Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Hyper Crab Tank posted:

So can an entropomancer piss on a biker's shoes with the intent of using the charge to mitigate whatever retaliation he has coming, or is that too close to the whole can't use magick to generate magick clause and would just result in a black eye and no charges?

Nope. No using magick to help survive or get out of the consequences of your charging. You've got to take any lumps you end up with.


quote:

By the way, oriongates, are you not listing the schools' blast effects? Those are some of the best parts!

They're in there. I stick them as the first formula in the spell section (I just use the "adept" name, so I call the epideromancer blast Warping, entropomancer Evil Eye, etc).

quote:

How does a Dipsomancer having access to significant charges play out in-game? I know a raging drunk is likely to break any given vessel in time, but unless I'm missing something the average Dipsomancer would treat it like a holy relic and do their best to keep it safe regardless of how little they care about anything else and also one of your players is throwing around significant charges more easily than most adepts get minor ones.

The balance here is that the dipsomancer has to consider just how valuable that vessel is.

Say you've got JFK's coffee cup. That means with that cup on you, you're able to charge up whenever you've got access to booze, getting Significant Charges just as easily as Minor Charges. But the problem is that it's not a magickal artifact...it's just a ceramic cup. You take a bad fall, you fumble and drop it, it breaks. Even worse, word gets around...as soon as someone realizes you've got a significant vessel that's a target on your back to other boozehounds.

Now, this can be mitigated by keeping the cup locked up in a safe at your house...but then you can only charge up when you have access to it. No more stumbling into a bar and slamming down 5 or more significant charges in 10 minutes. You've got to get home, get the thing out of the safe and then charge up and get it back in.

The dipsomancer's big advantage is their incredibly fast and easy charging methods, but you can't have both "safe" and "easy" when it comes to significant charges.

quote:

It's also completely binary. If they don't have a proper vessel, they're the one adept who can't break out the big mojo when needed.

This is only true when compared to the epideromancer or the entropomancer. Most adepts don't have "on demand" access to their charges. The bibliomancer needs to find and buy a 500 dollar book to get a single significant charge. The Cliomancer needs to have (and defend) access to major historical monuments. Most other adepts actually have a pretty tough time when it comes to racking up Significant (let alone Major) charges.

The dipsomancer is the king of petty magic, able to conjure up vast quantities of minor charges on demand. They're at a bigger disadvantage when it comes to grander spells.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Evil Mastermind posted:

Godwalker is a good read if you really want to see how utterly hosed up the occult underground is "in motion".

Oh, yeah. The scenes that have stuck with me the most are when the Freak reaches out and Blasts someone, and when the Entropomancers work together to build a Major charge.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Evil Mastermind posted:

The UA novel "Godwalker" has a lot of stuff about how dangerous and hosed up entropomancers and epideromancers are. There's one entropomancer who gains charges by blind-driving down the highway with her son in the car.

"Sorry, son, gotta generate more Boost in the Boost Meter".

or, in case you don't get the Burnout 3 joke, alternatively, "Saints Row Bitches!"

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

"Sorry, son, gotta generate more Boost in the Boost Meter".

or, in case you don't get the Burnout 3 joke, alternatively, "Saints Row Bitches!"

I got both! Those are my favorite drive-by-Braille games.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Witch Finders

There are three Revelations that must be passed through to understand the whole of the Knights of Saint George, a progression from the public face (Anglican religious order) to the true nature (magic-hunting heretics). There's no schedule - some Knights get through all three nearly imediately, others never get past the first. Those that are not beyond the First Revelation are still members, but Squires rather than Knights. They look after the front, running soup kitchens and hostels, keeping the finances in order and maintaining churches. They aren't expected to know about the supernatural, and if they do, they'll be getting the First Revelation or excommunication shortly. Every cell keeps a sacred space to perform the Revelations. The UK and a few urban US cells use full Knight churches, but others need to deal with things differently, begging the keys to small Anglican churches for midnight vigils or basing themselves out of a basement. The Knights keep in contact with each other even when on their own, though they often have only badly-scanned versions of important texts like the Key of Solomon, the Ars Goetia and the Gnostic Gospels - the original manuscripts rarely leave the main three Knight libraries in Seattle, New York and London.

After the First Revelation, initiates know that witches and stranger things walk this world in human form. Some receive it after showing promise in study, while others are forced into it after discovering the hidden world. Either way, that's when you become a Knight. You learn that mages draw power from outside the world, and are encouraged to study Christianity, particularly secret apocrypha. The Goetic Gospels particularly concern the power of wizards and ways to face them, by embodying your sins and facing them, you can inflict those sins on witches. While you get full access to the Knights' collection of information on wizards, you can't see everything. Some books are off-limits. You learn how to turn the power of witches back on them, but not of the dragons and the faceless angels. You get secrets to investigate, but must go carefully. The Knights will gently guide you away from mainstream Christianity, encouraging you to read ancient scriptures and focusing on Goetic discipline and devotion over contemplation of God. This is to prepare you for the Second Revelation.

The Second Revelation teaches secrets of the Knights as well as the world. Some have it thrust on them, but most show readiness by poking holes in Knightly doctrine or questioning how witches get power while forsaken by God. The Order inducts only those ready for the truth. To undergo the Second Revelation, you must reaffirm your faith in the order, spending a week in guided meditation and demonstrating your dedication to duty in the face of difficult situations. You are told, then, tha the Knights appease the old gods, destroying magic so that the faceless angels do not pay attention to this world. They learn that the Goetic Gospels have a secret truth - they shape the dreams of the faceless angels, using their power to defeat witches. They are told of the dragons, the immense beasts that bless mages with their power, and the order's history of dragonslaying. This helps break down the Knight's resistance to the heresy of the order, twisting their faith until it can accept. It's similar to cultic brainwashing, but subverts faith rather than destroying it. It seems to make sense, revealing the truth hidden beyond the First Revelation. A few Knights are too strong-willed for this to work, and usually they get cut loose without being told much. However, they're not perfect, and some Christian Knights keep their faith even in the face of the faceless angels and dragons. It's rare, and these people tend to disappear.





Many never move beyond the Second Revelation. They know the truth of the order and the enemy. They hold to their new faith and gain strength from it, removing magic from the world and dedicating it to the outer gods. That's all they need. For some, though, it isn't enough. They need to know why they fight magic. This comes at a price - the Third Revelation teaches secrets, but makes you a target for witches. Only a few members ever undergo it. The secret lacks field utility, but can be shocking, so it requires yet more guided worship and meditation to mold the mind until it can accept the truth. They are shown the Treatise of Saint George, a patchwork document outlining the secret history of the world as the knights see it, tying together the theology and beliefs into a history. Once, the world was paradise, but it could not last. Alone of all creatures in the universe, humans have a world to themselves. Angry creatures from beyond this world, the dragons, sought to take the paradise and shape it, bringing twisted magic with them. However, away from their home, they had not the power to use this knowledge. They found a source of power in humanity, giving some of them forbidden, corrupting knowledge. These people were the first witches, and they did not realize that whenever they used their magic, it made the world more suitable for the dragons. All they knew was that they had power. Under the rule of dragons, most people lived in fear of magic and its users noticing them.

At this time, 72 statues stood over the Earth, each a mile high. Each was a man, but with great wings and no face. Nobody knew what they were for until more dragons came. The statues moved, then, each faceless angel becoming an angine of war forcing the dragons out of the world. The witches remained, but lesser, without their draconic tutors. When enough magic gathers, the dragons can return. The faceless angels could stop them, but their destruction threatened to tear the world apart. The dragonslayers rose, then, killing witches and monsters and usng their power and holy places to empower the faceless angels who keep the dragons out. Since then, they have fought magic for fear that the faceless angels will again turn to watch this world - or worse, the dragons will overcome them. This is the final barrier for a Knight, and everyone who undergoes the Revelation learns it from the current Lionheart. (At the moment, a little old man masquerading as a collector of religious books in the city of York.) They are told of the need for secrecy, for only those who need to understand the truth to lead the order can know it. If it were otherwise, the servants of the dragons would long since have killed the Knights.

The Knights are very serious about their religion. They hold weekly prayer services and often work out of normal Anglican churches, to remind them that no matter how deep they get, they still represent the Sacred Order of the Knights of Saint George and are Christians. No matter what they do, they must appear to be virtuous Christians in public, or else they can't exist. Those who have passed the Second Revelation also attend secret services, often at the same churches on different nights. There, they make their peace with the faceless angels and dedicate themselves to the mission. They also trade information and stories at these times, and they study the Goetic Gospels.

The Order's main strength is in England, where their main library is, and around the secondary libraries in upstate New York and downtown Seattle. They can find safehouses anywhere there are Anglicans, but magical knowledge is much rarer outside of Europe or large urban areas in the US. Cells in most of the US often feel cut off, communicating via coded messages in newsletters and mailing lists. They can't get messages home with any real speed, so they often join into multi-cell 'chapters' to support each other in ways the Knight Commanders can't. In Europe, it's different. Ease of travel within the EU and the lesser focus on religion makes it easier for them to communicate. It can be harder to maintain their face as philanthropic Christians, however - some countries welcome them, but others, especially those with strong divide between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox, they must be very careful. Places that used to be British territories still have safehouses for the Knights, and often they outlasted British rule via the Anglicans. Africa and India have strange magicians who work magic alien to Western mages, and the Knights have a headstart on them thanks to their Church affiliations.

Not that they only hunt witches - they hunt any magic, anywhere. They often use simple denial tactics, but in larger areas of power they'll set up surveillence and traps, since it's not that easy to deny access to both a sacred grove and haunted house at once. They know how to rededicate these places to the faceless angels, removing their magical power from reality. Some things slip the cracks, though - magic items, items of power. The flaming sword of the angel guarding Eden shows up at auction. A kid uses the pistol that killed Lincoln in a school shooting, and it never needs to be reloaded and is always fatal. An antique typewriter writes a single chapter of a murder mystery every night - a murder that hasn't happened yet, but always ends before the culprit is named. An early television has no aerial, showing only strange designs in blood and strange visions of Hell, from which strange demons sometimes watch back.

Sometimes you find weird places - a house larger inside than out, a manor that has spells woven into its interior design, a penthouse with no right angles that binds a strange creature inside. In thesep laces, the walls of the world are thin, and in other places. Strange things occur there, where magic s loose. Strangeness comes from magic, all over. It's a weird world, and they try to stop it. They know quite a bit - they have to, to properly identify and fight magic. They have many books on witches, often contradictory ones. Some say witches need long ritual, which is clearly not always true, but sometimes is. Some say that magic is just show and pageantry around psychic events - also sometimes true, but not often. The Knights are aware of all of this. They know that witches often gather in covens, much like hunter cells, to broaden their abilities and keep safe. This variety of power makes them very dangerous, and it's best to split the group up and deal with them singly. That way, you limit their power and keep them confused. The coven is weakened and the worst magic is prevented.

The Knights are aware of larger organizations of witches. They know that at least one group pursues strange artifacts and investigates weird places as 'mystery archaeologists.' Sometimes, you can infiltrate these groups, letting them do your work and then destroying them in secret. Others belong to a more militant group that infiltrates mundane conspiracies to distract them from real secrets, and these wizards are often very dangerous in combat. They are sure other groups exist, but lack evidence. They have identified three kinds of mages - Animists, Necromancers and Theists, who share magical styles and abilities granted by the dragons. Animists make deals with spirits, can invite possession and can alter their own bodies and the bodies of others, or curse people. Necromancers commune with the dead, command ghosts and may control physical matter, strengthening it with soulstuff or weakning it. Theists use the power of angels and demons, gaining power over natural forces, the minds of men and control over space itself. The Third Revelation knows that the differences between witches are just figments of their imaginations, but the rest of the order believes the dragons link different witches to different aspects of the otherworlds.


