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Mitama
Feb 28, 2011



gradenko_2000 posted:

That is, Numenera was released in 2013. The Strange was released a year later. The Cypher System Corebook was released this year. The two preceding games already had these issues: having to spend points from your pool and having the pool represent your health didn’t sit well with some players. Having to spend XP to gain in-session benefits fought against wanting to bank XP to level-up your character didn’t sit well with some players. But they never tried to address these issues, even as optional rules.

To be fair, they do include a suggestion to separate XP gained from GM intrusions (for bennies only) and XP gained between sessions (for advancements, likewise), so every PC can advance equally.

Then it goes on to say how a Good GM should be able to manage everyone's XP anyway and playing the game is more important than everyone getting cool new options at the same rate.

Mitama fucked around with this message at 12:08 on Sep 17, 2015

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Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

So, hold on a second. If star signs in part determine social class, then it follows that higher nobility never have children of certain star signs, or at least do so much more rarely than others. In order to become the firstborn child of a baron, you need a social ranking stat that is high enough to be (baron rank - 1), but the star sign prevents that from happening or at least makes it less likely. Therefore we can infer that barons simply don't have firstborn children of "bad for your social rank" star signs. Right?

You determine your parents after your star sign, which means that childbirth is retrocausal. That's a shockingly modern idea for something written in 1980!

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Pope Guilty posted:

You determine your parents after your star sign, which means that childbirth is retrocausal. That's a shockingly modern idea for something written in 1980!

Yes, but that doesn't change anything. Your parents may not be barons, but unless all barons are childless, someone has to be born with a configuration that works out so that their social rank is exactly one less than their parent. And if their parent is of sufficiently high rank, then by necessity that person's star sign can only be one of the few that don't create a gap greater than that. Near the top cap of social ranks, that means certain star signs are flat out impossible, and others are unlikely.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Ryuujin posted:

How does Self-Orctulized actually work? The items you get have uses, but it makes two of them permanent? So you can just keep using them? Or you still have limited uses but they recharge somehow?

Item Uses recharge when you Recover but only for Gear, not stuff you found on the way. The stuff you get from Self-Orctualized is like any other Gear - it's permanent in that it recovers with you.

E: You can also choose to use the end-of-session move to recover Uses sometimes.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 13:18 on Sep 17, 2015

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fellowship: Being the evil one!

All Overlords get the following moves:

Chew the Scenery
When you are physically present, you can have the Spotlight for as long as you like, when you get it. You and you Generals can never be in Despair.

My Only Weakness
There's always a catch, when it comes to having unstoppable power. You have some quirks that the Fellowship can exploit. You have all of the following vulnerabilities:
  • You are arrogant: Every setback is minor and can be dealt with. Everything is fine and you know you cannot lose.
  • You are busy: The fellowship's destruction is not your actual goal. You have something you want, and your focus is on getting that. When you personally engage the fellowship, your goal is not to kill them all, but merely to get them out of your way while you do your thing.
  • You are honor-bound: When you make a promise, you will always keep it, even against your better interests. This weakness may seem silly, but it makes for a better game when you can negotiate or gamble with the fellowship and they can trust you to keep your end of the deal.
  • You have a Weakness: there is a single material, item, charm, ritual, or spell that you are vulnerable to. This is your Weakness. When the fellowship uses this Weakness against you, they can ignore one of your Threats to the World for the rest of the scene. The other players will know your Weakness, but the fellowship they are playing as does not begin the game knowing your Weakness unless they have something that tells them otherwise.

An Offer You Can't Refuse
When a player gets Taken Out in your presence, you may give them an offer, for their services, for something they hold, or ofr the end of their life. If they accept, you fulfill the deal and then leave the scene. If they refuse, they must roll +Courage. On a 6-, you are too terrifying, and they take your offer against their true desires. On a 7-9, they refuse, and they have one good chance to spite you. They will tell you how. Then, you will them what you do to them for it. You may kill them for this. On a 10+, not only do they spite you, but they manage to escape before you can properly punish them for it, ending the scene with you standing there, alone. Tell us your rage.

Threat To The World
You threaten the world and all it stands for. There are a variety of reasons you cannot be stopped, and the Fellowship will need to take all of them away from you if they are to stand a chance against you. Choose three Threats to the World to start the game with:
  • General: You have a General, a powerful individual who works under you. Your General(s) let you effectively be in multiple places at once, or take action from the safety of wherever you call home. You can choose this Threat multiple times.
  • Invincible: You are very difficult to harm. Anyone trying to hurt you is in Despair.
  • Unstoppable: Nothing can get in your way. Anyone trying to Keep You Busy or keep you from getting somewhere is in Despair.
  • Untouchable: You cannot be physically approached safely, tell us why. Anyone within arm's reach of you is in Despair.
  • Unknowable: Your form or your actions are incomprehensible. Anyone trying to Look Closely around you or Speak Softly with you is in Despair.
The fellowship will know each of your Threats to the World that prevent them from harming you, and they will need to form a counter-plan against every single one of them. If they have your Weakness, they can use it to ignore one of your Threats. If they destroy a Source of your Power (or activate a Source of Power of their own), they can erase one of your Threats forever. If one of your Generals suffers a significant failure at their hands, you will execute or exile them.
If you seize a new Source of Power, gain a new Threat to the World.
The fellowship can still attempt to harm you and make moves against you, but yout Threat to the World is no joke. Whenever a player makes any move, they must pay a price for each Threat to the World preventing them from taking action, before they can even roll. Your Generals and yur Armies allow you to be a Threat to the World separate from where the Overlord themselves are.
Your Threats to the World also function as your stats. When you would take damage or be destroyed, you damage one of your Threats, and you lose that threat until you heal. A Threat to the World is no small thing, and takes a lot of time to heal - you only heal when the fellowship Recovers, and even then you only heal 1 damage.
When you take damage while all of your Threats are gone, you are forced to retreat. If there is nowhere to go or it is the Final Battle, you are Destroyed instead, as if they got a 10+ on the move Finish Them.

The Overlord's Armies
The Overlord chooses the option that best represents their people. Each of these options is a Threat to the World that can be taken from you by the Fellowship.
  • The Horde: Your armeis are endless, swarming wherever you need them. You can always dispatch a force anywhere you need them, and if you want the horde to find something, they will - nothing can escape their swarming numbers. They are easily defeated in battle and fortifications will hold them off forever, but they can outlast any siege and none can escape them.
  • The Organization: You have an elite group whose membership mirrors that of the fellowship, but corrupted or twisted. The Organization has exactly as many members as the fellowship does, including their companions. They will compete with the fellowship in a rivalry fashion, racing them to Sources of Power and trying to undermine the fellowship's plans. There should be at least one major mirror-match fight during the course of the game.
  • The Scourge: You and your armies spread corruption and blight, and those tainted by it will join you and your cause. Tell us how your blight spreads. Once someone has been tainted by the Scourge, they will inevitably join your side, no matter how they feel about you.
  • The Titans: Your armies are small in number, but not in stature. Your forces are massive titans, nearly unbeatable without heavy firepower and teamwork. A single titen is enough to level an unprepared city. Your army is easily avoided and run away from, but only the heaviest of fortifications and the strongest of armies will slow them, and nothing can stop them.

The Overlord does not need to eat and does not want for companions. When the fellowship Recovers, the Overlord also Recovers their Gear They get as many weapons as they need:
  • An elegant sword, exotic in design (Melee)
  • A massive weapon, alrger than anyone else could wield (Melee)
  • Your bare hands, able to crush stone or pierce metal (Melee)
  • Magical bolts of energy, able to be reflected back at you (Ranged)
  • Destructive blasts of fire or lightning (Dangerous)
They also get two defenses:
  • A clever plan (1 Use). Use this to reveal a trap or escape route just as you make use of it.
  • Armor of some kind, describe it (Armor, 1 Use)
  • A trick up your sleeve (Useful, 1 Use). Use this to produce anything you could possibly need, right now.
  • A traitor (1 Use): Use this to make anyone in the scene who is not a part of the fellowship reveal their allegiance to you, complete with a dramatic moment where they betray the fellowship and cause them trouble.
They also have one thing they can't afford to let anyone know, but they don't have to tell the fellowship players what it is:
  • You have a sympathetic backstory of loss and tragedy. It does not justify your actions, except to yourself. Once per game, you may reveal this backstory to the fellowship to Keep Them Busy.
  • It is not you who does all this, but something that is controlling you - a dark master in the shadows, an evil artifact corrupting whoever holds it, or an even greater threat you are trying to destroy yourself, and all of this is your attempt to stop them. When the fellowship defeats you, reveal this new threat. It's their problem now.
  • You are part of a recurring cycle, and you know you are destined to be defeated. If you could only convince the fellowship to listen to you, maybe you could break the cycle once and for all... But they never listen to you.
  • You don't have a secret. You're just an evil jerk with way too much power.

The Overlord starts with one Bond with each member of the Fellowship. Suggestions:
I destroyed _______'s hometown.
I have caused great harm to _______'s people.
I killed someone important to _______.
_______ killed someone important to me.
_______ knows the details of my previous defeat.
_______'s people serve me now.
Only _______ knows my Weaknesses.
_______ knows where to find one of my Sources of Power.
I have fought _______ before, and left a wound upon them. It burns in my presence.

The Overlord starts with no Overlord's Customs. They come only by leveling up.

And In The Darkness, Bind Them
You have crafted an item of power. Choose a Threat to the World option, even if you already have it. Whoever holds this item of power controls that Threat to the World. If your new Threat is a General, they are a supernatural being that obeys the orders of whoever holds this item of power. If any of the fellowship gets their hands on it, they gain the item's Threat to the World and all the power that brings, but it will also fill their mind with dark thoughts. They gain the AGenda: Spread Chaos while they hold the item.

Bad News
When you take this move, write down the name of a community they have Fellowship with. The next time you meet the fellowship, reveal to them that the chosen community has been destroyed, and they lose the Fellowship move associated with it. After you use this move once, it is gone forever.

Destroy Trust
When you dismiss, mock, or show how weak the Bond two people share is, erase those Bonds.

Evil's Touch
Damage dealt by you and your Generals is Necrotic.

Fear Me!
When you menace someone, they will always do as you say or run in terror, their choice. When you use this move on someone in the fellowship, they may pay a price to prevent this move from working on them for the rest of the scene.

Good News
When you take this move, your forces have successfully completed a secret mission. The next time you meet the fellowship, reveal to them that you have obtained a new Source of Power - immediately gain a new Threat to the World. After you use this move once, it is gone forever.

No More Games
When you next face off against the fellowship, as soon as the talking is done, one of them is immediately Taken Out (ask for a volunteer). They take damage to all of their stats and they are out for the rest of the scene. The resto f the fellowship cannot oppose you this scene, and you get away with what you want before taunting them and leaving. After you use this move once, it is gone forever.

Now Who Told You That?
When the fellowship uses your Wekaness against you, erase that Weakness and choose a new one. The old Weakness was either lies and misinformation, or you have grown past it and it no longer harms you as it once did. After you use this move once, it is gone forever.

Twist the Knife
When you speak to someone you have a Bond with about your history with them, you may force them to relive their pain. They must either pay a price, stand down and get out of your way, or attack you, right now, their choice. You can only use this move once per scene.

Warmonger
Choose another option from the Overlord's Armies list. You have acquired that army as well.

You've Met With A Terrible Fate, Haven't You?
When a player gets Taken Out in your presence, you may leave a curse upon them instead of making an Offer They Can't Refuse. Tell us the nature of this curse, and what must be done to lift it. Whatever curse you give them, it cannot stop them from continuing to play. After you use this move once, it is gone forever.

When the Overlord levels up, they follow different rules. First, they don't have the same level 10 cap everyone else does - so their cap is effectively 11, one level higher than everyone else. They get a new Overlord Custom move, unless they already have them all. They Forge a Bond with anyone, Fellowship or otherwise. And then, they advance their plans.

Advancing plans follows a flowchart. First, your forces move into position - your army, a general or yourself. You tell us if they're trying to seize a new Source of Power or destroy a community. However, if they are in position, you seize a Victory, gaining the resource they were in position to take. If you destroy a community that the fellowship has Fellowship with, they lose that Fellowship move. The Fellowship can defeat your forces to get you out of position, preventing a victory. Advancing your plans by leveling up is on top of whatever you were doing normally, and it's considered to be happening in the background. The fellowship will not normally be able to stop you from getting Victories via Advancement unless they're in the right place at the right time, or they drop everything to stop your latest gambit for power.

Then we get advice on playing the Overlord. It's important to remember - the Overlord doesn't especially want to kill the fellowship. Not yet. They're a nuisance, nothing more. The Overlord has a plan already, and killing the fellowship doesn't help it. It solves nothing and makes for a bad game. The Overlord's busy - they have people to see, places to destroy. The players have to hunt them down, come to them. Sometimes, the Overlord will be caught. Sometimes, they'll fight you - and sometimes they won't. But you have no reason to try to kill them yet. Sure, they're going to be a serious problem eventually - they're going to foil your plans, get in your way, weaken you. When something you really wanted falls through because of htem, when your Generals are defeated and your Rune of Invulnerability is destroyed? Yeah, take off the gloves, hunt them down. Reconsider their importance when they've foiled your plans a lot.

