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LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



theironjef posted:

Yeah, I actually kinda like the Malifaux aesthetic. Been thinking about getting some and painting them, right after I finish thinking about getting a job.

Nah man, gotta have your priorities straight. Nobody's gonna take you seriously at a job interview if you can't show off your sweet painted minis.

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ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

The Difference Engine, Last Exile, the Iron Kingdom rpg are all fine. This is the sort of cog-foppery that makes me want to throw my hobbies out and learn more about sports and lifting heavy things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps3G2hAVN3c

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



LornMarkus posted:

Nah man, gotta have your priorities straight. Nobody's gonna take you seriously at a job interview if you can't show off your sweet painted minis.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011




Hmm, I don't know what that is but it looks pretty drat cool. Gonna take a guess from the URL that it's a Dark Eldar ship?

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


ZorajitZorajit posted:

The Difference Engine, Last Exile, the Iron Kingdom rpg are all fine. This is the sort of cog-foppery that makes me want to throw my hobbies out and learn more about sports and lifting heavy things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps3G2hAVN3c

Skip the sports, take up heavy lifting and aerobic exercise. Learn you employ the mental training your games give you when the end of the world comes and your friends need someone reliant to slay the invading grim hordes with.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



LornMarkus posted:

Hmm, I don't know what that is but it looks pretty drat cool. Gonna take a guess from the URL that it's a Dark Eldar ship?

Yes, but more relevantly it's one of my old paint jobs. drat, gotta get that on the resume.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



People forget the granddaddies of all real steampunk

Karl Marx and Frederich Engels

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


Since noted Communist China Mieville is the best steampunk author, you're not wrong.

Mors, please tell me the Union section has one of Marx's quotes about 'vampire capital'.

Remember that a quarter the schools in the UA corebook would be out of date now as magickal fashion changes. There's a constant stream of new ones on the website and some are decent.
Once we get into Avatars than your mind will really be blown. Trollman isn't an adept, he's a small-time Demogogue wanna be.

quote:

The bonus material is that NetZo is really on the verge of becoming a full-blown conspiracy. They're global, clandestine and pioneers of the New Media. The main things they need are organization and operations. Conspiracies have leaders, 99% of the time. They're top down. Someone will have to run the show. Their operations will need to be picked up - their own satellite, maybe, to piggyback on all kinds of transmissions. They'll need more people, too. And they'll need a more potent Endowment. Which the game provides.

When was this written? Because Network Zero is missing it's Wikileaks - the guys who hack vampire bank accounts and Cherion Group board minutes, then release them. It's impossible to make Julian Assange MORE of a White Wolf character, so leave a gap for the PCs to do that. It's also missing Anonymous, who wear cheap Van Helsing masks and provide IT and hacking support to whatever Union op catches their fancy.
I was going to say it needs an Alex Jones, but in the World of Darkness he would have been killed when he tried to crash an Ashwood Abbey party.

The Union is how I imagine the default Hunters to be, and if my group were Supernatural fans I'd probably make them the only group at the start, with the others as antagonists, at least at the very start.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 03:08 on Jun 12, 2015

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Preemptively, can we just pretend that one sidebar about TFV (you know the one) doesn't exist? They're murky and untrustworthy enough without it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Compacts and Conspiracies came out in 2010.

And I am going to present everything exactly as written - the good and the bad.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

I would say the only reason I never liked it was because it's a pretty nasty thing to deal with if your table is kids learning to play D&D and they lack emotional maturity. Bearded women was basically saying "We put these trans punchlines in your game, go nuts everybody" at my childhood table. Lord forbid you actually wanted to play a dwarf woman, basically.

Yeah, it's frequently paired with "gosh I bet you can't tell who the dwarf women are hurr hurr", so that's always been an issue with it for me.

Young Freud posted:

BTW, was "Drow as a player race" ever discussed in the creation of 4th edition? It seems that given how popular they are that they'd just go ahead and make them a PC player race, along with just as supposedly evil tieflings.

I continue to be amazed that there are people who are still upset by drow PCs in YOOL 2015.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, it's frequently paired with "gosh I bet you can't tell who the dwarf women are hurr hurr", so that's always been an issue with it for me.

Yeah, that's the problem version. When it's just a bit of a joke about different standards of beauty and you can tell their gender by their beard it's funny. When it's the trans punchline route it's not good.

Exactly how much of Hunter suddenly turns out to be all at the beck and call of monsters? Half? Two thirds?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Kai Tave posted:

The thing that strikes me as most depressing in that Wizards Presents talking about choosing the player races for 4E is that they axed playable talking animals because they thought too many people would consider it a "bad joke." The sadder part is they're probably right, which is why we can't have nice things. God forbid D&D get too wacky or something.

Evil Mastermind posted:

c.f. people flipping their poo poo because of tieflings and dragonborn becoming core races. God forfend we have fantastical elements in our fantasy game.

I can't speak for other tabletop subcultures, but the crazy venom many folks had for 4th Edition (and 5th's attempts at "going back to the roots" by throwing out many good changes) was what convinced me that a significant strain of the D&D fandom has a conservative streak to it. I don't mean that in the political sense, more in the sense of fear of too radical a change in things, even if said changes were built atop earlier complaints.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I continue to be amazed that there are people who are still upset by drow PCs in YOOL 2015.

In my homebrew games drow PCs are always on the table, and I have one in a playtest Pathfinder adventure.

Of course, the major aversion I believe is Drizz't knock-off PCs, but aside from that I think there are other reasons. One of the problems with drow is that the majority of campaign worlds are set up so that 99% of civilization is not only going to attack drow on sight, they'd be justified in doing so considering that they are evil to the core and only go to the surface world for slave raids. A lot of drow society descriptions go further beyond than what goblins and orcs do to show that they're evil, sometimes feeling like one of those old super-edgy White Wolf books going heavy on the goresplatter and torture.

Given that a large appeal of drow PCs among gamers is to be their own Chaotic Good rebel, the GM is put in the position of either changing their society so that everyone in the world's not trying to kill them and thus having to redefine significant portions of setting history; or keep the drow as-is and putting the party through no small amount of grief as every trip to town becomes a potential series of combat.

At least, those are the most common reactions I see. Making drow non-evil (or as evil as humans are) is IMO the best solution. They can still live underground and have pet spiders and all that cool stuff, their society just has actual functioning laws and members can have genuine friendships. Petty politics and distrust by dwarves/elves can still be a thing, it just won't be tainted by omnipresent EEEEVIL!!!

Anticheese
Feb 13, 2008

$60,000,000 sexbot
:rodimus:



"Escapist from a weird underground society where the penalty for failing your adulthood initiation rite is to be fused with a loving giant spider" is enough on its own. :haw:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I never quite understood why that was a curse. Becoming a magical half-spider in a society obsessed with power at any cost seems pretty rad and metal as far as curses go.

