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Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

I just want to say that Gradenko's Wizards Presents: Races & Classes is amazing so far. I'm copy-pasting the stuff to save in a Word doc, although it would be cool to have it on the InklessPen Project site.

Anyway, it's always neat to see the design notes of folks on how they came to the decisions of specific game mechanics. I loved 13th Age for doing this as well, and I wish more RPGs would try something like Portal's Developer Commentary.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 22:34 on Jun 17, 2015

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occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Nessus posted:

Geist sounds like The Frighteners meets Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, which makes me think it would be really awesome to play.

Also, NIGHTBANE will resume soon... did people want commentary on the Simbieda alignment boilerplate or not? It's the same poo poo as every RIFTS book I've ever seen but I think it would be an interesting topic for at least brief discussion.

It might be worth a brief refresher anyway, plus some commentary on that alignment system vis a vis the source material and presentation of the PC monster race.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Mortal Remains

Because mummies are so rare, the compacts have less direction and more 'this is an instance of this compact running into a mummy.' Ashwood Abbey's Mexico City chapter tend to think of themselves as stuck in a shithole of a city, but one with a thriving sex tourism industry that they make good money off of. Or, rather, that they did, until Santa Muerte showed up. Mexico City's had a rash of cults revering the Saint of Murder, and it seems she's somehow gotten a physical analog. The Abbey's never seen her in person, the mummy behind all these cults - indeed, they don't know for sure she's real. But they do know there are two cult factions - drug dealers who kill in her name, and middle-aged mothers and grandmothers that are cleaning up the streets and protecting children, prostitutes and others in the name of Santa Muerte. It's hard to say who the mummy backs, but the mothers are having enough success cleaning up the streets that the Abbey believes they have supernatural aid...and that's a problem, because it means revenue is drying up.

The Long Night has secretly been supporting the Lord's Imminent Return Church since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement - they were one of the first anti-segregation churches in Cleveland. In the last six months, though, the African-Americans who traditionally went to the church have been stopping coming. They won't really say where they go any more, and the Long Night suspect a monster. This time, they're right. Their congregants have been drifting to the joyless Church of the North Star, a place that's strangely hard to find, even when you know where it is. The leader is certainly a charismatic man with a strong aura of authority, but his services are confusing, lackluster and quote nonexistent scripture. A mummy is starting to build a cult.

While the Aegis Kai Doru seek artifacts, it is the Loyalists of Thule that command the New York import and export concerns, thanks to strong ties with the dockworkers and longshoremen. For forty years, they have been cataloguing shipments, occasionally intervening if dangerous antiquities are involved. (They have been foiling the Aegis for years - the two groups in New York do not get along.) However, an elderly rabbi named Levi has approached them, claiming he has found a dangerous artifact, which must be safely destroyed and its energy depleted. He's even told the Loyalists he shares their need to pay an old debt. They have no idea who he is.

The Nagoya Japanese division of Network Zero are mostly vloggers, and they've accidentally stumbled onto something big. Most of them are English teachers and immigrants who are fascinated by Japanese urban legends, and a few of them ran into a strange, traditionally-dressed Muslim woman who got hit by a car. Later, they saw her around again, perfectly fine. And again, and again. They've begun stalking her, thinking she's a ghost caught on film. Truth is, she's a mummy trying to build a life for herself and hide from some ancient enemies she can no longer truly remember. She knows and is terrified that they'll be after her, and she's even willing to work with the NetZo guys and teach them how to spot other mummies if it means an early warning against people seeking to kill her for good.

Professor Amir Ibn Youssef of the Ancient History department of Cambridge has brought a problem to his colleagues in Human Biology. They're fond of him, because he's big on history of science, but he doesn't know that they're Null Mysteriis. They don't know he's a mummy. He has a rare genetic marker, spread throughout his descendants across the world. It gives those descendants a degenerative and contagious disease, which has lain dormant for centuries but is now re-emerging. He wants them to help him find a cure - and he's becoming obsessive. He's afraid his rage will go out of control if he is stymied in his search or the issue can't be solved scientifically, and Null Mysteriis has no idea how literal he's being.

The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia is currently engaged in a struggle with the Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology over visitors and tourism. The Academy has made a very unlucky purchase now in that conflict - an Egyptian tomb's contents, which they are reconstructing. They have no idea they've just brought in a very angry mummy. It has no idea what's going on, where it is or who's around it, and it's mad. It's been killing what it thinks are slaves and foreigners to regain its power, perhaps its sentience. The Union are not happy. It's ancient, indestructible and no matter how many times they blast it to dust, it keeps coming back. They're desperately trying to find a way to stop it for good while it keeps waking up and going on rampages by night.

Next time: People who actually know what mummies are.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


Josef bugman posted:

What the hell is up with Mummys in this game line? They are ancient Nigh unkillable god puppets from before the dawn of History? The creatures they serve may be dead and they have a full gamut of almost apocalyptic level skills?

Because I kind of want to know more about Mummies now.

Mummy is a pretty weird game. It does a lot of strange things, some of them work, some of them don't. Personally I like it, but YMMV.

But anyway! Mummies are former citizens of a long lost empire from the late stone age that spanned most of North and East Africa, the Levant, and parts of Mesopotamia. The empire was called Irem and it was ruled by a cabal of weird probably-not-human sorcerers called the Shan'iatu. At some point, they did something called the Rite of Return, which turned select citizens into mummies. But surprise! Turns out the whole Rite of Return thing wasn't really about making mummies! Mummies were just a a tool the Shan'iatu need for the Rite, which involved sacrificing their empire and sinking their city into the underworld in a cosmic power grab for godhood.

Mummies have little to no memory of Irem and ZERO memory of the Rite. They wake up periodically to fulfill missions given to them by their gods (who may or may not be the Shan'iatu), recover relics that were stolen from their tombs, and once every 1,461 years (one turn of the star Sirius). They wake up at max power and as they wander around doing their mummy duties they slowly leak their power out until they have to go to sleep again. As a result, they really don't have a lot of time to fool around and usually leave everything up to their own personal cults. The exception is during Sothic Turns, when they can pretty much wander as long as they like (mummies on vacation). But all in all they're really hard to kill, and even when you do take them out they can come back several times just for the hell of it. They have some bonkers powers ranging from biblical plagues to summoning nameless horrors to rewriting fate so now a meteor is destined to hit where you're standing right now.

Mummies major enemies are the Deceived, another Iremite guild of betrayed Shan'iatu and their own weird quasi-mummies that they've grafted chunks of their souls to, and the Shuankhsen, former Iremite slaves who were sacrificed to a destroyer goddess as part of the Rite of Return and are now back for revenge.

Luminous Obscurity fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Jun 17, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Mors Rattus posted:

Their congregants have been drifting to the joyless Church of the North Star, a place that's strangely hard to find, even when you know where it is. The leader is certainly a charismatic man with a strong aura of authority, but his services are confusing, lackluster and quote nonexistent scripture. A mummy is starting to build a cult.
"Punch anyone who gets in the way of getting my artifacts back, but know that you may already be dead. So sayeth Kenshiro, Book Eight, Chapter Nineteen."

