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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, The History of Lemuria

The history of Lemuria... where to loving start? If you include Genius in the World of Darkness, the history of Lemuria is perhaps the single most obtuse subject in existence.

In the present timeline, Lemuria is a bardo that began as a rough amalgamation of all the lost worlds and undiscovered continents proven not to exist when the world was mapped. Many theologians and mystics and whatnot had attributed special spiritual significance to these lost worlds, and so Lemuria popped into existence as a powerful bardo, inhabited by a highly intelligent and civilized race of immortal serpent-people.

Now, most manes in the world today are aware that they're somewhat less than real, but this self-styled Third Race was not content to be a figment of humanity's imagination doomed to decline and eventual oblivion as humanity forgot them. Waging a conventional war on humanity was not possible: unlike the later Martians, the Third Race realized that they were susceptible to Havoc and so any such campaign was doomed to failure. Brilliant, Inspired, and with the endless patience of immortality, the Third Race developed a plan: using the most extreme depths of Skafoi, the serpent-people hurled themselves back in time to the dawn of human civilization and became the secret rulers of humanity, retroactively inserted the day humans began to move past the hunter-gatherer stage. The temporal effects were devastating, twisting and warping the entire timeline and destroying the Terminals, the godlike beings at the end of time. In this timeline, the Third Race were the next thing to gods.

But there were unintended consequences as well. The temporal shift wiped away Lemuria itself, an idea that now had never been taken seriously, and the Third Race found they could no longer reproduce themselves. The change in the timeline never stopped humans from becoming Inspired, either, but now these Inspired were brought before the secret rulers of mankind and swore fealty to their serpentine overlords. They became the Secret Masters, the agents of the true Lemurians. Lemuria the organization was born in the time-warped cradle of mankind.

How true any of that is is anyone's guess. It's the best guess anyone in the present state of reality has put together, but when you're dealing with a bunch of secretive, reality-warping egomaniacal madmen, rogue figments of the human imagination, and there have been this many disturbances in the timeline, "truth" is a funny story you share with your friends over beer.

What is known for certain is that the Third Race's numbers had thinned by the time recorded history began. Some in accidents (these are mad scientists after all), some in internecine violence, at least one was slain by some group fighting Lemuria even then - take your pick of myths this might have inspired. The nine surviving serpents abandoned their cages of flesh to become beings of pure intellect and thought, appearing to humans as sages and holy men. These were the Nine Unknown Men, and they created a book called the Race History, a development guide for human civilization should even the Nine Unknown Men fall.

The point of all of this was to engineer a reality where Lemuria exists. Not just as a bardo, but truly exists as a natural part of the world with the Third Race intact are more than mere manes.

Lemuria quietly ruled humanity in the shadows and guided human civilization for centuries, always seeking to bring about Lemuria - possibly by engineering human civilization to the point where they could change the timeline again and bring Lemuria into being, no one knows for sure. Those who fought back were crushed. Or so the Lemurians claim. That pesky issue of them all being unmada rears its head again. What is known for certain is that Lemuria's decline and the birth of what would become the Peerage began with the Renaissance in Europe and the Islamic Golden Age in the Middle East. Becoming Inspired is part chance, but also in large part based on the mentality of the individual. One must have a mindset to identify problems and figure them out to have a Breakthrough, and the Renaissance was a sea change in how people in Europe fundamentally saw the world, and the Golden Age in the Middle East - most of Asia was too conservative, too culturally stagnant to trigger Inspiration in large numbers, and much of sub-Saharan Africa and the Western Hemisphere hadn't yet undergone the transformation of thought sweeping through Europe and the Islamic world. Geniuses began to appear everywhere, too many for Lemuria to destroy or control, and the Invisible War began.

By the dawn of the 17th century, the Invisible College had been founded, and the organizations that would become the Progenitors, the Artificers, and other members of the Peerage were beginning to take form. They were united by a common enemy that recognized them as an existential threat, and Lemuria fought back with a vengeance. It is an amusing irony, then, that as 21st century geniuses look back it's become clear that the real value of the Peers' struggle against Lemuria was in distracting them from the real problem upending all of their plans and destroying the Race History: mortals. Mortals were doing things they weren't supposed to while Lemuria battled the Peerage, coming up with ideas meant to come later if at all and generally making an incredible mess of the Third Race's carefully cultivated timeline. Cracks began to appear in Lemuria, the Third Race's human servants began to question their masters even as Lemuria threatened to burst into existence again as a bardo. Not ideal, but it could turn the tide against the Peerage and the unwitting mortals.

The war against Lemuria proper when it appeared was devastating, but at the end of the day humanity prevailed. The great machines housing the Nine Unknown Men were destroyed, all brain tapes, clones, psychic duplicates, and alternate timeline copies eradicated. The Secret Masters were destroyed. Lemuria itself was reduced to a smoking wasteland. The death toll on both sides was horrific, and many survivors on both sides are haunted by memories of terrible but necessary things they did during the war. Still, it was a victory for the Peerage. Humanity at large, fortunately, never realized what was going on - the mortal world was preoccupied with World War Two, and the great battle that ended the Invisible War slipped into the shadows of history.

Genius posted:

And that, say most Inspired, as if Lemuria were a just-so story, is why we didn’t get the rocket cars and robot
butlers and meals in pill form we were promised. We got something far stranger, instead, the result of free
and independent inquiry. But there is a price: no one is in control. No one is there to be blamed or praised; no
one is, ultimately, responsible. Lemuria was an evil, brutal, dictatorial, racist, dream-killing organization, but
like a crooked casino, it was the only game in town.

Not all the Lemurians died during the last Invisible War. And the idea that Lemuria represented, that
humanity had gone wrong and needed to be led back to the right path, hadn’t been killed by killing a bunch of
old conspirators and mechanical serpent-gods. Much of the bureaucratic infrastructure still remained, in fact,
and the Peerage realized that the edifice of human knowledge that they relied upon was threatened with
collapse. Slowly, like cockroaches edging in darkness toward table-scraps, the Lemurians crept back in.

After all, the free Inspired told themselves, someone had to make sure that the universities didn’t collapse, or
accidentally open rifts into the Chaos Realms. Someone had to maintain the ridiculous illusion that paper with
dead presidents possessed value. Someone had to be in charge. Right?

So the institution of Lemuria was restored. Crimes were pardoned, sentences commuted. The Peerage pushed
the whole rotting edifice back up, because the alternative was worse: collapse, complete collapse, for the
Inspired world and perhaps for the mortal world as well.

Still, Lemuria remains shattered and leaderless. No one knows how to operate the last machines of the Secret Masters and the Nine Unknown Men, but many Lemurians blindly follow their dictates anyway. Other Lemurians simply continue as they always have, pretending that someone is in charge, must be in charge. But there is not.

No one is in charge of humanity anymore.

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hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




HackMaster, 5: Let's hack something

So, with our last few BP I missed the most obvious option. Being a Fighter, we can buy specializations for 5 BP a piece, so with 20 BP we can buy all four +1 specializations for the Hammer. This gives us an extra point of damage, an extra point of to-hit, one point less speed (which is good), and one point to defense when wielding it (since it can be used to parry). These are the four specializations you can take, and after taking these we could potentially move on to taking +2 specializations and so on, but we haven't the BP for that, and we won't have for quite a while.

quote:

SATYROS MCBUCKET

Str 13-1 = 12/18 (+1 damage, +1 FoS, Encs 215/14/28/56/84/538)
Dex 9/40 (+3 init, -1 attack, -1 defense, 0 dodge, -2 FoA)
Con 10+2 = 12/26 (0 physical)
Int 13/27 (+1 attack, 1 BP bonus)
Wis 6/26 (+4 init, -2 defense, -2 mental save)
Cha 11-1+1 = 11/78 (0 honor, +1 turning, +1 morale, 3 proteges)
Looks 13/14 (+1 honor, 0 fame)

Gnome Titan: Large for knockback vs giants/giantkin, +6 defense vs giants and trolls,
attack bonus one level higher, low light vision, +4 defense, +1 attack vs goblins
-1 reach, small for HP and knockback, half speed

Fighter 1: d10 hit dice, +1 attack bonus (GT), 0 speed, 0 initative

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
Q Inappropriate Sense of Humor
Q -10 Abstinent: Sex
Q -10 Nagging Conscience
Q -15 Compulsive Liar
Q 0 Allergy: Food
P 7 Angawa Battle Cry
P 5 Maintenance / Upkeep
T 10 One-Upmanship
T 20 Stout
T 24 Less Sleep
T 12 Tough as Nails

Initiative +3 (dex)

Hammer (2.5 pounds):
Attack: -1 (dex) +1 (int) +1 (fighter/GT) +1 (specialization) = +2
Speed: 8 -1 (specialization) = 7 (hammer)
Damage: 2d6p+1 (Str) +1 (specialization) = 2d6p+2
Shield damage: d6p+1 (Str) +1 (specialization) = d6p+2

Defense: -1 (encumbrance) -2 (leather armor) -1 (dex) -2 (wis) +4 (shield) +4 (Gnome Titan) +1 (specialization) = +3

Damage reduction: 2 (leather armor) + 4 (small shield) = 6
Speed 10 - 7.5 - 5 - 2.5 - 1.25

HP 10+5+9 = 24
TOP threshold = 7
TOP save = 6

Acting (Lks/Cha) 11%
Appraise, Armor and Weapons (Int) 21%
Animal Husbandry (Wis) 6%
Animal Mimicry (Wis) 6%
*Cartography (Int) 13%
Climbing (Str/Dex) 9%
Current Affairs (Wis) 6%
Diplomacy (Cha) 11%
Disguise (Int/Cha) 11%
Distraction (Cha) 11%
Fire Building (Wis) 6%
Glean Information (Int/Wis/Cha) 6%
Hiding (Int/Dex) 9%
Interrogation (Wis/Cha) 6%
Intimidation (Str/Cha) 11%
Jumping (Str) 12%
Language, Gnomish (Int) 94%
Language, Sarlangan (Int) 23%
*Law (Int) 13%
Listening (Wis) 6%
Observation (Wis) 6%
Oration (Cha) 11%
Persuasion (Cha) 11%
Pick Pockets (Dex) 9%
Read Lips (Int) 13%
Recruit (Cha) 11%
Resist Persuasion (Wis) 6%
Rope Use (Dex) 9%
Salesmanship (Int/Wis/Cha) 6%
Scrutiny (Wis) 6%
Seduction (Looks/Cha) 11%
Skilled Liar (Cha) 11%
Sneaking (Dex) 9%
Survival (Wis/Con) 6%
Torture (Int) 13%
Tracking (Wis) 6%

So, having worked through all that, we should at least be able to take out our frustrations by actually getting into a fight with something. So, our dear Satyros is walking down a shady road in a bad part of the world when A Goblin (Anthony Goblin to you) jumps out and ambushes him.

As mentioned previously, HackMaster's initiative system is based on counting up. Since the Goblin is starting the fight, he by definition goes on 1. What Satyros goes on is determined by his modifier and a dice roll, and the type of dice roll is based on how much he knew about what was going to happen. The default is a d12, but in this case he was likely expecting some kind of trouble, so he'll roll a d10. (If he could hear the goblin was around, he would roll a d8; if he knew exactly where he was about to jump out from, he would roll a d4.) Unfortunately, since he's kinda clumsy, his initative is +3, which is bad.

And he rolls: 7+3, 10. So his first action will be on tick 10. This is potentially very bad for him, but not quite as bad as it sounds.

So, on 1, the goblin jumps out and attacks. HackMaster determines the hit points of monsters by a semi-random formula; the hit points for a goblin are 17+d6, so a quick roll tells us that this goblin has 22 hit points. It attacks with a rather badly made short sword, rolling d20p+3 to hit. Unfortunately, since Satyros is still surprised, he only gets to roll a d8p in his defense, and doesn't get any defense bonus, nor his shield!

Results, 13+3 = 16 vs 7. The goblin has hit. His damage is 2d6p-1; he rolls 4-1=3. Aha! Satyros is in luck. Because he's surprised he doesn't get the damage reduction from his shield, but he does get the reduction from his armor, which is 2 points. So Satyros takes a 1 point wound. Insert Black Knight quote here. Also, having been attacked knocks him out of Surprise after 2 ticks, so he'll get to go on 3.

The Goblin's sword has a speed of 8, so he'll get to attack again on tick 9. However, the rules get kind of funky at this point: that doesn't mean he can't do anything in the meantime. He's actually allowed to move around freely while waiting for the next attack slot. If he managed to disengage completely from Satyros, by moving away further than 5' plus his reach with the hammer, he could potentially "unlock his count" and go hit somebody else right away. However, the GMG then mentions that apparently some Brian types decided to abuse this by jumping away from an opponent, unlocking count, and then immediately charging back in on the same opponent ignoring weapon speed, which it tells us shouldn't be acceptable.. so I guess the actual criteria for unlocking has a fair dose of GM fudgery in it.

I should probably mention movement, too. There's four versions of movement: Walk, Jog, Run, and Sprint. Each of these multiplies your base speed by a standard amount. Walking and Jogging are free, but Running and Sprinting require you to speed up and slow down (you have to Walk/Jog for a turn first, and it takes 10' to stop, although the rules for what happens if you slam into something aren't particularly clear). Sprinting also tires you out. If the goblin was determined to be an sniping rear end in a top hat, it probably could: it's the same speed as him, so the 2 ticks when he's still surprised would let the goblin jog or run away. But, this goblin is going to be either dumb or way too brave and hold his ground.

So, on 3, Satyros gets to strike back. He rolls a d20p plus his attack bonus of +2, and gets.. a 6, for a total of 8. The goblin gets to roll defense, and as the goblin is not surprised, he gets a proper defense roll.

Now, remember I mentioned that using a shield changes things up a great deal? If you don't have a shield, your defense roll is d20p-4 (before modifiers) because then you're actually dodging and that's hard to do, and wearing armor makes it harder. If you're using a shield, the logic goes, you aren't dodging any more; you're trying to get hit, just on the shield. That means you roll a full d20p (plus modifiers) but if you're missed within 10 points, it's assumed you blocked with the shield. This means you still take damage, but the opponent's damage roll is heavily reduced (usually halved) and you can apply the shield's DR. So, the goblin's shield and quickness means his roll is d20p+6. He gets a 6, for a 12. Since 12 is higher than 8, but within 10 points, the goblin blocked Satyros's attack with his shield, and Satyros gets to roll his shield damage.

Shield damage can either be calculated using a separate formula based on the weapon (reflecting that shields do better against swords than blunt weapons) or just handwaved by halving the dice component of the weapon damage. Satyros' shield damage with a hammer is d6p+2, and he gets a 4, for 6 damage. Since the shield offers 4 DR and the goblin also has leather armor for 2 DR, the damage is entirely soaked. Satyros's speed with the hammer is 7, so he'll get to go again on 10.

On 9, the goblin attacks again, but now Satyros is no longer surprised he can defend properly. d20+3 for the goblin vs d20+3 for Satyros. Unfortunately for the goblin, he rolls a 1. This means he misses, and is in danger of a fumble. Satyros rolls a 19 (I'm really rolling these, honest) for a result of 22. This means that not only has the goblin fumbled, but Satyros has rolled a near-perfect defense. The NPD gives Satyros a free hand-to-hand attack, which wouldn't be much use as he doesn't have a free hand.. but he does have a hammer, which is a Small weapon, so he can use that. (If he'd rolled a 20, he would have gotten a weapon attack no matter what weapon he was using.) That's 2d6p+2 damage, and he gets 7. Now, if it had been an unarmed attack, the goblin's armor wouldn't have counted, but the rules don't make it clear if it counts for an armed attack or not. Certainly his shield doesn't count, because he wasn't expecting the attack. So for the moment let's say that the goblin's armor does count. The goblin takes a 5 point wound. Bad start - and we still need to deal with that fumble.

For the fumble, we have to refer to the table in the GameMaster's Guide, for these rules are supposedly secret. We calculate the difference between the modified attack roll (4) and the modified defense roll (22); the difference is 18. Multiply by 10, 180. Then add this to a roll of a d1000. I rolled 403, so our fumble Id is 583. 583 indicates that the Goblin has just dulled or cracked the edge of his sword and from now on will get -1 to hit and damage with it. Also, because the fumble Id was odd, Satyros gets another free counter-attack, and rolls 2d6p+2, getting 8. With the DR, Mr Goblin gets a 6 point wound, and now has lost 11 hit points.