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


Who's going to review Varg Vikernes' Mythic Fantasy Roleplaying Game? It's been awhile since this thread reviewed something really offensive.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Mors Rattus posted:

The forum address, by the way? Collective-bargaining.org. You get a logon and a password. Password changes weekly. It's not very secure, but there are a few safeguards. No real names, ever. All code name plus a number. Lower the number, earlier you joined, so it's an easy way to tell how new someone is. Second, you never discuss exact locations. Not on the board. Go to email for that. You might mention a geographic region ('the northeast') or even a really big city, like NYC, but never more than that. Third, all posts are moderated. They don't go live until the mods at least verify the post's probably not a monster or a spammer. The mods are always one of six cells, one of which is Holly Ramirez's. They rotate regularly. If, after all of that, the monsters end up on the site...well, so be it. They won't see anything incriminating, really. And if they do anything to stand out, it might draw hunters down on them. The site can sometimes be bait.

I love that this is literally Hunter-net from Reckoning, down to the username format, only without the Messengers keeping the monsters and regular humans off it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Pope Guilty posted:

I love that this is literally Hunter-net from Reckoning, down to the username format, only without the Messengers keeping the monsters and regular humans off it.

Hunter-Net was the funniest thing. It'd also genuinely endearing how hard the Union are trying.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I never quite understood why that was a curse. Becoming a magical half-spider in a society obsessed with power at any costs seems pretty rad and metal as far as curses go.

Basically in some settings Lolth would put drow who attained 6th level/hit puberty/etc a series of trials. Drow who failed the trial due to being "weak" ended up transformed into driders, and thus became outcasts.

Naturally this fell flat as a curse not just for the reasons you mentioned, but because spiders are holy animals in drow culture. It would make more sense for them to warp into something drow regard as base and worthless, like half-maggots or something.

That reminds me, I once bought a shitload of drow sourcebooks off of Drive-Thru RPG one time. Seriously folks, there's a lot of them.

If I ever get enough free time I might consider a series of them for FATAL & Friends.

How does the title "Drowie Wowie" sound for such a project?

PS Going back to the playable drow thing, I once wrote a blog post arguing in favor drow PCs to submit to the OSR blogosphere, which actually resulted in quite a bit of Fake Internet Point upvotes and a reasonable discussion on Google Plus. Ironically, Pathfinder Society seems a lot more uptight about it than the OSR, where a Paizo thread devolved into a creepy fixation on skin color and elves.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 05:37 on Jun 12, 2015

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Night10194 posted:

Hunter-Net was the funniest thing. It'd also genuinely endearing how hard the Union are trying.

One of my favorite things in H:tR is in Walking Dead where Maxwell Carpenter gets on Hunter-net and spends his time lecturing before the Messengers decide they're sick of his poo poo, and we get about a half-sentence of wraith language before the connection dies.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Libertad! posted:

Basically in some settings Lolth would put drow who attained 6th level/hit puberty/etc a series of trials. Drow who failed the trial due to being "weak" ended up transformed into driders, and thus became outcasts.

Naturally this fell flat as a curse not just for the reasons you mentioned, but because spiders are holy animals in drow culture. It would make more sense for them to warp into something drow regard as base and worthless, like half-maggots or something.

I think the thing is that Lloth was cursed with her form. She's the queen of spiders, but the spiders themselves aren't divine. Many drow are masters *of* spiders, but the half/whatever the drow venerate are the Draegloth, the halfdemons.


Of course on Eberron, they don't worship Lloth, they worshpi Vulkoor, the Scorpion God. And somewhere around Secrets of Xen'Drik, someone asked the obvious question.

The answer is yes, and it is amazing.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, it's frequently paired with "gosh I bet you can't tell who the dwarf women are hurr hurr", so that's always been an issue with it for me.


I continue to be amazed that there are people who are still upset by drow PCs in YOOL 2015.

I for one am so glad that 4e added lizard boobs to the pile of secondary sex characteric gripes that the stick in the mud fanbase of D&D can gripe over.

I wonder, I never see anyone complaining about lady dragonborn having that tentacle hair, is it because that's not a real-world identifiable gender trait? Maybe it would have been better in the long run if dwarf women had been given something similar, a significantly different gender dimorphic characteristic that wasn't just borrowed directly from human men. Like gelfling wings or something. Like, you never see lady dwarfs because lady dwarfs have a tunnel speed and why would they bother coming up?

Kurieg posted:

I think the thing is that Lloth was cursed with her form. She's the queen of spiders, but the spiders themselves aren't divine. Many drow are masters *of* spiders, but the half/whatever the drow venerate are the Draegloth, the halfdemons.


Of course on Eberron, they don't worship Lloth, they worshpi Vulkoor, the Scorpion God. And somewhere around Secrets of Xen'Drik, someone asked the obvious question.

The answer is yes, and it is amazing.

Quit stinging yourself, quit stinging yourself!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015



My next dwarf character is so gonna be a cleric fighting for love and justice who is a moe blob in every way imaginable - except for the majestic beard.

Young Freud posted:

BTW, was "Drow as a player race" ever discussed in the creation of 4th edition? It seems that given how popular they are that they'd just go ahead and make them a PC player race, along with just as supposedly evil tieflings.

Pre-4e weren't really evil to my knowledge. One of their ancestors just happens to be a demon or devil (or similar dude).

Drow on the other hand whorship demons / an evil spider goddess / other evil gods (depending on the edition and setting) with a whole culture centered around slaves, being dicks and trying to out-backstab the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
It's probably possible to just have Drow cities and/or kingdoms that are actually nice guys, but D&D has this "Only humans are allowed to have more than one culture"-thing going on.


"My people hunt and loathe me. Even my own body does, for my own poison can be my downfall."

(Though I would say this one gets way to many attacks to be balanced as a PC option.)

Oh, and has there ever been a Drider variant based on a jumping spider? That would be rad. For drows that see spiders as holy, these would be the most holiest of them all, as some jumping spiders are clever enough to come up with their own tricks and traps to kill lesser spiders.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 08:52 on Jun 12, 2015

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I never quite understood why that was a curse. Becoming a magical half-spider in a society obsessed with power at any cost seems pretty rad and metal as far as curses go.

That's one of the things they changed in 4E that made people super-mad. 4E Driders were blessed servants.

Asimo
Sep 23, 2007




unseenlibrarian posted:

That's one of the things they changed in 4E that made people super-mad. 4E Driders were blessed servants.
Yeah, it was revised in the 4e MM so that driders were those who were especially sinister and reverent and blessed by Lolth, instead of the other way around. Which made a lot more sense, but somehow pissed a lot of people off even if it was a meaningless change. Kind of like removing gnomes from the PHB. :v:

theironjef posted:

I for one am so glad that 4e added lizard boobs to the pile of secondary sex characteric gripes that the stick in the mud fanbase of D&D can gripe over.
For all the nerd complaining about the verisimilitude of lizardboobs, I've heard some fairly convincing arguments from friends that breasts are one of the obvious ways to make a silhouette clearly female by human standards, and if the guys playing can have idealized super muscled masculine dragonguy then why can't they have a clearly female dragonlady? It makes a certain sense, and it's pretty harmless to have. But it does show a lot of the pitfalls involved with choices like that too.

Asimo fucked around with this message at 09:10 on Jun 12, 2015

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


All I'm thinking is "drorpion" sounds dumb as hell.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I admit, I twitched when I saw that drow were being added to the 4E racial roster... because every person I've played with who insisted on or wheedled their way into playing one did so for the litany of special powers they got in 2nd and 3E. To them, Driz'zt wasn't a character to emulate, he was an excuse.

