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Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Jailbreak and In Media Res are two the best one-shots I've ever played in. Absolutely mindbending and terrifying.

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Kobold eBooks
Mar 5, 2007

EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AN OPEN PALM SLAM A CARTRIDGE IN THE SUPER FAMICOM. ITS E-ZEAO AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE THE MAIN CHARACTER, CORPORAL FALCOM.

Still haven't had time to sit down and do Returners, it'll take a lot of willpower for me to do it, but I still plan on it.

Someone said Bill In Three Parts would be best run as a Run Lola Run scenario, but thinking about it just made me want to run it like a game of Tragedy Looper.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

Gumshoe is a pretty rules light, narrative focused system that is easy to learn but Dreamhounds is super ambitious. You would really have to modify it to play it with non-RPG people because it's incredibly high concept for even experienced gamers.

Agreed. It would be tough. On the plus side, the GM's section has useful suggestions for scaffolding the themes of the campaign. For example, at the start of every session the GM asks one player, "What's one mystery that you would like to solve this session." Moreover, the campaign is broken into three arcs. At the end of each session, the GM makes marks in a logbook based on how confident the players are about their exploration of the arc's primary theme. The next arc doesn't begin until the logbook has a set amount of marks.

One benefit fans of surrealism/historical buffs would have over the more general gaming populace is Dreamhounds expects the players to do a lot of historical lifting. It encourages them to do outside research on their characters. The historical verisimilitude of the waking world is contrasted against the strangeness of the Dreamlands, and real-life neuroses take on more gameable forms (like Sex Hitler.)

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Seeing as Mors Rattus has been doing a wonderful job giving detail on Warmachine and Hordes, I may as well talk about a somewhat less well-known skirmish game. Seeing as I've failed to finish a couple of other attempts at this, I've taken the time to write the entirety of this review up before posting anything, thus making it a lot easier to actually finish it. If you want more detail on anything, I'd be happy to provide it, but most of this review is going to be me pasting from my wonderful text document of the complete review.



Freebooter's Fate is the brainchild of renowned miniature sculptor and noted German Werner Klocke, who has sculpted for most of the big names in the minis industry. Notable former employers include Reaper, Games Workshop, Privateer Press, and Wyrd Games, all of whom are considerably more well-known to the world at large. However, back in 2002, he started Freebooter Miniatures to showcase his work. After a while, he and his crew decided that they wanted to write a game based around some of the miniatures that he had designed over the years. Starting as a high-fantasy game that used dice, it was, according to the design notes of Freebooter's Fate, 2006 when they thought of using cards for play purposes.


Pictured: Werner Klocke, gazing into the abyss.

2009 was a big year for card-resolution skirmish games outside of the traditional fantasy genre, as it was the same year that Malifaux first came out. Unlike Malifaux, Freebooter's Fate has received comparatively little attention, in part because it's a game that's natively published in German and in part because there's little exposure in the US convention scene; Freebooter Miniatures usually has a large booth at Essen with some gorgeous terrain, but I don't believe they've been to GenCon yet.

It's an interesting case of parallel evolution, but that's beyond the point. Let's talk about Freebooter's Fate!

Part 1: Thunder and Doubloons
The book opens with some introductory fiction, set in the world of of Freebooter's Fate. Rather than extensive worldbuilding, the world is explained in short excerpts of story in each book, along with stories explaining the story of every model in the game. Things begin – as in any good pirate story – with someone having stolen some treasure. Captain Garcia, of the ship Galamancha, is chasing after Captain Rosso, a pirate who has just stolen the pay chest for the Armada's entire garrison.

”Freebooter's Fate 4” posted:

”Of course it was dark, you son of a diseased seal and a slightly manky jellyfish! That's pretty much the point of a midnight raid! Fer Fate's sake!”

As you can see, it's not a game that's deadly serious.

Things soon grow more complicated for Captain Rosso's scurvy crew and the Armada's marines when some of the island's native goblins notice the boats heading towards their land. Goblins are interesting in this game in that they were enslaved by the human colonists who came and occupied their land, seen as savages who were being done a favor by being enslaved. There's some unfortunate issues with this portrayal, but it's an interesting way to have goblins in the game and use some of Werner's interesting sculpts, so we'll talk about it later.

The whole heist goes even worse for everyone when the fourth major power on the island of Leonera gets involved. The Brotherhood, a shadowy organization of mask-wearing assassins, was planning on embezzling a portion of the chest to fund their grand design to reorganize the political shape of the world. They end up running into the goblins, and things seem to go their way, until everyone starts attacking everyone else, and the situation gets so confused that Captain Rosso manages to escape into the jungles of Leonera.

Meanwhile, we get to join our next viewpoint character, Javier, as he first enters the main city of Leonera. Here's where we learn a bit about the world; Leonera is an island in pretty much the middle of nowhere, 50 days sailing west of the nearest bit of organized civilization, the Empire. It's not the most recently discovered island; that would be El Atajos, which is on the route to Hacia Elocaso, where the Empire has founded several colonies in the hope of getting a great deal of those things that are needed to fuel an empire, with an emphasis laid on ”treasure”.

Javier immediately heads towards the pub and learns some distressing news. Rather than being a safe harbor for a citizen of the Empire, the city of Puerto Alto has been renamed Longfall, and a group of pirates, led by Blanche Pascal and several other captains, convinced the Gobernador to enlist them as privateers and renamed the city to better reflect the waning power of the Empire. His night gets worse as he gets drunk, gets beaten by a crew of pirates, and has all of his money and clothing stolen. He wanders through the outskirts of Longfall, desperately seeking the waitress he was hitting on before he was attacked, and extrapolates a bit on the political situation; there's a rebellion going on in the Empire, the King has been in hiding, and there's talk of all sorts of danger in the New World. Even worse, he overhears various people talking about how Leonera has been forgotten thanks to the discovery of El Atajos.

Javier eventually manages to find his feet, and the introductory story ends with him considering his options; he could sign on with the Imperial Armada, or join any number of pirate crews. Longfall is a dangerous place, but it's not without its options for anyone willing to take a risk.

Coming up next time: how this game actually works!

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


DNA Cowboys posted:

Agreed. It would be tough. On the plus side, the GM's section has useful suggestions for scaffolding the themes of the campaign. For example, at the start of every session the GM asks one player, "What's one mystery that you would like to solve this session." Moreover, the campaign is broken into three arcs. At the end of each session, the GM makes marks in a logbook based on how confident the players are about their exploration of the arc's primary theme. The next arc doesn't begin until the logbook has a set amount of marks.

One benefit fans of surrealism/historical buffs would have over the more general gaming populace is Dreamhounds expects the players to do a lot of historical lifting. It encourages them to do outside research on their characters. The historical verisimilitude of the waking world is contrasted against the strangeness of the Dreamlands, and real-life neuroses take on more gameable forms (like Sex Hitler.)

So is it a good read even if I don't plan on playing it? My friend is really into art and the occult, so it sounds like a fun book just to buy as a gift and plunder for odd facts and it's bibliography. If it wasn't so expensive I'd grab it already. Maybe we could play Rosaleen Norton, The Witch of King's Cross on a trip to Paris, if she's not in the book already.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Warmachine: Colossals



So, as you might guess, the thing about Colossals is Colossals. They're like warjacks, but bigger and tougher. To the point that they get two health grids, for their left and right halves. They also can't be disrupted like normal warjacks and can never get controlled by the enemy. You're paying a premium, after all. There are also the Unbound rules, basically for really gigantic fights that can have so many units that you might have formations of like three of the same warjack.



Artificier General Nemo is joined by Stormchaser Adept Caitlin Finch, and together they are the second Epic Nemo, IE, his third incarnation. Nemo will always be remembered as one of Cygnar's greatest geniuses, advancing mechanika more than anyone since Kerwin and shattering all kinds of preconceptions. As the war has grown more desperate, Leto has given him the power to do whatever is necessary to improve the Army. All modern weapons using storm chambers and galvanic power draw on his work, and if not for him, there might not even be stormsmiths or storm knights. However, his greatest achievement is the idea that led to the modern colossal. Had Cygnar's leadership followed through on Nemo's Stormwall project with the urgency he demanded, they might have made decisive strikes against their ofes before similar machines could be fielded. As a result of this lost opportunity, Nemo has been given greater latitude by Leto and the War Council, in the hope that future developments might not be delayed by bureaucracy. His new title brings great authority, and he has the right to take the nation's best minds to fill his army and workshops. Nemo is deeply concerned with the next generation, and he's mentored and fought alongside most of them over the past five decades. Unfortunately, he's also outlived many of them, and he feels deep grief at their deaths before reaching their full potential. His uncompromising and irascible nature have affected many other warcasters, who look to him for advice. In fact, it can be argued that he molded the ideal of the modern Cygnaran warcaster, particularly serving as a bastion of reason, morality and support for Coleman Stryker and Victoria Haley. While he's long been an informal consultant, his new title gives him direct authority over all stormsmiths, overseeing them via the storm chasers, the top ranking active field stormsmiths. They join major battles on many fronts, and one of their best is also the youngest: Caitlin Finch.

Nemo quickly saw Finch as one of the best minds of her generation when she came to his attention while developing the Squire prototype. She developed a unique mechanikal improvement that helped with warcaster spell targeting, and since then, she has assisted Nemo, her duties greatly expanded. She is reserved and occasionally arrogant, but Nemo sees this as healthy ambition, even if her stubborn adherence to protocol irritates him. She is devoted to him and delights in the chance to test devices in the field with him, showing immense courage in her use of electrical weapons. Nemo splits his time between the front lines and research, and he's busier than ever. Despite this, he's aware that he is growing old and has only a limited time to pass on his vision for Cygnar. Despite Finch's warnings that he should leave the fighting to younger men, he continues to fight wherever Cygnar needs him, drawing on decades of experience. His gimmick is electrical buffs, and his feat boosts allied electrical damage near him.



The Stormwall and its accompanying Lightning Pods are the result of Nemo's research. The Stormwall stands 28 feet tall and weighs 60 tons, towering over Cygnar's foes. It was born from Nemo's inspiurations after his recovery from wounds suffered at Temple Garrodh, where he found the functioning cerebral matrix of a colossal left forgotten since the last battles against the Orgoth. He imagined the potential of a modern colossal using modern innovations, begging the war council to support him. The cost provoked great deliberation, and Nemo fought for the porject long and hard. Even as he pushed for it, he worked on the schematics, leaving Dominic Darius to review his plans and help shape the machine. In particular, Darius saw the benefit of reliable ammo-fed systems, convincing Nemo to use coal-based power rather than storm chambers alone. Nemo worked with the Fraternal Order of Wizardry to make a cortex capable of controlling multiple weapons systems, desinging a new cortex grade: the arcanum supernum, a powerful and large design making use of the colossal's immense interior. The construction was delayed, however, and Khadoran agents learned of the project, stealing schematics of key components, including hte cortex. The Khadorans made their own colossal with immense speed, thanks to the emopress' absolute power. It was this which got the Royal Assembly to provide funding, but it was still too late to perserve any advantage. Once production was committed, the design synergy was brilliantly executed. The Stormwall's largest parts are powered by a steam engine that is the most efficient and powerful ever made in Cygnar. The electrical weapons draw on large galvanic chambers, and the combination of the two power sources means Stormwall can go longer between refuels than any Cygnaran heavy warjack save the Thunderhead. It carries experimental lightning pods, launching them using explosive charges. These pods open on impact to form conduits for voltaic energy, and even after their initial blast, they serve as a strategic asset for nearby stormcallers to triangulate with. The Stormwall's other weapons are also impressive. The metal storm cannons and main guns require immense amounts of ammo - it carries enough for a small garrison. In action, it unleashes huge torrents of bullets and cannon shells, along with immense electrical power via its voltaic fists.



Intercessor Kreoss is the second Epic Kreoss, and I believe the first mounted warcaster. He is the mightiest crusader of the Protectorate, and now that he is intercessor, he leads the greatest army of the faithful ever gathered. After Voyle's death, he led the Northern Crusade in the stead of Severius. His compassion and resolve made him popular even beyond the Exemplars, and his sense of honor has never interfered with his loyalty. He is a pillar of the hierarhc. After his return to Leryn from the defense of Menite temples in Llael, Severius gathered the Northern Crusade to witness Kreoss' elevation to intercessor, a long unused title that demonstrates his implicit trust in Kreoss, who may now act on his behalf. If Severius dies, Kreoss has the futy of maintaining the stability of the Protectorate by keeping the martial orders from turning on each other and ensuring the Great Crusades continue and the theocracy remains unified at any cost. Even with his tactical brilliance, Kreoss prefers to lead personally from his great steed, Agon, with a handpicked vanguard of Exemplar vengers. He finds the mist critical point, riding to fight there with his spear, Conviction, as Menoth's judgment. His gimmick is troop buffs, and his feat ends enemy magic and lets him cast free spells.



