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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




By the by, if you like the Madness Meters, Stolze translated them into ORE in the free Nemesis RPG (direct link to pdf). From there you can translate it into other dice pool systems if you like; people have done it for nWoD.

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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Halloween Jack posted:

By the by, if you like the Madness Meters, Stolze translated them into ORE in the free Nemesis RPG (direct link to pdf). From there you can translate it into other dice pool systems if you like; people have done it for nWoD.

I've definitely found the Madness system very transferable to other systems. Most of it uses it's own rules, and there's no baked in mechanical effects for failing/hardening so it can easily slip into just about any other game.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Halloween Jack posted:

By the by, if you like the Madness Meters, Stolze translated them into ORE in the free Nemesis RPG (direct link to pdf). From there you can translate it into other dice pool systems if you like; people have done it for nWoD.

The Madness Meters are great. They're the best parts of WoD Morality and CoC Sanity combined into one system that's easy to build onto. It's also very possible to convert it to non-dice pool systems; the Madness rating is whatever goes for difficulty in your system, and you roll whatever you use to defend against mental thingies. (Small note: Nemesis has only four Madness Meters, rather than UA's five, and there's small differences. You can fill up your gauges with failed notches in Nemesis, while it tops out at five in UA, for example.)

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



The Lone Badger posted:

So... the less competition, the more likely it is that my child will be the one to Exalt?
Pretty much. I mean even before any of the kids have a shot at manifesting, the parents of an Oceanid family will be pitting the kids against each other and family against family.
The whole thing reminds me of this old shared Flash universe called Kazahana Family Mass Battle. An ancestor of a Japanese family sealed away his fortune for 600 years and said it would go to his last living direct descendent in that time. And somewhere along the line one of the family slips out of Japan and fathers a bunch of bastard kids all over the world.
Oceanids are like a family tontine where the prize is that your side of the family will be beautiful and powerful and even when there's no Leviathan about to manifest, "training" and "the game" don't stop.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Proxy magic in UA draws really heavily on Tim Powers. That's one of his favorite conceits, a magician trying to magically influence or steal an innocent's body and soul, or even just two people being magically linked by sympathy and getting flashes of the other. Last Call has a lot of it but it shows up frequently in his other stories.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, Fellowships

Tucked away at the back of Genius is a third splat, fellowships. If I'd realized this was here, I'd have covered it early with the first two Genius splats, but no one would ever accuse this pdf of being well-organized.

Fellowships are mad scientist organizations dedicated to the study of some particular subject, smaller and less influential than foundations or baramins but still capable of providing resources, funds, and a network for interested Inspired. Membership comes in two tiers: scholarships and research fellows.

Scholarships are fairly basic: pay three experience points, express interest and competence through either RP or a simple mechanical roll, exchange a wonder schematic relevant to the fellowship's subject for archiving, and you receive a bonus to building and modifying wonders relevant to the fellowship's specialty, plus you'll never run out of materials for building said wonders. Once you have a scholarship, it renews automatically every year.

Research fellowships, however, receive a new merit called a syllabus that rises in dots as the genius gains prestige, influence, and general status. Syllabi grant increasing benefits for making and using wonders relevant to the fellowship's specialty, and there are a bunch of miscellaneous rules. Of note, a genius can have scholarships with as many fellowships as she wants, but can only be a research fellow of one.

Finally, all presented fellowships are Peerage-friendly, catering to Peers and friendly rogues. Relatively lucid and ideologically compatible rogue unmada can also join, but Lemurians suffer penalties to gain scholarships and cannot normally join as research fellows. Genius tells us that Lemurians have their own fellowship analogues but says nothing more about it. Up to the DM how to play Lemurians with fellowships if you want to involve it.

The Elders of the Third Law

So as it turns out Leonardo da Vinci, previously established as Inspired, had an evil twin named Orfeo and lead a mad science crusade to save the Mediterranean from Orfeo's insanity. His followers called themselves the Order of Vinci, and they have continued to safeguard the region.

The Elders, who renamed themselves in honor of Newton's Principia Mathematica, were and are horrified at what mundane science has done in the world. Steam power, electricity, and nuclear power have all resulted in lots and lots of dead people, Inspired and mundane, and so the Elders spend most of their time hunting Illuminated and people who abuse technology to hurt others. The Elders were unsurprisingly part of Lemuria at first, but eventually went rogue and these days have found themselves intermediaries between Lemuria and the Peerage. Lemurians can and often do join the fellowship, ignoring the preceding stuff saying no Lemurians can't do that, and for some reason not really stated the Elders love the Crystal Spheres bardo.

As far as membership and wonders go, Inspired who like any form of technology more advanced than clockwork need not apply - the Elders are very conservative, and consider even steam power a dangerous and irrational new-fangled invention best left alone. As a result, they're known for their expertise at mechanical engineering and primitive craftsmanship, plus their love of the Crystal Spheres (it's not stated that most Elders are geocentrists, but that seems probable). Scholarship applicants must have Craft Specialization: Mechanics or Science Specialization: Mechanics to prove their common interests with the Elders, and among other requirements anyone wishing to become a research fellow of the Elders must have visited the Crystal Spheres.

Genius posted:

Wonders:

The Scholarship and fellowship for the Elders of the Third Law benefit any device entirely based on
mechanical principles. This includes mechanical brains and clockwork people (Automata), crossbow-like
weapons and wind-up swords (Katastrofi), spring-powered carts, self-powered ornithopters and helicopters,
dirigibles, and balloons that can reach the Crystal Spheres (Skafoi), mechanical suits of armor (Prostasia), and
other devices constructed entirely on mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic principles.

The Hermetic Order of the 28 Spheres

The Hermetics were born in the 18th century when significant contact between Europe and India began, and a loose collection of Inspired Indian mystics came into contact with the Invisible College. The Invisible College insisted that what they did was a form of science and Inspiration is not magic thank you very much. The mystics told the College to prove that Inspiration and Mania aren't magic, and had a good chuckle when the College couldn't demonstrate that to their satisfaction. The Hermetic Order has continued on ever since with their perspective that Inspiration need not be a thing of science and craft, but instead magic and mysticism.

All wonders are fundamentally rooted in some form of artifice and mechanism, but Hermetics constantly push the boundaries and ask what exactly a wonder needs to be in order to function. Futuristic death rays and biological wonders grown rather than built sure don't look like gears or engines, after all, and the only difference between a magic potion and a vial containing a nanite suspension or a carefully calibrated chemical mixture is rhetoric. They're big on various forms of Eastern mysticism, but really any genius who creates in a mentality of enchanting rather than building is welcome. For that matter, many Hermetics genuinely believe themselves to be magicians or psychics or mystics of some form rather than mad scientists. Unmada Hermetics almost invariably end up as Lemurian Oracles.

A basic familiarity with the occult is of course necessary to pursue a scholarship with the Hermetics, and only true technomancers (a merit previously discussed) can become research fellows.

Genius posted:

Upon initiation, geniuses who claim a Scholarship or fellowship in the Hermetic Order select one of six "chief
spheres" that will represent them. These "chief spheres" are:

Air (including all gases). Poison gas wands (Katastrofi), breath-stealing phantoms (Automata), storm
cauldrons (Epikrato)
Earth (including metal, stone, dirt, and dead organic material). Rune-graven armor suits (Prostasia), "fair
folk"-fast item repair (Exelixi), cockatrices (Automata and Metaptropi)
Fire (including light, lightning, and most electromagnetic phenomena). Flaming swords (Katastrofi), Phaethon
chariots (Skafoi), amulets vs. fire (Prostasia)
Water (including all liquids, as well as ice). Blood-freezing charms (Katastrofi), enchanted boats (Skafoi),
water elementals (Automata)
Life (plants, animals, and the human body). Loup-garou hexes (Metaptropi), potions of healing (Exelixi),
dragons (Automata)
Spirit (including thoughts, memories, and non-corporeal beings). Evil eye (Katastrofi), mind control powders
(Epikrato), circlets of mind-reading (Apokalypsi)

Any wonder that falls into the appropriate category benefits from the Scholarship or fellowship so long as it is
built in the Hermetic's unique style. Generally, the more of a stretch the wonder is, the more egregious and
"magical-seeming" are any faults. A genius cannot change his chief sphere once it is selected (either for a
Scholarship or a fellowship).

The Phantom Foundation

The Phantom Foundation was once a full Peerage foundation, but has since fallen on lean times and become a fellowship as worldwide interest in their area of interest wanes (and there are rules provided for those still technically belonging to the full foundation). That area of interest is an old one: what happens after death. No one in the Inspired world knows more about ghosts, zombies, and post-death phenomena in general than the Phantom Foundation, including investigation into what post-death phenomena are fueled by Mania (no such Inspired ghosts or undead or whatever are ever named or listed, unless you say ghosts and zombies and whatnot are manes) and what such phenomena are not. Also, the group makes its money by offering their services to the world as the Ghostbusters - even to mortals, who take one look at the weird stuff the Phantoms have and don't ask questions. Yes, this directly contradicts a lot of stuff established in Genius about why you can't do things like that.

As aesthetics and wonders go, the Phantom Foundation thinks mostly in terms of psychic phenomena and electricity. It's easy to spot a Phantom conducting field research by the smell of ozone and the massive number of batteries, conductors, and sparking electrical equipment they have.

Expertise at the occult or Technomancer is required to have a scholarship or research fellowship with the Ghostbusters.

Genius posted:

Wonders:

The Phantom Foundation Scholarship and fellowship benefits any wonder capable of detecting, controlling,
communicating with, or interacting with the dead. "The dead" include corpses (which may or may not be
slated for resurrection), ghosts, vampires, miscellaneous "walking dead," and certain other natural
inhabitants of Twilight or other death-realms, shadow-realms, or netherworlds. This includes ghostbuster
guns (Katastrofi), necroscopes (Apokalypsi), gates to the Other Side (Skafoi), and wards, hedges, and shields
against the dead (Prostasia).


Next time, more fellowships.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 10: Also known as “The Consortium”




So, here we go with the mostly-good space nation. In a surprise move, the goodish guys are not on the verge of being overrun by evil and darkness, nor are they nazi-analogues or just loving idiots. They are a light-touch sort of government that pretty much does peacekeeping/self-defense though, so kind of a libertarian federal ideal. Individual planets have a lot of leeway in self-governance so long as certain basic rights are preserved. I’d be harder on this but it’s more or less how most generally positive space governments are written. There are some basic rights, they still get infringed sometimes, space is vast and communication is fast but not instant or total.

Of course, they go on to erode my charitable goodwill by saying “...in some ways, it is similar to the American Confederacy during the Civil War, a loose alliance of “states…” Like seriously, they couldn’t think of any better example of this phenomenon, even within US history? :ohdear: I mean in the very next paragraph they proceed to explain that slavery is super-double illegal. The Civilization Compact has three main clauses, one is no slaves, one is no war of conquest without winning at model UN, and all signatories must have a full planetary government--they don’t deal with nation states. That last is actually kind of an interesting wrinkle, though it states that occasionally they’ll grant membership to one section of a planet. There’s also a bill of rights that more or less mimic American law.

Humans and Noro are 21 and 20% of the population, followed by Catyr (sounds promising), Wolfen, and whatever race they are thinking ‘Seljuks’ are. :raise: 24% are ‘Other’ because again this is a diverse alien-filled realm. “Associated” races are under a “noninterference” policy that forbids more than very limited contacts. This is presented as a basic fact of CCW law but no justification is given--and guys, the Federation’s Prime Directive can be kind of lovely, so you do need to examine that a bit or at least show some understanding of its full effects.

CCW law is very vague and broad for any number of reasons, though I imagine they have a lot of “standards laws” that are way too boring to get into, stuff like the standard size of a docking ring or what is a pound, etc. They have a congress that rarely accomplishes anything :rimshot: and a bunch of ministries that are actually elected and include a Prime Minister with some degree of executive and emergency power. Lastly, they have a judicial branch which enforces and reviews. Sure, sure.

CCW Armed Forces are closer in role to the Coast Guard, being limited to keeping spaceways clear and some defensive capabilities, and are not an expeditionary force. The Galactic Security Agency acts as a ‘planetary police force’, hey didn’t we just discuss how they have highly varied local government? Also they’re listed as being equivalent to the CIA which means they shouldn’t operate on CCW territory but w’ev. Then there’s the Treaty Violation Investigation Agency which--man do these people not bother with a State Department? Anyway the TVIA is riddled with corruption and has had to spend a lot of time on IA stuff rather than policing exploitation of natives. Also, the CCW officially recognizes legal status for cosmo-knights to enforce CCW law.

