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JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Bo9S is good stuff. It's basically the designers saying "Hey, playing a fighter is boring and underpowered. Let's fix that." Naturally, Grogs hated it for being overpowered anime bullshit.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Doresh posted:

But by that logic, old human dudes are the most dangerous guys around, and you could argue with your GM that your 60+ year old Wizard should totally start out with level 24.

Explains Cohen the Barbarian.

I remember the 2E High Level Campaigns book, where they talked about level limits, and the author was absolutely bugfuck rabid about enforcing them on epic level campaigns, official optional rules be damned. 'If you aren't playing with level limits, then you aren't playing D&D'. Thanks greatly, Skip, you sack of poo poo.

I also remember the FR Elves of Evermeet book, where, in addition to rotating fields of invisible spheres of annihilation protecting the island, and solar (and lunar) death ray mirrors protecting the island, there was a tree transplanted to the middle of the joint that allowed elves to say bollocks to level limits. So there were a fair few 20/20/20 multiclasses kicking around... but they'd snap back to core rules limits if they ever left the island.

What a loving rear end-backwards set of rules. Sure, you might have a subtle edge on survival at first, but it isn't until mid-level, when spells and equipment and rising math close the gap, that the actual penalties kick in.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




That reminds me of the "trick" of playing a really old druid in 3e. Get Wisdom out the rear end; the aging penalties to your physical ability scores don't matter because you're going to be wildshaped 24/7.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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





JackMann posted:

Bo9S is good stuff. It's basically the designers saying "Hey, playing a fighter is boring and underpowered. Let's fix that." Naturally, Grogs hated it for being overpowered anime bullshit.

The thing I remember best about Bo9S is using the strike/stance feat trees to get the Devoted Spirit stance that lets damage dice explode and the strike that lets you cast heal at will on a Warblade.

I had multiple collections of d6s in their own boxes depending on which strike I was planning on using and it was glorious.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Bieeardo posted:

I also remember the FR Elves of Evermeet book, where, in addition to rotating fields of invisible spheres of annihilation protecting the island, and solar (and lunar) death ray mirrors protecting the island, there was a tree transplanted to the middle of the joint that allowed elves to say bollocks to level limits. So there were a fair few 20/20/20 multiclasses kicking around... but they'd snap back to core rules limits if they ever left the island.

Elves are usually poo poo, FR is usually poo poo, of course combining the two will be double poo poo.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Normally elves live for like 700 years, which is enough time to get to level 11 wizard and then spend the rest of their lives torturing humans trying to figure out how level 8 spells work.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

PurpleXVI posted:

Elves are usually poo poo, FR is usually poo poo, of course combining the two will be double poo poo.

The whole thing felt like something a fifteen year old who'd just discovered Archimedes' death ray would write. Screw subtle control of currents and winds, or an enormous illusion cast over the entire island, like you might expect from a rebadge of the Tuatha de Danaan going to the uttermost west, there's black hole minefields instead!

Hairy Right Hook
Sep 9, 2001

Hee to the ho



Make an outcast super-hacker anarchist cookbook fan who got pushed too close to the edge, and broke

Hairy Right Hook fucked around with this message at 21:48 on Aug 19, 2015

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 3: Ninjas and Cyberais




The Oni RCC is named for the Japanese mythological entities and they resemble them, of course. They’re big and strong and fast, but they are not naturally MDC creatures. Mysteriously they are patterned after “medieval Japan” (presumably Tokugawa) and have equally mysteriously not deviated from this pattern for far longer than Japan itself held it. Their myths claim Amaterasu led them to this planet and taught them arts and science and then left. Despite having the capability they almost never ever learn magic. They’re obsessed with honor and losing face and being obedient and racist and all the other dumb stereotypes about Japanese culture we got in the 80s and 90s before otaku weirdness became the dominant meme. Also they can become cyberai, which is way up there for dumbest Rifts name in a very tough field of competition.

Being amalgamated Japanese, they have mega-corporate zaibatsu alongside their medieval hierarchy. Bushido Industries is the largest, and that name would be amusing if the writers had any idea how Bushido was in fact a manufactured thing but they do not and it’s dumb. The only good thing about them is that they are probably engaged in a secret war with the Naruni because they’re both underhanded, tricky orientals.


i kill my enemies and take their abs to gain their power

Statwise the Oni are 7 to 9 feet tall, have 3d6x10 SDC plus OCC stuff. This would be a lot in an SDC setting, here it’s just kind of dickwaving. Horror Factor 8 for ninjas and cyberai. 200 year lifespan. 200ft nightvision. Same potential for psionics as humans. They can take Ninjas and Superspies martial arts, or Mystic China stuff. +1 init due to acute hearing, +1 strike/parry/dodge no reason given, +2 to roll with punch. Their only downside is that they lose their RCC bonuses if the temperature is over 80 degrees, they prefer it cold and probably their offices are cardigan-central.

Cyberai have to be statted now since I’ve had to type that word like five times already. For the last two hundred years these noble warriors have used their metallic talents to serve warlords and CEOs of their people. “Although the CCW dislikes cyborgs in general,” (first we’ve heard of this and it’s d-u-m dum) they make an exception for the cyberai because they are just so badass. Also some of the cyberai are ronin who work for themselves because of course they are. Since the oni are bigger, they can have bigger cybernetic bodies, therefore more organs equals more cyborg. Really though, their special power is to reshape the liquid metal of their hands into mono-molecular blades that can slice through anything.


so this?

They also apparently lose even more of their individuality, becoming even more honorable and inflexible and prone to ritual suicide. Only rogues and villains would turn away. Attribute requirements are ME of 14 or higher.


this bit of art would be cool if it were in Five Rings

As full conversion cyborgs, they’re like 9 feet tall. Robot PS 50, PP 22 and spd 88 (60mph because the speed attribute is stupid). They have special scary face masks with a horror factor of 9 to 12 (I guess ignore where it says 8 in the race writeup)

Their bodies have 420 main body MDC with no special vulnerable cockpits and they also get 480 MDC body armor to really tank it up. This is a non-’optional’ OCC by the way. They have nano-machine regeneration that works to slowly repair damage to their bodies. It’s only 2D6 per hour but that’s a lot better than ‘several million in repairs after a weeks long space trip’. And of course there’s the katanahands that do 5d6 single handedly or 1d4x10 for two-handed, or 1d6x10 for a power attack. Among many other hand to hand damage attacks, they can also do 1d6 MDC with ‘judo-style throw/flip’ which would be hilarious to use on a tank.

They get +2 init, +6 to strike, +4 to parry and ddoge, +2 to roll with punch, +4 to save versus horror factor and one extra attack. These are without any physical skill additions. They have all the fancy sensory enhancers and gas filters and oxygen cells and a language translator (something the main book thinks is expensive and rare) and a loudspeaker so they can be samurai jamboxes.

They get a selection of other skills which includes open access to all the stat-boosting ones and depending on their allegiance they get toys: corporate cyberai (ugh I will never stop hating that name) get three energy weapons of choice, a personal vehicle that is anything smaller than a spaceship and a fancy apartment so the 9 foot roided out war machine can flop on the couch to watch some football. Military cyberai get whatever standard issue weapons and equipment are (this varies BY OCC in the main book), a pair of swords, a computer and a backpack. Ronin get the standard armor 2d6x100 credits. Oh, and the armor has an attachment for a jetpack (sold separately) which the crippled In’Valians do not seem to be able to receive.

These guys are tanky tank tank tanks. If they managed to get hold of a decent weapon (see the corporate option above) they could be pretty dangerous. They don’t have built-in energy weapon options for unlimited ammo but they do have their sword hands if nothing else.