Erebro
Apr 28, 2013


Luminous Obscurity posted:

Mummies major enemies are the Deceived, another Iremite guild of betrayed Shan'iatu and their own weird quasi-mummies that they've grafted chunks of their souls to, and the Shuankhsen, former Iremite slaves who were sacrificed to a destroyer goddess as part of the Rite of Return and are now back for revenge.

Both of these antagonists are also tragic and awesome.

With the Shuankhsen, the tragedy is front and center; they're slaves of Ammit, far more than the Arisen are slaves of the Shan'iatu. And they remember; Ammit didn't erase their ability to recall Irem, to the point where they have true Morality rather than Memory like most mummies. Which means they know exactly who is responsible for their sorry state, and that the Arisen were the oppressors who made even their living days a complete hell. Ammit fuels their hatred with her own entropy and hunger-based powers; each and every Shuankhsen is a cannibal, since eating Arisen is the only way to get more powerful...and like Arisen, they can lose power just as easily if they upset Ammit.

The Deceived have eternal unlives that suck even worse, if at all possible. See, it's not the Deceived mummies themselves that hate the Arisen, it's their Shan'iatu guildmasters. The Shan'iatu guildmasters, that as noted, each Deceived has a mental clone of sharing their skull after the so-called temakhs' botched attempt to usurp their brethren went wrong. This isn't like geister and Sin-Eaters though, because each temakh is an egotistical, self-pitying, and generally insane nihilistic brat with an appreciation for art that would unnerve Richard Pickman (each one is themed after a different art form). It's not all bad; besides having extremely powerful Fate-based magic, the temakhs also give their hosts power over a different Vice and the ability to feed on artistic passions-as well as grant supernatural powers to and derive mystically-enforced loyalty from every member of their cult.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Mummy is a really cool game, but it ramps up probably the worst problem WoD books tend to have to 11. It is just bursting at the seams with impenetrable walls of long-winded, repetitive writing. LO's description up there is a really good brief on the game, and you will find nothing like it in the core book.

If I wanted someone to get into Requiem 2E or Lost 1E, despite their flaws I would be totally willing to just hand the book to them and tell them to take it home. They don't need to read the whole thing, but they can flip through it and maybe read a good chunk of whatever catches their fancy.

I would never do this with Mummy, because the splat descriptions alone are each 3-5 pages that could have easily cut out 1-2k words of redundant mystical-y navel-gazing bullshit. Some of the cool super powers are two pages long by themselves. The minor powers are all over the place, from "Here's a +2 to one kind of bullshit" to a page-long description of "Make a social attack and supercharge a dude's Vice." Many of them are split into bulleted lists that don't organize well at all, because related ideas and bonuses will be scattered from one end of the list to the other.

Also, target number shenanigans.

I like Mummy a lot, and that makes me angry. :argh:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Mummy is not a game I like, and that's mostly because I can't get through it. It's dense, jargon-y and suffers from a lot of oWoD problems that shouldn't be part of nWoD, not least of which is the lead developer on it being really possessive and mad when some cool idea comes up that doesn't fit his vision (something that will come up in a bit re: Mortal Remains), and also the fact that it goes out of its way to keep hidden and secret knowledge from the GM and players, deliberately and openly, in order to sell more books to reveal that deliberately hidden information.\

Also, TN-shifting. gently caress that.

e: Oh yeah, and major important setting NPC Mummy Jesus who has already solved the mummy problem, who is very much not you but maybe you can study under him he's so awesome.

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.

The main thing I don't like about Mummy is that there's the seeds of a much better game than both Geist and Mummy trapped inside of it because it gives rules for lucid (And thus playable) ghosts.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Mummy has had some really solid supplements in Book of the Deceived and Sothis Ascends, I don't know if the writing team on those was any different from the core book.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Kellsterik posted:

Mummy has had some really solid supplements in Book of the Deceived and Sothis Ascends, I don't know if the writing team on those was any different from the core book.

The farther away you get from the core book, the different-er the writing team becomes. It's a real goddamn shame, because the opening salvo for a new game line shouldn't be "shove this whole brick of jargon down your throat."

To be fair, some people come and go. I think the delays, new territory and a resultant lack of good editing might have more to do with the core's problem.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Mors Rattus posted:

e: Oh yeah, and major important setting NPC Mummy Jesus who has already solved the mummy problem, who is very much not you but maybe you can study under him he's so awesome.
Huh, that sounds like Horus from original Mummy, although the original books kinda called him out as a huge douchebag.

I loved Mummy 2nd ed. despite its flaws and hated Resurrection, because Mummy 2e was genuinely different from what had become the WoD Formula, and Resurrection was 150% WoD Formula. It has the same problem Geist has with the whole "Oh no you're not [Name of the loving Game] exactly, you're these people that this ghost has superglued itself onto."

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


Mummy is one of those games where I feel like I shouldn't like it because it does all this stuff that I normally don't like, but it somehow manages to work in spite of (or in some cases because of) it. As it is, I basically view it like Mage 1E where you needed the core + a supplement to really make it work.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I would honestly say Book of the Deceived is one of the worst books in the entire nWoD. If the Mummy splats were overwritten, the Deceived splats are a hundred times worse.

(Playable ghosts are even worse because it takes the personhood of ghosts, which is a big and important mystery in several other gamelines, and gives it a canonical answer, "ghosts are people if they take this merit, and if not, not.")

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




I remember an Onyx Path developer coming around and calling Mummy "a loving goodbye". And whatever he meant to say by that, it ain't a great game.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Rand Brittain posted:

(Playable ghosts are even worse because it takes the personhood of ghosts, which is a big and important mystery in several other gamelines, and gives it a canonical answer, "ghosts are people if they take this merit, and if not, not.")

But Wraith. :smith:

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Pope Guilty posted:

But Wraith. :smith:

Wraith existed in a universe where that wasn't an issue!

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Rand Brittain posted:

Wraith existed in a universe where that wasn't an issue!

You could say it was Another Time, Another Land! :v:

Good Things About Mummy

Once you dig out all the gems, it really is full of good ideas, buried as they are in a mountain of :words:. The whole backstory itself is really cool, with an ancient prehistoric empire of half-gods turning their whole civilization into a spell ritual, maybe, with a good mixture of hooks and constraints. You arise in glory and have to marshal your resources to fulfill your goals before you Descend back into Duat. You've got ready access to ancient cults and cool tombs. Basic mummy powers are mostly always-on affairs with some bells and whistles added on by Willpower, and while your slots for them are relatively limited you have a lot of attractive choices to plug into them. Utterances, the big gently caress-off powers, are at least evocative and impressive, helping to convey that you're an eternal sorcerer-revenant thingy sent back by alien gods to impose terrible edicts on the human world, even if that edict is "gimme that magic pottery." The tension between trying to reconcile your sense of individuality with the fact that you are an immortal servant of terrifying monsters is really cool.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Doresh posted:

I hope you mean Persona 3, where summoning involves pretend-headshotting yourself.