But until then? No. They are a nuisance, not a threat, and you should treat them that way. When they're a real threat, that's when you strike at full force, for one last showdown. But until then, don't.



Next time: Principles and Cuts

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Ack, I got really distracted for a bit! I even have stuff written and just haven't posted it!

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 9: Not-Naruni Guns



So, despite what you may have been lead to believe, the Naruni are NOT the only weapons manufacturers in the Three Galaxies. There’s Kreeghor Foundries, state munitions cartel of the Empire, and Wolfpack Weapons (wolfen are just not good at naming things I guess) which is a wolfen-controlled CCW corporation responsible for some ships in the core book, and Malkovitch Armaments which does gravity stuff and Bushido Industries () which is an oni-run corp and The Galactic Armory which is a large contracting firm while the UWW has the Smithy. I guess dwarves are even worse at names than wolfen.

What follows is a long list of guns from various sources with a lot more descriptive text than what feels like Rifts-normal. It must be Carella’s gentle guiding hand trying to give us some fluff to back up the comparison of 4d6/5d6 rifles. They also seem to be trying to give the guns some various sci-fi visuals or descriptions to make them seem cooler, which I appreciate, though the stats remain a boring parade of sameness.

”Slicer” GR-Gun: A Malkovitch Armaments offering, this gun fires ultra-sharp spinning darts (“similar to Japanese shurikens,” you know, Rifts Japan is not far down the pipe here and I think they’ve got it on the brain huh?) 4d6 damage which is good for a pistol.

”Death Disk” Weapons System: Ohh, I hope it’s Ultimate Frisbee! Oh, no, no, just fires superpowered buzzsaws. It has the unique capability of hitting one target repeatedly or even several targets in succession via a targeting laser system. Targeting counts as a melee attack so painting a whole crew can take up valuable economy resources. +4 to strike +2 to dodge. 5d6 per strike, 3 times a round. One disk per unit; it can’t coordinate more than one. Two spare disks can be kept in a pouch attached to a belt, and ONLY THAT NOWHERE ELSE. I’m being hyperbolic of course, it’s just weird to specify. The damage isn’t high enough to be broken but it does basically give a user 2 bonus attacks a round.


for all that text it looks pretty innocuous

Web Gun: Nonlethal capture weapon. Makes MDC foam bonds and are ‘bulky and heavy’. Each shot places 4d6 MDC worth of foam on a target, without specific rules about how much strength is needed to break free--it says only robots or powered armor ‘can hope to’ but doesn’t give mechanics. It can fire solvent to break its own webs. This is in theory extremely handy though it depends heavily on how many humanoid grunts you're fighting versus space chimeras and etc.


i don’t know why we needed a front view or why you’d label the solvent barrel

”Colonial” HI-Laser Rifle: A rifle designed for people who don’t always have regular access to e-clips. It has unfoldable solar cells that require 10 ft of space and recharge the gun in an hour. It can also plug into a power system and recharge in five minutes or so. Really, e-clips requiring special expensive charging is dumb and overpriced? You don’t say. 30 shot clip, 4d6 single shot, can be modded to three shot burst at 1d6x10+10. Basically, if you run out of ammo, the gun is a fancy club until you get a rest, but I like the idea of it. Galactic Armory product.

V-81 Volcano Mark-I Plasma Discharger: A UWW product, it is sized to be easy for big things like robots, power armor, and ogres to use. Requires PS 24. It can fire a focused jet (1d6x10) or a wide blast (4d6 in a 30ft area but the range is listed as 2000 ft which makes no sense at all) and it can’t fire bursts.


honestly only sort of sure which end of this is forward

Daisho-10 Multiweapon: Guess who made this one. Using nanotechnology they produced a doofy-looking gun that can turn into a doofy-looking sword. It takes a full melee round to do this. There’s a “ninja” version that can also take the shape of something innocuous, “like a video camera.” 4d6 as a laser, 3d6 as a vibro-blade, 20 shots or 20 minutes.

PB-60 Blast Pistol: UWW’s answer to the Kreeghor pulse pistol, but uses a steady stream of particles instead of pulses. So, a laser. 2d6 damage.

PB-85 Blast Rifle: Like the pistol, 3d6 MDC single shot or 1d4x10 three shot burst. An extra 8,000 credits gets you a sniper version with a scope that adds +2 to aimed shots.

HW-19 Stun Pistol: HW is short for “Humane Weapon.” The beams cause temporary loss of muscle control, causing victims hit to lose 3d6 speed and PP plus one melee attack and -3 to all actions per hit. Last for 2d6 minutes, less for extremely high PE values. You have to be wearing fully sealed armor to even get a save (as if against poison) and MDC creatures need a 12 or better and still only take half effect. Supernatural things like dragons and demons are unaffected. Well, phooey. Still, this is a really powerful weapon.


and it’s adorable

T’zee Piranha Gun: The t’zee have power over nanotechnology which was sort of the ‘’cosmic rays” of the 90s for granting superpowers and having magical properties. The gun fires some gray goo at an enemy and eat through whatever they contact for 1d6 rounds and then die off. This could never go wrong. Does 4d6 per round to armor and MDC, 3d6 SDC to beings of that nature. Fire or vacuum (for some reason) will kill them. Also fires 3d6 MD mini grenades, but why? Oh, because the grenade ammo is 50 credits per while the nano is 1,000 per shot. Yeesh.

T’zee Piranha Rifle: Like the pistol, but higher range and ammo capacity. Same damage. It notes in the rifle description that CCW law prohibits these weapons (so in space basically) but the t’zee sell them freely since CCW law doesn’t apply on planets.


also, totally inconspicuous.

Next we’ll get into power armor. I appreciate that they’re trying to give the guns here a little bit more flavor than just another random weapon picture with a damage listing though they’re still mired in the clunky mess of Palladium’s combat system. The Death Disk and Piranha guns also give de facto extra attacks--the Piranha in particular sounds like it could stack some really messy DoT on people. Trying to use money to balance the cost of using the gun might work if there were any kind of ‘standard’ economic levels--PCs start with variable (generally low) amounts of money and finding more is almost completely up to the GM. The mercenary company in this book listing salaries is an anomaly; most classes don’t have a ‘standard’ service cost.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




gradenko_2000 posted:

That is, Numenera was released in 2013. The Strange was released a year later. The Cypher System Corebook was released this year. The two preceding games already had these issues: having to spend points from your pool and having the pool represent your health didn’t sit well with some players. Having to spend XP to gain in-session benefits fought against wanting to bank XP to level-up your character didn’t sit well with some players. But they never tried to address these issues, even as optional rules.
And there's one very simple method of dealing with that that I've suggested before: Your XP can only be spent on temporary benefits, and when it's spent it turns into a point to be used on permanent benefits.

Suddenly everything changes, rather than hoarding your XP to spend it on permanent stuff and forgoing temporary benefits, you have to spend it on short-term/momentary stuff. And now it's encouraging people taking risks so they can spend the point on saving their rear end (or whatever) because until they do they can't spend it on permanent stuff.

I believe I first suggested this for Seventh Sea, which would really benefit from it on the actual swashbuckling risk-taking front.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Zereth posted:

And there's one very simple method of dealing with that that I've suggested before: Your XP can only be spent on temporary benefits, and when it's spent it turns into a point to be used on permanent benefits.

Suddenly everything changes, rather than hoarding your XP to spend it on permanent stuff and forgoing temporary benefits, you have to spend it on short-term/momentary stuff. And now it's encouraging people taking risks so they can spend the point on saving their rear end (or whatever) because until they do they can't spend it on permanent stuff.

I believe I first suggested this for Seventh Sea, which would really benefit from it on the actual swashbuckling risk-taking front.

You can also just separate the pools out which lets you not have to worry about your rate of advancement vs. your desired number of 'risky shots' in the same number. But really, at its core this is a solved problem and yet it keeps popping up. Heroquest in Glorantha recently also did the XP/Hero Points shared pool thing, it's very frustrating that this bit of wisdom is so rarely received.

WaywardWoodwose
May 19, 2008

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

occamsnailfile posted:

You can also just separate the pools out which lets you not have to worry about your rate of advancement vs. your desired number of 'risky shots' in the same number. But really, at its core this is a solved problem and yet it keeps popping up. Heroquest in Glorantha recently also did the XP/Hero Points shared pool thing, it's very frustrating that this bit of wisdom is so rarely received.

I liked the way the old Ghostbusters game handled it. You start with, 30 brownie points i believe, and each one can be turned in for an extra die. After the adventure, you get all of those points back usually, half back if you gently caress up, and twice or half again as many back if you accomplished some personal goal. You could spend sixty points to gain another stat point, or sacrifice a stat point for fifty extra brownie points. Knowing you could get them back encouraged players to throw brownie points around a little more liberally than they might otherwise. I think you also got a few points reward at the end of game just because.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fellowship: Being the ref!

The Overlord is also the game's referee - they run the opposition, but they're not really trying to beat the fellowship, after all. They want to make it fun. Thus, the Overlord must follow their Principles at all times, and should keep to their Agendas when they're not sure what to do. The Cuts, meanwhile, are a storytelling tool to keep scenes flowing, and you can use 'em whenever htere's an opening. Cuts can be Soft or Hard. A Soft Cut gives the fellowship a chance to react, but a Hard Cut has already happened. Whenever the players look to you for what happens next, make a Cut. The game also informs us that the Overlord, while they don't follow the Fellowship's rules, should know them. After all, players miss things or forget things, and the Overlrod is the filter between their intent and result - so understanding what they do will make the game easier.

What are the Overlord's Principles?
  • Create problems, not solutions. As the Overlord, it's your job to make problems. You make situations worse, you make things harder, and then you leave it for the players to solve. Don't overthink it, don't overplan. You don't needf to know the solution - that's not your job. If the fellowship come up with something plausible, go with it. Their ideas have value and their solutions should have an honest chance. Sometimes it won't work, and their moves will help you out there, but it's not your job to solve problems.
  • Address the characters, not the players. Same as before.
  • Embrace the fantastic. The world's an exciting place full of crazy things. Run with it. If something sounds implausible or dumb, ask yourself if the game would be better with it. If yes, make it happen. This applies to everything - not just monsters or magic. If the players are in a boat and find a mountain, maybe the water flows up it somehow, or cuts through, the boat can go up waterfalls. Make things weird and interesting and memorable.
  • Make a cut that follows. When you have a chance to use a Cut, make sure it makes sense. Sure, you can Show Signs of an Approaching Threat whenever you like, but that doesn't mean you do it without reason. Read the situation, figure out what logically happens next and make a Cut to make that happen. If you're not sure what to pick, ask yourself: what makes the most sense? What would have the craziest consequences? What would be the most fun? If any two have the same answer, do it. If not, pick the one that the situation needs most.
  • Never speak the name of your cut. Cuts are just packaging for events. You don't use their names - not unless everyone really wants to hear how the guts of the system work. EVen then, use it sparingly. Just talk about what's actually happening.
  • Ask questions, use the answers. The players have as much or more control over the world's lore as you. Ask them questions as often as you want, and write down the answers if you won't remember them. Come back to them, bring them back, make them relevant. People love feeling like their answers are important.
  • Be a fan of their characters. Fellowship is optimistic, and it's important that everyone is exciting ands fun. Let good things happen to the characters, and love them as much as their players do. Give them a chance in the spotlight. Make them earn it, sure, but they should be having fun.
  • Pass the Spotlight. Make sure it doesn't sit on any one player for too long - everyone deserves a chance in it regularly. Your job's to help ensure they get it. Sometimes, as cene may come where the spotlight sits on one or two players for a while, and that's okay if it fits the flow - but once it's over, go back to the others and give them a chance to do stuff, too. Trust your instincts, and try not to pass the spotlight when someone's in the middle of something - but a cliffhanger, that's fine. It adds tension.
  • Think dangerous. Never be afraid to ramp things up. A wagon chase is dangerous - but what if it catches fire? Always look for ways to ramp up danger, increase risk and increase consequences. It's more fun with higher stakes! A lot of the fun of the game is to see how things can get worse, crazier and still be solved. You're a fan, but that doesn't mean you have to hand them things on a silver platter. Make 'em work for it. Don't deny them the thrill of danger.
  • Begin and end with the fiction. What's going on right now? What's happening, to who, and how? What do you sense right now? Start there, with the facts and narrative, and roll into action. Keep things moving forward, and you should always explain what's going on fictionally.
  • Think off-screen, too. Not everything has to happen here and now. Sometiumes, bad things happen somewhere else, especially if the Overlord's not around. It's okay to make a cut where the players don't see the results, especially if things are too hectic now to add much, or so calm that nothing's going on where they are. No matter what they do, remember that the Overlord's always up to something.
  • Don't shut them down. When a player Commands Lore, you can't say no. When a player proposes something about the world or the situation, lean to yes rather than no. If they want to try something, ask how they do it. If they porpose something so ludicrous you'd never allow it - even then, don't say no. Talk to them about it like adults. Find a middle ground. Maybe dial it back a little or find something else that works. This isn't your game. It's everyone's game. Your job is to make it fun and exciting, not police it. If you're really against something, you can Tell Them The Consequences or Requirements.
  • Be the referee. If someone doesn't know which move to use, tell them. When someone's not sure how something should work, tell them. Even if you don't know, tell them. If someone doesn't know which move to use, use Overcome. It's quicker to make up an answer and run with it than waste time looking it up. Make the call, ref.