CCW society is varied and vast, but the biggest single divide is spacers and groundsiders. Spacers are not to be confused with the lovely class in this case, it’s anyone who primarily lives and works in space travel, and groundsiders don’t. Spacers are a minority at about 10% of the population but their work is pretty important to starfaring trade. There is little love lost between the two as groundsiders see spacers as shiftless and untrustworthy and spacers see groundies as provincial and backward. All these CCW folk share a generalized dislike for war though, so ultimately they get along.

Their main enemy is the obvious one, the Transgalactic Empire but they ain’t fans of the Splugorth either. The United Worlds of Warlock are pally, as is the Paradise Federation, that sounds like a nice place to live.

Major Worlds of the CCW:

Terra Prime: Sadly not Primate. Not even Earth really, archeology suggests that human ships crashlanded there about 10,000 years ago. Capital of the Human Alliance segment of the CCW, densely populated and other planets in system are being terraformed.

Noro-Gor: Don’t think they thought the name of this one through all the way. Homeworld of the noro race, TBD. Actually evolved there, and is preserved now as a vacation home for the noro race, they like to make pilgrimages.

Motherhome: Home planet of the Wolfen, not a part of natural evolution of the planet but they seem to have been rifted in a very long while back and that weakened magical energies on the planet considerably ever since. After developing space travel the Wolfen shut down all their major industries on planet and moved them offworld, because that totally makes sense.

Gemini One and Two: Two planets locked in a “freak binary orbit” that should have decayed and hasn’t. One is home to the seljuk, the second is a “chaotic madhouse!” It’s battered by constant ley line activity and it has more PPE than even Rifts Earth. Must be a lot of people died there, but archeology suggests this state of affairs has lasted sixty million years, versus the three hundred or so that Earth’s chaos period lasted. Anyway it’s not a nice place to live.

The Utopias: The CCW’s oldest and wealthiest planets, basically the Hamptons and Westchesters of space. Non-planetary citizens have much lower standards of living and the rich live in gated sections of the planet. There’s apparently 20 of these.

Here we have the next selection of wildly power-mismatched OCCs. I may be a bit unfair, they may all be crap, the last group mostly was.

The first is the CAF Trooper. They’re soldiers. They do war and stuff. They get some military issue armor and rifle, and those might be passably okay but mostly this is a really basic, really boring class. Also: “Most cultures in the Three Galaxies view cybernetic and bionic replacements with distaste and avoid them if possible.” :raise: Seriously? First they say magic is rare, then they say we shouldn’t be cyborgs. It’s like they don’t want us to play Rifts at all!


i thought kevin long had left the company by now, but perhaps this was just saved

CAF Fleet Officer: Supposed to be resourceful and diligent multi-talented officers who have to perform a wide variety of operations under less than ideal conditions. They get some combat bonuses to reward them for having rolled well in CG (IQ and ME 12, MA 11) and more skills than the soldier. Same basic general equipment but with mission-available grenades, and practically no money.


fire up the clone vats boys

TVIA Inspector: If you ever wanted to play Intergalactic Customs Officer, now is your chance. Really though these guys are supposed to be anti-slavery enforcers and normal citizens fear and hate them for enforcing their rights. Also some of them are corrupt and they have an image problem. They get almost nothing, character-wise, and since Rifts doesn’t really have systems for handling ‘broad enforcement powers’ it’d be up to the GM.


looks legit, bet we can trust him

Next we have the CAF Scientist. They science things. They have about the same armor and weaponry as the Soldier but some extra science gadgets, but they’re still another generic class that doesn’t have a lot going for it.


Cybernetics: None.

Now we go to the Noro RCC. Since they are a major core race of the Consortium, we shall receive their racial data as a set of class statistics. The noro developed psionics early and so rapidly developed a lot of technologies, and knew there were other races in the galaxy long before they left their home planet. A nearby world, Ironee, had its own civilization that had not developed quite as far or as fast. The noro began launching colonization attacks. The ironees (:roflolmao:) responded with nukes, that the noro had abandoned centuries previously as unsafe. This ended up destroying all life on the planet and made the noro very upset with their governments. Now Ironee is a monument to hubris and all noro have to make a pilgrimage there at least once in their lives. They also have a lot of cultishness about the First because being heavily psychic, they’re prone to having visions.


those are psychic headspikes

They get pretty good mental stat numbers, though those don’t matter a lot aside from giving them ISP. They get several psi-powers naturally and have OCCs with more, and can take most regular classes. As an RCC they’re oddly incomplete, lacking skills and other similar elements--I guess the assumption is that they’ll get that from the OCC.

OCCs like the Noro Psychic. These are also called the ghost-makers, which sounds ominous. Basically, the noro are a psychic race. Some of them develop this ability further, and as a race they have developed the unique power to summon and control ghosts with their minds. This makes them big hits at war memorials like that entire planet that got nuked. Theoretically the class is limited to noro-only, and the ME requirement of 14 or higher makes them much more likely to qualify, but in a rare show of inclusion it suggests that other races might develop an equivalent class or be trained as honorary ghost-makers.


i’m starting to feel like i’m in a sci-fi mmo cg screen

They get a fixed selection of non-super psi-powers and can select supers at higher levels, with some exceptions. They also get the aforementioned ghost-summoning power which is no-save for haunting/syphon and every 4 minutes for tectonic and possessing. I’m not going to look up the specifics on these again but the latter two were much scarier. They can also cause the ghosts to be imprinted with memories of a victim of traumatic events and talk to them about it. That sounds sort of mean. If they make the entities fight in a potentially lethal battle, the entities save at +3, though for some reason they’re more than willing to force ghosts to relive traumatic memories, but won’t endanger them.

They get a fair bit of ISP plus some other psionic bonii, a broad swath of doctor-y skills and some limited combat. Some basic equipment and money. The ghost-summoning ability is kinda neat and not overpowered, though I recall a lot of the nastier bads out there being basically immune to some of the nastier attacks the ghosts can do.
The noro mystic warrior is our next contender. These are the select few that keep the noro’s warrior heritage alive. Honestly, a race this compassionately psychic seems like it’d have little space for warriors ever, but I’m not really gonna quibble. These are combat psychics and shunned by most other noro. They start getting fierce as adolescents and have to deal with repression and discouragement from their families but that only makes them more eager. Then if they find a teacher they hone their special talents.

The special abilities they get include the ability to drastically increase their SDC :toot: yeah that’ll be a lifesaver. They can also do a mega-damage mind blast that costs a lot of ISP to make significant (5 per 1D6, level +2D6 max) and they get a lot of psionics as they level. They have more ISP than the psychic, and better combat stuff, because they’re warriors and all.


apparently those are ‘psi-guns’ so i suppose we can excuse the triangular barrels

Enough about those little big-head guys, now we’re onto the Space Wolves. :commissar: Sorry, Wolfen. The Space Wolfen RCC is the basic template for...apparently heavily-Roman influenced space wolf people. Sure, okay. Well, they declare them to be romanesque but they don’t have a senate and aren’t expansionist, they just maybe speak space latin. They’re very loyal to their species, sometimes to the point of xenophobia, and honorable and honest. They live in CCW and Empire space, the latter being more ‘supremacist’. They get less charisma in return for more strength, neither attribute mattering much except that a lot of psi classes need MA 12 or higher and they get 2D6. They can take pretty much any OCC they can qualify for, and apparently there are a lot of wolfen cosmo-knights.

The Wolfen Quatoria aka Star Marshals are an OCC paired with the RCC. They were circuit court enforcer types, Dogs long before the Vineyard. Nowadays in the age of space travel they are nearly full-conversion cyber-wolfen. If ever there was a class that needed a robot horse, if you feel like digging through Vampire Kingdoms for the random page where they buried those. These lawmen can sometimes be overzealous and tend to prefer ‘dead’ in ‘dead or alive’ type situations, but they stick within the law, and are willing to pursue fugitives outside CCW space. They also work undercover...somehow.


the first one sez rin tin tin anything gets it

They’re super cyborgy, like better than anything but Atlantis and never mind about--you know this whole tech thing is just weird. Anyway they get 350 MDC bodies, they have wolf-terminator living skin (thanks for the full paragraph of detail about that, Phase World) and have ‘nano-machine regeneration’. I guess this came out around the time ‘nano’ was replacing ‘radiation’ as the magical future power maker. Anyway they self-repair, slowly, which is handy for a cyborg PC. +6 save to psionics through SCIENCE!, and a bunch of super bionic senses, cyber-lungs and other parts I recognize from the same laundry list they’ve printed over and over since whichever of Heroes Unlimited or Ninjas and Superspies came out. They have some good combat bonuses even before skills, mega-damage hand to hand, lots of fitey skills, and some decent weapons and armor to go with it. This is a pretty buff class, but I don’t feel like it’s overpowered. The MDC is high but not unbeatable and they don’t have a built-in endless plasma cannon or anything. Though they might be able to get one, who knows. ‘space terminator sherriff wolf’ is the kind of gonzo concept I come to Rifts for though, so go for it.

So now we have dogs, let’s have some :catdrugs: with the Catyr RCC. Huh, this is actually pretty tame, I was expecting something really awful. They’re basically radioactive human-looking-oids. They have metallic hair and will slowly sterilize their friends if they are not careful. Their origins are shrouded in mystery because who would do this on purpose?! but they’re mostly like people. They have much, much better physical stats than humans at 4D6+6 PP and PE and 6D6+6 PS without significant downside other than :krad: They also have a decent bit of natural MDC. They can’t learn psionics but otherwise can be what they want, they’re barred from magic classes that ‘require mystic knowledge’ but it says they can learn so :shrug:

Lastly we have the Seljuk RCC. These are spaze-lizard people from a planet where dinosaurs never got et by a meteor. Why they thought ‘seljuk’ was a good name I don’t know. Their parallel evolution is very baffling to all the science and archeology suggests there was a bunch of PPE radiation around fifty million years ago which made all the dino-peoples MDC. So instead of a meteor, the dinosaurs that couldn’t become MDC all died, probably from the light breezes generated by their supernatural-PS cousins. We are promised a space T-Rex for later, and these fellas here. They claim dragons taught them science, and they had to cast a super-gigantic spell to banish terrible rift activity from their world and as a consequence their entire species has lost access to magic. The Cosmic Forge somehow helped this ceremony along and is now a major part of Seljuk religion. Later they were discovered by the noro while they were fiddling with their primitive atom-weapons and such, and eventually joined the CCW. Their culture is ‘chivalric’ because that’s not a tired trope :sigh: and they value bravery and conviction and keeping one’s word.


Their stats are...better than humans again, by a lot even. They’re minimum 9 feet tall being space-dino-people and they have a good bit of MDC, and can be psionic. They can be any non-caster OCC, which leaves a wide selection. The Catyr and Seljuk are kinda comparable statwise, better than regular humans by a longshot, just limited from one or the other sort of supernatural profession. Their cultures are not very interesting but individuals have range at least.

And that’s the CCW writeup, the Transgalactic Empire is next. There look to be at least four new RCCs in this next section, which is reasonably fitting since they want a lot of aliens. Unsure how cartoonishly evil the Empire will be.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



occamsnailfile posted:

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 10: Also known as “The Consortium”




So, here we go with the mostly-good space nation. In a surprise move, the goodish guys are not on the verge of being overrun by evil and darkness, nor are they nazi-analogues or just loving idiots. They are a light-touch sort of government that pretty much does peacekeeping/self-defense though, so kind of a libertarian federal ideal. Individual planets have a lot of leeway in self-governance so long as certain basic rights are preserved. I’d be harder on this but it’s more or less how most generally positive space governments are written. There are some basic rights, they still get infringed sometimes, space is vast and communication is fast but not instant or total.

Of course, they go on to erode my charitable goodwill by saying “...in some ways, it is similar to the American Confederacy during the Civil War, a loose alliance of “states…” Like seriously, they couldn’t think of any better example of this phenomenon, even within US history? :ohdear:

Yeah, the Confederacy is probably the worst example, outside of the slavery example. Loose alliances tend get stomped pretty easily by single massed entities, since each of those states tends to look out for their own instead of reinforcing the others.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Stars Without Number

Beating cosmic horrors one hex at a time.

Now onto the sandbox magic.

Example Sector

As mentioned previously, each sector map is 8 hexes wide and 10 hexes high, filled with 1d10+20 stars with at least one interesting world each. If that turns out to not be enough for the players, the GM can always roll up a new sector to border the old one (a bit like Minecraft chunks).

I should note that the sector and world generation rules contradict each other in two cases, though it's easy to figure out the error.