All the Personas, really. Say what you will about the first two games's gameplay, they had great atmosphere and an interesting story.

Also, while P5 isn't out yet, it did give me the idea of a Krew of Geist who "Steal from the Living to give to the Dead".

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Plague of Hats posted:

You could say it was Another Time, Another Land! :v:

Good Things About Mummy

Once you dig out all the gems, it really is full of good ideas, buried as they are in a mountain of :words:. The whole backstory itself is really cool, with an ancient prehistoric empire of half-gods turning their whole civilization into a spell ritual, maybe, with a good mixture of hooks and constraints. You arise in glory and have to marshal your resources to fulfill your goals before you Descend back into Duat. You've got ready access to ancient cults and cool tombs. Basic mummy powers are mostly always-on affairs with some bells and whistles added on by Willpower, and while your slots for them are relatively limited you have a lot of attractive choices to plug into them. Utterances, the big gently caress-off powers, are at least evocative and impressive, helping to convey that you're an eternal sorcerer-revenant thingy sent back by alien gods to impose terrible edicts on the human world, even if that edict is "gimme that magic pottery." The tension between trying to reconcile your sense of individuality with the fact that you are an immortal servant of terrifying monsters is really cool.

Yeah, I dislike Mummy primarily because it could have been a lot better and wasn't, and the reasons it isn't better aren't very good ones.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I think one of Geist's big problems is that it's hard to have a big enemy for your group. You're just dealing with one-off ghosts. They can be big threats that take a lot of dealing with, but the kind of threat you're always used to.

Of course you could just be punching out vampires and stuff in which case that's cool.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

wiegieman posted:

I think one of Geist's big problems is that it's hard to have a big enemy for your group. You're just dealing with one-off ghosts. They can be big threats that take a lot of dealing with, but the kind of threat you're always used to.

Of course you could just be punching out vampires and stuff in which case that's cool.

One of the Stygian Legions from Wraith makes its primary activity, aside from their duties to Stygia, murdering the people who murdered its members. That wouldn't make a bad purpose for a Sin-Eater group.

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.

The immortals blue WOD book makes a nice hit-list for Sin-eaters who want to focus in the Abmortals stuff that doesn't really get touched on too much corebook. Especially Blood Bathers and Harvesters.

The Persona/ Stephen King's It-style game I want to run at some point is basically Geist/Innocents, with a group of kids who got killed by some sort of monster and now are planning to kill it back.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Would slashers make good villains mechanically for geists? Thematically they seem like a fairly good fit.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Terrible Opinions posted:

Would slashers make good villains mechanically for geists? Thematically they seem like a fairly good fit.

You could totally run a Hack/Slash style campaign, but without all the tone-deaf, needless fanservice!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Geists are just so far out of a slasher's weight class though. The slasher can't hurt them, and at least one (probably half) of the geists can Rage him to death.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




So no Freddy vs Jason?

point of return
Aug 13, 2011

by exmarx


Hyper Crab Tank posted:

The pornomancer in particular strikes me as hideously depressing if you think about it for more than a few seconds. They're basically taking an act that's usually intimate and loving or at least fun, and turning into a rote mockery of itself stripped of any intimacy or enjoyment. They basically become unable to enjoy sexual activity at all, don't they? It just becomes a sweaty, exhausting exercise in imitating something you can't actually have anymore.

Isn't that what being a porn star is like, though?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Nightbane - Rollin' them Bones

We resume in the character creation section. Can you survive this darkness?

Step 1, the 8 attributes and their bonuses. Hilariously, this is basically D&D. Roll 3D6 for each of them. If you get a 16-18, roll an extra D6 and add it.

Those attributes, in case it's never come up:

Intelligence Quotient - IQ. The exact IQ is equal to your IQ stat times 10. Yes - I suppose you could detect player characters by their trailing zeroes. If your IQ is 17 or better, you will receive a one time bonus to all skill percentages, because very smart people are always very good at things. (Or at least confident.)

Mental Endurance: Duh.

Mental Affinity:

Physical Strength: Duh

Physical Prowess: Dexterity

Physical Endurance: Constitution.

Physical Beauty: Comeliness.

Speed: Max running speed.

There is also a chart for various bonuses. Basically if your stat is over 16 - and keep in mind that, curiously, you CAN'T have a 16 in this system, save I guess through stat damage - you get some scaling bonus. Unless it's speed - that'd just be silly.

This breakdown is pretty obvious, with the addition of Mental Endurance and Speed as a separate stat being the only notable bits.

There's a bunch of rules about throwing crap. Key takeaway:

quote:

Throwing Heavy Objects

A character cannot throw more than he can carry.

Words to live by.

quote:

Optional Rule: Normal weapons are in danger of breaking when wielded by somebody with supernatural strength. A good rule of thumb is to assume a weapon is in danger of breaking whenever total damage inflicted exceeds more than three times the weapon's maximum base damage — in the case of the IDS sword, more than 24 points of damage might break the sword.

Every time that much damage is inflicted, there is a 01-30% chance that the weapon will break. Heavy, sturdy weapons, and very well-crafted blades (a master smith's katana, for example) can withstand more damage; do not roll unless damage exceeds five times the weapon's maximum damage.

Magical weapons and artifacts are basically indestructible and are at no risk of breaking.

Step 2: Hit points. It involves your PE.

quote:

Some players will have a character with a lot of hit points, but don't get too cocky, a gun or even a knife can whittle you down to size in one melee round and a supernatural monster might chop a character down with a few punches. Others will find themselves with a character who has only a handful of hit points (as little as 3). Don't despair or feel cheated, you'll just have to use cleverness and cunning in avoiding direct confrontations until you've built up your hit points or acquire some body armor.

Nightbane also uses SDC, but not MDC, which I am suspecting stands for Manga Damage Class.

Anyway, HP loss. People die if they are killed. If you take a lot of damage you could hit a coma and roll on minor injury tables. Or major ones.

quote:

80-89 Weakened immune system and fever. The character is weak, has caught a virus and suffers from a constant lowgrade fever, chills, and fatigue. Reduce P.E. by half, P.S. and P.P by 25%, reduce attacks per melee round and combat bonuses by half, and Spd by 40%. Furthermore, the character fatigues twice as quickly as normal.
And I bet the Preeverts cut your disability payments, too!

Step 3, character class. Helpfully the "Nightbane" racial character class covers you. It briefly touches on OCCs and PCCs, which leads me to an interesting observation in this system: While the idea, obviously, is to make it so it's hard to stack up bonuses (I recall in RIFTS you could, say, become a generic soldier or a Borg after you spent a few years as a Juicer if you got good die rolls) doesn't this open up some questions about RACIAL INEVITABILITIES? What if you want to be an orc or something? I suppose, to be fair, that if you're basically just a regular jackoff and have no bonuses beyond sharp teeth or blue skin, that's not an RCC.