Fourth was a different animal, but I'm still inclined to excise drow from any game I run, or make some sweeping changes to their background to get rid of that 'assumed to be congenitally eeeeevil' thing. If someone at my table wants to play an elf that happens to be black, I don't want to explain D&D's own Curse of Ham to them.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Pope Guilty posted:

I love that this is literally Hunter-net from Reckoning, down to the username format, only without the Messengers keeping the monsters and regular humans off it.

The Messengers are still around in nHunter, too. They just talk exclusively to the Cainite Heresy. :v:

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Unknown Armies, part 10: Adepts, pt 4



quote:

The president is actually a clockwork under the control of a cabal of seven teenagers.


The Personamancer



Like the Cliomancer and Bibliomancer the Personamancer is another one of the "subtler" Adepts. They're probably the best at blending in among normal society because that's exactly what their powers are all about. Personamancers have more or less abandoned the concept of a personal identity...their might be some preferences and goals that they hold to under all the masks but for the most part they are just lies all the way to the bottom. I imagine the personamancer is probably one of the tougher Adept schools to really roleplay since their whole concept centers around a "revolving door" personality which can change from day to day, mask to mask. It's a bit like the early seasons of Dexter, where everything is just a carefully crafted role played to fit in with those around him. It makes sense because Personamancers are best played by those who are Hardened enough to become Sociopaths (especially Self hardening)

The central paradox of personamancy is much like the Cliomancers: all of their powers are built upon the idea that identity is ultimately an illusion but that illusion is also the source of all of their powers. They are obsessed with taking other identities while having none of their own, sacrificing their sense of self in exchange for their powers.

Charging Rituals
Remember, although personamancer magick is great at imitating people, you can't use that magick to generate charges. All forms of charging have to be done with purely mundane abilities.

Minor charges are generated in several ways:
*Act deliberately counter to one of your Passions (arachnophobes handling spiders, people who love the elderly stealing their pills, etc). This is really hard on your Self meter, unless you're already a sociopath.

*Wear a mask for a full day (including an appearance in public).

*Pretend, for an hour, to be someone or something you are not. You need to perform in front of a mirror or before an audience (it doesn't matter if they believe you're acting or not). You can pretend to be multiple people or things (so charades counts, as do things like LARPing, imaginary games with children, etc).

Significant charges are more straightforward: pretend to be a specific person for one full day. You've got to keep up the imitation even when no one is looking and you have to fool at least one person who knows the person you're imitating. Since this has to be done without magick, it almost always involves "remote" communication such as communicating by phone, text or email. All that matters is that you communicate with someone who knows the person and accepts you as them, it doesn't have to be in person. Obviously a personamancer with an identical twin can rake them in. A pair of personamancer twins would be an impressive set of NPCs, raking in a significant charge every day if they feel like it.

Major charges require that you fool an audience of at least 10 million people into thinking you're a major public figure. This could include posing as the president, a celebrity, etc. This is one of those things that, when this book came out, was practically impossible...but now might actually be (relatively) easy. I'm mainly referring to twitter. Hack a celebrity's twitter account and you're in business. A convincing fake account might do the trick for an immensely popular celebrity who doesn't have an account already.

Taboo
Personamancers break taboo whenever they let their facade crack and show a part of their true self to anyone else. In game terms this means acting on one of their Passions in front of anyone else. Another reason why being a sociopath and/or heavily Self hardened is very valuable to Personamancers.

Spells
Personamancer spells deal with identity: both altering someone's sense of self (removing or adding character traits for instance) or enforcing it (making it more difficult to resist passions or flaws for instance).

*The Basics (minor)
For one minor charge your face changes to match that of one individual, who you have observed for five minutes, of your choosing. Additional charges let you impersonate things like voice, bearing, and so on (it can't imitate someone's actual physique). Remember, no using this for charging.

*Here's My Idea (minor)
Doctor Who's psychic paper, or at least close. Flash any ID card. Unless they succeed at a Mind roll at -10% they see the card as whatever type of ID you claim it is. It has to already be an ID card of some kind, you can make a library card pass for a pentagon security pass, but can't do anything with a blank piece of cardboard.

*I Play One On TV (minor)
You gain a skill of your choice at your Personamancy rank (unlike similar spells you aren't using your Personamancy skill so no flip-flopping) so long as you're pretending to be someone who would have that skill. This lasts (sum of roll) hours or until anyone questions your identity as an expert (including asking for ID or credentials).

*Strip The Mask (minor)
This spell requires you touch someone's face and make a "lifting" motion. After casting the spell the subject must reveal their true self for the next minute. They aren't necessarily forced to blurt out every secret and hidden truth but they will behave completely without pretense or deception, reacting with utter honesty to any stimulus. If someone is attracted to someone else they'll visibly ogle them, if they hate someone they may have trouble not outright attacking them. Any act of deception, no matter how small, requires a Lie roll at -20% and a Rank 7 Self check. It's a powerful interrogation tool, but not unstoppable (many subjects could say, with perfect honesty, "I hate you and don't want to tell you anything."). This spell will also reveal demonic possession or other unnatural beings.

*I Am, Therefore I Think (minor)
You can convince yourself that you are actually the role you're playing. This makes it impossible for anyone to tell you're acting (magickally or mundanely), because you aren't. When you cast the spell you pick a duration (up to a day) and it lasts that long, no canceling before then. While playing the role you don't remember your real life and lose access to any skills that your target would not have (or that you don't believe he would have...if you don't know the burger chef you're impersonating is actually a secret agent you don't get to keep your Firearms skill). You do gain any known, abstract skills that your role would have (imitating a teacher might give you a skill like "Good With Children") but not any physical or intellectual abilities, even if you know about them.

*The Mirror Crack'd (minor)
Personamancers don't have a Blast, but this spell will mess up most people pretty well. First and foremost the target has complete amnesia. They still have their skills but can't use them consciously (think Bourne Identity). This forces a Rank 8 Self check. Second, every living being ignores the target (unliving beings like demons and clockworks are immune) and cannot see, hear, smell or feel them. Likewise the target cannot interact in any way with a living being (this includes indirect action that would directly affect them such as pushing something heavy on them, cutting a rope they're hanging from, etc. The subject can interact with inanimate objects but only so long as they are completely unobserved (even unliving observers like cameras prevent it). Realizing that they are cut off from the rest of the world is a Rank-3 Isolation check. This lasts a number of minutes equal to the caster's roll.

It's worth noting that while the subject is ignored they are not forgotten. Cast it on an attacker and they'll be completely invisible to you...but you know that they were there and will be back again so you can always do things like lock them in a room or simply get away while they can't affect you.

*The Tulpa Method(significant)
For the next half hour you appear to be whoever those looking at you expect you to be. If you break into someone's house and wander into them coming out of the bathroom they'll see you as someone they live with (since that's who they would expect to be walkign around in their house)...but if they lived alone they'd probably see you as their stereotypical image of a burglar. The spell doesn't grant you any skills or abilities of the person you are seen as but you instantly know the anticipated "role" and know if your actions would be inappropriate for the role.

*Identity Crisis (significant)
Like Strip The Mask this spell requires you to touch the target, placing an imaginary mask on their face. For the next four hours the victim cannot fully convince anyone of their true identity. If someone knows the victim well and doesn't have any reason to doubt their identity it will be just an irritating little niggle, but strangers are almost certain to believe that the subject is lying about who they are (whether they care depends on context). This spell is actually much more powerful when those who meet the target know about magick, since they'll assume the target is someone else magickally disguised. This also makes for a great way to support otherwise completely implausible "evil twin" or "brain swap" claims.