Mage to Hunter comparison.

As for what to do with witches, well, it's easy. If magic exists, the faceless angels will pay attention to the world. Thus, magic must be stopped. If you could somehow take magic from the mage but leave them alive, that'd be great. Sometimes brain damage works, but not always, and often it's just easier to kill them. Inevitably, the lure of magic will call to them while they live, after all. Watching a coven takes time you don't have,but you still need to do your homework. The Knights reduce some of that - they understand witches and how to fight them. Spells generally take a few seconds of concentration, and you have to go in hard and fast. Use the Gospels, surprise, explosives, even human shields. Do what must be done.

More monsters are out there, and the knights know about them. They also know that every threat lkeads back to a witch, even if not obviously. Supernatural beasts are magical, and that means they must be fought. They often hit the books to study these creatures, which they know less about. They know vampires don't care about crosses and garlic, but don't really know what does work, most of the time. They've found that vampires often collect mystical lore or objects, or assist necromancers. They know vampires are the alchemical creations of magical demiurges, turning human blood into magical life via a vampiric crucible. Once they find the link to the magical world, they s trike. Sunlight, they know, works decently well, but also know that vampires take home security seriously. They know silver bullets work on werewolves, and that werewolves guard mystic sites, which is often worth letting them do because it limits the amount of magic in the world. Sure, they're cursed to be wolves, but they aren't agents of the dragons, so a few knights will even make alliance with werewolf packs to fight witches. It doesn't always work - they don't always like to talk, and don't always see witches as threats - but it's worked often enough that most knights will try it. Of course, others know that some shape-changers are witches using magic, and don't trust werewolves at all because they do have magical power.

The Knights know that some necromancers will sew the dead together to make golems, which leak magic that makes people notice and hate them. It's easy to get people to fight them, but it's hard to keep the mob sane or keep secret truths away from them. Being publically Christian means they care about demons, and particularly so after the Second Reveliation, for they believe demons are related to the dragons. They have a wide range of information on demons, almost as much as on witches, but they know there's few shared traits. Banishing rituals sometimes work, but you have to know which to use each time. Observe and gather information first. Always observe before doing things.

As for humans with no connection to magic? The Knights have no remit to hunt them, but often find that the human targets of other hunts have some link to magic or witches. The rest are just sick, terrible people that abuse others, and the Knights often help take them out for moral reasons. The knights' experience dealing with mindbending magics means they tend to be fairly stable when confronted by serial killers and slashers, and most Knights know that slashers are avatars of sacrificial magic, existing to end lives. Their kills increase magic in the world, so they must be stopped as normal. What most will never know is that slashers have nothing to do with magic - their beliefs are the result of propaganda and misinformation by the Third Revelation to convince them that every possible threat ties back to magic. They know they're spreading a lie, but it's for the best of motives - if people knew about the nonmagical monsters, they'd look to witches as saviors. All supernatural power must be destroyed, even if that means lying to their own. Evern mad, powerless cults can be used by witches as pawns. Sometimes a Knight will go slasher, becoming maddened by their experiences and killing innocents to use new, untested Goetic Gospels that may or may not even exist. They may strike at their fellows for being in bed with blasphemous powers, especially if they crack during their initiation into the Second Revelation. These can be exceptionally dangerous and must be hunted as if they were witches.

The Knights divide themselves both by doctrine and method. There are three main arms, but many smaller specialized groups. The Congregation of Vasago are the support network. They oversee the Squires, buy the safehouses and supply equipment. Some are Anglican ministers or members of Anglican parishes. They also maintain the order archives and reports, acting as messengers and traveling teachers for the Revelations for isolated cells, often with the help of other hunters for protection. The Congregation of Foras hunt magic rather than witches - mostly crypids, hauntings, relics and inhuman creatures. Some have infiltrated witch groups with similar interests, using them to track down strangeness, hanging back and using them as stalking horses...sometimes even when they should act. They tend to be rather progressive in their faith, and while they'd never speak their heretical ideas about the angels in public, most understand they see things differently than other Knights. They do understand that their gods and magic are very dangerous, though. Most knights are part of the Congregation of Malthus - witchfinders. They hunt in the field, take out wizards and work out who the enemy is. They do the raids, they make the kills, they work on limited information often for lack of time. They are proactive, tracking serial killers, cults and other things in the hope of discovering covens. They often work with other hunters, and are usually paranoid about the order's security, ensuring that the secrets of the Revelations do not leave the order's hands.

Stereotypes posted:

The Long Night: I worked with a young man for a short time who showed a certain fanatical devotion to his cause. I saw fear in his eyes, and heard it in his voice, even after we'd chloroformed our target. Only later did I realize what scared him: that his God would find him wanting even after all he had done. He fought like the Devil, though. I don't know if the Revelations would come as a great comfort to him, or make me his next target.
The Loyalists of Thule: I was investigating the gardens of a villa outside Turin when they appeared. There I was, trying to find a way to bleed off the magic without attracting attention, and a cell appeared, offering their services. All I had to do was make sure that they got "their cut" of information. They made one mistake: they didn't tell me anything about them. I've encountered too many witches who hunt for the same secrets as I do to trust anyone appearing on my site.
The Lucifuge: Children of the Devil? Hardly. Most likely they're a bunch of mutations, quirks in the world caused by magic bleeding in from the background. That'd make them a problem if they went the same way as most witches, but in their madness they're out to stop the strange and the weird from taking over the world. They're useful allies, but if they learned the truth I fear they'd tie their devil in to our angels.
Task Force: VALKYRIE: We have to be careful when rededicating mystical energy. It's all too easy for the big guns to notice, and when they notice, they send their Men in Black. We have a hell of a time convincing them that we're on the same side. If you do convince them, they're a big help. If there's no chance you can get useful information out of a bunch of witches, drop these guys on them then grab whatever's left and count yourself lucky.

Status in the Knights is a mix of initiation into the Revelations and capturing mystic knowledge. Many of the upper echelon have been doing this a long time, so it takes a lot of achievement to get respect, and it's also hard for a Knight with only the First Revelation to grasp the direction and decisions that must be made. At one dot, you've undergone the First Revelation and know that magic is real. You have been shown how to use the Goetic Gospels to deny wizards their power, but don't know the truth of the order or understand why its goals seem un-Christian at times. You can buy Goetic Gospel merits. At three dots, you've taken the Second Revelation and cannot turn back. You have destroyed magical relics and tried to rehab witches. You've got access to the libraries and spent time there, gaining 9-again on Occult rolls related to witches and magic. At five dots, you know the secret truths of the Third Revleation. You know you are fighting for all of history, past, present and future, and get a three-dot Retainer to help you.

Next time: Mechanics.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Legacy Part 3: Characters

Well. This is easily going to be the longest update, because it contains all the characters’ stuff.

Legacy wants you to start character creation by writing an “Abstract.” The aspects of your character are divided into topics like Concept, History, Honour, and psychobabble like Focus (introvert vs. extrovert) and Vision (left-brain vs. right-brain thinking). They make it out to be more work than it really is, but remember, more topic headings means more chances to quote song lyrics. That’s a big priority for this game. The three sample Abstracts don’t actually follow this rigid categorization.

Character traits are standard fare: Statistics, Abilities, and Accents (an Advantages/Disadvantages system). Many characters will have Psychic Powers, which are bundled into the Accents rules. It’s simpler than most White Wolf games and their derivatives. Task resolution is a simple Attribute+Skill, roll-under method.

Legacy has 2 methods of character creation. The “Quick-Start” method gives you preassigned ratings in the Stats of your choice (5, 3, and the rest at 2) as well as four Abilities rated 3, two Abilities rated 2, and five Abilities rated 1. The “Customized” method gives you 160 Karma (experience) points to create your character. Giving XP for character creation is an innovation they figured out long before White Wolf.

There are also rules for playing Elder Immortals, which are simple: they get more Karma and are allowed to buy their traits as high as they want. Legacy doesn’t really do narrative mechanics, so there’s no balancing older Immortals against younger ones by giving them a high Ennui score or whatever. You’re not discouraged from playing an old Immortal, but the default assumption is that everyone gets the same amount of points. If your GM isn’t using the Elder rules, Legacy assumes a very old Immortal has been living a very quiet life, perhaps even entombed or imprisoned. Maybe you were buried in an avalanche for centuries before starting your career as the Unfrozen Swordsman Lawyer.


I wanna be decapitated.

Statistics

There are five basic stats in Legacy. Each one governs a set of skills under normal circumstances. (The GM can decide that a situation calls for you to test Strength+Medicine, etc.)

Agility is the heavyweight. Attack and dodge rolls always use Agility, it determines combat initiative, and its skill portfolio includes all the stealth and combat skills, which is kinda important in a game about people stalking and killing each other to get more power. Yeah, Legacy bites that “Dex as God-stat” problem pretty hard.

Intellect governs pretty much any kind of expertise that isn’t physical, social, or magic.

Presence is a broad social attribute that measures beauty, charisma, and willpower.

Psyche is only used for psychic powers, which many Immortals and some mortals possess.

Strength gets short shrift: It doesn’t govern any skills at all! Legacy avoids one mistake from many other games by having a single attribute that governs both power and toughness. Strength adds to melee damage and reduces damage from attacks. Besides that, it factors into trivial bullshit like thrown weapon ranges, movement rates, and how much you can bench, bro. Am I the only GM who never, ever measures such things precisely? I’ve prompted rolls to see who can outlift or outrun the competition, sure, but consulting a chart to see exactly how many feet you can throw a knife is right out. Legacy avoids a common mistake by combining its STR and CON stats into one, but Agility is still the stat that governs hitting and not being hit.

Psychic Reserve works differently from the other statistics. It’s your mana pool for psychic powers, and equals Psyche*10.



First I take your fedora, then I take your Quickening Rapture!

Abilities

Like the Storyteller system, Legacy refers to its skills as Abilities. In fact, if you hold a Legacy character sheet up to a Vampire one, you’ll see that the skills are mostly the same. Designing the skill system for a modern RPG isn’t as easy as you might think. For example, FFG’s Star Wars line has a great skill system, in my experience. Skills are linked to attributes in a way that makes each attribute useful, and most importantly, every skill is something you could very well use in a Star Wars adventure, as showcased in the published modules. But when designing skills for a game set in the modern day or the near-ish future, the urge toward completism and realism rears its ugly head. Science encompasses many fields of study, doesn’t it? And of course most people who drive cars can’t fly planes.

Dealing with this urge toward realism through an exhaustive skill list is bad design. It results in players making useless PCs by spending their resources on useless skills that the GM will never test in the course of the campaign. It’s not just an issue of the player’s entitlement, but that of the whole group, including the GM. The group is entitled to be on the same page, so to speak, and to a game that doesn’t actively confuse the players about the spirit of the game.

You might be surprised at how much a game’s skill system contributes to establishing the right mindset regarding how its adventures are supposed to work, or to confusing it utterly. Legacy gets this right in some cases and very wrong in others.



There are no lightsabers in this game. I think.

Agility Abilities

Athletics: All kinds of athletic activity, but it explicitly has no combat use.

Dodge: This is rarely rolled, and works by adding a penalty for your opponent to hit you as long as you’re aware. It can be rolled to dodge hazards like falling debris.

