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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


unseenlibrarian posted:

The biggest condemnation I have of Emilie Autumn is that every fan of hers I've ever met were also huge into Changeling: The Dreaming.
I can see why.

Wikipedia posted:

Autumn draws influence for her music—the style of which she has alternatively labeled as "Fairy Pop", "Fantasy Rock" or "Victoriandustrial" and glam rock—from plays, novels, and history, particularly the Victorian era. Performing with her all-female backup dancers The Bloody Crumpets, Autumn incorporates elements of classical music, cabaret, electronica, and glam rock with theatrics, and burlesque.
That sound you just heard was Satyros coming to spontaneous orgasm.

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Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


I still abide by "they scrubbed TVTropes for Inspirations in 2009 and then never touched it again" theory. Every other section has received updates of sorts while Callings and Queens are let mostly untouched since their inception. The Charms section will definitely be interesting though since it seems to have gotten a bit bloated over the years.

I accidentally deleted the next two Queen sections, btw, so those posts might be a bit delayed. Just like the Queen of Diamonds, though, the Queen of Hearts is nearly exactly like a Calling. Also there's the first overt Pony inspiration.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

I'd love for the two big fan/creator reactions to your podcast to be fanboys flipping out because you didn't like a particular edition of their mediocre favorite game, and then the actual creator of a piece of undeniable garbage nodding his head and going "Yep, that was pretty dumb of me :thumbsup:"

I would too but Porter would actually be the fourth creator to interact with us (we've already collected the authors of Stormbringer, Tales from the Floating Vagabond, and Car Wars) and it'd be literally amazing if he was willing to get on board with how mean we were to Haven. I'll tell you this though, if he comes through the original review with anything less than outright hating us, I'll invite him on the show right there.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




unseenlibrarian posted:

The biggest condemnation I have of Emilie Autumn is that every fan of hers I've ever met were also huge into Changeling: The Dreaming.

Halloween Jack posted:

Whenever I read Changeling: the Dreaming I remember my crazy ex's even crazier roommate, who never washed, lived on Hot Pockets and beans-on-toast (because everything British is better), and ran an unsuccessful Etsy shop. Her biggest claim to fame was being featured on Regretsy, and her peak of success was selling some of her doll's to a museum gift shop. My ex claims she found her crying the night before the sale because her dolls told her they were scared to go to the museum.
Big into Emilie Autumn, that one.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




unseenlibrarian posted:

The biggest condemnation I have of Emilie Autumn is that every fan of hers I've ever met were also huge into Changeling: The Dreaming.

Isn't she also the one who tried to set up an armchair treasure hunt called Enchant that nobody ever solved and she ended up just not being bothered with later on? I remember seeing fanforums going on about how smart she must be, ignoring the fact that anyone can fart out a puzzle that can't be solved. Plus, the prize was just a bunch of fairy costume items, thus probably significantly limiting interest in solving the puzzle..

Didn't she voice act in something for Nintendo too? I'd laugh out loud if she was the "Hi I'm Daisy" girl. :)

(Amazingly someone's still doing it: https://enchantpuzzle.wordpress.com/ )

hyphz fucked around with this message at 18:45 on May 26, 2015

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Stars Without Number

In space, no one can hear you nom.

Time for another round!

Chapter Two: Psionics

Psionic powers in the world of Stars Without Number were responsible for both the peak of humanity's golden age as well as its ultimate downfall. Back in the good old days, the Psionic Authority on Mars carefully regulated psychic training and gave every gifted one access to it (because an untrained psychic can go all Carrie on their surrounding).
With the Authority long gone, things are bit more wild now, with psychics being trained by mentors, secret cults or the few academies that still have several records form the golden age. Psychics today are only a shadow of what they were once capable of, but who knows how many Authority secrets migth still be lurking on a dead colony or abandoned space station.


The 90s are strong with this one.

Psychic powers in SWN are divided in 6 disciplines with 9 levels of powers each. Unless specifically said otherwise, each psychic power cost an action to use and is by itself invisible (so now electricity or glowing lights). They also don't take up any slots, but cost Psi Points. A Psychic gains an increasing amount of Psi points with each level (before increasing much more slowly after level 10) and add their highest Prime Attribute modifier for each level (even after level 10 it seems). The Prime Attributes are Wisdom (Jedi) and Constitution (Muscle Wizard).
When starting out, a Psychic chooses one discipline has his primary discipline. This one starts out at level 1 and goes up with each level-up. Once the primary discipline is maxed out at 9, they get to pick a new primary. Additionally, every level (including the first) grants them 1 level of proficiency to put in any discipline as long as that wouldn't increase that discipline's level past the character's actual level (so you can't use these extra levels on your first primary discipline). With a total of 54 powers to learn, mastering everything would take 27 character levels*, so a bit of prioritizing is mandatory.

*) This is one of those OSR games where advancement slows down to negligible levels after level 9 or 10, but where a level cap doesn't actually exist.

For added customization, a Psychic can master his favorite powers. This permanently reduces the Psi Point pool by the power's activation cost, but the power can henceforth be used for free. You can only master powers that are below your character level, and you have to master powers from the same discipline in order.

When running out of Psi Points, a Psychic can choose to draw from his neural reserves to cast any power for free. This is called "Torching", as it has a good chance of dealing lasting damage to body and/or mind. Each of of Torching is followed with a d10 roll. A 1-4 causes a permanent loss of 1 CON point, a 5-8 does the same for WIS, and a 9 or 10 means you're incredibly lucky and suffer no lasting effects.
Having CON drop below 3 kills you, while WIS below 3 makes you batshit insane, turning you into a dangerous psychopath who can torch all day long because your brain is already FUBAR.

Now for the powers themselves I'll summarize the discipline based on what they can do at the lower and upper end of their power spectrum, pointing out a few interesting powers in between.

Biopsionics

Healing and buff powers. A bit unorthodox in that the very first power you learn - Biostasis - is a resurrection power usable on a target that hasn't been dead for more than 6 rounds. The basic healing power - Psychic Succor - is available at level 2. High-level Biopsionics gives you fun stuff like 8th level power Entropic Resonance (wreck someone's cellular integrity for 6d6 damage, halved on a succesful Mental Effect Save) and the 9th level power Nine Lives (play Wolverine once a week upon death, allowing you to fully regenerate within an hour as long as there's at least something left of you).
Since healing items aren't as common as say in D&D, you really want your party's Psychic to have at least 2 levels in this one.

Metapsionics

This rare discipline deals with altering other psychic powers, be it strenghtening your own powers or gently caressing with the powers of others. Low-level powers include Psychic Harmonization (+2 bonus vs psionic effects) and Psionic Static Field (force other Psychics to pay more Psi Points for their powers), while high-level powers include Psychic Avalance (force someone to reroll any successful saving throws against your powers at the cost of dealing 2d6 damage to yourself) and Eye of the Storm (a 40 m radius inside which you can detect and shut down psychic powers, all while you and your allies pay less points for their own powers).
There's really quite a lot of neat stuff here, like the 3th level Metapsionic Concert (share your Psi points with fellow psychics, useful for any cult), the 4th level Neural Surge (suffer 1d4 damage and gain twice that as Psi Points, a safer alternative to Torching) and the 6th level Psychic Backlash (causes the targeted psychic to hurt himself when using powers, which is always good for a laugh).

Precognition

The ability to see and later alter the future. As far as the known records go, no past precog managed to forsee humanity's downfall.
Also of note is that there is no Postcognition in this game. There apparently was a Postcognition discipline in the golden age (which the humans may or many not have used to get their hands on ancient alien know-how), but there have been no surviving records of this art, and any attempts to revive this discipline regardless have failed, as the past is written in stone and particularly resistant to psychic powers.

Precog powers start of rather small, but neat with Omen (which has the GM answer the question "Will my current course of action bite me in the arse in the next ten minutes or so?", which is pretty straightforward as far as these kinds of powers go) and Terminal Reflection (Spider Sense warning of imminent danger in the next minute once per day). High level precogs can pull off stuff like Not My time (allows you to survive anything once per week through a series of improbable circumstances, like having a nuke just fail to detonate.) and Strange Attractor (mess with spacetime so you can exist twice at the same time for one round, after which you decide which version of you will continue to exist).