Cuts
A Cut is a storytelling weapon you use against the fellowship. Like I said before, hard and soft. You start scenes with soft cuts, and you use them every tiem the players look to you for what happens next. When no one knows what's going on, make a soft cut. A hard cut is what happens next. It's what happens when a soft cut hits - the demon's fangs bite into flesh and cause damage, you fail to stop the out-of-control carriage and it flies off the cliff. It's when the bad thing's happened and can no longer be stopped. When a player fails to stop a soft cut, make a hard cut that follows.

Whenever a player rolls a 6 or less on any roll, you can make any cut you have access to, as hard as you want. You can give htem a soft cut if they're in a tough spot, or you can slame them with ah ard cut and let them deal with it. Your call. You've got access to the following cuts at all times. They're your options and tools. During any scene, you'll also have access to a bunch of other cuts based on the threats and obstacles present. Whenever you have a chance to make a cut, you can use any cut available.

  • Reveal an unwelcome truth. Tell them something they don't want to hear. It can be used to do just about anything, so it's your strongest tool. Any news can be bad news, and this is telling them it. Maybe the sword they want is shattered. Maybe the guy they threw off the cliff caught their belt and pulled them along. Maybe the carriage is broken.
  • Show signs of an approaching threat. Reveal a new problem they'll have to deal with. Reinforcements, say, or an avalanche, or the approach of the Overlord. If you need something to make a situation more dangerous, here you go. An approaching threat needn't be new, either. If they're crossing an old bridge, you could tell them they hear snapping ropes and should hurry. An enemy the Elf is Keeping Busy might finally get past her and is rushing someone else! This is all about adding extra worries.
  • Deal damage. Hurt 'em. Damage a stat, theirs or their companions'. Damage doesn't have to be physical. When they're demoralized, set back or in despair, you can damage them. If it's right, you can even take Bonds away. Hurt them. Sometimes, you use this on your own minions or threats, too. If it's right, if they take away an opponent's ability to do something, you can damage the opponent's stats yourself. They don't always need to Finish Them to overcome a foe.
  • Use up or take away their resources. They've got gear for a rason. Make 'em use it. Give them chances to get out of a tight spot by using up their stuff. Damage their gear with fire, water or attacks. It's valuable, but replaceable. Treat it that way.
  • Turn their move back on them. Not everything goes well. If a player tries and it goes badly, turn it on them. Dwarf fails to Clear the Path? Clothesline them, or hit 'em hard with a counter attack, or have the room collapse around them. The Harbinger fails to cast a mighty spell? It goes wild, causing disaster. Heroes are always reckless, so this shouldn't be hard.
  • Separate them. Toss them apart, have rooms collapse, kidnap them. They're at their strongest together, so force them to take on the world alone once in a while.
  • Put someone on the spot. Sometimes, a character can't get out of trouble alone. While the Elf is holding off a foe, another sneaks up on them. While the Heir is reeling from a blow, they don't notice as they back towards a cliff. Then, change the spotlight. Put them in hot water and ask someone else what they do. It's a staple cut, and it keeps players proactive.
  • Present an opportunity. You don't always have to be mean. When the players follow a plan, succeed or just need a break, show them an opportunity. Give them an opening, have them spot something crucial, have a foe make a mistake. If someone's having a rough night, throw 'em a bone. If someone asks if there's something you could swing off, tell them about it. If you ever think of something real cool they could do, present an opportunity.
  • Show a downside. Nothing's perfect. Sometimes, your little dwarf arms just aren't long enough to reach your dangling friend. Something your spear's just too big to deal with a foe in your face. Sometimes your horse panics and runs the wrong way. And it's your job to make sure the players know that, especially when it's a really bad time to know that.
  • Tell them the consequences or requirements. Sometimes, a player will ask you for something wild, or something reasonable in a really dangerous time, or they'll want to do something they can't without something else. At times like that, you can let them know what it'll cost. Sure, you can sprint for the exit, but the ogre's gonna take a swing at you if you do. Sure, you can buy that...if you have 50 coins. Yeah, you can climb that wall, but you'll need gear - it's too smooth for bare hands. And you'll need to be careful, it's certainly guarded. You can't say no - but you can say 'you can only do that by...'

The game then starts talking about enemies and obstacles - threats. Enemies and obstacles, like Companions, have several stats - and each stat gives them access to a Threat. So long as they have that stat, they pose that Threat. Unlike Companions, the only thing that'll stop a Threat from being a problem is the fellowship. When an enemy's stat is damaged, they lose the associated threat. Damage is not just violence - it's removing something's ability to do harm. It neutralizes problems, and needn't always come by violence and bloodshed. That's why Finish Them lets you decide what Destroy Them means each time. You neutralize all their abilities to stop you, but not necessarily by killing. Often, you won't have to go that far - that takesz a while and uses more resources than just getting past an enemy and disabling what you have to do to do that.

An enemy whose stats are all damaged is Destroyed - even if they didn't Finish Them. An enemy that's been Destroyed can't use any Cuts, and it won't stop the fellowship, either because it won't or it can't. Oh, and one other thing: every enemy can be recruited, if the fellowship sits down and Forges a Bond with it. When they become a Companion, all threats attached to stats are lost - they just keep the stats and follow Companion rules now. Non-violence is actually rahter important in the game - that's why there's only one move for actual harm and destroying foes, and everything else is just for dealing with them. When something's stopping them, the fellowship can still get past by Overcoming the threat, ignoring it briefly. A Varg might pounce on someone using its Going For The Jugular stat, but it can be stopped if Overcome. Someone taming the Varg can OVercome its Cruel Beast threat to not take damage from riding it for a bit - and so have an easier time taming it.

A Barrier, however, cannot be recruited or reasoned with. It's a threat that's just in the way, is usually a force of nature, magical or an obstacle, and isn't actually a person or creature. It works the same way - a rickety bridge has stats with associated threats - but you can't treat it like a warrior or a wolf. You can also mix and mathc enemies and barriers to create interesting and complex encounters. But when you go beyond that, you need a Set Piece - a collection of threats that can't stand on their own, and work together cohesively. They're like multi-stage boss fights, long-running encounters, chase scenes, sports tournaments and the like. A Set Piece can take an entire session to deal with.

For example, the game gives us the Stone Colossus. It is made of several challenges, each with their own stats.

Army of One: A giant statue of stone, brought to life as a weapon. Its defenses are many and its weapons immense. If either of these stats are damaged, the Colossus is destroyed.
Massive Stone Body: The body is built to last. This stat can't be damaged by anything less than siege weaponry and high explosives. If this stat is damaged, the Colossus falls over, and everyone near it risks being crushed.
Power Core: The Colossus has a weak spot deep inside a - magical or mechanical core powering it. Anyone near it risks being set on fire by intense heat. If this stat is damaged, the Colossus falls apart, and everyone inside it risks being crushed.

Armored Exterior: The Colossus is nearly invincible. Don't deal with the outer shell? You probably can't stop it.
Six Feet of Stone: The Colossus' armor is several feet thick, and can't be damaged by anything less than siege weaponry and high explsoives. Unless this stat is damaged, you can't harm the Colossus' Massive Stone Body.
Maintenance Tunnel: There's a secret entrance in the Colossus, but it's well hidden, hard to reach and locked. Unless this stat is damaged, you can't reach the Colossus' Power Core.

Hands of God: The Colossus' massive arms and legs are its main threat. They can crush you eaisly, and stopping them takes serious power.
This Right Hand of Mine: The right arm of the Colossus holds a massive sword, which can be used to destroy anything it can hit. It swings slowly, but the blow covers such a large area it can be hard to dodge. Anyone directly hit by this weapon is Taken Out, damaging all of their stats.
The Left Arm: The left arm of the Colossus is free, but it can use it to swat off anyone trying to harm it. Climbing the Colossus is dangerous while this arm is functional.
Pillars of Stone: The legs of the Colossus can crush anything underfoot. It can simply walk through them, destroying all vehicles and structures in the way and leaving massive footprints everywhere it goes. If this stat is damaged, the Colossus becomes immobile and crashes to the ground, potentially crushing anyone below it.

You see? The main threat, the Army of One, is theo nly one that strictly needs to be overcome...but while the armor and arms exist, it's a lot more threatening. The player shave to deal with its attacks and overcome its defenses to get at it properly. It's hard to fight and will likely take several scenes or a whole Showdown to deal with, and running might be the best option early on. That's what a proper Set Piece is all about. Every piece actively works with or protects other elements of it. They're excellent boss battles and dangerous encounters, but they don't need to be used just for that, either.

Next time: Generals

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hyper Crab Tank posted:

So, hold on a second. If star signs in part determine social class, then it follows that higher nobility never have children of certain star signs, or at least do so much more rarely than others. In order to become the firstborn child of a baron, you need a social ranking stat that is high enough to be (baron rank - 1), but the star sign prevents that from happening or at least makes it less likely. Therefore we can infer that barons simply don't have firstborn children of "bad for your social rank" star signs. Right?

Luckily there's only one star sign that's bad for social rank, and also luckily, you can just buy social rank. So let's say you're a Baron (social rank 16) and your bastard son is a Pisces (-3 for being so far from inheritance of your lands and titles, -1 for being a Pisces), he gets shot all the way down to Rank 11, which is basically like "High ranking mercenary." It makes some sense, that's basically what Jon Snow was for example. That stuff would only come into play when you're actually playing as the father, though. When creating your character, you wait until you determine your own social rank before figuring out your dad's. If you roll an 11 and are an Aries (+1), you come up as a non-landed knight (12), and your dad is automatically of higher rank than you (you start this game at 16 years old, no rolling). You can choose how distant you are from your dad's lands and titles, and that determines his rank. You can either be his heir for a +1 to his rank, or stretch that line of succession out all the way to +3 (he is a Poor Baron and you are his third son or his bastard, or God forbid, his daughter).

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


theironjef posted:

Luckily there's only one star sign that's bad for social rank, and also luckily, you can just buy social rank. So let's say you're a Baron (social rank 16) and your bastard son is a Pisces (-3 for being so far from inheritance of your lands and titles, -1 for being a Pisces), he gets shot all the way down to Rank 11, which is basically like "High ranking mercenary." It makes some sense, that's basically what Jon Snow was for example. That stuff would only come into play when you're actually playing as the father, though. When creating your character, you wait until you determine your own social rank before figuring out your dad's. If you roll an 11 and are an Aries (+1), you come up as a non-landed knight (12), and your dad is automatically of higher rank than you (you start this game at 16 years old, no rolling). You can choose how distant you are from your dad's lands and titles, and that determines his rank. You can either be his heir for a +1 to his rank, or stretch that line of succession out all the way to +3 (he is a Poor Baron and you are his third son or his bastard, or God forbid, his daughter).

Are there star signs that are good for social rank? How high do they go?

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hyper Crab Tank posted:

Are there star signs that are good for social rank? How high do they go?

I think there's four of them, and they're all at +1. And I'm not sure exactly what that means when you, playing a noble, have a firstborn son who's automatically the same rank as you. Not sure how that squares away, the book doesn't say so.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

occamsnailfile posted:

”Death Disk” Weapons System: Ohh, I hope it’s Ultimate Frisbee! Oh, no, no, just fires superpowered buzzsaws. It has the unique capability of hitting one target repeatedly or even several targets in succession via a targeting laser system. Targeting counts as a melee attack so painting a whole crew can take up valuable economy resources. +4 to strike +2 to dodge. 5d6 per strike, 3 times a round. One disk per unit; it can’t coordinate more than one. Two spare disks can be kept in a pouch attached to a belt, and ONLY THAT NOWHERE ELSE. I’m being hyperbolic of course, it’s just weird to specify. The damage isn’t high enough to be broken but it does basically give a user 2 bonus attacks a round.

I think I saw this somewhere, before I saw the book.

Oh, yeah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAVf_jsBqJk

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Night10194 posted:

Have you ever noticed that almost every adventure for stuff like Pathfinder never takes rezzing into account?

This is all thanks to the secret network of Assassin's, who quickly stab dying people to make rezzing harder to pull off.

(Though I wonder how they can ignore rezzing for adventures and then turn every "Your soul is completely eradicated!" effect into "But there's totally enough of your self left for some rezzing")

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

So, hold on a second. If star signs in part determine social class, then it follows that higher nobility never have children of certain star signs, or at least do so much more rarely than others. In order to become the firstborn child of a baron, you need a social ranking stat that is high enough to be (baron rank - 1), but the star sign prevents that from happening or at least makes it less likely. Therefore we can infer that barons simply don't have firstborn children of "bad for your social rank" star signs. Right?

Just as it has been written in tomes of history past.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Bieeardo posted:

I think I saw this somewhere, before I saw the book.

Oh, yeah.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAVf_jsBqJk

I'd never seen that movie but I am quite unsurprised it was...inspired directly from period materials.

Being slightly more whippersnappery, I just kept thinking of

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It was nice to have a canonical version to pester a GM with, at least.

I'm kind of glad that book, and that movie predated the web's popularity. Palladium fans had a long history of sharing their own ridiculous designs and systems, and something like that would have been begging for an absurd adaptation.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fellowship: I am the very model of a modern major-general!