Things get worse for him. Intelligent (or barely intelligent) monsters have a Tenacity level, and goblins by default are "Nervous". Since he just suffered more than 20% of his hit points in a single blow, he needs to make a Morale check at -4 for being Nervous. This is d20p-4, and he gets 9-4 = 5, opposed by Satyros' Charisma morale modifier which is +1. He rolls 18+1 = 19. This means that the goblin, having screwed up its attack so spectacularly, metaphorically soils itself and starts attempting a Fighting Withdrawal. It moves away 2.5" with its walking movement (and also potentially gets a penalty to its attack if it was to try attacking again). Its next attack will be on 17.

Satyros, however, goes on 10. He walks up to the cowering goblin and proceeds to put the hammer in. d20p+2 gets 9+2 = 11. d20p+6 for the goblin gets 8+6 = 14. Another hit to the shield! This time, however, Satyros gets lucky and his d6p+2 roll explodes, coming out to 9. The goblin's shield soaks 4, his armor soaks 2, so the goblin takes 3 points of blunt trauma. And there's another catch, too.. any time you block with a shield, there's a chance of the shield being destroyed if the blocked damage was too high, and 9 points of damage is enough to trigger a check on a small shield, albeit an easy one. Satyros rolls a raw d20p and rolls 19, and the goblin rolls d20p+6 and rolls a 2 for an 8 result. Satyros's hammer smashes the goblin's shield into splinters as it cowers. Satyros's next attack is due on 17.. the same as the goblin.

At this point, the heavily panicked goblin decides to flee, Jogging away from combat on 11. Fleeing potentially allows the attacker to attack again if the flee occurs within half of the attacker's speed value, but since Satyros just attacked last tick, he doesn't get that. He can, however, jog after it, forcing the goblin to take another Flee action in the next tick. This continues until tick 14, when Satyros's next attack does become due within half of his speed's worth of time. At this point, he can carry on chasing the goblin or attack it, but the attack will delay his pursuit by half his weapon speed again. He goes for the attack. d20p+2 gets 6+2 = 6. But the goblin no longer has his shield, so he now rolls d20p-4+2, and gets 2-2=0. 2d6p+2 comes out to 8, and the goblin no longer has his shield, so he has only 2 DR. He takes a 6 point wound, now down 17 HP. However, this attack slows Satyros down for the next 4 ticks, meaning the Goblin will have 4 rounds of jogging away. He could potentially sprint after it, but decides not to bother.

So, this should give a feel for HackMaster combat. To whit, it's ridiculously complicated, but at the same time, offers a heck of a lot of detail for roleplaying types. And even a goblin is non-trivial for someone on his own. Our next step, of course, will be to make up our Pixie-Faerie Mage and see if caster supremacy is still a thing..

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Xelkelvos posted:

Ostensibly, they don't have to exist alongside each other, it's just that each line is written with the possibility in mind. Each one should be able to be played, themes and all, in a vacuum without any other splat coming around to start a monster mash and mixing things up. On the other side of it, though, the line shouldn't be so exclusive that crossover can't happen. Also, the folks on rpg.net obsessed with making WoD lines may just be poor writers/devs.

How well, as long as it's not hardcoded into the rules, this seems to work.

quote:

Inspirations:
Sailor Uranus, Nanoha, Captain Marvel, Indiana Jones. Eventually two others were added later (based on wiki history). Those are Sayaka Miki and Aquaman from Batman: the Brave and the Bold. Both of those sorta work, I guess. Finn the Human from Adventure Time is probably a better example than Captain Marvel of all characters.

So that's it for the Queens until we come to the antagonists. Most of them are rather one-note and a lot of the info included was rather useless (the character creation sections are all rather superfluous and useless). We're only about 1/5 of the way through the book and one thing that I had forgotten to notice until now was the lack of Example PCs and an example of Character Creation. While veterans to WoD may not need the examples, it would make sense to have an example that focuses on the portions outside of Core. This may be another element of their perpetuation of development and being too mired in it without taking a step back and looking at the game as a whole and just losing sight of the whole in general. That might be why the Charms section and the Antagonists sections are about 100 pages each. Even Mage doesn't take up quite as much real estate in its books when it comes to spells, I don't think.

I'm surprised they didn't pick Pluto or Saturn (or all 3). They actually did that whole heroic suicide thing (both got better).

And these stereotypes look like fun. Let me try for a sec...

Super-secret Maid: The Servening WIP draft that may or may not be a joke posted:

Stereotypes
• Maids: Just another rival on my quest for Master's heart.
• Princesses: The world is too cruel for my poor little mistress...
• Vampires: Please be gentle when biting me, Mastere (words always end with an "e" when it's about vampires, right?)
• Werewolves: My master is a good doggie.
• Mages: I love magic tricks!
• Prometheans: I'll help Master become a real boy!
• Changelings: I love my fairy mistress!
• Sin-Eaters: My master sees dead people. I hope I'm not one of them.
• Mummies: I always feel a bit weird when my master is around. Is that love?
• Mad Scientists: Nobody understands the true genius of my master...
• Leviathans: My master belongs to one of the oldest families in the world!
• Ferals: I would probably be more open towards your sex offers if I you didn't poop on the carpet every other day.
• Hunters: Happy hunting, Master!
• Mortals: How may I serve you?!

(I'm not crazy enough to do this with all x and y splats. Let's just assume a Loli Maid isn't too different from a Sexy Maid in this regard.)

Mors Rattus posted:


Did I mention that their picture is a trace of Dante from Devil May Cry? 'cause it is.

This is so funny coming from one of the big(ger) guys of the industry. A shame we don't have a Devil: The MayCrying.

Kavak posted:

There are like five different categories of beings running around in the new World of Darkness called Demons. This is why I don't think incorporating every single line into a single game world is a good idea.

I am surprised the guys at White Wolf couldn't come up with alternative names for "demon".

CommissarMega posted:

It does make me want to think of how an Unmasqued World game would turn out though. Hell, let's add Geniuses, Leviathans and Princesses into the mix too. You wouldn't be able to walk down a street without running into a supernatural,, or maybe all the secretive members of a whole apartment block find out the only 'normal' humans is the Union hunter, who's also their landlord :v:

Dammit, now I want a World of Comedy game.

In the World of Comedy, it is the normal humans that are the ancient secret society. Everyone else belongs to at least one category of supernatural critter pretending to be human.

hyphz posted:

So, this should give a feel for HackMaster combat. To whit, it's ridiculously complicated, but at the same time, offers a heck of a lot of detail for roleplaying types. And even a goblin is non-trivial for someone on his own. Our next step, of course, will be to make up our Pixie-Faerie Mage and see if caster supremacy is still a thing..

I'd say the initiative ticks could use some less crunch. The rest seems doable after a bit of getting used to.

And there is a fumble table using a d1000 o_O ?!

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

Ask me about mapping out all the best limousine routes in Moscow for you and the little miss ;)

Lipstick Apathy

hyphz posted:

HackMaster combat
You know, between things like defense rolls and the restructuring of stats to soften the blow of completely random rolling, and the various abilities that the Fighter can pick and build, HackMaster is looking more and more like a legit well-designed, if crunchy, D&D-esque game.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Doresh posted:

This is so funny coming from one of the big(ger) guys of the industry. A shame we don't have a Devil: The MayCrying.

Well, we got the Lucifuge.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


MonsieurChoc posted:

Well, we got the Lucifuge.

When using an electric guitar powered by the soul of a lightning vampire succubus and the power of satan the lucifuge can...

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

I am surprised the guys at White Wolf couldn't come up with alternative names for "demon".

I'm surprised they had the restraint to not jam an a in there and make it dæmon.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


theironjef posted:

I'm surprised they had the restraint to not jam an a in there and make it dæmon.

Or make some sillier changes like "demon(n)(e)".

MonsieurChoc posted:

Well, we got the Lucifuge.

Are their powers fueled by how outlandishly awesome/badass they act?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Sorry about the long delay. Long chapter + busy means delays.

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


Part 12c: Exciting new business opportunities!



Oops, turns out I was wrong last time; this is the longest chapter in the book. At least it's about the realm itself, where the PCs actually go. So that's something, anyway!

The most important thing you need to remember about the Nippon Tech realm is this: none of the good guys know it's there yet. Where the other High Lords came down with bridges made of trees or light or corpses dropping out of holes in the sky, 3327 drops his bridges inside specially hulled-out skyscrapers. The reality of Marketplace is so similar to that of Core Earth Japan that the only real outward sign of the change is that the economy is booming, businesses are doing better, technology is advancing a little faster, and 15-hour workdays are becoming the norm.

That's not to say it's been an easy ride to hide the realm's existence. The other High Lords know, of course, but so far it's not in their best interests to reveal his existence just yet, and besides it's not like they could hold a press conference or something. There's also the problem of the reality storms that exist around the borders of every realm; 3327 has reduced the possibility drain of his stelae to minimize the power of the storms as much as possible and blames what's left on the proximity of Orrorsh.

So far, it's working. The other governments of the world are too busy trying to deal with the obvious invaders to pay much attention to Japan, and on top of that Japan has had to step up as a world financial and technological power now that North America and most of Europe are out of commission. That's not to say people haven't noticed all these corporate mergers all over the place, or the rise of the Kanawa Corporation, but there's no hard evidence that Ryuchi Kanawa (3327's Core Earth identity) is doing anything really illegal. There's some suspicion that he's a High Lord sympathizer, but as of yet nobody suspects the truth.

(Just to skip ahead in the timeline, it'd be about three years before anyone realized that Nippon Tech was there and that Ryuchi Kanawa was a Possiblity Raider.)

The other sign of Marketplace's invasion is the thick fog that now hangs over the land, the side-effect of the low Magic and Spiritual axioms I talked about back in the first Nippon Tech post. The Kanawa Corporation has stated that this is a harmless side-effect of a process that derives power from sea water, and since the Kanawa Corporation controls all the major media and news outlets in Japan this is being heavily downplayed in the news.

The aftereffects of the invasion as a little harder to hush up. The higher technology brought over from Marketplace has given the Japanese manufactuing industry a shot in the arm, and has caused a sharp spike in most industries. When corporate expansion began to encroach onto Japan's already dwindling agricultural spaces, there were protests as land became scarce and food prices began to skyrocket.

quote:

The tremendous development of the countryside sparked some protests, all of which were ignored by Japanese officials, thanks to 3327's successful efforts at bribery and intimidation of various government officials. Pointing out the loss in employment and tax revenues Japan would suffer should his firms decide to relocate to another country, 3327 was able to win concessions from the government that virtually erased all the environmental regulations put in place over the last 20 years. Ministers who supported his positions were given either a monetary expression of gratitude or a stock tip they could benefit from. Those who resisted his entreaties often fell victim to what the Kanawa-controlled Tokyo Shimbum called "the rampant climate of lawlessness in our cities."

Of course, between the industrial expansion, higher technology, and overlaying reality, pollution has begun to rise sharply. Even outside the major cities, the air and water quality has gotten to the point where people don't go outside unless they have to. Of course, Kanawa subsidiares are taking advantage of this by selling air filter masks and new shop-from-home systems.

The arrival of the Laws of Profit and Intrigue has caused the crime and poverty rates in Japan to reach an all-time high. The widening gap between the haves and have-nots has caused an increase in the homeless population due to people losing their jobs or being unable to afford to live anywhere else. Not helping matters is 3327's attempts to stamp out Storm Knights in his territory, which leads to huge shootouts between the Knights and corporate security forces that result in a lot of property damage and innocent bloodshed. What's worse; the population is just getting used to this as "the way things are now".

Basically Japan is currently in a slow decline that's leading it to becoming just another "subsidiary" of Marketplace, but the decline is being maintained at such a slow, subtle pace, nobody's going to notice anything until it's too late.


The Nippon Tech realms, about three months after the initial invasion.

3327 has two bridges in play: one in Osaka as part of the initial invasion and one in Sacramento, California that he set up a few months later after Baruk Kaah was driven out of that part of America. He did try to drop a bridge in Hong Kong, but was stopped by a force of Storm Knights.

The next section is about the Japanese Government, and is mostly factual information about how the government is set up because, again, this is the pre-Wikipedia era and it wasn't as easy to look up a simple summary.

The main reason we get a page of info on how the Japanese government is set up is because we need to know how 3327 is controlling it. He's doing it primarily through the Diet, first through bribing officials and eventually by putting his own operatives in office. Three months after the invasion, 3327 effectively controls about half of the House of Representatives and a little under half of the House of Councilors. It's not enough control to pass legislation whenever he wants, but it's enough to block any laws he doesn't like the sound of or push laws through to advance his agendas. The main examples of this are the removal of most environmental regulations, and the "Boom Law", which gave corporations sweeping tax cuts to spur growth and put the financial burden on social and civil programs.

Again, nothing like real life.

It should be pointed out that 3327 has (as of yet) not attempted to replace the current Prime Minister. He knows that would be to noticable a move, so this highest-placed Kanawa operative in the government is the Foreign Minister.

3327 has had little restraint when it comes to the judicial branch of government, though. He's been spreading money around, and the corruption rate among the regional magistrates has tripled in a little under a year. 3327 also has two supreme court justices under his thumb, and has MarSec agents infiltrating police forces throughout Hong Kong.

Technially speaking, the top level of government is Emperor Akihito, but the fact of the matter is that he's seen as more of a symbol than anything else. Still, he's realized that, even with the multiversal invasion going on, some strange things are happening in Japan. He's working with a group called the Rauru Block to try and sieze control of the Diet back from whoever's controlling it.

The next few sections are about the various locations controlled or directly threatened by 3327, and starts with Tokyo.

Tokyo is the largest city in Japan, and has been hit the hardest by 3327's arrival. The sudden industrial boom caused an influx of over 2 million people seeking work, which has caused a severe housing shortage (especially since 3327 has had most of the city's public housing torn down and has defunded social programs). Not only has this caused a marked increase in the homeless and crime rates, it also helps keep the blue-collar workers under the control of the corporations. After all, if you don't like your job there's literally thousands of people ready to replace you, and then it's you living on the street.



The current population of Tokyo is 11 million, but the unemployment rate currently stands at 44% and shows no sign of improving. Not that things are any better for the middle class; due to the surfeit of workers most employees are treated like replaceable cogs now more than ever. To quote from the Tokyo Citybook:

quote:

UPPER CLASS LIFESTYLE CASE STUDY: MR. KANEDA
Mr. Kaneda is the current CEO of Murano Trust Investment (located in Nihombashi). He is a relatively young chief executive, at 53. He nets a yearly salary of "350 million and supports a mansion in Meguro and a penthouse in Nihombashi. He also owns country houses in Karuizawa and Okutama.

His primary hobby is collecting rare art from foreign countries. Beneath his Meguro mansion is a large gallery of items purchased from France, England and the United States. He has also recently acquired (quite illegally) some Buddhist statues from India.

MIDDLE CLASS UFESTYLE CASE STUDY: MR. TAIRA
Hitoshi Taira is a 33 year old sarariman. He is the chief clerk in Sakai Bussan, one of the larger trading companies in Japan. His annual income is less than ¥l0 million and mostof it goes to support a small apartment in Chofu. He lives in the two bedroom apartment with his wife and two children. His wife was also a minor clerk at Sakai Bussan, but quit when she became a mother.

Every morning he goes to work by train, travelling with several other executives to Tokyo, almost two hours away. He must catch the train at 6:00 a.m. and he works from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. After work, he usually remains in Tokyo, going to client receptions held in Ginza. He usually does not arrive back in Chofu until midnight or 1:00 a.m. Mr. Taira works between 300 and 350 hours a month.

LOWER CLASS LIFESTYLE CASE STUDY: TAIICHI UEMATSU
Every morning at dawn, Taiichi Uematsu goes to Vena Station. There, along with many others, he waits for executives to pass by. Taiichi has been out of work for over 18 months now and must beg to feed his wife and child.

