediately spends one
point to restore the field.)

The unmada field is what makes them so dangerous. Within an area based on their Inspiration, reality itself warps to conform to the unmada's views, starting with just the size of a building at Inspiration 1 and creating manes of small objects and plants to entire cities filled with intelligent and even Inspired manes at 7 dots and above. These manes know their survival depends on the unmada and the unmada remaining crazy, so they'll do everything in their power to keep the unmada the way they are.

We're not given any real crunch for precisely what an unmada field does, but the fluff is interesting. At the lowest levels of Inspiration, people within the unmada field simply agree with the genius' insanity. Scientific journals publish articles agreeing with the genius' personal theory of science or philosophy or what have you. Any arguments made against the unmada's views become uncertain, self-contradictory. As their power grows, so does the field's effects. A genius who believes all organic life to be fundamentally mechanical might pet a clockwork cat in the city park and feed pigeons made of glass. Domestic appliance stores start selling android assistants. Hover-cars flit through the skies powered by etheric crystals. An extraordinarily powerful unmada is all but a god within her realm, sovereign of an impossible land that bows to her every whim for they know even if she doesn't that her insanity gives them life.

Geniuses can detect unmada fields, but no rules are given for mortals or other supernaturals detecting Maniacal activity. Which leads to all sorts of potential amusing scenarios where a vampire or werewolf stumbles into someone's unmada field and completely loses their poo poo because what the goddamn gently caress.


Next we're given some rules for detecting mad science activity. Geniuses can natively see at a glance any transfers of Mania, unmada fields, and wonder creation. Given time to take a closer look, they can determine more:

Genius posted:

To gain more information, the genius can spend a minute examining the object. A genius also needs to analyze
an object this way if it is partially hidden (a mane in a long coat, for example) or if a wonder has the
"concealed" or "normal-looking" variables. Roll Inspiration + Wits.

Dramatic Failure: The genius completely misinterprets what he's seeing.

Failure: The genius gains no further information, and cannot try again on that subject for the rest of the scene.

Success: The genius gains more information, answering the following applicable questions:
• Whether something is a wonder; its rank, primary Axiom, and any "support" Axioms of a wonder
• Whether a wonder is an orphan
• Whether something is a mane
• Whether something is a Larva, and if it is a transgressive Larva
• Whether something is a capacitor, and how much Mania it currently holds
• A genius' Inspiration (low, medium, or high)
• A Clockstopper's Acedia (low, medium, or high)
• How much Mania someone or something has spent with its last action

Exceptional Success: The genius gains even more information, answering the following applicable questions in
addition to those available from a regular success:

• A wonder's faults
• A wonder's creator (if the genius knows the creator)
• What Axioms are influencing a person or object (Exelixi stat boosts, Metaptropi polymorphing, etc.)
• The idea or philosophy that birthed the mane
• A genius' catalyst, foundation, and highest Axiom
• Whether or not a genius is unmada (this will not reveal Illumination)
• A Clockstopper's highest Void
• How much Mania a genius, mane, or automaton currently possesse
Suggested Modifiers: Genius has a relevant Apokalypsi gizmo (bonus equals rank of wonder), genius cannot
touch subject (-2), genius takes only one turn in analysis (-2), genius has encountered a genuinely new or
unique phenomenon (-3), genius has encountered a "common" mad science phenomenon (+1), genius is
studying a member of his own foundation (+2), target is partially concealed (-1 to -3)

Next we're given some rules for people other than a wonder's creator using one. In short, a genius' own beholden can use them without penalty as can geniuses who match the creator's Inspiration and axioms involved. Mortals and other supernaturals take penalties when using wonders and mortals trigger a Havoc check every time.

Internalized Wonders are a genius experimenting on herself, installing a wonder directly into her own body. In short, it's risky, dangerous, and an Obligation-7 transgression (personally I disagree with this last one).

Capacitors are special devices, not quite wonders, that allow geniuses to store, transfer, and withdraw Mania with a whole bunch of rules. With Automata-1, they can also serve as a mundane power generator.


Next are some rules and notes about geniuses and mortality. Geniuses are physically human before wonders get involved, with no special resistance or vulnerability to damage. Genius then contradicts what it previously established about dots of Inspiration increasing a genius' lifespan by saying that only dots of Exelixi increase a genius' lifespan by 20 years per dot. That being said, while often highly unethical, there are few supernaturals better than geniuses at cheating death: clones, brains in jars, consciousness transfers, neural uploading, etc.