The Generals of the Overlord are special enemies. To create one, you take any single enemy and make it a Threat to the World. You can do this to an entire Set Piece, if it's an entire giant monster. This means anyone trying to take action against the General must pay a price to do it. Plus, if they'd be Destroyed or all their stats are damaged, they just retreat to fight anotehr day. The only time they won't succeed at this is if there's nowhere to run it's the Final Battle. In that case, they'll be Destroyed as normal. You don't need to change any of the General's other stats, though you can if you want to make them more original. They don't get any extra threats over the normal versions - the only difference is they're a Threat to the World. That's enough.

If your General is something weak, like a Brainiac or Advisor, you can give them forces. Generals know their limits and will work around them. A weak General will have armies or elite guards. Making the Fellowship pay a price every time they act against a General will also add up very quickly, when the General is a planner. When they have to pay a price every time they try to stop the General's plan, the pressure builds quick. For a General that's bigger and beefier, like an Owl Bear or the Stone Colossus, it should be used for Showdowns. A huge, powerful General can be a serious threat - have it chase them through a city, destroying buildings and leaving ruin. A strong, multi-threat Set Piece General can be a huge problem, requiring a lot of planning, quick wits and bravado to beat. If the players can't handle a General, it's good to remind them that retreating and regrouping is always an option. Generals are a big Threat to the World, and everything's on the table when you face one.



The game now throws some example Barriers, Set Pieces and Enemies at us. For example, the Broken Bridge:

Broken Bridge: The bridge is out.
Shoddy Construction: The bridge cannot be crossed unless it is repaired.
Long Way Around: There's another way across, but it isn't close.

Or the Burning Building:

Burning Building: Everything is on fire and it's all falling apart.
Fire Everywhere: Nowhere is safe in here. Everyone who makes a move inside the burning building must pay a price, or else they roll in Despair. Anyone immune to fire is immune to this penalty.
Falling Apart: Whenever anyone does anything reckless or fails a move while inside the burning building, a route becomes closed off by the building falling apart. A hole opens up in the floor, or a wall collapses in front of you, that kind of thing.

Or the War Elephant:

War Elephant: The largest in ground-based war animal technology, these massive creatures can support a small building on their backs. The APC of the fantasy age.
Armored Riding Platform: Anyone on top of the elephant cannot be harmed, except by other people on top of the elephant.
Tusks and Screaming: A War Elephant is Dangerous and can trample or gouge anything in its path. Anyone in its way when it charges takes damage.

Or Speedy of the Organization:

Speedy: The fastest of them all.
Too Dangerous: When Speedy gets damaged, they run.
Too Quick: Anyone trying to Get Away from Speedy is stopped before they roll.
Too Sharp: Anyone trying to fight Speedy can only Keep Them Busy.



The End...for now!

Go back Fellowship! Here's the Kickstarter! And, as I said, I'm running a game of it, and the recruit is still open!

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.

theironjef posted:



We read Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All. This one might really be the first heartbreaker. If you want something that combines long rambling speeches about the importance of nobility, casual disdain for "women's lib," and big timecubey style rules, you should rush out and buy this. It'll be around a dollar.

Oh, so that's where Final Fantasy Tactics got the Bravery, Faith and star pattern mechanics. Hunh.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Chapter 1: History
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." The words of Krishna, avatar of Vishnu, as he unveils his incomprehensible deific form to Prince Arjuna in the Hindu scripture of the Bhagavad Gita, purportedly went through the mind of Julius Ropert Oppenheimer at the testing of the atomic bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico. In the world of Technomancer, whoever, they were not just thought, but spoken, and to immense results. The recital became the incantation for a necromantic ritual that helped the power of the nuclear blast rip a hole straight through the fabric of space-time. The rift spun with a terrifying tornado of magic, lightning, and atomic fire that has become colloquially known as the Hellstorm. While rather terrifying to behold and rendering the area irreparably inhospitable, the US made lemons into lemonade and used the Hellstorm as a political weapon against Japan. No need to drop two more atomic bombs when a nightmarish funnel of death has already permanently scarred a point on the planet and can be readily pointed to as an example of what the atom bomb could accomplish.


The end of World War II would be just the start of the big deal repercussions of the Trinity event, though. Within a year came the result of the "mana particle fallout" washing over the planet. Babies began to be born with inhuman features, stillborn infants rose from the grave to feast on the blood of the living, strange animals and weather phenomena started appearing in the American Southwest...oh, and people who claimed to be able to do magic even before the event were suddenly able to back up their claims, that's probably a big one to note. Believers in ceremonial magic and supernatural religious rituals, as well as self-proclaimed psychics, were all showing off actual, demonstrable, and most of all repeatable paranormal abilities. And with the promise of repeatable results came massive amounts of research and military probing into just what made mages tick. Projects Fafnir and Sinbad were launched in 1948, black ops projects to breed Army-loyal dragons and create levitating devices respectively.

Meanwhile, the USSR, being the USSR, attempted to replicate the effects of the Trinity nuclear tests with its own atomic bomb in 1949: the Zhukov 3, which was detonated beneath the ice sheets of Antarctica. Whatever the intended result, the actual results were far more terrifying, with a Hellstorm 32 miles wide enveloping a chunk of the Antarctic continent. This massive increase in magical energy – dubbed as "Oz particles" in 1960 – not only affected the local wildlife, it also further unbalanced the fabric of reality. Modern estimates suggest that even one more nuclear bomb could irrevocably break the remaining fabric and make known physics go from bendable to utterly non-governing. his fact, to say the least, has been one hell of a backer for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.


The rest of the paragraphs of text mostly concern the Cold War. The USSR and its allies in Cuba terrified the United States with increasing magical capabilities, and even the staunchest members of the religious right ended up having to concede that it would be stupid to avoid spreading magery talents throughout the American populace. The resulting rush of technomagic came to be known as the Third Industrial Revolution and could be seen everywhere from the military and collegiate institutions down to everyday homes utilizing magic items enchanted by factory line wizards. Even counterculture got in on the act: one particularly successful group were the Agrarian Conspiracy, a clan of neo-Luddites who saw magic as the perfect excuse to go Amish in the most convenient and successful way possible.

In addition to this overview of major events early on in the history of GURPS Technomancer's world, there is also a complet e timeline from 1945 to 1998. While it would be a folly to note every single date, it would be a crime to not at least convey some of the most ones on the list:
  • In 1954, demons are spawned from the Nevada Test Area and go hog wild attacking the crew of the infamous Genghis Khan flick The Conqueror. John Wayne, apparently actually some kind of gunslinging badass in this universe, dies fighting off the otherworldly invaders.
  • In 1962, the couple Betty and Barney Hill claim to have been abducted by otherworlders that call themselves the Seelie faeries. This is the first of many cut-and-paste references to UFO lore with faeries replacing extraterrestrials.
  • In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald kills JFK with a magic bullet. A literal one, of course.
  • In 1969, the Manson family summons an assload of demons to help continue their murder spree more efficiently. They fight the FBI for three days in a massive magical duel.
  • 1981 sees two big events. On the dark side, Iraqi wizards murder Kurds and Iranians with summoned demons. On the light side, filmmaker Steven Spielberg creates an overwhelmingly popular heart-warming family film called Seelie, which is about an elf who is helped back to the Otherworld by a kindly human boy.
  • In 1982, the Falklands War takes a grim turn as Argentina calls forth the ghosts of U-Boats and their crew (yes, objects can have ghosts) to beat the poo poo out of the British Royal Navy.
  • In 1987, popular televangelist Bob Leaman is involved in a scandal when it turns out he has been having sex with a succubus.
  • In 1992, after decades of plotting and planning, an army of sapient communist penguins ousts humans from Antarctica entirely.
  • In 1997, Stalin rises again! Or gets woken up, at least. Turns out that he was secretly put in suspended animation until better medical magic could turn him from a dying old man into a statuesque god-king. This unexpected turn breaks Russia into a messy civil war between the forces of Stalin and Yeltsin.




Chapter 2: Magic
Magic is kind of a big element of Technomancer. You've probably guessed that, though, given all the background information and the fact that "-mancer" is right there in the drat name. So, really, it's not all that surprising that the second chapter of the book is all about it.


Mana Levels
GURPS magic has its users utilize ambient magic energy, or mana, to fuel their spells. Mana is almost everywhere, but some places have better quality mana than others. The normal amount of mana in an environment allows mages (anyone who has the Magery advantage) to cast their spells. Lower is low mana (mages suffer a -5 to their spell rolls) and no mana (nobody can do poo poo with magic), while higher is high mana (anyone who knows spells, even non-mages, can cast them) and very high (not only can anyone cast spells, but mages automatically regain the energy they expend on spells the very next turn). There are no mana-void areas in Technomancer, but you will get into low mana territory if you are in any part of space other than around Earth or Mars. There are also two big high mana areas: Antarctica and the Manabelt. The Manabelt is the region stretching out in a 200 mile radius around Alamogordo, New Mexico, the place where everything began. The Manabelt is the go-to place for religious rituals, Agrarian Conspiracy communes, and weird phenomenon randomly appearing to say hello.


The Theory of Magic and Nature of Spells

GURPS Technomancer posted:

Full mathematical understanding of the Hellstorm and the nature of the “Oppenheimer Backfire” that triggered it did not come until 1984, when Hawking’s proof of the Many-Worlds Hypothesis demonstrated what most people already knew: We Are Not Alone, and You Can Get There From Here. Everyone hopes that he’ll get back safely some day.
An infinite number of alternate universes exist. Not only that, but they're what let magic work. Casting spells effectively "trade" part of the matter of our universe for one of another, where whatever weird thing you're trying to do happens to be part of the normal laws of physics. Learning a spell is effectively getting mentally in-tune with this matter transferal. All the formulas, incantations, interpretive dance, or whatever you use as your ritual? Just psyching yourself up to get in the right mindset. This means that while you don't necessarily need all the pomp and circumstance, it makes things a hell of a lot easier than just figuring out how to communicate with the intrinsic nature of the multiverse whenever you feel like it. Three forms of magic ritual in particular have become the most popular.

Old Tradition, or OldTrad, is straight up religious ceremony. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto...doesn't matter what your faith is, you use OldTrad if your rituals rely on invoking some manner of god, spirit, or venerated figure. Unsurprisingly, this is the oldest form of ritual due to the fact that humans have been doing it since the dawn of the species. OldTrad isn't the most simple ritual, however. That award goes to Kindermagic, a form of early age magery wherein children between 3 and 6 years of age create nonsensical phrases and rhymes that happen to get them into the right mindset to cast extremely minor spells. It's assumed that once you grow older, you will learn the "proper" rituals for the spells you manifested with kindermagic as a child, and a teen or adult still utilizing these early methods for any spells is seen as just socially awkward enough for it to be a -1 point quirk.

The rest of spellcasting can be fairly lumped together as "academic magic", including subsets such as magic created by computer algorithms, reverse-engineered laboratory spells, and the kind of magic taught at universities. Almost all of the spells of GURPS Magic are stated to exist and have been written down in the textbooks of magic academia, save for some special exceptions. First off, resurrection spells and dimension-crossing magic are both off the record: if you're dead you're either staying dead or becoming a horrific undead monstrosity, and there's no known way to get to the Otherworld or the demon realm. There are also some spells that are classified military secrets. Invisibility and ethereality, body swapping, spells that tamper with the soul, and spells that manifest radioactivity are all under wraps. Don't have clearance? Then you don't get those spells, buddy.



Next Time, in Technomancer...
New spells and enchanted items. Learn the arts of magic bullets, supernatural static electricity, pregnancy transferal, and more.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 12:05 on Sep 18, 2015

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



Fossilized Rappy posted:

[*]In 1987, popular televangelist Bob Leaman is involved in a scandal when it turns out he has been having sex with a succubus.
[*]In 1992, after decades of plotting and planning, an army of sapient communist penguins ousts humans from Antarctica entirely.
[*]In 1997, Stalin rises again! Or gets woken up, at least. Turns out that he was secretly put in suspended animation until better medical magic could turn him from a dying old man into a statuesque god-king. This unexpected turn breaks Russia into a messy civil war between the forces of Stalin and Yeltsin.[/list]

Full mathematical understanding of the Hellstorm and the nature of the “Oppenheimer Backfire” that triggered it did not come until 1984, when Hawking’s proof of the Many-Worlds Hypothesis demonstrated what most people already knew: We Are Not Alone, and You Can Get There From Here. Everyone hopes that he’ll get back safely some day.
This is all completely ridiculous and excellent and really makes you crave more details, but the last one reminded me of Torg, and that makes me miss Torg
EDIT: Mostly because I don't want poor Evil Mastermind to have to start all over if those crazy bastards really do revive the whole thing with a new eddition.

Drakyn fucked around with this message at 15:13 on Sep 18, 2015

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:



We read Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All. This one might really be the first heartbreaker. If you want something that combines long rambling speeches about the importance of nobility, casual disdain for "women's lib," and big timecubey style rules, you should rush out and buy this. It'll be around a dollar.

I just wanted to thank you a bunch for this, because I recently remembered this book and had no idea what the title was. Way, way back when I was first getting into gaming at a very young age, I found this book at a library. I couldn't make heads or tails of it and presumed it was an unofficial book for D&D that required knowledge of that game to play, since what I was reading made no sense on its own. It wasn't until now I realized that it was supposed to be its own game.