Afterwards, he returns to the deserted Iki Warehouse where they live. In a typical day, he will receive just enough money to get two meals of rice.
Tokyo, more than any other city, has become a microcosm of Marketplace.

Osaka is the second-largest city in Japan, and is where 3327 dropped his initial bridge. 3327 now effectively owns most of the city, and his financial takeover was predicated through the use of corporate ninjas sent to Core Earth on dimthreads. The one thing standing in the way of his total control is a group of monks operating out of Shitennō-ji, the first Buddhist temple in Japan and Core Earth hardpoint.

The city of Sapporo is probably the most overtly affected city in the realm. Before the invasion, it was one of the least industrialized cities in Japan. Of course 3327 couldn't be having none of that, and opened a major munitions company in the city and set up tons of factories. The residents aren't too happy about their rural areas turning into bomb factories, and as a result priests of Palan have gotten a pretty good foothold among the people. Interestingly, there's also a lot of ninja training grounds here.

Outside of Japan, 3327 has started running into some problems. The biggest one so far has been South Korea, due to corporate espionage. 3327 attempted to buy out South Korean land through a front company named "Pusan Land Development", but thanks to some Core Earth corporate interests, the fact that PLD was a front from the Kanawa Corporation was leaked to the public. Given that South Korea is still a little mad at Japan from WWII, this sparked major protests. For the first time in the invasion, 3327 had to use military force to enforce his agenda. He sent in MarSec agentsKanawa security police to support the South Korean riot police. Unlike the real cops, the Kanawa forces used lethal ammo on the protestors.


Leave the Bronx!

Of course, not even 3327 can act against an opponent without being a little sneaky. He sent ninjas to plant evidence that one of the main protest leaders was linked to North Korea, at which point Kanawa's propaganda machine kicked into action. Between the discrediting of the movement leaders and the fact that the riot cops are capping people in the head, active South Korean resistance to the corporate influx has dropped off sharply. 3327 has still managed to spin this all in his favor, by selling arms to the South Korean military.

3327 is taking a slower advance into mainland China. He's focused more on pushing consumer goods in the country than his higher-profile options. It's still rough going because of the racism the Chinese people have towards Japan, plus the fact that many Chinese officials are trying to stonewall his land aquisition. For his part, 3327 sees China as a large exploitable resource, and since Orrorsh (to the south) doesn't seem interested in expanding he's trying to get in there before the Gaunt Man makes a play. Interestingly, the Chinese government has suspisions that there's a High Lord operating out of Japan, but are too busy dealing with the overt threat of Orrorsh to worry about it.

Taiwan took a huge hit from everything happening in Japan and China. Without the financial backing of the two countries, the Taiwanese stock market dropped by a whopping 80% before 3327 came in to sweep up the pieces. The financial situation is improving, but the crime and unemployment rates are still through the roof. As it stands, the Taiwanese government is convinced that the Kanawa Corporation will save the country.

Outside of Asia, 3327 has made a huge step and dropped a single bridge in California. What makes this particularly ballsy is that he did this by uprooting Baruk Kaah's stelae around the city of Sacramento, which also just happened to contain Kaah's western maelstrom bridge. The loss of the stelae caused the area to revert back to Core Earth axioms, which ended up destroying the bridge. 3327 then immediately pulled another drop-a-bridge-inside-a-skyscraper, and now Sacremento is a Nippon Tech pure zone surrounded by mixed Nippon Tech/Living Land areas. Although most people think it's odd that all these Japanese corporations are moving into California, the "win" over Kaah has gotten more attention.

The western bridge was Kaah's main supply line back to his home cosm, so now Baruk Kaah has taken one of his first big hits, and this is the beginning of Kaah being the metaplot's bitch. Kaah wants 3327 dead now, because while the rest of his territory in the western U.S. is still there, he has no way of keeping it supported. Why he doesn't just drop another bridge is beyond me, apart from "Kaah is pretty stupid".

3327 is now planning on expanding throughout California, supported by the remants of the U.S. government. The edenios have been driven away from the major port cities, he's moved into Los Angeles and is eyeing San Fransisco, but it's his taking of Hollywood that has the best long-term dividents. Since he controls one of the largest entertainment-producing cities in America, he's tied it to his propaganda machine to start seizing hearts and minds.


And that covers the broad strokes of Kanawa-controlled territory. Since this is a huge chapter, we'll continue talking about the Kanawa Corporation itself...


NEXT TIME: Corporate megastructures!

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

To be fair, IIRC, that when someone noticed it was Dante and told White Wolf they pulled the picture from later printings and never hired that particular artist again.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The demon thing has been embraced - it's deliberate now. poo poo just gets named by people and if that's confusing for people who aren't demons to deal with, well, we never said being a hunter was gonna be easy. It's not as though we don't call five completely different monsters vampires - and that's just from the Vampire clans! (Requiem spoilers: each clan is a different monster that acts pretty similarly - vampires just have a convergent evolution deal going on.)

Hunter: The Vigil

The Malleus Maleficarum are armed with ancient rites predating the Council of Nicea, drawn from secret invocations encoded in the New Testament. These Benedictions grant the Malleus the tools and weapons they need to fight Satan. Unlike the Armory, there's no dot levels - your Benediction dots are how good you are, and you can buy each Benediction seperately. You get one free for each dot you have. They work best if you perform them with overt shows of faith, are ordained and are doing them on the appropriate saint's feast day.

The Apostle's Teachings is a ritual developed based on the order of Jesus to his apostles, that they should spread the word not by forced conversion or by sermon, but by example. By invoking it, the Malleus can inspire others through their own good works. They must perform some important virtuous action as they do it, but when they do, they can invoke the Benediction to restore the willpower of their allies, inspiring them.

The Armor of Saint Martin was developed because people frown on civilians wearing riot gear. If you do it right, you get protected by mystical armor, which will stop practically any weapon. Doesn't work against anything that normally deals aggravated damage, though. Holy blessings can only do so much.


This is the part of the book where the art starts to get really hilarious.

The Epipodian Safeguard protects against more subtle servants of the Devil. You see, a lot of monsters can control minds. However, by invoking Saint Epipodius, the Malleus can guard against supernatural mind control. Not mental illusions or anything like that - just stuff that controls actions.

The Blessed Protection of Saint Agrippina is more about protecting a space. Y'see, sometimes you have to ensure that Satan's spawn don't overhear your battle plans. Saint Agrippina can create a safe place for you, warding it such that monsters cannot enter. It's one of the most common Benedictions out there, because of that. You can even customize the ward so that it only works on specific monsters. Makes the ward stronger, but it also limits it. You do need to physically mark the area you're blessing, also, and only structures - you can bless a house or car, but not a person. It lasts for a full day against all monsters or a week against a specific one. Mortal humans can remove the physical markers, destroying the ward, but monsters can't even touch them.

The Boon of Lazarus is the most amazing and most taxing rite that the Malleus have access to. It mirrors the greatest miracle of Christ - the resurrection of Lazarus from his tomb. And, yes, it resurrects the dead. You can only revive someone who's been dead for mere minutes, and it won't work on any supernatural being. It can't restore the undead to life, either. But it will fully heal whoever you resurrect - it won't replace any missing body parts, though, so you're SOL if your friend gets decapitated or chopped in half. Also, the spiritual effort of the miracle is extremely taxing on you...and it's imperfect. Whoever you bring back comes back...well, a little crazy. A lot crazy, really. The Malleus attributes this to the shock of witnessing the Kingdom of God, but darker rumors speak of those who have been raised repeatedly going completely mad, seeing the fiery Pit. Some kill themselves for good - and others become serial killers or worse.

The Fortitude of Saint George calls upon that saint for his endurance of torment and suffering, which convinced Empress Alexandra of Rome to convert to Christianity. The Malleus claim George as the first of their order in spirit, though not name. Some who use this ritual report feeling a presence watching and judging them. Most hold this to be the gaze of Saint George, but some have described it as more alien. In any case, what this does is grant the user inner strength, allowing them to take more punishment as well as go for days without food or sleep, though water is still needed. At the end of that period, they will fell into a deep, 12-hour sleep from which they cannot be awakened. And no, you can't use it more than once per 24 hours.

The Hands of Saint Luke is called upon to deal with the terrible wounds that many hunters suffer. It is a long and arduous process of prayer and laying on hands, but it will slowly and stadily close the wounds of the person it's used in - save for aggravated damage, which only sometimes gets healed. Physical contact must be maintained for the entire ritual, and it can't be used on yourself.

The Sanctification of the Blessed Virgin is used because there are some foes whom sword, gun and pure fire cannot harm. Ghosts, demons and other incorporeal beings need faith to defeat. What this does is make sometime into a blessed item, to allow it to harm those foes. It's usually temporary, but with great and taxing effort it can be made permanent.

The Shepherd's Blessing, meanwhile, is used to hide from the wolves of Satan, to better protect the flock. What that means is that it causes normal people to ignore you. They'll unconsciously acknowledge your presence, but will not see you or notice anything you do, no matter what, unless you perform some overtly hostile act, like shouting a threat or firing a gun. At that point, the Benediction will end. You will have constantly mutter prayers to keep it up, however.

The True Sight of Saint Abel is a tool the Malleus uses to cut through the shadows that Satan uses to hide his servants. Vampires can hide themselves, while werewolves and witches often leave their victims mad and amnesiac. With this, the Malleus grants true sight. It takes a while, but someone blessed by the ritual can see monsters for what they are, automatically knowing them even in their human guises. Any supernatural masking fails utterly - vampiric reflections are crystal clear, werewolves inspire no innate terror or amnesia, even witches' magic is easily remembered. This works even on recorded media - sure, the tape looks blurred to others, but you see it clear. Oh, and you see any incorporeal beings in Twilight as gauzy shadows. However, this will do nothing against active powers of stealth - just passive abilities innate to these creatures.

The Vade REtro Satana is vaguely familiar to anyone who's seen the Exorcist. It is, after all, an exorcism ritual. However, it is an older tie, an archaic one dating back to Saint Benedict, or so they claim. It is believed to have greater power than the Roman Ritual, and certainly it's capable of abjuring and casting out possessing spirits.

And last, there is the Wrathful Sword of Saint Michael the Archangel. He's general of the Heavenly Host and personally fought Lucifer during the War in Heaven. By his hand was Lucifer broken and thrown to Hell. Thus can the Malleus imbue an earthly weapon with the divine power to smite evil. A weapon so blessed glows with pure white light and deals aggravated damage to supernatural beings. Also, it counts as a blessed item. It'll work on any melee weapon, even improvised ones, but it's strictly temporary. Once the thing deals enough damage, it will shatter, overcome by the power placed in it. If the scene ends before that, the power just goes away and the weapon remains.


Look at that loving thing! His wrench has a halo!

Next time: But that is nothing compared to the power of Satan.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Does the Armor of Saint Martin allow you to mete out comedic ironic deaths to pagans who try to stop you smashing their shrines with your hammer?

Saint Martin is the guy who wandered around busting up shrines like some kind of deranged early christian RPG protagonist, until one day some pagans kind of took exception to him trying to saw down their holy tree. So he made a bet with them about the power of their god: He'd stand under the tree and they'd cut it down, and if their god was real, it would smash him. The wind hit it as it was falling and naturally pushed it back onto the pagans cutting it down, smashing them (this being a miracle story and all) and leaving Martin unhurt and probably insufferably smug.

He definitely fits as a saint to be invoked by RPG characters. Except the part where he refused to fight in the Roman army after his conversion and volunteered to go to the front unarmed rather than fight and kill.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Red Tide

Suddenly, Fantasy Delta Green

Now we're on the last stretch, with the game's secrets revealed. After the usual warning to players to look away, we dive into the nature of the Red Tide. It is, essentially, a predator of planes: some sort of cancerous physical law, like gravity with a grudge. Its origins are completely unknown (maybe a grand ritual gone wrong, maybe it just happened) but whatever it really is, what the Red Tide does is tunneling between the planes, reaching new ones full of sentient life, and devouring them. It bleeds into a world and uses the dreams and fears of its denizens to create horrors, allowing them to generate their own methods of destruction. Plants and animals aren't aware enough to trigger this, however, and non-living thinking creatures are somehow indigestible to the Tide, so constructs and undead are only attacked if they do something to bar the advance of the mist. Gods are usually too fractioned and embroiled in their own petty fights to present any threat to the Tide, and in any case it is impersonal enough that divine power can't just erase it, any more that it could erase gravity, light or time. Plus, there's the issue of the cosmic interference that prevents clear communication between gods and their mortal servants. The Tide takes hold in the most inhabited areas first, creating Dream Lords and other monsters to serve them. For the most part, these just exist, rarely having active purposes. When a world tries to fight back or check the Tide, it sends feelers into the pockets of resistance, tempting the weak-willed into undertaking rituals that will ultimately transform them into Tidespawn or nodes for them to appear inside the safe areas. Once the Tide has completely infested a world, it settles down and starts digesting all the Tidespawn, rendering down to their most base components of their ego. Once the last gribbly perishes and the last Dream Lord falls, the Tide is fed enough to tunnel through to the next plane. For countless ages, this process happened without a flaw, but the world before this one fought back too hard, and now the Tide is in danger: if it does not destroy the Sunset Isles soon, it may not have enough energy to escape this plane.

The Tide serves as a constant background threat, the abomination that will force the peoples of the Isles to band together or the death kneel for the world. It serves as a long-term enemy, as it's very likely that a group of powerful PCs will eventually seek to confront and push the Tide back or wipe it out completely. It serves as an implacable alien horror, for GMs that want something more Lovecraftian in their games, and it's good as a source of pulp cultists and gribblies for heroes to crash - or to set the scene for the awful culling of wretched half-innocents that never really understood what they were getting into. However, it is advised to the GM that they shouldn't lay it on too thick - the PCs should never feel that all their actions are hopeless because of the Tide, as this may trample the freedom that makes a sandbox game in the first place. If players don't want the game to be about an endless struggle against the Tide, it shouldn't be.


The Tide Boogie, the end of us all.

The Shou are not, in fact, natives to this plane. Neither are the Isles, for that matter. The Shou were an advanced civilization in their own world, blending magic, science, and the favor of their god Shakun, Lord of the Pillars of the Sky and sole survivor of millenia of divine conflict. When the Red Tide first crashed into this world, Shakun was ready and willing to fight back immediately, and along with his people he trapped the tide in containment zones all over the world. Unfortunately, the warping of reality needed to maintain these zones frayed the laws of reality, like tears in fabric that was too strained. It was only a temporary solution, but the Shou reasoned that if the Tidespawn could be exterminated, the Tide would starve and perish. And so, the scientists and priestesses of the Shou developed a new breed of warriors, hardy and resistant to the ravages of the Tide. Orcs were the frontline warriors, goblins were skirmishers and scouts, bugbears were shock troopers and special forces, and hobgoblins were born officers and leaders. Their martial virtues and innate resistance made them perfect for the job of slaying the Tidespawn, but the Shou were too late - by the time the bloodlines were perfected, the Tide had broken out of the containment zones, and there were not enough of the new supersoldiers to hold them back. Shakun called his hierarchs to him and commanded that the new Shou warriors be brought to an island archipelago that served as one of their civilization's last redoubts. With all the other Shou sacrificing themselves to buy them time, Shakun made the ultimate sacrifice: burning his divine essence, he transported the isles and their inhabitants to a new world. The effort burned the god's body, leaving only his skeleton buried in the soil of the isles. When witches say that godbone is the remains of Shakun, they speak literal truth. The primitive humans of the world could not realize that the geography had changed, and the lizardfolk civilizations that ruled in that time were in their decline and could do nothing about it. However, the Isles were surrounded by sea monsters, and not enough "civilian" Shou made the planar jump, so in a couple hundred years what was left of their civilization collapsed. The tribal Shou lived, bred and fought each other, struggling to prove their worth to Shakun, until the exiles arrive and drove them back. Some Shou believe that they brought the red malaise with them, the mist and the monsters that they hate down to the marrow of their bones, but some of the most forward-thinking priestesses and chieftains wonder if that is not the case, and if the newcomers can be allies in the fight against their ancestral enemy.