In short, a genius by her lonesome with no wonders isn't noticeably different from a regular [crazy] human, and so it's her wonders that really make her more than human.


Time Travel

This is a doozy in science-fiction, and geniuses do it with regularity. Anyone with Skafoi 5 can make a time machine, and Genius' metaplot involves quite a lot of it.

It used to be (excuse the past tense screaming in agony) that godlike beings called the Terminals at the end of time curb-stomped anyone who tried meddling with time. Until someone (Lemurians) changed the timeline so that the Terminals never existed.

Genius posted:

Now it's a kind of temporal free-for-all, with mad scientists and arch-magicians and alien psychics from the black hole in the
center of the Galaxy all running about history, mucking things up. However, this did not (and again, the past
tense would like to apologize) last long. A détente settled into place, agreed to by various powerful factions
and enforced by a group calling itself the Guardians of Forever, the Terminals' former servants. This
group―not a fellowship, as it includes much more than just mad scientists―allows others to "blow off steam"
by permitting minor changes to the timeline: a murdered wife rescued here, a genius' wretched younger
brother striking it rich there. The idea is that the relentless enforcement of absolute causal stasis is what
eventually forced the rebellion against the Terminals that resulted in their destruction.

Nonetheless, the Guardians of Forever enforce the unfolding of the grand sweep of history: the dinosaurs
must perish, whether by an asteroid or a plague or a volcanic apocalypse. Rome will fall, as will the Spanish
Empire and the Eternal Terran Dynasty of Yao Ming. The Guardians' solution is simple and expedient:
whenever a major shake-up occurs, they travel back in time to shortly after the event (or sometimes during, if
they cannot fix the problem afterward) and juggle events around so things unfold as they always have. When
a furious genius went back in time and killed Helmut Schenk, the cruelest genocidal mastermind of the 20th
century, as a child, the Guardians of Forever went back and elevated the art student Adolf Hitler to that same
role.

It's not like they enjoy doing that. In fact, the genius who made the above "swap" committed suicide a week
later. But the Guardians have discovered that the Terminals were not acting entirely out of self-interest: the
timeline that leads to the Terminals' existence, despite its horrors, produces a universe of boundless life and
richness. It may be the best of all possible timelines.

Thing is, the future is unstable in the extreme and growing more so all the time [pun intended]. The Guardians of Forever are losing control, and enterprising supernaturals of all stripes are outpacing the Guardians' ability to keep things in order. Feel free to go back in time and kill Hitler - the Guardians have a cloning facility dedicated to churning out Hitlers because he gets killed so often. Thanks to the Terminals and Guardians, this particular timeline we currently habit is remarkably stable as things go and it takes some serious effort to produce substantial changes in history. At which point the Guardians will put a strike team together and erase you from the timeline if they can - which they're pretty drat good at doing, they're not to be messed with lightly.

Time travel is a tricky business, and anyone familiar with the tropes and problems of time travel in sci-fi and fantasy can put together most of Genius' exposition themselves. Yes, you can be your own grandfather. No, the universe doesn't actually care very much. And yes, you can delete yourself from existence by killing your past self. Again, you're not very important to history.

We get some rules about making said serious changes to the timeline and what's likely to get the Guardians' goat, and in short their policy is don't rock the boat. In general the Guardians don't give a poo poo about what you do as long as you don't make serious changes to the timeline, they just expect payment in Mania for not kicking your rear end. That being said, the Guardians are outnumbered, overworked, and as corrupt as any police department, so your mileage may vary.

Also, when time traveling please don't interact with your past/future self who's on another time jaunt in the same time frame. Please. It's a horrible idea even by time travel standards and causality hates you for it.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



TyrsHTML posted:

That would be neat, as I download the podcast directly to my phone, and having to unzip it is an extra step. (I'm terrible about not downloading it till I'm at work, so there you go.) Im also god awful about setting up RSS and the like, so just having the option to download it from you site is great, but i know im an outlier.

Yeah, I tend to figure most folks get it by having a podcast application, like Podcasts on iphone or Podcast Addict on android (I use some ludicrously old thing called Podkicker on my tablet because it's too old for ad support). Those just let you stick the feed in for all your podcasts by searching distributors like stitcher. I'll definitey try and clean the layout a little.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Nessus posted:

Nightbane - The settening

You may want to explain Nightbreed for babies who haven't seen it.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I only saw Nightbreed for the first time, like, 3 months ago. The director's cut was decently rad. It was kind of a glaring omission for someone who's tolerated 5 Highlander movies.