I suppose I was spoiled by starting out with Steve Jackson Games... games, because for all their foibles, Steve Jackson was an editor before he was a game designer and it shows.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I really liked your comment about Fantasy Wargaming being the Burgess Shale of RPGs. The first several years of RPG history were marked by a lot of products that were neither here nor there, like booklets of minis wargaming rules with a few pages of notes on adventuring and roleplaying in the back. Fantasy Wargaming wasn't the first or last time to try to do "D&D but getting it right this time," but it does so in a truly unique way, whereas many of the well-known heartbreakers were to some extent copypastes of one another. It's supposed to be a complete game, but was written like a volume of an academic journal, with each writer assigned a chapter and an editor in charge of the project. (I know that RPG supplements are often written this way, but the corebook?) It gives the whole thing a disjointed, rambling quality.

I read a few retrospectives on it, and I think you're basically correct in your assertion that it was never really played. An OSR blogger (I can't remember which) interviewed one of the co-writers, who mentioned what he called a "dress rehearsal" playtest that didn't go too well. It seems that they wrote the book, then sort-of played it once to assure themselves that it was acceptable for publication. The closest comparison I can make between this and any other game is Fantasy Imperium, which is also way up its own rear end about doing fantasy roleplaying in a historically accurate, medieval European context. Both games get their history wrong, are too complicated, suggest mechanics which are left undeveloped and forgotten, and manage to be very offensive along the way.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Fossilized Rappy posted:

[*]In 1992, after decades of plotting and planning, an army of sapient communist penguins ousts humans from Antarctica entirely.

Weird. I always assumed the sapient penguin population would've been indoctrinated by Nazis who escaped WW2 with their flying saucers.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

I really liked your comment about Fantasy Wargaming being the Burgess Shale of RPGs. The first several years of RPG history were marked by a lot of products that were neither here nor there, like booklets of minis wargaming rules with a few pages of notes on adventuring and roleplaying in the back. Fantasy Wargaming wasn't the first or last time to try to do "D&D but getting it right this time," but it does so in a truly unique way, whereas many of the well-known heartbreakers were to some extent copypastes of one another. It's supposed to be a complete game, but was written like a volume of an academic journal, with each writer assigned a chapter and an editor in charge of the project. (I know that RPG supplements are often written this way, but the corebook?) It gives the whole thing a disjointed, rambling quality.

I read a few retrospectives on it, and I think you're basically correct in your assertion that it was never really played. An OSR blogger (I can't remember which) interviewed one of the co-writers, who mentioned what he called a "dress rehearsal" playtest that didn't go too well. It seems that they wrote the book, then sort-of played it once to assure themselves that it was acceptable for publication. The closest comparison I can make between this and any other game is Fantasy Imperium, which is also way up its own rear end about doing fantasy roleplaying in a historically accurate, medieval European context. Both games get their history wrong, are too complicated, suggest mechanics which are left undeveloped and forgotten, and manage to be very offensive along the way.

That style of assembling the book would make sense, since there's a lot of repeated material in there, and the tone seems to shift pretty readily. Not to mention the weird chapter titles, since each has that "two names for this chapter, but the second one a pithy joke" model, except the jokes don't make any sense and don't seem to have been written by the chapter author. Like "The Compleat Enchanter or What the Hell Do I Do Now?"

And yeah, I don't think there's a way to play this other than sort of playing it. The character creation engine is pure historical simulator bunk. They assume that 50% of slaves sung while working, so your slave character has a 50% chance of singing, but with no chance of singing well, because "well" really means "courtly" and so on. Also, every character either lacks a skill, has that skill, or has that skill "well" but there's no rules for using those skills so apparently have a high degree of proficiency with them is for generic table bragging rights.

I hated this book way more than Synnibarr, which is a shame because it'd be the perfect option for a two part episode. We covered so little of it. We barely touched the section on religion, for example. I really wanted to talk about Inspiration, which is the "process by which a worshipper is suddenly filled wwith the awe and majesty of his deity--God or the Devil." (note that while this game features Celtic and Norse mythology too, it's so Catholic overall that it farts rosary beads).

Here's what Inspiration does, for example. It can be caused by attending religious events (there's rules for who gets XP and piety and faith and mana from attending a funeral, or a baptism, etc.):
Increase Piety Band by one width (the ever-shifting measure of how holy/unholy you are)
Take all Morale tests at +2 while inspired
No fatigue until twice the recognized period/EP damage has occurred (no idea)
Physique, Endurance, Bravery, Faith, and Charisma +1
Agility and Intelligence -1
Take all Control tests at +2, or +3 if facing a danger from enemies of God
Carry an extra +3 factor in appeals (literally this means you're better at arguing with the party leader for a while)

Normally, Inspiration occurs during religious ceremonies, especially conversions. But spontaneous epiphanies can also occur. The chance of being Inspired spontaeneously is measured like this:
Facing Danger from servants/powers of a different religion +3 for noobs, +1 for subsequent dangers
Seeing a successful appeal +2 if it's yours, +1 if it's someone else's
Being rescued from death +3, injury or captivity +1, from diabolic possession +2
After any notable victory, success, relief from danger, illness, whether religiously delivered or not +2, but only if your PB (piety band) is outside the range of 5 to -5

Add all those together, then also

Add 2xPB
Faith modification: Below 8 for a -1, 14-17 for a +1, above 18 for a +2
Add half your Religious Experience Level
Subtract your rank in the Church
Luck
Character has been inspired before +1
Character is usually inspired +3

Okay, great. Now take the result of all that, multiply it by three and roll under the result on percentile dice be be Inspired. Effects last [whoops no idea]

Here's the circumstances that trigger a check for spontaneous Religious Inspiration: [whoops, no idea]

theironjef fucked around with this message at 17:36 on Sep 18, 2015

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


You know, I've always wondered what kind of creative process ends up with something as disjointed as this. Okay, I get that a failure to actually try playing it has been a critical factor in the end result, but playtesting only uncovers faults that are already there, especially faults that are not immediately obvious. Playtesting something and finding that it doesn't work out as well in practice as it looked like it would on paper - okay, fine. What I don't understand is how someone can just completely leave out entire sections of rules, rendering the product unplayable and unfinished, and yet allow the thing to proceed to printing.

* Did they just forget they hadn't finished writing some particular set of rules?
* Did they think some rules weren't necessary at all?
* Did they change something, but forget to erase references to the changed rules from the rest of the book? (Unlikely when there's entire sections referring to parts that are missing.)
* Did some third-party editor (it's unlikely, but thinkable, that such a being exists) with a loose grasp on the thing as a whole lose or re-insert material without consulting the writers?
* Aliens???

Heartbreakers are ostensibly labors of love (or at least sufficiently focused hate masquerading as love), so I'm just struggling to understand where major, sweeping errors like that are coming from.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




theironjef posted:

Not to mention the weird chapter titles, since each has that "two names for this chapter, but the second one a pithy joke" model, except the jokes don't make any sense and don't seem to have been written by the chapter author.
You're spot on about that; the joke subtitles were imposed by the editor.

quote:

And yeah, I don't think there's a way to play this other than sort of playing it. The character creation engine is pure historical simulator bunk. They assume that 50% of slaves sung while working, so your slave character has a 50% chance of singing, but with no chance of singing well, because "well" really means "courtly" and so on. Also, every character either lacks a skill, has that skill, or has that skill "well" but there's no rules for using those skills so apparently have a high degree of proficiency with them is for generic table bragging rights.
I think FG was one of those early products that was supposedly either a complete game or a rules-neutral supplement or both, but with a wink-and-nudge assumption that you were going to use its contents as rules modules for D&D. (Or perhaps BRP or Rolemaster. I think they'd just come out the previous year.)

quote:

I hated this book way more than Synnibarr, which is a shame because it'd be the perfect option for a two part episode. We covered so little of it. We barely touched the section on religion, for example. I really wanted to talk about Inspiration, which is the "process by which a worshipper is suddenly filled wwith the awe and majesty of his deity--God or the Devil." (note that while this game features Celtic and Norse mythology too, it's so Catholic overall that it farts rosary beads)
After watching some old Arthur/Merlin shows my wife put in front of me, I'd be really interested in a game that actually deals with the transition from paganism to Christianity in a sorta-historical fantasy Europe. Three Hearts and Three Lions was an influence on D&D, after all. But man, FG and FI both really screw the pooch on how to handle it. Morality meters that constantly track morality points for everything you do on a big scale...it's worse than when those mechanics started appearing in roguelike games, and these games have more crap to watch out for and no computer tracking it all for you, either.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

Halloween Jack posted:

After watching some old Arthur/Merlin shows my wife put in front of me, I'd be really interested in a game that actually deals with the transition from paganism to Christianity in a sorta-historical fantasy Europe. Three Hearts and Three Lions was an influence on D&D, after all. But man, FG and FI both really screw the pooch on how to handle it. Morality meters that constantly track morality points for everything you do on a big scale...it's worse than when those mechanics started appearing in roguelike games, and these games have more crap to watch out for and no computer tracking it all for you, either.

Pendragon would work really well for that, if they trimmed down and modernized the rule set.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Halloween Jack posted:

After watching some old Arthur/Merlin shows my wife put in front of me, I'd be really interested in a game that actually deals with the transition from paganism to Christianity in a sorta-historical fantasy Europe. Three Hearts and Three Lions was an influence on D&D, after all. But man, FG and FI both really screw the pooch on how to handle it. Morality meters that constantly track morality points for everything you do on a big scale...it's worse than when those mechanics started appearing in roguelike games, and these games have more crap to watch out for and no computer tracking it all for you, either.

The book has this interesting premise for about 20 pages, where it says that mana is human-derived, and belief both creates and empowers the gods. There's even this neat bit about how Christians, in their effort to create a religion of jealousy, have inadvertently created a jealous God, who won't lift a finger to save believers because their mana is already his, but will save potential converts. There's stuff about how paganism works the same way, and the druids and celts and other groups across the world also are powering their own gods and magical systems. Then you get outside that Chapter and it's all "Homosexuality is a Class 6 sin, and Moslems are rightly shunned by all right-thinking men."

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

theironjef posted:



We read Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All. This one might really be the first heartbreaker. If you want something that combines long rambling speeches about the importance of nobility, casual disdain for "women's lib," and big timecubey style rules, you should rush out and buy this. It'll be around a dollar.

I have this purchased new from a Gordon's Bookstore. It is awful (even a grog like me will agree with that) but it is so loving earnest and dedicated to its awful it rolls over to amazing. I have actually played in a campaign of it and it was just as miserable as you can imagine especially since the GM was working on his Masters in Medieval Russian History and would not let anything slide.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Here's a really long article on the history and context of Fantasy Wargaming.

ZeeToo
Feb 20, 2008

I'm a kitty!


So, last time our heroes found a dead friend, stole the letter he was working on, stepped back over the body, and left the Free City in a huge hurry rather than raising him, because that's the option the text assumes you'll run with.

Age of Worms, A Gathering of Winds


The PCs return to Diamond Lake as 11th level adventurers, way outclassing the locals they merely rivaled or slightly surpassed the last time they were in town. However, there's been a few changes to their hometown, mainly in the way of Allustan's home (and, thus, Wally's) being destroyed, as well as a few others. The town guards, or what's left of them, come up our PCs bearing shell-shocked expressions and explain a thirty foot long black dragon spewed acid all over everything while hunting Allustan. The dragon's information-gathering methodology was even simpler than the PCs: it found someone, asked them "where is Allustan", then killed people who didn't know.

Finally, it found someone who knew the answer was "The Whispering Cairn". Yup, Allustan decided to go back to our heroes' first-level dungeon. Now, why would he do that? Anyway, the magazine tells us not to feel like we're under too much time pressure



so the heroes drop by to tell fat jokes to Balabar Smenk before they go rescue Wally's mentor.

Now the heroes wander back to the Whispering Cairn. The black dragon is too big to follow Allustan inside, so she's hanging out on the outside. It's a CR 13 dragon, and a little more scary than your average adult black dragon, but it's still got saves that can be beaten, so eventually it's going to get Disintegrated or Held Monster or whatever.



Before that can happen, it perches above the entrance and roars "Dragotha take you all! The wizard is mine!" Dragotha, huh? Well, that's probably the only time we'll ever hear that name. It blasts the heroes with a breath weapon that's been improved to also do strength damage, and, well, that's about where the PCs start unloading. It's only about on par with that Froghemoth from last time, barring the breath weapon.

With that dealt with, our heroes move on. Well, that was pretty random for our first encounter with a dragon, wasn't it? No, of course not. In Dom's notes, Cleo read all sorts of important details about our dragon friend. That was Ilthane, a black dragon serving Dragotha, and Ilthane was the architect of the woes our lizardfolk friends had. She was a powerful alchemist, and had been developing all sorts of scary draughts like the one she used to make the turbo-kobolds the heroes took down while saving lizardfolk eggs. Which was... all stuff that was also almost impossible for the PCs to discover legitimately. Great going, a mastermind that the heroes didn't even know about even as they defeated her.