Telekinesis

Your typical control over matter and force. Beginners can pull off Remote Manipulation (move stuff with an effective STR of 10 as if using one hand, with a -2 penalty if you're using a weapon that way) and Telekinetic Press (the same with STR 18, but it lacks the finesse to be used to attack moving objects). Telekinesis masters can use Kinetic Bleed (an invisible force field that can eat up to 40 points of damage from kinetic damage sources) and Mind Over Motion (make any motion of objects under 300 kilos in a radius of 20 m your bitch, turning you some kind of kinetic Magento aka Kineto).
Other fun stuff includes the 4th level Telekinetic Ram (wreck vehicles and immobile objects for your discipline level in d8 damage, which at level 7-9 has a good chance of destroying or at least heavily damaging any vehicle that isn't a starship, including tanks) and Telekinetic Counterstrike (attack people with their own bullets and weapons Magneto-style). And if you want to fly, the 7th level Bootstrap Flight has you covered.

Telepathy

Lots of mind probing and gently caressing. It starts with Empathy (basically Detect Superficial Thoughts) and Metalinguistics (two-way language translation) and ends with Deep Memory Analysis (bring forth memories even your target has forgotten) and Overpowering Will (screw over people who just made a successful Mental Effect save by forcing a reroll at a penalty). Always fun is also the 6th level Psychic Assault (deals your Telepathy level in d4 damage, which a Mental Effect Save can cut in half).

Teleportation

You are Nightcrawler. You thankfully instinctively abort any teleport that would fuse you with a wall or something. Teleportation powers are pretty similar and just increase the range and stuff you can carry with you (said stuff not including other people). It starts with Sidestep (you and 5 kilos of stuff over 10 m) and ends with Orbital Warp (you and 4,000 kilos anywhere on the current planet, including to and from high orbit). Yes, you can beam yourself and a crapton of explosives all over the place if you want to. Don't mess with Teleporters.
Since teleporting equalizes your momentum with your new surrounding, even one level can make you effectively immune to falling damage as long as you have Psi Points.

Overall not bad at all. Certainly beats Vancian magic, and it allows high-level Psychics to do some crazy stuff without throwing lightning or generic energy, while still preventing them from becoming omnipotent. The above mentioned Kineto might wreck normal mortals and their puny toys, but a equally high level Warrior has the best Mental Effect save around, giving him a very good chance of shrugging off his "I'll hit you with your own bullet!" shenanigans.

(Though I'm a bit worried about the crazy psychopath Nightcrawlers that can only be stopped by forgotten anti-psychic shield technology. Okay, they also have to have visited the location once or at least be able to see it, but still.)

Next Time: Equipment - the nifty starship creation rules. Also features some toys that those Psychics who want flashy stuff, including not-lightsabers.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:25 on May 26, 2015

Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


Rand Brittain posted:

Beast is actually out of development and should be up for Kickstarter sometime in June, with the more-or-less final text available, Demon-style.

The leaked version that was poorly received was the pre-development alpha and could have changed a bunch.

Also, it should be noted: That thing (at least according to Matt McFarland)?

It's entirely possible that was deliberately chosen to be the most unpolished and poor draft of the game. It was literally leaked as part of a scheme by a jackass to get a different guy fired.

The guy that jackass was attempting to get fired does not work on Beast.

:downsowned:

EDIT: Here's my source.

Erebro fucked around with this message at 22:57 on May 26, 2015

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Hackmaster, 3: Size problems and lots of luck

Ok, so, bearing in mind the requests so far, we're keeping our stats in the same places. That means we can lock in the racial stat modifiers, giving us:

Str 13-1 = 12/18
Dex 9/40
Con 10+2 = 12/26
Int 13/27
Wis 6/26
Cha 11-1+1 = 11/78
Looks 13/14

Notice the -1+1 to Charisma caused by the fact that while being a Gnome Titan gives us -1 cha, having Looks 13 gives us +1 Cha.

We have 90 BP because we didn't reorder our stats, and being a Gnome Titan fighter cost us 20 of them. While it'd be a lovely idea to spent the remainder on being proficient with every single polearm in the game, we find a bit of a snag here..

See, in the race description, you'll remember it said "Size small for HPs and knockbacks". But, what size are we for everything else? Well, it seems nothing actually says. You might just infer "small", but elves also have that line about being small for HP and knockback purposes, so that isn't so obvious a solution. It turns out that the trick is to look up your race in the Hacklopedia of Beasts (that is, the Monster Manual) which will helpfully tell you that Gnome Titans are Small. And unfortunately, most Polearms are Large, which means a Gnome Titan can't wield them. Bummer. The one we can wield is the Short Spear, so we'll spend 2 points on that.

Short Spear: M, reach 5, speed 12, d4p+d6p, shield take lowest, set for charge, jab speed 8, puncturing.

We'll also spend 1 points on Great Warhammer (d8p+d10p, shield d10p, speed 12, reach 2.5) and 1 on the regular Warhammer (2d6p ignoring 1 DR vs 5+ DR, shield d6p, speed 8, reach 1.5) because that way we can use a shield if we want, and shields have some funky rules we should probably mention. We already have the shield proficiency from being a fighter.

So, so far our proficiency list and BP expenditure looks like:

20 Gnome Titan Fighter
P - Laborer
P - Hiking/Marching
P - Phalanx Fighting
P - Groin Stomp
P 1 Short Spear
P 1 Great Warhammer
P 1 Not so great Warhammer

While we're here, we may as well look at the other proficiency options we have:

Angawa Battle Cry: a whoop at the start of the battle which triggers morale checks on opponents.
Bilingual: gives you an extra native language. Normally languages are picked up as skills, but this lets you get the bonus for a language being native. However, the HackMaster equivalent of Common is Merchant's Tongue, and since that isn't anyone's native language, it presumably can't be taken this way.
Etiquette: You know the manners of a particular culture.
Glersee: You can write runes or similar that convey messages and are hard to see. They aren't encrypted, but can be hard to spot.
Local History: You know the history of a given area.
Magical Transcription: Lets you copy spells, if you're a mage, which we're not.
Maintenance/Upkeep: you can fix up dwellings and adventuring equipment.
Peg Leg: yep. You have a peg leg. This is actually a serious disadvantage - it gives you -2 to Attack and Defense - and it costs 10 BP, so the only reason to take it is later in the game if you've had a leg hacked off.
Skinning: you can skin and tan hides.
Style Sense: you know the art, music, fashion, etc of a particular area.
Taxidermy: you can stuff and mount dead creatures.

And also the talents. These are similar to proficiencies, but they're much, much more expensive.

Advanced Sighting: When you shoot at things they're treated as only 2/3 their actual distance away.
Attack Bonus: Gives you +1 to hit with a melee weapon. Can't stack.
Blind-Fighting: You take half the penalties for fighting in darkness or fighting invisible creatures.
Blind-shooting: You can fire at things you can't see, with a penalty.
Combat Casting: You can defend fully against one opponent while casting a spell.
Crack shot: Attack Bonus, but for ranged weapons.
Damage bonus: Gives you +1 to hit with a melee weapon. Can't stack.
Deceptive Defender: You can trick opponents into thinking you have openings you don't, so you get +1 defense for an opponent's initial attkc.
Greased Lightning: You get -1 speed (lower speed is better) with a ranged weapon.
Improved Reach: Adds an effective +1 foot to the reach of your weapon. Unfortunately, it needs Dex 13.
One-Upmanship: If you tie your Attack with the opponent's Defense, you normally miss; but with this, if you have greater Honor than they do and can come up with a snarky one-liner, you can hit instead.
Parry Bonus: Gives you +1 defense with a melee weapon. Like everything else, it can't stack.
Precision Aiming: lowers the penalties for making called shots with ranged weapons.
Precision Combatant: like Precision Aiming, but for melee weapons.
Swiftblade: Like Greased Lightning, but for melee weapons.
Age Gracefully: You never lose appearance for age.
Charm Resistant: You get a +12 bonus to saves against magical charms.
Diminish Spell Fatigue: Normally, after a mage casts a spell, they enter Spell Fatigue and are vulnerable for a short time. This lets you reduce the amount of time.
Dodge: Increases your defense against missile weapons.
Fast Healer: as you'd expect, you heal wounsd faster.
Forgettable Face: people forget you quickly. Specifically, NPCs only remember you 10% of the time, or 85% of the time if you had a significant conversation wit them.
Hit Point Bonus: You get an extra d4 hit bonus. This one does stack.
Illusion Resistance: +6 saves against illusions.
Improved Awareness: HackMaster's version of improved initiative. Instead of giving a flat bonus, it lets you roll a better dice type; we'll get onto the initiative dice types when we first have a fight.
Less Sleep: You only need 3 hours sleep and get +12 save against sleep spells.
Long Distance Runner: You can run long distances at 40 miles a day in good terrain, but have to make regular Con checks if you do.
Mitigate Spell Fatigue: Lowers the penalties from spell fatigue.
No Accent: You don't give away your area of origin when speaking a foreign language.
Pain Tolerant: You get a bonus to your Threshold of Pain. This is actually a pretty big deal: if a single blow exceeds your threshold of pain, you have to make a Con roll or be stunned and knocked down (called being "ToPped"). This is not an uncommon way of going down.
Physical Conditioning: You get tired less fast.
Poison Resistance: You get a +1 bonus to rolls to resist poisons.
Polyglot: Buying new languages is cheaper.
Resolute: Any time you're knocked to 0HP, you can make a check to regain d8 HP.. but only for a limited amount of time. In that time, you need to do something to heal or you'll just fall over again.
Stort: You're harder to knock back.
Supernatural Affinity: You get 20 spell points. This doesn't let you cast spells, but some items made for mages have you spending spell points to activate them, and you can use them.
Tough as Nails: you roll a better dice type when making checks to avoid being topped.
Tough Hide: You get 1 natural armor.