Since we have samurai, we have to have the Oni Ninja RCC. Yes, it says RCC, I guess there’s a psionic component. Secret martial arts warriors hide away in remote villages and form up into assassination clans and are hated and feared, so they must be the heroes they deserve. There’s a lot of about how secretive they are and how they have to be hired anonymously and how their training is super tough from a young age. It’s really not very interesting. A few of the ninja (and this book actually knows that the plural of ninja is ninja, good job) break loose and go off to do their own thing and are hunted and persecuted for betrayal. This is so they can include one of those pass-agg GM notes about punishing players who want to be a hero ninja working with PCs. Really though, how sneaky can an 8-ft tall red-skinned humanoid be? I ask you.

Given their intense training and ninja magic, they are MDC creatures and can turn invisible and whatever. Some clans are even rumored to be training non-oni. They fight a lot with the Gun Brothers and the Society of the Knife mentioned briefly in Phase World. Ninja and Cyberai are natural enemies of course.


completely innocuous, who would guess that guy is a ninja?

Statwise they are considered supernatural creatures so they do MDC damage with hand to hand attacks which is somehow referred to the Conversion book instead of spelled out as with the cyberai. They get +6 PS, PE and Spd and +3 to PP, plus physical skills. Their MDC is PE x 5 so not immense but at an average of 80 they have an equivalent to regular body armor.

They get to select three Oni Ninja Techniques (to follow) at level one and they also get three sensitive psionic powers. They have 3d6x10 ISP which is decent. They can use that ISP to heal themselves for 1d6x10 MDC per hour as well. They get slightly fewer skills than the Cyberai and a special ninja suit with 65 MDC and no prowl penalties plus 1d4x1000 credits.

Let’s take a look at these Nina Techniques now.

The ninja call their ISP ‘ki’ because ISP is a dorky thing to say in-character and of course they do.

Automatic Dodge: Costs 5 permanent ISP but grants free dodge. Buy this IMMEDIATELY.

Art of Defense: +4 to all defensive moves for 5 ISP a round, -1 to init, -2 to strike and 10% to skills while active.

Art of Offense: +3 init, +2 to strike, +2 to pull punch, extra melee attack, +1d6 to hand to hand strikes. -2 to parry/dodge/roll while active, 5 ISP a round.

Art of Stealth: 5 ISP a round, +25% prowl and even thermal sensors are at -50%. Spooooky.

Aura of Defense: Create personal forcefield with 50 MDC +10 per level, costs 10 permanent and then costs 10 per minute when in use. Pretty handy once discovered. Has a prerequisite which sounds like a tax: Inner Strength.

Body Hardening: +2d4x10 MDC, impervious to normal fire and cold, half damage from mega-fire and cold. Adds 1d4 to punches and 1d6 to kicks, plus other supernatural bonii. 15 permanent ISP plus Art of Defense prereq.

Combat: Death Strike: Uses all ISP to auto-hit for 2d4x100 MDC/SDC, and if the target survives it is paralyzed for 2d4 minutes, then at half bonuses and speed for 1d4x10 minutes. The ninja needs a minimum of 30 remaining ISP and loses all their techniques for 12 hours and they’re super-weak afterwards. It doesn’t say this explicitly but it seems to only be usable on living creatures. It’s strong, but definitely situational and it has Dragon Leap Kick and Aura of Defense as prereqs, and those have their own prereqs, so 1st-level scrub will not be taking this.

Combat: Dragon Fist: Adds 1d4x10 MDC to a punch that only works on supernatural creatures like dragons and demons and other ninja, requires Art of Offense. 5 ISP and counts as two attacks but can be combined with a power punch.

Combat: Dragon Kick: Adds 1d6x10 to a kick as above, 8 ISP and counts as two attacks but can be combined with a power punch kick, and I can’t tell if that’s an editing error or just some sweet karate. Also requires Dragon Fist to be learned first.



Combat: Dragon Leap Kick: 3d6x10 MDC, uses all attacks but can defend normally, 10 ISP per hit. Really? Kinda lame. I mean it’s fun to dropkick dragons but mostly this feels like a tax to get Death Strike if one wants that, and all these hits being limited to beings of magic in a setting that tries to sideline those as much as possible makes them just fancy show pieces.

Combat: Fast Hands: Hands so fast they can block/parry every attack simultaneously without using up a melee attack. This has a prerequisite of Automatic Dodge, which is actually completely better than this is already. Like, completely.

Combat: Spirit Fist: Normal MDC punch damage but with a range of 5 ft per level! Woo! Not compatible with power punch or dragon fist.


somebody is having a bad day of opium

Face of a Friend: A psychic illusion that causes the target to believe the ninja is someone they trust. Mind block automatically blocks this. 20 ISP per minute, can be handy though Mind Block is basically everywhere that’s psychic.

Inner Strength: No fatigue, PS and Spd increase by 6 points, +4 to save vs poison, +10% vs coma, +2 vs mind control, +1 vs. magic. 5 per melee. Enh, it adds some to damage, so less taxy than some of the others.

Unnoticed Walker: Fools sentient beings and animals into thinking the ninja is nobody important as long as they stay out of the way. So basically ‘The Art of the Waiter’. This ability does not fool electronic sensors but psychic senses are baffled and cannot find the user as long as they stay cloaked. +1 to save ‘even when a save is not normally possible’. That’ll make figuring out the target number easy.

Vanishing Act: Psychic smoke bomb, save vs psionics or lose track of the ninja who must then use Unnoticed Walker or some other means to get away. 15 ISP to vanish, 15 ISP per minute to stay vanished.

That’s all the ninja stuff. Honestly if it were refluffed a bit away from the dumb weeaboo poo poo these powers would be decent for a psychic assassin kinda class. The class itself isn’t too overpowered, their abilities are nice but not overwhelming. The real downsides are that they're basically a big feat-chain where you might as well just say 'at X level they get Y' and a ninja PC will want to go on stealth missions the rest of the party is likely not able to participate in.


Next: The t’zee RCC.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Hackmaster, 14: Three quarters

Have to give a thanks here to System Mastery for the fascinating broadcast on D&D, especially the note that the "3d6 in order" thing wasn't in 1st edition. Even Order of the Stick got that wrong, in that case!

Eleventh Level (yes, it goes up to twenty. Spell levels = character levels!)

Chlorine Gas Cloud: It's Stinking Cloud with a bit more science involved.
Claymore: Thread a string up to 30' across a hallway, and anyone who touches it will set off an explosion dealing 3d10p damage. The spell makes the string hard to see. It can be spotted with Identify Trap, but not disarmed with Disarm Trap - although once you know it's there you can just step over it, so that isn't really necessary. Still another thief downer, though.
Create Pit: Lets you dig a pit at the rate of 25 cubic feet of earth per second. Once a certain amount of Earth is excavated you need to roll a Mining check to see if you know how to safely continue exvacation; if you fail, the pit collapses in on itself, leaving behind a divot. You can also hit an Earth Elemental with it for damage.
Deep Sleep: Doze upgraded again.
Dense Fog: Another clone of Obscuring Mist, but more powerful.
Freezing Drizzle: Creates rain of liquid nitrogen(!) in a 40' diameter area. This inflicts cold burns on anyone in the area, and regular environmental protection doesn't mitigate the damage.
Induce Cowardice: Similar to the previous morale spell; drops everyone in the area to Cowardly morale if they fail a save.
Sarmar's Beacon: Mark a metal item (possibly a coin) and it looks normal to everyone else, but for the wizard who cast the spell, it seems to glow, and they always know where it is as long as it's on the same plane (although only via a vague sense of direction if it's not in actual view). Placing any other enchantment on the item cancels the beacon.