Well, let's check up on the Whispering Cairn and just see if any level-appropriate monsters have carted in level-equivalent loot. ...Nnnnnope. The only change is a previously-blocked passage has been opened up by Allustan's rock-moving magic, leading to a mysterious portal, so the heroes get close to it, and, wouldn't you know it, there's an extraplanar buffed-up ghoul lurking in it, anxious to drain Roger's Wisdom and Constitution. I guess ability damage is the "in thing" this adventure. The exact set-up of the fight makes it actually a bit of a tricky tactical challenge, though, so I'm otherwise down with this fight. See, it's actually IN the portal. So as you try to step through, there's a concealed ghoul that's using the magic portal for cover that ambushes the party. Good luck fighting it without getting in melee range, where it can take a swipe at you by reaching out of the portal. The ill-prepared or ill-matched are free to use dimension door to skip past, or Overrun it. Yes, Overrun is a mechanic. I know everyone forgets it because this is the only time it was ever used in anything ever.

The next room has howling winds and six belkers. Yup, we're in a proper dungeon again; this would be a grindfest were it not for the lack of time pressure. Nothing is time-sensitive and almost everything stays put.

Beyond that, we find a room with elaborate carved statues and writing on the wall in runes. Cleo asks Wally to translate and read the runes, which talk about "glorious Icosiol" and the "Incomparable Army" he led against the Queen of Chaos and Miska the Wolf Spider in ancient times, one of the first chances our PCs have of discovering much about that backstory. Beyond that, though, speaking Icosiol's name aloud deactivates the traps in this room, which are basically the bigger cousins of that hurricane trap that the PCs had to deal with in the first tomb and eventually got past by waiting for Dom to say "okay, it solves itself".



There's another room that's a dead end off the beaten path here, but its only contents are a trap that drops rocks on chaotic people, which probably isn't our party. However, there's one other thing that could be in here, and it matches the magazine's art, so Dom decides it is: a shadow spider sorcerer jumps out of nowhere to try to truss up Wally's familiar. Dammit, not again! We just finished getting back at last guy who did that! The spider is a magical beast with a single-digit Will save, though, so this guy definitely doesn't survive the attempt. If he had succeeded, he could have been reasoned with and bargained with for the familiar's return and/or given the party some heads-up on the biggest threat in the tomb, another undead who came here to steal the Rod of Law.

Back to the main path. The PCs come up on a four-way intersection with traps that cast Dictum on them, temporarily deafening and slowing Roger and Wally. The PCs back up, Cleo casts Silence in the area and the party grabs a mithral greatsword. They take a left turn, and find a fire elemental themed location. A noble salamander and his fire elemental are here. They could be killed, but the best loot here is a +3 longspear, so they could also just be talked to. He's technically here as a guard, but he's not really "into" it. Once he's befriended, he gives the party a warning about two upcoming threats: an undead and a group of xorn.

The party thanks him, and leaves him here, happily un-murdered but still bored, then wander on past some uninteresting fights and loot, and Roger gets himself energy drained by an urn with Icosiol's courtesan's ashes. They do find a pretty nice set of +2 electricity resistance banded mail in the room with the undead they were warned about, which fits Cleo fairly nicely.

The next area is a river of blood! No, it's just water with red minerals in it. The xorns attack here. They bear a special hatred for gnomes, like Wally, because he's not the main character. Once past them, they find a...

...You know what? This section speaks for itself.



There are four of these. Once Dom is properly chastised for actually running this, and thus making Roger's contributions annoyingly pointless, the party goes back the other way. Yeah, that's just a timewasting dead end.

The next new room they enter has the stained glass in the walls turn into relief golems and attack them when they try to steal some gemstones. Luckily, the remains of relief golems are even more valuable! Score!

In the next room... oh, wait, right, we're here to find Allustan. He's been placed in a sphere of electricity, as he's fallen victim to the trap here that holds him in suspended animation. Wally has the bright idea to try to dispel magic on the trap from safely outside the room. It works! "The room's trap is suppressed," Dom intones, rolling his four-sider out of sight of the party. 3. The party runs in there to check on him. He's at -3 HP! Cleo drops a CLW on him. He's up to 6 HP. "Are you all right?" Wally asks Allustan. "Yes, I think so," he says. Well, all that probably took 18 seconds. "...for 1d4 rounds," Dom continues. Allustan and the party are blasted by 8d6 lightning damage apiece. Allustan's corpse is re-interred in the sphere, and the party retreats out of the room to pull out crossbows and break everything from safety.

Well, that didn't go so well. The party camps out for the night, and the next morning a sheepish Cleo raises Allustan from the dead, since he's allowed to be raised. He doesn't quite remember how he died, and the party is a little vague on it, but he's ready to answer questions now. He explains: he was jumped by a dragon, wandered in here to escape, and managed a path that otherwise kept him out of most danger until he showed up here. That one was beyond him. This is the resting place of Icosiol, one of the greatest of the Wind Dukes, who used a powerful artifact to beat the Queen of Chaos. It's now known as the Rod of Seven Parts. One piece is here. The party tell him Eligos was killed, too, and show him the half-done ominous note. Allustan nods sagely; it's time for him to get his old master, Manzorian, involved. Now that Wally has outgrown him, it's going to be up to Wally and those loser friends of his to keep the world safe from this whole "Age of Worms" thing.

"Now, though," Allustan says, brushing himself off. "I'm feeling weaker than I was before I was killed, so I'm going to go home and..." "About that. The dragon blew it up." Allustan shoots Wally a much more distraught look over this than the death of his friend. The way back is pretty safe, though, so the party lets their now-level-7 mentor go back himself while they press on in search of this great magic that should be buried here.

They deal with a silly trap, then come across a novelty: some undead with low enough HD that Cleo can actually turn them! Hooray!



Finally, they come to the Falling River. The Falling River is a vertical area. The red, not-blood river leads down, and the party gets to follow it down rather than along. Tolerable change of pace. Some advanced wind warriors attack along the way, harrying the party with crossbows and other hit-and-run attacks. That's something that would be very challenging to any party that couldn't figure out how to deal with some Fort +6, Will +4 enemies at range. So... yeah. Not advanced enough.



At the bottom of the Falling River, as far as the map is concerned, we meet a refugee from the Libris Mortis supplement book, a true ghoul named Moreto. The true ghoul tells the party that he's got a really important artifact called the "Seal of Law", that he'll show the party how to use if they'll kill this one shadow spider that hurt him and took out some of his mohrg allies earlier. The party already stepped on that little speedbump. He willingly offers the Seal of Law to the party for doing this, and even teaches them how to use it. Then everyone fights to the death because, you know, evil undead. He's ready to drop a charm person on the party as soon as he knows how to get to the surface; he's trying to get all the way to the surface from an underground kingdom.

So armed with the Seal of Law, which allows one access to Icosiol's tomb, the party goes partway back up the Falling River and through a well-hidden door. We're in the true Tomb! The doors of the Tomb are fifty feet tall and plated with an inch of adamantine. The writer completely forgot that the party would sensibly work on stripping this plating off because, holy poo poo, that's a lot of money.

The final guardians in the tomb are a couple of greater air elementals that attack people who cheat a jumping puzzle by flying, then a new CR 13 demon that focuses on paralysis and fear effects. It's not going to be that much of a fight because, again, single-digit saves. Welp. Time to loot Icosiol's body!

Turns out Icosiol's soul is okay with this, because the PCs are destined to fight the same sort of chaos he opposed in life. The PCs get new stabbin' toys for Roger and Cleo, a magic ring, and a piece of the rod of seven parts--the part that casts heal once per day, the one that can't find any other parts, too, of course. Also, a piece of random detritus the party picked up some ways back that I don't think I mentioned turns into a talisman of the sphere (for controlling spheres of annihilations) and Cleo's diadem (from Zosiel's tomb) gets a power boost and lets her speak in Auran.

The victorious PCs return to town, but find that the people of Diamond Lake are pretty down, even though the dragon that ate a dozen people is dead. Sheesh. Some people have no gratitude. Allustan reiterates his earlier point: Wally, and those... other two, go see Manzorian the archmage and tell him Allustan sent you. Meanwhile, everyone in your home town will hang around here feeling sorry for themselves.

ZeeToo fucked around with this message at 17:23 on Sep 20, 2015

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007





theironjef posted:

Here's what Inspiration does, for example. It can be caused by attending religious events (there's rules for who gets XP and piety and faith and mana from attending a funeral, or a baptism, etc.):
Increase Piety Band by one width (the ever-shifting measure of how holy/unholy you are)
Take all Morale tests at +2 while inspired
No fatigue until twice the recognized period/EP damage has occurred (no idea)
Physique, Endurance, Bravery, Faith, and Charisma +1
Agility and Intelligence -1
Take all Control tests at +2, or +3 if facing a danger from enemies of God
Carry an extra +3 factor in appeals (literally this means you're better at arguing with the party leader for a while)

Normally, Inspiration occurs during religious ceremonies, especially conversions. But spontaneous epiphanies can also occur. The chance of being Inspired spontaeneously is measured like this:
Facing Danger from servants/powers of a different religion +3 for noobs, +1 for subsequent dangers
Seeing a successful appeal +2 if it's yours, +1 if it's someone else's
Being rescued from death +3, injury or captivity +1, from diabolic possession +2
After any notable victory, success, relief from danger, illness, whether religiously delivered or not +2, but only if your PB (piety band) is outside the range of 5 to -5

Add all those together, then also

Add 2xPB
Faith modification: Below 8 for a -1, 14-17 for a +1, above 18 for a +2
Add half your Religious Experience Level
Subtract your rank in the Church
Luck
Character has been inspired before +1
Character is usually inspired +3

Okay, great. Now take the result of all that, multiply it by three and roll under the result on percentile dice be be Inspired. Effects last [whoops no idea]

Here's the circumstances that trigger a check for spontaneous Religious Inspiration: [whoops, no idea]


You, sir, just made me order a used copy of this piece of crap off of Amazon.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


theironjef posted:

The book has this interesting premise for about 20 pages, where it says that mana is human-derived, and belief both creates and empowers the gods. There's even this neat bit about how Christians, in their effort to create a religion of jealousy, have inadvertently created a jealous God, who won't lift a finger to save believers because their mana is already his, but will save potential converts. There's stuff about how paganism works the same way, and the druids and celts and other groups across the world also are powering their own gods and magical systems. Then you get outside that Chapter and it's all "Homosexuality is a Class 6 sin, and Moslems are rightly shunned by all right-thinking men."

I think it would've been more interesting if God suffered from an identity crisis brought on by three different religions wrestling for control over him. His relatively low mana could be the result of him occassionally going batshit over the requirements to enter heaven ("Sure, you are a devout believer in my son Jesus, but you're not a Jew who has visisted Mekka. Have fun in Hell!")



Let's tackle TDE'S clerics and paladins:


Gods & Demons - aka "Evil is hosed"


Ways of the Gods - aka "We just gave up on making interesting covers"

Divine Professions

Divine professions in TDE are rather few in numbers. First of all is the Sanctified, your clerics/priests. They use their very slowly recharging karma energy to perform miracles (which despite the fancy name are just temporary boosts to certain skills related to the Sanctified's god) and liturgies (divine rituals that come in levels like in D&D, though I think 5th edition reworked them to be closer to magic spells and rituals). Unlike D&D clerics, the powers of a Sanctified are very focused and don't provide a lot of usage outside of their god's shtick (aside from general stuff like exorcisms). Suffice to say, most kinds of Sanctified aren't too useful as adventuring buddies aside from maybe their Social Status. Also unlike D&D clerics, most Sanctified aren't actually trained for battle.
Aside from picking a Sanctified profession directly, it is possible to become a Sanctified with a not-feat, which requires a lot of XP and a time skip.

When it comes to exterminating heretics, there are the Order Warriors, religious groups of warriors fighting for their church. Some of them are even sanctified themselves, making them the closest paladin analogue for most churches.
Though technically all churches of the main pantheon have an order, not even a handful is actually all that notable.

Gods not part of the main pantheon (mostly those of tribal cultures) only hand out karma energy to their chosen champion (like the not-Khan of the not-Mongols that are Aventurian orcs). The large majority of their priests are Shamans, who are actually spellcasters using a club made out of bones to summon ghosts. They count as halfcasters who use ritual magic, but they are a bit unique compared to similar halfcasters because they have several different ritual skills depending on what they want the summoned ghosts to do, and the cost for their rituals is random. Because why not.

The (Short) Creation Myth

In the beginning, there was only Allfather Los, mucking around in the non-space of non-existence. After a while, a nice lady named Sumu appeared. Being a bit of a social outcast and jealous now that he was no longer a beautiful unique snowflake, Los did the obvious thing and murdered Sumu in cold blood, getting wounded in the process. The blood pouring from his wounds turned into the gods.
With Sumu being slain, Los realized what he just did and wept bitter tears, which turned into the first mortal lifeforms. Sumu's body eventually became Dere, and Los just kinda vanished and became the Limbus, the space between the Spheres (aka planes of existance).

Outside of this creation myth, the people in Aventuria don't really bother with these two. Well, at least Sumu is used as the Aventurian version of Gaia or Mother Nature.