We also have skills and quirks to deal with. Skills we'll leave until next time because there are rather a lot of them, but let's go ahead and roll a few Quirks now. Being a Gnome Titan, we already have Inappropriate Sense of Humor. The roll is made on.. a d1000. Of course.

First roll: 026. "Abstinent". We've sworn off something, specifically (roll d10: 10) sex. This doesn't have a great deal of effect, except we can't gain the Seduction skill. And we get 10 BP back. Nice start.

Second roll: 443. "Nagging Conscience". Whenever we do something bad or mess things up for someone else, we have to spend way too long making unnecessarily exaggerated apologies. Normally worth 15 BP, but it's only worth 10 because it's our second quirk. Still not too bad.

Third roll: 194. "Compulsive Liar". Speaks for itself. So now we go around randomly telling lies and then regretting it and apologizing. Normally worth 25 BP, but only worth 15 for being our third. This is still really good.

Fourth roll: 717. "Allergy". We are allergic to (d10 roll: 6) some kind of food. Probably nuts. This is normally worth 15 BP, but is now worth sod all because it's our fourth quirk, so it's probably time to stop.

Our total quirk return was 35 BP, which is a really good deal - we'd spent 23 so far, so we've actually made a profit, and are now on 102. So, what talents or proficiences or skills should we get? We probably have the scope to go pretty wild.

While we're here, let's see just how silly it would have been if we'd made this Fighter a Pixie-Faerie instead of a Gnome Titan. (Given the pattern of the thread we shall call them Emilie and then forget they ever exist.) With the Pixie-Faerie stat modifiers, our stat would come out as:

Str 13-8 = 5/18
Dex 9+4 = 13/40
Con 10-4 = 8/26
Int 13/27
Wis 6/26
Cha 11+0+3 = 14/78
Looks 13+4 = 17/14

It costs a Pixie-Faerie 50 points to be a Fighter, so we're down to 40 points already. Also, forget being limited by being size Small: now we're size Tiny. We promptly get proficiency with the only polearm available, the Fairy Spetum, costing us 1 point, and having no reach at all and only 2d3 regular damage. This probably isn't going to work too well...

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


hyphz posted:

Hackmaster, 3: Size problems and lots of luck

Ok, so, bearing in mind the requests so far, we're keeping our stats in the same places. That means we can lock in the racial stat modifiers, giving us:

Str 13-1 = 12/18
Dex 9/40
Con 10+2 = 12/26
Int 13/27
Wis 6/26
Cha 11-1+1 = 11/78
Looks 13/14

...

Our total quirk return was 35 BP, which is a really good deal - we'd spent 23 so far, so we've actually made a profit, and are now on 102. So, what talents or proficiences or skills should we get? We probably have the scope to go pretty wild.

Angawa Battle Cry and Maintenance/Upkeep for Proficiencies
One-Upsmanship, Tough Hide, Stort, Less Sleep, Tough as Nails and Improved Awareness all sound good.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 1: “So holster your laser pistol, hop into your phase ship, and visit the Three Galaxies.”



It is now time for more exciting Rifts adventures! We've just left the steamy wilds of South America, let's go for a change of scene. Something a little more...austere. Away from anything to do with core Rifts, which is to say Earth. Rifts Earth pretty specifically won’t let anything come or go into space, so if you want to have space operatic Rifts adventures, you have to go to another dimension! Thus, we get Phase World. I am doing this one back to back (ish) with the first Source Book since the latter is basically excess page count from the main dimension book.

Phase World didn’t really thrill my heart when I first read it, and it surprised me that it’s gone on to have several other supplements in later years given the way Wormwood was more or less created and dropped with a wet parasitic thud and abandoned. Phase World is a mish-mash of space operatic tropes--you have large fleets and some vague vehicular combat rules for them, aliens both menacing and...sultry (just you wait) as well as more mysterious varieties of biped. The titular Phase World is a central location for this space operatic setting, but there are also good democratic orders of planets and bad legions of empire types about. It is in many ways a generic space opera setting, and the parts that give it the most individual flair are the (somewhat grudging) bits that include the use of magic on a civilized and even interstellar scale.

The Wolfen make a prominent appearance again here, being apparently a race that the Palladium Games people think is very important and unique and--well, I guess we got like five different kinds of (awesome crazy) cat people in South America, the dogs can have a moment. There are shining space knights and dastardly space Splugorths (you knew that was coming) and so, so, so many lasers.


seriously, they sort of vaguely mumble about rail guns before going back on about awesome lasers

KS introduces Phase World more briefly than his usual rambling, basically talking about space adventure goodness, and then launches us directly into some intro fiction. It’s a brief bit about a bounter hunter, Cray, and his newbie partner Slick. They’re hunting Duke, in a game of monosyllabic name calling. The writing is bad and does little to tell us about the world, aside from describing some typical space cantina-scenes and mentioning D-gates. Magic exists here, as Duke uses it to blindside Cray, only to then find out that Slick is a Cosmo-Knight, some kind of cyborg who is going to totally wreck Cray’s chance at the bounty. So far so comma-spliced.


the full cover, it’s not bad

Phase World is a planet in the Three Galaxies, one of millions of inhabited world.” The next section is a more normal introduction, talking about ultra-tech spaceships exchanging broadsides with enchanted vessels (unfortunately, this predates Saga by about twenty years and is not nearly as good) and mentions setting elements briefly, along with the notion that “neither the planet nor the Three Galaxies are what most people would consider normal.” I’m assuming Rifts-Earth normal, since to the billions of residents of those places it’s probably pretty regular.

Phase World itself is a transdimensional nexus point, perhaps a bit like Earth in that regard, but it’s well-populated and not an unstable mess of warlords like Earth. The main city on Phase World is Center, with a population of 600 million people, though it is a heavily cosmopolitan mix of peoples. The natives of the planet are prometheans but not the shambling golem-mummy kind, they’re ancient masters of phase technology. This will be explained after we talk about the Cosmic Forge.

There was an ancient ur-race as there often is in star-spanning settings, called the First. They built a great and massive civilization and kept expanding upon it and were generally pretty cool and enlightened guys. They built this Cosmic Forge thing, that when ignited could create and modify massive swaths of reality. This was cool and all, but one among the First was evil, and turned this tool to madness. The Forge was sentient, however, and realized what it had done and cast down the evil one. It then hid itself and only occasionally touches those worthy of its power. It should be noted in the intro fiction that the bounty target had stolen something from this thing, so it may not be hidden very well. The Forge is blamed for all sorts of inexplicable phenomena, including ley lines that extend all through space. Despite magic existing freely in the universe, most civilizations remain ignorant of it for <reasons> :rolleyes:

Having introduced us to their god-engine, we get some more about the planet Phase World. Pop 5 billion, 71% Prometheans. It’s a huge trading center and metropolis, “located near the core of the oldest known galaxy.” Fifth planet of an aging red star. This isn’t really sounding like a hospitable place to live. At least they don’t have to fear lost Kryptonians. It has a 22.3 hour day, and a 53-year orbital cycle. Its temperature and climate are very tightly controlled and the method is a secret. In general, non-citizens are confined to Center, a mile high arcology of a city. It has a bunch of ley line nexuses throughout its structure, making it very magically active. I imagine the giant arcology acts a bit like a pyramid in keeping those calm.

There are a bunch of space stations in orbit for docking, and a lot of trade happens there. The city itself is still where a lot of the extradimensional goods start out, however, and the lower levels apparently have issues with lack of security and maintenance, and active rift activity. Phase World is unique, but not above petty material concerns apparently. Also, everyone who has tried to conquer it has failed and it has remained stubbornly independent.