Twelveth Level
Beguile Creature: Ii's Charm Monster.
Gills: A typical Water Breathing spell, only it actually gives the subject gills for 6 hours without any dependence on the caster.
Icewall: Creates a semi-opaque wall of ice. It doesn't do any damage on its own unless it falls on someone, but functions as a reasonable wall.
Icy Fog: Creates 10,000 square feet of Fog which restricts vision and deals damage slowly (1 hp per 5 seconds). It can freeze water, but not to the point it can be walked on.
Quantum Leap: It's Dimension Door, but "the verbal component consists of uttering the Schrodinger equation". Gasp in awe as this implies that the game takes place after 1925.
Sniper's Bane: For d6p minutes, any missile fired at the mage bounces off and attacks the shooter. The attacker rolls a defense roll as if they were the defender and hits themselves if they fail, with the same called shot and/or crit as would have hit the wizard. Wow. Defensive supremacy much?
Somebody's Watching Me: Sweep the area with a copper baton, and if somebody is scrying on you, you get to make a contested check against them. Success means you learn the name of the scryer and the baton swings to point at them. Handy.
Summoning 3: Like Summoning 2, but the creatures can be more powerful and the material component is to strike a triangle.

Thirteenth Level
Emergency Teleport at Random: Shout "get me outta here" and you teleport to a completely random part of the world, losing all your clothes and gear in the process, but at least not dead. Well, hopefully not. You can spend extra spell points to ensure you teleport somewhere near human habitation.
Firewall: Ongoing wall of fire which can be passed through, but at the cost of 4d6p fire damage. Convected heat is dampened on the mage's side, but exists on the opposite site affecting those within 10'. If you cast it on top of someone, they can make a dodge save.
Fumble Zone: SImilar effect to previous spells - turns all misses into critical misses if the target fails a save - but works in an area, a 20' cube.
Jumping Juju: Summon a Juju spirit of chance and tell it to curse someone. If the target fails their mental save, they get -4 to every dice roll for 13 seconds. After that time, or if they save, the Juju moves to someone else, possibly including the mage themselves.
Mist of Corraling: Creates a cloud of mist that limits visibility and is also hard to leave. Leaving is a Feat of Strength. The radius can be adjusted by the mage, but the mist can't be used to crush people since it doesn't really have edges.
Toxic Web: Like Web, except that everyone in contact with it must save to see if they get poisoned, giving them a -1 penalty to combat for 2d12 hours. The save can be forced several times and the penalties build; if they get right up to -8, the victim dies. Spiders that can naturally move through web can still be poisoned by it. Interesting. The pattern of "powering up classic spells so they're relevant at all levels" might be a bit of a space filler, but it's a pretty reasonable idea.

Fourteenth Level Spells
Conjure Warrior Avatar 4: Oh, you know what this does by now. But the avatar's getting pretty strong: +14 to attack.
Fireball Volley: You can throw a Fireball spell once every 10 seconds for the duration of the spell (which by default is 30 seconds). You cannot do anything but walk and throw fireballs, though.
Frost Ray: Ouch. Throw a beam of absolute-zero cold at a target, and they dodge or take 7d12p damage. So it's disintegration but with an element.
Palisade Wall: Creates exactly that, a wooden wall of tree trunks sharpened at the top. It's permanent, but not magical, so it can just be burned down or hacked through.
Stoneslither: For the duration you can pass through stone, brick, and rock. Unfortunately, you can't sense anything while within the material, and to move you have to swim rather than walk. If the spell ends while you're still inside the material, you die instantly.
Word of Deafness: Deafens everyone within a 100' radius.. with no save, but no exception for friends either.

Fifteenth Level Spells
Catatonic State: You might not guess it, but this is another entry in the Doze chain.
Dryicewall: Like Icewall, but the wall is made of frozen Carbon Dioxide. It deals damage when touched and radiates cold, dealing 1d3 damage in range, and is impossible to see through because of frost on its surface. It doesn't disappear magically, but does melt and sublimate.
Freezing Rain: Like Freezing Drizzle, but does more damage. Yes, it's still liquid nitrogen rain, just more of it.
Phosphene Gas Cloud: A stinking cloud that doesn't just stink; it burns both skin and lungs, causing ridiculous damage and hours of incapacitation. Hope your mage is proud of using straight up chemical weapons.
Summoning 4: You know where this is going. This time you have to blow a bugle.
Third Eye: The caster gets a literal third eye, which cannot be blinded by magic or damage and has infravision and.. well, basically True Seeing.

Sixteenth Level Spells
Brickwall: Yes, creates.. an actual 12" thick brick wall which acts exactly like one, including being rather hard to get through.
Idiocy: If the target fails a save their intelligence is immediately knocked to 3/01 - although things they already know are not forgotten. Still, it's a save-or-die really.
Magic Carpet: Exactly that. Makes a regular carpet into a magic flying one.
Night Fighters: Cast on up to 10 creatures; for the spell duration, they gain Infravision, Inaudibility, and the Blind-Fighting Talent.
Open Crevasse: Immediately opens a 16' by 8', 120' deep crevasse in the ground! It's otherwise nonmagical, but creatures on top of it or nearby can be sucked in and fall to the bottom. Oh, and it's permanent, so you've just damaged the planet.
Spell Magnet: the target, if they fail a save, thereafter becomes the target of any ranged spell cast in a 100' radius unless the caster wins a roll-off with the original caster. If the ranged spell has an area, the target ends up at the centre of the area. Interesting.

Seventeenth Level
Gabal's Permanent Magical Aura: It's that goofy spell from D&D that makes an item appear to be magic when it isn't.
Portable Hole: Like the goofy magic item from classic D&D, except it's a spell that produces one whenever you like. It normally lasts 4 hours, unless it's removed from a surface that it has tunneled through, in which case it's cut to 4 minutes.
Reflective Ward: Like Sniper's Bane, but works for melee too. Screw you, non-casters! They do at least get a save, though.
Transport: Teleport from D&D, complete with the error table.

Eighteenth Level
Conjure Warrior Avatar 5: Zzzzz.
Mirror Snare: Hold a mirror up to the target; they make a mental save, and if they fail, they're sucked into the mirror and replaced with a duplicate under the mage's control (who also has reflected appearance and handedness). Breaking the mirror or killing the duplicate brings the original target back. Hmm. Good as a plot device. Not sure about a regular spell..
Torrential Fireball: Like the original Fireball, but does much more damage and is twice the size.
Wall of Bronze: Just like all the previous wall spells, but good luck breaking through a wall made of freakin' bronze.

Nineteenth Level
Black Hole: Creates an actual black hole, although only a pin-point sized one. It still sucks anything nearby towards it and utterly obliterates anything that hits it. No save, but creatures can move away to resist the section. And if a Black Hole touches a Portable Hole, everything goes boom and everything is thrown into random planes.
Forcewall: Creates a wall that can't be passed by anything but night. Nothing breaks through, not even magic. The only way through is to go round.
Freezing Downpour: It's like Freezing Rain, but with even more damage.
Thought Probe: Touch a creature, and you can access their memories with no saving throw, asking one question per minute and getting the answer telepathically. The target cannot lie, but their memory might be wrong. Seems a bit situational to need to be this level.

Twentieth Level
Directed Shockwave: Sets of an explosion which leaves stone, earth and debris flying in a 40' area for 3 seconds, dealing damage to anyone in that area.
Nerve Gas Cloud: More chemical weapons. This one is straightforward, though: save or die.
Planar Hole: A longer lasting and larger pulling Black Hole, but instead of destroying what it sucks in, it shifts it to a random plane.
Silver Ball: We have to end with a goofy one. Creates a solid steel ball that deals 8d12p damage if not dodged, and bounces randomly around the environment it's cast in until eight impacts or it goes out of range. The caster is rendered deaf, dumb and blind while the ball is moving, but if it comes towards them, they sense it and can bat it away in a direction of their choice and reset the impact counter. Just in case you hadn't figured it out yet, if the ball goes out of range, a glowing notice reading "TILT" appears in the air...

