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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Warmachine: Wrath

An Iron Lich Overseer exists to extend the will of the warcasters of Cryx. They slowly turn in battle to allow their three faces to survey the field, unleashing storms of magical fire and commanding helljacks. The first overseers were made after Drer Drakkerung was destroyed by the Orgoth war witches, when powerful but dying or dead necromancers had to be preserved. These are composite beings made with one body and a unified consciousness, ensuring cooperation, and eventually the various personalities merge into one mind. They are all insane, of course, but they have heightened awareness, cognitive power and magical ability. Following these experiments, the lich lords began using the process as a way of punishing effective but willful servants. At the core, an overseer is powered by a necromechanikal device known as a soul matrix, which allows a great affinity for warjacks. Due to the divided nature of an overseer's mind, this power requires a continuous influx of souls to function properly.

A Wraith Engine is an immense battle engine, guided by a devilish intelligence. They lurch across the field to grinding steel and the wailing of the dead caged in their frames. They are not tethered to material form, able to slip between corporeal and incorproeal states easily, even teleporting across great distances. Those who do not flee it die quickly, feeding its engines. Each part of it is inhabited by tortured souls, eternally trapped. The Void echoes through it, strengthening the undead that follow it, and its very presence saps strength from all material things. It is the result of centuries of necromantic research, led by Lich Lord Tenebrous. Hundreds of victims are ritually sacrificed to create each one, their spirits bound into the machine's components. These are etched with binding runes, forcing the spirits in a collective machine intellect loyal to Cryx, which seeks only to murder the living and feast on souls. It oscillates between the material world and the Void once turned on, manifesting shadowy tendrils and drinking in light. Its mere presence wounds the world, manifesting Void energies and weakening those nearby. It must be kept chained until battle, for its hunger cannot be sated.

Lord Arcanist Ossyan of House Vyre twists reality itself. His arcane skill is unnerving and intimidating, bending time itself to his whim, and he can sense the convergences of fate. He is a deadly mage and general, and his soldiers and myrmidons move as though guided by destiny. Ossyan is one of the big reasons House Vyre supports the Retribution, and while he answers to Consul Alyssa Vyre, he is a ranking member of the Vyre bloodline. He leads Vyre's magical arm and is directly responsible for many arcanikal innovations. His reputation and power let him convince the consul to support the Retribution in order to compete with House Shyeel. Vyre is one of the few Houses able to produce myrmidons, but its association with Ghyrrshyld tainted its reputation. Ossyan used political arguments to convince the consul that this would help, but his reasons are far more personal. He feels responsible for Ghyrrshyld, having been a young arcanist during the War of the Houses, while he did not commit the worst excesses, he worked in the facilities where they happened. Ossyan had grave doubts about his leader's activities, but stood silent and did nothing to stop him. It was in the post-Ghyrrshyld purge that he rose to prominence, but he was wracked with guilt over doing nothing. He has grown his powers considerably over the years, developing unique theories on the flow of time and the way history is shaped by decisions. To him, time is just another kind of energy, and he believed that sufficiently strong personalities could manipulate its flow, even unknowingly, and that this was so-called destiny. He learned to see the world in terms of probabilities shaped by great individuals, for good or evil. He knew his house could rise above its reputation if it was able to rectify history, and it was this that led him to the Retribution. He agrees with Ghyrrshyld's views on one point: war with humantiy is inevitable. To survive, Ios must arm itself and reclaim its destiny by force.

Ossyan has sought to learn all he can about humans, his most likely foe. He has realized he can't view them all as identical and must learn their individual strengths and weaknesses by culture and nation. He studies them so he can predict them, which requires a deep understanding - not just troop strengths and numbers, but understanding the root events of human history. A predictable foe is more easily defeated, as the flaws of their patterns can be exploited. Ossyan was not surprised that the discovery of Nyssor caused a surge of interest in the Retribution, and it became clear to him that House Vyre must commit to them as well, or they would fade to obscurity. He has personally delivered great weapons to the Retribution, including new myrmidons and the arcantrik force generator. In return, all he asks is a chance for House Vyre to prove its worth. Others see it as a purely political move, but Ossyan is truly committed to the cause, intending to ensure that no single leader can put their own interests above those of Ios ever again. He is skeptical of Dawnlord Vyros and Adeptis Rahn, distrusting their motives and standing ready to counter them if they put their houses above the cause. He has volunteered to lead the Vyre strike forces himself, risking his own life to earn his redemption and expunge himself of the guilt that plagues him. He wants nothing more than to prove himself worthy before the Iosan people. His gimmick is time shenanigans, primarily in the form of being able to buff things after rolling or just normal buffs. His feat reduces enemy ranged damage and improves allied ranged damage.

The Aspis is just over 9 feet tall and weighs almost 2 and a half tons. It has complex arcanikal devices in each hand, allowing it to manipulate its force field, strengthening it against incoming fire with Shyeel combat techniques. It has a great reaction time due to a specially conditioned cortex, intercepting enemy fire against allies and catching bullets with its shield. It can also focus its field into a projection of force to attack foes, smashing even large foes away from those it guards. It is very versatile and useful to the Retribution, and it is the first light warjack efficient enough to replicate the Phoenix Field, giving it great resilience.

The Banshee is almost 13 feet tall and 6 and a half tons. It continuously emits a high wail in battle, a sonic field so strong it disrupts magic nearby. Its force cannon can turn this hum into an ear-splitting blast, firing an immense wave of sound at foes. It then wades into battle with dual void blades, fighting like an expert fencer. The weapons use distorted energy, slicing not just the skin and steel of the foe but their souls as well, creating wounds so terrible that magic can't heal them.

The Daemon stands almost 13 feet tall and weighs nearly 10 tons. It is the epitome of Vyre design, focused on using its energy stores to power weapons over defensive fields. Its vortex cannon bends and swallows light as well as destroying foes, creating a field of distorted energy to hurl into the enemy. The released energy mimics gravity, creating an inconsistency in what Vyre artificiers name the 'anchor of Caen.' Those few survivors describe it as a terrible feeling of space itself being pulled out of place, distorting their very being. Its fists are no less deadly, but it is a more merciful death. Each fist has a device that channels energy to disrupt magic, as well as being potent weapons.

Next time: People whined enough that they published a bunch of no-field Myrmidons.


Aug 23, 2009

Do the mutations let you play as the immortal demi-god who will conquer earth and reunite mankind's stellar empire?

Nov 6, 2011

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

Kavak posted:

Do the mutations let you play as the immortal demi-god who will conquer earth and reunite mankind's stellar empire?

Nah, then this game would be interesting.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Warmachine: Wrath

The Sphinx is nearly 13 feet tall and almost 7 tons. It is designed to augment arcanists in battle, using the mechanisms in its asymmetrical shoulder casings to power its runespear cannon and force claws. It is not entirely comfortable, as it is a reminder of the Iosan civil war, but it is a very useful machine. The runespear cannon makes enemies vulnerable to magic-based attacks, and so it is often deployed alongside battle mages. The force claws have no special property besides intense lethality, though one is larger than the other.

Discordia stands nearly 13 feet tall and almost 7 tons. It is Adeptis Rahn's custom myrmidon, designed to be a protector even in the worst of battle. It stays near its warcaster, using its immense, overloaded force field to immunize itself to most projectiles until it becomes time to respond with force. It then retaliates, vibrating its field in a syncopated pattern that causes the air itself to distort in a blast of sonic pressure, focused via arcanikal amplifiers. It is so powerful that it literally shakes matter apart in a rending shriek, disintegrating it. Rahn has ensured that Discordia benefits from even the most recent improvements in arcanik field technology, and Discordia must be adjusted and realigned after every fight - a task Rahn always takes care of personally. The technologies it uses are not ready for wider deployment, as Rahn uses it as a testbed for developments.

Hypnos is almost 13 feet tall and 6 and a half tons. It was personally designed by Ossyan after years of studying myrmidon cortexes. He modified Hypnos for more individual behavior, and it is more inclined to act on its own than other myrmidons, sometimes patrolling of its own will to find threats to Ossyan. Between battles, it seems to stare at and observe other myrmidons, analyzing them. Ossyan has forged an unbreakable connection to Hypnos, allowing it to draw on his energy and serve as an extension of his will. This goes even beyond its arc node, as Ossyan can use hidden relays to trigger its synergistic nature. In his presence, its phase gun renders its targets unable to channel mystic energies, breaking arc nodes and the warbeast link. Supplemented by the phase gun, Hypnos also uses its disruptive fields to deliver rending force via projectiles. Each of its fists has a force projector built to interfere with 'jack cortexes, staggering them even with glancing blows by overloading their signals.

A Heavy Rifle Team is a two-elf team, one a spotter and the other firing the immense rifle. Its rounds can tear through warjack armor easily, and the spotter reloads, keeping attacks quick. They are drawn from the ranks of the houseguard riflemen, generally veterans with excellent aim. Their main job is to be heavy but mobile support for the houseguard, but recently they've also been sent to help the mage hunters, too. They cripple heavy armor as the hunters home in on warcasters, together neutralizing the threat quickly. Their concentrated fire is even more dangerous against targets already hit by previous rounds. The gun is a marvel of Iosan ballistics and arcanika, using a nonexplosive shot made of tempered steel, piercing armor rather than blowing it up. The rounds are fired at immense speed thanks to an integral force generator, going much faster than normal rifles.

A House Shyeel Artificer is one of the Shyeel myrmidon-makers, but their best go beyond just craftwork to even greater mysteries. They unlock the power of attraction and repulsion, wielding these delicate forces on the battlefield. They have gone to the front as the war gets hotter, building new construction sites for myrmidons and testing their mastery in battle. They surround themselves with forcefields, hovering over the field to shield allies and tear foes apart with their magic. those that fight them are slowed, their weapons and armor stuck fast to their bodies. The artificers tend to find the destruction they cause amusing and interesting to study.

The Arcantrik Force Generator is an immense battle engine, squatting among the Iosan forces like a giant insect. Its fields encompass its operators, who work endlessly to calibrate and tune it. When the field reaches the required frequencies, the metal disk at the core spins up, crackling with power. Rubble and small objects lift into the air as the firing sequence begins, and the air grows thick. The machine causes a gut-churning sensation nearby, then discharges its energy in either quick pulses or one blast to tear through warjacks or fortifications easily. For the most dangerous foes, it can be brought to the point of near overload to fire an earth-sundering attack. When House Vyre joined the Retribution, it was this arcanikal mastery that was their greatest contribution, and the generator was key to proving their value. It demonstrates their cunning use of field generation technology, originally a Shyeel innovation meant for lifting myrmidon parts. The Vyre arcanists used their lore to create discordances, turning the field towards destructive ends. Ossyan unveiled the machine to the Retribution leaders, explaining its uses and how it could be modulated for various roles. He also showed that it could travel under its own power, albeit slowly, by using its fields to defy gravity and hover inches above the ground. He also showed how the devices could be quickly disassembled for deployment and rebuilt in the field. The weapon has had a profound impact on Retribution tactics and the humans that face them. Humans are often terrified by the alien machine as it tears the earth itself to bits.

Next time: Mercenaries.

Jan 6, 2012


Burning Empires

The merry bookkeeping adventures of Wyrdboy McBurnface

And we have a character! The Kerrn warrior-poet will have to wait, eventually - but don't worry, he'll get done.

Inquisitor Peter Togoro. Age: 46. Homeworld: Packer's World.
Lifepaths: Born to Freemen > (non-native setting) > Foundation Student > Psychologist > (native setting) > Devoted to Fire >
Cotar > Adjutant Inquisitor > Inquisitor

The worm will not take this world. I will expose the infestation within the church and let fire cleanse it.
The Bright Mark must be protected. I will take young Masbeth under my wing.
Work within the shadows; let none realize I pulled their strings.

Always carry my gun.
When meeting an unknown person, read them.
Never use the same meeting point twice.


Will 6, Perception 5
Agility 4, Speed 4, Power 4, Forte 5
Resources 5, Circles 3, Mortal Wound H10, Steel 6, Hesitation 1

Skills: Interrogation 5, Church Law 2, Divination 4, Doctrine 2, Psychohistory 4, Psychologist-wise 2, Rhetoric 6, Psychology 6, Investigative Logic 6,
Heresy-wise 2, Mundus Humanitas-wise 2, Inconspicuous 6, Close Combat 2, Demonology 2, Disguise 2

Traits: Paranoid, Fearless, Bleak, Austere, Skeptical, Order of the Seeking Fire, Keeper of the Fire, Devoted to Fire,
The Psychologist's Code, Bright Mark, Working Class

Affiliations and Reputations:
3D The Church/Government of Packer's World
Devoted to Fire - 1D affiliation with other devotees
Keeper of the Flame - 1D The Temple of Coruscating Flames, in the Packer's World capital of Halessin, run by Arch-cotare Solvalou
Order of the Seeking Fire - 1D affiliation to the Inquisition
1D reputation "the man that can get the truth out of anyone"

Archcotar Solvalou, mentor to him, now a hull for an alien worm (Vaylen Figure of Note)
Masbeth Firebrand, budding psychologist that wants nothing to do with the Church (complicated)

An office with datafeeds from all over the world (specialized workshop for Psychohistory)
A small, concealable handgun
A signal-proofed safehouse 
Our psychologist-Inquisitor is in all sorts of trouble. In his backwater world of the Gonzagin Empire, he's probably the head of the Inquisition, but that does little good when the worms already got to someone as high as the Arch-cotar. He has his obligations to the off-world psychologist cabal that raised him, and had the Vaylen not come he would be just peachy working to shift the opinion of the populace to a more psychologist-friendly outlook (no mean feat when they are mistrustful by nature) He knows that he has to expose the corruption before the worms can gain a greater foothold within the power structures of Packer's World, but that could potentially mean outing himself as a cabalist. And there's that young, promising bearer of the Bright Mark that is rightfully afraid of the Inquisitor. Meanwhile, the Arch-cotar knows that Peter is a danger to his cause, but he can't just hull him - he has the Bright Mark. What will happen when he realizes that the Inquisitor is actively moving against him?