*Mask of The Man (significant)
This spell involves the creation of an actual, physical mask that resembles a human target of your choosing (which you have to make yourself and which must include a sympathetic link to the target). Once created the mask is permanent (although no more durable than a normal mask of its construction) as long as you are alive. When you wear it you perfectly resemble the chosen target in all ways. However, if you ever meet the target while wearing the mask it instantly loses its power. If another personamancer uses it then it'll work for 10 minutes before losing power permanently. In the hands of anyone else its just a mundane mask.

*Mask of the Beast (significant)
Like Mask of the Man, This spell is used to create a mask of an animal. The mask either raises a Stat by 20% (say Body for a Bear mask, Speed for a Cheetah or Bird mask, Mind for an Owl mask) or gives you a Skill at your Personamancer skill level. For 3 additional significant charges you get another ability. For two extra charges one of the abilities you gain may be mythically associated with the animal rather than a real-world ability. For instance, an elephant mask that gives you photographic memory or a cat mask that lets you inflict bad luck on others or suck the breath from infants (which it states gives you a significant charge). The mask has to include a body part from the animal and if the animal has a strong bite you can make a mask with a hinged jaw which inflicts fire-arms damage as a bite attack.

You can create masks of entirely mythical beings but only be including body parts that were once believed to have belonged to the subject...the body part itself. For instance, its not enough that you have a narwhale's horn as a stand-in for a unicorn...it has to have been a narwhale horn that was passed off as a unicorn's (meaning it is likely to be quite old). Amusingly, one of the easiest is probably going to be a dragon mask: rob a creationist museum of "dragon bones" and you're in business.

The mask lasts only a year and a day and if you wear one longer than 1 hour at a time it loses power for 12 hours. Like before other personamancers can use it briefly but depower the mask in the process.

Yes, you can be spiderman.

*Mask of the God (significant)
This is the biggest of the personamancer's "mask" spells. The mask has to be extremely well crafted and beautiful (requiring an Major skill check unlike the previous masks, and impossible to make without an appropriate skill) and takes a week's work. Each mask must be of a specific Avatar archetype and include a sympathetic link to both the archetype and to a true Avatar of the same archetype. When you wear the mask you gain the Avatar skill for that archetype in place of your Personamancy skill (can't have both at once). If you wear it for more than 3 hours you come under direct control of the archetype itself until the next sunrise (at which point the mask loses all power).

The mask can only be used by the creator and if an Avatar of the archetype destroys it they permanently gain 5% to their Avatar skill. A strict reading of the rules means that a personamancer could really buff up avatar allies for just an investment of time and materials...but participating in that would probably count as a violation of the Law of Obedience and the participating Avatar's taboo.

*Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Significant)
This spell is powerful, but really nasty. To cast it you have to cut someone's face off (and successfully resist a Rank-7 Violence check) and then reverse the skinned face and put it back on the victim. If you fail the spell (either due to failing your roll or the Violence check) then the guy is just left with a mutilated face and nothing happens (the spell can't be repeated with the same victim). If you succeed then the victim turns into a completely perfect duplicate of the personamancer. The effect even changes their fingerprints and DNA. The victim has all of your memories and character traits (including stats, skills, passions, etc) and none of their own. The only differences are that the victim takes permanent damage from the ritual (which inflicts 1d100 damage) and they don't have the personamancy skill.

The victim is still technically in there...something like Saturn's Horse or Spellbreaker could bring them back. If the spell is broken then the victim regains the lost wound points and their memories (although they remember nothing from their time under the effects of the spell). Depending on the nature of the spell used to bring them back they may or may not change appearances.

The copy of you is controlled by the GM and knows that they are a copy (remembering everything up until the spell was completed). They may or may not cooperate with the original depending on his intentions (its unlikely even a copy of the personamancer would be willing to die for the original) and how sane they are (this sort of thing is certain to inflict some Self damage).

*Personamancy Major Effects
Create a mask that can turn a madman sane, pour your spirit into a mask after death, switch identities perfectly with someone else. turn someone else into an Avatar.

quote:

Nearly every nursery rhyme originated as teaching tools for magicians. You don’t even want to know the magickal meaning of “Three Blind Mice.”

The Plutomancer


Screw the rules, I have money

Like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark the Plutomancer's super-power is fat stacks of cash. But unlike Marvel and DC's lunatic vigilante billionares, Plutomancers get power from earning rather than spending money. Normal, rational economics says that currency has no intrinsic value and is simply a stand-in for the value of goods and services you have performed which can then be exchanged for other goods and services. For Plutomancers the exact opposite of true: stuff isn't valuable, work isn't valuable, time isn't even valuable...money is. Money is not a way of keeping score or a means to an end...money is the alpha and the omega. Money is the ultimate "common denominator", everything can be converted to money and money can be converted into anything. It's like matter and energy. The more money you have, the more power you have.

Of course, the paradox of plutomancy is that it's about "having" rather than "using". They must live simple, plain lives because actually spending their money weakens them.

Charging Rituals
There's an important note on the Law of Transaction for Plutomancers: You obviously can't earn charges on money conjured or gained by magickal means...but you also cannot be paid for doing magick itself! No earning charges on money gotten in exchange for spells. This also means of course you can't use magick to indirectly gain money (for instance using magick to assist you in performing a bank robbery means to charges from the robbery, even if the actual act of getting the cash is purely mundane).

To get a Minor charge you need to get at least 100$ in one "transaction". It's not important how you get it but it must be in one "lump" payment and must take the form of pure currency: cash, check, money order, direct deposit, whatever. Limited forms of currency don't work (no gift cards or "store credit") and while it's not officially stated anything that isn't directly exchangable for other major currencies is probably not acceptable (so no bitcoins or Bison Bucks). It doesn't matter how you get it: find a wallet full of cash, get a paycheck from work, rob someone at knifepoint or steal it from a safe. Each payment has to be from one "source" (so two people giving you 50$ doesn't count) and single payments over 100$ (but under 1000$, see below) gives you no additional benefit. Being paid in installments is fine but at least one day must pass between each payment for it to count as a separate payment.

Significant Charges follow the same rule as Minor charges, but the amount of each payment must be 1000$ at once. Again, lump sums from separate sources, additional amounts are lost. Being paid 50k$ is worth 1 significant charge, being paid 1k$ by 50 people is worth 50 charges. Being paid in installments requires that a week go by between payments to count.

Major charges are big deals: 100 million or more. At once.

Taboo
The plutomancer taboo is the act of spending money. Any time you spend more than 1,000$ on a single item, payment or service you lose all your charges. Multiple items on a single bill count, as does a single item paid in installments whose total is over 1000$. Things like loans or interest are handled on a payment-to-payment basis. Notably, the act of getting charged is not a taboo-breaker so long as you don't actually pay, neither does losing money through robbery or misfortune. Giving away money does.

Spells
Plutomancy is about acquisition. You can draw things to you: objects, information, fortune, friends, etc. This is through subtle manipulation and coincidence, not actual magnetism.