Drive Aircraft, Drive Landcraft, Drive Watercraft, Equestrian: Although Legacy doesn’t have detailed vehicle rules, someone’s idea of “realism” demanded that they have separate skills for piloting planes, cars, boats, and horses, respectively. Or a lawnmower, I suppose, or a camel. Can you kill an Immortal with a lawnmower? How about a combine? I can’t remember the last time a game shocked me by having an almost-certainly-useless boating skill. Savage Worlds does, I think, but then Savage Worlds is like 25% pirates and 5% Cthulhu, who is vulnerable to boats. Wait! It was Shadowrun. Shadowrun has cyber-boating.

Firearms: Every kind of man-portable shooting weapons, from bows to machineguns.

Fisticuffs: I can’t believe they call it that, but it covers all unarmed combat.

Mechanics: Any kind of mechanical repair.

Melee Weapons: Holy poo poo, I could write an essay on the stupidity of this design decision. Using a system with a “Melee Weapons” skill in a game all about magical fencers is the reason that every single homebrew Highlander game out there falls flat on its face. It’s terrible design to write a game that revolves around one task, and then have that task just boil down to another Stat+Skill roll, purchased at character creation like any other stat. (Didn't Legend of the Five Rings have a subsystem for dueling?) Every PC will want the biggest Agility+Melee score possible, but Legacy is an artifact from the era of game design when designers knew their rules were a hack job and instructed GMs to guilt players into spending their hard-earned experience points on Drive Watercraft. gently caress you, 90s designers.

Sleight of Hand: For picking pockets, shoplifting, secretly passing objects, and magic tricks. A must for any pickup artist.

Stealth

Weaponsmith: Used to build, repair, and modify weapons. It only discusses guns.



I think I’ve got this cyberpunk thing pretty much figured out.

Intellect Abilities

Computer: Covers all computer-related tasks, including hacking. It figures that a game that makes a pretense of being cyberpunk has four piloting skills but only one for IT. Here’s the fun part: Because Immortals can’t have cyberware, you’re automatically at a penalty when going up against a real, jacked-in hacker.

Disguise: This includes not only disguising yourself and others, but also disguising objects (like hiding a sword in an umbrella) and camouflaging large objects like vehicles.

Finance: Yet another skill included for the sake of somebody’s idea of realism. You can use it to analyze a financial transaction, and...the authors couldn’t think of any more suggestions.

Heavy Weapons: Despite the lack of detailed vehicle rules, there’s a skill for using mounted guns. If you’re GMing this game and one player doesn’t max out his Agility+Melee rating, he’s probably planning to kill his enemies with a fighter jet.

Linguist: As in Storyteller, each point gives you another language. Pretty important for world-traveling immortals.

Medicine

Perception: A very important skill because it opposes Disguise, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand.

Science: In spite of bad decisions like multiple piloting skills, they wisely chose to roll up all sciences into one skill. Similar to Linguist, each point grants expertise in one branch of science.

Security

Survival

Tactics: This skill is “the ability to predict an opponent’s action and respond effectively and efficiently.” It doesn’t specify warfare, which is good, since I don’t think there are rules for that. Judged loosely enough, it could be a catch-all skill for outthinking an opponent in a cat-and-mouse game, which happened in Highlander all the time.

Technical Operations: Basically a catch-all skill for any kind of machinery that another skill doesn’t cover. It reminds me of Dune’s Equipment skill.

Tracking: This only covers physically following someone’s trail, not finding a guy who decapitated a dude before skipping town.



Mayhap whilst milady?

Presence Abilities

Acting: Rather than stage acting, this skill is for impersonating someone (or just passing yourself off as someone else in general). There’s no advice for how it complements Disguise.

Animal Training: This seems like a useless skill ported from Vampire, but wait! The Immortal code doesn’t specifically forbid siccing trained wombats on your opponent.

Bureaucracy: This should actually be an important skill. You see, like many thriller series from the 90s, Highlander was full of Duncan MacLeod doing detective work by conning people into giving out information. But Legacy gives Bureaucracy a scant description to the effect that it’s for “cutting through red tape” and dealing with stuff like the DMV, with no elaboration on why that should even come up in a game.

Etiquette, Negotiation, Persuasion, Seduction: You use these Abilities to fit in and convince people of things. Granted, there are explanations for how they differ slightly, but ultimately having all of these skills just punishes someone for wanting to make a social character. The Abilities for combat aren’t subdivided as much as the ones for talking to people.

Politics: We are told flat-out that this skill is a mixture of Negotiation, Persuasion, and Seduction, but for large groups of people. Failure “could result in the politician’s corrupt lifestyle being exposed.” Uh, so you use this skill to talk a crowd of people into loving you? And if you fail, they remember that you made the news for convincing a crowd of people in Sheboygan to gently caress you last week?

Interrogation: This skill more or less assumes you have someone captive, and can include torture. So when you have someone at your mercy, you now need a different skill to persaude them.

Leadership: The only examples for what to do with a Leadership skill are giving nigh-suicidal orders or to “rally” troops on the losing side of a battle. This feels like half a description for a Leadership skill from a game that is actually about leading armies and such.

Resistance: Used to resist interrogation and torture.

Streetwise: This is really a catch-all investigative skill if you’re tracking down shady people or in an urban environment.

Teaching: By itself, it has little or no use. Unlike in some games, it doesn’t explicitly reduce your student’s XP costs. Instead, it can be used to “impart a new idea” to people or to roleplay out the act of spending XP. Yes, roleplaying by rolling dice. This is “I know my character is a Blacksmith because Smithing 7 is written on the character sheet” logic.



Max Headroom looks constipated.

Psychic Abilities

Psychic powers are a part of the Legacy setting even though they are never ever mentioned in the opening chapter alongside AIs, virtual reality, and hackers. There are psychic mortals, but apparently they don't make any difference to the world. In order to use Psychic Abilities at all, you need the “Psychic” Accent. From a design point of view, I’m not a fan of having a basic Statistic that only some characters actually use. (Technically, there is one power that all Immortals can use, even without the right Accent.) The only good thing about psychic powers, really, is that they add some colour to Legacy’s mythology beyond “ripoff of Highlander.”

Using Psychic powers usually costs Psychic Reserve points. Whenever there’s a penalty to a Psychic task because it’s especially difficult, you pay the penalty in Reserve points.

Foreboding: Let’s get this one out of the way first, because all Immortals can use it even without the Psychic Accent, and it costs nothing to use. Foreboding allows you to detect other Immortals in your vicinity. This power comes straight from Highlander; it was never given a name, but the TV writers called it “the Buzz.” In Highlander, Immortals involuntarily sense when there’s another Immortal nearby, that’s all. In Legacy, Foreboding can detect the approximate location of nearby Immortals, as well as how powerful they are (based on total Karma). More powerful Immortals are easier to detect.

Auspice: This is never rolled and does nothing by itself. It makes you regenerate Psychic Reserve points more quickly.

Clairvoyance: This is a form of ESP that lets you specifically seek out and see people or things from a distance, and even see scenes from the recent past. I find this power very interesting, but also much too broad. The modifier can vary wildly based on who or what you’re trying to find, your familiarity with it, and how far you’re reaching through distance and time. I’m not sure how I feel about it--a broad divination power like this can easily bypass the need for real investigation that drives the game.

Domination: The mind control ability. You can use it to issue commands, “implant” commands to be carried out later, and to alter memories, although you can’t read minds with it. However, blatantly suicidal commands incur a -5 or worse modifier, so you almost certainly can’t use this to force another Immortal to stand still while you lop off their head.

Farfetching: The meaning of farfetching is cryptic, but essentially it allows you to read a social situation. It functions as a straight-up lie detector, but also reads someone’s motivations and basic impulses. Like Clairvoyance, Farfetching could allow a PC to just short-circuit any attempt by the GM to put the PCs in a situation that is not as it seems. It could also be useless beyond granting a Deanna Troi style “this seems wrong” hunch.

Illusion: Potentially one of the most broad and useful powers, Illusion makes things and people seem different than what they are. Weird cosmetic changes, like making someone think that a passing stranger is wearing medieval clothing, is very easy to do. Disguising yourself (or someone else) as a target’s friend is harder. Illusion only affects one person at a time, and trying to do something like placing a target in a totally illusory landscape is so difficult as to be not worth trying. You can actually inflict damage with illusions, and a target that takes lethal damage from an illusion drops into a coma (they can roll once per day to recover). Like most Psychic powers that can be used offensively, Illusion is potentially very potent but the penalties to directly attacking people are huge.

By the by, I assumed at first that this power was ripped off from Highlander 3: The Final Dimension, which introduced magical illusion powers to the franchise. That movie was actually released a couple years after this game was published.

Mask: Definitely one of the most potent powers, Mask makes you invisible, or causes others to perceive you as someone else. Cloaking objects and other people is harder than cloaking yourself, and doing anything violent or offensive gives anyone affected a Perception roll to see through your Mask. (For example, slapping someone or screaming at them gives them a Perception roll, firing a gun or blowing a horn risks dropping your Mask to anyone within earshot.) Clairvoyance acts like “armor” against Mask.


Trenchcoat vs. White Sneakers. Whoever wins, we lose.

Overload: This is the straightforward “psychic blast” power, which attacks someone’s nervous system with a flood of sensation. The modifier is equal to the damage you’re trying to do, and inflicting Severe injury (rather than stunning “Casual” damage) is a further -5 modifier. Altogether it’s really hard to really hurt someone with this power.

Psychokinesis: This is what it says. The modifier is based on the effective Strength you want to exercise, and attacking someone with telekinesis, whether you attack their body or use a hurled object like Darth Vader, still requires a combat skill roll. You can use this power to fly, although not for very long since you’ll be spending points again every few seconds. You can’t use this power to do something like squeeze someone’s heart.

Psychic Shield: This power isn’t rolled; it gives you armor against offensive psychic attacks. As if it weren’t already hard enough to actually use them.

Pyrokinesis: This power sets poo poo on fire! Nonliving objects have no defense against it, but unless the material is flammable, all you’ll inflict is scorch marks. Pyrokinesis only affects an area up to about the size of your hand. When used on people, it works much like Overload, with all the same penalties to actually inflicting significant harm.

Telepathy: Two psychics who both know Telepathy can use it to converse freely over short distances. But its main use is reading minds. The target’s Psyche is the modifier, but once you make the roll, you have free rein to delve into their thoughts, emotions, and memories for 10 minutes until you have to roll again. You can also use it to “read” inanimate objects to find out who owns them, or see traumatic events in their history.

Trance: Like a fakir of legend, you enter a trance wherein you heal damage and recover Reserve points much faster than normal.

On the whole, I run hot and cold on the psychic powers. Don’t get me wrong, I would mock this game mercilessly if Pyrokinesis was so easy and so potent that there was no reason for Immortals to sword-fight. But the divination powers tend to be too broad, while the combat powers seem way too hard to use effectively. We’ll crunch the numbers on them with the combat rules.


No! Not dad jeans!

Accents

Accents and Negative Accents are just like the Merits/Flaws, Advantages/Disadvantages, etc. systems from other games. Starting characters get 30 points to spend on Accents, and can take up to 10 points of Negative Accents to get more points.

Ambidextrous (10): Eliminates the -1 penalty for using your off-hand.

Calculator Mind (20): You can perform complex math instantaneously, and instinctively understand and remember higher math and complex formulae. There is absolutely no mechanical effect whatsoever.

Combat Awareness (30): Basically, this gives you blind fighting. You can attack and defend at no penalty even if you suddenly become Helen Keller, as long as your enemy is within hand-to-hand range.

Eidetic Memory (30): You have a photographic memory. For each point of Intellect you can memorize “three novels, one volume of an encyclopedia, three hours of conversation, or the blueprints to one high-rise office building.” Jesus.

Extreme Patience (10): You can wait motionless for hours or even days, shrugging off the stress of hunger, thirst, and making GBS threads all over yourself. Again, no mechanical effect.