Anyhow, Let's roll a d10 and... 10, so the sector has the maximum of 30 stars. The book recommends that 2/3 are put at random positions (by rolling a d8 and a d10, and moving stars that land on an already occupied hex closer towards the nearest map edge), while the rest are placed to connect these random clusters so a Drive-1 or -2 engine should be enough to theoretically reach most if not all stars. I say theoretically because spike jumps are very difficult when you only have outdated charts, or none at all. It is therefore that the book recommends to keep two versions of the sector: A complete map with all stars and routes, and a player version only showing the known stars and routes.

So after 20 rolls, the sector looks like this:



Very interesting. The lower right corner is very crowded, making the area a very attractive target for factions (which I'll add after the factions section). Let's connect the dots with the remaining stars:



Now this looks like part of a spiral arm or something. A Drive rating of at least 2 is necessary to bridge the gap between the two paths extending from the main cluster, lending to some trollish behavior if one path is more advanced than the other.

And now that we have the stars, it's time to come up with worlds for the PCs to visit.

World Generation

Worlds have 5 traits: Atmosphere shows how hostile the world's atmosphere is (with most worlds having a "Breathable mix", since those are the ones most likely to have sustained people through the Silence), Temperature shows the overall climate (with most worlds being cold, temperate or warm), Biosphere is all about how compatible the local flora and fauna is with human biology (with most of course being compatible), Population is just that (with most worlds having hundreds of thousands of people living on it) and the overall Tech Level of the world (with most being either TL3 or TL4).

In addition, every world has 2 Tags, unique characteristics that give each world its flavor. This can be stuff like "Civil War", "Oceanic World" or "Trade Hub". Each tag comes with several example locations, people and conflicts, and it is recommended that the GM mixed those for his world.

So here how the result looks:



TL4+ is a term I came up with. It denotes those TL4 worlds that still have limited access to pretech technology. The "Area 51" tag means the local government keeps the existance of outsiders a secret. "Preceptor Archives" are essentially vaults of knowledge about technology and history.

A few interesting worlds of note:

  • 0203: TL4+ plus a "Heavy Industry" and a "Major Spaceyard" strongly suggest that this world is very big in making pretech-grade ships, making them a major power in this area and a threat to pretty much everyone.
  • 0404: "Failed Colony" means that something - or someone - happened that basically wrecked the colony beyond all hopes. If there are still survivors left, they probably only number in the hundreds or so. This was probably the work of the "Sealed Menace", which I assume was Space Cthulhu.
  • 0508: Why does a perfectly habitable world require domed cities? Well, maybe the government wants to limit access to the alien ruins - or they want to keep whatever is still in those ruinis out.
  • 0608: Right inside the big cluster, this world is a "Regional Hegemon", a world with the resources and assets to be a major player in the cluster. How is this possible with low population on a desert world, with a Tech Level of only 3 (aka "no fusion power and spike drives for you")? Well, the other tag is "Exchange Consulate", a major banking center from before the Scream. These guys are cold-blooded capitalists whose source of power are sweet, sweet credits.
  • 0707: This pretty much screams "Haven - World of cavemen violence"

I'll let the rest stand as is for some collaborative brainstorming, before I'll tackle the factions chapter.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 07:16 on Jun 6, 2015

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




HackMaster, 7: It's a kind of really overused reference

Well, work stress is still a thing, as is being weirdly depressed for no reason - must have blown a Helplessness check or something. Still, it's time to be making up our pixie-faerie mage. Time for the stat roll! Again, this is seriously what I ended up rolling..

Str 15 / 98
Dex 14 / 49
Con 13 / 19
Int 9 / 23
Wis 8 / 31
Cha 6 / 49
Looks 8 / 66

Well. We are not going to attempt to play a mage with Int 9 / 23, and we're not exactly going to be the cutest faerie, but we can probably manage with just one swap. Swapping Int for Str and then adding the Pixie-Faerie modifiers, and while we're at it we might as well spend 1 BP to tip that Int 15/98 over the edge:

26 BP spent, 64 remain

Str 9 -8 = 1 / 23 (-7 damage, -14 FoS, 32/3/5/10/15/80 lift)
Dex 14 +4 = 18 / 49 ( -3 initiative, +4 attack, +5 defense, +3 dodge, +13 FoA )
Con 13 -4 = 9 / 19
Int 16 / 08 ( +2 attack, 10 intelligence bonus BP )
Wis 8 / 31 ( +3 initiative, -1 defense, -1 mental save )
Cha 6 / 49 ( -2 start honor, -4 turning, -2 morale, 2 proteges )
Looks 8 +4 = 12 / 66 ( +1 start honor )

Want to hear a joke? How about our hit point total? Mages get a d4 hit dice, and Pixie Fairies are the only race that instead of getting a size bonus gets a size penalty.. to whit, they roll one die worse than they normally would. What's worse than a d4? A d3, it turns out. Fortunately, we roll 3, but still:

HP 13+3 = 16
TOP threshold 4
TOP save 4
Knockback Threshold (tiny) 5
Reach modifier -2

Fortunately, Pixie-Faeries also get a whopping +8 bonus to defense, +8 saves against magic, and much faster healing.

Now, time for Mage things. A 1st level mage gets 140 spell points, +2 initative (which is bad, remember), and four spells to start with. The four spells are divided as two Apprentice spells, one Journeyman spell, and one First Level spell. Apprentice and Journeymen are, effectively, two levels of cantrips.

Mages get to memorize one spell of each level. Casting a memorized spell costs (10*level + 40) spell points, but doesn't unmemorize it, so you can fire it multiple times, as with 5e. Casting a non-memorized spell is perfectly possible, but costs twice as much. Apprentice and Journeyman spells cost 30 and 40 points respectively, but still have to be memorized or cost double points.

Oh, and, remember how this was based on 1e? We have to roll our spells. We can, however, spend 1 BP for a reroll on any one.

First Apprentice, 7: Jolt. 1s, touch, instant, physical negates. Gives the target a static shock which does no damage, but makes them drop anything they're holding. When we're a fast-moving fairy who hangs out with a Gnome Titan, this is remarkably useful.
Second Apprentice, 1: Amplify Illumination. 1s, 1 light source in 1 foot, 10 minutes, (+1 SP/minute, 15 SP/extra 50% radius). Exactly what it sounds like; makes a torch's radius larger by 50%. Unfortunately, it only works on physical torches, and we're probably not going to use one of those.. because we are one. Pixie Faeries have a natural glow. Unless we were to set ourselves on fire, this doesn't help so much.
Journeyman, 1: Audible Glamor. (1s, 90', 2min, +1SP/foot range 10SP/minute dur). Creates a sound up to 90' away which can sound like anything we like, although it needs to be something we've heard or a language we understand.
First Level, 7: Scorch. (1s, 10', 10x10' area, dodge half, 10SP/+1 damage max 6). Oh yea. Area effect attacks out of the gate. Anyone in the area takes 1d3p+6 damage, and potentially catches fire if they're silly enough to be wearing flammable clothing.

The Mage section is kind enough to actually point out that pixie-faerie mages have spellbooks so small they're 1/8 regular size and require a magnifying glass for anyone not a faerie to read.

So, how do we cast spells? It's a multi-step process. First of all, we need to get out any components we need. Just like D&D, it's having components available is handwaved as long as they aren't assigned a value; unlike D&D, it takes an actual action to get them out before casting the spell, which takes d4p ticks. Yes, that's an exploding d4, so you can easily end up spending ages getting them out if you roll badly.

Next step is actually casting the spell. Most spells only take 1 tick to cast, but they only go off after that period. In that critical moment, the mage's defense goes down to d8p. After casting the spell, the mage then suffers from spell fatigue for 5 seconds plus the casting time of the spell: in this period, the mage gets -6 to defense, can't attack, has a 30% penalty to skill rolls, and moves and does everything else at half speed. Oddly, the rules do not specifically state that another spell cannot be cast in this time, but I guess it makes a certain amount of sense that they couldn't. Presumably, this is how we make sure that mages do actually need people defending them.

Going with the theme of opposed d20 rolls, if a spell has a saving throw the enemy rolls a d20 and adds their level plus their save modifier, and the mage rolls a d20 and adds their level to set the difficulty of the save. However, the GMG throws in an interesting mechanic: the same result with different modifiers is used to determine if there's a spell mishap or not. The spell mishap roll is made by adding the caster's INT, the save roll is made by adding the caster's level.

Unfortunately the spell mishap calculations get.. remarkably complicated. The GM has to calculate the spell mishap threshold based on the level of the spell, whether it was "amped up", whether the caster is wearing armor and using a shield or not, and whether the caster got hit during the casting process, with a cap on the result determined by the spell level. The way it's written means that most of the time, as long as the caster isn't wearing armor and is casting unamped spells, there's no chance of a mishap, so mages aren't completely useless.

Regarding "amping up" spells: you'll notice above that some of the spells we got have schedules for increasing their parameters by spending extra spell points. That's amping up a spell. A spell is amped-up if you use any of these, or "over-amped" if you use so many that you are spending more spell points on the extras than on the spell. Either of these dramatically pushes up the chance of a spell mishap, as does getting hit.

If a mishap occurs, there's a range of penalties that can apply. The simplest is that the spell gets lost. The second simplest, but less serious, is that the spell casts without any of the amping applied, but all the spell points are still lost. Fail by more than that and you get to roll on one of the 10 (!) spell mishap tables, which are typical wild magic things. The 10 tables are levels of severity, and the cap based on spell level I mentioned above applies to which table you can end up rolling on, so it's very very unlikely that you'll cast Detect Magic and end up accidentally blowing the whole party to bits (I only mentioned that because I recall it could happen in one of the Warhammer games).

So, highlights from the tables: at low levels, you can get hit with a cartoon explosion ("casting is stunned for 3d4p seconds and face is black with soot"), all kinds of things can change colour, and you can, um.. "become sexually aroused for d4 hours". Nice. Mid level results tend to apply status sicknesses, such as ability score loss, permanent thought, random shaking or lethargy. The highest level will basically destroy the character, with entries like "caster permanently transformed into a Rhesus monkey", "character may never regain spell points", and "caster explodes and deals 5d12p damage in 30' radius".

So, suppose we'd decided to Scorch the rear end of Mr Goblin from the last example. Scorch is a 1st level spell. It costs 50 spell points to cast. We spend the points and roll a d20, getting a 14. That means we have a 30 on our mishap check and a 15 as the difficulty of the save. Assuming we aren't doing anything silly like wearing armor, the Volatility Rating (yes, that's a thing) for a 1st level spell is 3, giving a target value of 14; with INT 16 we couldn't have failed. The goblin rolls a 2 on his Dodge save, which he has a +4 too, so he has a 6 - he fails to save. Damaging spells ignore all damage reduction, so we hit the goblin with d3p+6 damage - 8 damage. Since he has 22 hit points as per the previous example, this is just below the threshold to give the goblin a ToP save, which means our dear faerie (who we shall call Emilie Guessfritz because of course we will) is in danger of getting swatted out of the sky unless someone can get in the goblin's way pretty fast. So, yep, a solo mage isn't going to be going far in this game, at least not at low level. At high level.. well, they get pretty ridiculous as usual, but the books calls this out as the 1e/2e "struggle early, reward later" tradeoff.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


Princess: the Hopeful
So may Charms. It's like I cracked open an Exalted book. Also, I'll try a different format for this post. It'll be easier to digest everything but it'll probably look a little less interesting. Names are kept as they're displayed in the text. Weird spellings and all if any.

Bless Charms
Most of the charms here are Buffs of a sort and enhance what's already there. This is different from Perfect Charms which bestow traits and abilities beyond the target's capabilities. May be a little confusing. The Champion and Grace callings (the Fighter and Social adept callings) have an affinity for these charms.

A number of the charms in this tree give the Floating Blessing condition for a category of rolls. The condition gives the affected a pool of dice they can draw from to add to their pool or subtract from another's (i.e. when an opponent makes a roll of Wits+Subterfuge-opponent's Composure). Dice from this condition can't be added to Chance Die rolls. A better version of this condition is a pool of Automatic Successes that can be drawn from.