Also in orbit are sixty-four “spacegates.” These are rings ten miles in diameter powered by mysterious phase technology. A ship with a “phase transceiver” can teleport instantly to a spacegate, and the gate technicians can scan it before letting it through. These are one-way teleports, the ship has to find its own way back home. Some merchants just fill a ship with cargo, teleport it to Phase World, and sell off everything including the ship, then fly home some other way. It certainly does centralize the importance of Phase World to the economy of this universe. Nobody else can build these gates obviously, and they haven’t been exported.


this is actually from the ‘violence and supernatural warning’ page

Phase World is home to the prometheans, as mentioned. They have a two-stage evolution, the first stage being more hominid, the second stage being more alien and space-goddish. The planet is ruled by second-stagers, called the Elders, and they don’t have any transparency about their governing process. Diplomacy and other outside contacts are done by first-stagers who then go back for confirmation with the Elders, which offends some races at having “children” come talk to them. Wars over the subject have been unsuccessful, so everyone just lives with it. Phase World tends to stay neutral anyway.

The society of the planet outside Center is mostly described as “harmonious,” with dissident or rebellious individuals moving to Center or leaving entirely. Other space-nations like the Transgalactic Empire and United Worlds of Warlock (I hope they mean the band) help check each other, since nobody wants aggression to get out of hand. Basically, this one den of libertarian iniquity is tolerated by all as a wealth-bringing nexus, but living there probably sucks.

That’s quite long enough really. Next, we’ll talk more about Center and go on with not having a lot of pictures.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Princess: the Hopeful
The Queen of Hearts
AKA: The Rose Bride, The Gentle Patroness, The Queen Regnant
Followers’ Epithets: Jewels, Flowers (female), Gallants (male), Rocks (often derogatory)

quote:

I know what you think of society, you see nothing but the people at the top having dinner with politicaians and hiring expensive lawyers. A big system to keep the rich rich, and the poor poor. Read a history book some day. You will see that opression used to be the sword, not the law. That is why I believe in our society, where you can only see how far we have left to go I see how far we’ve come. We are on the right path, the future will be built upon the foundations of our history.
So, can I count on your vote?

The Queen of Hearts bids her subjects to restore the Kingdom’s spirit to the modern world. The followers of Hearts believe a better world has already been built on the back of principles of civilisation and by serving the people as judges, leaders and lawmakers the Flowers believe they can make it better yet.
The Queen of Hearts is the most Queen-like of queens in which she actually lives in a palace, leads her people, gives good advice, dresses formally and so forth. There's not really all that much that's odd about her other than the fact that she most fits the stereotype of Queen compared to any of the others. She's a Queen for every occasion: At peace, a kind and charitable regent. At war, a warrior-queen who stands with her armies. In uncertainty, a solid foundation and diplomat. If you also haven't noticed, the elemental theme of earth is in play. There's arguably not all that much that stands out with the Queen of Hearts (no "Off with her head!" references either) since she and her followers basically epitomize the fair and just ruler stereotypes. As a result, I'll skip along to Philosophy

quote:

Philosophy
At the core of the Queen of Hearts’ creed is the virtue of trust, and of faithfulness to a trust. The principles of her creed express the need to inspire trust, and to keep intact what has been entrusted. Everything she teaches follows from a single principle: “A crown is a symbol of responsibility”
Again, more kind and just ruler stuff. It kinda keeps going on like that...

quote:

Flourish in Community
No one can stand alone against all the Dark and survive; but people who trust each other prevail against anything evil can do. The Flowers and Gallants take it upon themselves to weave webs of trust, standing with friends and allies, obeying rulers, and guiding followers; in these webs they hope to catch the fitful gleams of Light that fall into the world and collect them into eternal beacons. They build and tend communities, write codes of law and establish customs for people who have none of their own, or have abandoned the societies they were born in. The ordered community, in which everyone has a place and no one is an exile, is the strongest possible bastion the Light can have.
Honour Tradition
Tradition is a trust – a store of wisdom laid in by past generations, to guide us in the present, and be handed on to the future. More than that, Traditions are also our shared social identity. The Flowers and Gallants do their best to breathe life into the rules and customs of the societies they find themselves in, especially the one they’re born to. They are reluctant to flout a convention, especially when they don’t know the reasons for it. However, the Radiant are here to improve the world, not preserve it as it is, and when the Flowers see a Tradition they cannot condone they seek to replace it rather than remove it. The Gallants often use those Traditions they remember from past lives in the Kingdom when they need a substitute, but they can just as easily borrow something from the neighbouring culture (especially if they wish to bring them together) or formalise that awesome party their friends repeat every year.
Authority Must Be Earned
A Princess of Hearts, by her nature and training, becomes the keeper of many people’s trust; therefore she must be worthy of it, both in her own conduct and in the behavior she tolerates. More than any other Hopeful, Flowers and Gallants are expected to hold authority and wield it responsibly. When a threat to a whole society appears, Flowers are the ones who rouse its members to action, coordinate their responses, and ensure everyone does what’s needed. In ordinary times, Gallants are courteous, friendly and compassionate to all, lest they give anyone pain; but they have their burden, heavier than most, and don’t allow themselves to forget it. Moreover, they must not take their position for granted. If her society rejects a Flower’s rule, or deposes her from it, the fault is hers not theirs; and if they proceed to disaster that she would have avoided, her failure to gain their trust is all the more grevious.
Yeah. Be the foundation of your society and the type people want to aspire to be. The Duties section says much the same thing, and somewhat implies how very much like the Graces Calling they are. Thankfully, this and Diamonds are the only two that have a Calling that's the exact same thing. The other two Queens are at least somewhat different.

quote:

Heraldry
Regalia for the Nobles of Hearts strongly favors clothing in traditional styles, particularly formal dress. Elegant ball gowns and elaborate jewelry for phylacteries are very common among the Flowers, as are flowers or flower designs (roses especially) as accents, and pastels, rose-pink or -red, and shades of white. (It’s not unknown for this sort of regalia to be mistaken for a wedding dress.) Many Gallants follow the complementary mode of mens’ formal wear, appearing in tuxedos, or in white tie, top hat and tails. The more practically minded (usually Champions) go back farther, and model their regalia on styles more archaic but less confining; the swashbuckling Cavalier, the wuxia hero, the knight in shining armor. These turn up on both sexes. In all cases, a Flower or Gallant is dressed well, showing off the best appearance of a high and civilized age.
At the very least, they're the best dressed of the five Y-splat groups, if possibly a bit much.

Practical Magic: Presence, Manipulation and Composure. i.e. the Social Attributes

quote:

Invocation: Terra
The principles of the Queen of Hearts find their magical expression in the Invocation of Terra, and her Flowers and Gallants learn it more easily than any other. It is bound up with the things the Queen values: mutual trust and peace, the responsible use of authority, sensitive compassion, and punctilious courtesies. It is also tied to earth and stone, especially when it has been refined and property constructed for human service, as proud cathedrals, elegant jewellery or solid stone walls.
Terra applies at no cost when the target of a Princess’ Charm is earth or stone, including all forms of gemstones; and when her target is a non-supernatural human being who gives informed consent to the Charm. It also applies without cost when a Princess intends to resolve a conflict without violence, to make someone or something beautiful, to give requested aid without expecting any return, to coordinate the efforts of several people in a project, or to help a lawful authority in their mandated duties.
Terra requires both decorum and consideration for others. A Princess who is rude or insensitive to another person without cause, or who knowingly committs a social faux pas, cannot apply the Invocation for the rest of the scene.
So always make sure to hold doors open, say thank you and excuse me, and wipe your feet when entering the villain's lair. Can't be rude, right?

quote:

Quote
We’re not calling ourselves Princesses because our childhood fantasies came true. Nobility means something.

Stereotypes
• Clubs: Rough and unmannerly, but their hearts are in the right place.
• Diamonds: Those towers of abstract reasoning leave me cold. You can’t keep faith with real people by a theorem.
• Spades: Yes, I suppose the mayor does deserve to have something happen to him ... why are you giggling?
• Swords: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
• Tears: We both talk about nobility and duty. The difference is you use it as a justification, I remember what it actually means.
• Storms: At least the Swords only risk themselves ...
• Mirrors: For the Light’s sake, grow up and be responsible for once.
• Vampires: Not all traditions are worth preserving.
• Werewolves: Herd? drat right I’m part of the herd. A herd billions strong who’ve claimed this whole earth. Now tell me, what is your little pack going to do about that?
• Mages: You talk about Atlantis a lot but you only ever talk about its magic. What were the people like? Were the citizens content, the rulers just and the judges fair?
• Prometheans: They share a culture, even when they haven’t met another of their kind. There’s something we’re not seeing, something important.
• Changelings: They had nothing to work with but scars and they built it into a society. Respect them for that if nothing else.
• Sin-Eaters: You don’t snub death by laughing in its face. You snub death by building something that will last long after you’re gone.
• Mummies: Our kingdom’s have both fallen, but I’m trying to rebuild mine.
• Mad Scientists: How did you convince him to turn himself in... An equation for the human mind? That can’t be right, I don’t believe it! I won’t believe it!
• Leviathans: Every city you build eats itself alive, you can’t even live with your own family and that’s why I’m not afraid of you!
• Hunters: If you claim to serve the Light then work in the light not the shadows.
• Mortals: It’s their world, they just need someone to teach them that.
The more I look at these, the more eager I am to see how they relate to the other splats as a whole because I expect some of them to be embarrasingly bad based on these lines.