Anyway, then we get to Alignments.

There are seven alignments in this, and I believe all Palladium, systems.

The GOOD alignments are Principled and Scrupulous.
The SELFISH ones are Unprincipled and Anarchist.
The EVIL ones are Miscreant, Aberrant, and Diabolic.

But before we get into these, a word from our sponsor:

quote:

Neutral
First of all, there is no such thing as an absolute or true neutral. All people tend toward good, evil or self-gratification. An absolute true neutral could not make a decision, go on an adventure, kill, or take any action of any kind without leaning toward good, evil or self-gratification. It is humanly impossible and is, therefore, eliminated in the context of this game. (I realize that some of the philosophers out there may disagree with this, but that's a topic for philosophical debate and not a factor of this game. Sorry, no neutrals).


Anyway, alignments are kind of dumb, but these actually seem to clumsily approach the idea of having an ethical code which better suits a fictional archetype's code of ethics and behavior patterns. Simbieda even cites them by name in some cases. I could see the gooey protoplasm from which later storygames might have grown.

Principled characters are goodie two shoes. Superman, the paladin, and so forth. They will be honest, forthright, so forth. They will NEVER torture for pleasure. They will NEVER break the law unless conditions are desperate.

Scrupulous are like Clint Eastwood movie heroes. (Not Batman! I'm encouraged.) people will be honest... to good people. Never kill for pleasure. Never torture for pleasure, but may use "muscle." It's unclear what this means -

Oh yeah. Anyway, this guy is edgier and is explicitly said to be willing to bend or break the law, distrust authority, and so forth.

Unprincipled! This is Han Solo. He keeps his word but may lie and cheat. He won't kill an unarmed foe (neither of the good guys would harm or attack one either) but may take advantage of one (presumably by robbing him or taking his keys). He won't use torture unless absolutely necessary.

Anarchist! This person is still, like, relatable, you can hang out with him, but this is where it starts to get edgy. This is where a mercenary who is JUST a mercenary would lie. He MAY keep his word. He isn't LIKELY to kill an unarmed foe. He SELDOM kills for pleasure. He'll torture for information, but not likely to torture for pleasure.

And then, evil. What is evil exactly?

quote:

All evil characters are not bent on universal genocide or domination over all living creatures. They are not all maniacal people actively seeking to harm innocent people. Nor are all evil characters sadistic and untrustworthy. Many evil characters may actually seem kind or likable.

Evil alignments are a step beyond the self-gratification of the selfish alignments. Evil characters are ruthless individuals who are willing to say or do anything to achieve their goal. Human life has little meaning to them, and friends tend to be (but not always) people to use, and discard when they are no longer of value. Evil aligned people do not automatically slay any good aligned person because of different ethics and philosophy. All the better to use good to achieve their own goals, for the end always justifies the means.

Miscreant! This guy is self-serving and yeah OK he's gonna torture people. Boy, lots of torture going on. I wonder if this is just a lesson of PC behavior.

Aberrant! This guy will keep his word of honor and so forth - sort of like Dracula. Why you aren't basing your entire game - indeed, life - around living by Dracula ethics beats me.

Diabolic!
Alright this guy is just super evil. They kill for pleasure and torture for fun.

Supernatural creatures are often evil. If they are evil, they often stink of it, in a way that a psychic sensitive can smell. Normal humans who get up to evil didoes, summoning up what should not be, and so on, do NOT radiate this kind of aura. Nor do Nightbane or Guardians or Wampyrs. Be aware, brave psychic.....

After this is XP, which is boring, and then stuff on insanity, drugs, and so on. Drugs are treated as a universal thing. All drugs are the same. Don't smoke a weed.

quote:

General notes concerning drugs:
* Takes 15 to 20 minutes to take effect.
• Effects last 45 minutes to two hours.
• Remains in system, even after the high is gone, for 48 hours.
• Addicts need a continual supply, taken at least once or twice a day (or more often, depending on the drug and desired effects).

Drug addiction can be cured, and requires a willingness to seek treatment and being slowly weaned off its dependency by gradual substitutes. Total withdrawal, or going "cold turkey," is the sudden abstinence from any drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms (cold turkey)

First Week: -35% on all skills, -8 on all combat skills, violently ill: nausea, vomiting, cramps, etc. Requires regular observation and facilities. 75% likelihood of taking the drug if it's available.

Second Week: -20% on all skills, -4 on all combat skills, very weak, shaky, nauseated. 50% chance of taking the drug if it's available.

Third Week: -10% on all skills, -2 to strike, parry and dodge. Weak and insecure, but feeling considerably better. 28% chance of taking the drug if available.

Fourth Week: Completely detoxified, only psychological addiction remains. 14% chance of taking the drug if made available. Suggest continued therapy/counseling.

The next six months: This is the battle to stay dry. 10% chance will return to drugs if under extreme pressure.

After those six months: There is little chance of turning to drugs, even if under pressure; 3% chance.

Note: A character can attempt to fight addiction repeatedly, despite numerous failures to do so.
And on that cheerful note, this section draws to a close. Next time on Nightbane we'll brush over the enormous list of tedious skills and possibly combat and psychic powers! Learn the mystery of PPE.

e: Learn the mystery of PPE... with this guy.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 07:25 on Jun 18, 2015

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Of course you can have a 16. Roll a 15, take General Athletics, get a +1, and it's a 16. You just can't roll a natural 16.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



occamsnailfile posted:

Really, 4 million for a 550,000 credit grav harness? You guys are getting ripped off

At last, some realism in RIFTS.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Unknown Armies, part 13: Avatars, pt 1



quote:

Many high-ranking policemen are initiates in a school of law-based anti-magick. They use the power gained from upholding the law to reinforce morality. They’re fighting a war against a group of corrupt cops who use power from oppressing the innocent to further their own goals. Nearly half of police actions are somehow involved in this conflict.

Now, lets get into the list of Avatars. I expect this'll go a bit quicker as Avatar entries are usually quite a bit shorter.

The Demagogue



The Demagogue represents the charismatic politician, the passionate preacher and the rabble-rousing mob-leader. Their role is not specifically "leadership" so much as it is "explanation". People look to them to make sense of the world and to provide understanding, justification and reassurance. They have the power to inspire belief in others and to take control of dialogue whether on a personal, community or even national scale. The Demagogue does not need to be honest or truthful...it's important that people believe in them but not the other way around. But by the same token some are perfectly earnest and sincere (not that this means they're pleasant...you can be an honest and sincere neo-nazi after all).

Taboo: The Demagogue can never admit that they were incorrect (especially publicly or to his believers). They can "update" their position to correspond with new information or claim that they always held their current position, using as many lies, half-truths and weaseling strategies as they like...but they can never outright say that they made a mistake or that their previous beliefs were incorrect. So basically...politics as usual.