Nice hat.

There's that "let the lifepaths do the talking" thing I mentioned before. What is a 'cotar'? You can surmise what it is from the church context and the 'arch-cotar' term (yes, it's a priest) but it's not made clear. You'll find many other lifepaths with even less explanation, like 'coeptir', 'ravilar' and 'stentor'.* Skills are also oddly specific in some cases: while "close combat" covers everything from fists and knives to pistols and sawn-off shotguns, you'll find a skill like Amercement that is, quote unquote:


[...] the knowledge of fees and criminal fines given as judicial punishment. Such amercements are almost always offered in place of corporal punishment, e.g. “You may take 30 days in the solitary cells or you may pay the court a fee.” Using this skill, the character may accurately set the Resources obstacle for a fine. The skill test obstacles indicate how accurate and just the amount is according to the law.

On to the game itself! We'll start by talking about scenes. Like we talked about before, they're the least unit of gameplay, and where poo poo Gets Done. Scenes are played one at a time, going around the table, and in each scene one character is in the spotlight. Which doesn't mean that other characters can't join in, of course. There are four types of scenes in Burning Empires.

Conflict scenes are where the meat of the game's action takes place. The fights, the blown-out arguments, the psychic duels, the construction of spacecraft and fortresses - there's a lot of shouting and a lot of dice rolling in conflicts. These happen when the character wants something and is willing to go all-out for it. Two to four or five conflicts happen per game session, more or less. Building scenes happen when the characters are setting up stuff that will lead to the larger conflicts. This is where characters hack into systems, write propaganda, repair ships, file paperwork and other important stuff that doesn't need to be blown up to a full conflict. Most of the game's skill rolls will take place within building scenes. Each building scene lets the character perform up to three different dice rolls, and they must be made by the character in the spotlight - others may help, but they can't resolve the scene themselves. It's kosher for two characters to take building scenes simultaneously and pass help and dice back and forth, however, as well as dividing the rolls across the session in larger games where there's a lot of stuff going on. Color scenes are pure roleplaying and narration. One character takes the spotlight and just states what happens. No rolls are made in these scenes: they merely establish stuff about characters and the setting of the game. They serve to introduce color technology, and to lay the groundwork for future conflict or building scenes. Imagine a dastardly noble character narrates how she's enjoying herself watching gladiators die from her VIP seat - later, she can have a scene where she surreptitiously hires a gladiator as a deniable asset. Interstitial scenes happen when two characters talk. Like color, but they are focused in the interaction between characters. These are done to patch the narrative together, to share what characters know so that others may act on that knowledge and so on. Occasionally, scenes will blend in naturally: an interstitial may escalate to a full argument, a bit of color just seems to be a natural fit for a roll and so on. This is okay, but as we'll see in the Infection mechanics, scenes are a limited commodity.

Getting high with your bros counts as an interstitial. I mean, it's not like you'll get anything DONE.

Now we talk about tests. BE doesn't believe in that rollplayer vs roleplayer crap: you are meant to roll for stuff. If it's important, if it matters to the game, then yes, roll. But before you pick your dice, you have to state your intent. The intent is what you, as the player, want out of that conflict. So you're scouting out shipping lanes - what for? What do you want? This is in contrast to the task: what the character is actually trying to do, and how they attempt to accomplish the player's intent. "I kill him!" is your intent. "I shoot him in the face with my pistol" is your task. (And an opportunity to break out the combat rules. :v:) Once task, intent and the actual ability needed are made clear, only then does rolling happen. In independent tests, the obstacle is set by the skill itself, the maneuver/action or the GM. In versus tests, two characters are in opposition. Any time two characters are opposing each other, a versus is called for. For instance, Character A decides to build some fortifications in a color scene. No rolls are made here. Then another character wants to blow them up - bam, time to roll Fortification vs Explosives. It's natural to make intents opposed ("I want to blow up your fort" vs "I want to stop you") but characters can set up goals of their own: ("I want to blow up your fort" vs "I want to know who did it") Note how the fortifications are going down either way in the latter case. But players must agree on their intents before the dice fly: if they don't, no rolls are made, and that's not a good thing because it means conflict did not happen. Ties are binding: neither side gets what they want, unless both sides agree for a tiebreaker roll made at the bare root stat of the skills involved.

"Your hat is not good enough, liege."

In open tests, there is no fixed obstacle: you just want to know how well you did. This is typical for research-type rolls. Generally, one success reveals obvious stuff, five reveal expert knowledge and ten reveal everything. Sometimes a character engages in a long term operation that benefits from other skills or abilities: in this case, a linked test is called for. If a link can be established between two tests ("my research of local shipping lanes will help my Smuggling-wise roll to determine probable routes for bandits") then they are linked, and if the first roll meets or exceeds the obstacle it grants +1D to the second one. If it fails, however, the second roll gets +1 Obstacle. It is encouraged to set up tests and conflicts to open up the possibility of linking tests. If a player can state a clear advantage for a test ("the ground is slippery so I can push you down with more ease") they get a +1D. Only one per test, though. Any time the GM feels there is a disadvantage to a test, they can add +1 Obstacle to it. Disadvantages are cumulative. Both advantage and disadvantages can affect a test at the same time.

Players may have their characters help each other in play. There's an actual ritual for this in physical games - the helping player must actually give a die to the player being helped, "just so we know if [they're] being helpful or not." Whatever, Luke. The helping player then declares how they're helping. Skills may help skills and stats, but stats may not help skills. Furthermore, the abilities must be related in some way, no helping a Sensors skill roll with Heavy Weapons. When helping, skills of exponent 4 or lower give +1D to the roll, while those that are 5 or better give +2D. If a character is helping their own rolls, that is called a FoRK (from Field of Related Knowledge), in which case the character can get +1D from a skill and another +1D from a -wise type skill, like Heresy-wise or Psychologist-wise. It's up to the player to suggest FoRKs, and to the GM to accept them or not. FoRKs also color a test: if you're FoRKing Conspicuous into a Command roll, you're yelling a lot and drawing attention to yourself so that your people hear your orders.

"Eep"? Terrible sound effect for a raygun.

Note that when you succeed in a test, your intent goes through, and when you fail it your intent gets squashed. A roll is sacrosanct: neither player nor GM can ignore a successful or failed roll. So if you blow up a Security roll to open a door "before guards come," then it is very possible that the character succeeds in opening the door but they get spotted by the guards. This means that the GM is also in charge of stating the consequences of failure upfront before the dice roll. A corollary of all of this is the Let it Ride rule, that is hard and fast: a player tests an ability for their intent once a maneuver. After that, neither GM nor player can call for a retest for the same intent in the same maneuver by the same character. The successes from that initial roll count for all applicable scenes and conflicts for the rest of the maneuver. No rolling Infiltration over and over when approaching an enemy compound: you roll it once, and that result stands. This rule is hard and fast, and is only set aside for the big conflict minisystems: Firefight and Duel of Wits. Some other tidbits: If you don't have a skill for a particular roll, you can test the stat to which the skill is rooted, but the obstacle is doubled. This is called Beginner's Luck. In the case of certain knowledge skills, it's kosher for a player with a successful roll to simply state that a given fact for the world is true.

"Vpppp"? Now you're just taking the piss, Moeller.

Each test falls into one of three levels of difficulty for advancement purposes, depending on the number of dice rolled. They are routine, difficult and challenging. There is a table, but basically routine tests have obstacles that are smaller than the number of dice rolled, difficult tests have obstacles that are close or up to the number of dice rolled, and challenging tests have obstacles larger than the number of dice rolled. To advance a skill, you need a number of Routine, Difficult and Challenging tests for that roll. To advance a stat, only Difficult and Challenging rolls with suffice. You can't trade the tests around - you roll what you have, and it's up to you to, say, refuse help because you need a Routine check to become Difficult. Note that, with the exception of Resources, you don't have to actually succeed on the roll to earn the test for advancement. If you roll the same skill many times in short succession (a combat skill in a fight, for instance) only the hardest check counts for advancement. Once you get all the tests necessary to bump up an ability, it happens instantly - even if you're right in the middle of something. Open tests always count as Routine tests, and the difficulty of versus tests is determined by the number of successes rolled by the opponent. If there is downtime during a phase (which happens during certain maneuver actions), characters can engage in practice, which automatically gives them tests depending on the time they spend polishing up their skills. The exact amount of time depends on the skill itself and the test that you want to get for it. To learn a new skill, you determine your aptitude for it (10 - root stat) then roll as many Beginner's Luck tests against it as your aptitude. Then it gets opened at half the root stat of the skill rounded down, just like chargen. An instructor character that passes an Ob 2 Instruction test can teach other characters, giving them free tests with obstacles up to the exponent of the skill being taught. It takes (10 - instructor's Will) + (10 - student's Will) + (practice cycle time) days to award a test for instruction.


About those beliefs, instincts and traits! Beliefs can be changed in game. If the character achieves a goal set in a belief or just doesn't care about it anymore, they're free to change it. It's up to the GM to say when a Belief might be changed, and they're free to veto such a change if they feel the player is just trying to wriggle out of a difficult situation. Same for Instincts. Traits, however, change during play. A Belief that is fulfilled can be elevated to a trait: if you had a Belief about getting your father into the throne and it happens, you can get a trait that says something like "Loyal to your House." This is subject to a vote, and all players must agree in order for this to happen. Likewise, at the end of a phase players and GM discuss and nominate characters for new traits depending on how they feel their experiences have changed them in play. Again, an unanimous decision is required. They can also nominate a trait to be voted off, in which case the vote has to be unanimous unless the character's player wants it off, then just a simple majority will suffice.

"I change my belief from 'Fat Bro is fat and bro' to 'I'm so murdering this rear end in a top hat when I get the chance.'" Success!

But wait, you might be thinking now. How do you actually succeed in Challenging tests? Can't roll more successes than you have dice! This is why we have artha. Artha is basically BE's "hero point" mechanic. Playing to your beliefs, instincts and traits rewards you with artha, which you can use later to help your character in many ways. The three types of artha are Fate, Persona and Deeds.

Fate is the easiest type of artha to obtain. You get a point of Fate when playing a Belief serves a purpose and drives the game forward, when you decide to ignore an instinct and get in trouble because of it, when a trait alters the direction of the story in a way that makes things more difficult for the character (you are Clumsy and fumble the macguffin at the worst possible moment), to a GM's character if a player feels engaged with a color or interstitial scene in which that character is involved, and if a player has the right skill at the right time when no one else does to keep the story flowing. Fate points are spent in Luck: after dice are rolled, make the roll open-ended (6s are rerolled), and if the roll is already open-ended the player may reroll a single failure.

Persona points are obtained by embodying the mood of the table perfectly with a rousing speech, a desperate decision or so on (the group decides who deserves this at the end of the maneuver); by believably playing out a moment of inner turmoil when Beliefs enter into conflict with a decision, traditionally awarded when a character goes against one of their Beliefs; when a character achieves a personal goal written into one of their Beliefs; when a player character is the "workhorse" of the team, the one that is the most relied on in a single maneuver by group vote; and when a player character becomes the MVP by group vote at the end of the maneuver, the one that shines in the last moments and that everyone agrees they couldn't have made it without them. Persona points are spent in Boon (1-3 persona points are spent in extra dice, +1D per point), Grit Your Teeth (if a player is incapacitated by non-Mortal wounds, spend a point to alleviate 1D of wound penalties) and Will to Live (a character that suffers a Mortal Wound must spend a point to hang on to life and have a chance of recovery - if the character is out of persona points, they're a goner)

Better have that Will to Live handy.

Deeds points are the rarest, and only obtained by going above and beyond the character's personal agenda. Each character in the winning side of a phase gets a deeds point. Deeds points are spent in Divine Inspiration (before dice are rolled, double the exponent of a single stat or skill) and Personal Demons (all failed dice are rerolled, but the player must state what cost the character's personal demons exact from them, and why they still want them alive and active - it's gonna be bad and costly for them) If artha is spent in a scene involving Beliefs and Instincts, note if Persona or Deeds points were used - during the trait vote, these beliefs and instincts can be nominated to become call-on and die traits.

Whatever CHOK is, it must've been painful.

Next: we're not even close to the combat rules.

A coeptir, by the way, is close to a page or shield-bearer. A ravilar is a cross between a bard and a journalist. A stentor is a mechanic, particularly one that maintains iron for a VIP.

Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
I'd love a The Dark Eye review, because I'm curious whether my impression of it as a crunch-thick grog-fest with more save-or-dies than the Tomb of Horrors is correct.

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!
Oh, itīs a grog-fest alright, wit more "verisimilitude" than you can stomach. Itīs also Bureacracy the Game and is the most successful and biggest roleplaying game of Germany (which says a lot about us but even more about what many people like to play) with a metaplot of just about mhmm....30 years? And Ulisses recently recalled a Ingame history book due to fan outrage about the changes...itīs hilarious.

Aug 23, 2009

Mr.Misfit posted:

Oh, itīs a grog-fest alright, wit more "verisimilitude" than you can stomach. Itīs also Bureacracy the Game and is the most successful and biggest roleplaying game of Germany (which says a lot about us but even more about what many people like to play) with a metaplot of just about mhmm....30 years? And Ulisses recently recalled a Ingame history book due to fan outrage about the changes...itīs hilarious.

We kind of have to review it now. And by biggest and most successful, you mean by overall sales or just your best selling domestic game?

Jan 7, 2015

Kavak posted:

Do the mutations let you play as the immortal demi-god who will conquer earth and reunite mankind's stellar empire?