The Spheres

TDE's multiverse is separated into seven Spheres, like the rings of an onion or tree:
  • First Sphere: Time and the laws of natures come from here, as do the elements.
  • Second Sphere: The fundament of the world, where the elements are at their strongest
  • Third Sphere: The world of mortals aka Dere, which seems to be the only planet in all of existence.
  • Fourth Sphere: The land of the dead
  • Fifth Sphere: The main pantheon clubhouse
  • Sixth Sphere: The wall surrounding the clubhouse, seen from the Third Sphere as the starlit sky.
  • Seventh Sphere: The space beyond creation, where demons come from. Also known as the Netherhells

Aside from these main Spheres, there exist various pocket dimensions, which include the world of the fey and elves, that weird Hollow Earth setting Tharun, and a piece of land belonging to a former civilization of frog-/dragonmen that originally stood where Aventurian's largest desert not exists.

The Twelvegods (The German source writes those two words together and I'll stick with it)

The main pantheon - censored for your convenience

The Twelvegods are TDE's unquestioned main pantheon, with the dirty lesser god peasants having to hang out outside of Alveran, the fortress/clubhouse of the Twelvegods. Lesser beings allowed to live in Alveran (aka not-angels) are known as Alveranians.

Some of the Twelvegods are actually titans that switched sides during the obligatory titans vs gods war (with the titans in this case just wanting to hang out in Alveran), but that doesn't actually affect anything in the grand scheme of things, so I won't bother pointing out which god used to be a titan. Though if you want a hint, they're the gods focused on nature and the elements, as the titans were born from Sumu's body instead of Los' blood.

(Theoretically, the exact composition of the Twelvegods can change form Age to Age, but that never actually happened aside from a couple titans joining them. Even then, they didn't actually replace anyone and just took the free seats.)

Each of the Twelvegods has a favored animal, a month named after him (I'll list the month they replace), and a couple favorite colors. They also have favorite plants and herbs, but who cares about those?

Praios (animal: gryphon, month: July, colors: gold and red)

The Lord of Light [insert Game of Thrones meme here], Truth and Order. His temples can typically only be found in cities, for his church really likes building big cathedrals rivaling that of the Catholic Church - which is a pretty good comparison seeing how the church of Praios hates magic and people not worshipping the Twelvegods. The only spellcasters they tolerate are the white mages. Anyone else should watch out for the inquisition.
Naturally, the church of Praios typically gets flanderized as the rear end in a top hat church.

Praios' animal of choice is the most widely known kind of Alveranian: the gryphon. They were originally a humanoid civilization that got judged by Praios at the end of their Age. The worthy ones became gryphons, the wicked ones the demonic Irrhalken, and everyone else became a sphinx.

The Order Warriors of Praios are the Ban Rayers, who are especially fanatic in their cause. I think not even white mages want to hang out with these guys.

Rondra (animal: lioness, month: August, colors: white and red)

Goddess of War, Honor, Thunder and Lightning. Her church is the one of the very few whose Sanctified are actually paladins (aka guys who don't suck in combat). Her temples are built like fortresses, and her church is organized like a military order, with everyone wearing chainmail and being trained in combat with Rondra's Comb (a flamberge with lion motifs). They really, really hate demons.

As the only church entirely made up of paladins, it was only natural that they would show some signs of Lawful Stupid. In Rondra's case, it's the extreme focus on the "honorable duel", making them eschew any kind of cowardly attack. No member of Rondra's church would ever touch a ranged weapon, and some are so fanatical that they even hate any kind of tactics or strategy.
Sure, D&D paladins can be problematic because they aren't allowed to lie and stuff, but at least they would be okay with sneaking into the enemy's fortress. A proper Sanctified of Rondra would just march to the front gate and demand a duel with the big bad (which will most likely be followed by a hail of arrows and quivers). I presume this is just one of the various reasons why the church has had a lot of casualties in recent years...

Though the church of Rondra does have Order Warriors, they aren't all that important, as the Sanctified themselves can do the job just fine.
Another warrior profession with close ties to Rondra are the Amazons, who hang out in their fortresses and dedicate their lifes even more towards Rondra's ideals. They wear a unique set of Greekish armor and train with a customized cavalry saber.

Efferd (animal: dolphin, month: September, colors: blue and green)

The God of Water and the Oceans, with temples usually found in harbor towns. His followers are as moody as he himself, and they dislike cooked food because they don't trust fire or something.
Efferd can hold grudges even longer than his colleague Poseidon: The reason no other settlers/scouts from Myranor arrived on Aventurian shores in the last 2,000+ years is because their ships will get smashed in a storm if they sail too far out. All because of a bit of demon worship.

Travia (animal: wild goose, month: October, colors: orange and red)

The Goddess of Family and Hospitality, her temples can be found in just about every city. They use their amassed wealth to actually help the poor, instead of overdressing their robes and temples with gold and silver. Overall pretty nice and popular, if maybe a bit conservative.

Boron (animal: raven, month: November, color: black)

The God of Death and Sleep, his church might just be the most omnipresent of them all because it is in charge of the cemeteries (which are therefore known as "Boron's Fields"). His followers are dead serious and rarely talk, but they are always ready to smash some undead.

The church of Boron is the only one that had a real Schism when the south Aventurian city of Al'Anfa (whose inhabitants worship Boron above everyone else) started performing human sacrifices in his honor. Both churches don't get along at all.

The most notable Alveranian of Boron is Golgari, a giant raven said to carry the dead into Boron's Halls aka the afterlife, from which they are then send into the paradise of their chosen god. Or you just stay there if you already believed in Bororn or couldn't decide on a main god in time.

The Order Warriors (at least the ones from the northern church) are the Golgarites, who wear black plate armor and carry the Raven's Beak (a warhammer with a very pronounced, beak-shaped spike serving as its main mode of attack).

Hesinde (animal: snake, month: December, colors: yellow and green)

Goddess of Wisdom, Science and Arts. As "arts" in this context also include alchemy and magic, her church doesn't quite get along with Praios'. Her church is mainly concerned with amassing knowledge and artefacts, and her temples are particularly artsy.

Hesinde's Order Warriors (of sorts) are the Draconites, which also include a couple spellcasters.

Firun (animal: ice bear, month: January; colors: white, ice blue)

The God of Hunting and Winter. Easily the least-whorshipped god of them all because he is a grumpy jerk: He won't help the weak because it's their own drat fault for getting themselves lost in the wilderness, and he won't help the strong because well, they can look out for themselves. His Sanctified like wearing pelts and are equally grumpy and unhelpful, and the few temples he has look more like a hunter's cabin (which is probably their main function anyways).

Tsa (animal: rainbow lizard, month: Febuary, colors: all colors of the rainbow)

Goddess of Life, Freedom and Change. She has good connections to kobolds and other fey-like creatures.
Sanctified of Tsa are very swell dudes to hang out with - though they don't help much in combat, for they hate violence so much that most of them are vegetarians. Also being a bit anarchistic, their church doesn't have a hierarchy or leader.

Phex (animal: fox, month: March, colors: grey and silver)

As God of Thieves and Merchants, Phex is your typical trickster god who frequently pisses off his fellow gods for dabbling into their domains (he is also a god of night like Boron, and Tulamidian cultures see him as a god of magic like Hesinde).
The only "official" temples and clearly dressed Sanctified serve merchants. Thieves and other shady people pray to him in secret establishments. Most of his Sanctified are so illusive that nobody outside his church actually knows the identity of his church's leader.

(Connecting these posts with the Realms of Arkania trilogy, it was the Phex artefact known as the Star Trail that served as the MacGuffin for the second game. I'm honestly not so sure what a throwing axe has to do with thievery.)

Peraine (animal: stork, month: April, colors: green)

Goddess of Agriculture, Fertility and Herbs. Her temples can be found in almost any village, with her Sanctified making sure that harvest is plenty and people don't die in droves. Travelling adventures also like to pray to her in hopes of not dying of a wound infection after the next battle.

Ingerimm (animal: none, he goes for hammer and anvil instead, month: May, colors: red and black)

The God of Smiths. His temples look like smithies, and his Sanctified dress like smiths and generally focus on smith-related stuff. Pretty basic, all in all.

Cyclops are said to be his children, but so are supposedly the dwarves - who of course worship him as their only god (except for the Hill Dwarves I assume) and have apparently brought the belief in Ingerimm to the humans.
Unlike the humans, they call Ingerimm Angrosch (and refer to themselves as the Angroschim).

Rahja (animal: mare, month: June, color: red)

Goddes of Wine, Ecstasy and (physical) Love. If you like parties and orgies, her temples are nice places to hang out in.

Her Order Warriors are known as Rahja's Cavaliers, a job that is probably as dignified as being a She-Ra character.

The Nameless (animal: various, including rats, spiders, bats and one kind of dragon for some reason, month: none, colors: black, purple and gold)

Also know as the Nameless God, the Gylden/Golden One or the Thirteenth (even though he is technically the first) and many other names. He was born from the first drop of Los' blood, which was still tainted by his rage and killing intent. Suffice to say, he is kind of a dick and the eternal nemesis of the Twelvegods.
Of course, he used to have an actual name, but he pissed off the Twelvegods so much that they literally took his name, broke it apart and hid the parts in epic-level dungeons throughout the world, unreachable and unbeatable by mortals.

His first major acts of dickishness include arranging an entire Age in which mortals worshipped him exclusively, and bringing forth the downfall of the high elf civilization (the first elven civilization in Aventuria, and the ancestors of most current elves aside from the wood elves) because TDE elves aren't really into worshipping anyone.

With his actions uncovered, the Twelvegods reacted with a genocidal spree and kicked the Nameless out of their clubhouse. The Nameless didn't take this too well, allied himself with the demons and launched a massive invasion on all of creation.
His demon buddies tore holes into the walls between Spheres (allowing interdimensional travel for mortals) and could only be stopped before the First Sphere (which is therefore unreachable by mortals), but the damage was already be done: The demons planted the seed of the Demon Tree in the Second Sphere, whose unstoppable growth will have it eventually break all the way through the Seventh Sphere, starting the End Times during which the demons will destroy all of creation (Tough apparently Los and Sumu will get rezzed to live happily ever after).
The Nameless himself got dragged and chained to the largest rift to the Seventh Sphere, where is former demon allies keep gnawing on him.

(For another doomsday myth, there's the 13th Age of the world in which the Nameless is supposed to break free of his chains and rule supreme. The world is currently at the beginning of the 12th Age.)

Naturally, the church of the Nameless is forbidden in Aventuria and only exists in the form of secret cults, though he supposedly has more followers all over Dere than the Twelvegods combined.

The most powerful servants of the Nameless are the Eyes of the Nameless, Nazgul-wannabes created when he ripped out one of his eyes and had it shatter into 13 pieces on Dere. They look like normal mortals (aside from the vortex they have for one eye) and their usefulness is a bit limited, seeing how they can only exist during the 5 days of the Nameless at the end of each year.

Demigods

Lesser gods related to the Twelvegods. They can sanctify mortals just fine, but grant a lesser starting pool of karma.

Swafnir

Son of Rondra and Efferd, he is the Thorwalian's main, whale-shaped god, fighting an eternal duel with the mother of all sea serpents.

Ifirn

Daughter of Firun and a mortal woman, she is way more popular than her father because she actually cares about mortals.

Aves

Son of Rahja and Phex, he is the patron of all travellers and adventurers. Small shrines of him can be found all over the place.

Kor

Son of Rondra and a lion-headed dragon (I'll cover those dragons later, as they're not really gods and this thing is getting a bit long). He is the patron of mercenaries, and his view on warfare is much more pragmatic than her mother's. He'd probably make for a much more popular war god if it wasn't for his bloodthirst.
Sanctified of Kor are a bit unique in that there is no dedicated profession for them. His church only recruits hardened mercenaries with years of experience on the battlefield.
Kor also has a weird fixation with the number 9: his Sanctified are required to cut off one of their pinkies (like reverse Yakuza), and their weapon of choice is Kor's Spike, a halberd with 9 blades arranged around the top to make the whole thing look like a polearm mace.

Nandus

Son of Hesinde and Phex, he is the patron of Education and Oracles. His followers want to become one with the cosmos, giving them a bit of a Hindu/Buddhist vibe.

Mada

Either the sister or daughter of Nandus (nobody is really sure), she represents the moon and brought magic to the mortals.

Mokoscha

The bee-shaped daughter of Ingerimm and Hesinde, she has no real church to speak of and is the goddess of the Norbards.

Not really a god, but still somewhat part of the pantheon is Satinav, a dude with thirteen horns. He wanted to take control over the Ship of Time sailing around in the First Sphere and got chained to it as punished. His two daughters Ymra and Fatas hang around with him and record the past and visions of the future, respectively.
Despite being chained to a metaphysical ship, Satinav will rain down vengeance on mortal spellcasters playing around with time travel.

The Archdemons

The demonic counterparts of the Twelvegods, these fellows rule over the Netherhells and have long replaced the Nameless as the main cosmic-level villain.
Since the Netherhells are a pretty chaotic place, it is unknown of they actually exist in a real kind of way. They might just be perverted reflections of the Twelvegods, or a desparate attempt by mortals to create order in the chaos. But since you can make pacts with these guys and older editions actually gave them stats*, so let's assume they do exist after all.