So how can Shou be used in a game? On one hand, they can be the traditional D&D goblinoids, sacks of XP and loot for players to bash without much worry. And hey, it's true that many Shou are in fact dicks that want to kill, enslave and eat, and perhaps not necessarily in this order. With some player groups, this might be the ticket. You can apply a more nuanced point of view, but players probably won't appreciate being saddled with a bawling Shou girl after they killed her dad if all they want is kill morally acceptable targets. For less murderous games, players should always have non-violent solutions in dealing with the Shou: tribes that can be reasoned with or take up the remnants of vanquished tribes, spaces for exchanges of prisoners and information. And perhaps players want a more morally ambiguous feeling: yeah, the Shou are savages, but the fact of the matter is that they are the natives of the Isles, and they presented no danger to civilization until the exiles arrived. And yes, the exiles were desperate in their escape from the Tide, but they did slaughter the natives and clear the land for their own use. Some players may want to establish alliances with the Shou, and while the GM can make the goal hard to start with and hard to follow through, they should have a chance of success if the players show genuine interest. And eventually a player will want to play a Shou: in this case, odds are the player will want to play out a hero that is shunned by the same people they try to protect, so while the player should sample that life should not be made impossible by their choice. It's okay if the Shou or half-Shou PC hears muttering and cursing behind their back when in town; they shouldn't be put on a leash outside every time the party wants to have a civil conversation.


Oh poo poo, a Shou sorceror--- what do you mean he's the GOOD guy?

The Azure Ministry can be a tool to bring Shou PCs and the battle against the Tide into the game. There's a small island called Qincheng off the coast of Ektau, where it is said that the Azure Ministry conducts hideous experiments on Shou and half-Shou prisoners. Yellow-sailed ships leave hooded condemned there, and for sea captains they are ill omens. But the truth is different. It all comes back to Lammach's death. When the exiles arrived, they thought the Shou could be tamed as other peoples had been subsumed into Imperial culture, and part of that was the traditional custom of marrying Imperial mandarins into powerful local bloodlines. And so Lammach chose a wife called Ihlati, a powerful priestess. What no one counted on was that the Shou were too warlike to surrender to the foreigners, and that Lammach and Ihlati actually fell in love with each other. She was at his side when the raiders that killed him broke into their tent, and though she could not save them she blasted his killers into a heap with her powers. Lammach's son, the future mandarin, rushed to help his father, and immediately understood what happened - and also understood that the exiles would never forgive Ihlati. So, he spirited her and her thralls to Qincheng, to be "questioned": the truth, as both the prisoners and their wardens learned upon arriving to the island, was that they would be protected against all harm. Eventually, the Shou and their wardens even married each other. Ihlati passed on the lore of witchcraft to promising young disciples, and one of them in fact managed to root out a Tide Cult started by one of the Ministry wardens on her own. Ihlati realized that they could still serve the Isles even if they were hated, and the Ministry was too ashamed by the cult springing amongst their own to protest. They trained agents and brought in halfbreeds from the Isles, who while embitterered by their treatment still embraced the opportunity to have a place, to do noble work. The Ministry agents infiltrated towns and villages, scourging Tide cults and their spawn, but in the deepest secret: more than once, "Shou killers" have been lynched by the mob after slaughtering an "innocent" family. Agents are sworn never to reveal their identity, and they're bound by sorcery to protect that oath. But now the Tide Cults are sprouting faster than they can be rooted out, and agents are reaching the extremes of hiring adventurers as enforcers and muscle. Some voices in the Ministry don't care about the collateral damage inflicted by their destruction of the cults, and some nurse dreams of letting the humans and demihumans know who - or what - has protected them for three hundred years. For now, the Ministry remains silent, but the rising Tide may not let them conceal their secrets for much longer.

Finally, we get some more tables for the GM to roll in. Hey, it is an OSR game after all. You want a quickly done cult? :rolldice: Okay, this cult worships a maddened prophet of doom, possesses secret popular support, has a local business leader as an agent among the masses and the devotees have a special language - hey, I think I just rolled Dittoheads. :haw: We also get name and place tables for all the different cultures in the setting, along with naming conventions and notes on clothing and cuisine.These tables will be familiar to readers of Stars Without Number, that also include them for real-world cultures, and kudos for Crawford for not simply copypasting the real-world tables to their fantasy equivalents (Russian for Dwarves, German for Eirengarders, English for Halflings, Chinese for Imperials, Japanese for Kueh and Arabic for Ekshanti)

Dwarves have use-names and blood-names, where the use-name is a personal name followed by a clan name usually rendered in the Imperial language (Vasily Orefinder, Svetlana Greathammer), while blood-names are endless lists of same-gender ancestors. Vasily son of Piotyr son of Leonid son of Nikita son of... and so on. Place names tend to be adjective-noun words: Goldhall, Redstone, Deepthrone. Eirengarder names use a personal name and a surname, and in their tradition the first child of a couple takes the father's surname, the second takes the mother's, and so on. This was done to spread surnames widely, as so many young mercenaries died without descendants. Eirengarder women don't take their husband's surnames on marriage, but some widows do after their husbands die. Makerite clergy lose the surname and only go by titles like Father, Mother, Sister, Brother. Sample names: Donar Eberhardt, Elfrida Gottlieb. Sample place names: Cirencaster, Freiberg, Thirsheim.

Elves are riddled by names, due to their endless reincarnations, but in normal day they usually use one name and their Creed title. They're pretty guttural, as far as fantasy elf names go: you have Jeddak Golden Crane, Shom Five Names, or Sillai Without Number (:v:). If more specificity is required, they can recite the last five reincarnation names they know, but usually such knowledge is guarded as no one wants to suddenly find out that they have some unavenged slight from three lives back. Their place names are very descriptive: for instance, where the exiles first landed is known in Elvish as "Lammach Came Ashore." Ekshanti give their children one personal name, but their surname is chosen by them upon reaching adulthood, in the form "al-". They also take a place-name related to their home when travelling abroad, and some from illustrious lineages reference noteworthy ancestors with -bin or -bint. So a sample name is "Ali al-Jaludi al--Bursaidi bin-Sinan”: the man Ali al-Jaludi from the village of Bursaid, son of the village headman Sinan. Sample place names are Andalus, Hajarah and Tariq.

Gadaal choose names based on the horoscope, and among strangers they often add their home's name with the suffix "Mac." So Gavin Niven from the village of Sallachy can call himself "Gavin Niven MacSallachy." Sometimes their place-name is chosen from a favored ancestor, and even now the Mandarin of Xian is a MacLammach even if there's precious little Gadaal blood in his veins. Sample names are Logan Haldane, Shona Fairholm and Cameron Lyall. Sample place names are Clachan, Kilmore and Unish. Halflings have a given name and a surname, and use their village's name as a middle name when around strangers. They lose their village name if they abandon it, and if they manage to fund a village of their own they can use its name as their own. Sample names are James Patternson, Elizabeth Goodwin, Jane Dalton. Sample place-names are Carlton, Claypool, Roxbury.

Imperials have a family name and a given name, where the family name comes first. There's also a small guide to pronouncing them, which is a nice detail. Normally both names are used when addressing someone, and because of cultural mixture it's not uncommon to find names like "Lachlan Tang" or "Zhong Anna." Sample names are Bai Liu, Tang Sulin and Lai Heng. Sample place names are Feicheng, Jianqiao and Tongren. Kueh also follow the family name-given name form, and in the Shogunate sometimes the family name is replaced by the clan's hellish patron. Sample names are Hayashi Haruko, Kimura Keisuke and Nakatomi Akiko. Sample place names are Chigasaki, Ibaraki and Takasaki.

The Shou normally only have a given name, since their tribes are so small, but most Shou can trace ancestry to a great hero or priestess. Shou that share these line-names get along better with each other, and when marriages and alliances are celebrated between tribes their leaders usually share line-names. Sample names are Nawirum Malkat, Ilahti Kalama and Yashub Badtib. Sample place names are Amarsin, Enzuasa and Sinremeni. Skandr have a personal name and a surname, but the surname may vary - some families hold to the same one for generations, while others have the custom of taking a father or mother's name and adding "-son" or "-dottir" at the end. Sample names are Jatmund Kaland, Katla Halvorsen and Finna Tyrfingdottir.

There are some notes on businesses that PCs can find in villages, outposts and cities, some tables to quickly roll NPCs and room dressing (what's in an audience chamber? What treasures can PCs find in a dining room? and so on), and finally a number of maps. These are meant to be printed out, filled up and used and reused: cutting up and rotating maps is usually enough to recycle them, as players most likely won't notice. Border villages, temples, shrines, outposts, and so on. There's also a sample of a diagram dungeon, which is a square-grid map where the passages between locations are obviated and not much detail is wasted on them. This is ideal for quick dungeons as long as players understand that nothing of importance will happen in say, the corridor between the grand hall and the dining room.


Maps are all like this, with lots of white space. GMs are meant to get them dirty and scribble all over them.

And that's it for Red Tide, thanks for reading!

Traveller fucked around with this message at 18:52 on May 28, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Hunter: The Vigil

The Lucifuge draw on the blood of their infernal forefathers, calling on the powers of darkness - the rites of Castigation. They are quite potent, but the Lucifuge fear to use them too often, due to the risk of being seduced by darkness. They are right to do so - the dark power can corrupt even the strongest souls, driving them mad. Like Benediction, there's no dot cost for each rite - you get one per dot of Castigation you have. Unlike Benedictions, you can never have more than five, but you can learn rituals to reassign your Castigation dots.

According to the lore of the Lucifuge, when Lucifer was cast into Hell, it was a formless void, and only by his will was it transformed into an unholy city, binding the city's existence to Lucifer. It is part of him, and he is part of it. His mortal descendants carry some of that connection, and so they may use Calling For the Pit, forcing it to disgorge a demon into the world, or to swallow one up and drag it back to Hell. The Lucifuge can use this power to summon a random demon or a specific one they can name. Knowing the name of a demon also makes it easier to banish, and you can summon a named demon even if someone else has already summoned it. To open the Pit, however, the Lucifuge must give a blood sacrifice, either from themself or another intelligent being.

Descendents of Lucifer often attract Familiars - tiny, lesser demons. This can be willing or unwilling. The imps are drawn to the infernal spark of their blood and are compelled by its divine right to serve and obey. Some are willing, slavishly devoted to their masters. Others are reluctant, disgusted to see the children of Lucifer work to serve good but bound nonetheless by blood. Others are insidious - they pretend to loyalty but seek to corrupt their masters to evil. Familiars can be embodied or not - you pick when you learn the ritual, and must unlearn it to choose again. A disembodied or Twilight familiar is a spiritual entity, without a body of its own. These are also known as fetches. A fetch can manifest much as ghosts do, but they are otherwise invisible and intangible, having to use their dread powers to affect anything in the physical world except their master, who can see and touch them freely. They often leave subtle signs of their passing, though, such as the scent of brimstone or flickering shadows. They can take any shape imaginable, up to human size. Embodied familiars, on the other hand, take physical form - animals. Often cats, rats or bats. They tend to have unusually colored eyes and markings that reflect their master's appearance, which sometimes leads to the false belief that the Lucifuge can turn into animals. They tend to have one or two unnatural traits. If slain, the spirit within discorporates and returns to Hell, most of the time. Sometimes, however, they latch onto their master and leech off their soul, becoming an ethereal, disembodied familiar. Master and familiar have an empathic connection, automatically sensing each other's emotions, and they always understand each other, no matter what language they speak.

While Hell is a place of torment, it is also, say many philosophiues, the place where evil is scourged from the souls of sinners, so that they might pass on. The torments are not punishment, but encouragement to repentance, tailored to remind the damned of how they sinned. While it's a matter of debate whether any soul truly gets to escape Hell, the Lucifuge who have mastered the Gaze of the Penitent can draw on this affinity for sin to force guilt upon those whose gaze they meet. The Lucifuge must also have a piece of the target's body - blood, hair or something similar - unless they have witnessed the targe commit one of the deadly sins in the last 24 hgours. Those who suffer this gaze are visited by the imagined torments of Hell for their sins, suffering guilt so intense it makes their actions more difficult to perform.

Where would demonic power be without Hellfire? Hell, in Western culture, has always been associated with fire, and the Lucifuge are its masters, able to conjure the hellish flames of the Abyss. These flames can be unnatural-seeming or normal-looking, and may manifest however the Lucifuge desires - fiery eye beams, fire breath, fire from your plams, whatever. It deals damage as normal fire...unless the Lucifuge is willing to burn hot, taking a bit of aggravated damage themselves in order to deal aggravated damage.

Lucifer's blood also offers the gift of prophecy, Infernal Visions. It's a dubious gift at best - often the insights come in the form of terrible nightmares. Still, ancient truths are revealed in these dreams, finding answers to questions that the Lucifuge could not have known. The visions vary for each user, but they allow the Lucifuge to gain supernatural insights, gaining clues to practically anything - though often they are hidden by symbol and allegory, and rarely are the answers direct.

All of the Lucifuge, no matter how diluted, carry the blood royal of Hell, and with it they can use the Mandate of Hell. In doing so, they may dominate lesser demons to their will with but a word. This can be used in two ways. First, it can give a simple, one or two word command instantly. Second, it can give more complex orders, but to do so the demon to be commanded must by stationary, either of its own will or bound. More complex the command, the harder it is. Still, the demon must obey.

The wicked know their own - and so the Lucifuge have the Sense of the Unrighteous, for wickedness is in their blood. Sin calls to sin, and by meditating on their own sinful nature, the Lucifuge can sense the sins of others. Each experiences this differently - some smell sin, others see it as chains around the unrighteous, and others still feel a bitter taste on their tongues. The sinful and the wicked stand out to the user, however they sense it, and so does the lingering presence of terrible sins committed in the area in the past - the worse the sin, the longer it lingers.

The Lucifuge can call on the Shackles of Pandemonium to bind a demon to a place, trapping it in a ritual circle. The details of the circle vary by the user, but it takes a while to make no matter how. As long as it's intact, it can wait indefinitely for a demon to enter it. This could be a trap or prepared for a summoning, and it works even if you put a carpet over it. Some Lucifuge keep permanent circles, which are harder to break, though they still need to be ritually reset after a demon is released. A bound demon can only be released in three ways - first, the user can release it with a word. Second, the circle can be broken, but not by the demon trapped in it. Third, the Lucifuge chooses a method that will free the demon and must tell at least two other entities within an hour of the binding. One of those two can be the demon, but it doesn't have to be. If the condition is a task the demon can perform, it must be possible within the circle.

Once, the stories say, all men spoke the same language - the Tongue of Babel. But then, they built a tower to the heavens, and God threw it down, cursing them to speak a multitude of tongues. The Lucifuge believe this tower was Lucifer's idea. True or no, they can speak that ancient tongue. As long as they know the power, they may speak and understand every language on Earth - or, rather, they speak the ancient tongue of the tower-builders, which racial memory and demonic blood cause listeners to hear in a language they understand - even if you talk to multiple people who share no common language. Each will understand you, and you'll understand them. This doesn't work with code or ciphers, and it doesn't provide literacy, just speech. You can't solve this by reading phonetically, either - you need to hear someone who understands what they're saying. Also, it grants no facility with mystic languages, such as the tongue of spirits or the magical language some witches use.

Next time: Have you ever killed a vampire...ON WEED?

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Doesn't Hunter also have a tracing of Lil'Wayne on the Ascended Ones entry?

It's yo boy Weezy, fuckin' up vampires on dat sizzurp, son.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

I have now swaddled my undulating mass in a Cheese Dudes shirt. I hope this is how they remember me. Bearded, and touting fantasy escapism and dairy foods.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



ZorajitZorajit posted:

I have now swaddled my undulating mass in a Cheese Dudes shirt. I hope this is how they remember me. Bearded, and touting fantasy escapism and dairy foods.

Well I'm off to change the ad copy for Cheese Dudes shirts. "Swaddle your undulating mass in style and comfort".

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


I know I promised Further Afield soon, and it's still on the docket, but in the meantime I have a few moments to share with you more nitro-boosted secrets of the Darkest Cosmos. Hearken, my immortal lovelies, to the full-throated V8 song of the Mechanical Talents, the Physics Benders, the Road Ronin. I speak, of course, of nothing less than:



Not content merely to blow our minds with the pinnacle of bleeding edge 90s roleplaying, the Secret Masters have seen fit to peel back the Curtain Temporal and deliver a supplement that lives life a quarter-mile at a time. Packed into three tiny pages is a fully tricked out 250 hp hemi engine of story.