Not quite, but you could end up with someone who can fly, phase through walls and shoot lazors.

Kavak posted:

We kind of have to review it now. And by biggest and most successful, you mean by overall sales or just your best selling domestic game?

I'm not familiar with the sales, but The Dark Eye is our Dungeons & Dragons in that nearly everyone has played it at some point. D&D was never as big here, and the competition with D&D has probably become even less after WotC basically abandoned the German market after the first release of the 4th edition core books. Not sure if they're back with the 5th edition though.
Sure, the d20-philes probably moved on to Pathfinder, but guess who owns the license to both Pathfinder and The Dark Eye?

PurpleXVI posted:

I'd love a The Dark Eye review, because I'm curious whether my impression of it as a crunch-thick grog-fest with more save-or-dies than the Tomb of Horrors is correct.

Well, there is a tentacle-headed spider demon who can warp you into the limbo between planes. Sure, the success chances for this are pretty slim, but this being a low-fantasy setting makes it pretty unlikely that your party's wizard bothered with interplanar travel spells (if he even knows them in the first place).
Then there is a chance your character will just freak out when seeing an undead, though its never as worse as the first time (per type of undead).
Ghouls aren't undead, but they carry a virus that will turn you into a ghoul yourself. Fun stuff.
D&D dragons are kinda sorta good at casting spells. TDE dragons (at least the proper ones) are plain better than any living wizard can ever hope to be (unless they have a MacGuffin). They're physical strength is comparable, but TDE heroes don't get nearly as powerful as a D&D hero.

Then again, it's probably more likely to run into bandits. Then you just have to be careful to not to get swarmed, or die of a wound infection afterwards.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 17:26 on Aug 4, 2015

Dec 13, 2011
IIRC, a cotar is effectively a warrior monk. I think Trevor Faith from the first series is an arch-cotar.

Jan 6, 2012


Tasoth posted:

IIRC, a cotar is effectively a warrior monk. I think Trevor Faith from the first series is an arch-cotar.

Faith is a cotar-fomas, which is in fact a warrior monk and considered less "holy" than a regular cotar. Which basically means that he can get laid. :v:

Aug 23, 2009

Doresh posted:

I'm not familiar with the sales, but The Dark Eye is our Dungeons & Dragons in that nearly everyone has played it at some point. D&D was never as big here, and the competition with D&D has probably become even less after WotC basically abandoned the German market after the first release of the 4th edition core books. Not sure if they're back with the 5th edition though.
Sure, the d20-philes probably moved on to Pathfinder, but guess who owns the license to both Pathfinder and The Dark Eye?

Part of my confusion was that I got Das Schwarze Auge confused with a very different game where everyone lived on bridges over an endless sea of tar- go figure. But yeah, it got started in '84 while D&D was still in its birth stages, conquered its market, and never let go. Can't wait to see how three decades of unrebooted metaplot works.

Also I the demigod I mentioned was this dude, just in case I'm misunderstanding you.

Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

A.C.E. Agents is basically GI JOE - Meta Commentary - MAD Magazine Edition: Still Playable Though - The Reckoning. It's got some fun ideas and some decent worldbuilding.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 18, 2013

What is this sea of tar game? Sounds interesting.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
Is that what the Marlboro Man meant by Flavour Country?

Jan 7, 2015

Kavak posted:

Part of my confusion was that I got Das Schwarze Auge confused with a very different game where everyone lived on bridges over an endless sea of tar- go figure. But yeah, it got started in '84 while D&D was still in its birth stages, conquered its market, and never let go. Can't wait to see how three decades of unrebooted metaplot works.

That game sounds fun. Amd I dare say things look much better than over at DC (and they reboot like every other year or so at this point).


Also I the demigod I mentioned was this dude, just in case I'm misunderstanding you.

I know. But the closest you can come to the Emprah is a buff dude who can hulk out for short periods of time. I'd rather be street-level Martian Manhunter.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 18:38 on Aug 4, 2015

Sep 10, 2003

peed on;

Terrible Opinions posted:

What is this sea of tar game? Sounds interesting.
Sounds like Tales of Gargentihr , a 1990s steampunky fantasy game where the world featured solid rock continents floating in giant seas of...silt. One-and-done publisher, and I'd call it a heartbreaker except the setting is just too weird to really be in the tradition of AD&D-only-with-more-rules fantasy heartbreakers.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 19:16 on Aug 4, 2015

Aug 23, 2009

FMguru posted:

Sounds like Tales of Gargentihr , a 1990s steampunky fantasy game where the world featured solid rock continents floating in giant seas of...silt. One-and-done publisher, and I'd call it a heartbreaker except the setting is just too weird to really be in the tradition of AD&D-only-with-more-rules fantasy heartbreakers.

That's not it- it was definitely black tar, post-apocalyptic, and possibly French (Humans might've lived on barges instead of bridges- seems more workable). Someone in the Good, Bad, & Catpiss thread described it, and how one player ignored everything else about the campaign to dive into the tar with his submarine.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Warmachine: Wrath

Captain Damiano, first name Amador, is a Steelhead mercenary who lives not for coin but for glory, fame, honor and legend. He'll work for Cryx, Cygnar, Khador or the Protectorate of Menoth. He will take modest wages but a daring contact over a fortune for easy guard duty. He loves the satisfaction of battle and overcoming danger, living for the moment when he can turn defeat into bold victory. Some see him as overconfident or extravagant, but his men adore him. He constantly weighs their needs against his thirst for glory, and he tries to find the balance needed to inspire and pay them as well as impressing them with his boldness. He enjoys risk, but he does not spend lives idly, believing that it his duty to see his men rise to greatness, too. His reputation attracts the more daring Steelheads, and many of his officers are just as eager tor fame as he. They expect to be paid well, of course, but will embrace daring plans and hard jobs. They also take satisfaction from being some of the most accomplished Steelheads. Each of his liteunants has their own style, but their loyalty to their Ordic leader unites them. His men understand the value of his leadership, thriving on competition to impress Damiano with their cleverness and courage. He is choosy about his contracts, tempering his drive for greatness by occasionally taking prudent jobs to maintain morale. Those who pay his rates get a conqueror for hire with a retinue of warjacks and a small army. He leads his men with humor and skill, exhorting them to live in the moment.

Damiano's unusual attitude may come from being born to mercenary life, rather than taking it up for necessity. For generations, the Damiano family have been aristocrats of war, a mercenary dynasty tracing their rise to the years after the Corvis Treaties, where they served as hired intermediaries for disputes. Their wealth has waxed and waned, but they've always kept their ancestral Ordic estate. More recently, wars have filled their coffers, but the Damianos do not live in luxury - they earn wealth on the field. Damiano was raised on mercenary legends and always wanted to meet or exceed them. The sorcerous spark is strong in the family, but especially so in the last few generations. Amador Damiano is the third heir in a row to be a warcaster, trained extensively in 'jack handling, dueling, magic and tactics. He believes nothing can stand in his way. The family once ran their own mercenary company, but Damiano's grandfather sold it to the Steelheads, who have since maintained an agreement with the family to provide chapter-of-choice consideration and accelerated advancement. Amador began as a lieutenant in Berck but was soon made Captain in Merin, proving his worth as well as earning a reputation for boasting. While his fame began in Merin, he can get into just about any Steelhead bran ch he wants. His work has crossed all of western Immoren for nearly every major power, working all sides in the War in Llael. He is no tyrant to his men, allowing them to do as they please so long as they don't draw legal ire or shame the Steelheads, encouraging them to use their unique freedom to do as they like. He enjoys luxury and can be indolent, wearing extremely ornate armor and savoring quality food, wine nad women. He has been known to provoke nobles into games of wits and be randomly generous to those hurt by war. He is a mercurial, larger than life personality, but once he agrees to a contract, he fulfills it to the letter. His men are disciplined as any army, and he leads from the front, inspiring them with his skill and his ancestral weapons, Judgment and Glory. His gimmick is troop buffs and his feat buffs strength and armor.

The Rover is over 12 feet tall and over 8 tons. It is built on a chassis design a century and a half old, combining brute strength and durability to make it a favorite of mercenaries. Its immense shield gives it great protection, and its powerful short-range cannon makes it ideal to hold flanks or lead assaults. When they engage the foe, their shield blocks most blows and the cannon tears foes apart. Those that survive are shredded by the heavy axe. They are one of the first warjack designs specifically meant for mercenary use. 30 years after the Nomad was adopted by Cygnar, Engines East used a contract loophole to develop the Rover by modifying the Nomad design just enough to be considered new. They sold the result directly to mercenaries, earning a lot of money, if also the annoyance of Cygnar. The Rover is a common sight in battle, as its parts are readily available.

Rocinante is just over 12 feet tall and almost 8 and a half tons. It was originally a Nomad, and it's served the Damianos for over a century, first bought by Captain Lucian Damiano, who started the family tradition. It eventually passed to Cervantes, first warcaster of the line, who modified it to its present form. His career brought fame to the family before Rocinante eventually passed on to Amador Damiano. On completing his training, he refueled Rocinante and started it up, bringing it to life for the first time in a decade, but it acted as if it had served him for years. Its cortex blurs generations together, and each master is seen as a continuation of the last. Rocinante has been painstakingly maintained, its armor gleaming with scrollwork bearing family mottos - "Blood shines gold," "Sworn word, sworn deed' and "No strike left unpaid." The cannon comes from the days of Cervantes, wh ocommissioned its creation. In battle, the 'jack can chop down one foe to clear a firing line for its immense cannon to shoot the next. Those that get too close are killed by its immense battle blade, as it places itself between friend and foe.

An Ogrun Assault Corps will work for Cygnar or the Protectorate of Menoth. They come from the soutner Rhulic fortresses, and they're one of the most demanded mercenary units in Immoren, armed with immense battle cannons able to lay waste to enemy positions like mobile artillery. They are skilled in using the guns in concert to unleash terrifying explosions on the foe, then hurling themselves into the enemy with brutal enthusiasm. Rhulic ogrun live tied to the clans, often viewing the clan lords as korune. Because of this, many ogrun move into the border forts, training with the Rhulfolk. Ogrun cross all of Rhul to enlist in the Assault Corps, which has made a name for itself at Horgenhold as the best all-ogrun fighting force, and it's since expanded, learning to fight smoothly alongside the Forge Guard and Hammerfall Gun corps. They saw the value in selling their services, to hone their skills and earn coin for their families, earning a name as the best soldiers money can buy.

Sylys Wysnalyrr, the Seeker will work for Cygnar or Khador, and can be taken as a full member of the Retribution of Scyrah. Not all Iosans follow the Retribution, and Sylys is a Seeker, trying to find the secret of reviving the gods. He is a scholar and mage, selling his talents to human armies in exchange for library access and safe passage. He is extremely skilled at supporting warcasters, so he often does receive this. For years, he avoided politics in Ios, shunning the Fane of Scyrah, the Halltyr and the Retribution equally. Over time, however, he grew to know the cruelty of war, causing him to question his belief in peaceful solutions. Recent events have stirred new allies to the Retribution, and he has begun to reconsider his sharp divide between sects, consenting to aid certain Retribution agents with information. He retains his original goal, now, but also listens for intelligence to pass on to his contacts.

Ragman will work for Cryx, Cygnar or Khador, but due to being a Thamarite, he won't work with any army containing a Morrowan. The Ragman is a creature of legend, seen on recent battlefields studying death. He can spend weeks haunting ruins after armies leave, selling his services to generals only for the chance to walk among the dead. He hides the truth of his noble birth behind his tattered mask. He was Lord Mylo di Northryne, a Thamarite sorcerer and follower of Scion Delesle, patron of death and necromancy. Once, he haded a Llaelese cult, limiting his activities to his family lands and working in secret. Since the Khadoran occupation, however, he has taken the chance to expand his research. He viewed the dissolution of his nation as a new possibility, taking on the guise of a wandering refugee to head to the ruins of Riversmet. There, the corpses spoke to him, telling him their unique stories by the contortion of their faces and limbs. He spent months in the ruins, moving betwen collapsed houses and mass graves. When the Khadorans began their reconstruction of Llael, his morbid curiosity was not sated. He followed the war, becoming a common sight at mercenary camps. He is always polite, offering his dark powers to desperate commanders, asking only that in return, he be allowed to survey the field afterwards. Few turned him down. The Ragman has chosen a solitary parth of darkness, knowing that each bit of knowledge he gains from studying the dead brings him closer to his true path than any teaching from necromancers could. The dead move at his whim, rising from where they fall to serve.

The End!

Next up, Hordes: Domination.

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!

Kavak posted:

We kind of have to review it now. And by biggest and most successful, you mean by overall sales or just your best selling domestic game?

For Germany? Iīd say both. Boosts biggest sales by a mile and remains best selling domestic roleplaying game due to a stern and "faithful" (read: toxic) customer base.

Aug 23, 2009

Mr.Misfit posted:

For Germany? Iīd say both. Boosts biggest sales by a mile and remains best selling domestic roleplaying game due to a stern and "faithful" (read: toxic) customer base.

Are we talking grog rage like what got the setting history book cancelled or something nastier?

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib
Okay, so attributes, races, that stuff's nice and all, but the true meat of a d20 fantasy game's player-facing mechanics is probably going to be bound up in its classes. Once again, gradenko_2000 takes us deeper into chapter 2 where we'll get to see how Blue Rose handles such things. As usual, my own comments from the peanut gallery will be found bookended by helpful Snoop Dogs for your convenience.

Know Your Role


Instead of classes, Blue Rose calls them Roles, and there are three of them:

Adepts: these are the intellectuals with a talent for the arcane arts. Practically speaking they are the spellcasters, were it not for the fact that Blue Rose uses a somewhat different system.

Experts: these are skill-monkeys. Blue Rose invokes both "cunning rogues" and "shrewd merchants" as examples.