*) Their official, 3rd edition writeups include Life Points in the thousands, Armor Protection of "gently caress you, mortal", and Attack and Parry values in the hundreds they can freely split into as many attacks and parries as they want, with damage usually measured in handful of d20s - and that's before counting in whatever nasty special effect their attacks have. Calling these stats a bit too high for even the most min-maxed TDE party to handle is somewhat of a huge understatement. I have no idea what the TDE designers were smoking when they came up with this.
EDIT: Oh, and their Magic Resistance has of course more "gently caress you, mortal" written all over it. You could probably hurt them with a certain direct-damage spell that ignores armor, but chances are any Archdemon will kill have you killed around a dozen times over before you can make your second attack.
The real ridiculous part comes when you find out that 3rd edition also had demons whose writeup only consists of "you lose".

Aventuria has this annoying thing where there are two magic/scholar languages, giving each Archdemon two very different name. I'll just stick with the most official one (aka the one from the more "mainstream" language).

Blakharaz

Praios' nemesis. He is the Lord of Vengeance, with his demons usually dealing in hunting and killing dudes for their summoner.

Belhalhar

Rondra's nemesis is of course a Khorne-esque fellow big into slaughtering stuff. Sadly, TDE doesn't really have anything catchy along the line of "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!".
Suffice to say, his demons are mainly summoned to f*ck sh*t *p.

Charyptoroth

Efferd's nemesis, the Mistress of the Depths. She is one possible identity for H'Ranga, mother of serpents and Swafnir's eternal foe.

Lolgramoth

Nemesis of Travia and Lord of Movement, Restlessness and Treason. His demons either mess with people or act as not-Fellbeasts.

Targunitoth

Nemesis of Boron and Mistress of Necromancy and Nightmares. The majority of undead fall under her control. Her demons are always bodyless and serve to "possess" corpses to create suped-up undead or cause nightmares.

Amazeroth

Hesinde's nemesis and Lord of Madness, Trickery and Magic. He and his demons like to troll mortals and fellow demons alike, so I guess he's a bit like Tzeentch.

Nagrach

Firun's nemesis, with the main difference being that he actively wants you to freeze to death (instead of just watching and blaming you for your stupidity). His demons deal with ice and hunting people. You can also re-enact "Der Freischütz" by making a pact with him, as he can grant you a bunch of arrows that always hit their mark - except for that one arrow that hits a loved one instead.

Asfaloth

Tsa's nemesis and the Lord of Constant Change (there goes another aspect of Tzeentch) General Chaos and Crimes Against Nature. He barely has any demons serving under him, but he's pretty big in creating golems and chimeras.

Tasfarelel

Phex's nemesis and Lord of Gold and Greed. People generally summon his demons for wealth and power.

Mishkara

Peraine's nemesis and Mistress of Bad Harvests, Infertility and Pestilence. It's like a female Nurgle (if archdemons actually have genders, that is.). Her demons usually like making people suffer.

Agrimoth

Ingerimm's nemesis and Lord over the elements of fire, humus, air and ore. His demons help in creating demonic artefacts, or just serve as nasty elemental-themed combat beasts.

Belkelel

Rahja's nemesis and not-Slaneesh. Her domains include rape, being a sick gently caress and more rape.

The Demon Sultan

More of a hypothetical demon than a "real" one (not even 3rd edition gave him stats), he is assumed to be the lord of all archdemons. He also may or may not be the demonic counterpart of The Nameless (which I guess would make him a very nice guy).

Despite the dubious status of his actual existance, there are a couple myths including him, some of which are based on actual events. The most awesome paints him as the creator of the Omegatherion, an almost-doomsday monster that wrecked Dere in ancient times and was so massive in size that no one could perceive her whole body. Imagine looking up to the sky to see parts of a gigantic spider leg as far as your eye can see.

Next Time: Let's look at the skill list now, shall we?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:04 on Sep 21, 2015

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!


OMEGATHERION is kind of a goofy monster name, but I love it anyway.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


It better be some kind of giant anteater like its namesake.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!



I enjoyed reading the early parts of that article where the author managed to track down a couple of the surviving writers, but they lost me when they started actually reviewing the book. It's hard to imagine a real person in the 21st century looking at that system, looking at every other game available, and thinking to themselves that there is anything worth saving in the text.

One of my favorite parts of the System Mastery review was the laborious description of the modifiers associated with various actions. The copy I once read from my dad's bookshelf included letters to indicate modifiers' identities (A.Caster's star sign modifier, B.Target's star sign modifier, C.The current astrological season, etc.) and I vaguely remember a couple of examples where they hit modifier Z and had to start using double letters, up to modifier double-K. That was the point at which even RPG neophyte 14-year-old Just Dan had to stop and realize that the game was not actually playable without heavy modification and preparation. Looking back, it was an important turning point in my gaming experience. Reading FW at a young age helped keep me off of gateway heartbreakers like Rifts, though unfortunately it wasn't quite enough to save me from a dalliance with HERO system...

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



The tenor of that guy's review seems to trend towards "This book has a lot of really great ideas worth importing to my friend's microlite D20 game." I would love to see the results of that. Let's take this stripped down engine and add rules for determining your active measure of piety at all times, then make sure there's a 3% chance you're gay and everyone automatically hates you.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Rifts Dimension Book 3: Phase World Sourcebook Part 10: Immature Radioactive Cyberai Slugs



This section begins with a picture of a fellow in a very elaborate headdress charging off the page with action.


very elaborate

It is unfortunately not related to the first model discussed in this section, which is the Warlock Combat Armor mentioned way back in the Warlock Marines OCC. That class was an okay fighting class, but the stats of the armor will really make or break it in terms of game utility.

These suits are magically linked to their wearers and the process is so involved and expensive that it’s almost cheaper to make a new suit if the wearer is killed without also destroying the armor. Despite being bulky and scary looking, it is very agile and responsive. It has a bunch of magical senses and mundane sensors so IR and see the invisible, sense evil and UV. It also has Robocop rules where it can’t damage people or property of the UWW (do they all wear magical RFID tags?) unless they’ve been declared criminals by the ‘authorities’. Violating this prohibition causes the armor to self destruct so basically just trick them into shooting a teammate I guess. It also grants +3 to save versus hostile spells, including anti-magic cloud.

It has very little in the way of built-in weaponry, just a wrist blaster and a shoulder-mounted mini-missile launcher. Normally it carries a Volcano Rifle plasma projector which does 1d6x10 to a single target or 4d6 to a 30 ft area. This is an ongoing theme in Phase World, weapons with variable firing areas. It’s a nice idea though trying to juggle combat movement and area measurements in Palladium rules would not be great fun. Anyway the rifle is about average for power armor main-weapon damage.

The armor has 400 MDC in its normal version or 320 if it’s the flying set. SAMAS doesn’t lose 20% of its durability to fly man. It also has a 100 MDC Armor of Ithan field that can be activated 3 times a day, which is basically 300 extra MDC. It has an ‘anti-matter and magic’ power plant with a 50 year lifespan, and costs 5 million credits to make. So when you muster out, take the suit.

The mini-missile launchers have six total missiles, it comes with a vibro-sword and can carry other guns if you want, basically any energy weapon can be plugged into the suit to have unlimited ammo.


it’s not a bad design for invoking ‘warlock’ with the hood-like helmet but it doesn’t knock my socks off either. sort of has the sigmarine problem of looking faceless and stiff.

It grants a few other combat bonuses to its wearer and there are persistent rumors that the suits are sentient and act independently to protect their owners. Overall it actually compares pretty favorably with a lot of other power armors in the Rifts main book but is slightly less good than the technological stuff presented in the main Phase World book. The Silverhawk has less MDC (if we count the Ithan field) but does 3d6x10 with its rifle and can cut through forcefields with a special weapon and has more missiles. And it can fly. And it gets a special combat skill just for itself. Granted, no OCC gets the skill or that armor by default but supposedly these Warlock armors are a major part of the UWW’s security force. They are good, certainly better than the usual extremely lovely techno-wizard offerings, but remains not quite on par.

For comparison, our next entry is the Enforcer Power Armor from Naruni Enterprises. It’s advertised as an urban combat model for law-enforcement, and it has several non-lethal weapons systems. That is an interesting idea, since law enforcement in Phase World is going to have to cope with some very…unusual threats and military response is not always correct outside of the Empire. It also has advanced sensors that let it see through walls and detect invisible enemies. So the Warlock’s magical combat senses can suck it. It also has little ribcage-mounted weapon arms that are aimed with the pilot’s gaze.

300 main body MDC, main weapon array are quick-hardening foam dispensers that completely cover a target, any target, on a 12 or higher. Supernatural PS 40 or higher required to escape in 1d6 rounds. 60 MDC and if you go over you hit the person inside. Cripes that is unbalanced. Even though a target is enclosed in a protective candy shell they can be hit with psionics/magic and are also just out of the combat until you’re ready to deal with them unless they’re quite strong. It mentions you can also use the chemical sprays mentioned in Rifts core or if you’re a dumbass who spends their time fighting the most boring vampires ever, ordinary water.


Martin seems to have a problem with drawing his power armor looking at the floor like all power armor naturally gazes broodingly downwards

The two little weapon limbs fire lasors that inflict 1d6x10 or a stunning attack that subtracts 3d6 from speed and physical prowess and is cumulative. This is identical to the stun weapon mentioned previously and remains quite powerful against anything short of an actual dragon.

It also has grenade launchers (varies by grenade), eight mini-missiles, which since this is Naruni you could use those fancy-schmancy seekers if you hate money, and it can see through walls (but not force or phase fields) up to 2000 ft away. And it can be used against its makers. One million credits! A bargain. Really, it’s pretty good at not just what it does, but incapacitating almost anything long enough to beat it down.

Now, something for the munchkins to beg and plead for and make a life goal. The A-1 “Avenger” Power Armor is supposedly the super bestest power armor ever made ever and fewer than two thousand sets exist. A former Naruni Enterprises engineer broke his non-compete and formed his own company, M’Kri Hardware. NE was not about to face competition from one of their own and so lawsuit-harassed the company into bankruptcy and the designer committed suicide, with Naruni managing to take most of his IP. Unfortunately, when trying to follow the schematic for the Avengers they keep somehow not being able to do it. Even assuming vital secrets of the production went with the creator it seems like they could iron that out. But, enh.

So here’s a special collector’s item suit. Originally in gold, silver, or metallic red, and it’s considered declasse to repaint them. Avenger pilots are regarded much like Glitter Boy pilots: highly elite smugholes.

They have 825 MDC with a 200 MDC forcefield, and I’m not sure how long the field needs to recharge if depleted. Its main weapon is an arm-mounted HI-laser that does 2d6x10 (not enough to unseat king Glitter) plus a 2d4x10 railgun, a mini-missile launcher with 16 ammo, and plinky helmet lasers. It also has a camo system that makes it harder to detect ambush and even makes the armor invisible to heat/thermal optics--I am not sure how this interacts with the Enforcer’s super sensors above. Lastly, there’s a radar jammer that completely fucks with any and all targeting systems and radar or gravity-wave sensors in a one mile area--20% chance of even being able to find a target for missiles. Even if they can’t reproduce the armor, I am amazed something like this jammer isn’t fairly standard in all armed forces in the Three Galaxies.


okay i take it back, THIS one has sigmarine problems

The War Beast Combat Armor is for the Intruders, those zany extragalactic menaces now raiding civilized space. It is supposedly far in advance of anything the 3G can put together, having a semi-transparent crystalline appearance, showing the pilot within. It seems to be much like their ships, being mostly some kind of supertech force field. We don’t have a picture of this one sadly.

It has 300 MDC with 100 MDC on the ‘power generator’ which is a -2 to hit and the explanatory text specifies that 200 MDC is actually required to destroy it, but the armor will continue regenerating unless it is destroyed. Nobody has managed to capture one of these generators from the wearer somehow except maybe the Free World Council.

They fire 1d6x10 energy blasts and that’s it. Not so great for ‘advanced beyond all recognition’ though the beast pilots are pretty ferocious on their own.

That’s all the power armor for this book. Two of these (The Enforcer, the Avenger) are kind of wildly unbalanced--the Enforcer’s trap and stun abilities are just wildly strong and the Avenger is really tanky and buff and also invisible and screws with the ubiquitous missiles of the Three Galaxies. I would not be surprised to see a mini-missile battery listed on a skateboard.

Next we’ll deal with Robot Vehicles which are different from power armor by being taller. Seriously.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


PurpleXVI posted:

OMEGATHERION is kind of a goofy monster name, but I love it anyway.

It's certainly one of the better TDE names.

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

It better be some kind of giant anteater like its namesake.

There are sadly no descriptions of its appearance, let alone an image. It's certainly big (I'd personally guess anywhere between Germany and France in sheer area it covers. Anything larger and it could've squashed all of Aventuria by just sitting down a few times), and its so poisonous that pretty much all the swamps in Aventuria were its doing.

Going by its most descriptive alternative name - "The Many-Bodied Beast" - I like to imagine it as John Carpenter's The Thing after it nommed one too many ecosystems.

Other fun facts about the Omegatherion:

1. Three of the mountain ranges found in Aventuria are actually the remains of three titans who let themselves turn into sickles for the gods to wield against the Omegatherion. Seeing how poisonous it was, things didn't end well for those titans.

2. There are still a few tiny chunks of it left for more John Carpenter action. Sure, they're pretty much in continual rot because their central nervous system has kinda died eons ago, but they are probably still more than capable of a bit of surprise TPK.


Man, this pose feels like I've already seen it hundred of times, with characters in far less awkward armor.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:47 on Sep 22, 2015

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