A friend of mine has read the whole Marvel comics series. Don't know about that one.

Esser-Z
Jun 3, 2012



I need some new t-shirts anyway, so I'll def grab a Cheese Dudes when I'm doing that. Also, getting close to caught up on System Mastery. I'm surprised you guys didn't even mention the most ridiculous rule in Synnibarr--the one that says you're NOT ALLOWED TO HOUSE RULE IT, and players are rewarded if they catch the GM altering anything.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Alien Rope Burn posted:

You may want to explain Nightbreed for babies who haven't seen it.
I'm not familiar, actually! Isn't it a Clive Barker book? You may well be better equipped than I.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Esser-Z posted:

I need some new t-shirts anyway, so I'll def grab a Cheese Dudes when I'm doing that. Also, getting close to caught up on System Mastery. I'm surprised you guys didn't even mention the most ridiculous rule in Synnibarr--the one that says you're NOT ALLOWED TO HOUSE RULE IT, and players are rewarded if they catch the GM altering anything.

Oh my god you're right. I totally meant to! Two episodes worth of time to do it and it slipped right through.

Xand_Man
Mar 2, 2004

If what you say is true
Wutang might be dangerous




What happens if the GM ignores THAT rule?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Xand_Man posted:

What happens if the GM ignores THAT rule?

They couldn't! It says so in the rulebook!

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Yeah, it says the players can basically hold them to the rules. If you notice the DM houseruling something, you can immediately pause the session and force the DM to correct the game to rules standards.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Searchers of the Unknown

Searchers of the Unknown is a free, short, rules-light game by Nicolas Desaix. The whole thing fits on one page. The core concept of the game is that in old-school D&D modules, a monster can be described in a single line of text:
pre:
Skeleton (AC 7, MV 6’, HD 1, HP 4, #AT1, D1-8 by sword)
If it's good enough for monsters, it should be enough PCs, too

Character creation

All characters are assumed to be "dungeon crawlers, delvers and swordsmen". There are no spellcasters in this game, as clerics are in their churches and wizards are in their laboratories, or perhaps they are the villains, but they're not the ones going into the dungeons.

1. Pick an armor

The game uses descending AC:
No Armor is AC 9 with a movement (MV) of 12 (inches)
Leather Armor is AC 7, MV 9
Chainmail is AC 5, MV 6
Plate Mail is AC 3, MV 3
and a Shield reduces your AC and MV by 1

2. Roll for hit points

You get one HD per level, so a level 1 character rolls 1d8 for their starting HP

3. Choose three weapons, or two weapons and a shield

Small weapons use a 1d4 damage dice, ranged weapons use 1d6, (one-handed) melee weapons use 1d8, and two-handed weapons use 1d10. While there are prescriptions of what the usual weapons for these are (dagger, bow, mace, and polearm, respectively), the game lets describe whatever it is you might want, so presumably you could write down glaive-guisarme as your two-handed weapon if you really wanted to.

4. Number of attacks

You start with 1 attack per round, and gain another attack every 4 levels.

5. Choose a name and a description

The game also suggests describing your race such as dwarf or elf, but this has no mechanical effect.

As an example, Xylarthen is a level 3 Searcher wearing Plate Mail and wielding a glaive-guisarme. His character sheet would then be:
pre:
Xylarthen (AC 3, MV 3’, HD 3, HP 10, #AT1, D1-10 by glaive-guisarme)
Combat

1. Initiative

Each character rolls [1d10+AC], with the highest going first and then descending down the initiative count. Since less armor is higher AC, this means that lightly armored characters have a better initiative. If you have more than one attack, you roll initiative once for each of your attacks.

2. Attack

To hit a target, roll 1d20 and get equal to or less than [enemy AC + attacker level]. As an example, Xylarthen would need to roll a 10 or less to hit the AC 7 Skeleton (7 AC + Level 3 attacker = 10).

You may notice that this means the character is getting +1 attack bonus/THAC0 every level, something which didn't happen until AD&D. It's a small touch, but I like it, as I've always felt that characters keeping the same attack bonus throughout all of the Blue/Red Box was a bit unrewarding.

The other big departure from traditional rules is cleaving: whenever a player-character kills a monster, they can make another attack at the end of the same round.