The Judicator stands 34 feet tall and 75 tons. It channels Menoth's wrath into fiery punishment, and every inch of it bears prayers to Menoth - even the rockets it fires. It is slow but unstoppable. The vision that led to its creation came to the Harbinger in the days after the conquest of Leryn. She foresaw a conflict wreathed in smoke and fire, with immense machines bearing enemy banners. Where they fought, the earth was sundered. She knew these machines must be defended against. She communicated her vision to the hierarch, and while the Synod was at first reluctant, Severius understood the seriousness. He had Visgoth Ark Razek and his artificers create the weapons needed, which required the construction of the Foundry of the Sacred Flame. It took endless resources, but the great building was erected east of Imer in mere months. Many laborers died to make it so, and the manufacture of the Judicator began even as the first choirs came to bless the place. The Protectorate lacks the industrial resources of Cygnar or Khador and has fewer mechaniks, so they could not make a colossal-grade cortex similar to those nations'. Instead, they prayed for inspiration. They followed principles developed during the fabrication of the Vessel of Judgment, outfitting the Judicator with a holy reliquary containing the remains of a battle priest, to serve as a divine reservoir. These would be humbler servants of immense loyalty, connected to the cortex by a mechanikal conduit to fill the machine with spiritual power and guide it in battle. While they cannot be made in great numbers, each Judicator can be sent to the battles the Harbinger senses are their destiny, as proof of Menoth's favor. They are too large to be made even inside the Foundry, so the final stages are done outdoors, with choirs singing benedictions as the heartfire is stoked. The shoulders bear dozens of rockets, firing without concern for accuracy. The machine also sprays Menoth's Fury down into trenches and uses its fists to crush what few survivors remain. If innocents die in its wrath, they will find solace in the City of Man.



Vladimir Tzepesci, Great Prince of Umbrey is the second Epic Vlad and also the second mounted warcaster. For the first time in generations, he leads the united lands of Umnbrey as rightful lord. He has reclaimed his family birthright, wielding the weapons of the ancient Tzepesci horselords. While the Umbrean lands have been Khadoran since the conquest of Llael, their fate was uncertain. Many nobles and kayazy wanted them, but Vladimir persisted even as he fought for Ayn Vanar. He won the loyalty of all Umbreans under him, Khadoran or Llaelese. Em,press Vanar declared that any noble who would be considered for Umbrey lands must fight to defend them against enemies. Only Vladimir would risk his life against Cryx and the Sul-Menites, and so by her decree, the stwo smaller volozkya and the Llaelese duchy that had once been Umbrey were joined into one volozkya of great size, beholden to Tzepesci. He defended Umbrey virtually alone, and if he failed, he alone would bear the shame. He has gathered his vassals and a great Umbrean army for the job, and his soldiers know they fight for their own destiny as well as their families and lands. Vladimir rides his warhorse, Vsada, at the head of an elite guard of heavy cavalry, wielding the weapons of his ancient namesake, who united Umbrey four centuries ago. He wields a hunting spear in one hand and the mace Huntsman in the other, using dark sorcery in abttle to secure his ancient birthright. His gimmick is speed and mobility contorl, and his feat boosts warjack and cavalry modbility.

Next time: No, we didn't take a right turn into 40K, I swear.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Burning Empires

Get in the power armor, Shinji


Is SKRULL a good sound effect?

Assorted bits this time. First, let's talk about armor. As far as the Empires are concerned, there's iron, and then there's everything else. Armor is rated by its armor tolerance (AT), which is straight up added to the character's physical tolerances when worn. So a suit of anvil armor (AT 3) worn by a H10 Mortal Wound character pushes it to H13, and in turn raises their Superficial, Injured and Maimed scores. Armor is not location specific, it's assumed that the more severe the damage the character takes the more vital the area they were hit in. There is ballistic body armor in simple vest and helmet (AT 1) or full body armor (AT 2) flavor as the cheap low-cost alternative, "seen primarily among backwater planetary armed forces, planetary law enforcement and civilian military enthusiasts", which I guess means this is the equivalent of LARPer gear in the grim darkness of the wormy future. Anvil armor (AT 3) is heavy body armor used by military and poor nobility in low index worlds and is the baseline protection for most soldiers in the Iron Empires. Anvil armor is EVA-capable, has vision enhancement technology and internal comms, but it's cumbersome to wear unless the character is Anvil-trained.


Left: ballistic body armor. Right: anvil armor. Not pictured: the horde of Vaylen mutants about to jump them.

Iron (AT 4) is the easter egg of doom, the platonic ideal of the pauldron, and what the Iron Empires name themselves after. It's hard to use (needs both Iron-Trained and Corvus and Crucis traits) and terribly expensive, but it comes with a myriad perks, notably among them the ability to reduce all incoming vehicular scale damage to the human scale (so a V7 hit from a cannon becomes H7, tough poo poo but survivable). It also comes with a reservoir of medical 'foam' that patches up wounds, an 'avatar' detection suite with its own Signals and Sensors skills, a fusion pack to power the suit and its weapons, extra strength, shielded communications, and so on. Iron comes in Index 4 and Index 5 flavors: Index 5 is slightly better. On the other hand, aside from the heavy training required to use it, iron is completely unable to be concealed and makes the user slightly clumsier. Both iron and anvil armor penalize the user's Perception, Observation and Recon skills slightly, but they can remove their helmets to negate that penalty (AT is reduced in one). Armor may be damaged by weapons with armor-destroying qualities - fusors, fusion guns, armor-piercing grenades.


It's kind of :3: to me.

Vehicles! When dealing with vehicles, first we have to figure out what the vehicle actually means for the game. If it's just part of the description of the scene, then it's just color and needs no mechanical base. Sometimes the vehicle is a carrier for another piece of technology - weapons, cargo, sensors and so on. In this case it's the piece of technology that needs rolls and stats, not the vehicle. And sometimes the vehicle itself is what matters. Generally, if the vehicle is only useful for the journey, then only its pilot's skill matters. If the ride itself matters (for instance, if a specific type of vehicle is necessary and none other will do), then a Resources test to acquire the vehicle, a Circles test to find a pilot or a -wise to find just the right thing will do, and you don't bother with the actual piloting - skip straight to the action.

When vehicles need actual mechanical weight, they get a statline. A vehicle's stats are type, which tells us what the vehicle is and what skills to use. It has a Tech Resources obstacle and a Tech Index. It has a Capacity for people. It has Profile, the overall bulk and energy output of the vehicle and is added as advantage dice to someone using Sensors to track the vehicle. It has Integrity, which is the vehicle's Forte stat and that is reduced by damage. It has Control, which tells how hard or easy to handle the vehicle is; it's either an obstacle or a number of advantage dice. It has Ordnance, which indicates what weapons the vehicle carries, if at all. It has a Vehicular Speed that represents how fast the vehicle can travel and is graded in three ranks: Surface Speed, Atmospheric Speed and Space Speed. It has Signals to represent the vehicle's comms and electronic warfare suite, Sensors as its instrumentation and detection gear, and Security to indicate if it has intrusion-prevention devices and internal security for the crew. And finally it has Structural Tolerances, like physical tolerances for people, rated similarly as Surface, Breached, Damaged and Destroyed. We then get a number of generic vehicles, from cars and ground buggies all the way to heavy hammer ships.


Oh bother, my arm is on fire.

Chases and pursuits are important. If two vehicles are racing and have the same speed then it's just a versus test of each pilot's respective skill. If one has a different Speed category, then Speed is tested with a double obstacle penalty for the lesser speed. In an escape or pursuit, the fleeing vehicle and the pursuer may use its pilot's skill or Vehicular speed. Sensors vs Signals may act as a linked test. Firefight works mostly as is, since it can encompass tank battles and orbital bombardments as well as squad-based action. Positions and cover are set, initial rolls are made and so on. In a set-piece battle involving wings of hammer cruisers in space, Tactics may be replaced by Strategy, but only there. In close combat, vehicles use their own set of actions:

  • Ramming: (Helm/Pilot/Driving) Ramming speed, Lieutenant. Ob 3 against Weapons Fire, Ob 2 against Torch. Damage is 5/9/13 with an artillery DoF, at a scale equal to the ramming vehicle's Destroyed tolerance. The target takes the DoF hit, while the ramming vehicle takes it one step down - so if it dealt a Superb hit then it merely takes a Mark. Only one Ramming action per Close Combat per unit - the vehicle must Withdraw and script another Close Combat to get enough speed.
  • Weapons Fire: (relevant weapon) The vehicle must use secondary weapon systems. If it doesn't have them, it can't shoot in Close Combat. Ob 1 against Ramming and Torch, Ob 2 against another Weapons Fire.
  • Under the Guns: (Helm/Pilot/Driving) the vehicle attempts to move out of the target's field of fire. If it has a higher Integrity than the target, the difference is applied as an obstacle penalty. If successful or tied, the vehicle can't be shot, rammed or torched.
  • Torch: (Helm/Pilot/Driving) This one is weird, as it mentions all three piloting skills but can only be used by intrasystem, interstellar and intergalactic ships. Basically, the pilot angles the ship so that its thrusters damage the enemy. Ob 4 plus Speed difference if the target is faster against independent actions. A successful Torch deals damage equal to the vehicle's Destroyed result to one system of the player's choice. If failed, the next Firefight action of the vehicle takes an obstacle penalty equal to its margin of failure.


GUDDA GUDDA GUDDA

Vehicles may launch a subsidiary vehicle as a specialist action. If one side wishes to board another, then that's their objective for the Firefight. The boarding action itself can be played as a follow-up Firefight if need be.

Damage! A shot opportunity's successes on a vehicle can be spent to improve the DoF roll as normal, or used to target specific systems. There is the hull of the vehicle, the default location. Wound dice are subtracted from its Integrity. For two successes, the shooter may aim at the vehicle's Control systems. Each die of damage done subtracts from the ship's Control rating, or gives it obstacle penalties if it has no Control bonus. It costs three successes to deliberately aim at the pilot or crew of a vehicle, and the hit must cause at least a Breach result. The crew is hit with damage one rank lower than the initial hit on the vehicle. Up to three character may be hit on a Damaged result. For one success, the Engine may be targeted, and on a Breach or Damaged result the dice are subtracted from the vehicle's Speed. If it hits zero, it can no longer move. With three successes, the target may be the vehicle's Signals rig, reducing its rating by the damage dice. With three successes, its Sensors may be targeted, and it only takes 1D of damage to knock them out. Two successes allow targeting a weapons system - 1D for a non-Mounted weapon, two for a Mounted one. If any subsystem takes a Destroyed system, it's gone but the vehicle itself is not. Once a vehicle loses all of its Integrity dice or is hit with a Destroyed result, it's out of commission. Ob 6 Driving/Helm/Piloting test to prevent from crashing if the vehicle was in motion on the surface or in atmosphere. If this test fails, the vehicle is Wrecked, and each character has to roll a d6 - on a 1 they survive without harm, on a 2-5 they're Maimed, and on a 6 they take a Mortal Wound. A wrecked space vehicle decompresses and opens to the void, and anyone not in an EVA suit or similar takes an H16 wound.

Travel! Generally, travel within a city or a planetary region is pretty much color and shouldn't be a problem except on the most backwater sub-index worlds or the most paranoid, quarantined and regulated outworlds. Intercontinental travel on sub and zero-index worlds needs to be part of a maneuver's color to happen, even if it is not its primary goal. Travel to and from orbital stations isn't usually harder than travelling to another city. Travel between planets and stars is accomplished through distortion drive technology. It generates a field that warps the value of time within it, allowing for faster than light speed. Travel within planets in a system is more laborious than intercontinental travel and is best described as part of a Go to Ground, Conserve, Gambit or even Take Action maneuver. Travel to other systems takes a significant amount of time: it can only be made using Conserve and Go to Ground maneuvers, and it must be the intent of the maneuver.

Security systems! Sub-index Security can detect characters using the Infiltration skill. Zero index tech can detect Infiltration and Falsehood if the target is under direct, restrained scrutiny. Low index tech can detect and record Signals, Falsehood, Sleight of Hand and Infiltration. High index tech can detect and record Psychology, Signals, Security, Falsehood, Inconspicuous, Infiltration and Sleight of Hand. When a character wishes to get past a security checkpoint, they must test one of those skills against the system - either against its operator or the system itself if it's automated. If the security system wins, the character is detected as having used the skill. It's an Ob 2 test to detect contraband of the same tech index and +1 Ob for each index level lower, so it seems that it's harder for a supercool high index system to detect a box cutter than a plasma pistol. Vaylen did 9/11! Though each index level higher than the security system adds a +2 Ob so I guess it's harder to detect that plasma pistol with a pat down check. A security systen may also have the Obstacle trait to represent things like locked doors and vaults: Security, Security Rigging or Explosives to bypass them. It says here that "a failed test indicates that the system is alerted and reports an unauthorized entry", so by RAW Explosives don't set off alarms. Well, if there's no alarm left in the first place, I guess this is right. :haw: Most systems record information about their operation, and it's an Ob 6 - advantage dice or exponent of the security system to extract useful data from it. Detecting Vaylen on the fly requires at least low index tech: Ob 3 for a field hull, Ob 6 for a spinal hull and Ob 7 for an optic nerve hull. Any sub index brain scan will show the presence of a Naiven in the brain, but good luck getting a Vaylen to submit willingly.


We Mike Mignola now.

Signals technology includes all sorts of broadcast and detection equipment: radio traffic, communications jamming, satellite imagery and so on. It comes in the forms of tools, advantage dice and technological skill. Ob 2 check to monitor open comm traffic and other communications. Versus Signals tests if one wants to send transmissions in bursts. When scanning for emissions, +1D advantage for each index of tech higher than the target signal being broadcast, +1 Ob for each index lower. In a versus, the more advanced gear gets +1D for each index. As we saw in the Firefight rules, Signals can be used to gently caress with enemy communications in Firefight. In a building scene, it can be used to jam a transmission (versus Signals test), or flood the airwaves with noise: all "dumb" communications equipment ceases to work and other Signals gears operates with an added obstacle equal to the margin of success in a versus test.

Sensors are designed to detect heat, radioactivity, EM emissions, atmospheric displacement and distortions in spacetime. In sub or zero index worls, sensor arrays are large and elaborate, only installed in vehicles and instalations and even then they just count as tools. Low and high index worlds have sensor arrays that can be mounted on armor or in handheld devices. Sensors can be used for Sensor Sweeps in Firefight. Cover reduces a vehicle's Profile in 1 less than the cover's value, so Cover 2 reduces Profile in 1D. Sensors can be pushed into double-duty as Security or Signals by recalibrating them, but they operate at a double obstacle penalty.