*Malfunction (minor)
You can screw with any machine that handles monetary transactions. Order something online and make it so your credit card doesn't get charged. Kick a soda machine and make the cola you want drop out. Stick a library card in an ATM and withdraw 1000$ from a random account. This spell is limited to values no greater than 1000$, but within that range it's really useful.

*Bargain of Pyhhrus (minor)
The next attack against you automatically hits...but your opponent takes the same amount of damage.

*Fiscal History (minor)
By touching an object you get to see visions of previous owners, by seeing every moment during which the object has been exchanged (this isn't limited to just being bought or sold, it works on anytime the object has changed owners). Each owner is shown in reverse order and each vision takes 30 seconds (2 minor charges per minute the spell goes on).

*I Know Your Price (minor)
When you cast this spell, name an action and this spell will tell you what it would take for this person to perform the action (and that action specifically). A transaction must be involved...plenty of people would be willing to kill someone if threatened with death...you aren't "giving" them anything in that context, this spell reveals what they would accept as "payment" in exchange for performing the actions. Obviously there might very well be multiple answers to the same question (which you get is determined by the GM) but it's usually the lowest price that the person would willingly accept...otherwise almost every question could be answered with "a billion dollars and immunity from prosecution."

*Mercenary Will (minor)
This is the Plutomancer Minor Blast spell which doesn't hurt you...it forces you to hurt yourself. In most cases this involves biting your tongue, smacking your head against the wall, etc. In most cases it does normal blast damage (sum of the caster's skill). However if they're near something really dangerous (active construction equipment, exposed live wires, etc) or carrying a gun the spell will instead inflict firearm damage as they use that to hurt themselves. Other than a gun the subject has to be in a situation where they can simply reach out and horribly injure themselves...nothing complicated. However, unlike normal Blasts the subject can resist...by suffering a Rank-10 Self check (in addition to the Rank 5 Unnatural Check). The possibility of making someone jump off of a building is never brought up.

*Bankrupt Will (Significant)
The personamancy Significant blast which inflicts firearm damage like normal and costs the opponent their next turn (because they're busy mutilating themselves). It doesn't do any extra situational damage but it's not possible to resist.

*I'm The Man (Significant)
For the next half hour everyone sees you as their boss...specifically the individual they report to or get paid by (not just generally believing you have authority), or one of their bosses if they report to a committee. You're immune to the effect if you don't have a boss (or if you're your own boss) or an Avatar of the Masterless Man. The imitation is perfect (including voice, face, figure, etc) but it doesn't grant you any special knowledge of the person you're being seen as. If you encounter a group who all report to a single greater authority that's who you appear as (so entering a military meeting means you appear as the superior to the highest ranked person present)...but if you encounter a group who all have different bosses (such as a group of friends who all work different jobs) they will each see you as a different person. Once you start imitating someone the spell will fail if that person shows up.

*Washington Speaks
Write your name on a bill (20$ or less, or equivalent in other currency), name a target and spend the money. The bill will, over the course of a few days) find its way to the target. Once it leaves the target's possession it will return to you (again over a few days) and when you hold it you get a vision (including sound) of what the target was doing while he had the money on his person (not just possessing it). The spell is well known enough in the occult underground that many "in the know" examine bills for signatures. However, the plutomancer can be totally cheesy with the spell: legally changing their name to a symbol, swear word, etc. Make it look like graffitti, or even use microdot printing.

The spell also makes an effective, but slow, form of communication since you can always write additional info on the bill as a "message in a bottle".

*Pluto's Curse (Significant)
This spell makes someone poor. Really fast. It only works on someone with less money than you have however (so unfortunately you probably can't turn Donald Trump into a hobo with it) and it only works on individuals, no countries or companies. You have to know the target personally or be able to see them when the spell is cast. A day later, they lose a penny (that is their net value decreases by a penny, they gain nothing from it). Then John Leguezamo's character from the Happening comes along and explains geometric progression. The loss doubles every day, meaning that even the richest target (assuming you were richer than they were) would be bankrupted within less than 40 days. All the losses are without gains, but can be caused by a wide variety of events: robbery, embezzlement, accident, etc. (money never simply ceases to exist although it might be physically destroyed by a fire). One downside, it only works on pure money. It won't ruin your houses or cars or anything...but unless they know they've been cursed most victims will liquidate resources in an attempt to stem the tide of losses. The spell stops once the victim has no cash left.

*Devil's Deal (Significant)
A more extreme version of "I Know Your Price". This spell lets you know the victim's deepest desire. If you can give it to them (which may or may not be possible depending on the desire) then you can compel them to perform one service for you in exchange. Any service. It doesn't necessarily have to be something the victim can guarantee, or even be likely to accomplish but once they're asked they must work ceaselessly to try and make it happen. The goal you set now becomes the victim's new greatest desire and doing anything contrary to it is a Rank-10 Self check.

*Plutomancy Major Effects
Make any object yours. Direct the world economy for a day. Ensure that you meet any person of your choosing (random coincidence bringing you together).

quote:

Cats are powerful alpha-wave generators and are being used by secret government agencies as a renewable source of energy.

Next time Pornomancy and Urbanomancy. I'll try and stick the Videomancer in their too to avoid a dangling adept.

oriongates fucked around with this message at 12:18 on Jun 12, 2015

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Cythereal posted:

The Messengers are still around in nHunter, too. They just talk exclusively to the Cainite Heresy. :v:

And the Knights of St George :v: :v:

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Hyper Crab Tank posted:

All I'm thinking is "drorpion" sounds dumb as hell.

The writers agreed, they're called Scarrow.

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


Optional rule: Mask of the Beast masks must act like the animal masks in Hotline Miami. Yes, you can seriously hurt somebody by opening a door:
Personomancers are one of those Adepts that would make the real world make MORE sense if they existed. It'd give a concrete reason for those people who spend years pretending to be other random people online.

Or you can use it to play Hedwig & the Angry Inch.
Or Elvis.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 14:00 on Jun 12, 2015

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 2: Phase World Part 13: Cosmo-Knights!!!!




The Cosmo-Knights are the latest iteration of how Siembieda wants knights to be in everything. And I don’t even mind that, it’s a fantasy thing, sure. The downside is that he keeps making really clueless historical references to knighthood and re-printing modified versions of that drat chivalric code from England. Anyway, the Cosmo-Knights are believed to be direct creations of the Cosmic Forge, and that is true though they don’t directly admit to it. They get super-duper powers, enough to “go toe-to-toe with a starship!” and are expected to uphold good and righteousness in the Three Galaxies. A few of these granted such power fail the test and become Fallen Knights which are very dangerous, though some of them retire to lives of contemplation to try and purify themselves again.


they don’t get a two-page color spread but it’ll do

Cosmo-Knights seem to be chosen fairly randomly from among the sentient beings of the Galaxies. Already-supernatural races like dragons and prometheans aren’t chosen, though the line on what is “supernatural” is sort of up for debate. The Forge contacts the chosen candidate, and its appearance varies to each individual. They are asked to become one with the Forge and given time to think about it, as the path of being a freaking space knight may be fraught with peril. If they accept, they get summonable super-armor and a special weapon and lots of powers. It doesn’t specify if the Forge chooses races from non-starfaring planets--suddenly giving a space-god to a bunch of stone-tool users seems like it’d be a startling change.