Iron Will (20): Anyone attacking you with Domination or Telepathy takes a -2 penalty. This just highlights how weird and scattershot it is to defend yourself against psychic attacks. Clairvoyance negates Mask, Psychic Shield negates Overload and Pyrokinesis, this Accent negates Domination and Telepathy...or you could just raise your Psyche.

Light Sleeper (10): You get a Perception check to wake up and perceive “any external stimulus.”

Money (variable): Accent points can be traded for 500cr (credits) a pop, which means nothing until we see the equipment list. As a rule, Legacy assumes that PCs are like many Highlander characters, having hoarded enough stocks, bonds, priceless antiques, and Nazi gold to live an affluent lifestyle without really having to work a day job.

Night Vision (20): You don’t take penalties for acting in the dark, unless there’s no light at all.

Perfect Timing (30): You have a perfect sense of time. You can keep multiple “internal clocks” going, one per point of Intellect, if you’re planning a complicated heist or some such thing.


Fedorapier.

Psychic (40) You can buy and use Psychic skills.

Latent Psychic (20): You are weakly psychic, and can only attempt feats with no negative modifier. So, for example, you could never do anything with Pyrokinesis but make someone hot under the collar.

Sensitive: You can perceive Psychic powers, but not use them.

Quick Draw (20): You can draw a weapon without spending an action, and you get +1 to initiative tests.

Total Concentration (10): You never take penalties for distracting circumstances.

Mental Impairment (-10): You have “one or two slight mental aberrations.” These include things like a phobia, kleptomania, an addiction, or being mildly bipolar. Uh-huh.

Physical Impairment (-10): Immortals very rarely have physical handicaps. Examples include asthma, deafness, diabetes, or a prosthetic limb. There are no mechanics for it.

Social Impairment (-10): This means you’re part of a group that’s discriminated against. Examples include...oh boy, you’re going to love this...being an outspoken member of an unpopular political group (like a card-carrying Communist), an ethnic minority, a pro- or anti-abortion or other “fringe” activist group, or a “flaming” homosexual. Oh, boy.

Next time, on Legacy: True to form, I will create a character this game. I am Immortal, I have inside me Perfect Timing and Social Impairments.



Ma’am, you can come out now. It’s safe. No ma’am, the guy in the fedora is gone. Yes, the white jeans are gone too. Yes, ma’am. And the Keds.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



An Echo Resounding

You are our hero


Dem thighs tho

A short one this time! PCs also get a lot of toys to play with here. Specifically, they get access to the Champion class. This class gives a myriad benefits to a hero that rules or serves a Domain. Advance in this class is parallel to regular advancement, you're not "multiclassing" by leveling as a Champion. The first level requires 25,000 XP, which puts first-level Champions at around 7th level for their regular class, give or take (remember that in old timey D&D classes had different XP leveling requisites) The Champion class does not modify HD, attack bonuses or any other stat, but it gives PCs a number of Abilities that interface with the domain rules. Some of them modify Domain stats, some can be used on the battlefield (and only on the battlefield), and some actually give the Domain a number of assets. If a PC loses levels due to energy drain or other effect, they can lose Champion abilities if they delevel enough, but assets gained by means of abilities are not disbanded unless the Domain cannot maintain them. Furthermore, a Domain can only benefit from a given ability once, unless they provide assets in which case the Domain only needs enough room to have them all. NPCs normally don't have Champion levels.

When a character gains their first Champion level, they get one ability based on their class, plus one selected by the player. If you're playing with those newfangled rules where race and class are different things, you can pick either the ability you get from your race or the ability you get from your class for your fixed ability. It's up to the GM what fixed abilities a new class would get.

  • Clerics get Faithful Disciples, which gives their Domain a Shrine in a suitable location
  • Dwarves get Dwarf Friend, which gives their Domain the Dwarf Friend domain custom.
  • Elves get Burning Creed, which gives their Domain the Burning Creed domain custom.
  • Halflings get Halfling Affinity, which gives their Domain the Halfling Affinity domain custom.
  • Fighters get Martial Glory, which gives their Domain +4 to Military.
  • Magic Users get Studious Apprentices, which gives their Domain three War Mage support units with no upkeep.
  • Scions get Burning Creed, same as Elves.
  • Thieves get Sticky Fingers, which gives their Domain +4 to Wealth.
  • Vowed get Warrior Monks, which gives their Domain two units of Warrior Monks with no upkeep.

While many abilities have prerequisites (for instance, only magic users get to benefit from Furious Sorcery, which gives battlefield-cast spells +1 damage per die and -1 to saves), many can be taken by most classes. Nothing says your Fighter can't be an Administrator (+2 to Wealth and Social for a Town or City directly under the PC's rule), or that your Cleric can't achieve Military Acumen (once a domain turn, automatically reduce a Military obstacle in 1, requires Fighter or Vigilant Watchman, which gives the Champion the Guardsman+3 quality) or that your Thief can't be Inspiring (Champion gets the Prophet+3 quality) to their people. Your Magic User could learn Arrow Deflection (PC and attached unit take half damage from missile attacks, doesn't work at individual scale combat though) and your Scion can be just Lucky (+4 to value checks or domain saves you make). Dwarves, maintaining the Red Tide tradition of :black101:, can become Godhammers (attached unit automatically hit extraplanar units in melee and deal maximum damage), while Halflings can be the Last Ditch Defender, (attached unit gains the Diehard quality; if it is reduced to zero HP by melee combat, they automatically hit the enemy that did them in)

The most interesting ability, however, is Hero. It has the heftiest requirements, needing a Champion level of 7 (at 650,000 XP, that's about 14th level), but what it does is turning the PC into a Hero in the battlefield, with their full stat spread and abilities. Which means that if a 14th level fighter charges a unit of Light Infantry with 1 HD and deals 9 damage in one blow, maybe they didn't disembowel a hundred soldiers personally, but they made enough of a gory impression that the unit disintegrates. But they're still one single individual and the weight of numbers matter - as we saw before, a Hero takes maximum damage from a military unit on a successful hit, and just regular damage on a miss. The game points out that considering the survival odds of a character against 8 orc units would be the same as considering the character's odds against 8 orcs that can always hit them but can attack one at the time. Since ranged units don't have this disadvantage, it follows that the best way to deal with Heroes is to reenact the end scene of the eponymous Jet Li movie. Even then, though, a level 8 Champion with the Hero ability can become an Invincible Hero and cut damage from military units in half. :v: GMs may forbid taking the Hero ability if they don't want it in their game but come on, missing out a thief backstabbing a whole company of knights or a magic-user bashing the heads of a goblin horde with a quarterstaff? Some people.

Next: the Westmark!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Traveller posted:

An Echo Resounding

That's some neat stuff right there. No weird ruler/general prestige classes that take away from your main adventuring skills, and detached enough to use pretty much anywhere.

And is this another Crawford OSR fantasy book with Dynasty Warriors support? He's spoiling us too much.

Stars Without Number

"Alien space monster" is sadly not an Asset.

Speeding things up a bit, onward with the faction rules.

Chapter Eight: Factions

Factions represent important players of a sector, be it a cult, a merchant guild, an evil empire or a world's government trying to fend off said empire.
The GM should by no means make turn every such organization into a faction. It's better to start with those he thinks will be the most important, and turn other organizations into factions if the players become more interested in them.

Factions and the rules surrounding them serve two purposes: They are an option for the PCs to delve into (by joining on faction or founding their own), and they serve as a sort of random event/news generator for the GM, allowing him to play out sector-wide conflicts without having to script everything beforehand.

Factions have 6 statistics. Like characters and creatures, they have Hit points, representing the faction's integrity and cohesion. This gets reduced by things like internal power struggles, or a group of murder hobos storming their HQ and killing the crap out of everyone.

A faction's overall power and flavor is measured with 3 sorta attributes or ratings, which all range from 1 to 8. Force measures the factions raw military strength, Cunning deals with espionage, sabotage and other shady dealings, while Wealth is good old-fashioned industrial and capitalistic stuff. A factions actual wealth (and the logistics to use it) is given in FacCreds.

Also like characters and creatures, factions have experience points, which are used to level up the Force, Cunning and Wealth ratings. Faction XP are gained by fullfilling a goal, of which any faction can only have one at a time. Examples include "Military Conquest" (aka blow poo poo up) and "Expand Influence" (to a new world).
The XP cost table is also important for figuring out a faction's HP, as these are equal to 4 + the XP cost of the current rating in Force, Cunning and Wealth.

Each faction also has a homeworld. A faction can always do and build stuff on its homeworld, but it can also always be attacked there.

Lastly, a faction can have one or more Tags, which are tied to the faction's nature and add special effects to the faction. This includes stuff like Imperialists (with a bonus for trying to take over a planet) or Planetary Government (other factions require your permission to say build an army on your turf).

Assets

Assets are generall stuff a faction can get, be it a building, connection or units. They cost FacCreds to acquire/build/train, and some have a maintenance cost. Failing to pay the maintenance cost makes the asset useless for that turn. Failing to pay two turns in a turn results in the loss of the asset. A mercenary unit might just get fed up and leave, while a franchise might just get closed down.

Like factions, assets also have HP, which can be lost either through murder hobo intervention or from other assets. A lot of them have the ability to attack other assets on the same world. If say you want to get rid of an enemy's Monopoly asset, you could blow it to smithereens with a Strike Feet (Force), troll the managers with some Blackmail (Cunning), or send in the Lawyers (Wealth)
Such an asset attack is handled as a contested 1d10 roll, plus the rating noted under the attacking asset (the rating used by attacke and defender can vary, but they're usually the same). A succesful attack deals the damage listed under the attacking asset, while a succesful defense has the attacker take damage equal to the defending asset's counterattack damage (if it has any). A tie damages both assets (if the defender has counterattack).

(And of course, some assets are obviously limited in what they can attack or defend against. Those lawyers ain't gonna impress a bunch of gravtanks.)

Asset availability is closely related to the 3 ratings, as the assets are split int 3 tech trees of sorts, were fancier assets only become available if the corresponding rank is high enough. A rating also limits the maximum number of corresponding assets a faction can have, so a big army is only possible with a high Force rating.

The most important asset is probably the Base of Influence, which is required to build other assets on a world. It differs from most assets in that its HP depends on how much you're willing to pay (up to your faction's HP). The downside is that any damage suffered by the Base goes directly to your faction's HP, so you have to carefully decide whether a base is literally the foundation of your whole organization, or just a weak, insignificant investment.

Like equipment, assets have a Tech Level. Assets can't be build/trained/etc. in a world with an insufficient TL, but they can always be transferred to one with say a transport ship asset (or by its own power if the asset itself is a ship or fleet).

Force assets are pretty straightforward, with various types of soldiers, fleets, defensive systems and the logistics that keeps everything running. The assets range from puny Security Personel at Force 1, your first Strike Fleet at Force 4 up to a Capital Fleet at Force 8 with enough firepower to one shot most other assets.

Cunning assets are all about information gathering and disruption enemy employees through seduction or blackmail. Things start of simple with Smugglers and Informers, moving on to Cyberninjas :ninja:, the Party Machine (the political kind of party, not the fun one), and the Stealth asset that makes one of your assets undetectable by other factions (unless it attacks and defends), and ending with the pretech-class Panopticon Matrix at Cunning 8 (a high-tech surveillance system that can be used to detect stealthed units and adds another 1d10 to your Cunning attack and defense rolls on that planet, making your local cyberninja defense force pretty badass. ).