3. Damage

When you score a hit, roll your damage dice, the subtract it from the target's HP. The game explicitly states that while a monster dies on hitting 0 HP, player-characters are only knocked out and are kept as prisoners. This is a nice touch to prevent the game from turning into character-sheet burning meat-grinders, if like me you're not into that.

4. Morale

After first monster dies, all monsters take a morale check
When half the monsters in a whole encounter are dead, all monsters take a morale check
When a monster is reduced to half HP or less, the individual monster takes a morale check

A morale check is done rolling 1d10. If the roll is higher than the HD, the monster "will withdraw or surrender to get a better position"

This would, again, greatly reduce the lethality of early-game combat, as many monsters would only have a 10% chance of fighting on after taking a check.

5. Rest and Bandages

At the end of an encounter, all hit points are restored. "After all, hit points reflect the capacity to escape or stand hits". The game does say though that any character that was knocked out during the encounter might need a longer rest or a potion or healing magic to get back up to fighting form. Beyond the morale rules, this would really ease up on the lethality of OSR D&D, since anything short of a TPK is survivable.

Adventuring

1. Stealth and Stunts

Sneaking around monsters, hiding in shadows, moving silently, climbing walls or swimming are all actions that are easier in light armor than in heavy. To check for success on such actions, roll 1d20 and get equal to or less than [AC + Level]. Xylarthen would need a 6 or less on a 1d20 to perform any of these normally Thief-like actions. The game recommends using a 1d10 instead of a 1d20 if the task is circumstancially easier.

Comparing this to the original game, a level 1 Thief has a 20% chance to Move Silently, an 87% chance to Climb Sheer Surfaces and a 10% chance to Hide in Shadows. A level 1 Searcher with Leather Armor (or a target number of 8) would have a 40% chance of pulling off these actions. Since Move Silently and Hide in Shadows improve by 5% per level in the original game, a Searcher would always be ahead.

2. Saving Throws

Whenever an effect or action or spell calls for a saving throw, roll 1d20 and get equal to or less than [Level + 4]. Xylarthen would need a 7 or less on a 1d20 to avoid getting poisoned, or crushed, or getting toasted by a Dragon's breath, etc.

This is also used for all other generic "ability checks", such as jumping a gap or tipping over a wagon or picking a lock or searching for secret doors.

3. Dangers

In keeping with reducing the lethality of OSR modules, anything that could kill a man outright will instead deal 1d8 damage. If it could kill a horse, 2d8 damage. If it could kill an ogre, 4d8 damage.

4. Magic

Even if there are no spellcasters as player-characters, the game still has basic guidelines for using whatever scrolls or artifacts that might be found:
If it's a combat-related spell, it'll last for one fight, or else it'll last the whole day.
The range of a spell is always whatever's in the same room as the caster.
The area-of-effect of a spell is everyone in the room, or one target per spell level, whichever fits better
Damage is treated in the 1d8/2d8/4d8 model of the Dangers section

Experience

Every time the player-characters defeat a monster (explicitly not limited to just killing them), they gain 100 XP per monster HD, divided equally among the characters. A character needs [2000 * Level] XP to get to the next level, and there are no limits to levels. A new level means better attack rolls, better stealth/stunt rolls and saving throws, and more HP.

Specifically, the player will reroll all their HD on hitting the new level, then take the new total if it's higher. If it's not, they stay at their current HP level.

Variants

There are two main variants to the game:

1. Target 20

Attack rolls are now: Roll 1d20 + Attacker Level + Target AC. If the total is 20 or higher, you hit
Stealth/Stunt rolls are now: Roll 1d20 + Level + AC. If the total is 20 or higher, you succeed
Saving throws/ability checks are now: Roll 1d20 + Level + 3. If the total is 20 or higher, you succeed

This allows you to play with old-school descending AC but approach the math from a "higher is always better" perspective

2. D20 Style

No Armor is now AC 10
Leather Armor is now AC 13
Chainmail is now AC 15
Plate Mail is now AC 17
A shield adds 1 to your AC

Attack rolls are now: Roll 1d20 + Attacker Level. If the total is equal to or greater than your target's AC, you hit
Stealth/Stunt rolls are now: Roll 1d20. If the roll is equal to or less than [AC - Level], you succeed
Saving throws/ability checks are now: Roll 1d20 + Level. If the total is 16 or higher, you succeed

This allows you to play with later editions of D&D or whatever retroclones that happen to use an ascending AC model.