The code of honor for Cosmo-Knights is again a slight edit-transposing of the “chivalric code” from England. It’s mercifully a bit shorter, but includes things like “Live to defend the Cosmic Forge and all that’s good.” :smaug: Cosmo-knights are told never to seek power directly. Some become “powers behind the throne” and risk falling, because obviously a perfect space knight can’t rule directly. They’re also told to hide themselves unless needed, and follow local laws unless they must be broken, which is reasonable enough. One reason they’re tolerated in the “good” space nations is that they don’t just stomp all over whatever local governments have to say. They have specific rights in the CCW, including declaring a state of emergency on a planet, and other assistive powers. The Empire doesn’t like them for obvious reasons, and pit their “Invincible Guard” not otherwise mentioned against them. The UWW treats Cosmo-Knights differently from world to world, as they aren’t really highly unified. They are dirty mages though so they are more likely to be bad people.

These are available as optional PCs, and there’s a warning note that they may not be appropriate for all campaigns because of their super-powerful nature. That seems reasonable enough except for how Rifts hasn’t really taken much notice of such issues before.

Cosmo-Knights have to be Principled or Scrupulous. They get pretty excellent attribute rolls, natural MDC of 4D6x10 plus more per level, and 500 MDC from their armor. Their armor is described as having a “kink” in that it takes full damage from magic, as well as psionics and all physical attacks and--you know that’s not like a specific vulnerability at all. What they actually have is a resistance to “energy” attacks, which means they resist lasers, plasma, non-magical fire, etc. Those do no damage at all, including things like flying close to stars. Most guns listed in this book are lasers in one form or another, but there are also a crap ton of missiles which would render these guys into a pile of glowing ash in one round, plus a lot of secondary autocannons and of course items from other worlds which renders that energy resistance pretty piddling.

They can also fly over “one light year per level of experience” and have to meditate ten minutes to activate this, and seem not to know that a light year is a measure of distance rather than speed. In an atmosphere they can fly at “mach one per level of experience.” Assuming they can fly one light year and then have to meditate again at first level, that’s about 6 light years per hour. A fairly typical ship is 8 light years per hour. So, comparable-to-much-faster as they level but they can’t carry passengers.

Offensively, they can fire energy blasts that inflict 1D6x10 MDC and in space they can spend 50 PPE to double damage, or 100 to do x5 for a full round. That’s a lot of PPE and starships would sort of shrug, if they’re meant to fight those.

They also have “Galactic Awareness” so they never get lost, well, 89% never get lost, or 92% on land, for some reason. They regenerate though not at combat speeds, and of course there’s the armor. They don’t have physical needs (ever? while wearing it?) so they don’t technically ever have to remove it.

They can also choose to create a Cosmic Weapon for the cost of 50 permanent MDC or PPE (or combination thereof) and gain a summonable returning weapon of any design they like, which can do melee (with bonuses for PPE spending but not as good as the blasts) or energy blasts (gaining +10 and +1 to strike for 40 PPE), and also generates a force field for 10 MDC per 1 PPE spent. The force field ability makes this a reasonably good deal as you can substantially increase the character’s durability for a reasonable price, the melee/shooting stuff is enh, less good than their default energy blast. They get 1D6x100 PPE to start so they have a pool to power this stuff with.

Cosmo-Knights are beings reborn and so get their own set of skills that forgets their former life expertise. Mostly. They get a few choices of their own. They can’t have cybernetics of course, and generally they don’t keep much in the way of material possessions--they don’t really need them.

So yes, this is a pretty powerful class, but not so game-unbalancing as to require a special warning label. They can resist capital ship laser weapons but there are so many things that would just rip these apart that I am really not impressed. Like even the smallest fighter in the game has enough missiles to destroy one of these in a single round. They’re fairly comparable to some of the suits of power armor presented later, but better able to self-repair and can travel independently in space which is nice but hardly game-breaking.

And since there is a cosmic force for good, there must also be one for evil. Also, Paladins must Fall. This is the laws of the universe and just how genre works not something cargo-culted from past games. Fallen knights are exactly that: Cosmo Knights who have somehow betrayed their code of honor somehow, egregiously enough that they lose most but not all of their powers. These are also available as optional PCs, or can work as villains, etc.

Most Cosmo-Knights who lose their powers commit suicide or become hermits or something, apparently this happens a lot. They still have very long lives and a certain amount of their lingering power, so some of them of course become the opposite evil of the good they once were, rather than a nuanced in-between. “Neutral” is not a permissible alignment in Palladium games! They can try to regain their powers, but “only one in a thousand ever succeeds.” That seems harsh. Especially when the ‘fall’ thing is really poorly defined to start with--but w’ev, you can be questing to regain your lost might. Fallen knights start at 1st-3rd level, meaning they were ‘beginner’ Cosmo-Knights who fell early on, and goes on to say that the player should explain how they lost their powers. This is way, way more background detail than is asked of any other class--want to play a Hydra? Sure! No hooks needed. This is honestly something that all classes could use, especially some of the weirder ones. It has some suggested paths and everything.


switching to this class also requires walking forward menacingly at all times or risk losing still more powers

For stats, they get seriously torn down: -2 to -6 across the board except for PS, which loses 22 from the original 3D6+32. This does more or less put them at normal human attribute levels though their PS is still supernatural, because that distinction is useful and not confusing. They lose half their MDC, their cool-looking armor, their weapon gets reduced power, PPE is halved, they lose 20% from skills--which is too much honestly, CKs did not have huge skills. Half-damage from energy weapons instead of none. They do get first level spells/powers of a magic or psionic OCC for...reasons, but not the full OCC. It’s confusing but supposed to make the Fallen Knight more unpredictable I guess.

The listing is truncated a little bit there like, abruptly. If you are making a Fallen Knight as a new PC it doesn’t tell you what equipment you get, since you now need it again, or even what XP table to use--presumably not Cosmo-Knight again? Plus the weirdly bolted-on magic/psionic powers make it to your advantage to have fallen at 1st level, like basically out the gate and flat on your face, or else you gimp your advancement. The class is more balanced than a base Cosmo-Knight with a built-in arc, and comes with an angsty redemption storyline. Even though it originates from the stupid fall mechanics it comes out as a more fleshed-out option than a lot of offerings.

Next: Aaaaaaaaaaliens!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Compacts and Conspiracies

The game presents three possible truths for the Aegis Kai Doru. Millenia ago, predating any mythical floods, humanity lived in paradise and was enlightened. This version, by the way, is what the Aegis believe is true. This ancient paradise - Atlantis, Mu, whatever - factionalized, as men do. The Guardians of the Labytinth, the forefathers of the Aegis Kai Doru, were great artificers, led by the mighty Daedalus. He and the Guardians watched over the Four Labyrinths, the Labyrinths of the Crocodiles, the Marsh, the Isle and the Tomb. The greatest of these was the Labyrinth of the Isle. It was both a vehicle for enlightenment and a prison for two ancient gods. One, the Mistress of Honey, was a seductress whose body was a hive of golden bees. The other, Asterion, was a man with the head of a bull, the size of a giant. Were they freed, they would breed, giving birth to a race of monsters that would plunge the world to darkness.