Warriors: these are the ones that are skilled in the use of arms and have training in combat. Does what it says on the tin.

Role-Independent Benefits

Each character's various stats change as they gain in levels, and I'm going to split them up between stats whose spread is the same across roles, and stats that scale differently depending on your role. For the former, we have:

* Favored Skill Rank: as I touched on earlier, characters can Know skills, and they can Favor skills. If a character Knows a skill AND Favors a skill, they add this amount to the d20 roll of a skill check. It's basically the character's level + 3, so it starts at 1 and maxes out at 23.

* Normal Skill Rank: if a character Knows a skill, but does not Favor it, then they add a smaller amount to their d20 skill checks. In the case of these non-favored skills, it's the Favored Skill Rank / 2, rounded down. It starts at 2 and maxes out at 11.

* Ability Increase: characters get to bump up their ability scores by 1 at level 6, level 12 and level 18, and they can exceed a +5 this way. D&D 3rd Edition characters would be able to increase their ability scores at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20, but since Blue Rose just uses the modifier directly, going from a +2 to a +3 by level 6 in Blue Rose is the functional equivalent of going from a 14/+2 to a 15/+2 by level 4 then from a 15/+2 to a 16/+3 by level 8 in D&D 3rd Edition.

* Conviction: at level 1, characters have, and have a maximum of, 3 Conviction points. They then gain an additional point/increase their maximum allowed points by 1 every 2 levels, topping out at 12/12 points by level 19-20.

* Feats: characters start with 1 feat at level 1, and can gain another feat with every level. Different roles have different selectable feats, but everyone should have 20 feats by level 20.

Defense Bonus

One of the big departures from standard D&D 3rd Edition is how heroes get a "Defense Bonus" similar to how they already get a "Base Attack Bonus". It's worth noting that there was already a similar variant rule in D&D 3rd Edition's Unearthed Arcana circa Feb 2004. In order handwave-away the need for everyone to be using magical and/or heavy armor all the time, they'd simply gain a bonus to Armor Class based on their level.

In Blue Rose, that's also true, but it refines the rule further by making heavier armor limit the maximum Defense Bonus you can avail. That is, a Warrior's Defense Bonus caps out at +12 by level 20, but a Warrior with full plate and a shield is also going to have a +12 to their Defense, except since the Defense Bonus is counted as a Dodge bonus and heavy armor has a low Max Dodge Bonus, you can have +12 Defense from your Defense Bonus or you can get it from equipment, but you can't stack it.

This also creates a situation where since the roles are fairly generic, a wide array of character concepts can be represented: a lightly armored, Monk-themed character is going to have as much Defense as a Knight with a mailed fist, and so they can exist and adventure side-by-side without running into mechanical issues.

:snoop:Beyond this, however, none of the three roles come with anything particularly unique or interesting to call their own. It all boils down to different attack/defense/save values and feat allocation. Now I'm not THE biggest fan of class-based RPGs but to me one of the big draws of using character classes is giving players something unique and cool to play with for choosing one class or another. Even some OSR games such as Kevin Crawford's Stars Without Number or Other Dust do this, even with "Fighter/Warrior" type classes whose defining features have traditionally been nothing but a bump in numbers. That Blue Rose leaves things as stripped down as it does is one of the reasons I find the system underlying the setting to be as aggressively uninteresting as I do, and when we get to the section on Feats you'll see that the boring train doesn't stop here.:snoop:


Warriors are any and all characters that depend on their skill at arms to prevail, whether it's the Rose Knights of Aldis, the woodsmen of the Pavin Weald, the riders of Rezea or even the Jarzonian foot soldiers.

They have the best Attack Bonus, starting at +1 and ending at +20 (it's worth noting that there are no Iterative Attacks in Blue Rose)
They also have the best Defense Bonus, starting at +3 and ending in +12

They have the best Toughness saving throw, starting at +1 and ending at +20, or the functional equivalent of having the best/highest hit points

Their Fortitude saving throws are on the "good" track of +2 at level 1 and ending in +12, while their Reflex and Will saving throws are in the "bad" track of +0 at level 1 and ending at +6

They can designate 6 different skills to become Favored skills plus one Craft skill
They can Know as many as [2 + Intelligence] skills.

They start with the Armor Training-All feat, and the Weapon Training feat. They can pick another two feats to start with at level 1, and those and any further feats they gain with levels must be feats of the General and Martial categories.

With each role comes with a series of Paths, or the game suggestion a set of Skills and Feats to create/reinforce a certain theme.

Clan Warrior
Skills: Intimidate and Survival
Feats: Great Toughness and Rage

Skills: Knowledge-Religion and Intimidate
Feats: Smite Foe and Favored Foe-Darkfiend/Shadowspawn/Unliving

Skills: Diplomacy and Ride
Feats: Mounted Combat and Weapon Focus-Swords

Skills: Notice and Ride
Feats: Weapon Focus-Spear and Weapon Specialization-Spear

Skills: Sneak and Survival
Feats: Point Blank Shot and Track

Rose levels: Critical


Adepts are the practitioners of arcana, and this role represents healers, shaman, visionaries, and possibly even those that use Sorcery

They have the worst Attack Bonus, starting at +0 and ending at +10
They also have the worst Defense Bonus, starting at +2 and ending in +10

They have the worst Toughness saving throw, starting at +0 and ending at +10

Their Fortitude and Reflex saving throws are on the "bad" track, while their Will saving throws are on the "good" track

They can designate 4 different skills to become Favored skills plus one Craft and one Knowledge skill.
They can Know as many as [2 + Intelligence] skills.

:snoop:That's right, in a stunning reversal of trends Adepts actually have FEWER Favored skills than Warriors do, receiving 6 Favored skills overall to the Warrior's 7. They also don't inherently Know more skills as both receive the same 2+Int number to start with...buuuuut of course one of these Roles is more likely to have a higher Intelligence modifier than the other so in PRACTICE Adepts will probably know more skills than your average Warrior will. Still, it's nice that the Fighter class isn't quite as explicitly poo poo on as it is in other d20 fantasy games.:snoop:

They can pick four feats to start with at level 1, and those and any further feats they gain with levels must be feats of the General and Arcane categories.

Adept Paths:

Skills: Handle Animal and Survival
Feats: Animism, Arcane Training (Beast Reading and Enhance Self), Familiar, Wild Empathy

Skills: Concentration and Knowledge-Arcana
Feats: Arcane Training (Mount Touch and Psychic Shield), Arcane Training (Manipulate Object and Move Object), Psychic Talent, Shaping Talent

Skills: Concentration and Heal
Feats: Arcane Training (Body Control and Psychic Shield), Arcane Training (Enhance Self and Enhance Senses), Meditative Talent, Self-Healing

Skills: Concentration and Heal
Feats: Arcane Training (Body Control and Cure), Arcane Training (Mind Touch and Psychic Shield), Healing Talent, Psychic Talent

Skills: Concentration and Sense Motive
Feats: Arcane Training (Mind Touch and Psychic Shield), Arcane Training (Mind Reading and Illusion), Iron Will, Psychic Talent

Skills: Concentration and any one Craft skill
Feats: Arcane Focus (Shaping), Arcane Training (Manipulate Object and Move Object), Arcane Training (Earth/Fire/Plant/Water/Wind Shaping, choose two), Shaping Talent

Skills: Notice and Sense Motive
Feats: Arcane Training (Psychic Shield and Second Sight), Arcane Training (Scrying and Visions), Fortune's Favor, Visionary Talent

If it seems a bit difficult to follow right now, that's because it really is even for me, since it's throwing all of these Arcana things at us when we're still many chapters away from the discussion of what Arcana actually are. Let's just roll with the punches until we get there and maybe we'll revisit the feat selections to see how the Path suggestion gels into a coherent theme.

:snoop:Once again, tabletop RPGs love scattering stuff all over the place in a way that forces you to flip back and forth in order to understand anything.:snoop:

That owl tho


They are the skill-monkeys of this game, but Blue Rose describes Experts as also being the socialites and merchants on top of being the thieves and bards of traditional RPGs.

They have the midline Attack Bonus, starting at +0 and ending at +15
They also have the marginally midline Defense Bonus, starting at +2 and ending in +11

They have the midline Toughness saving throw, starting at +0 and ending at +15

Experts can choose which of their two saves will be on the "good" track, and which one other save is on the "bad" track. The other alternative is to take one Good save, two Bad saves, then gain +1 Defense

This is a fairly cool idea because it doesn't lock the Expert into a particular archetype based on their stats.

They can designate 12 (!!!) different skills to become Favored skills, plus one Craft skill.
They can Know as many as [6 (!!!) + Intelligence] skills.

They can pick three feats to start with at level 1, and those and any further feats they gain with levels must be feats of the General and Expert categories. They also start with the Light Armor Training feat.

Good Saves: Reflex and Will
Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Knowledge-History, Perform-Stringed Instruments, Sense Motive
Feats: Fascinate-Perform, Sensitive, Taunt

I actually had to go and sate my curiosity right there and then about what sort of feat Sensitive would be. Turns out it's a +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sense Motive checks against intelligent creatures. Oh well.

Good Saves: Reflex and Will
Skills: Diplomacy, Gather Information, Knowledge-Nobility, Notice, Sense Motive, Ride
Feats: Favors, Inspire-Competence, Inspire-Courage

Good Saves: Fortitude and Reflex
Skills: Notice, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Sneak, Survival
Feats: Track, Wild Empathy, [Arcanum-Mind Touch OR Arcanum-Second Sight]

Spirit Dancer
Good Saves: Reflex, +1 Defense
Skills: Acrobatics, Concentration, Escape Artist, Jump, Perform-Dance, Sneak
Feats: Arcanum-Battle Dance, Arcanum-Body Control, Improved Strike

:snoop:Hey, remember these guys? Told you they were Jedi Monks. Expert, in addition to being the Bard and Rogue class, also pulls duty as Blue Rose's equivalent of the Monk class for those who haven't already been thoroughly disabused of attempting to play Monks in 3E D&D derived games. That said, most of the mechanical changes to Blue Rose's underlying system seem like they should make playing such a character much less onerous in practice.:snoop:

Good Saves: Reflex, +1 Defense
Skills: Climb, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Search, Sleight of Hand, Sneak
Feats: Canny Defense, Surprise Attack, Trapfinding

President of the Yoshitaka Amano fan club.

:snoop:There's a sidebar near the end of the Roles section discussing campaigns where players make up part of a company of the Sovereign's Guard or even a group of Rose Knights for those who want a more knightly sort of game. The sidebar suggests that 1st level members of the Guard would probably be junior officers working under the orders of the company commander but that the Narrator could start players off at 3rd of 4th level to give them more authority of their own. A Sovereign's Guard campaign is suggested as ideal for those groups that want exciting military adventures focused on fighting bandits and monsters as well as critical rescue work.

Rose Knights are the military champions of Aldis and their adventures will probably have a similar sort of focus, but the book suggests that if not everyone wants to play a member of the Rose Knights that it's fine to run things with a mixed group of Rose Knights and members of the Sovereign's Finest operating together, and also that rather than starting out as a knight proper that knighthood makes a useful character goal for players to aspire to if they wish.

Next Time: The thrilling world of d20 skills and feats.

Kai Tave fucked around with this message at 22:01 on Aug 4, 2015

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Feats are easily the absolute worst part of D20. When I was helping someone make a Pathfinder character for the first time, he ended up counting out the Feats available in frustration and finding there are hundreds, with only a couple dozen even worth considering taking.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012
Fallen Rib

Night10194 posted:

Feats are easily the absolute worst part of D20. When I was helping someone make a Pathfinder character for the first time, he ended up counting out the Feats available in frustration and finding there are hundreds, with only a couple dozen even worth considering taking.

The good news is that there are "only" 134 Feats to choose from in Blue Rose (out of the core book by itself anyway, there are doubtlessly more to be had in the supplements I'm sure). The bad news is that they're all extremely 3E D&D derivative and consequently super goddamn boring. Like gradenko pointed out in that update, the "Sensitive" feat sounds interesting...until you realize it's just "gain +2 to a handful of skills." Likewise I sure hope you love making Fighters with such incredible and versatile abilities as Cleave, Improved Trip, and Greater Weapon Focus because boy howdy does Blue Rose have you covered there.

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!

Kavak posted:

Are we talking grog rage like what got the setting history book cancelled or something nastier?

Letīs see, after the "Historica Aventurica" was released, the company was publically shamed by itīs customers and had, a few weeks after the outrage became unbearable online, announced that it would release a new version of the book, called the "Hysterica Aventurica" among the more cynically inclined. And of course, if you were among those to "suffer" from buying the first edition, you could send in the cover to get a completely new, rewritten and designed version 2.0 of the book, in hardcover no less, with which they were hoping to quell the outrage. Free of charge, of course. It seems to suffice. For now.

And in case you were wondering what the outrage was about? The book dared to rewrite known ancient setting history (basically stuff from 10k+ years ago) and made the gods morally grey bastards, instead of the good guys that they are always portrayed in canon. Sometimes. When the current module writer remembers. Itīs weird.