So, a general theme of either:
- spells from D&D
- spells from D&D with an improved progression over levels
- some neat and original ideas
But still a fair amount of caster supremacy, although remember that mages have more intrinsic limits in HackMaster (casting is an interruptible action that takes time and they're fatigued whenever they cast anything, amongst other things).

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


LornMarkus posted:

And now we get to the part I just unabashedly adore from this book. Cause yeah, it's not really balanced between the styles and is super weird and complicated to actually use, but conceptually I just adore the whole thing for being a system to let martial characters be awesome and unique. In particular I love that it is designed to mix and match the styles so you don't have to face the question of, "but what if I want to play a super controlled and capable fighter who's also just cold and ruthless enough to use sneak attacks instead of honorable combat when possible?" Instead of having to contemplate making a whole new style because of slight differences you just make a character with levels in Diamond Mind and also some in Shadow Hand, then make an attack or two that uses drawing your weapon as an action. Did you start up a game only to find that you and another guy both picked the same School and now you're despairing over your special snowflakeness? Do a quick rewrite to/later on take levels in another school they're not interested in and made use it's weapon type instead.

As with most things I've never played it and I'm sure it doesn't work as I'd like, but drat if I don't adore it as a concept.

The most glaring thing that remains is the lack of ranged ability to do cool things besides Magic which is resolved in the second book via Gun Kata which I haven't read too much up on. There's also Spelljammer rules and that's just another mess tacked onto the system that could've been done better.

Grnegsnspm
Oct 20, 2003

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarian 2: Electric Boogaloo

gradenko_2000 posted:

There is some reason for level limits: a Dwarf can live up to 350 years. Elves can live up to a thousand. Gnomes can live up to 600 years and even Half-Elves live more than twice as long as a human.

If we consider that a human can rise through the ranks of and achieve double-digit levels within 20 or even 40 years and apply the same to the other races, then the logical conclusion is that every demihuman that doesn't die in the attempt should be able to reach the same in fraction of their lifespans, which means the world might well be dominated by hundreds of level 20+ Elves.

It's essentially an artifact of 70s/80s-style game design where you had to think about the "milieu". Only 1% of something of all rolled-up characters are ever going to be good enough to be a Paladin, but that's okay, because in the in-game world, that's how rare they should have been.

Or to hearken back to HarnWorld or Stormbringer where you roll a d100 for your race/profession or whatever and it's going to make you a shitfarming human 90% of the time because that's how that particular world works as.

If we consider that the milieu has to be realistic, then we have to place a level limit on Elves, or else the fiction will break down because an Elf has 7 centuries to accumulate experience.

A lot of people have jumped on this but I'll go ahead and throw my view on it. The reason I generally see for "Why aren't all Elves max level" is exactly because they live so long. At some point you just realize you have forever to do something and it stops being a pressing need. Like somebody gives you a deadline for a project you could complete in 2 days but it's not due for another 3 months. Why bother trying to rush and complete it right away? You have all the time in the world.

The other, actual AD&D answer for demihumans not all being high level is you only get XP from gold you find in dungeons. So that Dwarven Blacksmith might have spent 200 years practicing swordplay with the weapons he made but he never went spelunking for cash so he is still a goddamn level 0 peasant.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





If only gold piece haulage can empower you, that implies that Dr. Paul was right all along.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Carrie White, Daughter of Walter and a Hack the Power type? Alright, these two are the ones I’m gonna stop with. Next time we’ll look at the actual psychic powers and abilities.



Carrie White on Breaking Bad: Better Start, Same Story

For reasons best not worried about to make this premise work, Walter White ends up marrying Margaret Brigham. Walter gives up his share in the company he helps found in order to get money to help support Margaret after she gets pregnant out of wedlock and they later marry.
The marriage is a terrible shitshow; Margaret is still a bent fundamentalist and Walter often wonders why the hell he married her as a man of science. They both agree that they don’t like each other, but they’re willing to put aside their differences when their only daughter, Carrie, is born. Walt tempers Carrie’s upbringing with science and rationality and helps reign in his wife’s mania, and she ends up going to public school instead of being homeschooled. Carrie knows her parents fight and she buries herself in books and her father helps encourage his daughter’s curiosity.
She also ends up getting proper sex ed when he comes home and Margaret has locked Carrie in the closet after her first period. Walt takes her to a proper doctor who sets Carrie straight on her body and her desires.
None of this stops Walt from cooking meth with Jessie when he gets cancer, though his motivations change. Margaret can go hang for all he cares, but he wants Carrie to have money to continue her education.
Then things kinda derail when Margaret finds out. Unlike Skyler, Margaret calls the feds and Walter is hauled off to jail. Margaret is briefly pleased she’s finally gotten rid of him and Carrie gets to see her mom like she would’ve in the book. And on top of that, with her dad no longer working at the high school anymore, Carrie starts getting bullied. All of the misery getting piled on a young, introverted girl at once gives Carrie the catalyst to experience her powers for the first time. But she doesn’t get even. She runs instead to find her father and see if he can tell her why she is the way she is. She’s still running and searching, and she has reason to believe her father might be working with the Institute now in exchange for not being in federal prison. A man of Walter White’s talents is better on a leash, but we know how that goes on the show.

Carrie White:
Strength: 3
Speed: 5
Wits: 8
Will: 9
Health: 18 (Knocked out at 1, dead at -3)
Initiative: 2d6+10
Defense: 11
Power Points: 54
Overflow Gauge: 45
Skills: Chemistry Expert (+2), Demolitions Expert (+2), Subterfuge Expert (+2), Negotiation Expert (+2), Electronics Expert (+1), Hacking Apprentice (+1).
Basic Training: Drive, Cooking, Theology, Locksmith, Awareness, Bike, First Aid, Climbing.
Techniques: Blitzkrieg
Attacks:
TK Throw +5 (damage depends on item/distance person is thrown)
TK Push +5 (5d6)
TK Crush/Rend +5 (5d6+18)
TK Choke/Squeeze +5 (5d6 nonlethal)
Pyro Flame +1 (1d6, 1d6 per turn if ignited until doused)
Psionic Talents: Telekinesis 5, Pyrokinesis 1
Equipment: cellphone, casual clothes, laptop, science books, moderately okay sedan, case of Hand Green-Aid Energy Drinks, bottle of ibuprofen for when power strain gets to her, blankets for sleeping in sedan, hot plate, $1500 cash.
Carrie is not a girl who knows a lot about fighting with weapons or guns. The noise of firearms also scares her a good deal. What she can do, though, is use her powers and use them very well. Carrie is a good example of just how dangerous a properly statted Esper can be with a high level power. The price, of course, is the strain her powers put on her body.

Grant Kirkland, In Way Over His Head And Kind Of A Dick About It.

Grant Kirkland’s parents buy him t-shirts with edgy sayings from Target. He claims he wears them ironically. You know, the kind that say “Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver”. He mods consoles for fun and dabbles in Ubuntu and Gentoo. He has a ‘mustache’ he has yet to grow out or shave off. He has a print-out of the Anarchist’s Cookbook, Steal This Book and the Unabomber Manifesto (and ignores the parts regarding technology in that one). He believes that the government is out to get him and that FEMA really is planning to put people like him in internment camps. He has picked up some truly unfortunate beliefs from some Subreddits he frequents and he’s always trying to put new content on Imgur. He has said ethnic slurs with the purpose of being edgy or hurtful.
Everyone knows a guy or girl like Grant Kirkland. Nobody likes hanging out with them. But they do need someone to set them straight about certain things. A therapist could do Grant a world of good, or a counselor, or maybe a group of friends he could confide his secrets and fears in. Unfortunately for Grant this isn’t one of those stories that ends with understanding and forgiveness.
It started with trolling the Dark Net for illicit chemical substances because he was doing research on how to use certain drugs to gain an advantage in online gaming (along with a variety of cheats and hacks). Grant found a man who was desperate to offload a package for a bunch of gift cards to Amazon and various companies and he immediately jumped at the opportunity to get this mystery package that the government wanted back. He got three vials, red and blue and green, read the instructions on how to administer them, and waited until his parents went away with the weekend to inject them.
Fabulous psychic powers were revealed to Grant that day. He went to school the next week and when Aaron Burnside told him to move over and give up his table, Grant threatened him with his newfound powers.
Grant got suspended for inciting a fight in the cafeteria and that was when Aaron made him a personal target.
Yes, the Institute is after Grant for injecting himself with a stolen package. That’s not why Grant ran away from home. Grant ran away because of the bullying and the fact that he wasn’t nearly as strong and powerful as he thought he was.
But he’s seen a lot of anime and read a lot about fitness and training online. He knows if he works at this and sticks to the shadows, he can truly come into his own and do some amazing things to bring down the people who tormented him. So for now he does freelance black hat stuff through Craigslist, basing himself wherever he can crash in Nevada thanks to his internet friends.