Of course, this prophecy came true. The factions of witches that ruled the paradise grew bitter and jealous, especially towards the keepers of enlightenment, the Guardians. War came, great and terrible in its magic, and the earth itself tore asunder. The Labyrinth of the Isle was shattered, freeing the ancient gods. Naturally, the Guardians were blamed and their magic was stolen. They were cast out. Paradise fell. From the unholy union of the gods, shapeshifters were born, and the original witch factions fled. Even today, they exist, lording themselves over men and each other. This is why the Aegis Kai Doru must always war with the witches and shapeshifters.

Option two: Maybe that's not quite a lie - maybe it's mostly true. But maybe the Aegis aren't who they claim to be. Sure, the real Guardians of the Labyrinth got cast out. And they didn't survive the dark. Maybe the shapeshifters, children of the Mistress of Honey and Asterion, killed them. Or maybe a tribe of lowly, nonmagical humans crept on them and killed them by ambush and secrecy. What if, in paradise, not all were equal? Those at the fringes, their homes lit by guttering flames, would be jealous of their magical masters. They might well fight the outcasts, or find their corpses. They might steal their secret artifacts. And whatever story they told their children would never include 'and we beat their real owners to death and stole their poo poo.' So maybe the Aegis Kai Doru are claiming a legacy that is a total lie, a fabrication made by ancient thieves.

And option three? There's a lot of mystical factions out there that would love to see werewolves and mages dead. The Pure. The Seers of the Throne. The Banishers. Other groups. Pick one. Or more than one. They've been manipulating the Aegis Kai Doru for centuries. It wouldn't be too hard - convince the children of dead hunters that they're from a legacy of ancient, special power. Fake some evidence. People want purpose, they want to believe. Just give them some purpose, set them on a task, and then sit back and watch. Oh, and give them some magic weapons, of course.


Stealth option four!

We then get a discussion of the hierarchy within the Aegis. They are led by the Inner Circle. Five women, four men, always. All of them must be part of an ancestral Aegis lineage - at least five generations in the conspiracy. They aren't all Greek, but do mostly reside in Athens, and they oversee a grand collection of dangerous and potent artifacts. They are active hunters still, extremely dangerous ones, and so Athens is relatively safe from werewolves and witches - certainly the unsubtle ones. They're also rather insane - y'see, their labyrinth-walking involves psychoactive drugs for a metaphorical labyrinth. They also may or may not control the actual Minotaur's Labyrinth below Crete. Below them are the Sagaris, the great heroes of the Aegis. A sagaris is also called a labrys, a sort of Greek double-headed axe representing Zeus' lightning. And...yeah, they kill things. They don't often live long, but they are very powerful. Imagine Achilles meets Indiana Jones. Below them are the Kopis - a Greek sword that was used in war and as a sacrificial knife. The Kopis are local leaders in the Aegis, commanding and guiding them within a single city or territory. They are also judges, deciding which monsters must die. They are more women than men - the Aegis tends to prize women over men for leadership. Below them are the Doru, the war spears. They are warriors and teachers, quite good but not yet mythic. Below them, the Xiphos, or short swords. They are useful, capable but not yet famous or tested. They are good, but not yet needed, and their job is to distinguish themselves. The lowest rank is the Aspis, the shield. They are students, logistics, cannon fodder and tools. They are not to go out on their own, but some do, and if they survive, that initiative is usually prized.

The Sword get Occult (Identifying Magic). Their job is simple: go. Hunt. Kill skuls witches and shapeshifters. No mercy. They favor weapon relics over any others, but they aren't thugs. They are strategists, often. But their job is still a simple one. In secret? Well they talk a good game. They find and kill their foes. But their leaders don't tell anyone why: they want their magic back. They were kicked out of Paradise, their power stolen. They will stop at nothing to reclaim their true power, that they may not be forced to rely on relics.

The Temple get Crafts (Traps). They're often derided as passive, but their job is to be guards. Someone has to do it. And they're very good at it. It doesn't mean they're bad fighters, either. They monitor, defend, and sometimes they have to kick monster rear end to save a cache. Plus, they have the best toys. Now, technically everything they do is above board. They just don't tell the rest of the Aegis about all of their artifact caches or labyrinths. They've hidden some of the most potent, disastrous tools - after all, the Sword are too militant, and it would be bad if they got their hands on some of the weapons the Temple knows about.

The Scroll get Academics (Research). They exist because someone has to hunt down information. They're not a large group, but they know a lot. They catalog relics, map monster territory and keep a roster of enemies and their weaknesses. And, of course, they test out new relics. Which is often a really risky endeavor, but hey, everything's got a cost. Secretly? They're going soft. They have learned that not all witches and werewolves are clear and present dangers. Some seem to be doing good, even. So they fudge the numbers a little. They've even made allies among the monsters, to get information better. If the Sword ever found out...well, there'd be a civil war.

So, new relics. There's Barnabas-in-Amber (3 dots). See, the Aegis like severed heads. They often are useful, if you can figure out how to make them talk. (They actually keep the severed heads of their best hunters, to see if they become relics. Some do.) This one is from a hunter just before the American Revolution, Barnabas Tuttle. He was a violent but not brutish man, very keen on understanding the natives he often had to slaughter to get at their relics. He was killed and scalped during a hunt, but his fellow hunters sewed the scalp back on, to preserve his wisdom, then cut off his head and preserved it in tar, honey and herbs. It takes nothing from its user, but any who holds it when it starts to moan will hear it in their sleep for eight solid nights, which will allow no restful slumber. See, Barnabas-in-Amber detects relics. Once within a mile of a relic, it starts to moan softly, getting louder as it gets closer. Once within a hundred yards of a truly potent relic, its teeth will chatter and its eyes will roll.

The Beauty Jar (5 dots) contains the severed head of buxom 50s starlet Jayne Mansfield. She died in a car crash, age 34, when a truck swerved to avoid another truck. Her decapitation is said to be a myth, but that is itself a myth to cover up that her head was stolen by a mad doctor hoping to reanimate an undead bride. The Aegis stepped in and took it back. The head itself is well-preserved in a brine-filled jar, but the hair is rotten and resembles seaweed. To use it takes a lot of willpower, plus it curses your driving skills. What you do is drink from the brine, which will mystically reproduce itself over a few days. This grants Fame 3, Striking Looks 4 and the ability to use any social skill as if you were trained at it. Your body becomes intensely attractive, lasting until you kiss someone. That's the only way to end the power. The kiss is profoundly foul, tasting of bug repellent, rot and brine. You're going to destroy your relationship with whoever you kiss, too, giving a mutual social penalty to each other for a month.

The extra material is an idea: what if the Aegis' oath to fight was a mystic oath? First, you get sent into a maze to perform some dangerous task and sacrifice a full dot of Willpower. You get it back if you succeed and solve the maze, but if you don't, you've lost it for good. Then you must speak the vow, probably over a relic like the Oath Stone (3 dots). This stone was once kept at a temple of Zeus. That stone was large, but this is just a tiny fragment of one of the primary so-called Iuppiter Lapis. It's small enough to hold in your hand, and has a double-headed axe engraved on it. You must spill your blood on it when you make your oath, but if you do, you get a bonus to anything involving seeking relics, and a greater one to harm any mage or werewolf. Period. It lasts forever. Done.

And if you break your oath? Maybe let a witch or shapeshifter live? The game suggests bad poo poo happens. Maybe relics stop working for you at all, at least in supernatural ways. Maybe you get a massive penalty to fight mages and werewolves. Maybe they get a bonus to kill you now.