Mr.Misfit fucked around with this message at 22:29 on Aug 4, 2015

Jan 6, 2012


Burning Empires

My buddies, my gear


So what's the deal with relationships, anyway? Relationships are NPCs that are important to a player and their character. They have their own goals, Beliefs, backstories, stats and whatnot. There is no roll necessary to meet with a relationship - it's assumed that details of contact are worked out. They may help PCs at the GM's discretion, but they're not just a source of free dice. Other PCs, as mentioned before, cannot be relationships. Circles is an abstract measure of the people the character may contact within the game world. Circles is rolled as part of a building scene where the character is trying to get information, services or favors. In effect, the player creates a minor NPC out of thin air: they don't have to exist beforehand to be called on with Circles. It might take roleplay and mechanical persuasion to get the NPC to actually be useful, but Circles determines their existence and the character's knowledge of them. The scope of Circles is deliberately vague and broad: it encompasses people with similar lifepaths as the character as a rule of thumb. Affiliations and reputations may be added to a Circles roll, but only within their scope - a local reputation does nothing if your character is abroad, and affiliations only help when seeking people within the same affiliation or organization. Other players may help with Circles, but only using their base Circles exponent, not their own reputations and affiliations, and only if they have a lifepath within the setting the character is trying to tap. Certain tests may be linked to Circles, like Resources or -wise type skills. The obstacle of the Circles tests starts at 1 for a perfectly ordinary specimen of the kind the character looks for (ambivalent, doesn't know much, Exp 3 skills, is available within the building scene) and can be increased or reduced by several factors: do you need a more skilled NPC? Are they too high (or too low) in station compared to you? Do you need them to be really loyal to your position? Do you need them in times of peace or in the middle of a conflict? And so on.

Reputation dice from a target may be used as advantage dice by someone rolling Circles for them. If the player meets the obstacle, that's it - they get an ally of convenience that will be gone in the next scene. If they exceed the obstacle, however, they can name the NPC for an extra +1D to Circles when calling on them again. If the Circles test is failed, then either the character didn't find who they were looking for or (at GM's decision) the Enmity Clause may be called: the NPC exists and is found, but is ill-disposed to the character for whatever reason. Such disposition may change within play, of course. Infamous reputations add their dice in obstacles to the CIrcles roll (try rolling up a soldier when you're a known deserter!) but may also open new circles, enemy of my enemy is my friend and all. A character being sought using Circles may roll their own Circles to determine who's been asking around, with an obstacle of (10 - original obstacle), but the seeker may also add obstacle points willingly to conceal movement within the circles, or roll the Inconspicuous skill beforehand. Optionally, a recurrent contact may become a Relationship by succeeding in (10 - number of dice used to contact the NPC ) Circles rolls. Circles advances as a skill.

Command, the Frog is Behind. Repeat, the Frog is behind---urk!

Reputations change during play. If a character uses reputation dice in a Circles test that gets them into a bad situation (loses a battle, blows a Resources test, etc.) the reputation is reduced in 1D. The player may opt to exult in infamy, however, and then the lost die is added to a new reputation, inimical to the previous one. A character that gives up their identity and goes into hiding loses all reputation dice, and if they retake their old mantle they are restored at one less die than before. At the end of a phase, players and the GM may nominate characters for new reputations and increases in existing ones, just like trait voting. Affiliations may also change: a Duel of Wits may have as a statement of purpose stripping the character of their rank. New affiliations may be obtained in play, but they require a Resources test with an obstacle of 2 + 2 more for each extra die to pay for parties, gifts, bribes and so on.

Dig the cobra :3:

The GM doesn't have to muck around with Circles rolls - instead, they may set aside Circles points and outright spend them in new relationships. It costs 2 points for a standard relationship, 1 for a complicated one.

Resources is the measure of a character's material wealth, credit, and the value of their word in transactions. It's very abstract, you can't say that one point of Resources is worth this or that many credits. You roll Resources when there's something you need to purchase or acquire. Characters may not FoRK skills into Resources, but they can link tests from Accounting, relevant -wises and so on. If the player meets or exceeds the obstacle, bam, the character gets the thing. If the test fails, however, Resources are Taxed: they lose 1D on a Routine test, 2D on a Difficult test and (margin of failure) on a Challenging test. And if the character was getting help from other characters, everyone is Taxed on a failure. Getting Taxed to 0D permanently loses one die of Resources. However, the GM may offer the Gift of Kindness on a failed test: the Tax remains, but the character gets what they were looking for. If the player refuses the Gift of Kindness when offered, though, the Tax is reduced to 1D no matter the difficulty of the roll. If the Resources roll was done for a piece of technology, Gift of Kindness also lets the GM add traits of their own choosing to the technology in question. The GM may always grant the Gift of Kindness to characters they control, but for technology it is the players who assign limitations to the gear the GM wanted. Resources suffer +1 to Obstacle if the roll is made outside of the character's "turf", and if you're buying stuff in bulk just increase obstacle in one or two and multiply the item by ten or a hundred - it's all abstract, see. The primary export of the planet gets +1D to Resources rolls, and quarantined stuff gets +1 Obstacle. Regulated stuff goes from +1 to +3 extra obstacle depending on the tightness of the planet's economic regulations. And of course, there's the black market - no big deal in times of peace other than the possibility of getting caught, but once war breaks out obstacles are going to rise substantially and characters will be forced to Circle up sellers before even reaching for those Resource dice.

Being an astronaut is boring as gently caress, worms or not.

To recover Taxed Resources, the character must do something to replenish them. Basically, they get a job, picking an appropriate skill and testing it against an obstacle of 1 + number of Taxed dice. FoRKs are appropriate. If they meet the obstacle, they recover 1D of Resources, and if they beat it they get all dice back. However, they only have the time to do so when the maneuver grants them downtime (for next update!). Only a single job roll per period of downtime, and the test counts as advancement for the job skill. Resources also advances as a skill, but only successful tests count for it (better spend some artha, captain of industry). If for some reason you start with a Resources of 0, a single successful roll pushes you to Exp 1. Which probably means you need someone to give you a hand. If a character runs across a substantial amount of cash, they can gain bonus dice from it, but these cash dice are only good for one roll, and after that they're gone. Funds are more substantial stores of money and value, and these bonuses can be used for more than one roll, but if the character is Taxed dice are first lost from the funds and then gone for good. Characters may loan money to one another: loaning cash is a Resources test for the lender with an obstacle equal to the number of dice granted, and setting up a fund doubles this obstacle. If this roll is failed, the lender may opt to cut their losses or suck up the tax and dole out the dice. The main difference between loaning and helping is that the lender is shielded from tax if the debtor blows their own Resources roll. As for the GM, they don't need to muck with Resources tests: they can simply reduce the Resources exponent of their characters to get stuff, like in character generation. These dice are gone, and getting a job won't bring them back, but the Resources exponent may be advanced as normal.

Moeller, I like your comics but those credit discs are goofy as gently caress.

Technology! We get some talk on how technology colors the game and serves as an extension of the characters, and then it describes the tech index. It is a measure of the old Federated Hanrilke Empire for the technological development of its component worlds, going from 1 to 10. Only problem is, it is a measure of the old Empire, meaning it hasn't kept up with recent developments (like say, the disappearance of the Hanrilkes :haw:). Currently, there's only a handful of worlds that hit index 8, and some have fallen off the index completely. Then it repeats the descriptions of tech levels we saw in the world burner rules, including primitive worlds that can't harness electricity and aren't included in the rules because there's fuckall they can do to stop the Vaylen. Anyway!

This is the Iron Empires' idea of a 'low' tech world, incidentally.

Technology in the game is generated on the fly during play. First of all, you need to bring it in as color technology. Color is used to, well, color gameplay, and introduce details that help the group imagine how the world works. Color must be appropriate to the world's tech index and most importantly, it does not and cannot have mechanical effect. Imagine if our psych-Inquisitor didn't pay for his gun at chargen and just said he had it - that's perfectly fine. Now, imagine if he is jumped by an assassin and tries to pull his gun on him: the GM is well within their rights to narrate how the assassin simply knocks the gun away. Tech color must be added in a color or interstitial scene and must exist as such for the whole first scene before it can be upgraded. Hard technology in BE is that tech that has an actual mechanical effect within the rules. Say your shipping magnate has an entire shipping fleet - that's cool, that's just color. Now say that you need to send a message from one of your ships to a nearby planet and the GM attempts to block it with the Signals skill of one of their characters; now it's the time to turn the ship into hard tech! In the case of large pieces of color like this very ship, you don't have to make all of it hard at once: in this case, for instance, you can get away with only making the ship's comms equipment. To bring hard tech into play you need to roll Resources: you can do this in a building (+1D) or conflict (+1 Ob) scene.

Nah, bro, it's totally cool to get aimed at the head, see. That is actually a "Calvaria Integrity Scanner", that checks your head for Vaylen field hulls. Not so good with the other two types of hulling.

Technology is described by a number of technological traits that represent what they do in game. To begin, determine whether you're making a weapon, protection, vehicle, security system or device. The first four have general templates for you to begin, and then you start adding traits to further customize the piece of gear. Devices can be tools and workshops (demanded by the use of certain skills - can't manufacture things without a manufactory and so on), provide advantage (extra dice), impede another character in some form with an obstacle (extra Ob for their rolls), have skills or stats of their own (Technological Skill or Stat) or be enhancements that allow the human body to do things that otherwise it would not be able to do. The trait costs here vary a lot depending on what the device helps or hinders, and the GM may also add or reduce to the points cost depending on the circumstances of use for the piece of tech, whether the GM likes it or thinks it's a pain in the rear end, and so on. Technology can include limitations that make the gear perform worse than usual and reduce the trait cost, whether by design (the player or GM adds them beforehand) or happenstance (typically as the result of a failed Resources roll). You get +1D to the Resources test if you name the piece of tech, its origin and builder. After that, it's just a Resources test with the total points cost of the item to acquire it, which is why really big pieces of gear like space cruisers are better bought off module by module rather than in one go. You may also fabricate technology if you have the Fabrication skill, in which case you can split the obstacle cost between your Fabrication and your Resources rolls, with a minimum of 1 Ob for the latter. There's a handy list of items so that you don't have to muck around with tech rules if you don't want to, without names so you can get the +1D for naming them. Oh, and remember that you can buy tech in chargen, in which case 1 resource point equals 2-5 trait points depending on the world's tech index.

"GM, this totally gives me +3D to Seduction. Pass the dice, come on."

Next: finally, battle!

Traveller fucked around with this message at 02:21 on Aug 5, 2015

Jan 7, 2015

Mr.Misfit posted:

And in case you were wondering what the outrage was about? The book dared to rewrite known ancient setting history (basically stuff from 10k+ years ago) and made the gods morally grey bastards, instead of the good guys that they are always portrayed in canon. Sometimes. When the current module writer remembers. Itīs weird.

Man, I missed a lot in the fandom.

Though the "morally grey bastard" part is funny considering that the church of the main pantheon's head deity is traditionally portrayed or at least seen as a bunch of wizard-burning inquisitor assholes. Or that the main ocean god holds grudges just as long as Poseidon (all in a very convenient way to separate the low-fantasy setting from the high-fantasy one that isn't set on a ridiculously small continent). Or maybe I'm just flanderizing a little.

*Looks up some of the changes*

Oh well, the creation myth got streamlined and retconned out two characters that only really existed during that time anyways. The only biggie I can see is the death of a god a couple thousand years ago, while his clerics are apparently still around (getting their power from who knows where).
Oh, and the Age of Humans is apparently over or something, as if that would amount to anything.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 17:09 on Aug 5, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Hordes: Domination

Like Wrath, Domination introduces Battle Engines for Hordes. However, unlike Wrath, there are no Ranking Officers in Hordes. Instead, they get more warlocks.

Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood was never part of the kriels, born and raised among outcasts. He has always been as willing to raid trollkin villages as human caravans, though he considered violence a last resort and preferred lightning raids to shock people into inaction. His trollkin and trolls would strike from concealment, grab the poo poo they wanted and only fight those that refused to surrender before vanishing into the fog that followed them. After a raid went wrong and resulted in deaths on both sides, however, the Thornwood kriels declared Jarl a full outlaw, forcing him to learn beter skills at planning, shooting and controlling trolls. The elders cursed his name, but he became a folk hero for the younger trollkin, who would even leave their kriels to join his band. The Thornwood was thrown into chaos when Cryx invaded and the Khadorans fought the Cygnarans. After Ironhide led the kriels out, those that remained suffered. Jarl would not abandon his home, and he felt a connection to these holdouts. And so, reluctantly, he has been risking his neck against his instincts to help these trollkin. He still weighs every decision, all too aware of the fact that he lost an eye against Cryx near Thornfall. He has begun to realize that he is not truly so separate from the united kriels, and he's begun to trade with them for favors and protection. His gimmick is speed and movement, and his feat lets him drop fog clouds all over the battlefield which his own units can basically ignore.

Grissel Bloodsong, Marshal of the Kriels is Epic Grissel. She is a bastion in the chaos of the trollkin, and both the warriors and elders look to her as a voice of reason, trsuting her to save their people with words and power. She still respects Madrak Ironhide, but feels abandoned. She saw how Rathrok's curse was weighing on him when he left the kriels with Hoarluk Doomshaper and Borka Kegslayer, but she feels their absence keenly. She never wanted to be a leader, but she's proven worthy of the job. She knows survival is hard and that no land is as important as trollkin lives. This was was not their choice, and she will gladly fight for them, asking nothing she won't risk herself. With her willingness to embrace any weapon, the trollkin see her as a bridge between the old ways and the new. She is pragmatic, making short-term alliances with outsiders and mercenaries as needed, using all of her wits to keep the trollking united. With every day she proves Madrak's faith in her was right, and she will not rest while her people are endangered. Her gimmick is blasting and troop inspiration, and her feat buffs her troops, both aggressively and defensively.

Storm Trolls do not blend with their environments like most trolls. They blaze with galvanic power, intimidating creatures even larger than they are. Lightning erupts from their natural conductors along the spine, playing over their sides before bolting from the trolls' mouths at anything that angers them. Warjacks stall under their fists, their cortexes disrupted. The storm trolls have been welcomed by the kriels since the skorne forced them out of the Stormlands. Their animus allows them to give others some of their lightning immunity and lightning fists.