Suspected Avatars: It's probably easier to list the career politicians who haven't channeled this Avatar (consciously or accidentally). Those who are unaware of the nature of the Avatar generally max out at 11% (the amount that can be gained by sticking faithfully to the taboo for 14 weeks). It's widely believed in the underground that both Hitler and Winston Churchill were intentionally channeling the Demagogue.

This brings up one of the issues I've noticed with Avatars in general, but its a bit more glaring with those like the Demagogue. Being an Avatar is presented as acting in accordance with the archetype and gaining power...however from a mechanical perspective it's all about what you don't do, not what you do do (heh...doodoo). That is, to start channeling the Demagogue all you have to do is refuse to admit that you're wrong for a month, then continue for 10 weeks until you hit 11% and can start spending XP. That's all, you don't need to have people who listen to you (or even try to get people to listen to you), have a high Persuasion/Charm skill or really do anything that imitates your chosen Archetype. There are things provided like a list of symbols that resonate with the Archetype and it suggests that having these symbols present somehow strengthens your bond with the Archetype but there is no mechanical support for it.

So for instance, so long as you absolutely refuse to admit you're wrong you could be a MMO-playing shut-in with 10 Hardened Isolation notches while still channeling the Demagogue at 90%. In fact, being completely mute would technically make it quite easy to avoid admitting fault. Likewise you could be completely pacifist Executioner (you can a pacifist Warrior as well but that actually isn't a contradiction).

Now, all-in-all its a relatively minor issue because Avatar channels are generally good for specific things and so it encourages use by players who're already looking to play "in character" as their chosen Archetype. But it still bugs me a bit personally.

Demagogue Channels

1-50%: The Demagogue can use his Avatar skill to try and adjust the viewpoint of anyone he can speak with one-on-one for an extended period, typically between 15-30 minutes. After "explaining" things to the subject you can make an Avatar roll. In some cases this just allows you to substitute your Avatar skill for Charm or Persuasion skills when it comes to convincing them of something. However, it can also be used to "prepare" a subject for an upcoming Stress check, allowing them to ignore the next appropriate stress check that day. For instance, if you're leading a group of witch-hunters out trying to take down Adepts you could take each member aside and explain to them the sort of things they may encounter when it comes time to bust down the door of the cult you're hunting and prep them for an Unnatural stress check. Or if you're leading a cult of impressionable youngsters and you need to hand one of them an UZI and send him to gun down the bunch of magic-haters who're hunting you down you could tell him about the glory of "the cause" to prep him for the inevitable Violence check so he doesn't freak out.

You have to have a good idea of what exactly might be happening in order to suitably prepare your subject. It must be clear which stress gauge will be protected and each character can only have one stress gauge protected at one time. You also can't use this ability on yourself.

51-70% At this level a successful Avatar skill check gives you an idea of what a person wants to believe. For instance you could use it to tell if an occult investigator truly wants to find evidence of the supernatural or if they're just going through the motions. Or you could determine if a would-be convert is actually willing to join your cause or religion. This works on groups as well, letting you sense their general mood and what they're willing to accept.

71-90% At this level the Demagogue has a power similar to Cliomancers, they can slip ideas into the collective unconscious which filter out into the world. The power is more subtle than cliomancers however, which can be both a strength and weakness. The Avatar simply spends a day meditating on the idea and makes a skill check. Success puts the idea "out there" in the world. While Cliomancers can simply plunk specifically phrased sentences into everyone's mind, this instead insinuates a new concept or idea that is then accepted (or rejected) depending on how much it clashes with direct evidence. For instance an idea like "tap water is explosive" is likely to be dismissed out of hand due to the lack of exploded sinks...but an idea like "George Washington was a pedophile" might take root due to a lack of any available direct evidence against it. People will begin to think it just somehow makes sense...people will start to write "shocking but true!" books on the subject, academics will start to come up with papers proposing evidence for the idea, etc. This doesn't necessarily imply that this idea will become accepted as true or even become mainstream...but its out there.

91+ Tell someone something and roll your Avatar skill. A success means that they believe it. The idea can be as simple or as complex as you're able to express...you could probably yell out "you shouldn't shoot me!" before getting blasted by a hit man but you couldn't convince him that his boss is plotting against him and has actually arranged this whole situation as an elaborate death trap and the only way to stay alive is to fake his own death and skip town as soon as possible without getting some time to talk. The complexity and absurdity of the idea determines how long the belief actually lasts. Telling an already devout christian that "Jesus wants you to help me build a new church" is probably going to stick around more or less indefinitely...but telling them "Jesus has come to earth and is living with me in my apartment disguised as my overweight cat. If you come home with me and give him catnip we can go meet his dad!" will probably only last a few seconds...it may get them in your car or in the door of your house but they'll probably think better of it very quickly. Performing Self-violating actions ("you need to kill your wife and bring me her head or you'll die!") allows the subject to resist by making a Self-10 stress check.

quote:

Clove cigarettes with a diamond emblem on them are used to pass charges from one mage onto another. Nobody knows exactly who makes them.

The Executioner



The Executioner is the embodiment of premeditated and targeted killing. Although the Avatar's listing claims that they are not assassins, the role actually fits them perfectly...not sure why it claims otherwise. The most important aspect of the Executioner is that they are killers in the service of some higher authority...the Executioner carries out the sentence, they do not pronounce it (so no Judge Dredding). The Executioner is also explicitly a killer, a cop who locks up criminals is not an Executioner (nor is one who guns them down in the street) nor is the politician who supports the death penalty but doesn't pull the switch themselves. Finally, Executioners are precise...they kill only those chosen to die. A soldier on the battlefield is not an Executioner, but a sniper taking down designated targets might be.

Taboos: The Executioner's taboo is sentencing their victim to death themselves. When the executioner kills it must be specific targets and at the behest of some authority that the Executioner accepts...it could be a mob boss calling a hit on a troublesome politician or a superior officer ordering a special operative to take out a terrorist. It is also a violation to hesitate during an assignment, if you (for any reason) choose to spare your target or call off the job without permission you break Taboo. Executioners can refuse to take an assignment without penalty and can break ties with their accepted authority...but they can't do it during a mission.

It is possible to wiggle a bit within the bounds of taboo...an Executioner could get away with deliberately misinterpreting his "boss" when it comes to a job. For instance an executioner who really wants to murder someone could wait until his boss says something that could be interpreted as an order ("I wish that bastard would just drop dead") and can even goad their boss into doing so without breaking taboo. Likewise they can liberally interpret statements to indicate that they should spare a target, or contact their boss with information that their assignment might have unforeseen consequences and allow their boss to choose if they should go ahead or not.

Suspected Avatars The kings of england are believed to have had Executioner servants (one example is the "three good knights" who killed Thomas a Beckett) and certainly Executioners were involved in the bloodier bits of history such as the French Revolution.