One Dot Charms
Small Providence - Spend a wisp, a target gets a discount in obtaining it for a day by some sort of fateful providence. "Applicable purchases are everything," which presumably means it can apply to things other than objects like mercenaries or ladies/gentlemen of the night :heysexy:
Sea-Foam's Touch - Give someone the Floating Blessing Condition with a minimum of two dice for mental skills since it ties into the Acqua Invocation. An upgrade cam apply it to Metal attributes too.
Bejewelled Visage - Seeing things like a video game can enhance one's skills. Same, but for social skills since it also ties into the Terra Invocation.
Count no Cost - Same but for combat skills. No upgrade for attributes obviously.
I'm the Best - Steal dice from an opponent in a contested action where they have more dice than the user because gently caress them. The charm is linked to the Invocation belonging to the Queen of Mirrors which is all about being better than everyone. At four Specchio (the charm initially requires one), an upgrade waives the requirement about being worse than the opponent and can force a Dramatic Failure

Two Dot Charms
Intuitive Flash - Give a target a pile of Specialties for a scene with no limits as to what they are. It's about as useful as it sounds.
Touch of Fortune - Give a target 9-again for a number of rolls equal to successes made on activation. May actually be less useful than the previous charm, but the upgrades available make it a lot better. One upgrade lets them determine which rolls are affected so the bonus isn't wasted on more trivial rolls. Alternatively, the bonus can be boosted to 8-again or Rote. At full power, for 4 Wisps (and after three upgrades), give a bunch of rolls of the roller's choice Rote.
Engine Heart - Same as the other Floating Blessing Charms. This time for rolls for the Power Attributes.
Steady Resolve - As above, but for Resolve Attributes
Wits of Wind - As above, but for Finesse Attributes
Burden of Rule - As above for anything to defend the user's kingdom

Three Dot Charms
Light's Aegis - Share the Princess's Holy Shield ability with a target and can be stacked on another's Holy Shield
What's That Sound - The target gains a condition that allows them to trade it in for an upgrade to a Perception roll (Failed->Success->Exceptional Success) or +2 to a contested Perception roll.
Oaken Fortitude - Get temporary health boxes

Four Dot Charms
Drawn by the Moon - Boost a mental attribute of a target using a condition for a scene. The max is the Invocation associated (the charm requires 2 initially). An upgrade at 4 lets the user split it over multiple Mental attributes each of those still has a max based on the Invocation dots.
Wind-Borne Grace - Same but for Finesse
Stoke the Furnace - Same but for Power
Forest Sanctuary - Same but for Resistance
Crown Jewels - Same but for Social
Avenger's Might - Same but for attack rolls
Tendril of Nothing - The reverse of above for a Resistance trait to a minimum of leaving them with one dot and can lower the target's health boxes. There's no upgrade.

Five Dot Charms
Both of these charms are Avatar charms which prevents the use of Invocations besides the one the linked to the charm and are linked to a particular Queen.

Peaceable Kingdom - Undergo a second transformation taking on traits suggesting a large and powerful animal or otherwise some sort of king/queen of beasts. While no physical traits are bestowed from this transformation, the user gains +1 Intimidation against mortals and, more importantly, raise the intelligence of all animals in witness of the charm such that they are sapient and can perfectly communicate in the user's language. The animals can also be affected by Social Skills like mortals and gains a bonus against the animals. When the charm ends, the animal returns to normal, but if they're affected again, they'll remember what transpired the previous time. Obviously linked to the hippie Queen.

Sheltered by Her Hand - A special charm only for defending the citizens of the kingdom of Alhambra. It also triggers a Compromise roll for those at a Belief 4+. It's linked to the Queen of Tears whose whole thing is defending Alhambra. When successfully activated, the Princess can expand their Holy Shield in defense of the Alhambran inhabitants and automatically spend wisps when they take damage. If the user is out of Wisps, roll a die per wisp spent. Each success generates a point of Taint because the Charm literally sucks the magic out of the land. Maintaining it takes a toll on the user's psyche though and each turn spent protecting someone forces a Resolve+Composure roll that merely gets a -1 for the next of these rolls on a success and a failure adds a day of Depression that's gained when the Charm ends.

Next: Connect Charms. So should I keep posting them like this or should I do it the other way?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, More Fellowships

The Perfected Vision Institute began in the middle of the 20th century as a group of Inspired dedicated to unlocking the secrets of telepathy through brain experimentation and internalized wonders, but has expanded in recent decades to studying the human mind in general with cybernetics, neurochemistry, and whatever else new researchers have brought to the table. Many members of the institute are shadowy would-be manipulators and masterminds, but there's a strong contingent of idealistic scholars who simply want to figure out what makes the mind tick. Nevermind that being Inspired, every last one of them is insane.

Contrary to what you might think, the Institute is firmly affiliated with the Peerage, and in fact is more than a little paranoid of Lemurian infiltration. Whether of occult or more traditional scientific bent, members of the Institute are the world's experts at internalized wonders and at least a basic familiarity with Epikrato is required of all research fellows.

Genius posted:

Wonders:

A genius can gain the Institute's benefits with any wonder that possesses the "internalized" variable. Originally only
wonders based on brain augmentation and alteration could receive this benefit, but the Institute has expanded a bit
in recent years, allowing for a variety of internal mechanical and chemical enhancements. This benefit includes
telepathic nodes (Apokalypsi and Epikrato), inner "third eyes" for remote-viewing (Apokalypsi), internal healing
and biofeedback enhancement (Exelixi), and even strange powers like levitation (Epikrato) and internalized
shapeshifting (Metaptropi).

Want to be mad scientists with fancy armor who prowl the streets and fight crime? The Iridium Sentinels have you covered. This loose coalition of Inspired dress up in identity-concealing suits or costumes (they're built with Prostasia so even the spandex option provides considerable protection) and take to the streets with the most sophisticated crime-fighting gadgets mad science can make to protect the innocent, battle gangsters, and generally live out their superhero fantasies. Unsurprisingly, they're a very popular fellowship and every city of note has at least one or two mad scientist vigilantes running around. Yeah, you might want to decide these guys don't exist if living in a world of superheroes doesn't fit your game.

Any style of suit or armor is acceptable to the Sentinels, from high-tech powered armor to "enchanted" leather coats to plate mail forged with titanium alloys. There's even a handful of genetic engineer Sentinels who grow their own suits. If you've got a suit and the athletic prowess, the Sentinels will extend a scholarship. Want to be a "research fellow" of the Avengers League of America (or whatever nation you call home)? Better know how to throw a punch and have spent at least three months protecting your city.

Honestly? I kinda want to try running an Iridium Sentinels game of Genius now.

Genius posted:

Wonders:

Scholarship and fellowship in the Iridium Sentinels grant a bonus to any wonder that qualifies as an "armored
suit." To qualify as an armored suit, the suit must fit over a human body (or some other body; if you really want
to build a battle-harness for your guinea pigs, go ahead; the Sentinels will spot you the cash) and possess a
Prostasia rating of at least 1. Weapons, scanners, and other wonders also receive the benefit of the Iridium
Sentinels, so long as they are integral to the suit and cannot be removed from it.

The Malcolm T. Washington Fellowship was created fifty years ago for the advancement of mad scientists of African descent who specialize in the creation and deployment of genetically modified arthropods. Might seem narrow, but it's a very respectable fellowship even in Lemuria and when there's grant money involved many African-American and African-Canadian geniuses take a sudden interest in bugs. Bugs that eat nuclear waste, bugs that eat racist cops who are acquitted for murdering black people in cold blood and get off free, riding spiders for competitive racing... sky's the limit, really. If you're black and like making bugs, you have a place with the fellowship.

Genius posted:

Wonders:
The Malcolm T. Washington Scholarship and fellowship benefit any independently-functioning life form of
arthropoidal origin and appearance. The "independently functioning" element is important: the bonus applies
when building fully independent insect-like automata, as well as automata-that-are-mostly-Skafoi and
automata-that-are-mostly-Katastrofi, but they must be automata: a flying beetle that spits acid is fine, but an
acid-spitting proboscis strapped to the wrist is not; a near-mindless (Automata 2) fifty-foot riding centipede
is acceptable, while a surgically-grafted set of butterfly wings will not offer the bonus. The wonders must also
be at least mostly organic; insect-shaped robots or clockworks do not qualify. Integral wonders of these
arthropods that are also mostly organic also benefit.

Just in case you weren't detecting a whiff of Orkiness among the Inspired, the Nine Devils Vertex Club are the Speed Freeks. Created in California by a group of Chinese-American geniuses who loved Skafoi as a quarterly mad science rally-car race across the desert, sea, bardos, and other planes of reality, the group has exploded in popularity and is now a fellowship dedicated to pushing the limits of single-seater racing vehicles of any description. They meet four times a year in California and China to hold races, with separate categories for land vehicles, air vehicles, spacecraft (from Earth to Space Station Colossus and back), and are thinking about sea vehicle and mole machine competitions. Joining up with the Club is simple: know how to drive and know how to build an Inspired vehicle. In addition to skill requirements, fellowships with the Club are exclusive to those who have won at least one race. Lemurians have been sighted among the Club, invariably of Atomist or Etherite persuasion, but as long as they don't talk politics they're accepted.

Genius posted:

Wonders:

To gain the benefit of this fellowship, a genius must construct a wonder of Skafoi that is large enough to have
a seat but not so large it requires more than one person to operate. Further, the wonder must "move" in some
way, that is, its primary mode of operation must use the Drive skill. Hot rods, jet bikes, personal spaceships or
submersibles, and sports cars all qualify; large vessels like multi-crew starships do not, nor do worn wonders
like jet boots and grafted wings. Any wonders integral to this vehicle also qualify for the fellowship's benefits,
as do any wonders of Exelixi that can modify or upgrade those vehicles or their integral gear.

Finally, the Resurrection Consortium is a small but highly prestigious fellowship descended from an ancient Egyptian cult of mad scientists obsessed with immortality. That's still the nominal goal of the group, but they've since expanded their interests to resurrection and various forms of healing in general. There's still lots of obsessives, of course (generally aiming for immortality, resurrecting the dead, or curing some particular ailment), and they have an entire cryogenic mausoleum full of research fellows who didn't quite succeed but believe the group will in time. The Consortium also has a very popular and active message board open to any interested member of the Peerage (and Lemurians, it's something of an open secret that some Oracles among other baramins are affiliated with the group).

Genius posted:

Wonders:

The Resurrection Consortium Scholarship and fellowship can benefit any attempt at procedures that restore
life to the dead, rejuvenate old, damaged, diseased, or dead tissue, increase life span, or animate dead flesh or
brains. This includes the animating of chemical, cryogenic, or techno-occult zombies (Automata) as well as
any attempt to heal, repair, or restore (though not upgrade) organic tissue (Exelixi).



Next time, conclusions.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Halloween Jack posted:

By the by, if you like the Madness Meters, Stolze translated them into ORE in the free Nemesis RPG (direct link to pdf). From there you can translate it into other dice pool systems if you like; people have done it for nWoD.

I'm really digging the way the Madness system works here, although after reading a bit of Nemesis (which seems neat, mostly) I think the examples given in it come out a bit strange. For example, it mentions that having 10 hardened Violence notches (signifying sociopathic numbness to violence and total disregard for the wellbeing of others) is a common trait among serial murderers... yet, you can't get ten notches without experiencing (and succeeding at) an intensity 10 check at some point in your life, and all the examples of traumas above intensity 5 are all explicitly supernatural in origin, going from "get attacked by undead" at level 6 to "get impregnated by a Great Old One" at level 9... implying that most serial killers have in fact witnessed something worse than that? I don't know, it could just be that they didn't give mundane examples of high-level violence checks. But it also seems like the only mechanical consequences kick in at ten notches, and intensity 10 events are explicitly listed as fantastically unlikely kinds of events... and you still need to somehow succeed at the check in order to get that tenth notch. It seems like the scale there isn't quite functional they way it feels like it's meant to be.

MadDogMike
Apr 9, 2008

Can I come out and play?

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I'm really digging the way the Madness system works here, although after reading a bit of Nemesis (which seems neat, mostly) I think the examples given in it come out a bit strange. For example, it mentions that having 10 hardened Violence notches (signifying sociopathic numbness to violence and total disregard for the wellbeing of others) is a common trait among serial murderers... yet, you can't get ten notches without experiencing (and succeeding at) an intensity 10 check at some point in your life, and all the examples of traumas above intensity 5 are all explicitly supernatural in origin, going from "get attacked by undead" at level 6 to "get impregnated by a Great Old One" at level 9... implying that most serial killers have in fact witnessed something worse than that?

Y'know, if you carried that back into Unknown Armies, you'd actually have an interesting one of those little plot hook lines; "All serial killers have seen something more horrible than even the greatest dark powers in their glory. Just pray they kill you instead of telling you about it first."

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



MadDogMike posted:

Y'know, if you carried that back into Unknown Armies, you'd actually have an interesting one of those little plot hook lines; "All serial killers have seen something more horrible than even the greatest dark powers in their glory. Just pray they kill you instead of telling you about it first."