A Scattergunner Officer and Standard sometimes lead the scattergunners. They are as brave and stalwart as any kithkar, but they use miltiary discipline unheard of among trollkin even a few years ago. Their veteran forces follow them into battle, storming trenches and fortifications with carefully orchestrated brutality. These sergeants use a mix of bellowed orders and hand gestures to communicate, unleashing massive hails of fire before closing to fight with their gun blades. They customarily recover medals and accolades from their foes as trophies, and few sights are quite so unnerving to Khadoran officers as trollkin scattergunners wearing sabers of service and anvils of conquest. They are highly trained and extremely succesful for the trollkin forces in modernizing their troops, shrugging off friendly fire in order to better spray the foe with bullets.

Rok is over a century old, a legend of the northern mountains. Like all dire trolls, he was motivated by his endless hunger, and with each creature he ate, his rage and his size both grew. He hunted more and more dangerous prey, moving from ulk to satyrs and even to other dire trolls. Typically, he ignored humans as a poor meal, but he'd eat them to take the edge of a particularly ravenous hunger. He was in such a state the day he found a caravan transporting beer through northern Khador. In his hunger, he didn't stop at eating the guards, merchants and horses - he went on to drink all the beer, too. He felt sated in a way he never had before, stronger and ready to fight. He rampaged across the mountain, seeking villages where he could find more kegs of alcohol. He terrorized the mfor days before finally falling into a slumber. Over the years, his thirst grew as great as his hunger, and his raids for liquor became legendary among both the Khadorans and the trollkin kriels of the north. When Borka Kegslayer learned to control the dire trolls from Doomshaper, Rok was the first he sought out. The two fought for hours, and at last, both slumped to the ground. Borka drank deeply, and then he gave Rok his own keg, and a second. The huge troll eventually followed him down the mountain, knowing that greater fights and greater beer waited with Kegslayer's forces.

The Sons of Bragg are a trio of legendary fell callers, each as skilled with a blade as their voice. Though all fell callers claim kinship by the blood of Bragg, these three are true kith, born in different kriels to different mothers but all of the same father, a fell claler whose deeds grow with each telling of his legend. Destiny brought them together to face Cryx in the Thornwood, joining Jarl Skuld after Madrak and his followers left. Wrathor is the eldest, a brash warrior with an immense greatsword that he wields like a toy. As he fights, he rallies his brothers, Tor and Rhudd, whose voices harmonize with his to belt out chants that sustain them through any wound. Tor has the sharpest and most explosive voice, able to shatter stone and wood with a shout. After battle, he is also the best storyteller, with the ifnest memory. Rhudd is the youngest but the best fencer of the lot, even while drunk and blindfolded. His baritone voice taunts foes into recklessness so that he can chop them down with his dual blades. Each is formidable, but together, they are unstoppable.

Next time: Monsters of the woods

Jan 7, 2015
Other Dust


"Have you seen my dog? He's around this tall."

Like every post-apocalyptic game worth its salt, Other Dust features mutations - but with a little twist. See, mutations weren't caused by radiation, but by the Highshine, a global system of nanite emitters meant to be pumped into the atmosphere in case of emergencies, healing wounds, stabilizing structures and dealing with hostile nanites.

A psychic hacker known as the Bender, having been turned batshit insane like his psychic colleagues, decided it would be particularly lulzy that seriously mess with the Highshine, creating a random mess of a nanite swarm with the potential to serious disfigure and kill its patients. It was only through the Maestros' intervention that the Highshine stayed true to its core programming, doing its best to keep its victims alive.
The end result was that even slight radiation poisoning was enough for the swarm to see someone as body horror material, turning countless people into hideous monstrosities.

Most contemporary mutans have inherited their mutations, but the Highshine is still out there in the wasteland, tinkering with anyone they deem in need of "help".

Every mutant has a randomly-rolled Stigmata, a clear visualy sign of their powers with usually no drawback. This typically manifests in weird skin coloration or body parts that resemble that of an animal. Some settlements don't like mutants and won't go easy on someone with a stigmata, but that's still better than showing signs of powers without stigmata, as that is usually a sign of a dangerous psychic.

Aside from this general stigmata, each mutation has a Flaw to go along with its Benefit (both also randomly assigned). So you might end up as a batdude with wings, but poor eyesight. If you spend two of your three points on a single mutation instead of one, you can decide to get a Benefit without a Flaw.

Usage of most mutations is limited by System Strain, which as we know from Stars Without Number is also reduced by outside healing sources and cybernetics and is recovered through rest.

Flaws can at best just be another misshapen body part, maybe a situational penalty or a mental debility, and at worst a body that is not even humanoid anymore.

Benefits include temporary boosts to an Attribute modifier, a once per day auto-success for a Saving Throw, improved senses, natural armor and a couple super powers. A mutant might be able to fly, phase through walls or have a natural melee or ranged weapon that generally just mimics an already existing weapon. The weirdest benefit is probably "Detachable Organs", which is pretty self-explanatory. Overall standard stuff, without any truly silly stuff.

Also available is a Healing Touch and a few mental powers, though they aren't psychic in nature, just a result of friendly nanites in your body.

Overall, the offensive powers are mostly just normal weapons that can't be disarmed. More useful are the Natural Armor powers (those stack with proper armor) and the Movement Powers (like Metastep, the visual range teleportation power).

Emperor of Mankind

So how would the Emprah look as a mutant (if I were allowed to just pick and choose instead of rolling randomly)? Well, the most obvious Stigmata involves being noticably taller than a normal human (200 + 10d10 centimeters, to be precise), which sounds about right for a 9+ feet tall dude with massive pauldrons.

Due to its massive size, it makes sense to spend one of his three points on giving him a permanent +1 bonus to his STR modifier. This isn't technically a mutation, but it does the job.

A good actual mutation for both the Emperor and Space Marines in general is Universal Immunity, which makes you immune against diseases and allows you to instantly shrug of poison at the cost of1 System Strain.
This needs a Flaw of course. Not wanting to disfigure the Emperor, I'll settle for the Mental Debility Wrathful, making it harder for him to stop fighting if there's still a foe standing.

As the Emperor is known for being a pretty good Psyker, I give him the Benefit Psychic Lash, giving him nanite buddies that allow him to mentally attack a target at visual range, dazing him and dealing 2d10 damage.
Seeing how big and massive the Emperor is, it makes sense that the Flaw for this power has him require to eat twice as much food as a normal human.

For a class choice, I'd obviously go for Slayer, with the packages Noble and Paladin, giving us a well-educated warrior fighting for a higher cause.

Next Time: Let's see if there are any new rules to be found.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
The convergence of multiple apocalypse events in Other Dust feels like a hat on a hat on a hat, sometimes. But, I find that the hardest thing in the premise of any post-apoc game, if you want to take it seriously at all, is a reason why the PCs are in a post-apoc landscape that still has recognizable remnants of society left behind, and everybody wasn't just killed by nuclear war. Other Dust does that pretty well.

Jan 7, 2015

Halloween Jack posted:

The convergence of multiple apocalypse events in Other Dust feels like a hat on a hat on a hat, sometimes. But, I find that the hardest thing in the premise of any post-apoc game, if you want to take it seriously at all, is a reason why the PCs are in a post-apoc landscape that still has recognizable remnants of society left behind, and everybody wasn't just killed by nuclear war. Other Dust does that pretty well.

I especially like how the didn't go the "radiation gives you super powers instead of cancer!" route. And the convergence makes sense insofar as those insane psychics had so many ways to make everything FUBAR that they felt like a kid in a candy store.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

That Trollkin Fell Caller Trio is reminding me so much of Battletoads.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Hordes: Domination

A Trollkin War Wagon is a loud and immense battle engine, drawn by powerful bison. Any foe foolish to stand in the way is crushed under its immense bulk and momentum. However, the noise of its passage is exceeded by the noise of its main gun, which can blast anything apart. The northern trollkin have used bison to draw battle wagons for centuries, and they have been revived with the renewed relations between them and the southern kriels. These wagons are then augmented with whatever weapons the trollkin can find. The war wagons are used to escort warbands across long d istances. The potent turret cannons are based on stolen Khadoran designs, and they take up most of the wagon, leaving little room for anyone but a driver and a gunner. This has led to a reliance on pygs to manage the guns, reloading them and keeping from being burnt by the heating barrel. They also repel boarders, so the gunner and driver can focus on just one job each. The strength of the bison teams allows the war wagons to be built without concern for weight, and so they have hundreds of pounds of armor, turning the wagons into immense battering rams when needed. The pounder cannon is the biggest part of the weight, however, with the driver serving to call targets and a scattergun-armed pyg clearing the path ahead of enemy troops. Once sights are locked, the gunner fires, confident in accuracy even with the wagon's movements. The weight of the shells means that even a miss results in destruction - well, that and the fact that they explode.

Grayle the Farstrider is a leader among the Wolves of Orboros, devoted to the Devourer Wurm. He is of the most ancient Wolf bloodlines, trained to obey the druids from birth. At 15, he already led a pack of Wolves, and it was clear he'd one day lead even more. It was a shock to him, then, when he was hunting a stag and realized he could feel its heartbeat and sense the thoughts of a hawk above him, experiencing his wilding. Most come into their gift younger than he did, and he struggled to accept his new role when the druids took him for initiation. He soon became aware that they were not what he'd thought they were, not all-knowing and prescient, that they did not perform the rituals the Wolves held sacred. Worse, they were endlessly engaged in political games against each other. None of that matters to Grayle when he is hunting. His skill as a warrior and his newly awakened powers have made him one of the deadliest fighters the Circle's ever had. He is excellent at removing threats, and while his ingrained loyalty and obedience may be obstacles to his advancement, he is a very reliably weapon in great demand. Since becoming an overseer, he's realized he must learn to adapt to intrigue while staying true to his beliefs and instincts. He is always most comfortable when hunting Circle foes, leading the Wolves of Orboros. His gimmick is, well, troop leadership, and his feat makes his allies stealthy and mobile.

Baldur the Stonesoul is Epic Baldur. Death tried to claim him, but thanks to Megalith, he held fast, his soul entering the endless wilds of the Devourer Wurm. It was subsumed within Orboros itself, and the fundamental nature of the world was made clear to him. He experienced near total awareness, feeling the crust of the world like his own skin before he returned to his human form. He is a changed man now, given the obligation to serve as a conduit for the power of the Beast of All Shapes. He knows catastrophe is coming, and that the Circle has but a slim chance to set things right, all too aware fo his limited time. As a conduit of Orboros, his body channels immense power, both creative and destructive. No mortal flesh can long endure this, and while his connection to stone has strengthened, his life is consuming itself. In battle, he can tap into this flow to empower himself beyond his mortal limits, but the longer he fights, the more his body tears itself apart, and only by concerted effort can he keep the energies at a manageable level and heal his ruined form. With his limited time, he has no patience for intrigue. His famous calm has vanished, replaced by a terrible urgency and ferocity. His gimmick is still earth control, but he burns himself hard - he gets stronger, but it hurts him to do so. His feat buffs his allies' defenses.

A Scarsfell Griffon is one of a race that mixes the grace of immense hunting cats with the ferocity of birds of prey. They were hunted near to extinction in ancient times, becoming so rare that most believe them to be myths. In truth, they survive on the edges of the world, away from civilization but within reach of the Circle. They have long raised griffon fledglings, using the best for their needs. They are vicious creatures, particularly those of the Scarsfell Forest of Khador. These griffons are solitary, known for their stealthy tactics and ambush predation, their prey generally becoming aware only when they strike. They lift ulk and other large prey aloft to be eaten, living little sign of their passing. Their animus protects their allies from opportunistic attacks.

A Winter Argus is a monster of Khador, known for taking out small caravans and hunting parties. They prowl in the winter storms, leaping from behind a veil of snow and wind to attack their prey. The use gouts of icy breath to freeze foes in place until their packs can close for the feast. They stalk the Scarsfell and Blackroot woods, using hunting techniques similar to those of wolf packs. Some of the Circle do not like them, as they have difficulty forming new pack bonds and are not nearly so loyal as southern argus, but they are savage and their cold can cripple foes. Their animus grants some of their immunity to cold to their allies.

Ghetorix is legendary among the Tharn for his bloodthirst and his loyalty to Kromac the Ravenous. His howled battle cries set his foes on edge, breaking their spirits even before his axe and teeth break their flesh. He was once a tuath king of the Tharn who defied Morvahna the Autumnblade during the time Kromac served her. Morvahna had Kromac subjugate the tribe, and in the end Kromac defeated Ghetorix, dragging him before the druid. She saw in him a primal connection she could use, forcing him to drink warpwolf elixir. The Tharn had long been avoided for these rites, as their natural connection to the Wurm caused the draught to react unpredictably at best. Morvahna had Kromac watch as Ghetorix's mind was broken and he became one of the fiercest warpwolves ever. He broke loose to massacre his own tribe, even his wife and children, beginning a slaughter that only escalated with the full moon. Kromach hunted him for weeks, subduing him and creating a bond of honor and respect with the beast. Ghetorix's mind remains broken, however, and the mournful howls he lets out in battle suggest that each time, he relives the tragedy he visited on his own people. His animus lets people attack the foes that strike them.

A Gallows Grove uses one of the oldest manifestations of the Wurm: trees that grow on the blood of death and sacrifice. These ancient trees have some approximation of sentience from their millenia of life, prowling forests like beasts. When sacrifices become scarce, they vanish, appearing elsewhere in the wood, drinking deeply of dead animals and humans. They cannot actively strike their prey, but they are drawn to bloody soil, which often unnerves young wilders. They follow the druids in search of blood, and Devourer cults see them as auspicious signs, often giving them frenzied sacrifices. They appear in Circle warbands as if they'd always been rooted there, but they seem to move in battle, reappearing where the blood flows freely. The druids feed their will into the trees, using them as conduits for Orboros' power. Their very presence saps vitality from the living as they call out for blood. They are rare, and the druids take pains to care for these trees, encouraging cults to sacrifice to them. The more fanatical Wolves hang captured prey from the tree branches, leaving them to bleed out from careful cuts, then rot to skeletons which may dangle for months or even years. Some druids commune with the gallows afterwards, listening for prophecy. Druids will make use of the same grove for years, forging bonds with the trees as they do with the warbeasts. The runes that manifest on the trees are not carved - they just show up as the trees feed on the dead and their souls. Some druids insist that these runes hold auguries that change over the years, and their glow can draw travelers astray, into the path of hungry predators, so their blood might feed the trees.