Next: "when assaulted, fry their brains."

Traveller fucked around with this message at 05:34 on Aug 9, 2015

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009




Take a left turn into 40k? I think we're already there. This right here is one of my biggest complaints about the art in this setting: designs are so ridiculously busy and overwrought that I sometimes can barely understand what I'm supposed to be looking at.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

Flamethrower Nipples aren't that complicated.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Cythereal posted:

Take a left turn into 40k? I think we're already there. This right here is one of my biggest complaints about the art in this setting: designs are so ridiculously busy and overwrought that I sometimes can barely understand what I'm supposed to be looking at.

It's more walking cathedral than most things in 40k.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


I feel bad for these designers. they clearly want to do an entire mini wargame about sapient pauldrons but someone told them it wouldn't sell, so they had to doodle people wearing them. :(

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

DNA Cowboys posted:

I recently read Robin Laws' Dreamhounds of Paris. It's like Unknown Armies in that I'd be intimidated to run it. The game is filled with beautiful, disturbing ideas about art's interactions with dreams and society. It's also about socially awkward artists ruining everything, the Order/Freedom/Autocracy clash of the 20th century, and cosmic nihilism. Most relevant to the interests of this thread, perhaps, it also features this NPC:



Riding (Shantak)? So this is Cthulhu?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Pope Guilty posted:

Riding (Shantak)? So this is Cthulhu?
It's Trail of Cthulhu, yeah. The Surrealist artists of Paris discover that they can influence the Dreamlands that intersect with Paris, creating art in another dimension and being inspired by the terrible, awesome things that lurk within as they rebuild it in their own image.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Hedningen posted:

Seeing as Mors Rattus has been doing a wonderful job giving detail on Warmachine and Hordes, I may as well talk about a somewhat less well-known skirmish game. Seeing as I've failed to finish a couple of other attempts at this, I've taken the time to write the entirety of this review up before posting anything, thus making it a lot easier to actually finish it. If you want more detail on anything, I'd be happy to provide it, but most of this review is going to be me pasting from my wonderful text document of the complete review.



I remember reading about that. The minis look nifty, but I'm still burned out from my WFB phase. And I don't really have a lot of space <_<

chaos rhames posted:

Flamethrower Nipples aren't that complicated.

But what about the two submarine its carrying on its back?

Nuns with Guns posted:

I feel bad for these designers. they clearly want to do an entire mini wargame about sapient pauldrons but someone told them it wouldn't sell, so they had to doodle people wearing them. :(

They should've made a wargame about sentient pauldrons possessing people.

bathroomrage posted:

Still haven't had time to sit down and do Returners, it'll take a lot of willpower for me to do it, but I still plan on it.

My personal plan will sadly have to wait until after The Dark Eye. And I think there's an unfinished Tenra Bansho Zero review around here which I think stopped right before the interesting gameplay bits. And there's this SeeD aka Returners 4e. I'm not going to steal your thunder anytime soon.

Stil, I've re-read parts of Returners, and man are the Monk and Samurai weird.

Other Dust


But first: More OSR stuff.

Systems

Flying Dual Stake Naked Caveman Sneak Attacker. If this was 3.X, you can bet this would be a prestige class.

Other Dust uses the same OSR derivative as Stars Without Numbers, with some added bits. To summarize from SWN:

  • Attribute bonuses only go from -2 to 2, with either 2 reserved for for the lower and upper limit.
  • A lot of melee weapons can be used with either STR or DEX.
  • The attribute bonus added to the attack roll is also always added to the damage roll, be it melee or ranged.
  • AC is descending, and combat resolution uses a "Just add the target's AC to your roll and see if you're at least at 20" rule that is a lot more elegant than tables or THAC0.
  • System Strain (which can never go above your CON) limits how often you can pump fresh Hit Points into you (and activate certain mutations) before you have to take a break for a while.
  • The Saving Throws are Physical Effect, Mental Effect, Evasion, Tech and Luck.

Since radiation is important in every post-apocalyptic setting, Other Dust expands on the rules found in SWN (which only dealt with short exposures to strong radiation). In Other Dust, contaminated areas will force a Physical Effect save every 4 minutes or 24 hours depending on the strength of the radiation. Like in SWN, failure will cause a permanent CON loss (though this one happenes immediately instead of one day later). Since it's much harder to find advanced medical help in the wasteland that is New Earth, it is a lot harder to get the lost points back.
Worst of all, every time you lose a third of your original CON score, you get a visit from your friendly neighborhood Higshine nanites, forcing a Tech save. Failre gets you a mutation, or rather just a mutation flaw. You have to succeed on a second Tech save to get an actual Benefit. Getting mutated also rules out any chance for you to get back your CON points.

Combat is your usual affair, with the added rule of Weapon and Armor Damage due to crappy maintenance and old equipment. A natural 1 or 2 will damage your weapon, and being hit with a nautral 19 or 20 damages your armor. What this damage does comes later, so suffice to say that any piece of equipment can't be damaged more than once per combat.

Negative Conditions is a new sub-system involving key words like Sickened or Hungry. Most of them just give you a cumulative -2 to hit and -1 to every other roll. Special, short-term conditions are Dated, Stunned and Incapacitated, which limits your actions in various degrees.

To go along with these Negative Conditions, there are a couple rules about general survival and foraging. Each day at dusk, a character gains one hunger and thirst point, which can be removed by consuming a ration of food and water. You can drink as many rations of water as necesary to get rid of your accumulated thirst points, but you can only ever lose 2 hunger points per day because malnutrition takes time to get fixed.
As hunger and thirst increases, more and more Negative Conditions are slapped on the character, leading to inevitable death at 6 points for thirst and 45 points for hunger.

All this however assumes the food and water is not contaminated. Eating and drinking that stuff does get rid of hunger and thirst, but it will give you toxin points, which make you sick and ultimately kill you at 30 points. Each day without thirst and hunger points allows you to make a save to remove one toxin point, and that's about the only way short of pretech medication.

Finding food in the wild requires a Survival skill check at moderate difficulty per day, with each success granting 1d3 + skill rank in food rations. If the characters are less picky, they can make a second forage attempt, but this will cause all the food to be dirty. Foraging for water is usually not necessary unless the area is pretty barren.

Now for equipment. An equipment's condition ranges from "Perfect" and "Worn" (everything works fine) to "Broken" (too damaged to be used) and "Ruined" (so damaged it can't even be repaired anymore). The intermediate conditions apply roll penalties and come with a chance of failing/jamming (unless its just a simple melee weapon or piece of armor).
Repairing equipment or creating new one all revolves around "spare parts", which the system abstracts into simple units and can be found as loot or by salvaging it from equipment. The only mechanicaly restriction is that spare parts are only good for equipment of their respective Tech Level - unless you want to make Good, Superior or Masterwork equipment, which is Other Dust speak for "Enchantment Bonus +1 to +3". And of course, the workshop used has to be advanced enough. A spear can be made with sticks and stones, but power armor requires a bit more sophistication.

Like every OSR game, it is assumed - though not mandatory - that high level characters attract followers, eventually leading them to found or take over a home base to stash all their loot.

Next Time: More history!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Warmachine: Colossals



The Conquest is 31 feet tall and nearly 101 tons. It is a mountain of steel, covered in powerful weapons. It is slow, thanks to its vast amounts of armor, but it has more firepower than an artillery battery. It began as a triumph of the Prikaz Chancellory, whose agents discovered the Cygnaran Stormwall project. The schematics were found and brought to Grand Vizier Simonyev Blaustavya, who realized that a new colossal was under construction. It took little for him to convince the supreme kommandants and the Empress to build one of their own, before cygnar could complete theirs. Plans for Conquest were prepared in a matter of weeks, using all the political clout the Vizier and Empress had to stop any opposition. The Greylords Covenant, Khadoran Mechaniks Assembly and several kayazy vied for recognition in supporting the project, and while all received some credit, the KMA was ultimately recognized as the main architect, largely due to Blaustavya. He arranged for the parts to be made in many factories at once, most notably in Ohk, Khardov and Korsk. He also modified the arcanum supernum cortex to account for Khador's lack of rare metals, making it less sophisticated but much cheaper and faster to build. The trick was making weapons potent enough without needing the same degree of cortex sophistication. Ultimately, the mechaniks used the same principal as the Khadoran ironhull naval guns, whose turrets fired in tandem, using recoil to load each other. This proved crucial in the design of the main guns, as it meant the cortex didn't need to regulate reloads. These guns were supplemented by two sets of twin-linked cannons on the shoulders, able to lay down a heavy barrage with a high rate of fire. It became clear quickly that materials would be a problem, and thousands went without coal that winter to see Conquest finished. Hundreds died, but it was a necessary sacrifice. And it did pay off - the first operational Conquest was finished weeks before the first Stormwall. It was deployed to the front lines, bringing unrivaled firepower. Of course, it also takes unrivaled amounts of coal and water, and often villages will have their entire fuel supplies requisitioned to fuel a Conquest. It's a small price for the dominance of its potent guns.



Asphyxious the Hellbringer is never without Vociferon. He's the second Epic Asphyxious, and he's carved out a small subterranean empire as part of his bid to become Toruk's leading general. Even the Cryxian lords that hate him have been forced to ask his aid. Since the moment he became a lich lord, he has tried to become Toruk's greatest servant. Once, he was just a minion to Lich Lord Daeamortus, but now, he shapes Cryx. Even his defeats have advanced him, for he has tenacity and the ability to exploit anything to his advantage. His greatest work is surely the necrofactorium beneath the Thornwood, second only to the capital city of Skell. Thanks to his dark pacts with the cephalyx, Asphyxious has directed the excavations for years now, guiding it to connect to deep, hidden tunnels. What payment the cephalyx have been promised is a mystery still, save for the countless living slaves they've been given. Once the tunnels were done, Asphyxious installed a vast abattoir and factory complex, using the dead of the battlefields to fuel them. The latest of his obstacles was Lich Lord Morbus, who tried to seize control of the necrofactoriums, so Asphyxious got Deneghra to lure him to his final death at the hands of Cygnar, establishing himself as the true master of the Thornwood factories. He will make any sacrifice to further his aims, and he sees getting rid of the inept or incautious as improving Toruk's forces. His work has resulted in the construction of several Krakens, which he will unleash when his enemies think him cornered.

As Toruk's war on the dragons approaches, the other lich lords must make deals with Asphyxious if they want his resources for their armies. The armies of the Thornwood are no mere battalions now - they are great hosts of undead power, meant to weaken dragons that Toruk might consume them. Should the rest of Caen burn, that's just fine. To aid him, Asphyxious has crafted the skarlock Vociferon, a conduit for souls. Vociferon was carefully made and blighted, benefitting from Asphyxious' mastery of the thrall runes. It carries a battle standard of death and decay, collecting souls of all who die near it. It has sanction to speak for Asphyxious and command his forces. Asphyxious' gimmick is magical blasting, and his feat heals him and buffs him when foes use magic.



The Kraken stands 27 feet tall and weighs 85 tons. It is one of the most terrifying necromechanikal tools ever seen, using grasping tentacles to snatch up humans and stuff them into its greasy orifices. These captured foes have but a moment of terror before their souls are extracted and their bodies consumed to fuel the machine. Cryx has had the secret of colossals for centuries, using the Kraken very sparingly. The first was built in the decades after the final defeat of the Orgoth, using secrets stolen from dead arcanists and mechaniks. It was designed, however, to be more agile, smaller and better able to traverse terrain than other colossals of the time, innovations centuries ahead of the mainland. The use of necrotite as a fuel also drastically reduced the machine's weight, making it surprisingly fast for its size. For centuries, the Kraken was kept secret as part of Toruk's longterm plans. Lich Lord Scopulous, head of the reserve forces, was loath to lend them out at all except for missions of total destruction of isolated targets. More than a few ships thought sunk in storms were, in fact, destroyed by a Kraken's harvest, but witnesses thought they were a kind of sea monster. Now, however, it is time for them to be unveiled. Asphyxious has built several under the Thornwood, and Scopulous has finally relented and allowed his Krakens to be deployed. It uses its long hellblaster cannon to tear holes in the foe, with its flayer cannon cutting down any survivors as it comes forward to grab new prey or tear apart warjacks with its tendrils. Not every victim it consumes dies immediately, however - an unlucky few are kept alive to be returned to the machine's dark masters.



Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard is Epic Vyros. He has given his people new hope and the greatest victory they have ever had, punishing those who would defile the gods and freeing Nyssor. He has downplayed the work of House Ossyan in this, becoming the hero of the hour. The hallytyr gave him the honor of overseeing the rites to inter Nyssor within the fane beneath Iryss, once Scyrah's original fane. Precisely what his return means is uncertain, but it's proven that the Retribution delivers on its promises. Consul Calcyr Nyarr has formally given up all military leadership to Vyros - mostly symbolic, since Vyros was already doing that, but still. His growing political power is facilitating his work for the Retribution, and he is already planning the next attack. That the Retribution is now blatantly using Hyperions is due to his status as well as the cooperation between Houses Nyarr and Shyeel. These colossals, once used only to defend the borders, now prepare for war. The Dawnguard enjoy increased standing as the backbone of the heavy infantry under Vyros' command. He leads from his mount, Solarys, and to the Iosans, he is unstoppable. His gimmick is buffs, and his feat lets him move his units around when his allies die.