Wealth assets are all about utility and gently caressing with other factions. You start with fun stuff like a Franchise (which steals 1 FacCred from an enemy faction on a successful attack), can eventually build Laboratories (allows you to build TL4 assets on that world, albeit a bit more expensive) and Mercenaries (which attack with Wealth instead of Force), all leading up to Hostile Takeover (which steals assets when it would reduce their HP to 0) and the Scavenger Fleet (which can move pretty fast between worlds).

The Faction Turn

A faction turn generally happens once per month, or once after every adventure. Faction initiative doesn't exist, the GM instead rolls the order each time.

Each faction starts its turn by gaining income equal to Wealth/2 (round up) plus (Force + Cunning)/4 (round down). When abandoning a goal, the ensuing confusion will cost the faction that income, as well as its action that turn.

Speaking of actions, a faction generally only has one, though that one action can be performed on multiple worlds. So the Attack action allows a faction to attack with all assets, while Repair Asset/Faction allows it to heal as much as it can afford to.
It should be noted that the attacker doesn't actually gets to choose which asset to attack (as that would probably just result in targeting those assets that can't actually hit back). Instead the defender has to denote which asset(s) will to the defending (like in Magic the Gathering or something).

The two most vital actions for spreading a faction's influence is Expand Influence (attempts to build a Base of Influence on a world with at least one own asset, with all factions on that world making Cunning rolls to try to damage the Base) and Seize Planet (gain the World Government tag for that world by wiping all opposing assets)

Creating factions

Starting NPC factions can be either a minor power, a major power, or a regional hegemon. This affects starting worlds, assets and ratings. They usually have one Tag that best describes their shtick, and any World Government Tag for any world they rule over. And of course, it would be a bit boring if they didn't have goals with lots of conflict potential.

PC factions start of a bit crappy, with a rating of 2 in one rating, 1 in the other two and a single asset based on their highest rating. Level 9 is where PCs usually become famous enough to be able to start their own faction, but they still have to work for it. The faction won't just suddenly pop into existence.
On the plus side, PCs can directly gently caress with enemy factions and their assets, and they can boost their faction's FacCreds by spending lots and lots of cash (1 FacCred roughly translates to 100k credits).

Overall, these rules may be a bit abstract, but translating the action of a faction turn into in-game events is half the fun. I also got a kind of boardgame vibe with these rules. Would certainly be less daunting to simulate faction warfare in your campaign than say Twilight Imperium.

Next Time: Adventure Creation

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:30 on Jun 8, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Witch Finders

As always, we start with new Tactics. This time around, we get stuff like 'corrupting magical places so they stop producing magic' or 'distract people' or 'perform a magic-removing lobotomy.' Yeah. Let's move on to powers.

Task Force: VALKYRIE hasn't much gotten an anti-magic gun, but they do have the Screamer Pistol (3 dots). If you can't concentrate, you can't cast spells. Stopping a spell in action is hard, but disrupting concentration is easier. The screamer pistol generates a beam of ultra-low-frequency sound which, at a distance, leads to hallucination and altered consciousness. At close range, it destroys the ability to concentrate and, in extreme cases, can hit the resonant frequency of the human bowel, causing it to violently vacate itself. Good luck casting a spell through that! This works on anything with a sense of balance and coherent thought processes...except werewolves, who appearently just get really angry.

The Malleus have access to the Revelationes Coelestes. Basically, they believe that magic is a pollution, like tainted blood. Historically, due to societal misogyny, menstrual blood was also seen as corrupt, so Saint Birgitta of Sweden wouldn't let her nuns ever touch altar clothes with their bare hands. The Benediction's name comes from her celestial revelations, because this Benediction highlights the 'pollution' of witches by forcing any witches nearby to spontaneously blood from various orificies - mouth, eyes, nose, occasionally vagina. ("[A] female witch might have her menses early.") No wounds, but it makes doing poo poo rather difficult.

The Lucifuge believe that part of Hell is the Abyss, the Formless Land and the Void. Nobody knows the truth, but they know that witches are terrified of creatures from 'the Abyss.' They can use the Abyssal Bondage to channel the witch's shadow with Abyssal energies, consuming their magic. You can't contain that power within you - it'd kill you at best. But you channel it, pouring it into a handful of your own blood, freshly drawn. You splash the blood on the witch, and it warps their magic out of control. It's painful, but if it works, the target's magic goes haywire - it targets itself randomly, or if you give even more deeply of your blood, the spell's nature also twists, doing something entirely unrelated to what the witch desired.

The Ascending Ones have discovered that many monsters hide themselves in human form - or are entirely human. By mixing dimethyl triptamine, or DMT, with alchemical reagents and the vitreous humor of a human eye, they create the thin, glowing liquid called Tallyman's Eyes (3 dots). It shows the hidden essence of the supernatural. You put three drops in your eyes...or you shoot it up into your pupils. That makes it last longer, but it won't wash out and can permanently gently caress up your vision. While using it, you'll identify just about any magic-user on sight, as long as you can see them normally. You can also resist any mind-altering powers of anyone you know to be a magic-user. It lasts for only a few minutes with eyedrops, but for quite a while with injection. Sometimes, you can even tell when an area is magical.

The Aegis Kai Doru have many strange, witch-made artifacts. One of them is the Centurion's Gladius (5 dots). They have discovered only four in the world, each an ancient Roman sword found in an unmarked grave. Strange patterns and runes form on the corrodoed blades, moving while watched. No two have the same marks but all share the same abilities. Any enchanted item struck by the blade loses all power, reverting to mundane form temporarily. They appear indestructible and immune to magic despite looking fragile. They're exceptionally poor weapons in combat unless you wipe some of your own fresh blade across the blade, however, making it as sharp and well-balanced as it was the day it was forged. Downside - you can only use one of its powers each day, so it's either anti-magic or a good sword.

Witches, uniquely, have little biology for Cheiron to harvest, but magic-eating critters do. Cheiron has found enough unearthly creatures that eat magic that they believe they are the animal life of some alien world. One of the more common ones they've found is about the size of a cockroach, the Agonizer (4 dots), that buries itself in the base of a human throat, then attaches to the brain, spinning new nerve fibers through the body. These act as antenna to detect and consume magical fields. The host acts strangely, seeking out and researching weird places and occult sites. Even then, those that Cheiron doesn't find die out. There's not enough magic around. Cheiron isn't monstrous, mostly, and they don't expect field ops to give up their brains to the job. That would be wrong. Instead, they trim the nerve-antennae down and attach them to four-inch metal spikes, then implant the bug on the outside of your right arm, with each spike flat just under the right palm. Flexing your wrist pops the spikes out and turns the area of the palm between them brown, like old blood. You do have to keep your Agonizer happy, though. Sometimes a walk through a magical field will do it, but more often you have to spike a witch, allowing the critter to devour the magic out of their soul, crippling them with pain. Your other option is that it tries to do that to you. The Agonizer eats magic, y'see, and it will weaken magical places and drain power from witches rather than dealing damage. But if you don't feed it each week, it will gently caress you up.

So, the Goetic Gospels. They're based in Christian iconography, but the text they draw from is not Christian. The First Revelation of the Knights of Saint George believe they are a forgotten teaching of Christ, giving his Apostles the power to cast out devils in their souls in order to turn them on their foes. To the higher Revelations, they are a mystery, a cipher of secret knowledge on the ancient gods. Either way, they are an immensely powerful tool. Many of their powers require a meditative state - which for the Knights entails acting in oneness with the darkness within themselves and outside the universe - a sort of perfect emptiness, without joy or pain, for as long as they are not grievously harmed, do not have their sanity broken and have some willpower left. There are three types of Goetic Gospels, which you assign dots to seperately. You have the Gospel of Amon, which lets you torment witches with demons and magnify their flaws. There's the Gospel of Beleth, which lets you poison magical energy that witches draw on. And there is the Gospel of Agares, which lets you disrupt and destroy magical effects. The Gospels themselves are holy texts teaching you how to vanquish the demon they are named for, and the secrets of the powers are contained within them. Each Gospel has five dots, but you can't have more than five total dots of Gospels without going insane. Each dot above the fifth is going to drive you horribly, madly insane. You may, however, reassign your dots via meditation, prayer and mortification of the flesh.

The Gospel of Agares is often seen as the most 'important' Gospel practically, as it fights magic directly. At one dot, it has the Lie of the Heart. By invoking a demon of falsehood, you shield yourself from active magic. Any currently active spells ignore you as long as your power is greater than theres - you can walk through wards, for example, without triggering them. Any spell cast directly at you still works, however. At two dots, there is Crocodile Armor, for the god-king Agares appears an old man riding a crocodile, carrying a goshawk. The crocodile imagery calls forth a minor demon that manifests to deflect magic, giving Armor that solely functions against spells and magic weapons. At 3 dots, there is Agares' Goshawk. By meditating on it and terrible wrath,m the Knight conjures a goshawk demon that tears apart an active spell - it might destroy a ward or unravel an empowering spell. It's slow, but it works well. At four dots, there is Envy's Barb. Most Knights would never admit to envying magic, but they do. By channeling that, they may summon forth a demon that hates all magic, anything the user does not have. It spots spells, latches onto them as the source of envy and counters them as they occur. By mortifying the flesh and harming yourself, you can also harm the witch as the spell is eaten. (And no, it doesn't prevent Paradox.) At 5 dots, there is Flagellant's Denial. Moritification of the flesh is potent, providing pride and righteousness via devotion. Channeling that pride summons forth a demon, an avatar of Agares, which prevents magic from working around the user. The more you hurt yourself, the more powerful the magic it will prevent. It just won't work until you leave.

The Gospel of Amon allows you to exploit the debasement of your foes. While doctrine says it's used only on witches, it works on just about anyone, with the exception of the final power. At one dot, Stolen Vice allows you to call forth a demon from one of your own sins and send it to bedevil someone, stealing the rush of willpower that comes from indulging vice and even, with some mortification, sending it back to you. At two dots, there are the Maddening Whispers, where you call up your own wickedness to send madness to your victim. You manifest a demon, which latches onto your target and drives them insane, or very insane if you mortify your flesh, for 24 hours to a week, as long as you can see the victim in some form of recorded media. At 3 dots, there's Magpie Mysteries. Magpies are symbols of greed, and by channeling your greed you send a demon that steals the power of a witch to use any single Mystery - basically, one type of magic. Any spells the witch has already cast stay active, but they can't do new ones. And mortification lets you pick two. It doesn't usually last very long, but it only has to be long enough. At four dots, there is the Vicious Cycle. You set a sin demon on someone and they relive their worst actions, making rolls for degeneration as if they had just done it. If they fail, they are penalized on all rolls and can't regain Willpower from Virtue. Moritification makes it seem even worse than it actually was. The final and 5-dot power, Demon King of Nothing, requires mortification of the flesh while meditating on pure nothingness inside you. You draw it out, conjuring a terrible demon that takes root in a witch's soul. Any spell they cast results in Paradox, not just vulgar or failed magic. You can make it worse by dealing even more damage to yourself. Basically, you gently caress a witch up so bad that all their magic is going to backfire on them, or at least might.

The Gospel of Beleth is only 45 years old - it was discovered in an ancient temple in the Middle East, long forgotten by time. Its teachings are as yet not fully understood, and only three of its hidden powers have been unlocked, but surely there are more waiting. At one dot, you summon the Gluttonous Devourer by focusing on your own gluttony and conjuring it up. The imp you create latches onto a witch, preventing them from generating Source, or Mana, or whatever you want to call it. It will devour any Source they receive for a while, then vanish - but if you mortify yourself, they'll also be exhausted just by the attempt, too. At two dots is Servitor of Sloth, which lets you channel your own sloth to force a witch into lethargy and malaise, requiring them to expend an effort of will just to use their magic, a very difficult one if you mortify yourself. And so far, the final power is at 3 dots, Poison Baubles. You mortify your flesh and call on your wrath to summon a demon up to poison a witch's Source, causing them terrible pain the more power they are currently containing within their bodies.