Inspirations:
The first pony inspiration appears by way of Princess Celestia. I'll spare you that. The other listed inspirations are Minky Momo (old series) and Queen Serenity of Sailor Moon. Arguably, Mami Tomoe would also fit too. At least until she lost her "crown."

Next: "Puckish Rogues"

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

theironjef posted:

Put the shirt on your traitorous cat.

Putting the shirt on was the easy part. Turns out, getting a cat to wear a shirt long enough to take a picture when the cat wants out? Kinda difficult.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Asimo posted:

Your optimism is refreshing. :haw:

It's part of my mahoushoujoesque innocence. :sparkles:

occamsnailfile posted:

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 1: “So holster your laser pistol, hop into your phase ship, and visit the Three Galaxies.”


this is actually from the ‘violence and supernatural warning’ page

hmmmm



HMMMMM

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm always amused when one of these games brings out 'nobility' and 'a better, more civilized time of royalty'.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's part of my mahoushoujoesque innocence. :sparkles:


hmmmm


HMMMMM

i don't get the reference but i am not surprised what is that from?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I'm always amused when one of these games brings out 'nobility' and 'a better, more civilized time of royalty'.

They've clearly never played Crusader Kings 2.

That could be an interesting point, that the nobility and kingdom that this Light of Hope thing draws on never existed and is a complete lie these empowered individuals tell themselves and others.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


occamsnailfile posted:

i don't get the reference but i am not surprised what is that from?

Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis.

I guess Rifts has descended to the point of ripping itself off.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Cythereal posted:

They've clearly never played Crusader Kings 2.

That could be an interesting point, that the nobility and kingdom that this Light of Hope thing draws on never existed and is a complete lie these empowered individuals tell themselves and others.

Actually, to them, it totally did, long long ago before it fell due to the Darkness that arose from the differences in how they ruled their kingdoms. "Prosperous, just, kind and peaceful." Even if not completely perfect.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Xelkelvos posted:

Actually, to them, it totally did, long long ago before it fell due to the Darkness that arose from the differences in how they ruled their kingdoms. "Prosperous, just, kind and peaceful." Even if not completely perfect.

Again, an interesting idea if all of that was a complete fabrication they tell themselves and others as an ideal to strive for and just pretend it actually existed (only the leaders might know the truth).

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Cythereal posted:

Again, an interesting idea if all of that was a complete fabrication they tell themselves and others as an ideal to strive for and just pretend it actually existed (only the leaders might know the truth).

Unfortunately, just like Mage and Atlantis before the Fallen World Chronicles struck it from existence, it probably did exist and it was amazing and Zzzzzzzz...

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Xelkelvos posted:

Unfortunately, just like Mage and Atlantis before the Fallen World Chronicles struck it from existence, it probably did exist and it was amazing and Zzzzzzzz...

There's a thought for taking an idea from Genius. Introduce some mages to the Atlantis bardo that exists out in the Atlantic. Congratulations, masters of reality: your ancient golden age is a Disney movie.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



AmiYumi posted:


Putting the shirt on was the easy part. Turns out, getting a cat to wear a shirt long enough to take a picture when the cat wants out? Kinda difficult.

Man those look great. I'll have to get one.

A shirt I mean. I already have two cats.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 01:59 on May 27, 2015

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Cythereal posted:

. Congratulations, masters of reality: your ancient golden age is a Disney movie.

The Free Council is alright with this. Probably reversed: the Disney movie is the ancient/future golden age.

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

I've been thinking for the longest time that 2nd edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's system is the perfect fit for Nightspawn. It uses a percentile skill resolution system, rules for terror and insanity, combat is gory and brutal, magic is liable to summon demons to devour the caster, and character progression is fairly horizontal to the point that you're never so badass that you can just ignore taking a hunter's polearm in the guts. All of that seems to go pretty smoothly with the kind of 'oh god we're all hosed' setting that Nightspawn's trying for.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Cythereal posted:

They've clearly never played Crusader Kings 2.

That could be an interesting point, that the nobility and kingdom that this Light of Hope thing draws on never existed and is a complete lie these empowered individuals tell themselves and others.
I actually think it would be more novel to think through the implications of having the presence of objective Good in a setting (if perhaps gnomic or somewhat fluid Good, just so you aren't playing DragonRaid). If Sailor Moon's magical crystal can actually, objectively tell Good from Evil, what do you do with that? Does this mean Sailor Moon will necessarily be the perfect queen? Does it mean that there is no real struggle in the universe? I imagine one argument would be to get like Kreia and try to destroy it, to remove that certainty from the cosmos.

Now I don't know how well these would translate into game mechanics but I think it would be more thought-provoking in a way.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Xelkelvos posted:

Unfortunately, just like Mage and Atlantis before the Fallen World Chronicles struck it from existence, it probably did exist and it was amazing and Zzzzzzzz...

Even back then, it was more complicated (and more interesting) than that.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Nessus posted:

I actually think it would be more novel to think through the implications of having the presence of objective Good in a setting (if perhaps gnomic or somewhat fluid Good, just so you aren't playing DragonRaid). If Sailor Moon's magical crystal can actually, objectively tell Good from Evil, what do you do with that? Does this mean Sailor Moon will necessarily be the perfect queen? Does it mean that there is no real struggle in the universe? I imagine one argument would be to get like Kreia and try to destroy it, to remove that certainty from the cosmos.

Now I don't know how well these would translate into game mechanics but I think it would be more thought-provoking in a way.

Another angle that jumps out at me would be the question of whether or not only objective Good is capable of doing good. A lot of the princess quotes have looked down on hunters for being morally ambiguous, potentially psychotic killers who lurk in the shadows hunting other denizens of the World of Darkness, and there aren't many hunters likely to pass Sailor Moon's magical crystal test. Some may in fact be objectively Evil. But does that make them incapable of fighting for good? Can the genuine spark of hope and objective Good in the World of Darkness afford to condemn them alongside the things they hunt?

Doodmons
Jan 17, 2009


Cythereal posted:

Another angle that jumps out at me would be the question of whether or not only objective Good is capable of doing good. A lot of the princess quotes have looked down on hunters for being morally ambiguous, potentially psychotic killers who lurk in the shadows hunting other denizens of the World of Darkness, and there aren't many hunters likely to pass Sailor Moon's magical crystal test. Some may in fact be objectively Evil. But does that make them incapable of fighting for good? Can the genuine spark of hope and objective Good in the World of Darkness afford to condemn them alongside the things they hunt?

There's room there for a big speech from a low Morality hunter with a maxed out Hunter's Code about how they'll be damned if some witch's magic crystal is going to declare that they're on the naughty list and not fit to save other human beings' lives from predation by monsters.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Doodmons posted:

There's room there for a big speech from a low Morality hunter with a maxed out Hunter's Code about how they'll be damned if some witch's magic crystal is going to declare that they're on the naughty list and not fit to save other human beings' lives from predation by monsters.

Since my gaming group plays a light-hearted beer and pizza hunter campaign as TFV, I think my group's response to a big speech by the princesses would be "All valid points. However, you are still citizens of the United States of America and subject to its laws. As such, you are under arrest for the murder of the creepy old woman who lives in the spooky house at the end of the row. If you wish to claim it was self-defense because she was an evil witch possessed by a living shadow, I hope you have a good lawyer if our own forensic investigation can't prove your claim."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Speaking of Hunters...

Hunter: the Vigil

Hunters come in all shapes and sizes. Your most common thought when the word comes up are the warriors - the guys who take a shotgun and go shoot the creepy alligator-people who killed the old man. The guys who make holy water bombs to fight demons. The guys who take down, torture and execute monsters. Others are investigators, discovering the ways to counteract monstrous powers, detect them and find the truth. Scientists, mystics, rumormongers. Some of 'em even focus on rehabilitation, trying to heal the damage monsters cause. Deprogramming cultists, trying to run bloodaholics anonymous meetings, trying to find the cause of evil in a demon so that it can be made human once more. All of them are Hunters, and all of them bear a heavy burden.