This relates a lot to a discussion I had with a friend about Call of Cthulhu Sanity, that maybe we should not be thinking of a cultist going into gibbering madness but achieving some sort of weirdo transubstantial enlightenment where they no longer think in human terms. What good is believing everyone is a rational actor when you find that that the dark powers that run the universe behave in what a human would think is irrationally. An ant can't fathom why we go on vacations or the concept of an economy, but if one did start thinking like a human, then it would be the outsider.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



MadDogMike posted:

Y'know, if you carried that back into Unknown Armies, you'd actually have an interesting one of those little plot hook lines; "All serial killers have seen something more horrible than even the greatest dark powers in their glory. Just pray they kill you instead of telling you about it first."

Would also be a fine plot hook for a nWoD game involving slashers.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Young Freud posted:

This relates a lot to a discussion I had with a friend about Call of Cthulhu Sanity, that maybe we should not be thinking of a cultist going into gibbering madness but achieving some sort of weirdo transubstantial enlightenment where they no longer think in human terms. What good is believing everyone is a rational actor when you find that that the dark powers that run the universe behave in what a human would think is irrationally. An ant can't fathom why we go on vacations or the concept of an economy, but if one did start thinking like a human, then it would be the outsider.

So the real danger does not come from those who go insane at Eldritch, non-euclidian sights, but from those who go "Now it all makes sense!"

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




"I will make you see
I will make all of you see"


:event horizon emoji:

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Doresh posted:

So the real danger does not come from those who go insane at Eldritch, non-euclidian sights, but from those who go "Now it all makes sense!"

This is pretty true for Cthulhu mythos. The real bad guys tend to be the guys who know or think they know what lies from beyond.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Equally dangerous are the guys who learn the unknowable, vast truths and walk away thinking "OH BOY, HOW CAN I MAKE THIS WORK FOR ME?!"

"So I want to live forever...oh, I got it, I can just steal my daughter's body and overwrite her mind. Awesome! But now I want to be a man again. So I'll just steal her husband's body and overwrite his mind. Great! Now I wanna be younger..."

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Young Freud posted:

This relates a lot to a discussion I had with a friend about Call of Cthulhu Sanity, that maybe we should not be thinking of a cultist going into gibbering madness but achieving some sort of weirdo transubstantial enlightenment where they no longer think in human terms. What good is believing everyone is a rational actor when you find that that the dark powers that run the universe behave in what a human would think is irrationally. An ant can't fathom why we go on vacations or the concept of an economy, but if one did start thinking like a human, then it would be the outsider.
I believe that one CoC sourcebook--maybe Cthulhu Live? has rules for cultists, who have "Mask" stat instead of Sanity.

Fsmhunk
Jul 19, 2012


Young Freud posted:

This relates a lot to a discussion I had with a friend about Call of Cthulhu Sanity, that maybe we should not be thinking of a cultist going into gibbering madness but achieving some sort of weirdo transubstantial enlightenment where they no longer think in human terms. What good is believing everyone is a rational actor when you find that that the dark powers that run the universe behave in what a human would think is irrationally. An ant can't fathom why we go on vacations or the concept of an economy, but if one did start thinking like a human, then it would be the outsider.

If I remember this is spelled out in not so many words in the core book. You're not going 'insane', you're starting to understand the real way reality functions and seem insane because of it. Likewise, magic is the real physics of the world.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Fsmhunk posted:

If I remember this is spelled out in not so many words in the core book. You're not going 'insane', you're starting to understand the real way reality functions and seem insane because of it. Likewise, magic is the real physics of the world.

That is also part of the magic system of UA, if I recall. One of my favorite quotes from that book:

"It's not a matter of believing you can shoot magic blasts. It's not a matter of knowing you can shoot magic blasts. It's a matter of knowing you must be able to shoot magic blasts, because if you couldn't, the world wouldn't make any sense."

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 11: Required Evil Empire



The Transgalactic Empire is ruled with an iron fist by the kreeghor though they are not the only race with power and influence. They ARE the result of Splugorth bio-engineering, bet they’re happy how that turned out when they rebelled. Of course, they rebelled by being even more bloodthirsty and crazy than their masters so the cartoonish evil-o-meter is getting high. They have actually lightened up a little over time, having respect for wolfen they conquered, and slowly letting other races into their hearts and ‘elected offices’.


finally! a picture of a spaceship

The Empire makes a lot of war, particularly with the CCW, which is bigger, but less well-organized. They’re still both big enough to grind both of them to dust if they fought, so there’s an uneasy peace going on. Empire planets rebel frequently against their oppressive yoke and the CCW is sympathetic if not outright responsible.

The Empire is ruled by an Emperor with a Royal Family and stuff. They sometimes adopt heroic subjects, even non-Kreeghor, into this enclave of privilege. Large estates worked by slaves labor to bring them all the best in life, and they make war to keep the gravy train running. Below that is a large selection of Ministries that do government stuff, plus a lot of corruption. Military governors rule individual planets and answer to the Royals.

Society-wise, the Empire is a lot like the CCW honestly: Subjects do what they want as long as they don’t interfere with the Imperial government or break important laws or annoy someone more important. The major difference is a constant, visible military and propaganda presence, as those are the only hallmarks of an oppressive regime. Dissidents may be jailed or intimidated and free speech is more limited, though the CCW didn’t actually talk a lot about that, it seemed to be sort of assumed. The Royal Family can do anything they want, legally, even if they don’t spend all their time kicking puppies and evicting people. A lot of industry is run with slaves--which is actually kind of hard at high technological levels.

There’s also racism in the Empire, the Kreeghor, Wolfen, Silhouette and machine people all get more privileges than others. It’s not like ‘apartheid’ racism, more like ‘federally subsidized housing and biased jury selection’ racism. The only way around this is being a warrior of some kind.

Here we break off from talking about the Empire to hear the story of an ongoing rebellion that has turned into a bit of a sore spot for the Empire. The Free World Council formed when a human/wolfen world rebelled and a ‘Michael Klass’ ended up leading a big revolt on a planet called “Good Hope” :rolleyes: A bunch of independents, rabble-rousers, and Splugorth-provided assistance helped keep the Empire off and now there’s a Free World Council run by “Rachel Klass,” granddaughter of the original revolution. They’ve taken a couple dozen worlds and are not very big, but they annoy the poo poo out of their former oppressors by existing.

Anyway back to the Empire after that little digression: Their foreign affairs interactions always have the ultimate goal of conquest, keeping enemy fears allayed until they can strike, and then striking. They do some trade because...well, you have to. But mostly they are waiting for the right moment.

Major worlds: Kreeghor-Tet is the capital planet, where most of the Royal Family lives, etc. The Splugorth still want their former slave race back and have repeatedly attacked the capital world to make their point, so it has big defenses.

Good Hope was already covered, it’s basically space-Cuba at this point, a giant military camp for all them anti-Imperial commies

Hellholes: These are what people call the Kreeghor prison worlds, because of course those exist.

So, now we have learned that the kreeghor are a former Splugorth slave race that reached independence. Or at least the ones in Phase World did. They’re spiny and have a perpetually crouched posture, ready to spring. Totally trustworthy. They’re a savage warrior race who never should have managed technological advancement given their poor cooperation skills. Too bad the Splugorth gave them guns and ships. This allowed them to develop a working social structure and revolt, much to the Splugorth’s chagrin. I’m always happy to see the Splugorth take a loss so that gives the kreeghor one notch. Apparently they were led by “secret race of super-kreeghor” who might have been the work of Gene-Splicer infiltration or maybe the Cosmic Forge, which is the explanation for every single weird race thus far. We’ll see the royal kreeghor later.

Apparently this kreeghor rebellion managed to kill an actual Splugorth, which is quite the feat. It’s constantly suspected that some other power was involved in manipulating the rebellion, but nobody knows and the end result is a massive space empire of former rebels turned conquerors. Most kreeghor are warriors or something really closely related to war, like weaponsmiths. Hippie layabouts are treated with extreme suspicion by regular kreeghor and by outside races should they leave the Empire to not get hassled allatime. They are optional player characters, basically you’d have to be an expat.

They have heavily superior-to-human stats, a good bit of natural MDC (2D6x10 +20 + 3D6/level), regenerate slowly, have mega-damage hand to hand attacks, and are +2 to save versus psionics or magic but take double damage from magic weapons including techno-wizard items. They tend to go warrior OCC but are not actually limited from anything.



The Royal Kreeghor RCC is specifically an NPC block. They can be born from the union of any kreeghor (1% chance which is still a lot honestly) or more frequently from two royals (50%) and get a lot of extra stuff on top of being spiny rear end in a top hat monsters already. Supposedly, there are only 10 million of these, but that doesn’t match the population chances given above unless these guys die constantly in fights. They are all totally devoted to war and the Empire and so not very good at anything not one of those things. However, people are “too afraid of their wrath to try and trick them.” :allears: Every thousand years, one of them is selected to be the Emperor. The old and new go somewhere underground, the new one comes out, having been granted god-like powers. Nobody knows what happens.

The royal kreeghor lack the free will of the regular kreeghor and are just dicks. They are much, much more powerful in attributes, MDC, and everything else. They regenerate about 7 MDC a round, they have a bunch of psionic powers, they get magic, MDC claws and bites, combat bonuses and a pile of skills--and of course, being privileged members of a ruling class of tyrants, they have guns and stuff.

The Kreeghor Emperor also gets a general block for shits and giggles I guess. They’re...strong, but not invulnerable, a couple thousand MDC with a lot of magic and psionics. Has a unique rune sword, the Sword of Kreeghor, which is not statted, and a staff of pacification, along with all the other goodies a military ruler would possess. They’re tough but they take 10X damage from any Millennium Tree weapons the party thought to bring from England. Uh...you did right? Also extra damage from magic and rune weapons, the real problem would be fighting through the rest of the kreeghor to get to the end boss here.

Now we’re on to the machine people. Long ago, there was a graceful race of monkey-like people called the machinists who developed a lot of wondrous technology. Their peaceful civilization was attacked and largely destroyed by a race called the Star Hunters. All their technological marvels were lost, the Star Hunters were themselves destroyed by galactic vengeance, and the last enclave of machinist scientists put their minds to work solely upon revenge. This did not result in Mechanoids this time, but in a race of liquid metal people who had two genders because it is very important for machines to be gendered, and who, upon awakening, refused to exterminate the entire galaxy that had stood by while the machinists were destroyed.

This last bastion of the machinists was a little flummoxed by that response. They had created living machines with reason and morals apparently. This shamed them, and they retreated into obscurity, never to return again. Seriously, that’s where their narrative ends, and all the cool stuff the machinists had is gone forever except these guys. The machine people proceeded to re-enact the traits of life they were given, colonizing and spreading. People (this includes radioactive humanoids, dinosaur people, glowing waves of sentient radiation that build people-shaped shells, Splugorth, and others) were terrified of these strange living machines, that just weren’t natural!

The kreeghor tried to conquer them and then changed their minds--they might be useful. The CCW got deadlocked on their membership application because maybe they weren’t ‘true’ life-forms, being machines. The text here says they were forced to surrender to the kreeghor, but earlier it says they’re treated with greater respect in the Empire than other races. A bunch of the machine people have joined the Free World Council, while others still fight for the Empire that took them in when no one else would. It uh...I can almost see Siembieda and Carella fighting over the pen here. It goes back and forth almost sentence by sentence.


also silver surfer need to eat a sandwich

These are listed as optional PCs, I guess because hated and feared. They have good attributes and decent MDC. They die after 200 years in what appears to be a deliberate termination routine, something they haven’t been able to eliminate. They also have a bunch of T-1000 powers.

Morphing: They can take on properties from other nearby materials. This takes 1D6 rounds and they can do a variety of things like adding 1D4x100 MDC, add +10 to PS, alter their shape in various grotesque ways, make swords and stuff.

Machine melding: They can link with machines and get bonuses to piloting and vehicle maneuvers and automatically gain the benefits of several skills it already said they get bonuses to. Likewise, this applies to computers. There are apparently anti-machine people security systems that require them to make a save or take some damage and never be able to penetrate.

Power Source: Since these guys are advanced, they don’t have a piddly little nuke plant. They have fusion. This becomes inert when they die. Well that was exciting. They also list “Regeneration of Power and Energy” separately but it should be here, they get unlimited ammo with energy weapons.

Reproduction: This is a special power because they are machines. Basically when a mommy robot and a daddy robot love each other very much, they can produce a baby. This baby will have 1D4X10 MDC. Thanks Rifts, I was just waiting to find out how much MDC a baby robot has. :roboluv:

Regeneration and Nutrition: They eat metal to heal themselves.