Goetic demon crossover stuff.

We then get some basic rules for how to run witches. They get a Gnosis trait that grants them access to Mysteries of various power levels - stuff like Disease or Foretelling or Fortune or Hearth or Passion at tier 1, Health, Mind, Nature, Shadow and Twilight at tier 2 and Elements, Space, Supernal, Time and Transmutation at tier 3, which requires Gnosis 5 to use. (It's a 1-5 scale.) Mages spend Source to do magic, and gather it in a way based on their primary Mystery. Not all spells require Source, however.

We also get a new merit: Gifted, 1-5 dots. A Gifted person has an innate power, the ability to cast a single spell. They can never become a full witch, but they don't need any Source, replacing any Source costs with Willpower. They never suffer Paradox and you can take Gifted multiple times. However, more potent magic harms the body when channeled this way - tier 2 spells cause bashing damage from headaches and bruising, while tier 3 causes lethal damage from nosebleeds or heart palpitations the first time they get used per scene. With ST approval, a Hunter may take the Gifted merit. We get basic guidelines for how to design up custom spells and rituals, and example spells for each Mystery.

Next time: ST section.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


I'm sure Kaiji would be a great Entropomancer what with his perpetual high stakes gambling addiction except that he'll probably never gain a Major charge since he's not the type to endanger so many lives, nor does he really have any loved ones persay.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




I love what Cliomancers look like; my own call would be to have all historical events that cause minor / major charges to have to be from before the adept was born to emphasize the "everything has been discovered already", and have the recharge specifically reset the moment the historical place rotates on the earth across the moon and have the charges expire explicitly when the moon is in the same phase to increase the tie to the Moon as a great Cliomancer focus.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Witch Finders

First up, we get an essay on how Mages are uniquely a moral challenge for Hunters. They have strange powers, yes, but those include mind control, subtly or brazenly commanding Hunters to fight among themselves. How do you deal with someone who can turn you on your friends and family? And even without that, they're morally a problem. It's easy to wonder whether their powers can be used for good. Witches can justify themselves amazingly well, and before you know it, you're trusting them, listening to them. And that's not always a good idea. (In fact, it rarely is.) Plus, they look like humans. They are humans. They can hide in plain sight in ways even werewolves and vampires can't. They live like anyone else, often have jobs and families. They can pretend to be normal. Figuring out how to spot them is a challenge just as hard as taking them down. They can control coincidences - and that can easily drive you to paranoia.

We get some essays on the many ways to classify witches - what they can do, how they can do it, how powerful they are, why they do it. Witches are a diverse and highly ambiguous prey for a hunter, and the GM shouldn't shy away from that. What does a Long Night guy do when he runs into a devout Christian healer-mage? How does the Lucifuge handle someone who seems to be channeling the will of God? What about someone who can move stuff with his mind - is that a witch if that's all they can do?

We then get a magical history of Philadelphia, starting with the Lenape and heading into the modern period. Buried in here are some new relics. The Ohtas are found largely around Philly, and many museums have one, but few know they are powerful. They are hand-sized human figurines made of wood, between six and ten inches tall. The wood is always local and always Lenape. Most are faceless, and some actually look rather like angels. The wielder cannot act against the Lenape or their descendants without suffering a grave curse against whatever they do. However, when activated, these statues bless the user, granting them skill at whatever they do, particularly if it assists the Lenape or their descendants.

There's also the Hex Sign (1-5 dots), a folkloric magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch. These relics are rare - the actual magical ones need to have been painted or forged by those who had 'the touch,' but if they are found they can be activated. (Apparently, all of the actually working ones were made by the Pennsylvania Dutch or those with their blood.) The power of the relic limits its spread - the weaker ones can cover a hundred square yards, while the strongest only cover one room. Depending on the symbols involved, they do different fings. The Distelfink (a sort of mythological lark) brings happiness and helps resist insanity. A double-headed eagle grants courage and strength of will. Hearts improve your charisma. An oak leaf makes you stringer, smarter and more charismatic. Tulips protect against magical attack. A black outer ring assists with unity and teamwork, while a brown one resists disease and a wavey one grants skill in manipulating others. A 6-petaled rosette prevents bad luck, while a 12-petaled one allows you to retry when you fail. Eight-pointed stars give skill and knowledge, and wheat grants prosperity.

The Philly section is actually pretty good, save for defining what actually happened during the Philadelphia Experiment. (Why would you do that?) I suggest reading it yourself.

The End!

Next time: Spirit Slayers.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Here's the interesting thing about Major charges and Cliomancers: Back when the school was founded, the earliest Cliomancers found themselves in a world covered in landmarks no Cliomancer had ever visited. Dozens of Major charges were just a series of plane tickets away, available freely to a tiny group of first-generation initiates, all obsessed with History having been a lie.

What on earth did they spend those dozens of earth-shaking Major charges on? What do you know about history? Once you know Cliomancers exist, how do you believe anything about history?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Pope Guilty posted:

Once you know Cliomancers exist, how do you believe anything about history?

By believing they're full of poo poo is the most obvious answer to me, or as a historian I'd ask why it matters. History is an intensely subjective discipline to begin with, and if Cliomancers were real I doubt it would actually impact the field to any serious degree. Weirdos obsessed with historical revisionism who will fight to the death rather than admit they're wrong or even worse, irrelevant, don't need magic to exist. I'd say that even the greatest Cliomancer just doesn't matter as much as she thinks she does.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Pope Guilty posted:

Here's the interesting thing about Major charges and Cliomancers: Back when the school was founded, the earliest Cliomancers found themselves in a world covered in landmarks no Cliomancer had ever visited. Dozens of Major charges were just a series of plane tickets away, available freely to a tiny group of first-generation initiates, all obsessed with History having been a lie.

What on earth did they spend those dozens of earth-shaking Major charges on? What do you know about history? Once you know Cliomancers exist, how do you believe anything about history?

That's a philosophical thing, though. If you know someone has dicked around with history, but the history you know is true, does it matter? Sure, if you get freaked out with that, it will. But I guarantee you most people have enough poo poo on their plate that adding that worry on top of it is not going to happen. Of course it's going to be adepts who know this, so the ball is in their court.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

By believing they're full of poo poo is the most obvious answer to me, or as a historian I'd ask why it matters. History is an intensely subjective discipline to begin with, and if Cliomancers were real I doubt it would actually impact the field to any serious degree. Weirdos obsessed with historical revisionism who will fight to the death rather than admit they're wrong or even worse, irrelevant, don't need magic to exist. I'd say that even the greatest Cliomancer just doesn't matter as much as she thinks she does.

I'd generally agree with this. As long as there's been history there's been constructed narratives. It's why so much of the work of a historian is examining a ton of different narratives to try to find what you think is at least a bit closer to the truth by seeing where they agree and disagree and where everyone was coming at it from. And trying to remain aware of your own biases and desires.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Cythereal posted:

By believing they're full of poo poo is the most obvious answer to me, or as a historian I'd ask why it matters. History is an intensely subjective discipline to begin with, and if Cliomancers were real I doubt it would actually impact the field to any serious degree. Weirdos obsessed with historical revisionism who will fight to the death rather than admit they're wrong or even worse, irrelevant, don't need magic to exist. I'd say that even the greatest Cliomancer just doesn't matter as much as she thinks she does.

You're thinking as a historian, and Cliomancers aren't historians. A Cliomancer with a Major charge doesn't need to fight to the death or even argue- they can simply edit what you (and the rest of the world) believe happened without even touching the academic process. Imagine the damage that, say, a Holocaust revisionist or Armenian genocide denier with Major charges could do. Cliomancy was founded by wealthy Brits in the 40's- what sort of self-flattering ideas about history did they insert into the historical record? What historical events or trends didn't actually go the way Dugan Forsythe and his circle of acolytes wanted them to have gone? That's the horror of Cliomancy- the sure knowledge that some of what you think you know about history is a pack of lies designed to suit some jackass seventy years ago, and the inability to tell the difference.

Tasoth posted:

That's a philosophical thing, though. If you know someone has dicked around with history, but the history you know is true, does it matter?

What makes you think the history you know, in this scenario, is true? Cliomancers don't actually edit history, only what humanity believes about history.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Pope Guilty posted:

You're thinking as a historian, and Cliomancers aren't historians. A Cliomancer with a Major charge doesn't need to fight to the death or even argue- they can simply edit what you (and the rest of the world) believe happened without even touching the academic process. Imagine the damage that, say, a Holocaust revisionist or Armenian genocide denier with Major charges could do. Cliomancy was founded by wealthy Brits in the 40's- what sort of self-flattering ideas about history did they insert into the historical record? What historical events or trends didn't actually go the way Dugan Forsythe and his circle of acolytes wanted them to have gone? That's the horror of Cliomancy- the sure knowledge that some of what you think you know about history is a pack of lies designed to suit some jackass seventy years ago, and the inability to tell the difference.


What makes you think the history you know, in this scenario, is true? Cliomancers don't actually edit history, only what humanity believes about history.

You're missing the point. From the perspective of historians, not Cliomancers, Cliomancers really don't do anything. So what if they change what the academic world thinks? The academic world revises itself and reexamines evidence all the time. It's fully expected that what's currently believed will be discredited in time. Cliomancers wouldn't be a blip in the academic world at all. They affect popular history, sure, but their abilities really aren't very profound or meaningful.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Pope Guilty posted:

Once you know Cliomancers exist, how do you believe anything about history?

This is when your GM decides if they want you to roll the Unnatural or the Helplessness checks first.

e:

Cythereal posted:

You're missing the point. From the perspective of historians, not Cliomancers, Cliomancers really don't do anything. So what if they change what the academic world thinks? The academic world revises itself and reexamines evidence all the time. It's fully expected that what's currently believed will be discredited in time. Cliomancers wouldn't be a blip in the academic world at all. They affect popular history, sure, but their abilities really aren't very profound or meaningful.

I detect a slightly defensive academic.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Pope Guilty posted:

That's the horror of Cliomancy- the sure knowledge that some of what you think you know about history is a pack of lies designed to suit some jackass seventy years ago, and the inability to tell the difference.

That's not supernatural horror, that's just the normal reality of the discipline. There are things I believe that are absolutely certainly wrong. Things I am completely certain about from my studies, and because of some blindspot in my personality or mind, or in the particular sources I thought I could trust, I am absolutely wrong and serving someone else's jackassery. There's no magic spell or ritual required for that, it's merely something every historian needs to be aware of.

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


I found a great McGuffin for your next Slasher, Hunter, or Unknown Armies game.

Maybe I should just leave this stuff in the Greg Stolze thread, or start a new UA rumors thread.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




So, uh, speaking of revising history, there's a third edition of Immortal: The Invisible War. And it's actually intelligible.

Unless I've become a Fabulamancer, and I've totally lost it and now it's all of you who are crazy, you don't understand the elfgames like I do.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kellsterik posted:

I detect a slightly defensive academic.

Defensive because folks' response to Cliomancers as some horrific thing, are founded on not understanding the discipline of history. Cliomancers are horrifying at first glance to laymen, sure, but they're not scary to people who actually know history as a discipline. Their very paradox points it out: Cliomancers fundamentally can't change anything, they can only change what people think about things. And what people think about things changes all the time. Dunno if the authors were conscious of that or not.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




of course, knowing adepts the vast majority of those major charges were spent sticking it to other cliomancers. Sure you could edit vast swathes of history and potentially change the world...