A psychological one, sure, and also a financial one. Some compacts and conspiracies will pay your bills, but for most Hunters? Killing draculas doesn't pay your bills. Your kids need food, your cars need gas, your guns need ammo. You need a job - a job you can do without stopping the Vigil. The Vigil never ends. So where are you getting your money? Steal from the guys you kill? That's a risk. There's a social cost, too. How do you tell your husband that you're only home two hours a night because you're out hunting a werewolf? How do you explain to your wife about the bloodstains on your clothes all the time? Do you bring her in? What if that paints a target on her head? What about your kids? You'd die if your kids got hurt because of you - you'd go mad. And, of course, there's the legal issues. You steal a witch's magic books, she calls the cops on you for theft. You put down a werewolf with silver bullets, it turns human again on death, you've got a murder to hide. What do you do if cops or, worse, the FBI comes calling? Sure, some conspiracies and compacts can offer you protection...but even that's not perfect. You make a big enough mess, there's no one who can keep you out of jail.

And so, Hunters tend to be secretive. Even in big cities, not all Hunters know each other. They argue, they mix, cells coming together and evaporating as arguments happen and friendships are formed. Cells are the smallest, most common group of Hunters - a bunch of people dedicated to fighting monsters. No backup, few resources, local influence at best. Any given city is going to have dozens of cells, most of which know nothing about each other. They work out of living rooms, internet cafes and garages, facing foes they only barely understand. Some neighbors get together to exorcise a ghost. Some cops take the law into their own hands when a vampire goes after their beat. Some college students investigate a mysterious death. Hunter cells tend to be focused on the short term - find the threat, deal with it. Survive. There is no greater plan, and most cells break apart once the job's done - they have no support, no resources and a lot of 'em are gonna die. Only the most dedicated of them takes up the Vigil full time. Most cells are three to five people, but their size varies with time and resources. They tend to be organic - one guy taps his friend ofr help, they bring in the friend's cousin for support, and so on. No two cells are truly alike. Sometimes, larger organizations farm out jobs to them, but on the whole, if they get someone's interest, they're recruited instead. Mostly, they don't get someone's interest. The big strength of a cell is its size - with so few members, it's stealthy, reacts quickly and can take action without being noticed. With care, they are invisible until they strike. But that's the big weakness, too. A cell is limited to the resources of its members and its members alone. One dies, that's so much lost without replacement. They have no one to turn to in a crisis, and no safety net. This is why compacts get formed.

Compacts start out, usually, as a bunch of isolated cells coming together to pursue their goals on a larger scale. Sometimes, though, they're mundane groups that change their focus when they discover the supernatural. Unlike cells, compacts focus on more than just local threats - they can cover a city, a region or even have chapters across the world. They use internet forums and traveling delegations to organize themselves, or private publications to stay in contact. Any given city might have chapters of any number of compacts, and they often interact with each other - alliances, turf wars, rivalries. Compacts have the numbers, knowledge and resources to operate on a much broader level, organizing individual cells to specific tasks - weapons gathering, recon, strike teams. Many compacts are very secretive about their operations, for security reasons, but that also leaves them open to acusations of abuse of power and hidden agendas, not always wrongly. Compacts can be very old - Ashwood Abbey dates back to the 1850s - while others are very young - the Union's been around since the early 20th century, but in different iterations and often breaking down and being replaced. The Union itself got infiltrated by monsters in the mid-90s, killing many members after their Usenet forums were accessed. Since then, things have had to be fixed. Some compacts just don't exist any more - in the late 90s, a Philly compact known as the Order of the Broken Bell, was doing pretty well, but their founder, Caleb Malone, had a mental breakdown after killing a bunch of vampires. In one night, he hunted down and murdered half the organization before the police took him down. The survivors scattered to the four winds in the following days amid accusations that Malone was secretly communicating with vampires. Some of its cells still exist in Philly, but the Order's never been resurrected. The strength of a compact lies in numbers and resources - they have far more than any individual cell could hope for. They also provide knowledge - an archive of research or stories of old fights. Not all of what they know is right, but they know enough to provide advice. Their biggest weakness, though, is size. The more people get involved, the more noticeable they are - and the more points of failure exist. Federal investigations, monsters taking revenge, ATF seizure of arms purchases - there's a lot that can go wrong, especially when there's internal conflict.

Most compacts eventually peak - barring radical new leadership or a lot of new resources, they don't get bigger. Sometimes that's conscious, sometimes they just fall apart when they become too unwieldy. Some organizations survive that, though. They become conspiracies - powerful, well-funded and able to challenge monsters on a near-even footing. Many of these are very old indeed - the Malleus Maleficarum has been hunting monsters for the Vatican since the 1500s, and the Aegis Kai Doru claim to predate ancient Greece. The Lucifuge claims it can trace its origins back to Mesopotamia, though that's never been confirmed. Conspiracies have enough resources to be self-sufficient, and enough knowledge and operational tactics to be truly dangerous. They have specialized equipment or magic to help even the fight against monsters. They tend to have permanent presences in every major city - even the US black-ops Task Force VALKYRIE has agents assigned to European embassies and elsewhere in the world. Smaller cities or towns might have small chapters or crisis teams available. These conspiracies tend to be very well informed about other Hunters. They take on many, many operations in pursuit of the Vigil - surveillance, hunt and destroy, recruitment, infiltration of mundane power structures. Some say that the Cheiron Group was instrumental in causing unrest in Haiti as a cover to pursue their goals on the island's interior. Conspiracies are insulated by wealth and size - even if they were to lose all their field ops and most leaders, they could survive. The Malleus bounced back from the Easter Purge of the 1800s, where exactly that happened. The only way to cut them off completely is to get rid of the vast sums of money they need to function. Conspiracies form one of two ways - organically, from the ground up, or by being manufactured at the mandate of someone with enough power to keep them going. The Lucifuge and Aegis Kai Doru operate based on the strength of their ideologies, giving them focus over the centuries. Task Force VALKYRIE is funded by the US government, and the Cheiron Group is corporate. The big strength of a conspiracy lies in its assets - the equipment, funds and intelligence networks that its members can bring to bear, along with the more supernatural abilities they tend to have. This comes at a price, however - those abilities often come with terrible drawbacks for the health or sanity of their users. Further, the operatives using them have nowhere near the freedom of independent groups. They have bosses who expect plans to be followed, and the conspiracies will not hesitate to sacrifice an operative or even an entire cell if the reward is big enough. They are Byzantine organizations full of internal arguments and power struggles, and their size can make them moribund and slow to react thanks to bureaucracy.

So, what do Hunters hunt? A lot of things. No one really knows where the monsters come from - oh, sure, there's myths and legends that everyone can talk about. But there's so many kinds of monsters. It'd be nice if they all shared an origin - then they might have a common weakness. But that's really a pipe dream, on the practical level. You can't treat a zombie like you'd treat a werewolf.

The undead are one of the most common kinds of foe. Vampires drink the blood of the living - or eat htheir flesh or brains, there's rumors of all kinds of weird types. Some are alone, while others command legions of the dead. Some work in packs or cells. Wherever they come from, they're bad - monsters of vice and greed that kill the innocent with their dark passions and terrible powers. No one wants vampires around - it's hard to make peace with them...though particularly human vampires can sometimes get the benefit of the doubt, if it means putting down something worse. What's known is they're weak to sunlight and fire. Beheading works. Anything else is up for debate. Stakes seem to do something, but no one's entirely sure what - some say paralysis, others say kill. Crosses? Might work. Garlic's probably no go. Other, stranger weaknesses are spoken of - kill them at a crossroads, use a holy sword, trap them in an open grave, get a Malaysian sorcerer to put their soul in a bottle. Who knows? It could work.

Ghosts, on the other hand, are more troubling. They don't choose to be monsters - they're stuck. Stuck by sorrow and loss. Still, time can drive them mad. Older ghosts, powerful ghosts, often bear little resemblance to their lives, twisted by some deathly obsession. Bitterness and hatred might drive them violently insane. Others are less dangerous. Ghosts are everywhere, both problem and opportunity. They're hard to deal with - hard even to really prove exist, given they're invisible most of the time. Exorcism? Sometimes works, not always. Resolve their issues? Sure, if you can figure what they are. Good luck with that. Burn the haunted house down? Some say it's the best way, others say the ghost'll just move onto somewhere else, getting angrier all the while. But still - ghosts are proof that death is not the end. They're fascinating, and sometimes you can communicate with them. Ouija boards seem to work decently, even the cheap knockoffs. Don't use one alone, though.