The Hyperion is 30 and a half feet tall and weighs 66 tons. It is the most potent weapon ever made by Ios. It uses its thresher cannons and bladed fists to clear a path to heavily armored foes or entrenchments, and few have survived what comes next. The field generator gathers power with an eerie whine, and just before the starburst cannon fires, all sound suddenly ceases entirely. A discharge of warped energy emanates from the chassis, too fast to spot. The blinding sphere it causes eventually fades into a zone of total annihilation, having erased everything within it from existence. These machines were made centuries ago, to fight the dragon Ethrunbal. Thousands died before it could be subdued, and the city of Issyrah was abandoned. House Shyeel developed a new weapon in case a dragon ever again threatened Ios. It required countless experiments with unconventional energies, and it was found that the fundamental forces of nature could be altered to produce immense force using energies related to those with which the gods forged the stars. The earliest successes were too large to go in any myrmidon, and it took decades to make smaller constructs that could use this energy. After the first test, one of the designers is said to have been so shaken he wanted to abandon the project entirely, and he was quietly retired from public view. The chassis and hull were built in tandem with the final stages of the starburst cannon, as they had to be large enough to accomodate the generators needed to power the machine and manipulate the protective field into the starburst effect. Given the totality with which the cannon used the generators, it was decided that it also needed an independent weapons system. The thresher cannons, unlike most Shyeel weapons, fire kinetic projectiles similar to normal firearms. Several Hyperions were built, but they were kept in reserve, deployed only in the final days of the War of the Houses against House Vyre. They ended the war, but at the cost of several ancient buildings and hundreds of civilian lives. Those that survived the blasts were left crippled, as any flesh caught in them ceased to exist. The use of starburst technology within Ios was forbidden after that, and the Hyperions were deployed at the border. Now that the Retribution is taking power, legal shackles have fallen away. Vyros took the Hyperions from the borders to fight for the Retribution, and the hallytyr consuls were forced not to object, due to the liberation of Nyssor.

Next time: Mercenaries

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

by many accounts a diligent administrator and manager who was instrumental in increasing industrial productivity during the war

Lipstick Apathy

Doresh posted:

Like every OSR game, it is assumed - though not mandatory - that high level characters attract followers, eventually leading them to found or take over a home base to stash all their loot.

I feel like the combination of the post-apocalyptic setting with OSR's "Named level lets you establish a stronghold and attract followers" would be a really good fit, whether in the form of a safe enclave for your vault survivors to hide out in or a bullet farm to feed your newfound warlordism.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Warmachine: Colossals



General Ossrum Dhurg is a brilliant leader who fears only that his death will not be in battle. He'll work for Cygnar, Khador or the Protectorate of Menoth. In his prime, he earned fame for his improvisation and adaptability over time-honored tactics, preferring to take the fight to the enemy and choose his ground. His men both respect and adore him, because he never asks them to do what he would not do himself. He was born to the Great Clan Dhurg, one of the thirteen founding clans of Rhul, and was always a professional soldier. Eventually, he rose to command of Hammerfall Fortress, distinguishing himself by beating back Khadoran incursions. His disdain for traditional tactics and preference for boldness meant his reputation was mixed, with his juniors admiring him but often his superiors got annoyed him. Still, the Dhurg stone lord took notice, awarding him the title of general, which did not help the animosity of other clan lords. As he has grown old, he sees his best chance for glory in the wars of humans. The money matters little - it all goes back to Clan Dhurg anyway. Ossrum continually checks his forces to ensure they remain fit and well taken care of, and anyone hiring him is getting an army equal to any in Immoren. His gimmick is ranged combat buffs, and his feat boosts Rhulic armor and speed.



The Galleon is 33 feet tall and 71 tons. It is a naval ironhull on legs, with cannons comparable to a small ship. Its cannonfire ceases only when it uses its immense cargo claw to toss warjacks like rag dolls or when it fires its trident to reel in foes. It's a very expensive machine, but for the mercenaries that can afford it, it's well worth it. Only Black Anchor Heavy Industries could hope to make it, costing them immense resources, man-hours and the work of many skilled mechaniks. Originally Black Anchor Shipwrights, they were based out of the Cygnaran city of Clockers Cove decades ago, making hybrid sail/steamships. They soon got talented and ambitious mechaniks, including Steam and Iron Worker Union members who'd worked for the Cygnaran Armory, Engines West and Rohannor Steamworks. They got a reputation among merchants and privateers for solving engineering challenges and producing blockade-runners, built for speed but also heavily armed. Clockers Cove, a relatively lawless port, was the perfect staging ground for their work, and they made a lot of money for their discretion, serving clients like Bartolo Montador. Their refit of the Calamitas paved the way for their next big project. Their facilities grew, and they expanded into repairing steamjacks and outfitting labor 'jacks with weapons. Soon, the warjack side of the business became dominant, and they renamed themselves to reflect the new focus. Their competence got them several backers, including wealthy Ordic houses, so they began truly ambitious projects. They learned of the colossals being made in Khador and Cygnar, and they decided to take a gamble and see if they could make their own - the most ambitious project ever done by a private interest. They refitted an entire drydock to do it, making arrangements with the Fraternal Order of Wizardry to get a limited run of oversized arcanum cortexes, normally used for heavy 'jacks. They used their experience with maritime engineering to outfit the Galleon, and its guns are identical in weight to those used on Black Anchor frigates, while the heavy trident shares design elements with the harpoon cannons of commercial whalers. Since their first test run, they've drawn some attention from groups like the Cygnaran Reconnaissance Service, who spotted the first Galleon being loaded onto an Ordic vessel connected to the Four Star Syndicate.



Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire is Epic Alexia. She'll work for Cygnar or Khador, but not in any force containing Morrowans. Alexia Ciannor's name is known across the Iron Kingdoms, renowned for her pitiless fighting, her blasphemy and her immense sorcerous power. Where she goes, chaos follows, and those she helps fear her as much as those she fights. Her mastery of Witchfire's power has increased in a scant few years, and now the dead gladly rise to serve her will. Since the Longest Night of 603 AR, her infamy has only grown. Those few who knew her before say she's grown even madder, haunted by the ghost of her mother and her coven, and perhaps even more ghosts who died by Witchfire's blade. Her motives have grown less comprehensible as she makes her way across the land, mounted on an undead steed. She just appears before battles, joining the fight for no clear reason, taking sides for no clear reason, and taking her pay in coin and corpses. To what end she raises her thralls for is unclear, but it's clear that either her mastery of Witchfire has grown...or perhaps its mastery of her. The Morrowan priests and witch hunters who follow her trail have begun to wonder if, perhaps, she is part of some greater design, if her desire to resurrect her mother is just a diversion in some game in which Alexia is but a pawn.

The End!

Next time: Gargantuans.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


gradenko_2000 posted:

I feel like the combination of the post-apocalyptic setting with OSR's "Named level lets you establish a stronghold and attract followers" would be a really good fit, whether in the form of a safe enclave for your vault survivors to hide out in or a bullet farm to feed your newfound warlordism.

And there are usually no already established governments in the way. It's a Free-For-All where murder hobos are necessary to create and maintain order.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Maybe the Warmachine pauldroons contain the neural interfaces and AIs for the Warjacks. It's a bi-cameral system, with each shoulder dealing with a different set of systems. The tiny human heads just coordinate, but after awhile they get overridden by the AI pauldroons.

Or it's just terrible art.

pkfan2004 posted:

It's Trail of Cthulhu, yeah. The Surrealist artists of Paris discover that they can influence the Dreamlands that intersect with Paris, creating art in another dimension and being inspired by the terrible, awesome things that lurk within as they rebuild it in their own image.

Given how terrified Lovecraft was of modern art, jazz, women, and pretty much anything you'd find in the setting this is pretty funny.
Is this the first RPG you could cross over with Midnight in Paris?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Count Chocula posted:

Maybe the Warmachine pauldroons contain the neural interfaces and AIs for the Warjacks. It's a bi-cameral system, with each shoulder dealing with a different set of systems. The tiny human heads just coordinate, but after awhile they get overridden by the AI pauldroons.

Pauldroon Rim

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Jailbreak and In Media Res are two the best one-shots I've ever played in. Absolutely mindbending and terrifying.

What's In Media Res? I don't think I've heard of that one.

I'd love to run Jailbreak but I feel like you really need the right group.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Evil Mastermind posted:

What's In Media Res? I don't think I've heard of that one.

I'd love to run Jailbreak but I feel like you really need the right group.

quote:

In Media Res
Source: The Unspeakable Oath #10

Author: John Tynes

Plot: Four inmates have been visited by a recurrent dream. In the dream, a shadowy being, who calls himself "the Opener of the Way" (Nyarlathotep) promises freedom if the men choose to join him. Extensive flooding reaches the Liberty Center for the Criminally Insane, where the prisoners are incarcerated. As they are transported to another location, a hunting horror tears the bus apart. The prisoners escape along with a guard. They then hijack the car of Linda and Susan Olcott. One of the prisoners shoots them both and stashes the bodies in the trunk. The inmates sacrifice the guard and complete the ritual, but something goes wrong. Now all of the characters have no memory of who they are or why they are there. All of it revolves around an ink blot on the wall that each prisoner interprets differently.


Tynes written psychological horror during his most flipped out period.

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Welcome back to this Fatal & Friends of Freebooter's Fate, an incredibly pirate-y skirmish game with some gorgeous models and – as I hope you'll see today – some pretty good rules.



Part 2: The Rules of Freebooter's Fate, OR, Touching Dice Leads To Pirate Curses

Games are played with crews of around 8-12 miniatures on each side; a learning game can be played with 4-5 on each side, and larger games are certainly possible. When building a crew, players agree on a point total – 300 is a good amount for a learning game, 500 is the typical size, and 750 is suggested for larger games. Rather than points, the hiring fee is in dubloons, to represent the fact that you'll need to pay your crew, as no proper pirate would fight without a chance of treasure.

This sections also introduces some designer commentary, given in the appropriately piratanical “Written in Blood!” boxes. These serve to clarify rules, add some flavor and humor to what could be an otherwise dry section of rules, and give some of the notes of the writers. As the first box says:

”Freebooter's Fate 14” posted:

Listen up, ye mangy landlubbers! Some rules are so important that we've written them in blood! Heed them well and they will not just improve your game but also your life! The first and most important rule: Freebooter's Fate is a game; it is supposed to be fun, entertaining, and always fair. Arrr!

The game then explains the special cards used; character cards. hit location cards, Fate cards, and event cards, all of which will get a more thorough examination throughout this chapter.

Character cards should be familiar to anyone who has played these sorts of miniature games – they list all the vital statistics of a character on the field and makes tracking their health a little easier. Each character card contains the following information:
  • Name – Obvious. The character's name.
  • Crew – The faction that the model belongs to. We'll talk about them later, but in general, models for your crew can only come from one of these factions.
  • Rank – The role that the model plays. There are three ranks in the game; Leader, which you need to lead your crew and can have only one of, Deckhands, who are the rank-and-file and can be hired in unlimited numbers (up to the dubloon value of the game, of course), and Specialists, which have more specialized abilities and can be hired depending on how many Deckhands you have.
  • Authority – Used for morale tests. Not every model has this – generally, only Leaders will.
  • MOV/Movement - How far a model can move.
  • A/Attack – How many hit location cards you use in an attack.
  • D/Defence – How many hit location cards you use when defending.
  • ST/Strength – The base damage of attacks.
  • T/Toughness – The base resistance against damage.
  • V/Vitality – How much damage a model can take.
  • M/Morale – How brave the model is – used when testing for morale.


An example card; just look at all that currently-meaningless information!

There's more information on the cards, but it's pretty self-explanatory – everyone knows what equipment is, right?

Then, we get to the explanation of Fate Cards – it's a separate deck that's used for random number generation. Whenever you're checking for numbers, you draw a Fate card and lay it face up, leaving it so everyone can see it, to determine the value. Fate cards can also trigger Event Cards – if you draw a Fate card that indicates an Event card, the player who drew it gets to draw an Event card and add it to their hand. They can be played at any time, and have all sorts of beneficial or negative effects.

Finally, we've got the Hit Location Cards – the most interesting aspect of the game. Each player has six, corresponding to locations that can be targeted on opposing models. Both players use them in attack and defense. We'll cover this process in a bit, but it's a rather interesting way to determine hits.


Just one of the several hit location cards!
Next, we get to the game process – it's the familiar “Choose scenario, choose dubloon value, set up, initiative, and play!” style. Models are activated in alternating order – one player activates a model, then their opponent activates a model, and so forth until both sides are out of models they can activate. Real simple.

The real beauty of this chapter is the illustrations (well, pictures with diagrams added) and clear explanations of how models can move – there are rules for climbing, jumping across gaps, falling from high locations, and – of course – swimming. Everything comes with several illustrations showing how things are done, along with edge cases and what to do in case there are rule questions. This is a game that is meant to emphasize movement and positioning, so the rules for it are clear, concise, illustrated with a lot of examples, and very smooth in action. You'd never know that it was originally in German, as it's written a lot better than most English-language rulebooks I've read over the years.


Just imagine some lines and things. This image pops up a lot, explaining line-of-sight, climbing, falling, jumping, and all sorts of other things.

Next up is combat – fairly simple to explain. The attacking player secretly chooses a number of hit location cards that they're targeting, the defender secretly chooses locations to defend, and both players reveal simultaneously. If there's an undefended location that the attacker targeted, the attack succeeds and damage is checked by adding the value of a Fate card to the attacker's Strength, subtracting the defender's Toughness plus a Fate card, and (if the value is positive), dealing that amount of damage. This means that combat can be incredibly lethal – most models don't have a ton of health – but the tactical elements of attacking and defending make it feel better than you'd think.