...or you could make that bastard who got to the Great Wall of China before you will be forever remembered as the world's most premature ejaculator.

quote:

Defensive because folks' response to Cliomancers as some horrific thing, are founded on not understanding the discipline of history. Cliomancers are horrifying at first glance to laymen, sure, but they're not scary to people who actually know history as a discipline. Their very paradox points it out: Cliomancers fundamentally can't change anything, they can only change what people think about things. And what people think about things changes all the time. Dunno if the authors were conscious of that or not.

If you don't think the ability to edit perceived history...that is the history that the majority of people believe and accept...is scary, then you aren't thinking hard enough about the consequences.

The ability to rewrite what is commonly accepted as true is the sort of thing that could win (or lose) major elections, start wars and create religious movements.

Obviously academic historians will be able to point out lack of evidence and contradictory documents (As all those things still exist) but when 99.999% of people are convinced something is true that doesn't make much of a dent in the consequences.

oriongates fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Jun 9, 2015

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Cythereal posted:

You're missing the point. From the perspective of historians, not Cliomancers, Cliomancers really don't do anything. So what if they change what the academic world thinks? The academic world revises itself and reexamines evidence all the time. It's fully expected that what's currently believed will be discredited in time. Cliomancers wouldn't be a blip in the academic world at all. They affect popular history, sure, but their abilities really aren't very profound or meaningful.

Meanwhile the rest of the world forgets the destruction of some ethnic group one of the early Cliomancers didn't like. Academic historians are a small group and not really relevant to Cliomancy, is my point here. Sure, eventually somebody probably finds evidence of the atrocity and goes "holy poo poo, how did we forget this happened?" but a) there's no guarantee this happens, b) even realizing that the evidence means something has the barrier of already believing it doesn't, c) presenting the evidence is up against even academic historians not knowing about the atrocity and a certain amount of skepticism that something as horrifying as a modern genocide could have happened without historians knowing about it, and d) in the meantime the entire world is going to be operating on the idea that it didn't happen and once you 1) figure out that something happened, 2) figure out what happened, and 3) convince other historians what happened, there's still 4) convincing the rest of the world that it happened.

This is not insignificant, is what I'm getting at, and the horror of Cliomancy, especially Major charge-level Cliomancy, is that they don't have any need to engage with historians or make their case to the public- they simply decide to change what humanity believes about history, and humanity has no choice but to agree. Historians are mostly irrelevant to the process.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



^^^^
Do you really think we need magic to forget about genocide? We put Andrew Jackson on our money.

Cythereal posted:

Defensive because folks' response to Cliomancers as some horrific thing, are founded on not understanding the discipline of history. Cliomancers are horrifying at first glance to laymen, sure, but they're not scary to people who actually know history as a discipline. Their very paradox points it out: Cliomancers fundamentally can't change anything, they can only change what people think about things. And what people think about things changes all the time. Dunno if the authors were conscious of that or not.

I would guess they are, because one of the ultimate lessons of Unknown Armies is that the magical world doesn't actually matter.

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


Unknown Armies is a game of POSTMODERN magick. You did it. Truth is malleable. It's the opposite of the 'codify everything with numbers' tact D&D takes. It's a different, more literary way of seeing the world.
On a less insane note, I love the free form skills. They're like FATE Aspects. We had one game where the pre-gem mother character healed everyone with band-aids and tender loving care.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


I think the main point should be that if you live in UA and you're worried by the idea of magic people changing history, you have waaaaaaay bigger problems to deal with than some jerk-off adepts squabbling around the dust-bins of the human consciousness.

...don't think we've gotten there yet, though.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Pope Guilty posted:

Meanwhile the rest of the world forgets the destruction of some ethnic group one of the early Cliomancers didn't like. Academic historians are a small group and not really relevant to Cliomancy, is my point here. Sure, eventually somebody probably finds evidence of the atrocity and goes "holy poo poo, how did we forget this happened?" but a) there's no guarantee this happens, b) even realizing that the evidence means something has the barrier of already believing it doesn't, c) presenting the evidence is up against even academic historians not knowing about the atrocity and a certain amount of skepticism that something as horrifying as a modern genocide could have happened without historians knowing about it, and d) in the meantime the entire world is going to be operating on the idea that it didn't happen and once you 1) figure out that something happened, 2) figure out what happened, and 3) convince other historians what happened, there's still 4) convincing the rest of the world that it happened.

This is not insignificant, is what I'm getting at, and the horror of Cliomancy, especially Major charge-level Cliomancy, is that they don't have any need to engage with historians or make their case to the public- they simply decide to change what humanity believes about history, and humanity has no choice but to agree. Historians are mostly irrelevant to the process.

Cliomancers don't change evidence or physical reality, though. Sure, you can wipe away public memory of the Holocaust. Then people will find the remains of the camps, and all the letters and documents and photographs, and we'll re-learn about the Holocaust, and for that matter get very suspicious about how we never knew about it when we have all this evidence. Same deal for the Cambodian genocides, or ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, or the Armenian genocide. The evidence will still be there, it will immediately make the evening news, and the Cliomancer will be sitting there having a very difficult cognitive decision about whether or not to acknowledge the fact that they went to such great effort to change basically nothing.

Unknown Armies makes a point, I think, that Cliomancy doesn't change what actually happened or meddle with actual evidence of what happened. Truth is malleable, sure, but if you want to edit history and change what people think about it Cliomancy is really a pretty bad way to go about it. It's the easy way, for someone with the power, but it's deeply limited and ultimately rather self-defeating.

Sure, wipe away the memory of some historic event. Then people in libraries and bookstores will start wondering what's up with all these books they have about something that seems like they should be aware of, and where did they come from if this never happened?

Cythereal fucked around with this message at 01:38 on Jun 9, 2015

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Yes, if the GM goes out of their way to downplay the impact of a Cliomancy major effect, the thing which is intended as a once-in-a-campaign climactic magical event, Cliomancers will come off looking pretty silly.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kellsterik posted:

Yes, if the GM goes out of their way to downplay the impact of a Cliomancy major effect, the thing which is intended as a once-in-a-campaign climactic magical event, Cliomancers will come off looking pretty silly.

There's nothing silly about managing to change the public consciousness and perception of a major historical event, mind. Like, if there was a wizard who could, by doing enough magic bullshit, suddenly change the entire public perception of WWII to a noble lost struggle to preserve the Aryan ideal, it would have incredible implications and do enormous damage. I get that that's what the spell type is about. I'm just trying to say it works primarily because it's something that happens through people seizing control of the narrative already and is a normal part of history, amplified by the supernatural to emphasize why the normal thing is scary.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kellsterik posted:

Yes, if the GM goes out of their way to downplay the impact of a Cliomancy major effect, the thing which is intended as a once-in-a-campaign climactic magical event, Cliomancers will come off looking pretty silly.

And that's precisely my point: if you sit down and think about it, Cliomancy is fundamentally pretty silly. To me, the potential of Cliomancy to be scary and dangerous is when its use is restrained and used selectively, best on a small scale. You Remember Now? That's a scary power to have, especially if you're careful to either destroy/alter evidence to fit your effect beforehand or use it in a way that wouldn't leave any evidence - including the form of people with unaltered memories. Urban Legend? That's scary as gently caress, because no matter what the evidence and truth say, being convicted (or found innocent) by the court of popular opinion is a very real and horrifying phenomenon. All Is Known can be just as bad.

Actually rewriting history with a major charge? Not scary at all unless you put a lot of groundwork into preparing your historical revision - difficult, especially with the game making a point of how ruthlessly competitive Cliomancers are. The time resets, rejuvenation, and time freezes are far more meaningful and potentially troublesome.

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


I was watching an Adam Curtis doco last night that addressed all of this - the efforts governments went through to alter public perceptions after WW2, and what happened when they failed. And yeah lol at the idea of a history or reality that can't be altered by perception. Most people don't look at primary sources or evidence. Take a trawl through r/badhistory or just read any Lost Cause narrative or popular history. And if you alter the narratives people use to organize their lives, you can alter how they see the world.

Another Cliomancy question- who's history? Australia seems historically barren from a Western perspective but people say there's tons of Indigenous history. Can you charge off those sacred sites, or do you need to know about them first?

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:02 on Jun 9, 2015

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Count Chocula posted:

And yeah lol at the idea of a history or reality that can't be altered by perception.

Not my point. It absolutely can. Then it will be altered again, because what's believed as history changes all the time. I can walk you down to the local Barnes and Noble and show you a selection of books calling Nazi Germany vile monsters from the pit of hell, books calling Nazi Germany misunderstood heroes, books calling Nazi Germany's leaders evil but the people good, and a dozen other viewpoints that have evolved and changed over the years and individuals.

And speaking as a historian, I'd be extremely confused and alarmed if historians and politicians the world over agreed unanimously on anything. :v:

Cliomancers are scary as goddamn hell in my opinion, just not for the potential of a major charge to rewrite history. They don't need a major charge to have some of the more frightening abilities I've ever read about in a tabletop game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

Not my point. It absolutely can. Then it will be altered again, because what's believed as history changes all the time. I can walk you down to the local Barnes and Noble and show you a selection of books calling Nazi Germany vile monsters from the pit of hell, books calling Nazi Germany misunderstood heroes, books calling Nazi Germany's leaders evil but the people good, and a dozen other viewpoints that have evolved and changed over the years and individuals.

And speaking as a historian, I'd be extremely confused and alarmed if historians and politicians the world over agreed unanimously on anything. :v

Well, you know, THAT'S the place we could probably both agree, as historians, that it would take wizbiz.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Spirit Slayers



Werewolves - a man who can become a wolf. Feral at heart, unnatural in the soul. You should fear them - they're angry, they're territorial and they eat people. Anger rules them, and worse, their wildness bleeds out of them like smoke. And worst of all, they don't work alone. Werewolves hunt in packs. They are a pack, besieged by the world and hunting it. They wander their territory, share their kills with their friends. They need to kill, they are beasts hiding behind the masks of men. Civilization can't contain them. They hunt because they must, because they have needs that burn in their soul - wild needs. It is an unnatural wildness, a frenzied and feral heart that is tied to the world of spirits, not men. They think in ways no wolf ever would. They worship the moon and madness. (And if any Hunter ever heard about this 'Mother Luna' they'd realize quickly she was insane, and the wolves insane for worshipping her.)

Werewolves, like street gangs, claim territories, rule them with an iron fist. Humans never realize, of course. Kids might go missing, you see weird reflections in mirrors, you spot bloody claw marks in the dirt. Sometimes they claim territory far from inhabited lands, in forests and woods. Sometimes they take territory by claiming a concept - watching over women's shelters, say. Hunters often claim territory as well, and it leads to a terrible conflict when they mix. However, a cell and a pack are often rather similar. They police a territory, often able to think about little else. But that doesn't mean they like each other. Alliances happen, sometimes, even longterm ones, but it's never comfortable. Werewolves hunt because they are born to, forced to by instinct. Hunters hunt because they force themselves to, focused on the mission. Hunters are made, not born.

And then there's the spirit. Werewolves are half-spirit. Maybe they're born to it by some strange genetics. Maybe they steal the power. But their souls are inhuman, a spirit wearing human skin. You might think a spirit is pleasant; you're wrong. Spirits are strange, obeying rules only they understand. They are inhuman in a way little else is, and they do not understand humans. They embody ideas, emotions. They are unnatural, selfish and mad figments. They can be dealt with, but it's never easy.