Executioner Channels

1-50% When assigned a target by your accepted authority you may Flip-Flop any rolls you make in combat with that target. However, you can only have one target at a time and cannot change targets until the current one is dead and you must have been given a reason why the target must die. This just refers to the use of this channel, an executioner can be instructed to simply kill someone and do so without breaking Taboo...they just don't get to flip-flop. Likewise they can be assigned to kill multiple targets by their authority but they'll only be able to flip-flop against one of them at a time.

51-70% You can give someone the crazy-eye. Specifically by locking eyes with someone and make an Avatar roll you can force them to make a Violence check (rank equal to the 10s place on your roll). In combat this takes an action and forces your victim to sacrifice their next action regardless of success or failure.

71-90% When attacking your designated target (as per the first channel) you can add up to 20 points to a Firearms or Struggle roll that has already succeeded. You can even exceed your skill total and still count as a success. So for instance, if your Melee Murdering skill is 60% and you roll a 45 you could add 20 to bring it to 65 and still hit (inflicting 11 damage + weapon)...but remember you can add up to 20...so you could instead add 15 to bring it to 60 because that would inflict more damage (16) or if you've got a big enough weapon you could add only 10 to get a matched success with 55.

91+ Nothing can inflict penalties on you in combat anymore. Not magic, not being tied to a chair, not being blind, on fire and hanging upside down from a helicopter. You can still be prevented from attacking someone (say by being strapped to a table)...but so long as you can at least attempt to hit someone then you can do so without penalty. Basically you can re-enact Black Widow's introduction scene from the Avengers whenever you like.

quote:

Cats have their own school of magic, which is a bit like dipsomancy, except with cat toys. How do I know this? My cat told me. Why do you ask?

The Flying Woman



The name is a little archaic but the Archetype of the Flying Woman represents a woman who can and does break free of society's restraints and mores. The Avatar of the Flying Woman isn't blindly rebellious, she can choose to accept advise or even leadership from anyone (male or female) but it must be her free choice...if she doesn't want to follow she mustn't. The Flying Woman is all about freedom: freedom from judgement, freedom from oppression and freedom to chart her own course in life. The Flying Woman is specifically a female Archetype and only women can channel her...the masculine equivalent is the Masterless Man.

Taboo: Avatars of the Flying Woman must make choices purely on their own merits...shying away from a course of action because others would disapprove or try and stop her breaks taboo. Notably this means that many of the famous "cross-dressing" women throughout history are not Avatars of the Flying Woman (or are at least breaking Taboo), the Archetype demands boldness and trying to make things more palatable to others is a violation of taboo. The Flying Woman Avatar must also be self-reliant and never ask others to do something she is capable of doing herself.

Suspected Avatars Amelia Earhart is believed to have possibly been the first Avatar of this Archetype, and if not she probably is the one who defined it for the modern age.

Flying Woman Channels

1-50%: You can flip-flop any failed Self, Helplessness or Isolation check so long as the new result would be below your Avatar skill.

51-70%: You can freaking fly. Just straight up. You need to make an Avatar skill check every round in combat or every minute outside of it to stay aloft, but if you succeed you can move 10 feet in any direction per round. Honestly, it seems like this might have been a case where the writers couldn't think up a good channel for this level because actually just flying around is probably one of the most blatantly supernatural things anyone can do in UA, let alone for an Avatar (which are traditionally much, much more low key). The only things that really get close are Dipsomancy/Entropomancy Blasts and Epideromancer transformations.

71-90% You can overcome any attempts at restraint or imprisonment. Make an Avatar skill roll and knots loosen, cell doors unlock and you can slip free of any attempts to grab or hold you. You have to roll for each impediment, but the definition is very, very broad. For instance if an Avatar is handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser driving down the highway she could make one roll to unlock the handcuffs, another to open the doors and a third to stop the car so she can get out safely. This includes Magick (including mental/spiritual control). It can't stop a straightforward attack however.

91+ 9 times per day you can flip-flop any roll so long as the result is under your skill (which at this point it almost certainly will be).

quote:

One of the most powerful adepts in the world resides in Alert, in the North-West Territories. It’s worth the trip.

Next we'll tackle the Fool, The Masterless Man and maybe the Merchant.

oriongates fucked around with this message at 10:08 on Jun 18, 2015

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


point of return posted:

Isn't that what being a porn star is like, though?

Exactly the point. They're Pornomancers, not Sexomancers. Hence, interpreting them as silly, oversexed free-love hippies or something seems totally wrong to me.

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:

Anarchist! This person is still, like, relatable, you can hang out with him, but this is where it starts to get edgy. This is where a mercenary who is JUST a mercenary would lie. He MAY keep his word. He isn't LIKELY to kill an unarmed foe. He SELDOM kills for pleasure. He'll torture for information, but not likely to torture for pleasure.

This is pretty weird if you actually know any anarchists, or at least the holier-than-thou ones who inhabit every punk scene and vegan restaurant. Some of these guys would fail a Self check if they ate honey.

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008


point of return posted:

Isn't that what being a porn star is like, though?

Depends really; from what the Ask a Pornographer thread in A/T says, some are like that- it's a joyless job, but for others, it's the greatest job ever. Depends on your mindset, I suppose.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Luminous Obscurity posted:

But anyway! Mummies are former citizens of a long lost empire from the late stone age that spanned most of North and East Africa, the Levant, and parts of Mesopotamia. The empire was called Irem and it was ruled by a cabal of weird probably-not-human sorcerers called the Shan'iatu. At some point, they did something called the Rite of Return, which turned select citizens into mummies. But surprise! Turns out the whole Rite of Return thing wasn't really about making mummies! Mummies were just a a tool the Shan'iatu need for the Rite, which involved sacrificing their empire and sinking their city into the underworld in a cosmic power grab for godhood.

Mummies have little to no memory of Irem and ZERO memory of the Rite. They wake up periodically to fulfill missions given to them by their gods (who may or may not be the Shan'iatu), recover relics that were stolen from their tombs, and once every 1,461 years (one turn of the star Sirius). They wake up at max power and as they wander around doing their mummy duties they slowly leak their power out until they have to go to sleep again. As a result, they really don't have a lot of time to fool around and usually leave everything up to their own personal cults. The exception is during Sothic Turns, when they can pretty much wander as long as they like (mummies on vacation). But all in all they're really hard to kill, and even when you do take them out they can come back several times just for the hell of it. They have some bonkers powers ranging from biblical plagues to summoning nameless horrors to rewriting fate so now a meteor is destined to hit where you're standing right now.

Mummies major enemies are the Deceived, another Iremite guild of betrayed Shan'iatu and their own weird quasi-mummies that they've grafted chunks of their souls to, and the Shuankhsen, former Iremite slaves who were sacrificed to a destroyer goddess as part of the Rite of Return and are now back for revenge.

Erebro posted:

With the Shuankhsen, the tragedy is front and center; they're slaves of Ammit, far more than the Arisen are slaves of the Shan'iatu. And they remember; Ammit didn't erase their ability to recall Irem, to the point where they have true Morality rather than Memory like most mummies. Which means they know exactly who is responsible for their sorry state, and that the Arisen were the oppressors who made even their living days a complete hell. Ammit fuels their hatred with her own entropy and hunger-based powers; each and every Shuankhsen is a cannibal, since eating Arisen is the only way to get more powerful...and like Arisen, they can lose power just as easily if they upset Ammit.