There's also something that needs to be explained about the stats on the card – notice how there are two values for the various stats? Well, it's possible for models to take a critical hit to a location – the basic method is if the attacker manages to hit two undefended locations on the defender, then it's an automatic critical hit, so long as it does damage. The attacker chooses which of the two undefended locations takes a critical hit, and the value on the right is crossed out, with the model now using the value on the left. This means that critical hits are nasty, playing a huge part in the tactical game of attacking, because you'll generally want to try for critical hits on important locations of your opponent. The changing statistics emphasizes the effect of damage on models, and it's a welcome change to unchanging statistics while a model is an inch from death.

Activating models is simple – every model gets either 2 simple actions or 1 complex action. There's the usual standard actions – moving, attacking, rallying, charging, and so forth – along with some specialized actions that I haven't seen elsewhere, like shoving opponents, breaking down doors or opening locks, and the various methods to scamper along terrain. It's all very logically laid-out, with exceptions pointed out clearly in both the action that causes an exception, as well as in the action that it would effect. There's a lot of tactical options given with the relatively simple system of 2-or-1 action, and things fit together really well.

There's also special actions, which can only be performed by characters with the appropriate traits – things like extra attacks in melee, healing wounds, and backstabbing, designed to differentiate between skilled fighters and simple cannon fodder. Any model that can perform these actions usually has the action explained on its character card, so no need to worry there.

Finally, we get to Traits – little extras that change how a model behaves. There are some universal ones given – things like climbing, being especially tough, or traits given to equipment that a model is carrying – but a lot of models have unique traits, given in their character card. There's some basic variety here, with more added later on, and it does a good job of differentiating models without every one being “changes a number” in some form or another.

Next time – Pirates! Crew overview and characterization.

Hedningen fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Aug 10, 2015

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

John Tynes quitting tabletop gaming was a huge loss for rpgs.

DNA Cowboys
Feb 22, 2012

BOYS I KNOW


Count Chocula posted:

So is it a good read even if I don't plan on playing it? My friend is really into art and the occult, so it sounds like a fun book just to buy as a gift and plunder for odd facts and it's bibliography. If it wasn't so expensive I'd grab it already. Maybe we could play Rosaleen Norton, The Witch of King's Cross on a trip to Paris, if she's not in the book already.

It is a good read, as is The Book of Ants, a 160-page diary that reads like a gussied up actual play. I've been talking about it to whomever will listen.

Rosaleen Norton isn't in the book. The main focus is on 1920-1938 Paris and people who were historically there. It even goes so far as to give extra character points to the canon Surrealists in Andre Breton's circle to bribe players into being them. Although why you'd need a bribe to be Tristan Tzara is beyond me.

Count Chocula posted:

Given how terrified Lovecraft was of modern art, jazz, women, and pretty much anything you'd find in the setting this is pretty funny.
Is this the first RPG you could cross over with Midnight in Paris?

Dreamhounds of Paris posted:

Your impoverished bohemian character might use a big tin bath, heating water for it on the stove. Or you just go through your everyday life smelling, by our standards, bad. Most groups will prefer not to dwell on the detais of period hygeine. You did'nt see Owen Wilson running around wrinkling his nose throughout Midnight in Paris.

If anyone's a dreamer, it's Owen Wilson.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Count Chocula posted:

Maybe the Warmachine pauldroons contain the neural interfaces and AIs for the Warjacks. It's a bi-cameral system, with each shoulder dealing with a different set of systems. The tiny human heads just coordinate, but after awhile they get overridden by the AI pauldroons.

Or it's just terrible art.
It's okay to admit that your terrible tastes prevent you from loving the pauldrons as intended.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Doresh posted:

And there are usually no already established governments in the way. It's a Free-For-All where murder hobos are necessary to create and maintain order.
Who DOES run Bartertown?

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Burning Empires

Shank the shrink


Spooky! Eventually due to use the Bright Mark ends up scarring the psychologist permanently, even glowing when their powers are not in use.

Psychologists have the ability to influence and shape the thoughts of others. It is born from the psycholgist's inner energies and sharpened by intense training. To use Psychology as it's meant to, a character must have the Bright Mark or Mule traits. Neither of these is available for trait vote - they must be bought at chargen. The only difference is that while Bright Mark makes a shiny brand appear on the character's face when they're using their skill, Mule means the character has no outward signs of being a psychologist, Foundation-style. Of course, Mule is much rarer in lifepaths and expensive in trait points. By itself, the Psychology skill lets the character read, predict and manipulate human behavior: Alone, it lets a character figure out (among other things) a target's mood, traits, past lifepaths, Naiven (at Ob 3, natch), intents, connections, reputations, affiliations and even Beliefs. But when a character has one of the two magical traits, then Psychology can bring out its true potential.


Bad Psychological Touch.

To tap into many of these higher level abilities, a psychologist must forge a connection between them and the target. This represents the psychologist finding an easy 'in' in the target's mind. To do so, the player (at the table!) must physically offer a die to the target and ask if they want to forge a connection with them. If accepted, this die may be used as an advantage die for most social skills - unless the target of the connection is another psychologist, in which case no such bonus happens.. The target may also broadcast their thoughts to the psychologist and accept their transmitted thoughts in return, from any distance. The psychologist has a psychology pool equivalent to their Will to hand out connection dice. The remainder of the pool is known as the barrier, which protects the character from psychic assault (+1 Ob to attempts to read the character); a psychologist that opens up too many connections is leaving themself open to attack. The psychologist may send and receive thoughts to the target, hear what they're physically saying, and read their surface thoughts - which normally is barely useful, just as a way to obtain a jumbled sense of physical presence. A psychologist has +1D to read a connected target, as per the Psychology skill, and can do so no matter the distance. A fellow psychologist gets to add their current barrier as an obstacle to be read. It's possible to have more than one connection in a single mind from different psychologists, but the target only gains +1D no matter how many they are. Psychologists can roll their skill against a target's current barrier to boot them out of someone else's head.

Now, letting go of the connection is tricky. The psychologist's player must ask for their die back at the table: the target may agree, or say that "complications" have happened and keep the die. It remains with the target until it rolls a natural 1. If another psychologist is the target, then their Psychology FoRK stands in for the connection die: if they're using it in a test not related to their connection and it rolls a 1, the connection is lost. The GM must give connection dice back if asked when the connection is with a minor NPC. Connections must be broken at the beginning or the end of a scene, never during. It is perfectly agreeable to set conditions for accepting and relinquishing connections out of character.


Poor guy. Mindwiping worms in one side, mindfucking humans in the other.

A psychologist may transfer a skill to a connected character. The character temporarily gets a skill the psychologist has at its exponent or the psychologist's pool, whichever is lower. If a social skill is transfered, the connection die may not be used. The target chooses whether to use the psychologist's skill or their own, if they have it. It counts as a normal test. A psychologist may not force the target to use a skill at a lower exponent. To trip up a connection, the psychologist may use hindrance: It costs 2D of the psychologist's pool to give +1 Ob to any one of the connection's skills during a scene. This must be done before the character's intent is announced, and the hindrance must stay at the same level during the whole scene. This does mean that the psychologist's barrier is reduced by hindrance, making them vulnerable when they're loving with someone' head. It can be used as part of the psychologist's conflict scene for a maneuver, or as a building scene if used in someone else's conflict scene or in a scene in which the psychologist is not present. The psychologist may also lock the connection: Psychology + 1D test against the enemy's Will as an obstacle (plus the barrier if the connection is another psychologist) If the psychologist wins the target must pass a Steel test or be paralyzed. The lock ends at the end of the scene or when the psychologist wishes it to be so, and it costs 1D from the psychologist's pool to maintain the lock. If a player is locked out of a scene they initiated, it does not count against their limits for the maneuver, but neither can they use the same intent when they get to act again. There's a big warning here as the lock is potentially very abusive.

quote:

Don’t ruin anyone else’s fun for the sake of the tired old canard, “That’s what my character would do.”

But my competitive game where everyone is out to win! Anyway. All of these abilities need the target character to accept the connection first. When a character won't accept that connection or the psychologist wants to rewire the target fundamentally, it's time to break out the Psychic Duel rules. The Psychic Duel works about the same as the Duel of Wits mechanically, except that characters are dueling with ideas and thoughts instead of words. Remember how the Duel of Wits was explicitly written as not being mind control and having the possibility of walking away at any time? gently caress that: this is mind control. The psychologist may have as a statement of intent the addition of a character trait or the modification of one of the target's Beliefs. The target may pervert this statement of purpose or demand a connection or breaking of a connection as part of their goals (but the psychologist may not demand a connection, oddly enough) They may not add traits or modify Beliefs back unless they too are a psychologist. The psychologist does not need to have a connection to the victim to initiate a duel, but if they do have one they may do so from anywhere. The Psychic Duel uses Psychology for all actions, while Intimidation and Ugly Truth can also be used in the Incite action. Characters without Psychology test Will at double penalty. The body of argument is generated just like in a regular Duel of Wits, but for unskilled victims it is always a big deal and therefore they get to double their Will for their body of argument. A psychologist's barrier is also added as body of argument points. It's kosher to have as a statement of purpose "you'll never tamper with me or mine again" or "you'll never show yourself before me on pain of death" and so on. The Psychic Duel may not be used in a Firefight, unless I Corner Him And Stab Him In The Face comes into play and the psychologist wins the Tactics/Close Combat test or has as Instinct something like "when assaulted, fry their brains."

A psychologist may sense other minds around them (Psychology counts as Observation against Infiltration, Inconspicuous and Sleight of Hand) and they may use the Psychologist's Touch to share senses and memories with a connected individual (Psychology vs Perception, if the psychologist wins the target remembers nothing of the touch, if the target wins they remember one detail per success, either side can get a linked test for a follow-up Duel of Wits). The psychologist may also tamper with their own body chemistry. They may boost themselves by removing internal failsafes and rewiring themselves, gaining dice to Perception, Agility, Speed, Power or Forte with a Psychology test equal to the stat's current exponent (margin of success is added). This bonus only lasts for one test, and after that the character is reduced by the same number of dice as it was increased. Forte test with an obstacle equal to the bonus dice granted: if it succeeds, the fatigue goes away at the end of the scene. If it fails, it stays until the end of the maneuver. Finally, as a last-ditch measure against Naiven infiltration, the psychologist may use Psychological Toxicology to turn their body chemicals into poison and attempt to kill the worm. Psychology against Ob 4: both the psychologist and the worm take a H4/H7/H10 assault weapon hit. Margin of failure is added to the DoF roll. The Naiven has a Mortal Wound of H7, and it is possible to kill both the psychologist and the worm with Toxicology.


Worms are gross yo

Next: murderbears of your nightmares

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Tynes written psychological horror during his most flipped out period.

Kinda reminds me of that SA front page series about Lovecraftian beings taking over a prison. That would make a good game.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Now I wonder how the original version of Dreebooter's Fate reads like. We might have our Arrrs and general sailor terms, bit there's really no dedicated pirate dialect in German, which males dubs of pirate movies a very dry affair.

Lovecraft + prisoners sounds like a slasher movie sequel.

Nessus posted:

Who DOES run Bartertown?

There goes another prestige class for a hypothetical 3.X version.

And my bet's on a Speaker, carried around by a Slayer.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 07:48 on Aug 10, 2015

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


DNA Cowboys posted:

It is a good read, as is The Book of Ants, a 160-page diary that reads like a gussied up actual play. I've been talking about it to whomever will listen.

Rosaleen Norton isn't in the book. The main focus is on 1920-1938 Paris and people who were historically there. It even goes so far as to give extra character points to the canon Surrealists in Andre Breton's circle to bribe players into being them. Although why you'd need a bribe to be Tristan Tzara is beyond me.



If anyone's a dreamer, it's Owen Wilson.

My Art History professor taught us about DADA by leaping into class in Tristan Tzara's full costume yelling his sound poetry. I'll never forget it. Please review Dreamhounds of Paris.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Hordes: Gargantuans



Gargantuans is the Hordes version of Colossals. A Gargantuan is a Colossal except a warbeast, basically. We also get introduced to Warlock Units - basically, a warlock that comes with a handful of other guys that hang around them, are fearless and are considered part of their battlegroup, which normally applies only to warbeasts.



The Hunters Grim are the first warlock unit, consisting of Epic Grim Angus and his two pyg buddies, Muggs and Krump. Angus is one of the best trackers in the world, and he works to eliminate the scouts and spies of the enemies of the kriels. When Ironhide or Grissel Bloodsong need something done in the most remote regions, they turn to Angus, who will do anything to get the job done. His responsibilities have expanded as the leaders of the united kriels see his true value, and he gets along especially well with Madrak and Grissel. He remains an outsider, however, a fact he embraces. It is his outside perspective, after all, that makes him especially valuable to those that listen to his opinions. He has no interest in staying with kin beyond those who can survive in the wilds and keep their mouths shut. He's especially fond of pygs, as they don't talk much and understand that survival means looking out for each other. Ultimately, Grim's pragmatic. He's worked very closely with griseel in protecting the kriels, and he understands what it takes to survive. Ancient myths like those that surround Madrak and Doomshaper just don't matter to him.

Grim is assisted at all times by the core of his team, Muggs and Krump. They are clever, cunning hunters who have learned Grim's system of hand signs, fighting easily even in total silence. They have passed their expertise on to other pygs in the hunting band and are good at keeping them in line so Grim can focus on the job. Both pygs are great assets, trusted with many vital tasks, including hunting, skinning, cooking, maintaing equipment and even doing simple weapons repair. Grim's taught Muggs how to use his snare gun and gifted it to the pyg, while Krump is a capable snare trapper even mid-battle. Both are extremely courageous, especially for pygs. They are devoted to Grim and occasionally emulate him, especially Muggs, whose devotion can overcome his good sense. He often apes Grim's mannerisms, while Krump is more inclined to seriousness, mirror Grim's quiet intensity. Together, the Hunters Grim are more than the sum of their parts, working together to bring down any target. They are the eyes and ears of the united kriels. The gimmick this time aorund is trapping and stealth, and Grim's feat lets him buff ranged attacks heavily.