And what even is a Car Wizard? They are the first in a new breed of playable character, the Exceptional Mortal. "Mortals?" I hear you scoff. "Exceptional? What a parochial notion!" It's true, no mere mortal can hope to match the dark sexiness of Immortality on its own terms, but when a Car Wizard is behind the wheel, the Darkest Cosmos itself is her co-pilot. And that, my beauties, is about as dark and sexy as it gets.

Making A Car Wizard
Thanks to Katanas & Trenchcoat's incredibly robust and innovative story-building system, creating a Car Wizard is simplicity itself. The process is much the same as creating any of the Higher Supernaturals, with but a few adjustments. Firstly, for Age Generation, a Car Wizard rolls 2d10 and sums the results. This is the number of cars she stole last week, or perhaps the number of months (or years) she spent in prison before getting out last week, or perhaps (if she's an undercover cop) the number of criminals she's tricked into thinking she's one of them. Use Good Roleplaying to decide which, and to determine how old your Car Wizard actually is.

Since Car Wizards live the mayfly lives of Common Mortality, they replace Influence on History with Shadowy Connections, representing favors owed and debts to call in.

Car Wizards have two options for detailing the amazing vehicles they drive. You may replace Awesome Sword with Awesome Ride, representing your iconic vehicle and its storied past. It is the car that defines you, and because you spend most of your downtime tinkering with it, you must have Make at 2+. Alternately, you may replace Kickass Wardrobe with Kickass Rides, representing the string of fast, sexy vehicles that you burn through like nitrous in your fuel-air mix. For this option, you must have L.C.S. (recall that this stands for Lie, Cheat, Steal) at 2+ to explain how you're constantly conning or straight-up boosting your way into all those rides.

Did I say two options? Forgive an old Immortal his japes, for it is in fact three: Like the gluttons of House Sus, you may choose both of the options described above, should you wish to have a string of disposable cars to blow through before pulling the tarp off of your father's 1970 Dodge Charger for the final act. Oh, such decadence!

Finally, Car Wizards replace Ancient Memories with Storied Past, representing their improbably former lives as hackers, undercover cops, or pro-wrestling superstars, and Mystical Talents with Uncanny Talent, representing their ability to tell the laws of physics to shut up and sit in the corner while behind the wheel.

Move, of course, replaces Fight as the Car Wizard's Essential Skill.

And what of the sweet embrace of sweet Lady Death? Simply put, as long as a Car Wizard is behind the wheel of a moving vehicle (and it matters not how the car is moving--tumbling off a cliff, sinking into the sea, or leaping the gap between two skyscrapers), she cannot die. If the rules say otherwise, then either the rules are incorrect or the car has, obviously, come to a stop somehow.

Exceptional Mortals
There follows a short summation of Exceptional Mortals. Chiefest of these points is the matter of death and healing. While in truth mortals heal far more slowly than the Higher Supernaturals, such would be dreadfully dull in a dark, sexy epic like Katanas & Trenchcoats. One cannot brood sexily in a brightly-lit, sterile hospital room, after all. Thus, for the sake of King Story, we bend the laws of probability and decree that Exceptional Mortals heal at the same rate as Immortals, and that "death" merely means, for them, grievous injury and Hardcore Wounds. Hardcore Wounds likewise heal for Exceptional Mortals the same way they do for Immortals, you simply need an outlandishly awesome narrative justification. For example, if you've had your back broken and been thrown into a hellish prison-pit, you might simply need a wise old prisoner to un-break your back with ropes, believe in yourself extra-hard, and your Hardcore wounds would be healed.

High Supernaturals, however, get a free Boost when attempting to perma-kill Exceptional Mortals to reflect their fragility.

Instead of Resverie, Exceptional Mortals have Reflection, which is basically the same except that it involves brooding on something that happened months or years ago instead of centuries. For Car Wizards, it's usually working on their Awesome Ride while drinking a beer, because poo poo's hosed up and right now that's all you can do.

Skills & Car Wizardry
While Move is the Car Wizard's Essential Skill, it's far from the only one they might require on the Darkest Streets. Fight is useful when you try to Wound someone (but not something; Move does for that) while behind the wheel, Knowledge (Street) covers not just "the streets" as a concept but the actual, literal streets and the surfaces you drive on, be it concrete, asphalt, dirt, whatever. Knowledge (DamascusDetroit Steel Production:911:) covers automotive engineering, the auto industry, and related fields like the international oil market and new energy technologies.

New Dancers In a Perilous Tango
Two new Dancers are presented herein: The demon-haunted street races of Tokyo's Yami No Sugano, where three different clans of Immortals duel over a mighty temple, and the Road Ronin, a loose network of small, tight-knit Car Wizard crews that often serve as couriers and transporters to the shadowy underworld--both literal and figurative. Both are, naturally, surpassingly awesome and dripping with story hooks.

Hot Rules
Rules for Chases, Races, and Car Fights adorn this section, condensed, we are told, from the Darkest Drift Episode, which one day may yet be. Races and Chases both rely on a system of Move rolls to gain Distance, with Races being a flat attempt to be the first to reach a set number (say, five for the typical quarter-mile street race) and chases involve one party trying to reach a fixed number while the other tries to match the chasee's total. You can also accept a chase scene in lieu of Breaking a Trait when you flee a scene, but of course you run the risk of being caught again. In both instances, the exploding dice rule is, of course, in play.

New Edges
Finally, proving that the adage "save the best for last" is like all good and wondrous things an invention of the Immortals, we end with three new Edges suitable to Car Wizards: Cars Do Fly, One-Point-Twenty-One, and War Rig. All are elegantly-crafted mechanical jewels, but I will share one with you in its entirety:

Cars Do Fly posted:

When the SM tells you that your car probably can’t do something—like drive off of a perfectly good cargo plane, parachute down, and immediately start racing once you land—you tell the SM to shut their filthy lying face, then explain with the loosest grasp of physics why obviously it can.

Required: Kickass Rides 2+ because you go through a lot of cars, and Grandeur Rank 3+ to tell the SM to stuff it.

That, then, is the secret truth of the Car Wizards. Learn it well, my pretties, and remember: If you're idling at a traffic light on the Darkest Highway and you hear the roar of an engine off to your left, don't dare to look. You just might find yourself in a race...

A race straight to Hell.

(Go buy Car Wizards.)

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Hunter: The Vigil

The Ascending Ones do not use occult powers or science - they use alchemy. They imbibe potions and breath incense, they inject narcotics. In doing so, they gain the full power of the human body and mind to make war on monsters. These Elixirs are virulent poisons, most of the time, and usually in part made out of drugs. It is the will of the Ascending Ones that transform the Elixirs into power.

The Crocodile Tears potion (one dot) draws its name from the folkloric belief that crocodiles weep and feign helplessness to lure in prey, then strike. A show of weakness is more potent than a show of strength, sometimes. Crocodile Tears is a thick, jellylike liquid that tastes of lemon and almond. Once drunk, the Ascending One grows pale and shaky, seeming emaciated and ill. Marijuana is involved in its manufacture. Why would you use it? Because monsters like to target the weak - you're the bait. You're not actually weak, though the tightened skin can hamper movement a little bit.

The Eye of Ra (one dot) is named because the god Ra sees all. It is a sacred sandalwood oil infused with spices, herbs, heroin and kohl. When anointed with it, the Ascending Ones gain a measure of divine perception, sharpening their senses to what is hidden. Traditionally, one employs it by dabbing around the eye in the shape known as the eye of Horus, though Muslim Ascending Ones tend to refer to it as the Eye of Jibril and not bother drawing any shapes.

Hunters must undertake actions, in their war, that many would call evil. These acts weigh on the soul, but with the Breath of Ma'at (2 dots), the Ascending Ones have a refuge. Ma'at is the Egyptian goddess of truth and divine justice, who forgives sin. The Breath of Ma'at is a soothing incense made touched with alcohol, which helps give peace to the users, assisting them in mental recovery from the trauma of evil acts. Some Muslims refer to it as the Mercy of Allah and replace the meditation involved with Muslim prayers, attributing the forgiveness to Allah.

The Elixir of the Fiery Heart (2 dots) is a source of courage, for many monsters are capable of filling the soul with supernatural fear. Even the strongest can be terrified by this onslaught, but with this elixir, they need not be. It tastes of potent liqour, but instead of becoming tipsy, the drinker feels a clinical disconnect from self-preservation, rendering them fearless...if also rpone to acting rashly.

The Bennu-Bird Feather (3 dots) is supposedly plucked from the tail of an Egyptian phoenix. Certainly it's a feather. It might be from a Bennu-bird - perhaps the Ascending Ones know where to find them - or it might be from the Goliath Heron, a rare bird of the Red Sea. Still hard to get but maybe not impossible. Either way, you grind it up with herbs and opiates, creating a gooey paste that accelrates healing. When smeared over a wound, it will heal the injury. It smells of cardamom and willowbark, quite sharply.

A Glimpse of After (3 dots) is based on the drugs used by the ancient Hashshashin assassins, which made them feel as though they were dying. When given an antidote, they would awake in a beautiful garden, greeted by the master of their Order, then were "sent back to Earth" as loyal soldiers. They would have to complete their missions to return to "Paradise", and so they were fanatics. The elixir is a clear, slightly-cinnamon-flavored drink made with amounts of heroin involved. It fills the mind with visions of a heavenly afterlife, unique to each user, driving away pain and injury and allowing even the most wounded to fight as though they were fully healthy.

The Ascending Ones brew psychotropic hallucinogens to use in the Mind-Talking Drug (3 dots). It's better than relying on radios or hand-signals. You inject it into the base of the neck, deal with some hallucinations for afew minutes and then become able to read surface thoughts and project your thoughts into the minds of others. Yeah. Telepathy drugs. Handy!

The legends about dragons were not originally about fire breath - it was poisonous gas. The Breath of the Dragon (4 dots) derives from these legends, brewed from poison and cocaine. It is a fine, crystalline powder that must be inhaled - either smoked or via inhaler. The user then expels a cloud of deadly poison from their mouth, large enough to catch a victim in close combat range.

Sometimes, a hunter must walk unseen. Monsters only reveal their wickedness and weakness in secret. With Amun's Water (4 dots), this is possible. When drunk, it veils the user from sight, rendering them invisible. This is not a trick of the mind - even infrared tripwires and cameras will not see the user. The invisibility, however, is broken by any hostile action. The drug is a deep blue liquid, rather like ink, brewed from deadly nightshade, hallucinogens and adder venom. It is cloyingly sweet and bitterly cold when drunk.


"We want you to draw a guy breathing poison gas at someone. Not fire." "Fire, you say? Okay!"

The Incense of the Next World (4 dots) is part of the proof that the AScending Ones have that this world is not the only one. The mortal world is but an island in a vast sea of worlds, and with the right incense, you can visit the incorporeal world of spirits. It has a strong, primal musk, smelling of sweat, sex and animal skins. When burned, the smoke is deep blue and tends to form strange symbols briefly. When breathed in, it frees the mind of the body, allowing to travel to distant locations, as incorporeal and invisible as any ghost. You will feel any pain or tampering on your body while gone, but it takes a moment to return to it.

The serpent has been many things in symbolism, and for the AScending Ones, it means vampires. Those who slay them are Serpent Chasers. The Blood of the Cobra (5 dots) is a mix of cobra venom, hashish, cocaine and other ingredients, injected into the vein - usually the inner arm. It improves the user's strength and speed, and it turns their blood into a highly toxic poison to anyone that drinks it - vampire or human.

Society always warns of the danger of drugs - governments, religions and more. But most drugs cannot do what the Mesmeric Vapors (5 dots) can - render a victim into a puppet. Unsmoked, they resemble loose tobacco. The scent is a bit sweeter and often hints at strange aromas. It's also laced with opium. When smoked, the smoke is a pale gold that hangs unnaturally heavily in the air. The AScending Ones conver the smoke to a psychotropic drug, which another must inhale. (They learn special breathing exercises to avoid inhaling it themselves.) Anyone in close combat range could be the target, and if they breathe it, the become calm, sedate and relaxed...and most importantly, highly suggestible. This lasts ten minutes, in which they mayb e given complex instructions, which can be left as posthypnotic orders for later. The more steps an order takes, the harder it is to give. You choose what the trigger is, if there is one. When it triggers, the hypnotic state returns, and the victim will ignore or respond only as much as necessary to anything not related to the orders, often behaving as if stoned. Once the command is done, the effect ends.

Next time: What's in the magic box?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Well, now I know what I'm putting in Feng Shui. (Cars do fly is the best description of 'I do a crazy stunt, no, seriously, I do, this is my car, this is my jam')

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Simian_Prime posted:

Doesn't Hunter also have a tracing of Lil'Wayne on the Ascended Ones entry?

It's yo boy Weezy, fuckin' up vampires on dat sizzurp, son.

Yeah. The VALKYRIE picture is also carrying what looks like an exact trace of the pulse rifle, which I'm amazed nerds didn't spot first.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

The Hidden Secret for Red Tide is kinda what I would have guessed but still executed in a cool enough way to be a fun mystery and a useful antagonist in several different ways. Kudos to the setting for being so flexible while being dark, I'm always glad when writers look for various ways one can have fun with a thing instead of being prescriptive.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



occamsnailfile posted:

The Hidden Secret for Red Tide is kinda what I would have guessed but still executed in a cool enough way to be a fun mystery and a useful antagonist in several different ways. Kudos to the setting for being so flexible while being dark, I'm always glad when writers look for various ways one can have fun with a thing instead of being prescriptive.

The actual Hidden Secret for Red Tide, as posted by Crawford to rpg.net, is that it is an excuse to limit the sandbox to a manageable size and provide a convenient excuse for why you have Fantasy Chinese living next to Fantasy Swiss next to Fantasy Vikings and so on. He also posted some guidelines on how to run the thing in 4E: IIRC, Scions are Eladrin, tieflings are Shogunate-born Kueh, dragonborn are lizardfolk (with spellcasting dragonborn being Old Sleepers), and gnomes and other races being either brought with the exile fleet or inhabitants of one of the myriad smaller isles. The Westmark is the game space for Heroic characters, Western Ektau beyond the Godbarrows is for Paragons and the Tide-infested world is for Epic campaigns.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

My guess was that the Tide was a quiet sort of apocalypse, with the Shou remnants of the last cycle, and the gods... well, kind of embarrassed about the whole thing and quietly hoping that the mortals will hurry up and stop moving.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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2014-2018



Hunter: The Vigil

The Aegis Kai Doru have collected many, many relics and trinkets over the centuries. Some are harmless, useless toys - in Naples, they have an intricate clockwork man that can play chess. A real one, I mean. Under Manhattan, they have a stolen statue that used to be on a college camus, which silently salutes whenever a virgin passes by it. Other relics are so dangerous that they can only be sealed away forever. Deep under Russia, in a cave that is geologically impossible, three men stand guard over a crude stone altar which beats like a heart. They must be men - no one will talk about what happened last time a woman even entered the cave. In Morocco, therei s a church that is on no map and in no guide. If you go without an invitation, the last thing you see before you are stabbed to death will be a mummified head on a cushion, sitting on the altar, which will turn to look at you as you die. Between these two categories are the Relics gifted to the field agents of the Aegis Kai Doru. They're both tool and status symbol, proof of the trust an agent holds, and so losing one is shameful indeed - as bad as a betrayal. Some commit suicide rather than face their peers after a relic is lost another hunter or, worse, a witch. The Aegis hunts thieves relentlessly, spending millions of dollars and years of lives to track them down. Recovery is the primary objective, but no one will lose any sleep over a dead thief. Unlike many Endowments, anyone can use a Relic, if they know how to activate it.