Invulnerabilities: They’re immune to a lot of that stuff that kills meatbags. They can survive being reduced unconscious to -99 MDC, but -100 kills them.

This RCC has RCC skills and it’s a semi-wide spread, with a lot of beep-boop robot stuff and then almost anything else so you can customize your robofriend a little. They don’t get any other gear but their robot bodies, but those might be enough. They are a little bit powerful and versatile but by default not combat monsters aside from being kinda tanky.

From there we go to the Silhouette RCC. These are a race of jet-black humanoids who had better not be loving space drow. Solid-white eyes, graceful and naturally able to shadow-meld. Alright, not space drow. They are noted spies and assassins and come from a magic-heavy planet sort of like Rifts Earth. They were conquered by the kreeghor several thousand years ago but not eliminated, assimilated instead. They’re established as upper-level subordinates now, and some few enclaves even exist outside the Empire. They’re great spies, as mentioned, and good at magic which is not all that common--honestly it’s a little surprising the kreeghor would keep them around given their vulnerability but I guess they do need some support.


they also consume 80% of the galaxy’s hair gel
Optional PCs, better-than-human stats--Carella seems to give all his races stat rolls that might let them actually qualify for some of the cooler classes out there. A bit of natural MDC, a lot of PPE, and naturally know six spells at CG. They can shadow-meld as per the spell at will, and make areas darker around themselves, gaining some stealth powers and increased MDC while this is active. In normal light they lose their bonii, and sunlight leaves them at -2, -10 MDC. This RCC is another one not intended to add an OCC template, so they just get to choose 18 skills basically of any type, allowing a flexible character. Really not overpowered IMO. The only reason they’d be ‘optional’ PCs is that Siembieda slaps that label on all things primarily serving the badguys I guess.

The Imperial Legionnaire OCC is available if you want to play an evil space trooper. Their harsh training “makes marine boot camp look like a boy scout camping trip.” They are supposed to obey orders and kill on command, deserters are shot on sight but there are a lot of deserters for some reason.



There’s not much to this one, as with many of the ‘soldier’ classes. They get 90 MDC armor, a couple guns, and some other misc war equipment. Even if you went really wild with the gun/grenade choice, there’s not a lot to this class.

Next is the Imperial Security Agent. These are the space-gestapo of this particular evil empire. Being spies, they don’t usually go around proclaiming themselves as spies. They have a decent spread of skills and get spy stuff like fake papers and disguises, but their equipment is specifically mission-related, and I doubt anyone ever wanted to play a kreeghor empire loyalist campaign.


the flattop detects lies

And of course, the Freedom Fighter OCC. Space-Che awaits. These guys have been “taught since childhood to hate the Empire” and are fanatically dedicated to destroying their enemy. Make of that what you will. They get pretty much the same stuff as the Legionnaire which is more a reflection of the sameness of a lot of character builds versus any deliberate irony, except that the Freedom Fighter gets a Naruni rifle and suit of armor versus mil issue, and a couple more guns of choice.

That’s it for now, there are more aliens to come.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



So I'm confused. Do you take a RCC and an OCC, or just a RCC?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



The Lone Badger posted:

So I'm confused. Do you take a RCC and an OCC, or just a RCC?

If a race has a racial RCC, you generally have to take that. Like say "Chiang-Ku Dragon" is an RCC you take exclusively. If a race is pretty near-human, you take both a Racial and an Occupational.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

If a race has a racial RCC, you generally have to take that. Like say "Chiang-Ku Dragon" is an RCC you take exclusively. If a race is pretty near-human, you take both a Racial and an Occupational.

Wait, what? I thought you only took one CC regardless. How does having more than one even work?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


The Lone Badger posted:

So I'm confused. Do you take a RCC and an OCC, or just a RCC?

Well. You have "Psychic RCCs" that work pretty much just like OCCs, but are called RCCs to imply you're more than human, and to indicate you don't roll for random psionics if you're a human or near-human d-bee. You then have two types of "species-based" RCCs: RCCs that allow you to take an OCC and those that come with their own set of skils. This is generally indicated in the race's writeup - for example, dragon hatchlings can't take an OCC and have their skills determined by their race, but elves have no skills listed, so they have to choose an OCC from the ones allowed. If a race can take an OCC, it usually gives some indication which ones you're allowed to take. In addition, some of the later races have a default set of skills they can take as an RCC, or they can choose from certain (usually very restricted) OCCs. And sometimes a species-based RCC can select a Psychic RCC for double RCC, I guess. Some RCCs also get a number of variant classes only they can take, and some OCCs also restrict what races can take them, too. And some rare OCCs actually act like "templates" that modify another OCC you take!

In the end, it's mainly done on a case-by-case basis without any sane attempt to codify it all and can be a tremendous headache.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Young Freud posted:

This relates a lot to a discussion I had with a friend about Call of Cthulhu Sanity, that maybe we should not be thinking of a cultist going into gibbering madness but achieving some sort of weirdo transubstantial enlightenment where they no longer think in human terms. What good is believing everyone is a rational actor when you find that that the dark powers that run the universe behave in what a human would think is irrationally. An ant can't fathom why we go on vacations or the concept of an economy, but if one did start thinking like a human, then it would be the outsider.

Reminds me of Phil Sandifer's take on the first Cyberman episodes, where they were qloppothicly enlightened beings instead of cyborgs. They saw so much they were no longer human.

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Plague of Hats posted:

Wait, what? I thought you only took one CC regardless. How does having more than one even work?

Welcome to Rifts (TM) (C) (R) motherfucker.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




To be honest, the way it apparently works doesn't sound so bad. I just couldn't conceive of CCs with, like, pieces missing, especially RCCs. I've only thoroughly read the core and like one or two other books, though, and that was quite a while ago. What a glorious mess.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



An Echo Resounding

A red day, a spear day


Less shooting, more finding cover jesus

Okay, so how do we go to mass combat? Quite simple. The main element of mass combat is the unit, that represents about 100 humanoids or a lair's worth of monsters (so an unit of say, hill giants comprises eight of them). A unit has the same stats as its base creature, so our hill giant unit has an AC of 4, 8 HD, a Morale of 8, and so on. Well rested and at full strength, it also has the maximum amount of hit points possible, so our hill giants have 64 HP. Units retain the same special abilities as their base creatures, so hill giants can throw rocks, pegasi can fly, and so on. Spellcasting is special, as we'll see later. Some particularly fearsome creatures (like big demons, dragons and poo poo) as well as certain special champions get to be units on their own called Heroes, but we'll deal with those in detail in the next post. Some units are not meant to stand on the battlefield on their own, but are attached to others, and they are known as Support units. Here we have assassins, bodyguards, specialists, and so on. Low to mid level PCs often qualify as Support.

Mass combat plays out pretty much the same as individual scale combat. Side initiative is rolled (with ties rerolled as the only major difference), units are moved, then missile fire happens, then spells and then melee combat. Units move their normal outdoor movement rate in combat in a round, reduced by difficult (1/2) or very difficult (1/4) terrain, and movement is automatically ended if they come within 20 yards of another unit or a Hero willing to melee them. If the moving unit initiates the attack, it is placed in contact with the defender and they enter melee. Units stay in melee until they're defeated, to retreat in order they must pass a Morale check, or they must either remain in place or be Routed. One unit can be at most in melee with four enemy units (one per side) and any number of Heroes, while Heroes themselves can only be engaged in melee with one single unit. Missile units can pile their fire on an enemy unit or Hero if they wish, however. Morale is checked when a unit first suffers damage in a battle, when an ally unit is routed or destroyed, when half the allied force is routed or destroyed, and when the unit is reduced to 1/2 or less HP. Failing this check makes the unit Shaken, suffering a -2 penalty on attack rolls and a -2 penalty to Morale. Shaken units that fail a Morale check are Routed, and they must attempt to flee the battlefield, can no longer attack and take double damage. Units can withdraw from the battlefield without being Routed simply by reaching the edge of the battlefield.


If I just hold my sword like thiiiiiis...

Only Heroes get to go toe to toe with military units on their own. Lone individuals and Support elements engaged by units are automatically killed, and if the unit they're attached to is destroyed they must save vs Death (as a level 1 Fighter if not otherwise specified) Support elements grant special abilities to the units they're attached to, and they can freely detach from an unit when it's their turn; they move at 120' a round and can spend a whole turn attaching themselves to another unit they're in contact, if they've trained together in the past. Heroes can also choose to integrate themselves to a unit, in which case they can't be deliberately targeted other than attacking the unit they're part of.

Sieges are handled very abstractly. Defenders must have some sort of fortification asset to force a siege, and then attackers can choose any number of their units and Heroes to attack the fortifications once a domain turn, which are hit automatically. The fortifications strike back at the assailants, but the attacker always chooses which units receive those attacks. Once the fortifications are down, the attackers may force an immediate battle against the defenders. It's assumed that Heroes and special characters can always find food for themselves in a siege, but units take 1 point of damage per HD each domain turn they're sieged unless Siege Supplies (a special asset) have been prepared beforehand to feed them. Attackers must also maintain lines of supply, by land or by sea if their numbers are large enough, which can be disrupted by enemy units and force them to also take attrition damage. Naval battles play out pretty much the same as land battles, with notes on needing special sea fortifications to push back enemy reavers and so on.

Taking a location puts any survivor defenders just outside of it, ready to launch a counterattack if they feel able to. A location's assets are immediately razed by the fighting, but rebuilding them has a +2 to the value checks for the conqueror. If the conqueror only wants plunder, however, they gain 1 Treasure plus one more for each asset, one more if it's a town and yet another more if it's a city. The location gains the Exceptional Poverty obstacle and assets plundered don't get the +2 to rebuild them, if it's even possible at the GM's judgment.


That guy has a fancier helmet than mine, kill him and raze his city.

Spellcasting is tricky. First, single-target spells or with a very small AOE are worthless against units, only useful against Heroes and even then, if they're attached to an unit they can't be targeted unless the caster has a particular ability to do so. Second, area-effect spells like Fireball can affect one unit, but one unit alone. Damage is reduced to one-half, with saving throws further reducing it to 1/4. Support elements must save vs Death if the unit they're attached to is hit by such a spell, while PCs take the same damage as the unit. Third, a mass combat round can take up to thirty minutes of in-game time, so most spells are only good for one round. Finally, spellcasters can't cast spells if they or the unit they're attached to are engaged in melee. It is possible that some casters develop spells that use the geomantic energies of a battlefield, and those could be free from these restrictions, but the supplement does not provide any example of such.

Finally, troops can gain War Experience. Each unit has a War Experience value equaling is total asset cost (so a unit that costs 2M0W0S has a War Experience value of 2) or its total HD if they don't have it. The survivors of a battle, both winners and losers, gain experience equal to the total War Experience value of the enemy side, divided by the friendly units that took part in the fight. As the unit accumulates experience, it progresses from Regular to Seasoned (5 War Experience), Veteran (15) and Elite (35). Elite units can't progress any further, but they still take up War Experience after a battle. Each time a unit rises in rank, it gains +1 to hit and one of these benefits, that can be taken only once: +1 HD, +1 Morale, the Hardened quality, the Skilled quality, or -2 to AC.

And now, the units themselves! We get a little lecture on why the three types of rolls (Military, Wealth and Social) need to be done to raise one, when you could just pay off some mercs to do the job. Sure, you could do that, but mercenary loyalties are fickle and they simply won't be integrated into the domain. Making the rolls means that a particular unit has been trained with the domain's forces, is in their formal payroll and logistic planning and has been organized into the domain's culture. Simple sellswords may suffice for a battle or two, but they might just find that the quickest path to riches is through their owner's holdings, while a properly raised unit will only turn against their masters by enemy machinations or gross mismanagement. The units themselves are divided into regular units, support elements and "foe" units, like Shou raiders and the undead. They're what you would expect in a fantasy wargame: there's your light infantry, your pikemen, your archers, your elf battlemages, your dwarf heroes and so on. Since it's a Red Tide book, there's also some ethnic variations of these, so you can get an Eirengarder Pike unit that is slower than regular pikemen but armored like a tank, or Kueh Samurai that have less AC than regular foot knights but are faster and get access to bow attacks. Plus, halfling units get a Morale score of 12, which basically makes them nigh-unbreakable. :black101: There's also some weirdness here: for instance, you can recruit a Sage support unit that costs 0M2W0S that only exists to solve Ignorance obstacles, or a Guardian Mage for the same cost that also has a Countermagic ability that grants rerolls to failed spell-induced saves in the battlefield. It's up to the GM, again, whether a particular unit can or can't be recruited by a Domain in a particular location. Men of Jade and Clay have the Stupid trait, which makes them prone to ignore orders unless a suitable unit with the Tamer ability has it (for instance, beasts with a beast handler, or undead hordes with a necromancer), but there are no suitable Tamers for constructs. Most notably, there are no units with the Guardsmen trait at all (except for the Red Jade Templars, a Shogunate unit most PCs will only see from the wrong side of their katana), but then again this might be on purpose since Guardsmen obstacles tend to involve a lot of PC-style adventuring and investigating.