Zombies, on the other hand...well, zombies are walking corpses. Not so graceful or erotic as vampires, not so tragic as ghosts. Some zombies can talk, resist what violent urges they have, slowly rot and decay away. Others infect with their bites via some kind of contagion, dooming others to violent undeath. Good luck figuring out which kind you have on your hands. Most Hunters don't bother - you spot the walking dead, you put them back in the ground. No one wants to risk a zombie apocalypse. Where do they come from? Good question! Some of 'em seem to just show up for no reason. Others have unfinished business. Some say that they're the servants of other monsters, and if you kill the creator, you kill the zombie. Killing a zombie's not easy any other way, after all. They don't feel pain. They never stop coming. But still, they all seem to have the same kind of weakness - a spot that'll take 'em down. Usually the brain. Others, the heart. The worst kind need to lose their entire bodies to fire or other consuming weapons. Good luck with those!

Then you've got your shapeshifters. Lycanthropes, mostly - people who become animals. Some say they date back to the Lycaon, a Greek king who fed human flesh to Zeus and was cursed to be a wolf forever. Others say that these monsters are tied to the moon, or were cursed by witches, or are men who coupled with beasts. There's a thousand origin stories - and just as many kinds of lycanthrope. Most of 'em look human, though often wild. They seem to prefer packs and defending territory - basically gangs of thugs who turn into wolves. But then, not all of them are like that. Some act alone. Some transform by wearing animal skin or stitching it to their body. Some werewolves seem to want to help kill other monsters. Others want to kill humans. Hell, not all of 'em are wolves. Alliance with ly canthropes is rare, but not impossible. It's never really friendly, rarely permanent, but a pack and a cell can work together. Sometimes. The rest? Take 'em down or cure them if you can. They eat people. Silver seems to work sometimes. Wolfsbane and foxglove are said to be potent poisons against them - certainly they work on humans. (We call 'em aconite and digitalis.) Some say making 'em drink holy water works, as does skinning them or destroying their holy places. The hard part is doing it. Werewolves are immensely strong, terrifyingly powerful, and they heal from anything. Worse, sometimes they can drive men mad with fear.

Of course, sometimes the shapeshifter lives inside someone else. Possessing entities, wearing a host like a skin. They change their hosts, make them more monstrous. Ghosts, demons, rogue souls, parasites, aliens - all kinds of things possess people. They usually take over slow - at first, just a voice in your head, pushing you to evil acts. As they gain dominance, they begin to change you physically. A sewer worker gets infested by a mystic worm. Now worms crawl out from his eyes and fingernails. A spirit of murderous hatred manifests itself as a cleaver in a man's hand or a hundred murdered names burned onto their flesh. The ghost of a pedophile possesses a child, urging them to act out long-dead, twisted fantasies. Some cells kill the possessed - they look terrifying, horrific. They're monsters. Put 'em down. Others do research, finding what the possessor is and how it got there, trying to rehabilitate and 'cure', to get rid of the parasite. Sometimes it works.

Demons, well, demons exist. They wear many faces and forms. They offer deals sometimes. Other times they do inexplicable things for no clear reason. Demons are selfish things, and often controlled by others. The Lucifuge says that all demons are ultimately under the thrall of Lucifer. Others believe they serve vampires and sorcerers. Some say they're free agents. No one knows for sure. Demons seem to serve their vices, urging others on to satisfy base desires, feeding on that. They sell power and knowledge in exchange for...something. Souls? Vices? Demons can be bargained with. Sometimes, they share enough to be useful. Not all demons even try to push people to sin. But that's what makes them so seductively threatening, isn't it?

And then there's fairies. Fairy tales are true, y'know? True - and dark. Nightmares made real, maybe. Ancient spirits. Who knows what? Some call themselves changelings - lying bastards who say they were stolen by the fairies and forced their way out. Most Hunters point to folklore to prove them wrong - not the abducted humans, but inhuman replacements. And even if they're not lying, they've drat sure been changed into something inhuman. Some of 'em look human, but turn into sticks and worms when they die. Others only look human sometimes, and monstrous if you spot 'em on a bad day. Good news: they die like any human dies. Bad news: they've got strange and unpredictable powers, so sometimes you only think they're dead.

And it's not like humans are all beds of roses, either. Witches are human. Magic's real, after all. People have always sought out ancient mysteries - and sometimes they're dark mysteries. Witches hunt for knowledge without caring who gets hurt. They seek power by any number of means. Magic can do anything, and that's what makes it terrifying. You never know what a witch might be able to do. Sure, most of 'em only have a few tricks. But which tricks? And worse, they all use different methods! Some can do magic any time. Others need rituals, meditation, ceremonies. Even if you stalk a witch, you can only learn so much - magic often seems to look like unlikely coincidence. How do you even know it's really magic? Sometimes, Hunters are wrong and an innocent is killed. Witches are people, and most ways to identify 'em physically just do not work. Still, good news - a witch dies to a bullet a lot easier than a vampire. A witch has a paper trail just like you do. But is it murder to kill them? Vampires, well, they're already dead. Witches, you just killed someone. Some Hunters try to 'deprogram' (read: brainwash) the magic out. Or blackmail. But all too often, it comes back to murder. Not all cells hunt witches, though - you can negotiate with 'em. They can be reasonable. Sometimes they want your secrets, though, or the artifacts you sealed away for the good of everyone. And sometimes, they won't negotiate. Sometimes they have something you need. And some Hunters reason - if you choose to do magic, you choose to become other than human. You've committed a crime and need to be punished. Removed. For the good of all. (And some Hunters wonder - what's the difference between a conspiracy's special abilities and a witch's magic?)

Cults and cultists are people, too. They want something, and they'll do anything to get it. Some of 'em are loud, crazy and release nerve gas in malls to power a sacrifice to some eldritch god. Those guys aren't the worst - they're scary, but you know who they are. They're not subtle. The scary ones are the ones who act just like everyone else...until no one's looking. Those are the worst. They worship something, and usually it makes 'em do bad things. They are dangerous. Of course, a lot of hunter groups look pretty cult-y. The Lucifuge has 666 members and claim to be descended from the Devil. The Long Night are Apocalyptic Protestants. Are they cults? Maybe. Cults are, often, a dark mirror for Hunters - a view of what they might become, if they decided power was worth the costs of serving something unknown and terrifying. If calling on a dark god lets you save a hundred people, is it worth it? What if the price is someone else's life? You wouldn't have to pick good people to sacrifice...and that's a slippery slope.

Then you have what Hunters call 'slashers'. Serial killers. They're more common than anyone would want to know. And sometimes, a Hunter becomes one. They see too much. They take the knife and go after not just the werewolf, but all of the werewolf's family. Children. Aunts. Aged grandmothers. Sister's cousin twice removed. Maybe they start to see signs and ciphers in the world that aren't there, telling them who the monsters are. The worst part? Slashers tend to get supernatural abilities. No one knows why. Maybe evil just grants you power. Maybe there's something in the human mind that, once released, lets them do things that shouldn't be possible. It's hard to generalize, but a lot of slashers can take all kinsd of punishment. Some are supernaturally clever, some strong or fast. Some have psychic powers. They all need to be wiped out. But could they be learned from?

And some poo poo, you just can't categorize. There's a lot out there, and many of the monsters are unique. Things no one's seen before - things that don't fit a label. Being a Hunter means always seeing something new - and something new that wants to kill you, usually. What they can do varies hugely - but what matters is why. Find out why a monster does something and...well, it might not help you kill it. It'll help understand, and sometimes that's helpful. Sometimes, though, it just makes you feel worse.

Next time: Mechanics! No, we still haven't gotten a list of Compacts or Conspiracies.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm only familiar with a couple of the nWoD splats. How much of those stereotypes brush up with the truth, and how much is composed of grotesque fairy tales, plain ignorance, and excuses for murderous violence?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Enough truth to be worrying, enough excuse to be scary,

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Oh, boy. The best kind of powderkeg.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Hunter: the Vigil is quite possibly the best nWoD line. The Horror Recognition Guide is probably the best non-supplement WW ever wrote.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



MonsieurChoc posted:

Hunter: the Vigil is quite possibly the best nWoD line.

Hunter or Promethean. Sometimes I feel it's a disservice to the line that my gaming group turns Hunter into a lighthearted beer and pizza game where Task Force Valkyrie are protecting the US (and Earth, in cooperation with other nations' similar groups) from the scum of the multiverse.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Cythereal posted:

Hunter or Promethean. Sometimes I feel it's a disservice to the line that my gaming group turns Hunter into a lighthearted beer and pizza game where Task Force Valkyrie are protecting the US (and Earth, in cooperation with other nations' similar groups) from the scum of the multiverse.