The rise of humanity has always been about seperating ourselves from our animal nature. We make machines, we make buildings, we deny our origins. We fear those who are close to animals, we find them unnatural. It protects us from the beasts we were. But when did we become more than animals? The Eden story tells of how we left a natural state of grace, how we lost our innocence and became mature humans, never to go back. But werewolves have managed it - and Eden is hostile to us now, barred by the angel with the fiery sword. We have always feared the animals that walk like men. Shapeshifters, along with witches and vampires, haunt so many of our myths. And yet we admire them - our gods were animals. Horus the Falcon, Hathor the Cow. Zeus took on many forms, animal and man. Men who change shape, however, obey more rules. Lucius the Greek spies on his hostess as she strips down, coats herself with oils and becomes a bird. And in Lucius, something changes. He becomes obsessed. He wants to fly. He steals her jar, but he does not become a bird - he becomes an rear end, and he is stuck in that form for a full year, in which he is abused terribly. And yet, others become obsessed, much as he had. One day, a woman takes him into her bed, not realizing he is a man but sensing it, and a god of Egypt returns him to his natural shape. Some shapechangers are cursed to change, others seek it out, and it can be hard to tell the difference.

The Aegis Kai Doru hold a fragmentary poem engraved on a clay tablet, written in Linear B. In translation, it talks about a terrible desire, a love for a muscular, grunting beast, a dead-eyed bull. It is the tale of the Minotaur's birth, written from the perspective of the woman Pasiphae, who hid inside a mechanical cow, transforming herself into a true cow. The bull has sex with her, and she realizes she has done something terrible. The bull is butchered, and she eats it, and she becomes pregnant. She knows she will love her terrible, monstrous child and that he will need to eat the kin of his mother, as she ate his father. Now, obviously, a woman can't have children with a bull...normally. But what about a fertility spirit? What about such a spirit possessing a bull? Or a wolf? That could easily be the genesis of the first shapeshifters. But why couldn't it happen now, either? The answer: it does, sometimes. A woman gives birth to a cat-creature, which flees into the night, to be seen in the shadow of tenements. A man on an isolated farm is possessed by a goat spirit, fathers a goat-girl on his wife. The wife goes mad, the child is locked in the paddock and forbidden to see the other children. He plans to kill her when she is too old to hide, but he can't bring himself to do it. And is the monster here the goat-girl? She is an innocent, has done no harm. But her birth drove a woman mad, and her father blames her for crop failures, sees her as a reminder of his shame and weakness. How do you deal with this? Does this barely intelligent, spirit-born girl have a right to live?

A Loyalist scholar, Dr. Curt Ransmayr, gave a paper in 1987, discussing an ancient historian, Julius Piso Minor the Kinsman. He writes about a nameless traveler, an Athenian merchant heading through the Tauri - that's Russia and Siberia. He hires Scythians for protection, who tell him of the blue-eyed Budini and the black-clad Melanchaeri. They advise him not to approach the cannibal Anthropophagi, but he asks of the Neuri. Julius mentions blinded slaves now, one bound in silver chains but treated worse than the rest, whipped the most, beaten most. The Scythians say this man is a Neurian prisoner of tribal war, that he exists to suffer because he pillaged them. The Athenian is content, but over several days he shows the Neurian kindness when he can. When the caravan is near arrival, it delays because of bad weather. The Scythians are terrified, but will not tell the traveler why. The Neurian slave begins to howl, and is beaten to unconsciousness. Wolf howls begin, and they charge the camp. The wolves are immense, slaughtering the Scythians and slaves, but they surround the Athenian, who prepares to fight to his death. But a blind, scarred wolf appears among them, stopping them from killing the Athenian. He is left alone in the camp. In the morning, the rain stops. He cannot tell how many bodies, who they were - they are too mangled. He finds there is no food, and is forced to eat the dead as he seeks a place for shelter.

The Malleus Maleficarum has a record about a first century artifact, a lifesize statue of a Roman man's clothing, arms and armor, all of one piece of stone. They are legionnaires' gear, Gallic, and look damaged and repaired. It could conceivably be an art piece, probably part of a larger group of statues. However, the Malleus acknowledges that they may be real clothes, turned to stone somehow. They have records of a story dating back to the Avium Minervae and one S. Salvius Clemens, during the reign of Nero Claudius Caesar Germanicus Augustus. He was assigned to investigate some events in Britain, where he fell in with a rough centurion named Pandira. Clemens didn't like the guy, finding him crude and cruel, but useful. On three nights, he finds Pandira has vanished, and begins to wonder why. The man claimed to hear noises, the first night, to piss the second and on the third he denied ever leaving. On that night, Clemens feigned sleep and watched the man remove his clothing, piss in a circle around it and then vanish into the shadows. The clothing turned to stone when Clemens checked it, but was attacked by Britons when he went after Pandira. He fought well, but was only saved by an immense wolf setting on the barbarians and driving them off, though it lost an eye. Clemens prepared to fight it, but it fled. Pandira was at the camp when he returned, his eye wounded. Clemens, convinced he was a werewolf, beheaded Pandira and returned to his mission alone.

In medieval and Renaissance Europe, the werewolf was feared above all others in mainland Europe. The British feared witches, the Eastern Europeans feared vampires, but in western Europe? Werewolves. They debated the nature of the werewolf a lot - Satan worshiper, throwback barbarian, undead monster, cannibal killer. Stories on the subject are contradictory and inconclusive, and often mixed with those of vampires. The werewolf is a horror, but one without a solid definition, and many hunter groups have different ideas about their history, nature and power.

A document named Life of Saint Honoria, the Prostitute, tells a story about Honoria, a woman who set her servants free of bondage, giving away all of her wealth and finery in favor of God. She goes to a convent and joins them, but Satan comes to her, telling her that she is foolish to abandon him, for he can make her wealthy beyond measure. She rejects him, so he shows her great pleasures. She rejects him again, and Satan decides to send his servants after her. A great beasts comes after Satan leaves, attacking the convent door. Honoria tells the other nuns to take heart, for Jesus will protect them. She has them hide in the garden, covered by monkshood, for Satan's beasts fear the holy flower. Honoria goes to face the beast herself, alone. It bursts through the door, a beast with the head and claws of a wolf but the walk of a man. She holds the cross forth, but the beast is not stopped. It leaps at her, and she pierces the silver cross into its heart, killing it. As it dies, its blood touches the altar and boils, and Honoria recognizes it as it lays back and becomes a man once more - a man whom many had called a witch, and who had bought her when she was still a prostitute. Now, the old-school Catholic line is that the werewolf was slain by Honoria's faith, and she is the patron saint of monster hunters in the Malleus, particularly werewolf-slayers. But the sharp silver cross may have been rather more effective. Monkshood, for the record, is aconite. Wolfsbane. Some werewolves, but not all, are repelled by it. Some medieval scholars believed werewolves could be cured if you stole the tools they used, kept them from eating flesh for a month as you prayed or exorcised them. And on some werewolves, it might work, but most will just eat you if you try.

We head back to Eerie Tales Magazine and Vincent Moon for another story of Partha Mac Othna and Franz, who are hunting monsters and have just defeated brigands. They notice the brigands bear wolf's-head amulets, the sign of Alaric Wolfshead. They press on, having pursued the man to Livonia and his stronghold. It is Christmas Eve, and they head to a village for the night. They wait there, finding a ragged boy, lame of leg, limping into the place. He calls out for something to come, and his voice is like a maddened wolf. Fear clutches their hearts, but they watch, as men and women, each bearing a strange mark on their shoulder, emerge. They are all naked, and the mark is a figure with open jaws. Partha realizes the boy is a demon, and this is Wolfshead's sabbat. They follow the group into the woods, where they see the Satanists turn into wolves. They follow further to a bonfire surrounded by skulls, where a naked young woman is tied up. Wolfshead appears, and the child begins to laugh, then vanishes into the flames. Partha prepares to attack, but Wolfshead calls them out. He has Franz's lover, Drusilla, and they prepare for the final confrontation.

The tale of the lame child in Livonia is from the folklorist Olaus Magnus, and is a strange perversion of Christian imagery. He might be a demon, a devil, a spirit. But he calls out werewolves, or perhaps creates them, forcing dormant ones to change. And where the hell does Vincent Moon even find this poo poo, anyway?

One of the great fears of the Middle Ages was that werewolves would eat children. In 1521, two men named Pierre and Michel were tried for being werewolves and eating people, turning into wolves via a salve. In 1598, a girl named Pernette Gandillon began to run about on all fours and attack people, killing and eating a child. She was torn apart by the mob, and her siblings and nephew all confessed to Satanism and turning to wolves. They were burned to death. A man in Chalons confessed to being a werewolf and eating countless children, and his confession was deemed so awful it was burned with him. The infamous French witchfinder Pierre de Lancre talks about an incident in Bordeaux, 1603, where three young girls find distressed dogs, who lead the to a strange, red-headed boy with teeth filed to points and nails like claws. The boy said he was Jean Grenier, son of a priest, and was very arrogant, saying he'd been to Hell and was given a wolfskin, that he and nine others would wear the skins and hunt for blood and flesh. He claimed to especially love eating young girls, and the girls ran home to tell their parents. Around the same time, a girl named Marguerite Poirier, who had been sent to look after livestock with Jean, said how he'd developed an obsession with blood and death, how one day he'd told her revolting stories, much the same ash eh ad the other girls, but also described in detail eating children. On her way home, fleeing Jean, she was attacked by a wolf, fighting it off with her staff, but she saw that it sat on its hind legs like a begging dog and had a very human expression. It was shorter and souter than a wolf, with a stunted tail and flat head, and reddish fur. The locals captured Grenier, who confessed to being but a laborer's son who sold his soul to a black man who was the Devil and was made into a werewolf. He had been warned never to bite or break the long thumbnail of his left hand, for it would cost him his powers. He confessed to murdering children, but the judges believed he was insane and sentenced him to life in a monastery, on pain of death if he fled. De Lancre, however, believed in werewolves and visited Jean in 1710, finding the young man now barely able to talk at all, but still craving flesh and saying the Devil would take him away. He died soon after. Was he delusional? In the real world, probably. In the World of Darkness? Who knows?

Next time: More devilish werewolves.

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


quote:

Task Force: VALKYRIE hasn't much gotten an anti-magic gun, but they do have the Screamer Pistol (3 dots). If you can't concentrate, you can't cast spells. Stopping a spell in action is hard, but disrupting concentration is easier. The screamer pistol generates a beam of ultra-low-frequency sound which, at a distance, leads to hallucination and altered consciousness. At close range, it destroys the ability to concentrate and, in extreme cases, can hit the resonant frequency of the human bowel, causing it to violently vacate itself. Good luck casting a spell through that! This works on anything with a sense of balance and coherent thought processes...except werewolves, who appearently just get really angry.

The Malleus have access to the Revelationes Coelestes. Basically, they believe that magic is a pollution, like tainted blood. Historically, due to societal misogyny, menstrual blood was also seen as corrupt, so Saint Birgitta of Sweden wouldn't let her nuns ever touch altar clothes with their bare hands. The Benediction's name comes from her celestial revelations, because this Benediction highlights the 'pollution' of witches by forcing any witches nearby to spontaneously blood from various orificies - mouth, eyes, nose, occasionally vagina. ("[A] female witch might have her menses early.") No wounds, but it makes doing poo poo rather difficult.

White Wolf. White Wolf never changes.

At least Spider Jerusalem's Bowel Disruptor is kinda cool.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I want to hire someone to smack White Wolf's writers every time they try to put the word "menstrual" into a book.

And the brown note gun rules, end of story.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I wish to dual-wield the screamer gun with the Chair Leg of Truth.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Kavak posted:

I want to hire someone to smack White Wolf's writers every time they try to put the word "menstrual" into a book.

The best way to signal trans inclusion in Vampire was obviously through letting undead trans women menstruate magical blood. How dare you try to stop them. Are you some kind of transphobe? :V

  • Locked thread