Literally the same stats as a 1HD mook, but when there's literally hundreds of them, enjoy becoming a pincushion. Unless...

Next: why do you cry for him?

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Plague of Hats posted:

To be honest, the way it apparently works doesn't sound so bad. I just couldn't conceive of CCs with, like, pieces missing, especially RCCs. I've only thoroughly read the core and like one or two other books, though, and that was quite a while ago. What a glorious mess.

It's not as terrible as it could be, as the limits are expla...at least heavily implied in the body of each description. Chiang Ku dragons in particular can take a 'Tattoo Master' OCC that is not otherwise described except that it lets them grant magic tattoos to others for some large PPE cost and a stern warning that they should never ever do this because the splugorth will find out and come eat them. Prometheans in the Phase World book have an RCC and then two special OCCs listed afterwards, and can take other classes I believe--though their unique classes are so good that you'd be foolish to not take one if you wanted to be a promethean.

Mostly it's not too bad, though occasionally editing leaves off things like 'equipment' from a class listing with hilarious results.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

To be honest, the way it apparently works doesn't sound so bad. I just couldn't conceive of CCs with, like, pieces missing, especially RCCs. I've only thoroughly read the core and like one or two other books, though, and that was quite a while ago. What a glorious mess.

Yeah, it's honestly pretty intuitive, even though it's also very dumb. But the races that you think would be able to take OCCs can, basically. There are a few exceptions, generally one-off humanoids that don't matter (say... the Ugoquan or the Hawrk'Ohl) that look like they could definitely learn a trade, but just don't for some reason.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

Yeah, it's honestly pretty intuitive, even though it's also very dumb. But the races that you think would be able to take OCCs can, basically. There are a few exceptions, generally one-off humanoids that don't matter (say... the Ugoquan or the Hawrk'Ohl) that look like they could definitely learn a trade, but just don't for some reason.

Yeah. Not that there's any balance to it; Demigods can take an OCC, but a Simvan Monster Rider can't. There's also the weird Murphy's Rule where some races can take "Men of War" OCCs... which includes Coalition OCCs. Guess you can hide a lot under those skull-helmets...

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Alien Rope Burn posted:

There's also the weird Murphy's Rule where some races can take "Men of War" OCCs... which includes Coalition OCCs. Guess you can hide a lot under those skull-helmets...

Aren't you a bit gigantic to be a stormtrooper?

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Unknown Armies, part 7: Adepts, pt 1



I mentioned adepts briefly in the magic overview, well this is where the book goes from "creepy urban horror-fantasy" to "really weird creepy urban horror-fantasy". The adept schools are probably the most distinct and memorable part of Unknown Armies.

quote:

Good news: tantric sex magick works!

Adept Basics

The book is a bit more dramatic about it, but just to make things a bit easier to digest I'll go over the basics of adepts here. An adept is someone who holds a particularly warped worldview that they have invested with enough belief and focus that it has become more or less true for them. They perform magick by believing so hard in their own distorted view of reality that they can actually force reality to conform to it. That, of course, means that to anyone else they're basically crazy people...because they are.

There are three Laws of Magick that all Adept schools adhere to:

First, is the Law of Symbolic Tension. It's important that not only does your worldview as an adept run contrary to what everyone else thinks and feels but it's also important that it makes no sense. Part of what gives the adept power is the "friction" between not only what is real and what isn't, but a sort of cosmic "cognitive dissonance" produced by the acceptance of two ultimately conflicting ideas. This means that central to the idea of each adept school is a paradox. The paradox should make the flaws in an adept's philosophy obvious to any rational person but the adept has so fixated on the paradox that it makes sense to you.
This means you can't just pick any old set of beliefs like "thinking really hard makes people's heads explode." Only certain concepts have the appropriate symbolic power and inherent conflict to produce magickal power. Different adepts explain the nature of their beliefs in different ways, even adepts of the same school. It doesn't really matter in the end because no matter what it's all crazy talk.

The second law is the Law of Transaction. Magick is never a free ride and always involves ritual sacrifice. Typically that sacrifice is in the form of effort, time or freedom...but it can be simpler (flesh and blood) or more ethereal (memories, understanding). But it must always come from the adept in some way (other people may be involved but the adept is central to the process) and magick cannot produce magick. For instance, a dipsomancer who gains power by drinking could potentially turn water into wine with his magick...but getting drunk off that wine won't give him any magick back. You can only get out what you put in.
Almost all adepts work by performing personal rituals (the word is used loosely) to gain "Charges" to power their magick. Charges come in three forms: Minor, Significant, and Major. Minor charges are easy to build up and almost all adepts can easily rack up several of them if needed. Significant charges usually represent a lot of work or risk to achieve and can be used for powerful magick. Major charges are once-in-a-lifetime for most adepts, if that often. Some adept schools are harder to produce major charges, some are easier but all of them have big limits. Major charges can produce wide-ranging effects, potentially world-wide (although an effect "spread" that thin won't be too powerful).

Finally there's the Law of Obedience. Unlike Avatars, Adepts have to fully and completely accept their twisted view of reality. You can't do magick as a day job. To be an adept means to believe on a fundamental level that everybody else the in world is completely wrong about how reality works. Even other adepts. You might be able to accept that they know some sort of magickal tricks or have managed to produce some pale imitation of your understanding of reality but you know, in your heart, that you're the one who has it all figured out. This actually makes it incredibly difficult for Adepts of the same school to co-exist. You can at least hang out with another adept whose view of reality is completely opposite of yours. You both think the other guy is just spewing nonsense and you dismiss it. But the guy whose view is almost exactly like yours but slightly different can drive you nuts. It's like getting a bunch of [insert fandom here] nerds together...even though everyone likes [fandom], you know they'll start arguing about why [character] is so much better than [almost identical character].
The law of obedience also means that each adept has taboos. Certain behaviors that, while they don't completely ruin your beautiful insanity, shake the foundations of your worldview. This means if you engage in your Taboo you lose all your charges and have to start over from scratch. Some taboos can be broken very easily (although typically those schools have very easy charging rituals) while others take active plotting to force you to break.

quote:

There’s a cult in California who’ve found a way of crossing voudoun with The Picture of Dorian Grey. They stay the most beautiful of the beautiful people while a village in Kansas gets steadily uglier.

Becoming an Adept

Of course if you're starting at Global your GM may just allow you to start the game as an Adept, but if you're trying to turn an ordinary person (or an Avatar or Authentic Thaumaturge) into an adept, it takes some extra effort...really nasty effort. To become an adept you have to have an Obsession which jives with your chosen adept school and five Failed notches on the Self meter. You can't just decide to study magick, you've got to take your old life and burn it to the ground. Do the things you never believed you could do, betray those who care about you and piss away everything you've built for yourself. Only once you've basically left your life a burning wreck behind you are you damaged enough to accept the new worldview of the adept.

If you're "lucky" enough to have a teacher the process is...slightly...easier. It's basically like joining a cult in that your mentor must brainwash you into a new, twisted way of thinking. To do this they will do stuff to you. Bad stuff. Basically, they have to max out the failed notches on a single stress gauge. Maybe they torture you until your violence gauge fills, force you to ruin your life (or force you to watch while they do it for you) or just show you mind-blowing poo poo until your Unnatural gauge fills.

Either way, the failed notches can't be removed through therapy (without ruining the process) and once you've got 5 failed notches and go insane you get a 1% skill in your magickal "school". This is a Soul-based skill and is always your Obsession skill, replacing whatever your previous Obsession skill was. At this point you have to spend XP to improve your skill and "fix" your hosed up brain. Every point of XP improves your skill by 2%, removes a failed Notch from the gauge that you busted and learn one spell.

Once you've got 5 XP spent your mind has been pieced back together and you've got your skill up to 11%. At this point further improvement takes place normally (and any new Self failures are dealt with normally).

quote:

There’s a tape floating around containing a record of a ritual to produce a soundtrack to the caster’s life. The intention was to never again miss anything suspicious or ignore a romantic moment. At the end there is only a long, eerie note—and then static.

Spells

Adepts use spells. There are three types of spells: random magick, formula spells and Blasts

Random Magick are spontaneous, off-the-cuff spells that you come up with off the top of your head. They have to fit the themes of your adept school. They're very flexible but they tend to be inefficient: it usually costs more charges to power Random Magick and it doesn't give quite as much bang for your buck. For example, an epideromancer (a school devoted to altering your body) might want to say...grow tastebuds on his fingertips because he really needs to taste something without being seen licking it (hey, UA is a weird game). He'd explain what he's trying to do to the GM who decides how many charges it should cost and whether it counts as a minor, significant or major effect. This would probably cost only one minor charge as a formula spell but as random magick it'd probably cost 2 or 3 charges.

The effectiveness and cost of random magick is also subject to change at the GM's whim. It doesn't matter if it cost 1 minor charge last session it can cost more today.

Formula Spells are spells that have been developed as specific, reliable effects. They're typically cheaper and more powerful, but only have one use (or at least a set of closely related uses). For instance, Epideromancers have a formula spell called "Relentless Will" which lets them ignore the need for sleep temporarily. It's cheap (1 Minor Charge) and long lasting (about 20 hours), but it only works as specified. For instance, an epideromancer who is near-collapse from exhaustion due to intensely hard work but needs to keep going isn't going to be able to use it (it'll keep them awake but not fight off normal fatigue) and would have to rely on Random Magick which'll likely be more expensive and last only a short time.

Finally, there are Blasts which is a generic term for spells used to just plain hurt folks. Blasts are half-way between random and formula spells. Not every adept school has Blasts, but those adepts that do automatically start with their Blasts (even if they haven't learned any other formula spells yet) and Blasts are unusually flexible compared to normal formula spells.

Minor Blasts cost only minor charges (usually) and inflict hand-to-hand damage. You can also take a penalty to add extra dice and take the best two (although if none of them come up well enough to succeed the GM then picks the worst two!).

Significant Blasts usually cost significant charges but inflict damage as firearms (although they have no maximum damage). You can also spend a turn "charging up" a significant blast you can roll an extra die and keep the best two. You can keep charging up as much as you want but if you're interrupted you lose the spell and have to start over. This makes significant blasts really powerful if you can hit your opponent unaware.

Long Distance Blasts By spending a significant charge on a Minor Blast you can target someone who you can't see, anywhere in the world. You have to have at least met or spoken to your target for this to work. Since it only does minor blast damage you probably need to send out a lot of these to do more than just freak someone out.

Special Delivery This lets you create a booby-trap with your blast. The trap has to be appropriate to your school of magick. So a sex-magick adept could booby-trap a person so the next person they sleep with gets blasted. There's no limit to how long the spell can be left hanging but the caster has to handle the object or person or be in the place to be trapped and you can't trap anyplace larger than a house with one blast. This is for minor blasts and costs an extra minor charge.

Called Shot for an extra minor charge you can affect a specific body part. This doesn't boost the damage but vaguely implies it can be used to cripple or limit people. No real rules for it though.

Although blasts are not very deadly compared to weapons remember that anyone hit with one must make a Rank-5 unnatural stress check. That's a pretty powerful weapon all by itself.

quote:

There’s a sandwich shop in Atlanta where, if you order the special of the day, along with a hot beverage, they include a small slip of paper telling you the date of your death. Most people just throw it away or eat it by accident.

Now, lets start with a breakdown of the different adept schools

Bibliomancy



Bibliomancers are basically bibliophiles whose obsession with books has led them to magickal powers. Their school is based around collecting books upon books and building up a library which stores their power. The paradox of bibliomancy is the obsession with books as a physical object. The book itself is important, more important than the information contained inside. It's not knowledge that's power it is books. You could collect schlock romance novels or porn mags and it would give you as much power as A Brief History Of Time

Bibliomancers have a unique limitation in that their power is stored externally in the form of their Library. The number of books you have sets a firm limit on the number of charges you can hold and you can only access your charges when near your library. To even try and become a bibliomancer you need a collection of at least a 1000 books (and they have to be yours, being an actual librarian or a book store owner doesn't count). In addition, your library has to be suitable for reading and browsing (well-lit, clean, organized) and it must have it's own symbolic "space" in whatever building contains it, either it's own room or in a distinct, separate part of a larger room. Basically, you can't "game" the library: no sticking your books in steel chests stored under your floorboards.