Next time: A guy who has literally stapled blades through his own back.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012
Hey there, FATAL and Friends thread. It's been a while, hasn't it? Long story short, a lot of poo poo has gone down over the past few months that shook up my writing confidence a fair bit, but I'm back now. I heard that there's interest in a GURPS Technomancer writeup, and as fascinating as that sounds, right now there's the more pressing matter of actually managing to finish what I started. Yes, it's time to once again look into the copyright edge-skimmer that is...

The Southwest Wasteland guide is, as I've stated before, the Game Master's Guide equivalent of the core trilogy for Exodus: Post-Apocalyptic Roleplaying. Within we start to see some attempts to break free from the Fallout framework, but there will still be a lot more stuff that is "not-Fallout" than is actually not Fallout. It wasn't until Glutton Creeper Games ran out of prewritten material entirely and had to forge their own path with Exodus: The Texas Regional Sourcebook that you start getting actual new things unrelated to Fallout like cultists of Chuck Norris and an empire of oil well technopriests.

Of course, that's not where we are now, so let's look to the present with character rules. At the advice of others I'm going to be making a lot less focus on the specific mechanic bits and bobs of each new occupation or feat now, instead speaking in generalizations to get the flow moving forward at a more reasonable pace. There are still times where they'll be the focus, like for classes and the like, but I'm doing my best to try to cut out overly explaining mechanics. Alas, the front of the book is where most of the mechanics are.

Chapter 1: Character Options
Player Races

Bio-Genetic Mutant: One trait of Fallout's Super Mutants are sterile, only capable of "reproducing" by dunking others in pits of the Forced Evolutionary Virus formula. Exodus decided that apparently that was one of the places where it would be good to diverge from its source material, and as such as have the horrifying factoid that Trans-Genetic Mutants started creating rape slave camps in 2024 to help offset the lowering numbers of the Mutant Army. The pregnancies had a 90% fatality rate for the human mothers, but a 100% success rate in creating half-human hybrids dubbed Bio-Genetic Mutants. BGMs look like regular (albeit muscular) humans with either grayish or jaundiced skin, and were capable of breeding true, leading to a faction of the Mutant Army suddenly having the epiphany of "oh wait, slavery and rape are bad things, aren't they? We should have these guys breed with each other willingly rather than have rape slave camps" and deciding to gently caress off to Utah and create their own secret base made up of a few Trans-Genetic Mutant scientists and all of the Bio-Genetic Mutants. Mechanically, Bio-Genetic Mutants get a +2 to Strength but -2 to either Wisdom or Charisma, a +2 bonus to Fortitude saves against disease and radiation, and 1 PDR.

Symbiotic Mutant: Another being with no real connection to Fallout that I know of, symbiotic mutants are even older than the Trans-Genetic Mutants. These fellows have been around since World War II, when the Manhattan Project managed to create a serum called "the Symbiote Strain" that could make a human into an animal-human hybrid. These early experiments were failures, however, with the experiments going insane and escaping into the wild where they would become the source of Bigfoot legends. A version of the formula that wouldn't create crazy people didn't arrive until the War on Terror, when it was briefly utilized by US advanced agents. This is the last the Symbiotic Strain is heard of until 2032 when some merchants gain access to the military stores of the serum and decide it's somehow a good idea to sell it as a recreational drug without even finding out what the hell it does.

The only thing mechanically certain about symbiotic mutants is that they are immune to all standard drugs/chems. Beyond that, they're a grab bag of random potential abilities: each symbiotic mutant gets to choose two special qualities and one “side-effect” quality. For the two special traits, the symbiotic mutant gets to choose from a grab bag of animal-themed powers: leaping, gills, scaly defenses, a bite attack, all that jazz. You also have to choose one side-effect. The side-effects (read: penalties) are mostly Charisma-based. Slitted eyes, patagia, and a muzzle are but a few of the wondrous ways you can get people to hate you and cripple your social interaction skills. You can also get things like ape-like arms that impede your ability to draw weapons quickly, or deer-like legs that reduce your move speed (??).

Dreg: Ghuls that were created from specially trained soldiers. Dregs have a penalty to Charisma rather than Strength and have to take a military-related feat as their second starting feat, but are otherwise exactly the same stats-wise as standard Exodus ghuls. All in all they are kind of a pointless addition, as you could really just have a ghoul with the Military occupation for the same concept.

Cultist, Children of the Apocalypse: As I stated way back when we were starting the Exodus Survivor's Guide, the Cultist background in that book was basically pointless given that it was split into multiple backgrounds in this GM's guide. I wasn't lying, of course, as you can see here. Each of the cults is given a quote from a real world source, which isn't a thing for any other background, occupation, class, or what have you. The Children of the Apocalypse have the opening quote of Mein Kampf as their quote. If you couldn't guess, they're really fond of genocide, which makes it more awkward that they are an explicitly Arab-themed group. They're proficient with just about any kind of weapon and armor you could wish for, and also get a big grab bag of skills related to influencing others, knowing what's up concerning just about anything, and a smattering of hunter-gatherer skills like Search and Survival. This would be a pretty obvious occupation to take if it wasn't for, you know, the fact that they're a death cult that literally have a Hitler quote to sum them up. I'll go into more detail about these guys and the other cults when we actually get to the organizations chapter.

Cultist, Savior's Army: Using James 1:27 as its opening quote, the Savior's Army is effectively the Followers of the Apocalypse from Fallout painted with a more religious brush. Specifically, they are the Salvation Army as filtered through the lens of a cultural that didn't actually grow up with the Salvation Army. Savior's Army Cultist is also one of the few backgrounds that doesn't grant any form of weapon or armor proficiency. Instead, they get a lot of skills focused on finding and treating illness and injury, scientific knowledge, and tree free medkits at their first level.

Cultist, Techno-Reaper: Because one Brotherhood of Steel copycat apparently isn't enough, the Steel Disciples are rivaled in their goals by a technophiliac cult known as the Techno-Reapers. Like the Steel Disciples, they've got lots of armor and weapon proficiencies, as well as skills pertaining to technical know-how and being able to build or repair most useful bits and bobs you'd find in the wasteland. Like the Steel Disciples, they hate mutants. Like the Steel Disciples, they are rather focused on order, rank, and protocol. Unlike the Steel Disciples, they...don't wear power armor? That's really the only difference I can see. :shrug:

Their real world quote is one from Elbert Hubbard, the socialist and anarchist philosopher and writer of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries: "One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." This quote doesn't really have much to do with the Techno-Reapers, but I guess it was the first thoughtful-sounding quote about machinery the authors could find.

Cultist, Unity: Ooh, a quote by Buddha himself concerning the inherent binary nature of unity. Surely that opener means these are the most enlightened people of the Wasteland, right?

...No, they aren't, sorry to spoil things. They're actually a cult of isolationists lead by a con man named Smiling Bob, who decided to repackage Scientology as a way of getting cheap coin and servants. The background's mechanics are all about a mixture of the Knowledge skill and various confidence scheme skills such as Bluff and Sleight of Hand.

Gypsy posted:

Gypsies are flamboyant men and women that dress in flowing clothing of bright colors, adorning flashy jewelry to compliment the outfit. The way of the Gypsy is a mystery to most, but attracts the freaks and free-spirited people into the camp to view shows of oratory wonder and exotic dance, unique merchandise and jewelry, and the prophecy of the Roma (the spiritual leader of the band).
Yep. And in case you were curious, yes, the Gypsy background includes Sleight of Hand as one of its class skills and Pickpocket as a bonus feat. Of course.

Mutant Spy: You are a Trans-Genetic Mutant who pretends to have defected from the Mutant Army, but secretly you are a spy all along! How devious. Skills and bonus feats provided are all related to staying alive or staying undiscovered, as you'd expect.

Orphan:A doubled-edged sword of a background. Sure, you get a fairly wide range of skills to help you get by and a +1 to Strength and Wisdom, but you also suffer a -2 to your Intelligence score and have to pay triple the normal amount of skill points to learn any new written or spoken language. Or your own written language, for that matter, as you start out illiterate.

If you don't remember Traits, they're an optional mechanic you can pick up at character level 1, and you are allowed two of them. Totally not familiar at all.

Anyway, there are eight of them new to the Southwest Wasteland Guide, and none of them are all that interesting. Angry gives you a +1 bonus to Strength but a -2 to the usual gamut of social skills baed on Charisma, Butt Ugly gives a +1 to Strength and Intelligence but -2 to Charisma and prevents you from ever raising your Charisma score above 8, Diverse Background gives you two backgrounds but doesn't let you gain the class skills of either (so what's the point? Feats alone do not a worthwhile background make), Dwarf Mutation makes you size Small rather than size Medium, Energetic makes you take half the usual time for physical feats but makes it impossible for others to make Aid checks to help you with any skill, Obese gives you a movement and Defense speed but +2 bonus to Strength, Prophet gives you a once-per-day reroll on a single d20 roll, and Super Model is literally just the Beautiful trait from the Exodus core book but with a +3 bonus to Charisma instead of a +1 and a higher chance for ugly people and slavers to be hostile towards you.

I know I probably said this before way back when I covered the initial Exodus book, but I'll say it again: I don't see the point in ability-swapping traits. Unless you are giving very strict limits to how high or low a player can lift a specific ability score at level 1, they're probably going to be putting their biggest number into a skill they care about and their smallest number into one they don't, be it by roll or by point buy.

Just four new occupations, and they're (coincidentally?) all rural and at least partially involve labor. Farm Hand, for instance, is pretty obvious: you're a grunt for some farmer or rancher. This nets you a mere 100 coins in starting wealth and a grand two class skills (which, to be fair, do include a few nicer options such as Intimidate and Treat Injury on top of a lot of stuff about knowing nature and farm life). This example sets the trend in general, as well. The other new occupations are Fisherman, Laborer, and Postal Rider, all of which only grant two bonus class skills and have low starting wealth.

Like with occupations, there aren't exactly many new talents to speak of here, even though it's one of the things that was actually native to d20 Modern rather than stapled in from Fallout. Deception is a talent tree that focuses on hindering opponents through trickery, having the talents Goad (taunt a guy, force them to lose their Dexterity bonus to Defense for a while if they succumb to the taunt), Sneak Attack in traditional D&D Rogue fashion (1d6 damage, but can be taken three times for a total of 3d6 damage), and Snipe (sneak attack works with ranged weaponry).

If being support is more your thing, there's always the Military talent tree instead. Its talents all focus on some manner of combat readiness: Combat Focus grants a +1 to Attack rolls and Will saves at the cost of a Karma Point, Battlefield Inspiration lets all allies within 30 feet of you gain the same bonus as your Combat Focus, Battlefield Awareness lets you determine the class level and total HP of a number of enemies equal to your own class level, and Tag Team lets you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls for each ally that also has the Tag Team talent and is attacking the same foe.

And if neither of those is working for you, there's at least one more talent tree provided, so don't fret. This is Weapon Mastery, a simple tree dedicated to one thing: making your ability to hurt people better, every murderhobo's favorite kind of talent. Signature Weapon grants a +1 to attack and damage rolls with a specific weapon that is treated as your favored implement that you'd had for a long period of time, Specialization grants a +2 bonus to damage with one proficiency feat worth of weapons (Archaic Weapons, Heavy Weapons, Shotguns, etc.), and Mastery boosts Specialization up to +4.

Up Next...
Three chapters left before organizations, and we'll be covering them all. Skills, feats, and equipment: the terrible trio.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 23:37 on Aug 5, 2015

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Egh. So Unitologists are Scientologists by way of the Church of the Sub-Genius being a money/power/polygamy scam instead of a commentary/parody of religion? Good job Exodus. Good job.

I legitimately like the Church of Vectron (and the comedians who made the skit who inspired it) and I like that angle of a fake/parody religion so hacky stuff like this leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Also glad to see you're back. Any Locked Safe Lad drawings this time around?

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

pkfan2004 posted:

Also glad to see you're back. Any Locked Safe Lad drawings this time around?
While he's basically absent in chapter 1, he does make reappearances in chapters 2 through 5. I think the bestiary is the only time when he'll be absent the whole book.

Jan 6, 2012


Burning Empires

In order to save the world, the PCs had to burn it

Enough with all that bookkeeping stuff, on to business! I lie, it never ends. :negative:

While the PCs are busy getting drunk and wasting Resources rolls on dank memes, there is a war going on.

The Vaylen Infection rules are where the world lives or dies. The war is taking place in two fronts: one is the personal scale one, where players make decisions about their characters, test their Beliefs against each other and so on. Over that, there is a "big picture" level that chronicles the overall fate of the world: this is what the Infection rules are meant to model. As we know now, a BE campaign is split into three phases. It's up to the group to decide which phase they want to start in, no need to play all three of them if they don't want to. Infiltration involves smuggling, underworld deals and so on, while the Vaylen try to gain a foothold on the world. If they succeed, the planet is infected and they've figured out a way to get more of their kind into it. If the humans win, the Vaylen have been thwarted early on, and they may invade prematurely or call off their attempt altogether. Usurpation is a shadow war: people are kidnapped, spies and agents are everywhere, and the local powers are undermined. This phase involves the Vaylen capturing and infecting key individuals to secure their position on the world. The more they succeed, the more they climb up the food chain. If humans win, the Vaylen plot is uncovered and liquidated, and the worms won't have an advantage in the next phase. Invasion is all out warfare and here is where the world's ultimate fate is settled: if humans win, the Vaylen are driven off, at least for now. If they lose, the worm gains control of the planet and the culling for human hosts begins. It's kind of weird after they tell us all of this and the whole business with playing the bigshots that the group should decide whether they want to be movers and shakers or people simply swept up by forces out of their control, which leads me to one of my main gripes with the game.