The One-Eyed Kings (one dot) are ancient, verdigris-coated copper coins, so worn as to be nearly indistinguishable from discs. Only the faint image of a king on one side can be made out - vaguely Greek, but also vaguely Babylonian. The king is missing one eye, but that could be wear and tear. They always come in apirs - one is missing the left eye, the other the right. There are hundreds of these coin pairs in the Aegis storehouses, all with the same properties. Attempts to date the metal has been wildly unsuccesful - some tests read as 9000 years old, some just under 200. When the coin missing the left eye is placed on the knuckles of the right hand and then pressed on the left eye, it grants the user the power to see anything happening in the area of the other coin, as seen roughly as though standing adjacent to the coin. If that's in a wizard's pocket, say, you see things as though standing next to the wizard. You can't change the view - it's always the same angle and position until the right eye coin is moved. You cannot hear, smell, touch or taste the vision - it's all visual, and it's only one-way. If you try to use the other coin this way, all you see is a brief, terrifying glimpse of a vast gulf of nothingness, in which things that are not things gibber for your soul. Don't do that. It'll drive you temporarily insane. Oh, and if you have only one of the pair and put it on your eyelid as you go to sleep, you will find the other on your other eyelid when you awaken.

It is said that no lock can bar Death - for all doors, Death has a key. The Skeleton Key (one dot) may not be Death's literal key, but it does open doors and pass obstacles. It is a small, silver key in an archaic style, long tarnished. The teeth are grooved in a way that suggests human teeth, and the bow is an intricately detailed model of a human skull, with tiny sapphire flecks in the eye sockets. No matter what, it is always cold to the touch. It fits any lock that uses an actual key, regardless of design or type. It won't beat cardkey locks, though, or coded ones, or any security defices. When you put it in and turn it, it will open the door automatically, and if you leave it in the door until it's closed again, the door will automatically relock itself and have no sign of having been opened - even resetting tamper-detection methods like a piece of tape between door and frame. This will not unbar doors or beat anything securing them shut, just locks. It can, however, defeat magical seals and wards tha thold a door shut. Occasionally, when used improperly, it will instead open a door to a somewhere...unintended.

Religious relics have always been important. The Catholics hold many of them, as do other religious organizations, but the Aegis has found several with magic powers. The Blood of Pope Joan (2 dots) is said to come from the only woman ever to be Pope - the legend is she disguised herself as a man and was Pope for two years in the late 11th century before being discovered, dragged through the street and stoned. The Aegis scholars claim the blood could be menstrual or perhaps from her execution. Others claim that the blood was found when she was discovered to be a woman due to a pregnancy and a birth - and that the blood is that of her infant son. Whatever the case, the blood is a blessed item that also makes it more difficult for werewolves to act against the bearer, due to mystic ties to the moon - it supernaturally repels the spiritual element of werewolves in the same way two magnets might repel each other.

The Eye of Hubris (2 dots) is a quartz crystal the size of a tennis ball, shaped like a human eye. Its depths hold strange colors, suggesting an iris and pupil. It has no active effect that anyone can figure out, save that its mere presence sends spells awry and angers witches. Activating this ability causes the user to go blind in one eye temporarily, but any obviously magical power used in its vicinity is penalized for the same duration.

The Icarine Servitor (2 dots) appears to be a crude, doll-sized mannequin of wax with rudimentary wings made out of sticks tied with string. If it is anointed with a dab of honey and has a feather stuck to its head, it will come to life. It will melt in heat, but it can be a useful spy or assassin. It is bright enough to follow moderately complex orders. It can't communicate, but can recognize anything its user recognizes on sight and can report anything it sees via a quasi-visual link. It can't really fight, but it can slip poison into drinks or cut brake lines if given the right tools. It takes aggravated damage from any fire, no matter how small, and if destroyed by fire it melts into useless goo and string, unable to be reanimated. Any other means can be reapired with relative ease. An Icarine Servitor remains active until the next dawn or sunset, whichever is first. Unless given explicit orders otherwise, it will attempt to return to its user before then. With an internal effort, the user may extand its animate period until the next dawn or sunset, but doing so continually causes erratic behavior. One hunter, thinking to use it as a constant bodyguard, kept one active for a week straight. On the seventh night he died. Police reports said gas leakage.

When a truly enlightened Buddhist master dies and the body is burned, sometimes a small, pearl-like stone is found the ashes - a Ringsel (3 dots). These are said to be the physical embodiment of the master's wisdom and enlightenment. Most are enshrined for pilgrims to venerate, but the Aegis Kai Doru has stolen a number of them. They are said to bring peace and wisdom to those who hold them...and more importantl to the Aegis, to heal wounds. By meditating with one, the user may close their own wounds or resist the madness that can come from traumatic experiences. However, the healing gift can be used only once each day, and any traumatic experience so resisted will taint the Ringsel blue-black and then destroy it.

According to the occult lore of Indonesia, the keris dagger is as much a living thing as a weapon. EAch blade has a soul, for good or evil, and stories abound of weapons leaping from their sheathes to slay hidden foes, or to turn on dishonorable masters. The Watchful Keris (3 dots) is not so potent as, say, the famous Taming Sari keris, which rendered the wielder indestructible, but it's still quite handy. It's wavy-bladed dagger, about a foot long and inlaid with gold and jade depictions of a watchful serpent along the blade. The curved pistol grip and sheath are both carved from mammoth tooth, cut to show the dentine patterns in the tooth. The grip is smooth from use but always comfortable in the hand, and the user will often find themself fresting a hand on it or stroking it. Occasionally, it seems to shudder. It is a good, deadly knife, and as long as it's worn, its owner is faster in combat and, when surprised, can still take an action - but that action must be to attack with the keris. It will appear inexplicably in their hand, as if it leapt there. It takes a concerted effort to not attack with the knife, if for some reason you don't want to.

The Heart of Stone (4 dots) is a lumpy, glassy rock about the size of a man's fist. Alone, it's harmless and inert. Its true nature is apparent only once hooked up to a sizable source of electricity - a car battery, say. Once you get the current running, it turns into a beating human heart. It takes a few days to get going, but once it does, it makes its victim's life hell. Whatever it's hooked up to becomes the target of envious desire. After a while, that turns into ugly greed. Tempers grow short, and some fly into rages. After a while, the thing begins to attract...well...things. The Aegis Kai Doru call them erinyes, and they seem to be drawn to those who have been in prolonged contact with the heart. As long as the heart is active and not in its user's posession, the user becomes fixated on it to the point of madness. Still, it's usually used as a booby trap on some foe, tucked away somewhere in, say, their car or boat. For the first 24 hours, nothing bad happens - the victim actually gets some social benefits from owning whatever the heart is hooked to. Vampires, werewolves and other monsters prone to fits of rage find it harder to resist if the Heart's victim is the instigator. On the second day, the social benefits reverse themselves, as people become jealous and irrationally suspect the victim. Both the rage and the social penalties get worse each day, to a maximum of five days. On the sixth day, people begin to act on their suspicions - even law-abiding citizens may commit crimes against the victim or try to get them arrested or worse. On the seventh day, the monsters begin to arrive from the shadows. No one knows where they come from, and they don't seem to know the Heart is what called them - but they unerringly sense anyone who's been spending a lot of time near it, usually the victim and their family. They vary widely in appearance, but usually resemble small gargoyles or chimeras, though there are reports of one Heart that drew in tiny humanoid figures made of mismatched animal corpses, each wearing period costume. The creatures vanish immediately the moment the Heart is cut off from its current, as do all penalties. Sometimes, the erinyes leave behind small stone or wooden bodies, which the Aegis has standing orders to collect, because they may be relics in their own right.

The Witch-Candle (4 dots) is not actually a candle - it's a pewter candlestick carved with gargoyles. By itself, it has no inherent magic. Placing a candle in it, however, and anointing it with the hunter's blood before lighting primes its magic. There is no immediate effect, however, save for some flickering shadows that make the carvings appear to move in a disturbingly lifelike way. Magic must be done in its presence, because the Witch-Candle feeds on magic, particularly witchcraft. When a sorcerer performs a spell in any area the candle's light touches, the gargoyles come to life and slither off the candlestick. They are drawn to the caster and will attack unceasingly until they or the wizard is dead. The more potent the spell, the more gargoyles come forth and the more potent they are. If the candle is put out, the gargoyles immediately return toe the candlestick. Any destroyed gargoyle melts into foul ooze that quickly evaporates, leaving only a black stain. They reappear as carvings 24 hours later. Other supernatural powers can awaken the gargoyles, but only half as efficiently as witchcraft. There are never more than four active garogyles at any time.

The Aegis in Greek myth was the shield of Zeus, an indestructible goatskin buckler on which was mounted the head of Medusa. The Aegis Talisman (5 dots) is a silver amulet the size of a spread hand with the likeness of a gorgon's face embossed on it and a ring of snakes around the rim. It is a protective talisman against both physical and magical attack, and if invoked, it can paralyze a foe with terror. These are quite rare, and given only to the best operatives. Anyone holding or wearing one next to the skin gains armor against both physical and magical attack. By bandishing it, the user can paralyze a foe with fear for several seconds.

The Dead Man's Face (5 dots) is a mask apparently made of expertly flayed and cured skin - the skin of a human face. The thing is so old that its gender and race are impossible to determine - it's just a dried-up, brownish-tan mess. When placed over the face of a recently slain corpse, it forces some amount of life into the body - not a resurrection of the dead, and not a summoning of the ghost, as far as the Aegis can tell, but it works. However, using the relic gives a temporary mad obsession with death and the dead. To activate it requires a prayer to Hades, but once it works, the corpse can speak andm ove its head, though the rest of it cannot move. Rumor suggests the Aegis possesses similar relics that can animate hands or entire bodies. The 'resurrection' lasts only a few minutes, and the corpse speaks slowly, though it can answer reasonably complex questions.

The Doru Talisman (5 dots) is the counterpart of the Aegis Talisman - a rare and potent relic that is a status symbol within the Aegis. Few are ever given it, and no more than ten in history have ever held both talismans. The talisman is an intricate representation in pure silver of a doru, a Greek hoplite's spear. It is four inches loing, with a small hole bored in it for a chain. In dim light, it sometimes shines red. When gripped in the hand, it may be used as a potent weapon, striking out at anyone within ten yards when the wielder mimes a thrust of the spear. It need not touch the victim if aimed properly - the wounds just appear as though the victim was stabbed with a real spear.

Next time: I really, really didn't ask for this.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


GimpInBlack posted:



(Go buy Car Wizards.)

Addendum post: Much as proceeds from K&T went to Seattle Children's Hospital, proceeds for Car Wizards likewise goes to a good cause. This time, all sales proceeds for the first couple months of sales go to Derek Guder, the Events Manager for Gen Con, who's spent the last few months fighting cancer while simultaneously managing freaking Gen Con. Read more about it here.

Go buy Car Wizards.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, Odds and Ends

We're nearing the end of Genius, so now it's a random deluge of whatever the writers thought was interesting.

The Illuminated are what happens when a Breakthrough goes spectacularly awry, an Unmada delves too deeply into madness, or a genius' Obligation hits 0. That last one is actually pretty rare, considering that the kinds of things it takes to hit Obligation 2 and 1 usually result in someone, Inspired or otherwise, coming along to kill for revenge or simply for the good of humanity.

What are the Illuminated? They are once-humans completely consumed by the alien light of Inspiration and no one, Peer or Lemurian, can tell you anything more than that about what precisely they are. What they are not is human. They retain the memories of the person they used to be, and can mimic their former personality for a time, but it's very clear that there's an alien intelligence inhabiting that body now and only death will release the former genius.

As far as behavior goes, Illuminated are completely unpredictable beyond genuine psychosis: they have no sense of right or wrong. Some act like charmingly psychopathic killers, others are frenzied monsters, still others only desire to be left to their [usually horrific] work. In short, they're whatever the DM needs them to be for the story and have no actual characterization or rules of behavior.


This next thing... I have no idea why it's here, or who would use it. Presented without comment.

Genius posted:

Future Timelines:

The future isn't what it used to be. Once a linear progression of events leading eventually to the Terminals,
the timeline is now a mess of pocket chrono-fiefdoms and unstable causality. This increasing disorder,
coupled with the fact that time-traveling into the future necessarily removes the genius from the timeline,
means that rarely will two trips into, say, the year 3,000, produce the same result. But here are the most
common destinations when one travels certain spans of time into the future.

+10 Years: The Rapture. No, bear with us, really. Tens of thousands of people disappear, almost all with
Morality 8+, and are assimilated into some kind of computational overmind. The barrier between the living
and dead worlds temporarily breaks down, flooding the world with ghosts, while wars sweep across the
world until stopped by a genius who seizes control of the United Nations and forms an Anarchosyndicalist
world government that manages to maintain the illusion of normality while returning the dead to the earth.
Afterward, the government disintegrates, while humanity studies new technology that allows it to speak with
the world of the dead.

+50 Years: The Machine Ragnarök. A massive cold snap caused by environmental changes freezes most of
the northern hemisphere. A genius' attempts to fix the problem by redirecting sunlight off other heavenly
bodies backfires, blacking out the sun and moon. The Illuminated, seeing their chance, unleash a technological
plague on the Earth, transforming common machinery into murderous titans of steel and plastic. The most
common result is a coalition of Inspired beating back the catastrophe and slowly working to restore the
world.

Technology ten or fifty years hence generally remains the same, except it's smaller, faster, and more
"universal," meaning that single gadgets tend to do more. Anyone who's anyone has some kind of universal
PDA/cell phone/AV player about the size of a paperclip on their person. People who make use of advanced
technology, such as soldiers from first-world armies, can be treated as having 1-3 Axiom ranks worth of
wonders. These advanced technologies do not suffer from Havoc.

+100 Years: Lemuria Ascendant. After centuries of carefully infiltrating regular terrestrial society, the Third
Race uses its (previously-unknown) total dominance of the 22nd century's Internet to take over
cybernetically-modified brains (that is, most people's brains) and enslave several billion people directly. The
rest fall into line, but the Ophidians' empire lasts for only a few decades as the ever-changing nature of the
World Network breaks down their lines of hierarchical control, forcing the Third Race to confront a fate even
worse than imprisonment on their island kingdom: one baffling people among many, they are, even after the
cruelties they inflected on Earth and its colonies throughout the inner solar system, assimilated into regular
human society.

+300 Years: The Martian Colonization. The Martian Empire, after gaining enough Mania to make itself fully
real, reveals itself and quickly dominates Earth's cultural landscape with its sophisticated and newly-dynamic
culture. Together, Earth and Mars colonize the solar system, with the Martian Overlords forging ahead to
"standardize" the other bardos, rendering them down for Mania before they are annihilated by the Havoc of
encountering mere mortals. A Golden Age of commerce and philosophy begins in the solar system.

A few hundred years from now, technology is extraordinary and commonplace. The average person owns
(though does not necessarily carry) the equivalent of one Axiom rank worth of orphans for every dot of
Intelligence + Resources they possess. Many people, especially scientists, police officers, and spies have the
equivalent of Inspiration 1 due to internal AI systems. By this time, the difference between geniuses and
regular people breaks down a bit: mere mortals do not trigger Havoc merely by using or holding wonders.

+1,000 Years: The Confederacy of Worlds. Humanity knows that strange beings walk among them, and have
eagerly exploited these powers. A polyglot empire of squabbling human and posthuman "tribes" has arisen,
supported by economic need and connected by a loose affiliation of interests. Sometimes called the "Pirate
Empire," the Confederacy is a place where anything can be had for a price, where information, money, and
political power blur.

+10,000 Years: The Brutal Empire of Yao Ming. As humanity begins its spread to the stars, a ruthless
technologist and dictator appears at the edge of the Solar System. Calling himself Yao Ming, he gives wonders
beyond anything seen before to the rulers of several worlds, but they are subtly trapped: he binds them to
service, and using economic and military leverage, gains executive control over the Engines of Immortality.
Only those loyal to Yao Ming will be resurrected from their brain tapes; the rest perish. In a few short years,
Yao Ming establishes himself as mankind's most brutal dictator.

Barring significant technological collapse, technology a few thousand years from now is so common that to
replicate it, treat everyone as "possessing" an inner genius in the form of a bound artificial intelligence. This
genius has an Inspiration equal to the person's Intelligence or Resources, whichever is lower (minimum 1).
Humans are a cautious race in this time frame, as "braintaping" is often available. While full immortality is
(usually) still beyond humanity's reach, vastly extended lifespans are possible, and dying humans often join
strange hive-minds to preserve their thoughts.