Books must be printed and bound (unconventional bindings like scrolls are fine). Comics are fine, magazines are cool, and binders full of print-outs work just dandy. Ebooks don't count nor do books on tape or anything that has been removed from its binding. Technically you could invest in a laser printer, pull thousands of books off of torrent sites and print them out cheaply...but as you'll see that actually makes it tougher to gain power from them. The law of Transaction is a bitch. As part of their obsession however, biblomancers are more or less compelled to "upgrade" to the highest quality copy of any book in their library should it be available.

It takes 100 books to store a Minor charge, 500 to store a significant charge and 2500 to store a Major charge. Any charges generated in excess are lost. To access your charges you have to be within (Soul) feet of the library, or roughly on the property where the books are stored (so a bibliomancer can battle intruders on his front lawn or his roof but not down the street). It is possible to have multiple libraries (storing charges at different locations) and it is possible to create a temporary "traveling" library to take charges with you. To do this you can "transfer" a charge to a valuable book (100$ for minor, 500$ for significant, 2.5k$ for major). To access the charge the book must be on your person. You can have a traveling library as large as you can carry.

Charging
Biblomancers earn charges by adding books to their library. The greater the value and rarity of the book the more power they give you. Minor charges require 100$ worth of books, any books, so long as they share a common element (same author, same genre, etc ). You can also get a minor charge if you get one of your books signed by the author (or add a signed book of any value to your collection). Lots of bibliomancers make a point of being friends with wanna-be novelists. You can't get charges on copies of books you already own unless the new copy is superior, in which case you must sell or give away the inferior copy.

Significant charges are earned by acquiring a single book worth at least 500$. Note that the value of the book is based more on its agreed collector's value rather than the price you paid for it. Giving a kid 500 bucks for his copy of the latest spiderman comic book does not count. Law of transaction. The inverse is also true, you could buy a first edition Edgar Allen Poe from a garage sale for 1$ and it'd still be worth a Significant charge Again, you can only get more charges from a copy if you're replacing an inferior copy.

Major charges are reserved for one of a kind books of exceptional value. The original manuscript of a master of literature (say the hand-typed pages of an Ernest Hemingway novel for instance) or books of legendary stature such as the gold discs of mormon, the true necronomicon or the dead sea scrolls.

If you steal a book of appropriate value from another bibliomancer instead of buying it you get double its normal value in charges. Bibliomancers do not trust one another.

Taboo
Bibliomancers lose all their charges (from all libraries) if they ever damage or destroy a book, even one you do not own. You can also never give up a book, unless you are explicitly getting rid of an inferior copy to replace it with a superior one (in which case it must be sold or given away, you can't trash it). This includes loaning. Your books must stay with you.

Spells
Bibliomancy primarily focuses on knowledge. It's good for finding things, learning stuff, teaching others and doing the opposite: obscuring, obstructing or removing knowledge.

Some of the more interesting biblomancer formula spells:

*Let Me Check My Notes (minor)
You can spend a charge to instantly retrieve knowledge from any of your books so long as you know what you need to find out and can identify the volume which contains it. So for instance you could instantly recall a map of the city if you own a travel guide for that particular area. For two charges you can mentally compile a composite of all information on a topic contained in any books in your library. This doesn't replace the need for skills. Recalling the contents of a foreign language phrasebook does not make you a fluent speaker.

*Speed Reading (minor)
Similar to the above, this lets you instantly and completely absorb the knowledge of a single book (which does not have to be a part of your library). You retain photographic recall for about 30 minors at which point it fades into normal memory, as though you read the book. Again, it doesn't substitute for actual skill.

*Book Learning (minor)
That's what this spell is for! This lets you use your Bibliomancy skill in place of another skill so long as you own a book where the skill is represented. It doesn't have to be a book for learning the skill, owning a sherlock holmes book can let you use "Notice" just like the great detective. However, you suffer a -20% penalty if the specific book is not in your possession.

*Read Between The Lines (significant)
You can, roughly, evaluate the truth of any single factual statement. It will provide true and false answers for mundane statements ("Joe is alive"), but when magic is involved it becomes fuzzier. Avatars are especially tricky, always bringing back an answer of "maybe".

*Book Burn (significant)
This requires a book worth at least 1k$. After casting it (so long as you have the book in hand or touching your skin) the next spell or magical effect targeted specifically at you is absorbed by the book (except avatar powers, tricky bastards) and does not affect you. Any time afterwards you can open the book and unleash the magick on a qualified target of your choice (limited by the range and effects of the original magick).

*Major Effects
Discover any single piece of information; Obscure any fact so well that it essentially never was known to begin with. Learn any skill. Crack any code. Trap a person as a character in a book.

-------------------------------------------------

quote:

At great peril to one’s life and soul, one can use the Vedic texts to predict mundane events, such as the outcome of football games, and thereby make a great deal of money. The Illuminati have used numerous sacred texts to earn money in this way.
-------------------------------------------------

Cliomancers



Probably the most competitive of adepts. Cliomancers gain power from the weight of human history and the impact decades or centuries of emotion and thought that have been poured into locations. They can harvest this power, which gradually renews itself over time. The problem is that it's not really possible to share. Once one cliomancer drains an area of power no other cliomancer can charge up until the place is renewed. This makes them extremely territorial and cutthroat...especially as available "free" territories get snapped up.

The central paradox of Cliomancy is that history is a lie. Not just magickally but almost all history is confabulations of half-truths and misremembered or poorly taught facts. Columbus wasn't trying to prove the earth was round and he wasn't the first European to find the Americas. Cliomancers powers are built on lies that are widely accepted as truth.

Charging
Cliomancers gather their charges from places where historical "energy" accumulates. A "place" is a location of significant meaning smaller than a square acre. Places also can't be "divided up". No taking one charge from the white house lawn and another from inside.

A Cliomancer can gather Minor charges (one per day) from any place that has had a strong association with historical events without actually being of historical importance itself. The home where President Kennedy grew up is not, in and of itself, a major historical site but its association with a powerful figure from history makes it enough to accumulate minor charges. The site of a famous serial killer's murders might also qualify or the spot where a significant work was created (even if most people remember the work more than the location).

Significant charges are generated by places that are famous and recognizable on their own merits or are the focus of a large amount of specific attention as a location. Major landmarks, tourist attractions and sites of immense historical importance all qualify: Gettysburg, the Washington Monument, the Anne Frank House. Really, really big sites might allow you to harvest multiple significant charges a day, but most are only worth one...and almost all of them have cliomancers fighting over them. After the last significant charges are drained from a place for the day it might allow others to harvest a few minor ones before it needs to recharge.

Major charges require that you not only draw powerful from a major historical sight (one worth a Significant charge) but you have to be the first to draw power from it. Ever. That means that there are almost no Major charges left out there. A few extremely isolated or dangerous areas might not have been harvested yet. Mount everest has almost certainly been drained, but the South Pole might still have one, as well as the wreck of the Titanic or the heart of Chernobyl. The moon certainly has one waiting for the first cliomancer in space.

Taboo
So long as cliomancers have a well-defended territory they're assured of a steady supply of juice. The problem is time. If you don't use a charge within a month of gathering it it vanishes (although unlike other schools you don't lose all charges at once).

Spells
Cliomancy spells deal with shared culture, knowledge and understanding. Memories, stuff "everyone knows" or common experiences. Some interesting Cliomancy formulas:

*Familiar Face (minor)
You can pick one person when you cast this spell and they'll fell like they've met you before. A great spell for "fitting in" places you shouldn't necessarily be allowed.

*Common Knowledge (minor)
You can pick one person in your immediate vicinity and gain a skill they have, allowing you to use it as though you were them for the next five rounds (5 minutes out of combat). This includes advantages like getting Obsession bonuses if the skill is their obsession. Only mundane skills, no magickal ones.

*You Remember Now (minor)
For 3 minor charges you can give someone false memories. The memories must be either a vague recollection ("we worked together at your last job") or a single specific event ("I saved your life from a random shooting three months ago."). You can't inject long term memories or a string of related events. For instance, you can make someone remember sleeping with you one night, but not make them remember a year-long relationship.

*Gnostic Gossip (minor)
You can create a rumor about a person among those who know them. The rumor must be a single sentence said with one breath. Everyone who knows the subject remembers that rumor. This doesn't force them to believe it...but they never forget it either. A wife who is totally convinced of her husband's fidelity would not necessarily act on the rumor that he slept with his secretary...but it would be a powerful bit of leverage if you were presenting her with convincing evidence that it had happened. It's also very effective when cast on yourself (most cliomancers have entirely undeserved reputations).

*Urban Legend (significant)
an improved version of Gnostic Gossip. It works the same but it affects everyone. If you cast the spell on Joe Bob and create the rumor that he's a necrophiliac then everyone he ever meets (or who even hears about him) will recall hearing that this guy likes to bone dead bodies. Needless to say it's easy to utterly ruin someone's life this way.

*Everyman (significant)
An improved version of familiar face which affects everyone who meets you for 24 hours plus the recognition is always slightly positive.

*Forget It (significant)
This spell lets you either "wipe" someone's short term memory (basically meaning they don't recall the last few minutes) or delete a specific "scene" or event from their long-term memory. It can also be used to remove specific facts or pieces of info (like your name, or their ATM pin code), but nothing so important that it would force a Madness check (like your husband's name or where you live)

*All Is Known (significant)
A really powerful cliomancy effect: you can learn any secret from someone's memory...but so does everyone else. This basically turns the fact into an Urban Legend effect that affects everyone. This doesn't usually have a dramatic effect (using it to steal someone's email password just plugs that random bit of knowledge into everyone's subconscious to no great effect...although everyone who knows the person will remember having learned the password at some unspecified point). Obviously this can be devastating for famous figures but the major limitation is that you have to touch your target.

*Cliomancy Major Effects
Rewrite history (not changing the past, but changing what everyone thinks happens). Resetting the last 24 hours. Freezing time for an hour for everyone but you. making yourself younger. The scary thing is when you think about how many Major cliomancy charges used to be out there...how much have those cliomancers hosed around with the collective unconscious?

quote:

There’s a spot in central Delaware where something very famous happened, something central to the history of the United States. Kids read about it in the history books, and tourists go there to visit. But the Cliomancers who live near there, and who harvest the magick from the area, alter the minds of those who visit the area, so that once they’ve visited the site, they not only forget about the site but are
incapable of learning about it ever again.

Next will be the "big three" of hosed up Unknown Armies magic: the Dipsomancer, Entropomancer and Epideromancer.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

One of the interesting things about the adept schools is that the more profoundly nonfunctional the school makes you, the more overt the power. Bibliomancers and Cliomancers can, for the most part, function in society (even if they come off as weird) and their magic's mostly fairly subtle. The next three schools are actively, deeply self-destructive, and the magic poo poo they can get up to is accordingly much more strikingly nasty and obvious.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Pope Guilty posted:

One of the interesting things about the adept schools is that the more profoundly nonfunctional the school makes you, the more overt the power. Bibliomancers and Cliomancers can, for the most part, function in society (even if they come off as weird) and their magic's mostly fairly subtle. The next three schools are actively, deeply self-destructive, and the magic poo poo they can get up to is accordingly much more strikingly nasty and obvious.

Yeah, that's a big factor. Heck, with some of them their school of magick actually forces them to be more "normal", meaning they'll often have a more stable personal life than non-adept UA characters.

A bibliomancer needs a home for their library and that means paying rent, passing credit checks and making sure your enemies don't burn the place to the ground. Unless they have the sort of connections that let them make tons of cash for their magickal skills they've basically got to have a day job and a real identity. You can't be a bibliomancer out of a cardboard box, not to mention the expense of having to purchase loads and loads of books in order to gain charges. Bibliomancers can't afford to be gibbering lunatics. Now sure, they're still lunatics...most would happily skin someone alive for breaking the spine of a good book...but they've got to be *civilized* lunatics.

Dipsomancers on the other hand would be hard pressed not to live as homeless drunks wandering from bar to bar and entropomancers are basically ticking clocks. These are adepts that are, at their best, one step above "magic hobos". But that sacrifice lets them do stuff that bibliomancers can only dream of. Heck, most bibliomancers would be hard-pressed to force an Unnatural stress check on someone.

Not that "subtle" means weaker by any means. Personally I find Cliomancers probably the scariest of all the adept schools. The poo poo a well-charged cliomancer can do is downright insidious.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




This is something that I've tried to incorporate into magic in pretty much every game I've ever run, even in high fantasy. Ex nihilo nihil, which means that crazy, radical, and evil sorcerers get more raw power to work with.

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