Besides those, there are also variants that add traditional Cleric/Wizard spellcasters, or add mechanical weight to race selection, or even "full conversions" that give the game a sci-fi, cyberpunk or even WW2 setting.

In Closing

I think the game accomplishes its goal of being "a minimalist way to play D&D", while also getting rid of a bunch of sacred cows such as ability scores.

The morale checks combined with the vastly relaxed healing and recovery rules feel like they might make the game too easy, but otherwise this is something that I could definitely see myself playing.

The character creation is lightning-fast and there's enough room to add whatever flavor or theme you want - someone who wants to play a Wizard might just be rolling standard attack rolls and 1d6 for their Magic Missiles, and circumstantial bonuses for background-related skill checks, and so on.

The only other thing that stood out to me was that despite modifying multiple mechanics to be more average or player-favoring, HP is still randomly rolled.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Magical Moon landings? Dream lands? Way too many queens? Americans becoming British? Way too much backstory when "There's way more than one magical girl team in the world" would offer more than enough conflict potential? Why not just go "here's your frilly dress, have fun shooting pink energy beams powered by friendship and love"?

Also, I am dissappointed that they don't have a special, obtuse word for "transformation"? Why not "Henshin", or "Verwandlung" (so you can add German to the list of languages).

Halloween Jack posted:

Nightbane's gotta be in my top five "want to save this game from the people who made it." There's a Unisystem conversation floating around...

It's strangely of a piece with, of all things, Marvel Super Heroes. Both are games where the random chargen is likely to give you some kind of animal mutant instead of what you were expecting. And when they released supplements with more chargen options and powers, your chance of rolling an animal mutant, like, tripled.

This reminds me of that one time I rolled up a transformer that was half-vegetable.

Plague of Hats posted:

Didn't Ewen Cluney release like one or two straight up magical girl games?

Though it's not a complete game, his abandoned Tokyo Super Heroes supports magical girl teams. Probably the most light-hearted Cluney-based option.

Many, many moons ago, he also wrote a sourcebook for BESM and Thrash called "Magical World", a setting in which an overpopulation of magical girls causes the rise of Hunters hired to cut down their numbers. This then inspired the fan-made sourcebook / second edition "Cute Killers", which is basically Hunter: The Vigil if you replace "monsters" with "magical girls".

Mazes & Minotaurs - Maze Masters Guide


This book as everything you expect from a Dungeon Masters Guide: Tips on how to be GM, random tables, magical items, and how NPCs and creatures work and how they are build.
Also included are about a dozen pages of Mythika, the official setting of M&M. It's basically a fantasy version of the Mediterranean, with a wide open passage to the Black Sea and without Italy. The center of the setting is made up of The Land of the Three Cities aka Not-Greece: Thena (Athens), Heraklia (Sparta) and Argos (actually called Argos). The north of mainland Not-Europe is ruled by amazons, centaurs and various barbarian tribes (including the lands of Hyperborea). The east is taken up by the Land of the Sun, which has a weird monotheistic religion. The south aka Not-Africa is comprised of savage jungles, Not-Egypt and the Stygian Empire of necromancers. West of Not-Portugal lies Atlantis, which in this setting is a bunch of slavemongering jerks. Big kingdoms and empires are a bit rare, with a lot of city-states and plenty of wilderness in between.
The setting part (including a short history and Greek pantheon lesson) only takes up 14 pages, but the official M&M magazine (the Minotaur) dedicates quite a bit of space on fleshing out the individual parts of the setting.

Creatures

Creatures in M&M fall into one of 5 categories: Folks (humanoids), Beasts (animals), Monsters (hydras, manticores, the fun stuff), Spirits (ghosts and other outsiders) and Animates (golems and undead).

Creature creation is pretty darn nifty in M&M. As the game doesn't have Hit Dice, a creature's core abilities is described with four characteristics: Size, Ferocity, Cunning and Mystique.

Size (of which there are 5, from Tiny to Gigantic) is the most important category, as it greatly influences the creatures Hits, Movement base attack bonus and damage output (Tiny 1, Small 1d3, Medium 1d6, Large 2d6, Gigantic 3d6).
Size has a big impact on combat (though it's odd how this is here and not in the combat chapter). Aside from the size difference being a ranged attack modifier, you can actually do multiple attacks per round as long as your targets are smaller than you. Each step of size difference doubles the amount of targets, so the typical Medium hero could attack 2 Small or 4 Tiny creatures (or 1 Small and 2 Tiny). So not only does a Gigantic monster dish out 3d6 damage, but he can also keep the entire party busy.