Grant Kirkland:
Strength: 4
Speed: 5
Wits: 10
Will: 6
Health: 24 (Knocked out at 4, dead at -4)
Initiative: 2d6+10
Defense: 13
Power Points: 36
Overflow Gauge: 30
Skills: Awareness Master (+4), Hacking Master (+4), Electronics Expert (+2), Calculus Expert (+2), Throwing Weapons Apprentice (+1), Pistols Apprentice (+1), Blades Apprentice (+1), Running Apprentice (+1).
Basic Training: Drive, Tabletop Games, Persuasion, Automotive Repair, Economics, First Aid, Security, Internet Culture, Locksmith, Swimming.
Techniques: Blitzkrieg
Attacks:
Throwing Knife +1 (1d6+4)
Katana +1 (3d6+5)
Glock 19 +1 AKA gently caress fighting honorably I don't want to die (2d6)
Psionic Talents: Telekinesis 3, Pyrokinesis 2, Psychokinesis 2
Equipment: Glock 19, Katana, 9 Throwing Knives, ammo, clips, laptop, backup laptop, third laptop, burner laptop, PT Cruiser, smartphone, burner phone, bag of what might be amphetamines or wet Pop Rocks, 9 tabs of ecstasy, 15 bottles of CRANK IT UP POWER DRINK, 3 ounces of pot, nauseau-relief tablets, 'hilarious' shirts, baggy cargo shorts, flip flops, socks for flip flops, backpack covered in anime patches and con stickers, printed copies of manifestos and handbooks, poster of the HANG IN THERE kitty.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007





Bieeardo posted:

I remember the 2E High Level Campaigns book, where they talked about level limits, and the author was absolutely bugfuck rabid about enforcing them on epic level campaigns, official optional rules be damned. 'If you aren't playing with level limits, then you aren't playing D&D'. Thanks greatly, Skip, you sack of poo poo.

To be fair, that poo poo was all over the 1E DMG as well. My favorite is when Gygax outright states that if you don't keep ~strict time records~, your campaign is literally meaningless.


theironjef posted:

Normally elves live for like 700 years, which is enough time to get to level 11 wizard and then spend the rest of their lives torturing humans trying to figure out how level 8 spells work.

Totally stealing this idea for a future campaign.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Bieeardo posted:

Explains Cohen the Barbarian.

I remember the 2E High Level Campaigns book, where they talked about level limits, and the author was absolutely bugfuck rabid about enforcing them on epic level campaigns, official optional rules be damned. 'If you aren't playing with level limits, then you aren't playing D&D'. Thanks greatly, Skip, you sack of poo poo.

I also remember the FR Elves of Evermeet book, where, in addition to rotating fields of invisible spheres of annihilation protecting the island, and solar (and lunar) death ray mirrors protecting the island, there was a tree transplanted to the middle of the joint that allowed elves to say bollocks to level limits. So there were a fair few 20/20/20 multiclasses kicking around... but they'd snap back to core rules limits if they ever left the island.

What a loving rear end-backwards set of rules. Sure, you might have a subtle edge on survival at first, but it isn't until mid-level, when spells and equipment and rising math close the gap, that the actual penalties kick in.

I think it's a tradition of the 80's and 90's to have impenetrable Elven homelands. Tir Tairngire in Shadowrun was the same.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I think it's a tradition of the 80's and 90's to have impenetrable Elven homelands. Tir Tairngire in Shadowrun was the same.

Tir Na Nog wasn't exactly welcoming, either.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



You know, now that I think about it, while that whole Mundane thing as described in that trait is definitely bad it does lead to some interesting ideas about conceptual balance between characters who are and aren't supernatural. Essentially some sort of stat that mundane Heroes can leverage to resist or ignore effects from supernatural sources. If you wanted to get really complex you could set it on some kind of sliding scale that allows them less access if they use enchanted gear or the like. You would still have to find a way to deal with edge cases that could still break it, like going to D&D: how would such a character interact with a wizard using an invisibility spell to hide from them? Would they just have a chance to see through it, and what if the spell was cast before they were aware the wizard was there and thus they're not even looking? How about against someone who polymorphed themselves into something really nasty? Would they just have a chance to dispel it with each strike, or would they instead ignore (some degree of) the AC, DR and extra hit points the new form granted them? Obviously the whole thing gets a bit less weird and complicated in a less crunchy system (a FATE aspect of Mundane/Magic is Dumb/Bunch of Charlatans/Master of My Personal Reality that you just invoke whenever resisting some supernatural effect) but focusing on that doesn't provide as much chatter.

Actually, that reminds me of one of the weirdest mechanics from an old game that I only recently learned about: the Faith score in Final Fantasy Tactics. I don't recall it ever being explained in the original translation, but a character's Faith score directly affects their results from both using and receiving magic. High faith casters naturally do much more damage with magic but also take significantly higher amounts in turn, which was nice to finally learn cause back in the day I got really pissed off that my Summoners never did nearly as good of damage as the enemy ones seemed to do.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


LornMarkus posted:

Actually, that reminds me of one of the weirdest mechanics from an old game that I only recently learned about : the Faith score in Final Fantasy Tactics. I don't recall it ever being explained in the original translation, but a character's Faith score directly affects their results from both using and receiving magic. High faith casters naturally do much more damage with magic but also take significantly higher amounts in turn, which was nice to finally learn cause back in the day I got really pissed off that my Summoners never did nearly as good of damage as the enemy ones seemed to do.

But if you maxed out their Faith hoping for super-casters they'd leave your army and run off to join the church. Weird system.

Anticheese
Feb 13, 2008

$60,000,000 sexbot




LornMarkus posted:

You would still have to find a way to deal with edge cases that could still break it, like going to D&D: how would such a character interact with a wizard using an invisibility spell to hide from them? Would they just have a chance to see through it, and what if the spell was cast before they were aware the wizard was there and thus they're not even looking? How about against someone who polymorphed themselves into something really nasty? Would they just have a chance to dispel it with each strike, or would they instead ignore (some degree of) the AC, DR and extra hit points the new form granted them? Obviously the whole thing gets a bit less weird and complicated in a less crunchy system (a FATE aspect of Mundane/Magic is Dumb/Bunch of Charlatans/Master of My Personal Reality that you just invoke whenever resisting some supernatural effect) but focusing on that doesn't provide as much chatter.

Your swordstroke cuts through the bedsheet ghost to reveal...Mayor Johnson who hired you in the first place?!

And I would have gotten away with it, too..

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Bieeardo posted:

Explains Cohen the Barbarian.

Indeed.

quote:

I also remember the FR Elves of Evermeet book, where, in addition to rotating fields of invisible spheres of annihilation protecting the island, and solar (and lunar) death ray mirrors protecting the island, there was a tree transplanted to the middle of the joint that allowed elves to say bollocks to level limits. So there were a fair few 20/20/20 multiclasses kicking around... but they'd snap back to core rules limits if they ever left the island.