The Night Troll is found in the dark mountains of the Iron Kingdoms, rarely seen but terrifying. Their presence is marked by a glow in a cave mouth, luring in the unwary. They are adapted to life in the dark caverns of the mountains and the tunnels beneath ancinet ruins. Their eyes are atrophied, but all other senses are sharpened. By day, they sleep, awakening at sunset to lurk in the cavern mouths, their quills pulsing with an otherworldly glow to draw in animals and travelers. The mesmerizing patterns of luminescence overcome the instincts of their victims, who approach without care ofr their safety and are consumed alive. Trollkin consider the night trolls valuable, despite their habits being problematic. They are nocturnal, so must be forced to fight in daylight, and they tend to be temperamental about it. Their tempers and hunting methods do make them lethal allies, though, and a foe hypnotized by their light is easily shredded by their venomous, paralyzing claws. And yes, their animus lets them force foes to approach them.



The Trollkin Warders are champions sworn to defend all trollkin, particularly those least able to defend themselves. They are dedicated by ritual, sharing a deep bond, and they never leave a comrade behind. To harm one enrages all. Not all champions have the restraint needed to become warders, but those who see greater honor in defending against a terrible foe embrace the role. They band together with great ceremony, swearing oaths of brotherhood and partaking in the kulgat bond. When they take up arms, they do so with zeal, shouting their oaths and battle cries to challenge any who would harm their kin, patron or fellow warriors.



A Trollkin Sorcerer is a warrior as well as a loremaster. They assist their fellows in battle with their magic, marching with them to protect them from other wizards or to hurl elemental power. Most are recognized at birth by their white skin and red eyes, as most sorcerers are albinos. The shamans say that Dhunia marks them so they may be raised with the strength of character needed to wield their power responsibly. Though most sorcerers are instructed by their elders, their power ultimately comes from within and is usually associated with the leements around their region of birth, often the cold winds of winter, which can be used both to attack and defend.



A Fennblade Kithkar is always a veteran of many battles, leading the Fennblades to victory again and again. They are brilliant commanders, able to coordinate their fellows with immense precision, and a band of Fennblades led by a kithkar fights with the discipline of a trained unit and the heart of legendary warriors. Still, even with these leadership skills, it is their bond with the Fennblades that is their best weapon. They have often fought with their bands for years, knowing each as well or better than their families. They can anticipate the actions of these warriors, trusting them with their own lives. The Fennblades obey their kithkars without question, trusting them to lead to victory without unneeded losses. They know that if one of them dies, nothing can stop the kithkar's vengeance.



A Mountain King is the purest essence of troll: hunger, rage and primal strength. They shake the ground with their tread and shatter stone with but a roar. They walk Caen once more after millennia of sleep, seeking to satisfy their unending hungers. Troolkin legend describes them fearfully and with reverence. These tales come from long before the Molgur and the learning of the runes, from a time of plenty for the trollkin. They respected and feared the trolls, and they kept their distance from the mountain kings, the greatest of trolls, ancient already in those long-forgotten days. The stories say these destructive, terrible mountain kings were the first trolls to emerge from the earth, given life by the violent joining of Dhunia and the Devourer Wurm. They kept to the mountains, far from where the trollkin settled at first. In time, however, they spread, intruding on mountain king territory. This enraged the kings beyond all comprehension. They incited each other with furious howls, and even the most remote came forth to kill. They smashed and devoured all in their path, their hunger destroying any sense of kinship. Trollkin myth suggests that the Gnarls and Thornwood were once one immense forest until the mountain kings stripped the region between them bear of every bit of life, every animal, every stone and every tree. The trollkin saw that these great trolls would devour not only them, but all the world. An ancient epic talks of a gathering of great chieftains, warriors and shamans who sought a way to subdue the kings. They succeeded, but the means they used are poorly recorded and even more poorly understood. What is known is that the shamans found a way to forge spiritual chains to restrain these beasts, entombing them in their peaks. Many died to bring them to these barrows, marking them with great rune-covered stones as a warning to future generations not to disturb them. At first, the kings stormed beneath the soil, consuming stones and causing earthquakes as they struggled against their chains. Eventually, they fell into a restless sleep, dreaming of hunting and food. When they stirred, avalanches plagued the slopes. Sleep was their only escape from hunger. As time passed, they faded into myth. Few trollkin believed they existed, and it was not proven until, in desperation, Madrak Ironhide and Hoarluk Doomshaper sought to harness their might. It was at no small cost, but they succeeded, reawakening the first mountain kings and bringing them down, out of the Wyrmwall, to satisfy their hungers. Doomshaper speaks of other mountain kings to free, but the trollkin struggle to control those they already have. They make little distinction between friend and foe, and even the best shamans must be careful, using the enchanted chains that still dangle from the forms to keep them from eating everything between battles. They are primeval beasts, so tied to the essence of creation that their very flesh continuously spawns whelps, which they ignore until they are too hungry. A mountain king is a terrifying creature, with a fathomless urge to consume, an urge that grows ever stronger as they are injured. Even the trollkin find them terrible to behold, wondering at the price they have paid to survive. Their animus boosts special attacks.

Next time: For once, the Circle is less destructive and terrifying than that.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





It's too bad that given their buildup most of the gargantuans ended up being pretty terrible in the actual game. I guess it's better than warhammer syndrome.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Colossals had double the HP of Heavies, because of the second structure array. But Gargantuans don't for some reason, which means both sides are hitting the same hit point pool. This makes them not much sturdier than just a particularly beefy heavy unless they have an insanely dense life spiral (Which they don't)

Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.




Welcome back to this F&F of Freebooter's Fate, the pirate-based skirmish game. Last time, we talked about the underlying mechanics to give an idea of how the game plays. Now that we've gotten that taken care of, let's talk about the first crew available, the Pirates.

In terms of playstyle, the Pirates are a good “all rounder” crew – they're not inherently specialized towards any one style of play, they're forgiving for newer players, and they have a wide variety of Specialists depending on how you'd like to build your crew. On the negative, their lack of specialization means that they're a little weaker when it comes to dealing with crews that are specialized towards it – they can't swarm like Goblins, they can't enter a heavy firefight like the Imperial Armada, and they're not as deadly as the Brotherhood in a melee, but that's hardly a disadvantage when you consider how they can switch tactics to hit those other crews with something they can't handle.

The chapter opens with a bit of fiction to get the reader acquainted with the Pirate's overall goals and attitudes; as one might expect, they've got a pragmatic worldview and are primarily concerned with getting treasure. In the story, an Imperial captain is helping to transport a rather tiresome charge, Señorita Vendaval, whose father has charged him with seeing she reaches her destination safely. Things don't quite go as planned as pirates catch the ship, and after a long verbal battle between Vendaval and the pirates, they invite her to join their crew, much to the relief of the Imperial Captain and the sighs of the pirate crew.

Now, let's talk about the Leaders of the pirates.

Blanche Pascal, the Pirate Queen has a dream – breaking free from the Empire's rule and finding some way to unify the various pirate crews in Longfall. The exchange in government was her idea, and she's hoping that the city's new policy of “Peace between pirates” could extend even further. Far from being an idealist, however, she recognizes that there's not much of a chance of that happening until the Empire is gone. In the story that fills out her character, she's fleeing with some vital intelligence about the Empire's movements and plans over the next few months. She gives an inspiring speech to her crew, which rallies them enough to prepare to fight off the Imperial crew chasing them.

As far as abilities, the Pirate Queen is a solid leader – good authority, fairly skilled in either melee or at range. As far as special qualities, she's got a goblin companion that automatically reloads her pistol, and she's got an extra point of attack in melee thanks to her skill with a blade.



Her model is pretty clearly from before the game was planned, hence the somewhat generic name – I won't point this out every time, unless it's really jarring. Thankfully, all of the models have been sculpted by Werner Klocke, so there's a consistency in the appearance and aesthetic of all the Freebooter's Fate models, so the generic name and design not influenced by the character isn't too much of a problem. There is an alternate model available for her that's a little bit more in-line with her description.

Captain Rosso is a pirate's pirate. He's primarily concerned with three things – getting treasure, cursing at his crew, and getting a good drink. He's our viewpoint character from the opening fiction, where he and his crew were chased by the Imperial Armada after stealing a hefty load of treasure. Having abandoned their ship, Rosso acts like a stereotypical pirate by burying the treasure and making a map out of the shirt of one of his crew members – who then proceeds to grouse about having no shirt for the rest of the little story. Having successfully secured the treasure, they proceed to steal the ship of some goblins. He's a pirate's pirate, through and through.

As far as abilities, he's a little more specialized than the Pirate Queen. He's got two braces of pistols (for less reloading in-between shots), the ability to take a special action to fire a few more shots in a single turn, and quite a bit of health. As far as pirates go, he's much more ranged-focused, and his melee is a bit weaker, but he's otherwise pretty similar to the Pirate Queen.


Captain Rosso: The Typical Pirate

Now, for the pirate's Specialists!

First up is Blackbeard, who, while obviously inspired by the legendary Edward Teach of our world, has been changed into a generic pirate for the game. His story is fairly interesting – like most of the pirates, he's been on the edge of things for a long time. Starting out as a dockworker who gained his nickname for his large, black beard – hey, no one said dockworkers are particularly creative – he signed on with a crew, expecting a leisurely life. Things didn't work out, and after a failed mutiny, he was singled out due to his size and temperament. After surviving being keelhauled, he was stranded on an island with the other mutineers, managing to survive and continue his career as a pirate.



First and foremost, he's a tough bastard – he's got a lot of vitality, and his morale is pretty good. As far as weapons and intended role, he's a prime example of the pirate's middle-of-the-road style; with a pair of pistols and a cutlass, he's equally effective at range and in a melee. Nothing too special, but a solid addition to any crew.

Next, we've got Curly Ann, a former slave with a peg leg. She was captured in a raid on her home village in the jungles of Elsura, which will feature prominently in an upcoming supplement. The story of how she lost her leg is part of her history and her bitterness with so-called “civilization” - it was lost in the raid where she was taken as a slave, and it's a symbol of how much she's lost since being captured. Unlike some of the other peg-legged pirates, she never removes it, wanting to treat it like it's her real leg, and so has no trouble moving around. Piracy, for her, is freedom from the system, and a taste of the beauty of her childhood home.



As far as her role, she's got a pretty big rifle with good range and stopping power, as well as some talent in melee. Another generalist – which is something I'm going to get tired of writing by the end of this review.

Long John is yet another typical pirate character – he's the peg-legged, drunken pirate who can't help but tell all sorts of stories as how he's lost his leg. We get two versions of it in this chapter; in the first, he loses it to a well-aimed bomb thrown by a goblin with a shark on its back, and in the second, it's a fanciful tale with a giant three-headed ape. Seeing as he's a pirate and this is a fantasy game, either story could be true.



For his role, he's a long-range fighter – thanks to his peg-leg, he moves a little slower than most models, and he's packing a huge rifle. Unfortunately, his melee abilities are somewhat pitiful, but that's the cost of specialization.

The Lady is a symbol of how piracy is a social equalizer. Starting out as a simple shopkeeper's daughter, she signed on with Blanche Pascal's crew to escape her life and live free. While she enjoys dressing well and keeping up her appearance – in clothing far finer than she ever would have had if she'd married young and followed the plans her father set out for her – that's all there as a way to disarm any idiots foolish enough to think that a woman isn't strong. Her introductory fiction involves beating the hell out of some sailors foolish enough to believe that, just because she's a woman, she's an easy mark.



For statistics, The Lady is a drat impressive piece. While she's dependent on not taking any critical hits to her arms to fight well, her pistol-axe is a decent weapon at range and a powerhouse in melee, with the ability to knock down her opponents.

Krud has no illusions about what he is. It'd take several baths for him to be considered “clean”, no woman would ever touch him without a lot of coin to convince her otherwise, and he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He's had a rough life – raised with a lot of other children, half on the streets and looking ugly as sin. On the other hand, he'd always been a big lad, fighting in bar brawls and prize fights. A pirate captain notice his skill in tavern fights and, eager to escape his life on the docks, he signed up. Once on the ship, his talent for gunnery was discovered and Krud learned that guns and cannons are wonderful things.



Krud's a tough customer in melee, and he's got a heavy pistol that's closer to a rifle for handling ranged combat. Aside from his equipment, he's close to most of the other specialists we've talked about here.

Mono is a lucky son-of-a-bitch, who joined up as much for his sense of adventure as for the money and women associated with piracy. His little introduction is as much him bragging about his skill and luck as it introduces him – he's a skilled rigger and fighter, as well as a cocky little bastard.



For his abilities, Mono is a pure melee specialist. Rather than going the “tough” route, he's incredibly quick – with better movement than anyone we've seen so far and a trait that lets him scramble over most obstacles with no penalty to his movement, he's there for precision strikes and objectives, rather than bogging folks down in a fight.

Spitfire, whose name used to be Melissa, joined up with a merchant crew to chase after Mono, who had left her after one of his flights of passion. After the merchant ship was ambushed by pirates, she joined them on a whim, and managed to eventually track down Mono, greeting him by beating the hell out of him and then deciding that she really enjoyed the life of a pirate. Taking her name from the huge six-barreled musket she carries, she's another pirate who's out looking for adventure. Her history with Mono also illustrates the nature of pirates – even when they're enjoying life, most of them are fleeing from something.