Fourteen light years away, the Karsan League world of Belleville was hosting a Galactic Little League game.

Remember those Disposition values we set up for each phase when we made the world? Disposition is essentially each side's HP in the greater struggle. Through the use of maneuvers, disposition is reduced until one side hits 0, at which point they lose the phase. Disposition also works as a sort of 'clock' for each phase: when you have high Disposition you know you have time to build up, consolidate and prepare, but when you hit single digits you know you must pull out all the stops and make for the finish line. The figures of note are basically the protagonists of each phase. They're important leaders and get Things done, or they may not be in direct control but still be representative of their side's spirit. At the start of the phase, the figure of note rolls a single skill from a list given for each phase, without any help or technology use. FoRKs are acceptable, however. Successes from this roll are added to their side's Disposition for the phase. Then, the figure of note describes a prequel: how do they prop up their side? What are they doing? What makes them special to their side? Figures of note may not change sides during their phase. Figures of note that aren't in play yet may end up helping the other side, willingly or unwillingly, and non-figure of note characters may help whatever side they like. The game tells us that if a figure of note gets turned, the betrayal must be open and known to all players even if the characters themselves don't know. A player moving to the GM's side may coordinate moves with them.

The bad guy for the first trade, Faith Conquers. Kind of shabby looking.

Each phase has an objective for each side, aside from the ones mentioned in the descriptions from before. Generally, this objective will involve changing an element from the world generation session: modifying the planetary attitude towards the Vaylen, (two steps up, so you may end up making a world with personal experience of the worm completely ignorant of it :v: ) change the predominant military of the planet, change its dominant government (by elevating one of the factions to rule), change its level of quarantine (up to two steps up or down), change the level of regulation (up to two steps, up or down) change its primary export, (one step on a list that puts unskilled labor at the bottom and military capital at the top) forcing a faction out of play (which can't be activated in future phases) forcing a figure of note out of play (who won't be able to do a prequel in their phase) reinstate a figure of note or faction (if a FoN or faction is forced out in Infiltration, this objective can be set on Usurpation to bring them back for the Invasion - which sounds pretty useless for figures of note unless the other side decided to whack the enemy's Invasion FoN at the start for some reason) Each side's actions must be colored: it's not enough for the Vaylen to attempt to get an advantage by pushing a military junta into power, they must be also on the lookout for remote valleys in which to set up genelabs for their armies of Shudren warriors. Then the humans can state that if they win, they catch the labs and destroy them, and become suspicious enough from errant spaceships to push an enhanced quarantine. This color must be balanced: it can't be "and then we win and you lose and the game is over for you, nyuk nyuk" but it can't be "so like, we find a spy or something :effort:" either.

Moeller has a thing for NATO wargame symbols.

Maneuvers! First, you note down the intent of your side for that Infection round. Going on the offensive? Taking a defensive stance? After the intent is decided, the GM privately selects a maneuver and notes it down first, then the players do the same but on the open. Once a decision is made, play is on! Maneuvers must be chosen at the beginning or the middle of a session, never at its end. Once maneuvers are chosen, the game actually starts: scenes are played out, Beliefs are challenged, tests are made. After the scenes are played out or the players feel their goals have been addressed, the action stops and the maneuvers are revealed, then rolls are made. Once the maneuvers are tested, the losing side describes what they were hoping to do, and the winners state what went wrong and how they got the upper hand for that round. Each maneuver has a list of skills associated with it, of which one is chosen to be rolled depending on what actions the characters took during the phase and what phase it is. Maneuvers may be independent of each other (in which case both may succeed or fail) or versus the other side's choice (opposed roll, one winner and one loser) The actual roller for each side will be the player whose character played out the most prominent role within its scenes for their side - typically the one that begins a conflict scene, but not always so.They may only get help from other characters that have given them a help die, a linked test or a psychological connection (later!) in play, and they must also have one of the applicable skills for the maneuver. The GM may have their characters help each other in maneuvers solely by having them present at all in play, even if it's just in color or interstitial scenes. FoRKs may be used but only if they are part of the applicable skills for the maneuver or -wise type skills approved by the GM, and technology is no good.

KAO KAO KAO? FFS, Moeller.

The actions are:

  • Assess. (Infiltration: Research, Cryptography, Accounting, Streetwise, Observation, Signals, Investigative Logic. Usurpation: Security, Signals, Surgery, Recon, Accounting, Investigative Logic, Psychohistory, Research. Invasion: Logistics, Signals, Finance, Journalism ) The side devotes their assets to case the enemy and look for signs of weakness. Can be versus or independent, the latter counts as an Obstacle 2 test. You may assess the opposition, then Take Action to remove disposition from them, or assess the factions and then Take Action to activate them, but not both on the same maneuver. A successful Assess against the enemy is necessary before a Take Action, Gambit, Inundate or Pin. An Assess against the factions only allows Taking Action on them.
  • Conserve. (Infiltration: Administration, Ship Management, Estate Management, Psychology, Physics, Security. Usurpation: Instruction, Tactics, Finance, Manufacture, Engineering, Eugenics, Cryptography, Administration. Invasion: Logistics, Manufacture, Shipwright, Fusion Dynamics. ) Conserve uses enemy activity to get time and room to retrench ally forces. It is strictly a defensive maneuver and does nothing against an independent maneuver like Assess, Flak, Go to Ground or another Conserve. Successes on a Conserve subtract from versus actions, and if they are reduced to zero then the enemy's action is stopped. Extra successes from Conserve are added to the ally side's disposition. Extra successes may also generate downtime.
  • Flak. (Infiltration: Rhetoric, Persuasion, Ugly Truth, Oratory, Falsehood, Doctrine, Philosophy. Usurpation: Psychology, Journalism, Doctrine, Extortion, Law. Invasion: Strategy, Propaganda. ) Flak is an aggressive defense. Divide the dice in attack and defense: defense successes subtract from attack maneuvers like Take Action or Inundate, while attack successes subtract from enemy disposition. If used against a Conserve or Go to Ground, roll attack dice only. If used against Pin or Assess, roll defense dice only. Flak vs Flak, match attack pools and defense pools. Flak is useless against a Gambit. There must be at least 3 dice in each pool, and the division must be made before the scenes are played out and you know what your opponent chose.
  • Gambit. (Infiltration: Psychology, Tactics, Smuggling, Food Services. Usurpation: Seduction, Psychology, Bureaucracy, Finance, Propaganda. Invasion: Psychohistory, Strategy, Cryptography, Logistics. ) A Gambit requires a successful Assess of the enemy disposition before it can be played. It is a special attack that burns three points of the side's own disposition, but its power lies in that it is independent of both Go to Ground and Flak. Conserve is still good, however. The side using it must also describe what they're sacrificing and how the sacrifice empowers their attack.
  • Go to Ground. (Infiltration: Persuasion, Bureaucracy, Security Rigging. Usurpation: Administration, Estate Management, Journalism, Propaganda, Streetwise. Invasion: Strategy, Tactics, Fortifications. ) The side quiets down and attempts to protect their assets. Go to Ground successes are subtracted from versus maneuvers, and if they reduce them to zero then the action does nothing. It can generate downtime.
  • Inundate. (Infiltration: Counterfeiting, Smuggling, Tactics, Manufacture, Eugenics. Usurpation: Tactics, Propaganda, Psychology, Journalism, Demonology, Extortion. Invasion: Strategy. ) An Inundate requires a successful Assess of the enemy disposition before it can be played. An all-out offensive, its successes are subtracted from the enemy disposition and gives +3D to its test, but the side loses their next maneuver: they may play out their scenes still, but can't defend themselves on the Infection level.
  • Pin. (Infiltration: Command, Administration, Estate Management, Ship Management, Law, Extortion. Usurpation: Propaganda, Finance, Doctrine, Bureaucracy, Extortion, Philosophy, Law. Invasion: Strategy, Propaganda, Logistics, Tactics. ) A Pin requires a successful Assess of the enemy disposition before it can be played. It is a tactic meant to disable the opponent temporarily. Against an independent maneuver its obstacle equals the enemy's skill exponent + number of FoRKs used. If the Pin is successful, its margin of success is subtracted from the number of dice the opponent can use in their next maneuver. If they have no dice (without counting help or FoRKs), then no action for them. Pin adds one increment of downtime.
  • Take Action. (Infiltration: Rhetoric, Suasion, Smuggling, Investigative Logic, Journalism, Counterfeiting, Forgery. Usurpation: Oratory, Psychology, Finance, Smuggling, Extortion, Command,
    Tactics, Law.
    Invasion: Strategy, Propaganda. ) A direct attack. With a previous Assess against the enemy disposition, its net successes are subtracted from it. With an Assess against factions, it can be used to attack them or co-opt them, with an obstacle equal to the faction's disposition bonus in the current phase.

"Check it out, the Arch-cotar spanks it to My Little Vaylen." "Heretical as gently caress." "...yeah, heretical."

The connection between the Infection and the character's actions is deliberately loose and flexible. It is possible for characters on a side to succeed at a personal level and blow it on the big picture because things were out of their control. Which, IMO, is kind of pants. Note that you still need to do all that stuff with scenes to get the relevant characters and skills for the maneuvers but even so, when one of the pitches of the game is that everyone's playing to win, it feels like the integration of personal and big picture actions could've been tighter. I guess it means you can play lower-level characters swept away by the big events around them, but that also goes into conflict with the earlier spiel about playing the movers and shakers. I don't know.

Scenes! They're limited. The player's side is guaranteed one conflict scene per maneuver, and an optional second one. Players decide who gets to initiate the conflict: sometimes it happens organically in play, sometimes it's part of the plan they decided on when choosing their maneuver. Each player whose character isn't in the spotlight of a conflict gets one building scene. All players also get one color and one interstitial scene each. The GM is guaranteed one conflict for their side, with a second one if time and circumstances allow and it feels like it's right to do. Any figures of note that don't initiate a conflict get a building scene per maneuver, and the GM gets one color or interstitial per figure of note. Building, color and interstitial scenes are optional for the GM. Assess, Conserve, Go to Ground and Pin maneuvers require building scenes. Flak, Gambit, Inundate and Take Action maneuvers require conflict scenes.

The Iron Empires' idea of a combat drop. Easter eggs of death! Note the :black101: Kerrn in the back - I'm so burning one later.

Factions! After they are Assessed and Action is Taken on them, they are activated and their disposition is added to the side that Took Action on them for the phase. The activators may use the faction's assets to aid them, or drive them out: either way they get the disposition, but they must describe what they're doing to the faction.

Downtime! The winner on a Conserve, Go to Ground or Pin may choose (it's not mandatory) to generate downtime. It is breathing space for regrouping, replenish resources and polishing skills. Each success on a Go to Ground gives the winner three months of downtime and the loser a single month. Successes on a Conserve must be split between downtime and replenishing disposition, but it's also three months for the winner and one for the loser. A successful Pin gives three months of downtime for the winner and one month to the loser. It's not that time passes differently for each side, it's that the losers are slower to catch on and the winners can employ their time better. In downtime, characters may recover Resources, practice skills, and so on. There is downtime between each phase: the winner chooses a reasonable amount of time, and the loser gets half of that. Downtime may be part of the compromises at the end of a phase.

Speaking of the end of a phase! The winners accomplish their intent, the losers don't, but it's unlikely that the winners did so unscathed. This is compromise, concessions that the winner must make to the loser. If the winner only loses a few dice from their disposition, no concessions are in order. If their disposition was knocked down by a quarter or a third, minor concessions must be granted. If they lose half or more, the losers get a serious concession, or negotiate so that the losers get nothing but the winners only get half of what they wanted. If the winners lose all but 1-3 disposition points, a major compromise must be made: they won by the skin of their teeth. All of this negotiation is done at a player level, which might be different from what the characters themselves want. In a 0-0 tie, neither side gets their intent, but both sides get a major compromise. Or, if you're feeling fancy, both sides get both their intent and a major compromise, for full-on carnage. Once the phase is over, the winners get to play out an epilogue in which they describe how their shameless luck and bumbling cunning plans defeated the opposition. Ends are reached, the beginnings of the next phases (if they exist) are set, and the consequences of compromises are explored. Players may change characters from phase to phase, but new characters may not be figures of note.

Vaylen labs aren't exactly a cozy thing to find!

Next: Game of Boners.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

There's at least one Dark Eye game on Steam, but it sounds pretty bad:

There's another German RPG on it that sounds awesome, but I can't remember the name.

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Count Chocula posted:

There's at least one Dark Eye game on Steam, but it sounds pretty bad:

There's another German RPG on it that sounds awesome, but I can't remember the name.

"Skilltree Saga"

That's an appropriate title if I ever saw one.

And I think the legit RPG you're thinking about it is the Realms of Arkania series.


Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.

Mr.Misfit posted:

Ulisses recently recalled a Ingame history book due to fan outrage about the changes...itīs hilarious.

Please elaborate? That sounds fascinating.

gradenko_2000 posted:

I think the legit RPG you're thinking about it is the Realms of Arkania series.

I also really liked the Realms of Arkania trilogy back in the nineties, long before knowing anything about Das Schwartze Auge or tabletop RPGs.
(wow, I just learned that all three are available on Steam either separately or as a bundle, might as well check them out again to see if they aged well
edit: on GOG as well, looks like the trilogy's even cheaper over there)

Foglet fucked around with this message at 10:13 on Aug 6, 2015

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