What a loving rear end-backwards set of rules. Sure, you might have a subtle edge on survival at first, but it isn't until mid-level, when spells and equipment and rising math close the gap, that the actual penalties kick in.

Man, it's like they were daring the party's wizard to wish for an asteroid to smash the island to pieces.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012




quote:

"Strangers from distant lands... friends of old. You have been summoned here to answer the threat of Mortarion. Terros stands upon the brink
of destruction. None can escape it. You will unite... or you will fall. Each race is bound to this fate... this one doom."
A council had gathered in that small forest. The elven elder stood before a group of just over twenty that represented the free peoples of Terros.
He nodded to a halfling.
"Bring forth the ring, Prefect," the elder said. The young halfling stepped forward and put a simple gold ring on the stone plinth that was the
focus of the gathering, then returned to his seat.
"So it is true," Brother Boromos of the White Templars muttered, his voice raspy through the filter of his power armor's ventilator.
"Saurious' ring! The ring of power!" Megablos, one of the local elves, exclaimed. One of the squats looked at the ring and shook his head.
"The doom of man," the squat muttered.
"It is a gift," Brother Boromos said. "We can use this ring to strike at the enemy, if it is such a powerful artifact."
"You cannot wield it," Walker said, gruffly. He brushed his hands over his denim pants, dislodging road dust. "None of us can. The one ring answers
to the daemon Saurious alone."
"And what would a ranger know of this matter?" Brother Boromos asked, turning to face Walker. Walker just fixed him with a level gaze. The air
filled with unspoken threat.
"He is no mere ranger," Megablos said, trying to defuse the situation "He is Walker, son of Tecksas."
"Walker?" Boromos asked, quietly. "Norris' heir?" There was a gentle cough as a man dressed in strange robes, the robes of the Syrneth, spoke up.
"Walker is right... we cannot use it," the wizard said.
"We have only one choice," said the elven elder. "The ring must be destroyed."
The squat suddenly stood up, bringing his meltagun to bear.
"Then... what are we waiting for?" He asked. He fired the meltagun.
There was a crack as the superheated air washed over the group. The stone plinth vanished, turning into ash and molten stone. The ring hung suspended
in midair for a moment, then landed on the ground with the tone of pure metal, unharmed. Pentagrammatic wards flared on its surface, an evil and arcane
script.
"The ring cannot be destroyed," the elder said, to the suddenly silent chamber, "Cheri, son of Chearwin, by any craft that we here possess. The ring
was made in the fires of Mount Kismet... only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mortarion, and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence
it came. One of you must do this."
"One does not simply walk into Mortarion," Brother Boromos said. "Its black gates are guarded by worse than just orks. There is evil there that does
not sleep and the Great Eye is ever watchful." He paused. "We will need to take drop pods. We shall not fail in this. Before this day is done, the evil of
Mortarion will fall."
There are a few references in here and they should be frankly obvious

Chapter X - The most meh chapter, Backgrounds
Not a long chapter, so this'll go by quick. In short, Backgrounds are the merits from WoD and Exalted that have ratings to them and are the ones that can be lost and acquired over a game. It was a good idea separating them out from Feats which is where the more permanent Merits were siloed. Characters start with seven dots to throw into Backgrounds at chargen to a max of three with a fourth and fifth dot each costing 100 XP. Once they're acquired in Chargen, they can't be raised or lowered by XP. Only by plot progression. Backgrounds can be used by the SM as character hooks and the book advises characters to come up with a rationale as to how they were acquired.

Allies - Essentially named NPCs that are friends with the PC and are roughly as powerful as a starting PC. Each dot represents an ally as strong as a starting PC or multiple dots to represent a more powerful NPC.

Artifact - Rare and powerful objects from the ancient Syrneth. Just like in Exalted, each Artifact has its own listing and dot rating. More powerful artifacts have higher dot ratings and can be anything from weapons to useful tools to Power Armor.

Backing - Basically organizational status. No dots means no membership. One dot is the lowest level and five is basically a boss. Can obviously be taken multiple times for multiple organizations.

Contacts - There are two types of Contacts: Major and Minor. Dots give you both. Major Contacts, like allies, but they won't help you for nothing. These can be more powerful or influential figures than normal allies, but are less likely to be present overall. Each dot is a Major contact. Minor contacts are the character's overall, nonspecific, connectedness and utilizing those is a Contacts+Charisma/Fellowship roll.

Fame - How well known the character is. Zero means the character is anonymous, unnoteworthy or suppressing their identity. One dot means the character is known locally or within a subculture. Three dots is nationally or continentally famous. Five dots is fame that spans spheres.

Followers - Groupies, hangers-on, worshipers. These are mortals that follow the character to assist the character, hang out, or just bask in their radiance. In order to take care of them, however, an equal amount of Backing, Holding or Wealth is needed. Starting at one dot, the character has up to five followers and progresses exponentially from there to 20, then 100, then 1000 and finally 10,000. This does mean that a starting character could have 100 meat shields following them around for whatever reason without spending their starting experience or an entire legions if they did.

Holdings - These are places the party can rest in or use as a base. It can be a house, a business or a Spelljammer. In order to maintain the Holdings, a staff or crew is required and requires Backing, Followers or Wealth of an equivalent level, just like Followers. Presumably, they can support each other, if the Holding is a business, but it's a little more up in the air if it's a Spelljammer or a house. It's probably not a big deal. One dot is an average house, a small business or a very small Spelljammer. Three dots gives a small castle, a large business that might have connections off world, or a medium Spelljammer like this one. Five dots is a massive castle (though I'd probably also consider a small city or nation), a megacorporation, or a legendary or ancient ship (like a kilometer long battleship).

Inheritance - These are basically starting items beyond the starting item packs chosen at Chargen. These might be things that the character could normally get with their own means. Progression is exponential, doubling at each level. One dot is 1 Uncommon, 2 Common, 4 Very Common or 8 Ubiquitous items. Two dots is either two one dot rewards or 1 Rare item. Three dots is the same, but with Very Rare. Four dots goes to Mythic Rare and Five dots is any non-artifact item. The quality of such items aren't mentioned, but are presumably of Common Quality. Each step of Quality increase (there's only two up and one down) would ostensibly shift the rarity one step. Quality and their effects will be put into more detail in the Equipment section. As a final note, the only Ubiquitous item listed is a Club. Everything else is Very Common and up.

Mentor - Basically a patron, teacher, advisor, etc. Dot rating determines how powerful the mentor is. One dot gives a mentor that just a little more powerful and worldly than the character. A three dot mentor probably has a bit of influence and pull and is way more powerful. Five dots gives a mentor that's extremely powerful and just short of a god.

Status - This is the character's reputation and standing amongst Exalts. Being an Exalt is a fairly special thing, so word gets around. Zero dots is someone who's done literally nothing or it otherwise new. One dot is someone known by a few. Three dots means the character is influential and may be asked to consult on things (I don't know what things these would be and the book doesn't say). Five dots means the character is a luminary and respected above all others.

Wealth - Financial resources. These are the character's liquid assets (while Holdings would be their illiquid assets). Mo' dots = mo' money and this rating is used in Wealth checks when buying stuff. Zero dots is broke. Five dots is filthy, stinkin' rich. This Background will be made more clear in the Equipment chapter.

That's all of the backgrounds. As an alternative to WoD and Exalted's systems of just lumping everything else into Merits, I think this is probably the more sensible solution as the scalings don't have to be parallel to each other outside of chargen and it doesn't have to run on any other system where it might run off of the rails or be left behind

Next: VECTRON'S GLORIOUS DIVINITY AND IMMENSE HOLINESS and some other holy fucks

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I am excited for the list of gods, by Vectron's holy Claw!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


By his golden wings, praise Vectron!

Mr.Misfit
Jan 10, 2013

The time for
SkellyBones
has come!


pkfan2004 posted:

I am excited for the list of gods, by Vectron's holy Claw!