Fairly well-rounded, Spitfire has respectable melee ability, but her real stand-out piece is her six-barreled musket. Unlike most firearms, she can't reload this, but she's got six shots over the course of the game, and can choose to fire extra shots during a turn to increase her accuracy and damage potential.

Now that we've finished up with the specialists, let's talk about the pirate's Deckhands. Rather than character summaries, I'll hit the main types, as these are “generic” characters, rather than people.

Pirates are your basic pirate deckhand – well-rounded, armed with a pistol and knife. Not a lot of special abilities, but they fill out the field. Cuchillo are identical, except for a little bit less health and throwing knives in place of the pistol – they never have to reload, but they have slightly shorter range. Tiradora are your long-range deckhands, with large muskets and decent range. Finally, the Matelot is identical to the standard pirate, except slightly better in a melee with less resistance to damage.

Pirate is on the left, Cuchillo is on the right. Below: Matelot left, Tiradora on the right.


As far as crew composition, you're required to hire one Leader and at least one Deckhand. For every Deckhand, you can hire a Specialist, but if you wish to hire multiples of any Deckhands, you need to hire at least one other Deckhand of another type – so, for example, if you want to hire two Cuchillos, you need at least one other Deckhand of another type.

Pirates are a good starting crew – as you can see, there's a wide variety of options that are flexible, with slight bias towards one role or the other. While they don't have a lot of options for long-range, most of their units at least have options for melee and ranged combat, and they're decently skilled at middle ranges.

Next time – the Imperial Armada!

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Burning Empires

The final stretch, now with more custom-made gribblies

imgur is being a butt for images, I'll try uploading them later. Or not, maybe.

Now we get to see the Alien Life Form Burner rules. There are many lifeforms through space, but there are no sentient creatures other than humans and what the Vaylen have created. These rules allow the creation of all sorts of creatures from random rats all the way up to "Space Kraken" (Fading Suns much?). The rules are meant for the GM, and as such have no real balancing mechanism: it's up to the GM to make things properly. Which, again, kind of conflicts with the idea that the GM wants to win the game. Part of these rules are also used by the Vaylen side to create host bodies and eugenetic creatures, though, so not everything is eyeballed.

To create a life-form (such as those that must exist if the Indigenous Life-Forms faction is chosen), first come up with a concept. Top predator? Hunter? Peaceful megafauna? Some alien purpose? Then we get a list of stat exponents to choose from. Each has a description: for instance, Will 3 is "A little gullible, like most of us." Generally, exponent 4 stats is the human baseline. The Vaylen can't create creatures with Will or Perception higher than 6. Creatures start by default with human-scale Mortal Wound and Speed, but they may get the Mammoth or Leviathan traits to raise their Mortal Wound to vehicular or superstructural scale. Their Superficial tolerance is their Forte exponent in the next lowest damage scale. Injured is Superficial + Forte, moving on to the next scale if it goes beyond 16. Maimed is Mortal Wound - Forte. Incidentally, Superstructural 16 is the highest damage tolerance in the game. In the same manner, a fast ground creature has Ground Speed, a flyer has Atmospheric Speed, and a spaceborn creature gets Space Speed.

Next, we look at the creature's skills, and for that we have to figure out its occupation. An occupation is a suggested list of skills for a creature, not a hard limit or anything. For instance, a slave or domesticated beast can have Back-Breaking Labor, Begging and Inconspicuous, while a parasite can have Observation, Host-wise, Host Anatomy, and Infiltration. Care must be taken here to reduce the skill list to the bare minimum: a Vaylen mutant meant to capture humans for later hulling needs little more than Infiltration and Close Combat. We then get a cheat sheet to figure out how many skill points they should get. Again, care should be taken as a skill point buys more or less depending on the skill's root stat. 11-15 skill points gets a creature with average stats a smattering of exponent 4 and 5 skills. Now, alien traits. First the color traits must be determined, those that make the creature alien while having no actual effect in play. Body type, fur, etcetera.

Then it's up to the traits with mechanical effect, and for that we jump to the Trait Burner. This is similar to the Technology Burner rules, even including a points cost for each trait. For GM-made creatures, this cost is solely used to eyeball their mechanical weight. A trait can give Inhuman Ability: they allow a test where the creature should not get one (breathe underwater), or forgo a test that it should make (a Steel test for getting hit). Superhuman Speed and Stature are also traits with trait point costs. Traits can also give Natural Advantage, giving advantage dice to a skill, or Natural Obstacle, giving other characters and creatures obstacles to specific tests. A creature may also have a Natural Disadvantage, getting raised obstacles or straight up losing dice, and note that this still costs trait points. Traits can give Natural Armor (i.e., AT) and Natural Weapons that are pretty much reskinned weapons from the Firefight chapter, so a spine thrower may be a stet gun or assault gun in play. Each weapon gets a points cost, and larger creatures can mount vehicular weapons or even artillery. Inhuman Skill makes a creature's skill dice open-ended, rerolling natural 6s, or they can get Reduced Hesitation. Finally, a trait can Tweak a creature, either by changing how dice are rounded to factor stats (i.e. making them round up instead of down for Mortal Wound) or straight up cheating (my super hunting creature can use Hunting instead of Tactics in a Firefight!) After that, total stats, don't bother with reputation or Circles unless you have a very good reason, and total the trait points. Done!

The Vaylen can design creatures of their own. This is called Vaylen Eugenics, and can be done before the game starts or during play. A Vaylen character with a Shudren, Vaishyen or Ksatriyen body gets a number of trait points to buy from the Trait Burner. Ksatriyen can get up to 5 points from Natural Disadvantage, Natural Weapons, Natural Armor, Reduce Hesitation and Inhuman Ability. Shudren can get up to 8 points from any category except Natural Advantage. Vaishyen can get 6 trait points from Natural Disadvantage, Inhuman Skill, Inhuman Ability, Natural Advantage and Tweak. Vaylen characters can also use lifepath trait points to buy alien life form traits. The GM may also create a brand-new host body for a Vaylen, or a Vaylen may decide to create a new host in play. First, determine if the host is sentient and sapient or animal. A Naiven in an animal body loses access to all social skills it may have had except Begging and Intimidation, as well as all academic and tool-using skills. Relevant wises to the creature's occupation may be kept. In play, the Vaylen may only create bodies in a Conserve or Inundate maneuver that uses Eugenics as their skill. The Vaylen does not necessarily have to win the maneuver, however. The Eugenics process is much more regulated than GM creation of creatures: the body's highest stat is the obstacle for stats, compounded by each skill the eugeneticist wants the new body to have (it's much easier to punt in a Naiven with some Shudren experience than force-grow skills into a body) and each alien trait. All Eugenics projects get a Naiven Tube for free unless the eugeneticist removes it, at no cost. After that, it's an Eugenics test to get the body, and half of the obstacle can be taken for a Resources test as the Vaylen buy up bodyparts and whatnot. The sample monster in the GM section has 57 trait points, which is just :stonk: to roll even if you're Tentacle Mengele - and that's kind of weird, since the sample monster is the ganasch, the murderbear mook from Sheva's War and a signature example of Vaylen creating monsters to fight their battles for them.

And then we get into the final stretch. There's a Playing the Game chapter with practical considerations for the game. Getting a comfortable place to play, snacks, everyone on time and so on. BE can be very competitive but at the end no one is really trying to gently caress each other. Everyone wants to have fun and make the others have fun, right? This isn't a Wickgame. Really. Then we get a baseline for a campaign - setting the first session apart for world and character generation, getting everything that needs done now ready. The GM must have the important NPCs like Figures of Note made, no vague concepts. When play actually begins in the second session, then game can begin. The GM has the option to fire off the first situation, but the first maneuver must be agreed on before continuing. After that, get in, get poo poo done, challenge Beliefs, progress towards goals. After the maneuver plays out and things come to an end, reward artha, review Beliefs and Instincts, make a bathroom check if necessary, play the second maneuver if you want to. And remember not to choose a maneuver at the end of the session! The rest of the sessions play out much the same, with the GM recapping the action of the previous session before beginning. Once a side hits 10 disposition or less, all stops should be pulled out: go for broke, show no mercy, take the enemy down with you if you're losing. Then it's the epilogue, the group talks about how everything ended and if they want to play on to the next phase. The group can use a Planetary Web to lay out the situation of the world and check at a glance the priorities of the players and the GM's characters. Then there's a list of sample hooks for the GM to challenge the players, divided by each phase. In Infiltration: bribe officials, infiltrate the black market, become a member of an opposing or vulnerable faction, establish a base of operations - either in a remote location or right under their noses. In Usurpation: kidnap a rival's children, extort information from corrupt officials, convince a person to spy for your side, manufacture "anti-Vaylen" gear and then hull everyone in sight. In Invasion: order an attack from the front, destroy the enemy's property, assassinate an enemy general, round up civilians, hull them and send them to the opposing side as "refugees," bombard something from orbit just because it is possible. I like these a lot as plot seeds, really: they show what the GM's characters should be striving for. Everyone should be building up towards the big conflict. You want allies, you want resources, you want to make sure they're not going to the other side. Use color, interstitials and building scenes to gather up all that you can use, use small conflicts to clear the way, make those compromises hurt and then bring all the help you can to bear for when poo poo goes really down around the fifth or sixth session or so. Talk about the big-picture stuff and how it interacts (or fails to interact!) with the ground-level scenes.

So what about the GM? The GM's characters, points and such only have one purpose: to provide conflict for the players. The GM may not disregard rules as they deem fit and players are right to call them out on it. The GM does not create the story, it emerges from the challenges they present to the players and how they go on about achieving their goals. The GM doesn't have to play God, they must just try their best to win, within the framework of the rules. This explicitly doesn't mean "rocks fall, everyone dies" because that's dumb. You want those rocks to fall? Get them in orbit, make a Gambit, Inundate or Take Action maneuver. Even if the GM does defeat the players in a phase, victory is not total: only the phase objective is achieved, everything else is talked out in the epilogue. The GM gets a few perks (setting obstacles, those little Infection mechanics tidbits and so on) but again, they're trying to win, not to gently caress the players over. The players, on their side, have the responsibility to know the rules and use them. They have to use them to their advantage. They must push their characters into conflict, they must introduce color to embellish conflict. And above all, everyone should have fun.

Then there's a list of sample minor NPCs for Circling up and if you need mooks for a Firefight, an index (with a separate lifepaths index!), the character sheet, and BE is done.

I like the idea of BE a lot, to be honest. The actual gameplay, well... I really feel like trying it, I do. I do have some qualms with the rules, particularly the way Resources obstacles mount up and wondering how PCs buy anything of importance outside of chargen, or the mandatory lifepath traits meaning that for instance every single signals tech in the Iron Empires is a twitchy mess - but hell, I'd give it a shot and see how it plays out. I wish that bit about the GM not going full viking hat was up front, really, because BE has this reputation of "super complex game where the GM has to gently caress you over because everyone wants to win" and as we can see, while the game has a competitive element, it's not an us versus them thing. We all want to have fun even if our characters are murdering each other, right?

Anyway, that's it. Hope you liked it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Hordes: Gargantuans



Morvahna the Dawnshadow is Epic Morvahna. she stands on the balance of light and darkness, between life and death, to oversee nature's cycles. More than most, she understands blood magic and sacrifice. She is one of the shrewdest of the Circle, with great influence over others. Some of her rivals cannot see past her ambition, but she has devoted her life to destroying the Circle's foes - especially the Legion of Everblight. Her machinations have suffered by her inability to eliminate her main rival, Krueger the Stormlord, but that has only made her adapt to new tactics. She has seen how infighting divides the Circle, and so she has shifted to subtler means, coordinating attacks on the Legion. While her ambition remains, she now takes on alliances she would never have considered before. She rides into battle atop a Skirovik mountain goat, wielding the power of blood. Her gimmick is debuffs and using her own life as a resource. Her feat allows her to hurt herself in order to resurrect allied troops.



The Razorwing Griffon dives into the enemy from the sky, like a thresher upon a field of grain. The master beast handlers of the Circle spend years training them before the blades are strapped to their limbs. Griffons are naturally disobedient beasts, and a druid training them must be patient and tough. Once they're certain the training has taken, they arm the griffons with resilient metal blades on their leading feathers and gauntlets over their natural claws. The final lessons are not easy, as the griffon must go against its hunting instincts. They naturally want to dive and grab prey, not sweep across the ground cutting it down. They are taught to expect fresh kills as rewards after battle, with better food the more foes they kill. Their animus boosts special attacks.



The Rip Horn Satyr is an intimidating, vicious beast, more cunning than other satyrs but no less fierce. They close quickly with foes, smashing into their lines, then brutally attack with their bladed gauntlets for any survivors. Relatively few rip horns exist in the wilds compared to other satyr breeds. They are able to use simple tools and build crude structures, and the druids see them as highly intelligent by satyr standards. They are chosen to accompany druids to war, given simple bladed gauntlets and taught to use them over the mere brute force that most satyrs prefer. While they learn well, their natural stubbornness and belligerence can be problems. However, the druids are careful never to breed those traits out, as the rip horns are valued not only for their cunning but their easy violence.



A Tharn Blood Pack is a band of the cruelest Tharn warriors, who range far ahead of the main attack. They move easily through any foliage despite their immense size, taking aim with bows too large for any normal human. They fire arrows the size of small javelins, silently choosing their victims and moving between them with ease. Like all Tharn, they revere the Devourer Wurm, and their hunts are ritual sacrifices. They shed their own blood before battle, chanting oaths to dedicate it to the Wurm, and they relish the fear of their prey, sadistically gloating over their kills.