The Deceived have eternal unlives that suck even worse, if at all possible. See, it's not the Deceived mummies themselves that hate the Arisen, it's their Shan'iatu guildmasters. The Shan'iatu guildmasters, that as noted, each Deceived has a mental clone of sharing their skull after the so-called temakhs' botched attempt to usurp their brethren went wrong. This isn't like geister and Sin-Eaters though, because each temakh is an egotistical, self-pitying, and generally insane nihilistic brat with an appreciation for art that would unnerve Richard Pickman (each one is themed after a different art form). It's not all bad; besides having extremely powerful Fate-based magic, the temakhs also give their hosts power over a different Vice and the ability to feed on artistic passions-as well as grant supernatural powers to and derive mystically-enforced loyalty from every member of their cult.

That sounds...uh...interesting...

Mummy 2e was pretty good. Was there some reason they couldn't use that as a starting point? This sounds more divorced from Mummy than Forsaken was from Apocalypse, that's for sure. I mean, I like Egypt. And there was plenty of room for non-Egyptian mummies.

I was reading Promethean last night and I was pleased with how much the Mockeries reminded me of Bane Mummies. Those are really good antagonists.

Luminous Obscurity posted:

Mummy is one of those games where I feel like I shouldn't like it because it does all this stuff that I normally don't like, but it somehow manages to work in spite of (or in some cases because of) it. As it is, I basically view it like Mage 1E where you needed the core + a supplement to really make it work.
I'm curious as to what you mean by this; I only played Ascension with the corebook. Well, I looked at some supplements occasionally, but I actually resented them. It seemed like they wanted me to memorize a college course worth of setting stuff just so I could play an assassin wizard or a mad scientist.

Plague of Hats posted:

Also, target number shenanigans.
Jesus Christ the WoD writers really love flaunting how little they get their own system math.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Halloween Jack posted:

I'm curious as to what you mean by this; I only played Ascension with the corebook. Well, I looked at some supplements occasionally, but I actually resented them. It seemed like they wanted me to memorize a college course worth of setting stuff just so I could play an assassin wizard or a mad scientist.

Well, for one, they're talking about Awakening, not Ascension.

Mortal Remains

The Aegis Kai Doru fight mummies more often than most people do. After all, they are relic thieves and tomb raiders, and mummies are obsessed with retrieving magical relics. They've, over the years, learned a few things about mummies. They awaken at unpredictable intervals, they usually work through proxies and, once angered, they become fierce and terrible foes. However, if you can just survive and hide from them long enough, they go away. Thair working theory is that either mummies are ancient humans who found a way to cheat death by harvesting relic power, or they're some quasi-alive collection tool for some other power. They haven't figured out a way to test it yet. They know mummies as 'those who return' or 'the competition.' So far, they have no idea how to destroy one permanently, but they know how to weaken them. When you face a mummy, you split your attention between crippling it physically and taking out its cultists. Distract it, and it'll start getting mad and focusing on trouble, and that slows them down from their missions. Plus, it gets rid of their cultist power base. They make a solid effort to not appear to be working together when facing mummies, to prevent the mummies from tracking the relics they ship out, usually to Greece. They also have a standing policy: if the mummy knows who you are and what you do, that mummy is your job now. You don't get promoted. You don't do anything else. Your life is that mummy. Your entire job is to watch them, weaken their cult and keep them distracted, for the rest of your life. Sure, next time the mummy gets up, it might not remember you...but the time after that? It might. And if the mummies ever found out about the Aegis' caches of relics, it'd be all-out war, something no one could cover up.

The Ascending Ones believe that the origin of the Cults of Set and the Phoenix were in fighting ancient, undying beings that controlled Egypt. Today, they tend to think these 'Returning Ones' were defeated - and so, they can actually be quite bad at identifying returning mummies. Their leadership, however, recognizes that their ancient foes exist and are rising once more. They have only now realized this might be a really major threat, though, and the Ascending Ones are slowly preparing for war.

Cheiron has noticed that they're showing up in the news more often these days, and they're not totally sure why. They've managed to spin it well and share prices are rising. They've found some kind of new market, whatever's going on. And there is a small part of the FPD handbook that outlines conditions for a hostile takeover when external companies show a particular pattern of activity, particularly involving its founders, their families and non-executive directors. It's not all good, though. Some Midwest facilities were destroyed in a freak explosion that killed two guards. The facility used to be a generations-old brewery acquired in a hostile takeover. If you were to investigate the inbcident carefully, you might notice that photos of the place look like something smashed its way out. If you could get your hands on the photos, that is, without Cheiron covering them up.

The Lucifuge know cults are a red flag, a sign of Lucifer at work and often a child of Lucifer reveling in their demonic heritage and needing to be put down. However, they sometimes run into other things. Things they don't understand that seem to control some cults. Things that usually kill them when they meet. They often tend to assume these creatures are the work of angels, or perhaps very experienced children of Lucifer. These incidents are happening slightly more often these days, for osme reason. Some of the Truth faction wonder if the Lady of Milan may be the same as these strange encounters.

The Malleus doesn't even begin to understand mummies. They know some creatures won't stay dead, of course. The problem is, mummies don't fit their theology, and they have to do a lot of mental gymnastics to force them to fit. It leaves small holes in their faith, room for doubt, and doubt can be deadly for the Malleus. Fortunately, mummies are rare enough that it's not a serious problem. Often, they mistake mummies for other types of undead...but when they do notice the pattern of death and rebirth, they often draw disturbing parallels to Christ, or do not understand why God would allow these creatures to exist, or why they parallel things like Mithras, Odin or Osiris myths.

Task Force: VALKYRIE knows that there's things out there that don't die, and there are standing protocols to contain things that fit a rather loose set of criteria. However, their guidelines are vague and often ignored, since they don't really understand mummies at all. They often don't recognize what they're dealing with. In theory, 'returners' are targeted for execution immediately, ideally for capture of their remains but always for a kill. Containment is still working on a new facility to lock these creatures down. Usually, the conspiracy will try to infiltrate mummy cults if they recognize them in time, and will go out of their way to deprogram and interrogate cultists to gather information. However, they don't go out of their wy to chase mummy rumors - they're too rare to be worth the cost.

Now, let's talk about new organizations. Specifically, Habibti Ma. In 1998, Eme Amun Hassan lost both her husband and her sons to a suicide cult, leaving her alone. After a series of lawsuits against the cult leader, local politicians and the cops that failed to stop the mass suicide, she found herself with a small fortune, but it did nothing for her pain. She prayed and meditated and, while visiting her mother-in-law, she rgained some hope after seeing old statue. Her mother-in-law told her it was Ma'at, the godderss of Justice before the coming of the Prophet, whom some still pray to for answers. In that moment, Hassan understood what she had to do with her money. She spent decades finding the best psychologists, attorneys and private security money could buy, for one purpose: disband cults and return their members to their families safely.