By Vectrons Awesomeness you´re right, this is going to be great. Praise Vectron!

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Pope Guilty posted:

Tir Na Nog wasn't exactly welcoming, either.

I kind of forgot about them because anytime anything starts going on about how magical and full of elves/fairies Ireland is, my eyes glaze over and I black out. An Elvish Israel was a better concept despite the terrible execution, which they've been dealing with lately oddly enough.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Tir Na nOg (and it is weirdly capitalized in Shadowrun) was good for one reason only: the IRA is clearly fightin' the fookin' keebs.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

So, I bought Psionics on pkfan's recommendation, and I'm really enjoying skimming it. Though there are parts I'm not a huge fan of the conspiracies, the bestiary, and synchronicity, there are a lot of things I love, chief among them the attribute system. Wits and Will are obviously the most important stats - you need them to use your powers, plus handle skills - but if you skimp on Strength... well, good luck using telekinesis to fire three guns at once if doing it for more then a couple turns knocks you unconscious.

I do have some issues with Speed, though. Pkfan, does it do anything other than determine initiative and govern a few skills?

e: Never mind, it governs a bunch of combat skills.

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 20:59 on Aug 20, 2015

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Yeah Synchronicity is definitely the weakest of the Pyrokinetic subcategory powers. It and magnokinesis are kind of...alright. But you can do a lot more with magnokinesis than synchronicity.

Also an issue I hope they go back and fix later is the relationship between lethal and nonlethal damage. I'll explain more later but it's very hazy and vague.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Doresh posted:

Man, it's like they were daring the party's wizard to wish for an asteroid to smash the island to pieces.

I am totally gay for elves, but I'd still toss a thousand xp into that effort, by Vectron.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Special Projects: Wild Talents

Psychic powers ain’t free. It’s sad but true. But there wouldn’t be much of a challenge to using them if they didn’t have a price. Here are the three hard, generally unavoidable rules of using psionic talents:

1: You spend Power Points to use them.

2: You must withstand a proportional amount of Drain.

3: Your Overflow Gauge must fill by a proportional amount to the power used.



Unless specified, the Power Point cost of using a psionic talent is generally equal to the level of the talent used. Gonna start fires with your mind and have Pyrokinesis 3? 3 points a pop. For every hour of rest an Esper takes, and that’s complete rest (sleep is a good example but so is vegging out on the couch or relaxing in a holding cell), an Esper regains a flat 10 points per hour.

Drain is nonlethal damage equal to half of the power’s level, rounded down. Drain is at least 1 point. If it would knock you out, you can still fire off the power if you have enough PP then you’ll immediately take a nap. Drain can’t kill you, it can only knock you unconscious. Drain isn’t pleasant, though. It’s fatigue and stress put on your body; nosebleeds, headaches, aches and pains and feeling tired.

Strain is what happens when you don’t have enough PP to use a power. Strain is dangerous. First, it adds onto the Drain cost at the cost of 1 point per every missing PP. Second, it adds to your Overflow Gauge at the rate of total Drain taken+1. Straining is a last ditch effort for when you’re out of drugs or really need to use that power now.



So what is Overflow? Overflow is what makes Espers more than living weapons; Overflow makes Espers living time bombs. Here is how Overflow and its Gauge work:

1: use a power and a proportional amount of Overflow is added to the Gauge. 1 point in the Gauge for every PP spent.

2: when it fills, you Overload.

3: Every turn in combat where you don’t use a power, your Gauge goes down 1 point. Every minute spent out of combat, your Gauge goes down 6. It would take Player Character Carrie White 7.5 minutes to go from near meltdown to safe.

4: high emotions, some circumstances and certain drugs can add to your Overflow Gauge and that’s actually more dangerous than Overloading from using your powers too much too fast.

When you Overflow, your Esper is no longer in your control. Well, they can make 1 movement a turn to stumble around, but that’s it. An Overflowing Esper takes -3 defense while Overflowing and won’t stop until their Gauge is empty or they’re dead. Overflowing is a complete meltdown of control over psychic power and it’s massively dangerous to every living being around.

1: The Gauge depletes by Will points every round. Concretely, an Esper pretty much always takes 5 rounds to Overflow.

2: Any being within Will yard of the Esper takes Omega damage. Omega damage is (2xWill)d6 damage every turn.

3: Any being 2xWill yards away from the Esper takes (Will)d6 damage a round.

4: Run the gently caress away as fast as you can from any Esper Overflowing because their power doesn’t choose between friend and foe. Everything dies.

5: The Esper receives 1d6 lethal damage for every round, not reducible.

6: You don’t get any XP for things killed while Overflowing.

What does it look like when you Overflow? Well, it depends on your highest Psychic talent, or a mix if you’ve got multiples. Telekinetics rip and tear and crush everything around them, Pyrokinetics freeze or burn everything alive and coat the area in flames or ice and Psychokinetics cause heads to explode.



Example time: Carrie White has 9 Will and she’s pushed herself too hard and can’t hold back any longer. Everything within 9 yards of her gets dealt 18d6 damage a round. Everything 18 yards away gets dealt 9d6 damage a round. Carrie herself feels 5d6 for all 5 rounds until she’s empty, but in the meantime her Telekinesis unleashes fresh hell on everything around her.



Or maybe it was emotions that set Carrie off. Emotions are important to an Esper. Rules on emotions are something a GM should play by ear, but they’re not optional. When beholden to extremely intense emotional situations, two things happen to an Esper. First, this can trigger an Overflow faster than using way too much power. Second, this can actually advance their powers. However, these situations shouldn’t happen enough to be common and they should also be natural from the roleplaying and gameplay. What this means is that you can’t just subject Espers to traumatic situations to make them better at using their powers. These aren’t positive emotions either, and mixing drugs and high emotions can result in some real bad poo poo happening, even if they’re Overflow suppression drugs.

So how exactly does this make them better at using their powers? Well, psionic talents use what’s called the CAPs System. You track how far along you with your power and limits by keeping track of how many little points (called CAPs) you accumulate. High emotions not only cause an Esper to gain a lot of Overflow points at once, but they can also gain multiple CAPs at once! This is called Talent Unlock Burst, and it’s simple:

If the CAPs earned from this ordeal cause an Esper to reach the next threshold of their powers, they get another level! If not, then they don’t get any CAPs at all.

It’s like a bonus scratch box on the bottom of a lottery ticket. You either get something or you don’t. On the plus side, this burst can be used to get levels in Secondary Talents. You also get back PP equal to your Will plus 2 points for every 6 rolled on the Talent Unlock Burst dice. The drawbacks depend on your GM. The boost can be permanent or it can be temporary, and this is a rule your GM should establish at the beginning and stick to. Maybe make it so you can roll or spend something to make it permanent. The other drawback is that the player doesn’t get to pick what levels up, the GM does. They can choose to give you a 1st level in a new Secondary Talent or increase another Talent that would give you a leg up in this situation.

But this is less a drawback when the new power you get from being driven to the brink of sanity is the ability to kill with a touch because your GM thinks it’s appropriate.



NEXT TIME we will go into the three main Talents themselves: Telekinesis, Pyrokinesis and Psychokinesis.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Night10194 posted:

By his golden wings, praise Vectron!

Err, I feel awkward mentioning this, but... when did this whole Vectron business get started? I think I missed something.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


chiasaur11 posted:

Err, I feel awkward mentioning this, but... when did this whole Vectron business get started? I think I missed something.

This is literally the first page I've read this name. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Other Dust


Equipment and Artifacts


"Here's J'nny!"