A Warpborn Alpha will sometimes lead the skinwalkers. They are ravenous, brutal fighters who feast on their foes. The warpborn follow them without hesitation, knowing they will find either victory or glorious death. Few skinwalkers live long enough to become alphas, but those that do tend to survive for years, even decades. They kill in the name of the Wurm, and songs are sung in their names. They must always be ready to prove their strength in honorable combat, and they are able to unleash terrifying howls to inspire their fellow hunters. The constant testing makes sure they are respected and strong. They wield their axes with terrifying speed, cutting down anyone nearby and slaking their thirst in blood.



A Woldwrath is one of the greatest weapons of the Circle. They are towering monuments to the genius of the woldcrafters, tapping into the fury of Orboros. They are raised to life by bloody rituals atop massive leyline conjunctions, channeling the vast energies in the earth. Their attacks are presaged by voltaic energies in the clouds and along the runes they bear, and the aftermath of their storms leaves their foes charred and broken. The art of the wold was perfected millenia ago, but the first woldwraths were not made until Toruk was driven to the Scharde. Before then, the Circle controlled the islands, using them as part of the ley line network. The speed with which they were destroyed led to the development of the woldwraths. They not only siphon ley power, but store it in reserve to be used against the foe. They were meant to fight dragons, and only a handful were made. When the Orgoth came, the blackclads were not ready, seeking to avoid them whenever possible, but the Orgoth sought out their sites for their own dark rituals. The woldwraths were useful in these unrecorded battles, particularly at Nine Stones, in what would become Cygnar, where five woldwraths fought an entire Orgoth army. They ultimately lost, however, and many sites were taken. When the Orgoth began to weaken, the woldwraths were again fielded against them, taking back the lost sites. Now, they are needed once more. Old ones are being reactivated, and new ones made. Like all wolds, the rituals are exacting and tremendous power is needed. The wood and stone used to make them must be imbued with living blood at a major nexus during a key astronomical conjunction, and fresh blood is harvested from battles for this purpose. Once given the semblance of sentience, they serve as mobile standing stones to help facilitate the use of ley lines as well as terrible foes in battle, discharging lightning so greatly that they cause thunderstorms.

Next time: the Skorne get a puppy!

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Count Chocula posted:

Kinda reminds me of that SA front page series about Lovecraftian beings taking over a prison. That would make a good game.

Glad someone else remembered CONEX Convict Connections when bringing up In Media Res. That was the first thing I thought about when reading that description. And yes, Zac Parson's worldbuilding with corporate-run prisons with the name Da Hoosegow(TM) and Sam's Shitlist would make an excellent game.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



"What the hell are we listening to."
"*holds up a Don and Seymour album* A little something to set the mood for this session."

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Hedningen
May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.


Doresh posted:

Now I wonder how the original version of Dreebooter's Fate reads like. We might have our Arrrs and general sailor terms, bit there's really no dedicated pirate dialect in German, which males dubs of pirate movies a very dry affair.

I honestly can't remark about that element - I haven't read the original German rules, but unless there's been some serious work on the English version, I think it might come across in content more than tone.

On that note, might as well post up the next part of this review.



Part 4: The Imperial Armada
Welcome back to this F&F of Freebooter's Fate. Last time, we talked about the Pirates – this time, let's turn to the side of law and order by hearing about the Imperial Armada, the force of the “rightful” government of Puerto Alto.

In terms of playstyle, the Armada is all about two things – dominance at range with the greatest access to long-range firearms, and a clear chain-of-command that allows the leaders to order models to act out of turn. They've got the greatest access to firearms in the game, and their strategies tend to revolve around forming firing lines, setting a hail of fire against opponents, and charging in when they're softened up a bit. They tend to be a little more specialized than the Pirates, and they have a much greater reliance on their Deckhands for the backbone of their forces.

We again begin with some short fiction that introduces the Imperial Armada and their motivations. Here, we actually get to meet the Gobernador of Leonera, Gobernador Da Capo, as he meets with various important nobles, guild representatives, and the Captains of the Imperial Armada. As the viewpoint is with Da Capo, we learn a bit more about the situation with Leonoera – the Empire sees the issue of Longfall as a betrayal of the pact they signed when they colonized the land. At the moment, the Gobernador is regretting his decision to accept this position; rather than life on a tropical paradise, he has to deal with squabbling guilds and merchants and an Imperial Armada that is spread too thin, losing ground against the natives and the pirates, and mysterious deaths among the nobles. Leonera is in a tenuous position, and the Armada's insistence on holding to tradition is weakening them, especially considering how they reject the benefits of the free port that Longfall has become.

Now that you've gotten a bit more of the political situation, let's talk about Leaders.

Captain Garcia was our viewpoint character for the Armada from the first chapter. He's a textbook military man with a great deal of pride; with Rosso's escape and his own injury at the hands of a pistol-shooting goblin, he's worried that he'll lose his image as the Empire's golden boy on Leonera. He's seen as a living symbol of the Empire's law and order, and he knows that the best way to go about this is through strong orders, a clear chain-of-command, and standing firm in the face of adversity. He'd be boring, if it weren't for that hint of pride over everything; even though he's there to serve the Empire, much of his action is motivated by his own pride.


Noble bearing? Check. Captain Morgan stance? Check. Yup, definitely a Captain.

For abilities and role, he's the classic order-shouting leader. He's able to help maintain order within his command radius, rally troops who are fleeing, and send orders out to his troops. He's not exactly a powerhouse in melee or during ranged combat, but his abilities there are primarily there to help him survive on the field. Nothing exceptional, but he's not exactly a costly leader, so he makes a good choice for a firing line.

Captain Leon is the other leader available to the Armada in the first book. He's a traditionalist, a man of iron self-discipline, completely covered in heavy armor. The reason for this is twofold – it makes him look considerably more intimidating, a solid steel soldier of the Empire, and it covers up the horrible burns across his entire body; reminders of the time he dragged himself out of his flagship's powder room igniting while he was in it. When we meet with Captain Leon, he's leading a force of Imperial Marines to drive out some goblins who have moved too far into the town of Longfall; he sees them as a cancer, eating away at the heart of the Empire. He's a man who inspires loyalty by his mere presence, even if it's only from those who think the Empire is right.


Yup, even his face is armored.

Leon is our first obviously different leader – most of the ones we've seen so far have been close to one another in terms of ability and performance. Not so for Leon – his gimmick is that he's tough as hell, moving slowly but never backing down from a fight and giving the same ability to any of his troops that can see him. On the negative side, with this toughness comes a few disadvantages – thanks to his injuries, he can never be healed during a game. Unlike the rest of the Armada, Leon's ranged capabilities are secondary to his melee skills – he's got a customized sword and shield, each of which has a once-a-game ranged attack available. Definitely an interesting figure.

The Specialists of the Imperial Armada are mostly dedicated to enhancing their Deckhands, keeping the orders flowing, and operating like a well-oiled machine.

Teniente of the Armada has a dream; she wants to become the first female captain in the Imperial Armada, spitting in the face of those traditionalists who believe that women aren't fit for command. By the looks of her, she's got the skills to do it – skilled at command, an excellent fighter, and filled with the pride necessary to serve the Empire. Unfortunately, that pride is also a common error in the tactics of the Armada – much as Captain Garcia, her commanding officer, can never let a slight go unpunished, her pride in her own abilities leads her to make the occasional rash decision. In the fiction introducing her, she's preparing to capture a pirate ship – after all, if she takes command of a ship, she's bound to get her promotion sooner or late. Unfortunately for her, the boarding attempt leads to a few injuries, and she shows just as much of a desire to avenge slights as her commanding officer.


Notice how she mirrors the stance of her superior officer.

Teniente is a Lieutenant, allowing her to take over command duty if she's the highest-ranking officer still on the field. She's also a good shot, able to use her pistols to good effect, and can manage in a melee. Again, she's more suited for command than for combat, but that's the Imperial way.

Sergeant Escopeta is an incredibly cynical, foul-mouthed woman – perfect traits for a sergeant. Committed to making sure her soldiers can withstand the stress of combat, she's all business when it comes to making sure they maintain ranks, stick to proper firing drill, and live to serve the Empire another day. Her introductory fiction has her accompanying Captain Garcia on his mission of revenge against the goblins who injured him – while the Captain immediately rushes off with the marines, she's left to hold the beachead against the charging goblins.



She's got the standard Imperial Mark XII arquebus, a weapon with great range and decent stopping power that's a bit slow to reload, but useful in firing lines. She's also a Sergeant – much like Lieutenant, she can issue orders if she's the highest-ranking officer still on the field.

Tamborino is a generic name for a class of Imperial specialist – it refers to a drummer who helps to relay orders on the battlefield. The particular Tamborino we're introduced to is a son of the nobility who, while interested in music, wasn't particularly fond of “appropriately noble” instruments and so fled to join the Armada. He's proud, even though he's young, and he's hoping to survive his first battle.


Bonus points for the ropes on the drum resembling drums of the period.

While worthless in a fight, he extends the radius of authority for the ranking Imperial officer on the field, so long as he's still within their command radius. A drat useful skill, especially because it doesn't matter who the commanding officer is at the moment – the loss of the Captain while there's a Lieutenant or a Sergeant on the field means that he's still keeping the troops going.

Torpe is a hero. He saved his sergeant from an assassin's crossbow bolt, heroically leaping in the path and taking a shot to the temple. While he survived, his mental facilities didn't – he'd lost the ability to reload, much less fire, an arquebus, and it had taken every favor the Sergeant whose life he'd saved had to see that Torpe remained a soldier, becoming the unit's mascot. In a desperate skirmish against some goblins attacking an Imperial warehouse, he'd shown that he was still useful – while he couldn't load or fire an arquebus anymore, he recognized that his fellow soldiers could and managed to divert the goblin's assault by handing a loaded weapon to one of his comrades. And so, Torpe continued his service as a mascot and pack mule.



Torpe is fairly useless in combat, but he carries several loaded arquebuses with him. He can hand these out to anyone in the Imperial Armada who uses an arquebus, helping to mitigate their slow reloading speed.


Here's his concept art, showing how close the art is to the actual sculpts.

The Comtessa started life as an attractive village girl named Penelopa living in a small coastal village, youngest of eight children. With her natural charm and beauty, she thought that there was more to life than living as a peasant, and started learning “properly nobby behavior” from the local Don's son, whose hope sprang eternal. After a particularly violent storm, she recovered several boxes of fine dresses, and, seeing a chance to escape, pretended to be a noble survivor of the shipwreck that left those dresses on the coast. In a series of astonishing coincidences, she was accepted as the noblewoman who originally owned those dresses – who was set to wed the Gobernador of Leonera. Thusly elevated, she quickly grew bored of acting as a trophy wife, and decided that a little excitement was in order. And so, that's the story of why the Gobernador's wife is on the battlefield with the Imperial Armada.



While completely useless on her own, the Comtessa provides a strength bonus to any soldiers within a radius around her, as well as being able to give her favor to a single male character on her crew. She also can be hired with two other Specialists, all three of whom take up only one specialist slot.

The Comtessa's Maid is a large woman. Echoing Pratchett, she's described as having great hair. She's also aware of the tendency of writers to describe such women as having a wonderful personality – rather than having one of those, she's got a club with nails in it, to beat down any threats to the Comtessa's honor. Typically, this involves good hearing, an understanding of the conventions of romance regarding balconies, climbing, and young noblemen, and giving a friendly warning by using the blunt portion of her favorite club.


Still a club with nails in it at night.

She's a powerful melee combatant who can knock down most opponents with her club with nails in it. She can only be hired along with the Comtessa.

The Fool was once the head frog-squasher of the Gobernador's estate, a duty deemed highly important after some frogs that were placed in the ornamental ponds on the estate happened to be incredibly poisonous, completely suited to the climate, and a damned nuisance thanks to their croaking. After a particularly harrowing trip into a nearby swamp that had been colonized by these frogs, something unspeakable happened to the Fool – and so he lost his mind, seeing frogs everywhere and proclaiming that he was the Comtessa's sworn protector. Taking pity on him, she kept him on and was made the household fool.
.


The Fool is barely competent, but so long as he's near the Comtessa, he throws himself in the way of any harm sent her way. Much like the Maid, he can only be hired along with the Comtessa.

The First Mate is a link between the officers and the troops – after all, it wouldn't do to see a gentleman consorting with those rough and tumble sailors. Promotion is often fast, coming after battles that see heavy casualties, particularly those of the previous First Mate. The particular First Mate we learn about is José Maria, a former ditch-digger, whose promotion was somewhat reluctant and immediately came with all of the thankless duties of the Armada – mostly scrubbing, leading drills, and being the link between those out-of-touch idiots at the top and the real workhorses of the Armada.



For abilities, they've got the Sergeant trait, talked about under our last Sergeant, and are a little more tilted towards melee combat, with a back-up pistol to ensure that they can manage to survive if they're at range.

The Deckhands of the Armada come in two varieties. Arquebusiers are great for long-range support, carrying the Mark XII arquebus, but aren't too good in a melee. They also have the greatest number of variant sculpts available for hiring.


It's almost like they knew the Imperial Armada would love hiring a lot of Arquebusiers.


Marines are the other backbone – used for boarding actions, they're packing an axe and a knife. Both are there to fill specific roles, and they're good at it - specialization is key with the Armada.

Rum is apparently standard-issue.

The rules for hiring an Imperial Armada crew are the same as for hiring a Pirate crew, except for one key difference – they don't have to change the type of Deckhand they hire, so it's perfectly legitimate to fill your crew with Arquebusiers and the necessary command structure. While you'll be a little lacking in terms of melee ability, there's a lot to be said for withering rains of gunfire.

Next time, we'll be talking about one of the highlights of the game - Goblin Pirates!

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