Next time: Some people call it bud, some people call it skunk, some people call it, "Sir can you open up the trunk?"

GimpInBlack
Sep 27, 2012

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


It's been a long stretch of depressing games about the misery and fundamental corruption of the human condition. It's enough to make anybody depressed. Let's see if we can't lighten the mood with some good old-fashioned kids on adventures. That's right, at long (long) last, it's time to start in on:



Further Afield is the first (and so far only) for-pay supplement for Beyond the Wall. Published earlier this year, it expands Beyond the Wall's Scenario-based play into material suitable to a long-term campaign. It covers world-building, expanded rules for character progression, travel, and exploration, and adds a new system in the form of Threat Packs. Threat Packs are a bit like large-scale Scenario Packs, except that they dictate the course of events over the length of the campaign, rather than setting up a single adventure. If you've played Apocalypse World or its descendants, you'll recognize a lot of Fronts' DNA in Threat Packs. This book gives us four: the Blighted Land, the Grey Prince, the Imperial City, and the Vengeful Wyrm. We'll talk about those later, but first let's dive into the Shared Sandbox approach to campaign building.


Holy poo poo, Saxons!

Shared Sandbox

Further Afield recognizes three basic structures for building a campaign: there's the traditional campaign where the GM does all the work of world-building and drops the players in. There's the zero-prep option of just running multiple Scenario Packs back-to-back (possibly even returning to the same Pack from time to time, since different rolls on the random tables can produce very different stories). And finally, there's the shared sandbox, where the GM shares world-building authority with the players. As you've no doubt guessed from the title of this section, that's the one Further Afield focuses on.

The chief advantage to this approach is, of course, a much higher level of player buy-in. Since the players are coming up with major locations to populate the world themselves, it's safe to assume that they'll be excited to go explore the adventure hooks at those locations. The downside is that you can lose that sense of mystery and discovery, for the very same reason. Fortunately, Further Afield has us covered.

To start the shared sandbox process, the GM takes a blank piece of paper (or the campaign worksheet that comes with the book) and places the characters' home village in the center. Then you go around the table and let each player roll 1d8 to determine what kind of location they'll be placing on the map. It might be a Major City (and here we're talking like Rome or medieval Paris), a Source of Power (like a sacred stone or a wizard's tower), or maybe a Monster Lair. At this point you're not mapping things out precisely, so the player should just specify a general direction and an approximate distance from the village (near, moderate, or far; roughly 20-40 miles away, 40-80 miles away, and more than 80 miles, respectively). Exactly how many of these you create depends on how many players you have and how long the campaign is intended to go, but the recommendation is two per player.

So what's involved in creating a major location? The d8 roll gives you a broad archetype, but the player needs to flesh that out a little bit with a description and a hook. Maybe that Monster Lair is the home of a local river goddess and she's been flooding out of season, or maybe that Human Settlement far to the south is the home camp of a raiding tribe who are attacking the outlying farms. Character playbooks and Scenario Packs can provide inspiration here; lots of them have vague mentions of mysterious places that make great fodder for this step. Finally, the player decides whether her character has seen this location herself, heard about it in rumors from travelers or local gossips, or learned about it in old stories or books. This comes into play in the next step.

Once everybody has created their major locations, each player gets an opportunity to add a little embellishment to one of another player's locations, then the GM commences with fuckery. For each location created by a player, the GM rolls a secret Intelligence (for learned about locations), Wisdom (for seen locations), or Charisma (for heard about locations) check for the character. The results of the check indicate how accurate the character's knowledge of the site is, ranging from "hilariously off-base" (the "ghosts" are just old man McGuillicuddy trying to scare people away!) to "not only completely accurate, but here's another hook for you." This is how Further Afield deals with keeping that sense of mystery alive in a shared sandbox game, and it's one of my favorite mechanics in the book. You do have to be mindful of what, specifically, the player is excited about and not be a dick by rug-pulling that, but it really adds a nice bit of tension when the party starts exploring the map.


Geddit? Geddit?

The rest of sandbox creation is the group kibitzing, tying things together, figuring out what Threat Packs might apply to the setting, what the characters' motivations for adventuring are, and stuff like that. Figuring out where the party wants to go first is also advised, so the GM can prep for the first adventure. If languages are going to be an issue in the campaign, this is also when you start nailing down the languages spoken in the campaign world. Finally, there's this nice little sidebar:

Further Afield posted:

Telling Stories

As an interesting play variant, consider making an actual session of gameplay around the creation of the map and its major locations. Begin the session with the characters in a safe space, like the local inn, and have them tell stories to one another in character while they make the map. This can really drive home to the players just how inaccurate their stories about the major locations might be; it is much easier to remember that Gareth’s tale around the fire about seeing figures in the ruins might be sketchy than it is to remember that John, the player, was not necessarily right when he made up a campaign detail.

The GM can even award experience after such a session, giving 500 xp or so to the players and a bonus of 100 xp to the teller of the most popular story.

I kind of love this as a way of reinforcing the difference between "character knowledge" and "player-authored fact," and would absolutely recommend doing this. Maybe run a Scenario Pack adventure first, just to establish the characters and their world a bit, then do this as the denouement before kicking the campaign into gear.



Next Time: The GM takes the map home and starts fleshing it out, and we add Threat Packs to the campaign world.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



People always ask me, what's my secret. Electrolysis? Botox? Cosmetic surgery? Well, I think it's time to let the secret out.

I drink the preserving brine from a jar containing the severed head of an actress.

And my nights never end with a kiss.

~Ocean Kiss~, by AKD. Some things are worth protecting.

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

I legitimately don't understand why Plutomancers are supposed to be weird or "out-there" enough to get magic power. I don't get a "crazy outsider" or even a "scary manipulator" vibe off of them, I get a "this is what wide swathes of the US actually believe" vibe. That merits magickal powerz, for some reason?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



AmiYumi posted:

I legitimately don't understand why Plutomancers are supposed to be weird or "out-there" enough to get magic power. I don't get a "crazy outsider" or even a "scary manipulator" vibe off of them, I get a "this is what wide swathes of the US actually believe" vibe. That merits magickal powerz, for some reason?
Plutomancy encourages a very specific lifestyle. $100 gets you a minor charge, $1000 gets you a significant and then in order to get a major charge you need to make a deal worth tens of millions of dollars. Is it easy to amass power as a Plutomancer? Yes. But if you want to amass it fast you have to basically live life focusing on payment to payment to payment. If 50K only gets you one significant charge, but 50 payments of 1K gets you 50, then what most Plutomancers are gonna do is chase getting those multiple payments to the exclusion of getting a major charge. So maybe you become a repairman and you always only charge $100 or $1000 dollars depending on the job done. Or you take up crime and insure places against bad things happening at the tune of $100 a week. What Plutomancy does is it forces you to chase the money and chase short-term cons to get the power now to amass most of the power you'll use because you were broken in the pursuit of this magick and it's the only way it makes sense to live now.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Either that or they're running low-profile pyramid schemes.

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unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

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

Plutomancy also specifically excludes conspicuous consumption because otherwise you lose all your magic. Unless, of course, you can con the guy into selling something valuable for much less than it's worth...

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