In particularly oppressive regions (such as Yao Ming's), advanced technologies may be limited only to the
elite, with mundane humans getting by with a few orphan wonders.

+50,000 Years: The Celestial Dynasty. United after centuries of war and cruelty, humanity has formed into a
vast machine dynasty. Technology has reached the Clarke limit, becoming indistinguishable from magic, with
humans channeling their "inner power" to perform seeming miracles and live forever. The River of Heaven
unites a billion worlds in superluminal commerce and contact. On the greatest planets, immortal scholars
meet "ghosts" of the long-departed and warriors who can break moons in half and perform other marvels.

+100,000 Years: Machine Earth. Years ago, a technological singularity swept across the Earth, converting
everyone into computer data, that they might live forever in an artificial Utopia. As pampered as babies and as
powerful as gods, humanity lives, invisible, somewhere within the eight thousand mile-diameter Earth (or
elsewhere, on other worlds, ringworlds, or Dyson Spheres) The surface of Earth is a bleak, often airless place,
where only machines walk, protecting humanity.

"People" from this far in the future are often surrounded by nanotech swarms, possess what previous
centuries would call psychic powers, or can manipulate energy fields at will using the power of super-science.
Assume that a typical human, in reality or computer-space, is a genius possessing Inspiration equal to
Intelligence + Resources. In their own digital realms, humans are basically limitless in their power.

+One Million Years: The Metahuman Empire. Humanity and its metanormal companions have transcended
their limitations and become a race of immortals, reaching for the stars and other realities. Engineering
wonders such as Dyson Spheres and worlds made of pure Computronium running computer simulations of
life are common. The "humans" in this era are nearly incomprehensible, their behavior fey and often
seemingly without sense.

Visitors to this far in the future will often confront various metahumans. Treat a metahuman as a genius with
Inspiration ten, all Axioms at five, and all Attribute and Skill dots at ten. Humanity, at this level of
development, is terrifying and godlike, and (depending on the time frame in which a genius lands) may have
no trace of human morality (treat Obligation as 0).

+100 Million Years: The Solar Wastelands. Humanity is extinct, but its progeny live on: alternate races,
beast-men, androids, and captured aliens occupying a new super-continent. Their technology nearly lost,
these Children of Mankind live in a world of barbarism, sorcery, and super-science, torn by savagery and
endless war, manipulated by the remnants of vast, Galaxy-spanning super-minds, most long mad. The solar
system is terraformed, with Venus covered in dense jungles, Mars an endless savanna, and Jupiter a second
sun lighting alien moons.

+One 500 Million Years: Solar Transformations. With humanity gone, new intelligent races move among an
Earth that appears almost new-born, beneath an orange-yellow sun. Intelligent octopods swing through
Earth's jungles like monkeys, while schools of fish use electrical impulses transmitted through the water to
form gestalt intellects. The technology level varies enormously, according to visitors' reports, from barely
Stone Age to meta-posthuman, but it is generally primitive, with a few enclaves of "favored races" guided in
their development by discarded thinking machines that can still remember the day humanity left them.

+One Billion Years: Age of the New Concordat. Earth still remains as hub of activity, and it's a destination for
countless strange alien races. The entire solar system is a network of starship docks, banks, data centers, and
sleazy taverns, full of more aliens (some of them uplifted posthumans) than a 21st-century genius might find
possible. On Deimos, the Traveler's Moon, can be found any conceivable good, service, or industry, and beings
willing to do anything for credit and favors. Most beings can be treated as geniuses of various sorts, running
the gamut of power levels from creatures that possess a few orphans to vast intellects one step away from
meta-sentience. The general technology level, though, is not very high, resembling interstellar versions of
what humans had in the 19th or 20th centuries. Creatures live in societies that are little transformed by the
machinery around them.

+Five Billion Years: The Ends of Earth. Drained of its resources, the Sun is now no more than a dim coalcolored
star, a smear that spreads across half the sky. Abandoned and forgotten, the Earth is home to
scuttling, crab-like creatures called the Methc, the last intelligent beings to evolve on Terra. They spend their
lives scrambling between the hot pools that birthed them, amidst a black wasteland of carbon and rust pitted
occasionally by the remnants of eons-old technology. Beyond Earth, the combined Milky Way-Andromeda
galaxies lies exhausted from eons of war and exploitation.

+Ten Billion Years: Rouge Gothica. The sun is a boiling red giant surrounding the Dyson Sphere constructed
around it and kept forcibly alive by long-forgotten technologies. Built to expand along with the Sun, the
sphere is a vast, inward-looking cathedral of steel and metamaterials, eternally shifting as the dying star
flares and trembles. Here live dream-beings pulled from the collective memories of humanity's last ancient
computers, together with the remembered fears of a thousand races: manes of a thousand types dwell here,
taking on the forms humanity feared, forming cruel empires in the vast areas of the Sphere.

+One Trillion Years: An Empty Universe. What remains of the Local Group is a blur of interstellar dust and
dead stars circled by slowly cooling worlds. Red stars shine in the sky: fossil light from suns that perished
ages ago and whose radiation still travels through space. Those races that remain―none remotely
human―concern themselves with frantic, doomed attempts at prolonging their existence by tapping the
rotational energy of moons or incinerating black holes. A few welcome visitors, but most only make a being
feel at home long enough to dissect him for his technology, heat, and information.

The End of Time: Endless Darkness.The last stars went out so long ago no one remembers what they were
like. Protons have dissolved. Black holes have disappeared in bursts of gamma radiation. Here dwell the Cold
Ones: the last intelligent beings in the universe, whose thoughts are measured by the stray background
fluctuation of quantum nothingness. Each thought takes an hour, or an eon, but they persist nonetheless―and
all they can do is persist, thinking of themselves and their eternal lives. These wretched gods are all that live.
But they are not helpless: over the eons, they have learned of beings foolish enough to travel to the End of
Time, and they wait patiently, weaving webs of stray photons and pseudomatter, waiting to trap an unwary
traveler, to feast on her warmth and ordered state, or even―if the Cold Ones dream, this is their dream―to
return to a universe of light and warmth, free from the killing clutches of entropy.

The Terminals once dwelled at the end of time. They are no more, replaced by the Cold Ones.

Next is a sample list of old, discarded ideas and beliefs that geniuses - especially Lemurians - might latch on to, either whole-hog or updating it to the modern world and the genius' own particular views.

Artistotle is an old favorite among Inspired for being one of the first Western scholars in general and for being among the first to present a complete, structured view of the world. He was of course wrong about an awful lot of things and his methodology doesn't meet modern standards, but some geniuses like to run with his work or make up various theories about what he was really writing about. A few theorize Aristotle was himself Inspired, but evidence is sketchy at best.

Religious creationism (of any religion, not just Christianity) has always been a common view in the world, and it's consistently had its devotees among the Inspired. Lemurians are more prone to it than the Peers, especially those of the Oracle and Etherite baramins. Geocentrism is a spinoff of this idea and geocentrists are frequently creationists as well. As absurd as it sounds to most people these days, it still crops up among the Inspired, especially Lemurian Oracles and fundamentalist evangelical Christians or similar religious zealots like ISIS who become Inspired (rare, given the way of thinking such an upbringing often creates, but it does happen every now and then).

Descartes conceived of a vortex theory, doing away with the concept of a vacuum with a whirling vortex of particles. Geniuses uncomfortable with the idea of a vacuum and general Newtonian physics often incorporate this into their views.

Lamarckism is the idea that an organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring, like giraffes evolving long necks because each successive generation kept stretching their neck further and further and passed on their exercise. Lamarckian inheritance tends to actually happen in bardos, but not so much in the real world. Inspired who have run with the idea of Lamarckism are having a field day as epigenetics has started making waves in the scientific community. Lysenkoism is a common spinoff idea that I honestly don't understand the differences from Lamarckism.

Materialism/Reductionism is the idea that everything fundamentally comes down to particles and mass. If the soul exists, it's a product of particles in some way. Seems bizarre, but a lot of Mechanists like it.

Mesmerism simply posits a magnetic-like force to explain personal attraction and charisma and the like. Crops up a fair amount in Epikrato wonders.

Miasma theory is a pre-germ theory concept of disease, that disease is mostly caused by various forms of "bad air." Not common even among the Inspired, but some use it to explain certain mad science diseases and manes and the odd Inspired who disdains any form of biology that requires a microscope will champion it.

Genius posted:

Phlogiston and Caloric:

These two related ideas attempted to explain heat as a sort of "fluid" or "particle" (separate from atoms
bouncing around, which is what heat is normally understood to be today). Phlogiston was an attempt to
explain the oxidation process, including rust and combustion: substances were said to contain phlogiston that
was released in burning, leaving a remnant called calx. Caloric is a slightly later conception intended to
explain heat as a kind of porous substance that could move between physical objects. Though current
thermodynamic theory has abandoned both concepts, geniuses often find these ancient concepts useful for
their inventions. The use of caloric and phlogiston and often less ideological in nature and more practical:
certain wonders are easier to understand, mathematically, if one uses these older ideas. Direct manifestations
of phlogiston theory are often evident in older bardos from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Phrenology is the idea that a person's mental and psychological attributes are evident by the shape of their head. Has extremely racist overtones, both in real life and among the Inspired community. Even most Lemurians don't touch this one with a ten foot pole.

Platonic Philosophy should be familiar to anyone who's played Mage, running with the idea of this world being only a reflection of a great realm of Idea. Many geniuses who regularly interact with mages and learn of the Supernal Realm adapt it into their theories, others postulate a realm of mathematics or quantum weirdness.

Genuine, philosophical racism - think Nazi racial theories - have an unfortunately long history with the Inspired, the Peers much more so than Lemuria. The Peerage's roots are in Europe, after all, and for a long time prevailing attitudes among the Peers reflected European attitudes and beliefs regarding race. The Artificers have always been the one huge exception and have consistently been very egalitarian, but in modern times philosophical racism has fallen by the wayside both among Peers and Lemurians. It still crops up now and then, unfortunately, but it's now generally the subject of ridicule.

The idea of a steady state universe is a collection of various theories that reject the Big Bang for an eternal cosmos. Some take into account the apparent expansion of the universe and create various theories to incorporate that into their beliefs, others reject much of modern cosmology. Ironically, the most popular reason for rejecting the Big Bang is the same reason the theory was met with intense skepticism in the mortal scientific community: it's awfully similar to creationism.

Linguistic relativity is a seldom invoked field of study among the Inspired, but when it crops up it's usually an amalgamation of the theories of Sapir and Whorf, postulating that one's language determines one's thoughts and changing one's language determines how and what you think. Like phrenology, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis has a bad reputation among the Inspired for its racist connotations, though there are occasional geniuses from linguistic and literary backgrounds obsessed with the [mad] science of language.

Genius posted:

Vitalism:

In the World of Darkness, even mortal biologists and doctors understand that some phenomena don't make
sense from a strictly reductionist standpoint, that some activities of the living world are just weird, and will
probably remain that way no matter how long they study them with mundane methods. Vitalism, then, is not
simply a belief in an "animating spark" for living things; it is in getting the details of that spark wrong.
Inspired Vitalists obsess over weird, self-contradictory, or counterfactual sorts of cosmic essences that only
make sense in light of Mania powering a wonder. Vitalist theories are common among Etherites and Oracles.
Most geniuses give a name to the "life force" that they can manipulate with wonders, whether it is a
traditional term (Chi, Prana, Vril, Orgone, Odic Force) or something of their own devising.


Next time, that weird sound you're hearing is the world's Luddite population simultaneously making GBS threads their pants.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Mors, I'm so glad you're doing Hunter because it's pretty drat interesting. I found the Horror Recognition Guide years ago in a PDF dump and I've been in love with that (and the Book of Unremitting Horror from Fear Itself) since. It's unfortunately not something one can review particularly easily unless you were to review the corresponding Snippets, missions for the things in the Guide.

To kinda explain: the Horror Recognition Guide is 100% fluff and fiction with the majority of them tying in to other game lines like Vampire or Changeling. 16 things and 16 stories put together in a PDF like you managed to find an old file folder in a basement or you found a bunch of old, weird things in the depths of the internet that you can't explain and nobody has heard of. It's like what people feel like when they see the SCP Foundation for the first time and think it's real, or if you were to find a real journal in an attic that told a story you couldn't believe. The Snippets, in turn, are missions that are attached to the Guide. They explain more about the items and they give missions and stories to go with them that you can run for your players. Most of them take place after the Guide and deal with the actions of things you see within. Ruins a little bit of the mystery and mystique, but great for if you can't understand what you just read.

If you're planning on sharing the Slasher book, go ahead. If not, I'd love to share it when you're done with the core book. Either way I'm probably gonna do Leviathan soon/eventually because oh my gosh it's kinda neat even if it's not the best thing and needs to be edited and is pretty drat clunky in places.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Bieeardo posted:

My guess was that the Tide was a quiet sort of apocalypse, with the Shou remnants of the last cycle, and the gods... well, kind of embarrassed about the whole thing and quietly hoping that the mortals will hurry up and stop moving.

Not a bad reading, given that Red Tide gods are pretty dickish and you have the Godless races as proof. Maybe adding something about clerical power not coming from the gods at all as the major twist (as written, the gods haven't lost complete contact with their followers, and clerics that violate the tenets of their faith do lose their mojo) gently caress your scheduled plane formatting, extraplanar shitheads.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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I plan to do Slasher, yeah. And if you like, have fun figuring out what, if anything, Relics and the upcoming Thaumatechnology corresponds to in the greater WoD, when it isn't obvious.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



For anyone who's interested, I'm almost to the end of Genius. Only two big sections left to go - miscellaneous antagonists and a chapter on Fellowships, organizations smaller than Foundations that PCs can join for various benefits that I'm honestly not sure why they exist. Will be skipping the appendix of sample wonders unless anyone's really curious, and the sample city location - Genius uses Seattle, a city I've never been to and have zero serious knowledge of so I can't offer any commentary on it.

No plans to do any more reviews after this, at least not for the World of Darkness. Hunter's getting a great review, and I don't think I could do Promethean justice.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


Somebody should do Demon: The Descent.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Admittedly a wonder that makes a target forget any word for, say, now and then thus dropping them into a hell scape existence without cause and effect is simultaneously stupid and boss as hell. Sapir - Whorf mad science would be as wack as it would be racist.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST

I'm kind of an apologist for poo poo I like, so. Prepare to see some apologies. Leviathan: The Tempest is a fangame made by the guys on RPGnet where they took the premise of "what if there was a game line for the Creature from the Black Lagoon but it wasn't just 'how many nubile women can you kidnap for your underground lair'" and decided to make a more original setting out of it. I'm not gonna lie: this is gonna be kinda disorganized and in fits and spurts because they don't have a book like Genius, they have a wiki. And the wiki is not the most complete thing in the world, because the creators are currently working on making Leviathan God Machine Chronicles-compatible. Good luck with that, I mean it, maybe it'll make some of this game a lot...less clunky to deal with.

Now, like most fan games, Leviathan draws on some inspiration from the core series. Princess is a little bit of new Hunter with a lot of bit of old Changeling. Genius is a lot of Old Mage where technology isn't the bad guy. I won't lie, I'm not entirely well-read on a lot of the nWoD games. I know the basics.

To me, Leviathan is a touch of new Werewolf and a heaping spoonful of Promethean mixed together with Geist as an emulsifier. Beat into froth using a wooden spoon, add sea salt to taste.

A LEVIATHAN is an ostensibly human being with an old, old heritage. Deep within their blood is the blood of Gods, and they're just slightly lucky enough for that blood to be thicker than most people for them to be able to tap into that heritage. This is not always a good thing. A Leviathan is torn between three forces within themselves: the Beast, the Man, the God. There are consequences to giving in to one force over the others and they walk a very tenuous equilibrium.

The theme of the game is, and I quote, Monstrous Puberty. Becoming a Leviathan changes your mind as much as your body. Werewolves have an established society that knows what it's like to transform and become more than a man and walk between two worlds. The big difference is that a lot of werewolf society is...coherent, it's hard but not impossible to get training and support and balance from your parents and community. Even if you have to fall in with a new pack to find it, you can find it.