Ferocity, Cunning and Mystique describe how dangerous, smart and supernatural the creature is. Thy all have 4 different "levels", each with a descriptive adjective (so you can have an Aggressive creature that is quite Clever and a bit Weird) and a modifier (0 to +3). These modifiers as well as Size are used to calculate the creature's derived attributes.
This also allows the GM to quickly come up with stats for variant creatures, like elite or archer minotaurs.

After calculating these base values, one can further add Special Abilities. These either improve the statblock (like Natural Armor increasing the Defense Class), add new ways to attack (like Breath Weapon and Charge Into Battle) or just make the monster generally nasty (like Multiple Heads, which grants extra attacks that are thankfully not multiplied against smaller targets). You can also create a caster creature by giving it Psychic Powers (which essentially makes it a Sorcerer). These all add to the creature's Glory and Wisdom rewards.
Folks can also beef up their Defense Class with armor like a PC, which also increases their Glory. They are automatically assumed to have a melee weapon (ranged weapons require the Missile Weapons Special Ability).

NPCs are either Major NPCs (which are build just like PCs) and Minor NPCs (which are creature of the Folk variety unless they're a non-combatant, in which case they are just a useless bag of 4 hit points).

Overall, these rules are pretty fast and neat. They're much more descriptive than Hit Dice, and you don't run into crazy

Game Mastering

Some general guidelines as to what your typical Greek-ish heroes are supposed to be doing. You know, hunting artifacts and/or monsters, fighting in epic wars, exploring mysterious islands, or venturing into the Underworld. This being inspired by Greek mythology, the stereotypical stranger hiring the PCs in a random tavern might very well be Zeus himself.

Rounding up this chapter are various random temples for fleshing out islands, city-states and temples. Again, this being inspired by Greek mythology, you so don't want to loot the latter. We're talking about permanent Luck loss (aka "You've now become worse at everything").

The note and comment section of this chapter is probably my favorite, because it takes a jab at the "D&D is satanic propaganda" craze, including a Chick Tract parody:



Mythic Items

Your typical D&D-style magic items, about half of which follow the "[Items] of [(demi-)god from Greek mythology]" formula. The Aegis shield, the Bag of Winds and Lightning Bolts are of course included, but no Bag of Holding equivalent. Mythical weapons should be especially popular because these are the only way for most classes to get a bonus to their damage roll.
The interesting part about the high-level weapons and armor pieces like the Bow of Apollo or Helmet of Athena is that their obligatory +x bonus to at least one kind of roll is not a fixed bonus, but actually a specific attribute modifier of the wearer. The above mentioned Bow of Apollo for example allows the wearer to add his Skill modifier to damage, while the Helmet of Athena adds his Will bonus to Initiative and EDC (on top of the +2 for wearing a helmet). So a lot of these mythical items aren't good because they have a +4 or +5, but because they allow a hero to unleash his full potential. This also means that they grow with the wearer, which is always handy.

These wouldn't be D&D-style magic items without some artifacts, so here they are:

The Chess Pieces of the Gods

Formerly used by Zeus and Hera to play destiny games that could affect the mortal world - until Hera became so pissed off after losing that she threw the pieces out the window. Zeus just ordered new pieces from Hephaestus, but the original pieces are still scattered in the world and allow their finder to turn them into a loyal Animate.

The Golden Fleece

Of course this one would turn up here. It doesn't really do anything itself, but the one to find this treasure will immediately gain 1,000 Glory or Wisdowm and have their Luck raised by 1d6 points.

The Head of Orpheus

This morbid artifact is the metallized head of Orpheus, which acts as a portable Lyrist, oracle and mythic item identifier bonus (because of course there are rules for identifying magic items). Now that's a good deal.

All in all a pretty solid book with some neat creature generation rules and an interesting spin on magic items.

Next Time: Let's see what the bestiary has to offer.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:06 on May 19, 2015

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Esser-Z
Jun 3, 2012



theironjef posted:

Oh my god you're right. I totally meant to! Two episodes worth of time to do it and it slipped right through.

Haha, that's fine. You could get hours upon hours out of Synnibarr. On that note, it's impossible to learn Venderant Nalaberong. At all. And many alchmeical abilities require the use of some of it. Thus, that entire class is nonfunctional. You can't even fix it, because of the no house ruling rule!

quote:

This reminds me of that one time I rolled up a transformer that was half-vegetable.
That's entirely reasonable!

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