I think it's a compliment to the line that it enables such a variety of playstyles. It can be as dark or light as you want.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Cythereal posted:

Hunter or Promethean. Sometimes I feel it's a disservice to the line that my gaming group turns Hunter into a lighthearted beer and pizza game where Task Force Valkyrie are protecting the US (and Earth, in cooperation with other nations' similar groups) from the scum of the multiverse.
Honestly I think the other end of the spectrum, where you spend more time covering up your activities, going crazy, and being a lovely employee/spouse/parent than actually fighting monsters would be a poo poo game to play. But a fragment of the fanbase always obsesses over that sort of thing, of course.

Apropos of...Hunter, I guess, I didn't realize that the 3rd edition of CHILL finally came out. (Not that I'm saying the publisher took too long; for years it was in the hands of another publisher before them, whose CoC-supplement-based business model failed. Their only CHILL output was a free quick-start.)

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 16:37 on May 27, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Hunter: The Vigil

I got some free time, so...what, mechanically, separates a Hunter from J. Random rear end in a top hat? First up: Risking Willpower. Anyone can spend a point of Willpower to get +3 to a roll, but Hunters can risk. A roll you risk Willpower on has to directly relate to the Vigil somehow - researching a monster, breaking into its house, interrogating its minions, sneaking up on it, fighting it. Perception rolls never count, nor do rolls to rsist toxins or fatigue, or rolls for avoiding surprise. Rolls made to activate Endowments (read: magic powers) are not eligible, but rolls made to use Endowment-based equipment are. Rolls made as part of a Tactic are eligible.

When you risk Willpower, you choose a benefit - +3 dice, 9-again on the roll of exceptional success on 3 successes rather than 5. First one is normal, third one's good if you have a large pool already, the second one is dogshit and should never be done. The other benefit? If you risk Willpower and the roll succeeds, you regain the Willpower you spent on the risk and a second Willpower point on top. If you fail, though, it's a dramatic failure no matter how many dice you had.

There aren't a ton of Hunter-unique merits, though. Endowments are available to Conspiracy members. You can get a merit to give you a bonus to Resolve+Composure rolls when you're carrying your trusty grandpa's shotgun. You can get Professional Training, which lets you become better at your Profession - and that's the other thing Hunters get. A Profession. Basically, it's what you do as a living, and it gives you certain skills that you are most adept at turning towards the Vigil. With more dots in Professional Training, it gives you stuff like professional contacts in that field, lowered XP costs for specialties in your Asset Skills (the skills your job makes you naturally good at turning to the Vigil) and eventually being able to use rote actions for your Asset Skills. (Rote actions are exceptionally good.) You can get a safehouse for you and your team to hide in and store stuff, and you can trap it to hell and back. You can have a torture suite in it, too, if you're creepy and weird. There's a long list of potential PRofessions but none of it is especially interesting. ('Hackers are good at computers and it's easy to become obsessed with the Vigil as a hacker. Hit Men are violent and often are the muscle of a team.')


Dad, can I go now? I hate listening to you talk about murdering vampires.

So. Let's talk compacts and conspiracies. The organizations that you might join. Compacts first - They have less power, less reach, but they're also less organized. Less in the way of orders, more in the way of friendly advice. Of course, not all of 'em are people you want to be friends with. Ashwood Abbey, for example. They're Hunters who hunt for fun. They've been around since 1855, and they like to kill things no one else can, to take drugs no one else does and...well, they're a mess. The original Ashwood Abbey was in Edinburgh, home to Reverend Doctor Marcus McDonald Ogilvy - a very, very bad man. He was the debauched leader of a Hellfire club - sex, drugs, bondage in public. By modern standards, not that bad, but by Victorian standards, these guys were smashing taboos openly. One night, he and his buddies at the Abbey get attacked by a pack of werewolves who objected to them having sex on a holy standing stone. A lot of the Abbey regulars died that night. The ones who didn't fled. The survivors averted scandal, at least - they'd left nothing behind. When Ogilvy led them back by day to get rid of the bodies, they found only gnawed bones and vast quantities of dogshit. Ogilvy decided to come back with his friends a few nights later. In full sight of everyone, he jacked off on the stone. Then they waited for the werewolves with elephant guns full of silver.

Unfortunately for Ogilvy, the werewolves returned to human form on death, so he didn't get to mount their heads. Still, he led hunts against just about anything supernatural over the next decade. He eventually died to a three-armed wooden goblin, but the Abbey continued, preserved in his will as a high-class clubhouse. Several members came to America at the turn of the century and set up shop there. Thanks to the nature of European royals and nobles - and, yes, they've had royal members - chapters have been set up across Europe, too. They've outlived the social structures that formed them, and these days, the chapters are all more or less independent, barring a nominal fee to the original Abbey for use of the name and a members list.

Joining is a little weird. Some people just get asked after being groomed as a potential member for a while. More commonly, membership is coerced - you get invited to dinner, they reveal they hunt monsters, they tell you about a victim they want to kill and make a show of drawing lots. Bag full of billiard balls, whoever draws the white one gets to lead the hunt. The new guy? Always gets the white ball. It's a fixed game. By the time the hunt ends, they're either a full member or dead. Ashwood Abbey tries to keep track of other hunters - mostly, they find them and follow them around a bit, preferring the ones that gather information over the all-guns-blazing types - that's no fun, you know. When the other hunters have finished the boring investigation work, the Abbey steps in, usually sends them on a wild goose chase, and goes to make the kill with flair. Sometimes they have sex with the monsters before killing them. Or after. Ashwood Abbey are the worst, y'see. Some of them have tried things like snorting the ash of a dead vampire, or drinking vampire blood, or making demonskin jackets. The Abbey is not all that well-informed about its prey, though. They know silver bullets kill most werewolves and that crosses don't usually work on vampires, but they tend not to care. They don't want to be assassins or even particularly sophisticated in their methods. They want sport - a challenge. A lot of them get scarred or crippled by their hunts, or worse. But hey, thems the risks.

Members are almost all wealthy social elites. Ivy League frat boys, fashion models, old money nobility, new money corporate superstars. Traditional English vicars, occasionally. They tend to divide themselves into three groups. The Competitors are sportsmen - and they compete with each other. They want to be the first to try anything new - kill, capture, gently caress, whatever. The Pursuit, on the other hand, want secrets. They want to know the most awful things, to see and experience everything. They record their hunts, circulate documents among the Abbey, write the newsletters that go over the unspeakable acts that their cell's gotten up to lately. And the Libertines? They're in this to break taboos. They want to do things that no one's done to things that no one's done 'em to. They see themselves as creators of new moralities in the B yronic sense, and even the other members of the Abbey tend to find them rather disgusting.

"Stereotypes posted:

The Long Night: Jackson Hughes spent a week pursuing the most fascinating demon - it looked like a man, except for the snakehead on its...well. Anyway. Hughes went along the whole time with this dreadful little oik who just took the whole thing so seriously. Honestly, he was bored out of his mind.
Null Mysteriis: I had occasion some time ago to converse with a gentleman who was collecting certain objects pertaining to a witch I'd had back in Rhode Island. Odd chap. Just wanted the books; let me do what I wanted with the rest. Obviously, I made him pay for them. Not that I needed the money, of course. But he wanted them so much. It seemed the thing to do.
The Lucifuge: The Children of Satan! Oh! Yes! I've heard all about htem! I would love to meet one. I suspect it might be a little disappointing, though. These so-called semi-divine individuals never seem to have much of a sense of adventure.
The Ascending Ones: Rachel Grahame spent quite a lengthy hunt alongside a Middle Eastern gentleman who always seemed to be partaking of some of the most marvelous drugs. She could never get to try some, though. Must try harder next time, Rachel.

Ashwood Status at one dot gives you the Barfly merit free - every Ashwood member knows where all the parties are and how to get in. For 3 dots, they also get rooms at the local clubhouse as needed - equivalent to a two-dot Safehouse. For five? They know Ashwood members around the world, people who'll get them guns, whores and bait, who'll arrange a party, no questions asked. This is equivalent to four dots of Contacts.


If you couldn't guess, Ashwood Abbey are kind of terrible and PCs from Ashwood Abbey are weird. I don't like them much.

Next time: Guys who call themselves the Tribulation Militia are still better people than Ashwood Abbey.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Ashwood Abbey are the worst but they're really the only low point of the game. And it's not hard to scrub all the WILD PARTY EXCESS SEX HOORAH stuff and turn them into still dickish but not skeevy big game hunters.

That particular tribulation militia, however, loving owns. All the compacts that aren't the Abbey own, in fact.

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MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I really like the concept of the Abbey, and the idea that some Hunter groups are just as terrible as the things they hunt.

Execution, however, varies from the alright to the cartoonish to the wtf!?

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