Habibti Ma, the organization she founded, prefers to work within the law as an anonymous party to help find and deprogram cultists. Still, they are willing to kidnap and use psychological warfare to fix the damage - they must sometimes be cruel to be kind. They are still led by the widow Hassan, and they've recently noticed an uptick in cultic behavior...and that their methods are much more effective than those of other agencies, for some reason. Habibti Ma is still young enough that they have no website or offices, and they haven't expanded much beyond their Egyptian starting point. Their target is cults and cult leaders. Desperation's not uncommon in the economically troubled Egypt of modern days, and they've begun to work with other hunters to try and figure out why there are so many cults now. Their tactics remain as they have been from the start - grounded in law and psychology. They are slowly learning about supernatural creatures that might start cults - for example, it's easier to treat vampiric blood addicts when you can identify them. Mummy cults will take further study, because they're so strange and new.

They're starting to realize that, for some reason, their techniques work best when accompanied by prayer. Even those that weren't really religious have found that calling on a human god has impacted cultists who serve the undying. No one is sure why it's so effective - perhaps the gods these mummies have long forgotten are no the same as modern religions? Perhaps targeting a cultist's faith engages primal defense mechanisms? Whatever the reason, they know these cults are working in politics and city power structures, and they've started to work to thwart those efforts. This legal battlefield is becoming a second front on which to face the enemy - they're still not all that well-acquainted with the third, physical front. They're angels of mercy, not vigilantes...for now, anyway.

Mothers Against Cult ACtivity, or MACA, are technically a PAC that raises money and awareness of cultic dangers across the world. They're a new organization, primarily concentrating in and around Egypt, and officially they have no ties to Habibti Ma, but in practice they're the political and financial wing of the compact, focusing on social skills, politics and money. The Watchers of Isfet, on the other hand, are those who lack the social skills to save people directly but have the awareness and knowledge to recognize cults at work. They are like a Neighborhood Watch, roaming the streets, scouring the papers and visiting the hospitals to find signs of cults. They tail people and watch for injustice, and more and more often they are the experts in esoteric areas that HAbibti Ma finds itself in. The Good Sons are the heavies of the organization - thugs and trained experts sent in to break up cults and kidnap cultists for deprogramming. They often work hand in hand with psychologists, and are often teamed up with other wings of the organization on their jobs - the main thing is, the Good Sons are specialists.

Status in Habibti Ma defines what access to money and influence you have. To operate efficiently, they must remain secret so that they don't become a target, y'see, so most of their resources are left only for the most trusted. At one dot, you've got access to Habibti Ma's connections and information network. You get two dots to spend on Allies or Contacts. At three dots, you've gotten to know some of the ompact's secrets and know a little about the monsters they've encountered, provided it relates to your duties. You get three dots to spend on Mentor or Allies. At five dots, you have accoess to anything you need to do your job and stop cults. You can ask for backup, loans, even mystical information if it's available. You get four dots to spend on MYstery Cult Initiation or Retainers.

Stereotypes posted:

The Ascending Ones: I can certainly appreciate what they do, and find it parallel to our own work, but their mantra is wrong. They are not saving the sons and daughters of Egypt. They are only stemming the tide by focusing on cults.
Ashwood Abbey: They come, often fresh from a trip to Dubai, and expect that they can lord their money about and buy whatever sordid pleasure they want. The victims of their desire are often brainwashed slaves to cults, even if they are not religious. How are these monsters not hunted like the rest?
NEtwork Zero: It's true that citizen journalists are Egypt's only hope. That said, it's strange they pay so much attention to fuzzy pictures of human monsters. What a waste of pixels. Surely there are better - bigger - threats to record and expose.


Egyptian anti-cult crusaders of justice!

Next time: Eat the rich gods.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Halloween Jack posted:

That sounds...uh...interesting...

Mummy 2e was pretty good. Was there some reason they couldn't use that as a starting point? This sounds more divorced from Mummy than Forsaken was from Apocalypse, that's for sure. I mean, I like Egypt. And there was plenty of room for non-Egyptian mummies.

Forsaken's really not my thing, but I'm not fussed about major, fundamental dissimilarities between oWoD and nWoD. I like oMummy 1 and 2 well enough, but I really dig what nMummy tries to do, for the most part. Despite the walls of useless text and poo poo like the Heretic, the world-building is very evocative.

quote:

I'm curious as to what you mean by this; I only played Ascension with the corebook. Well, I looked at some supplements occasionally, but I actually resented them. It seemed like they wanted me to memorize a college course worth of setting stuff just so I could play an assassin wizard or a mad scientist.

I'm not LO but I can play one on TV: The core book is probably the worst-written of the line. It is jam-packed with foggy marshes of text columns that could say the same thing in just a handful of paragraphs. Lots of information is split up very poorly across the book. Go here to learn that you can use Sekhem to detect Relics, oh, but wait, go here to actually read the rules about it, oh and then later here are some special exceptions in some other loving part of the book.

This problem contributes to it being a little hard to really see what you're supposed to be doing with mummies other than "wake up, get Relic, go back to sleep, maybe fight a nega-mummy somewhere in there." The splat spreads in particular, that should be solid, clear archetypes that new players can grab onto and fly away with, are just dense blocks of text drowning in metaphor.

All of this will be weighed down by even more jargon than WoD books usually inflict on the reader.

Later books pull back the stick more and more on this, and even though it was earlier in the line, Guildhalls of the Deathless did a lot to give the mummies a society to latch onto and have fun with, to really give the splats a reason to exist beyond the fact that every WoD game has splats so this one does too.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 14:36 on Jun 18, 2015

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

CommissarMega posted:

Depends really; from what the Ask a Pornographer thread in A/T says, some are like that- it's a joyless job, but for others, it's the greatest job ever. Depends on your mindset, I suppose.
The difference between pornomancers and porn stars is that porn stars can walk off the set and have a full-spectrum emotional life: go on dates, have passionate affairs, fall in love, and all that. Pornomancers can't. It's all about the endless pursuit of rote, formulaic, joyless sex and they can never form an emotional connection to anyone lest they lose all their power.

I imagine a lot of pornomancers get into the field because it seems so appealing on the surface: have crazy sex all the time and get magical reality-warping powers? Sign me up! It's only once they're in that the emotional downside becomes clear and by then it's too late: they're hooked on the power and obsessed with the practice.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 14:51 on Jun 18, 2015

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LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Count Chocula posted:

This is pretty weird if you actually know any anarchists, or at least the holier-than-thou ones who inhabit every punk scene and vegan restaurant. Some of these guys would fail a Self check if they ate honey.

I'm guessing they're taking "anarchist" to mean "disregard for the implicit rules of society" rather than "believing that society without government is both possible and desirable" - the former being a stereotype of the latter.

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