Other Dust uses the same Tech Levels as Stars Without Numbers, with TL1 (aka Middle-Age-style metalwork, chemistry and handcrafting) being considered the norm for most enclaves.
In the post-apocalyptic future, the only universal currency are rations of food (with dirty rations being the baseline, with clean rations being worth 4 and fancy sealed pretech rations being worth 10 times as much). Even then, prices will fluctuate wildly from place to place depending on local needs, and change "money" is anything but common, so the players might have to pay extra.
Still, more civilized regions might have their own coinage in the form of bottle caps and stuff, but there's usually no real exchange rate, forcing the players to keep track of their money separately.

Armor

This section has quite a few changes. All the medieval-style low-TL armor from SWN have been replaced with hide and scrap armor. The Leather Jack sadly makes no return, as the only clothing that counts as armor is Old terran Clothing (if you want a vault overall).
Aside from Power Armor, all the high-TL armor is new, usually fluffed variants of stuff found in SWN. The modern day Woven Body Armor for example has an improved counterpart in the Harmony Armor (the armor of the old Harmony Bureau aka Old Terran death squads), and the Terran Explorer Suit offers the same protection as a Combat Field Uniform, but with bonuses to environmental rolls on top. The new big boy in town is the AC 0 Storm Plate, and incredibly cumbersone and energy-hungry suit of power armor originally meant for ceremonial purposes only that offers excellent environmental protection and Damage Protection against anything that isn't an anti-vehicle weapon.

Speaking of damage, the part in SWN about how medieval armor is useless against firearms, which in turn do nothing against power armor is not found in Other Dust. Gameplay-wise, this makes sense as the PCs are much more likely to be running around in low-tech gear this time around, and fluff-wise we have a combination of power armor that has seen way better days, as well as simple scrap armor and spear tips made out of chunks of advanced alloys from before the Scream.

Primitive Weaponry

This table is a beefed up version of the one from SWN, featuring different kinds of grenades (fragmentation, stun and sticky), a Huge Monoblade (whose stats are also used for things like a laser cutter or that hammer from Fallout) and the mighty Proton Axe which deals the same 2d8+2 damage as a Huge Monoblade - unless you switch it on, then it deals 3d10 damage that make it count as an anti-vehicle weapon.

Projectile Weaponry

This one is actually shorter than the one in SWN, skipping the Crude Pistol, Sniper Rifle, Void Carbine and Spike Thrower.

Energy Weaponry

This table as a few omissions (namely the huge Thunder Gun and Distortion Cannon), but it comes with a couple new ones, namely the Whip Beam (a breaching weapon that doubles as a cutting tool), Blackout Rifle (a stun gun) and Neutron Blaster (a radiation gun that hits all organic targets in a cone).

Psitech Weaponry

As the only ones who could use these are Crazed (and they can already gently caress you just fine without any outside tools), they don't appear here.

Gunnery Weaponry

This one has a lot of new fun stuff. For TL1, we have the Catapult and Ballista. Higher Tech Levels include new toys like the Suppressor Cannon (an anti-riot weapon using sonic waves and electricity), the classic Flamethrower (the kids love it!) and the Hellgun (an even better flamethrower that can eat through anything aside from armored pretech fortifications).

Adventuring Equipment

As Other Dust is a lot more about crafthing than SWN, the equipment list comes with blueprints, spare parts and toolkits of varying Tech Levels, as well as different kinds of generators to power your workshop. If radiation being a big deal, it's no wonder that you can get yourself a Geiger Counter. And sine standardized Power Cell recharge stations are a bit of a rarity, the two kinds of Cells (A for personal and B for vehicle use) get themselves a "+"-type that can be recharged on anything with an electric current.
We also learn why pretech rations are so much more worth than normal rations: Their medical properties instantly remove Toxin Points and heal a few hit points.
For an extra dose of Half-Life, you can get a crowbar that totally doubles as a weapon, dealing 1d4 one-handed or 2d4 two-handed. Not sure why this one has special rules for two-handed use, but who cares, crowbars rule.

Stims

A new type of equipment, stims are skinspray with healing properties (healing 4 HP + the target's CON bonus, with the usualy System Strain added). The different types of stim also apply an extra effect to the target:

  • Cure Stims can instantly heal any normal disease, offer a re-roll against engineered diseases and restore CON lost due to radiation. They do however add an extra point of System Strain.
  • Cyst Stims add two extra points of System Strain and encase the target in a kind of crystal for 12 hours, after which he will awake will all hit points restored.
  • Lifestyle Stims can have all sorts of random effects, from brightening the target mood to making his head hair grow very fast.
  • Patch Stims are like aspirin and do nothing special aside from making the target feel better.
  • Morph Stims results in drastic cosmetic alterations that last around 3 days.
  • Purge Stims are mainly there to get rid of Toxin Points.
  • Rage Stims allow you to rage hard, increasing your AC but allowing you to roll two attack rolls and take the better one.
  • Rush Stims are essentially doping, granting temporary HP and a bonus to your social skills.

Exotic Artifacts

Not as many as in SWN, but all of them are new (and hey, no reason to not use the ones from SWN as well). Neat tools include a Bot Override Tag (just slap it on a robot and you can try to mind control him), a Microfac (a nanite cylinder that can take any small form desired) and a Neutral Patterning Web (a kind of Matrix that can teach you skills). There's also a Clone Vat, but the process has never been perfected. Every clone gets a random mental debility, and there's a good chance the clone will come out as a puddle of goo and bones that dies in a couple minutes (during which the words "Kill me..." will probably be uttered more than once).

Vehicles

We get some aquatic vehicles in the form of the Sailboat and Powerboat. Flying vehicles are for the most part gone, but there are added ground vehicles in the Crawler, Battlewagon and Utility Tractor. The Gravtank got replaced by the Mandate GFV, which is about the same - with the added bonus of being submersible and able to fly (though flying too high can get you blasted out of the sky by orbital lasers).

Work Animals

This one featues a dog and several kinds of horses. The most interesting however is the Warbeast, which includes everything from giant beetles to mutated bears. Now that's spiffy.

Servants and Hirelings

The selection of possible hirelings goes from the cheap Servant and Porter (the latter actually following you through the wilderness and carrying loot, like the typical D&D hireling), over the Warrior and Veteran to the expensive but useful Scrapsmith and... Courtesan. Oh well, at least they get paid.

Land and Real Property

This section includes costs for various kinds of interior and buildings, typical income rates for farms based on their tech level, and how much damage you need to inflict to blast everything to rubble. Overall mostly interesting for parties that want to build an outpost or something.

Next Time: A Post-Apocalyptic Bestiary. I hope there are mutant bears.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


chiasaur11 posted:

Err, I feel awkward mentioning this, but... when did this whole Vectron business get started? I think I missed something.

You should ask Pkfan about it, I'm pretty sure he found the Ancient Scrolls.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Night10194 posted:

You should ask Pkfan about it, I'm pretty sure he found the Ancient Scrolls.
Nnnnooo, that wasn't me. I think Mr. Misfit said something about researching the Codex of Great Prophecy, that's where I heard about it.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


chiasaur11 posted:

Err, I feel awkward mentioning this, but... when did this whole Vectron business get started? I think I missed something.

There's a sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look about a sci-fi future religion that's pretty much just worshiped by constantly mentioning Vectron, hallowed be it's name, DtD includes Vectron as one of it's gods because it's a collection of references anyway, and everyone started their references early.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





pkfan2004 posted:

Nnnnooo, that wasn't me. I think Mr. Misfit said something about researching the Codex of Great Prophecy, that's where I heard about it.

No. He did mention his plectron was acting up... maybe that was it?

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Lurks With Wolves posted:

There's a sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look about a sci-fi future religion that's pretty much just worshiped by constantly mentioning Vectron, hallowed be it's name, DtD includes Vectron as one of it's gods because it's a collection of references anyway, and everyone started their references early.

That's part of the sketch.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


Tulul posted:

That's part of the sketch.

Well gently caress me then.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Lurks With Wolves posted:

Well gently caress me then.

I think this means you're the baddies.

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