Leviathans, not so much. The secret societies of their kind barely remember any of their true heritage and a lot of it is cargo cult aesthetic, aping what they think they understand. Sometimes there are groups to help them, but most of the time a Leviathan is alone or only in touch with a few others. You're not so likely to have parents with the same abilities as you, and you're drifting apart from normal people day by day with the pulling of the tides.

The mood is Stagnation. The world has moved on from the Leviathans. Mankind are the masters of the world now, for better or for worse. Leviathans are an old relic from a dead time who were not able to pass down all of the old stories and tales to every new Leviathan. The older Leviathans know that their race may make progress, but they also known they've seen it centuries ago. The optimists say the school is swimming in circles. The pessimists say the school is swimming in circles in the grips of a whirlpool. Every year, every new generation, the Tribe must relearn what is lost. Every year, the world moves on further and further.

There is a Lexicon, because there must be a Lexicon. I will not be sharing it, I will be explaining stuff as it comes up because I think it's way more interesting that way. Rest assured, though, because this is a fan game, there are Splats, every Splat has a preference for ability and power, a general aesthetic and attitude towards the others, and there are schools of thought that they generally ascribe to.

Also, unfortunately, there is no art for this at all. There are descriptions of art they would like drawn but...that's kinda more boring and worse to include than no art. I will be chunking this out in easily digestible bits so it's less word clutter.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Hunter: The Vigil

The way the Cheiron Group empowers its agents is simple: take parts of monsters and put them in the agents' bodies. Few of these agents are entirely comfortable with the things that have been grafted to them. Getting them requires a lengthy and invasive surgery, as does taking them out. It tends to be exceptionally painful when not done under anaesthesia - something occasonaly required in the field when things go bad or when someone desperately needs to try an untested monster organ in a life-or-death siege. This is Thaumetechnology.

The Anger Patch (one dot) is a small patch of dead man's skin, grafted on at the base of the neck. Precisely one inch square and wired with twice the number of nerve endings that area usually has, plus hooked directly into your bloodstream, which it feeds on. What you get in return? It hates. See, it's vampire skin. Vampires have, in Cheiron studies, been shown to exhibit instinctive territorial aggression on an unnatural scale, and that can be harnessed. The Anger Patch detects vampires, because whenever they spot one, the patch writhes irritably, as though experiencing muscle spasm. Even just a faint glimpse across a crowded room is enough, and the patch makes you instinctively aware of who the vampires are, for just long enough to be very hard to miss. There's two catches, though. First, it only works once for a given user and a given vampire. For some reason the Cheiron scientists haven't been able to get the sensitivity of the neural connections good enough to detect secondary reactions. Second, vampires just don't like you - you get a social penalty with them for reasons they can't quite figure out. Rumor has it that similar devices exist for werewolves, zombies and other beings. If they do, it'd function the same way, but it really doesn't bear thinking about how they'd be made or what of.

Hunters know that some of the best advice is to never be unarmed. The Weapon of Last Resort (1 or 2 dots) is a great way to do that - lots of monsters have claws or fangs or similar things. Get them implanted in your fingertips or your mouth and you have a weapon built in - and a great way to mess up bodies in such a way as to avoid being suspected. You get either a claw or bite, though a bite requires grappling before you can use it. The claw is less damaging, though. For two dots, you get both. They're pretty easy to keep concealed, too.

You can do a lot to the human eye - corneal transplants work great, you can tie cameras into the optic nerve, you can shoot lasers at 'em to get perfect vision. And Cherion? They give you Devil's Eyes (2 dots). Literally. Transplanting an entire eyeball is a new field for Cheiron, and these are the early prototypes. Before implantation, they resemble golden, multifaceted orbs, rather like insect eyes. Once in the skull, they become indistinguishable from the patient's natural eyes, and they always have perfect vision. They aren't really biologically eyes, and they don't perceive the world the way humans do, so they require a tiny computer interface chip between the Eye and the optic nerve, which processes the visual information out of the Eyes' perception, filtering out extraneous data that humans can't see. The result gives the world a kind of flat, artificial look, as though it were a badly retouched photo. By squeezing the eyes shut and rolling them in the right way, the chip can be temporarily disnegaged, allowing the agent to receive the full, unfiltered spectrum. While active, the Eyes can pereceive emotional auras around others and reveal supernatural influences. This can be very disorienting, however.

The official designation of Lover's Lips (2 dots) is actually Eros' Caress - they're not lips. They're manufactured venom sacs, rather snakelike, made via synthetic skin technology and a little bit of something harvested from vampire circulatory systems. You fill it with a few cc's of blood, implant under the jaw next to the salivary glind and wait. When the user massages just behind the jaw and below the ears, the blood, partially transformed by vampiric tissue, squirts into the mouth. It tastes disgusting, but when someone else tastes, usually via a kiss, they suddenly become very, very fond of the user. It induces mild euphoria, similar to morphine, though rather shorter in duration, and also makes the victim inclined to listen to the user socially. If one individual tastes it more than once in a month, it is mildly addictive and the affection deepens so long as the blood has been tasted in the past month. An implant can only hold one 'dose' of blood at at ime, but can be refilled via injection. The blood can be human or animal without distinction, but it's a pretty small target to hit with a syringe.

Cheiron still isn't really sure how to explain the Personal Defense Swarm (3 dots). Rumor has it that a team somewhere in Eastern Europe found a weird little monster that turned into a little metal statue as soon as it was caught. They say they figured out how to revive it and why it became inert. Then they melted it into ball bearings, coated the pieces with hypoallergenic aluminum and stuck them in people's arms, in the subcateneous flesh of the forearm. A valve, similar to a dialysis valve, is implanted at the base of the palm, and the user is given a satchel of five syringes that contain a very diluted solution rumored to be wrung from the organs of unnaturally animate corpses. Whatevfer it is, the ball bearings eat it. They hatch, and when the valve opens, a swarm of tiny, angry attack hornets fly out - except, all of them have the exact same face. A human face. Each syringe has five doses before it goes dry, and Cheiron will replace them within two weeks. The swarm are directed by the host's neurology, which they have a rudimentary tie to. They can't be directly controlled or communicated with, but will attack targets that trigger anger and hostility in the host. (Best to be careful - one office rumor talks about a guy who found out his partner was having an affair with his wife, and the next fight they had, the bugs killed the partner while the monster they were fighting killed everyone else.) The swarm does not have this connection while active, so you want to wait to activate them until after the fight starts. They attack foes in the order of intensity of the host's aggression, and attack until the enemy is dead or fleeing. They will never be more than 10 yards from the host at any time. The bugs can fill a radius of up to four yards, and if they are unable to return via the valve, they fall to the ground as an inert ball bearing and can be plugged back into the shunt easily. If they are somehow destroyed to less than a quarter of their original numbers, the remaining few flee back to the host. The doctors insist that once they're inert, they are utterly lifeless, but that doesn't explain how they repopulate themselves - which they do after a few days without being used. (Incidentally, there are few things in nWoD that are more difficult to effectively fight than a swarm.)

The Quick-Step (3 dots) was developed because the Board of Directors does realize that, while it expects success and living or at least intact capture of monsters, sometimes hunters need to flee. It is half-grown and half-manufactured out of the ligaments of particularly fast monsters - werewolves, some vampires, certain demons. Once implanted in the leg, it allows anyone to break Olympic records, moving much faster than normal - fast enough to dodge bullets. However, using the thing to its full potential for even a few seconds is as tiring as going three hours without sleep.

The Twitcher (4 dots) looks rather like a stick bug made out of wires and protein sacs full of pink goo. It moves a little when disturbed, even before implantation. They stick it into the base of your spine, where it curls around the spinal column and pumps energy in. When your life is in danger, it twitches, massaging the spinal cord and ramping up your reflexes massively. It also gives terrible nightmares of being hunted and causes the development of paranoia. But hey, your reflexes are boosted amazingly!

Werewolves heal faster than just about anything - so fast that occasionally their bodies overcompensate and form harmless cysts which Cheiron has named Regenerative Nodules (4 dots). Cheiron's gotten ahold of some of them, and they've figured out how to stuff them into a body. They look like a lump of scar tissue about the size of a golf ball, which the scientists very quickly and carefully shove a plastic shunt into, then sew into the lining of your gut. You can always feel it, but it's practically invisible. Press the lump, the shunt opens and you get a system full of...well, whatever makes werewolves heal fast. You heal bruises practically instantly and worse wounds in mere minutes. The thing's only usable once a week, though, and since you don't have whatever metaphysical fuel werewolves use, every bit of damage it heals counts as a day without food and water, which the thing can't heal you from. It is advised that you gorge constantly during the healing process.

Cheiron knows that there are other dimensions that humans cannot perceive. They don't really understand how they work or why they exist, but sometimes, stuff comes through from those other worlds, and agents find and capture them. This has produced the Banality Worm (5 dots). It appears to have come from a world of pure nothingness, and it hates magic more than anything in the world. That seems, in fact, to be the core of its being. It's a pale ,greasy worm that someone decided to implant into human chest cavities after they realized that any magic directed at it tended to dissolve. It's put in just under the heart, which it nestles up against, suckles from and occasionally curls around and squeezes affectionately. Any supernatural effect of any kind - including the use of Relics, Benedictions or Castigations - that targets the bearer is weakened considerably. Unfortunately, for some reason bearers have slight tendencies towards insanity.

cheiron is the best in the world at limb transplants and has been for 20 years. It's five years ahead of the curve of anyone else, thanks to thaumatechnology and the Hand of Glory (5 dots). See, a raid on French cultists resulted in bringing back a pickled human hand, severed at the wrist, with each finger made into a candle. When the candles were lit, anyone viewing the light was made unable to move or speak. The hand is now affixed to the stump ofa human arm - a left arm is traditional, but Cheiron has had equal success with either hand. What's actually important is that the hand comes from a hanged man or woman and is at least partially pickled in alchemical reagents. It should be impossible to graft necrotized flesh onto a living being without infection, but they've made it work. It's always a few degrees cooler than the rest of the body and always wrinkled, as if just from the bath, but it's otherwise indistinguishable from a normal hand and perfectly usable for any amputee. You can light the fingertips on fire harmlessly, and the resulting flame is unnaturally steady and unable to be put out save by being doused in milk. Anyone wh oviews the flames risks being rendered immobile as long as they are visible. While the hand burns, manual dexterity with it is particularly difficult, and the flames are too small to be used as a weapon, though they can ignite flammable objects. Paralyzed victims cannot recall anything that occured while paralyzed, but will recall what they saw before blacking out, most of the time, unless the bearer expends internal effort to wipe their presence from the victims' minds. Photographs and video recordings do not convey this effect to viewers, but live video feeds do.

Next time: Homebrewing.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




I love the meta-satire of Car Wizards. Of course the 90s pastiche parody RPG would have a supplement, and said supplement would be a cheap reflavoring of the system to hamfistefly jam in a completely unrelated game experience.

Anyone who has suffered through the player that bought 5 ranks in Drive feels this pain.

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


Gerund posted:

I love the meta-satire of Car Wizards. Of course the 90s pastiche parody RPG would have a supplement, and said supplement would be a cheap reflavoring of the system to hamfistefly jam in a completely unrelated game experience.

Anyone who has suffered through the player that bought 5 ranks in Drive feels this pain.

I dunno what you're talking about, Immortals and Car Wizards are deeply, thematically connected by being totally sweet. They go together like peanut butter and sick guitar riffs.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Cythereal posted:

For anyone who's interested, I'm almost to the end of Genius. Only two big sections left to go - miscellaneous antagonists and a chapter on Fellowships, organizations smaller than Foundations that PCs can join for various benefits that I'm honestly not sure why they exist. Will be skipping the appendix of sample wonders unless anyone's really curious, and the sample city location - Genius uses Seattle, a city I've never been to and have zero serious knowledge of so I can't offer any commentary on it.

No plans to do any more reviews after this, at least not for the World of Darkness. Hunter's getting a great review, and I don't think I could do Promethean justice.

Wouldn't Fellowships be the Z-splat?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Xelkelvos posted:

Wouldn't Fellowships be the Z-splat?

Never heard of that term before, though I can figure out what it probably means and yes they would count. They're tucked away in a back appendix, though, not in the main book.

One of the fellowships is for if you want to play superheroes fighting crime. Yes, really. A suit of mad science armor, preferably full-body including helmet or cowl, is required to join.

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 4: Some Notable Citizens



We’ve been droning on about Center for a while, and good news! We’re totally not done yet. Today we look at some of the city’s notables, and will perhaps receive cryptic hints about their past and Center’s true nature.

Firstly there is Thraxus, mysterious ruler of the Manors and believed to be Center’s oldest resident--the records that exist go back 5,000 years and he is present in every year. He sits on the Board of Naruni’s 3G franchise, and owns a shitload of properties all over the Megaverse. He is a Godling who apparently amassed his fortune after long adventures, and refers to his old “dungeon crawling” life. This is sounding more and more like somebody’s old D&D PC. These days he’s retired and amuses himself being a petty dick to everyone based on what amuses him most at the time.


note everyone’s favorite, the impaler rune sword

He’s “anarchist with leanings towards miscreant,” hey, no fair, you’re not supposed to inject nuance into those! He has assorted unrollable attributes and a piddling 684 MDC. Oh alright, that’s not bad, but the last book I wrote on was Pantheons. 15th level godling, which is at least actually a class. He actually doesn’t have any spells or psionics, which is refreshing until you get to his magic items section which gives him multiple ‘1,000 MDC forcefield’ items, invulnerability to magic, most energy, psionics, and an escape teleport. Oh, and his retinue of various bodyguards and personal army of 500 soldiers. On the one hand, I am fully aware of how groups of PCs will go out of their way to execute powerful NPCs to show they can. On the other, old retired D&D guy can suck it, those are some bullshit powers.


Anshurr is a Splugorth High Lord who likes to watch. No, seriously, he has a massive spy network and installs cameras and drones and probably listens to your private phone calls without a warrant. Anshurr doesn’t despise humanoids the way most High Lords do, but not because he’s aware that he is a two-legs, no, he just thinks they’re useful. He and Thraxus hate each other quietly.


prying…eye...is watching you

Anshurr is a 10th level High Lord with a ton of spells, some useful psionics and a best friend Rakshasa named Zabranas. No really, it says that. Has three rune weapons and 300 MDC. He’d be tough and since he isn’t a supernatural intelligence he can actually be meaningfully combatted. Though he runs a private military and all that.

Next up is Trader Smythers who does not get his own portrait, so we’ll go with this:


fanart, the gift that keeps on giving

Smythers is a member of the Uteni race from Mercenaries and is in charge of the Free Trade Zone. He’s a suit, just an alien suit. His only interests are business interests, and since he is willing to sell anything to anyone, he deals with the Society of the Knife that run the Rat’s Nest as well as normal aboveboard business. He’s not very interesting and PCs are unlikely to run across him casually. He dislikes Thraxus for his constant power plays.

Statwise he’s a non-MDC being who just owns top-of-the-line Naruni equipment and has hired thugs. He’s also very rich.

The Knife Master gets his name headlined like a section break so he must be extra-badass.


or just a refugee from Wormwood

The Society of the Knife is an underground crime syndicate that combines elements from “The Thieves’ Guild (:raise:), an assassin cult, the Mob, and the black market.” Way to stay focused and mix your generic crime stereotypes. They are sworn to secrecy and law enforcement is powerless to stop them.

The actual Knife Master is an enigmatic humanoid figure who rarely shows his face. He is not an Apok, despite art to the contrary, just a witch--see Conversion 1 I think? Anyway he made a deal with an alien intelligence and got powers, though he is from Wormwood. He isn’t super-tuff for all that, has several hundred total MDC but no really stupid abilities or anything, no magic or psionics. He does have uh...’50,000 full-time members’ in the Knife Society so that’s something, but mostly a lot of SDC humans so mostly red mist if push came to shove.

Next is the Promethean RCC, with no break in topic. I assume they are not notable citizens one and all. Having scanned how freaking long the promethean section is, I will leave it for its own post.

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