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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Halloween Jack posted:

If all else fails, a lot of seemingly-useless low-class Professions can slot into Spy darn quick!

And Spy is mega-awesome. I went Camp Follower (a petty smith who repaired weapons and gear) to international man of mystery once and was off to foil diabolical ratman plots and get tied to tables with slowly advancing lasers within a couple sessions.

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Spy is like the only good thing about rolling Camp Follower! I did that one once.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Night10194 posted:

Camp Follower (a petty smith who repaired weapons and gear)
Oh is THAT what those people were doing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alright, you know what? It's time.



We talk a lot about Shitfarmer gaming, usually derisively. About 'earn your fun' stuff being a big groggy barrier to entry and how starting a D&D game at 1st level is a lovely throwback to tradition. We're usually right about this. But here is one of my favorite RPGs of all time, and I'm here to tell you how you can lead the exciting life of a ratcatcher, a terrified peasant, and a minstrel suddenly told to take up the sword and bumble for all they're worth in the dark forests of the Not-Holy-Roman-Empire. This is a game that strongly encourages dozens of tables, rolling for just about everything for your PC (including your class!) and that features the very real chance your party won't have a single person who is really a trained combatant at the start of an adventure.

Why do I love this game? Because that really doesn't tell the whole story. It might be that I've had a GM who fudges things until we can survive (I can never tell if he cheats on his dice) but I've had amazing experiences with this game, and specifically with the sense of progression; run well, the game is always heroic, just the scale of heroism ramps up as you become more capable and draw more attention. Start out fending off raiders to rescue the coaching inn you're staying at, climax the campaign at saving the world from a terrifying vampire lord, that kind of thing. There's potential, the system works well enough to play with minimum houseruling, and the silly but fun fantasy kitchen sink setting is full of neat ideas. Also, outside of The Dark Eye, where else are you going to get your required amount of slashed sleeves, landschneckts, and American players trying to do terrible German accents?

Let's start with PC creation. PC creation is insanely random. You choose a race (Human, Dwarf, Halfling, or Elf in the main book), which affects your stats, what careers you can roll, and some of your special abilities.

Human: Humans don't get any stat adjustments, they have the best Fate rolls (a sort of metacurrency that can be spent to avoid certain death or to gain rerolls or bonuses on critical checks), the second best Wounds (Hitpoints), and they get 2 Random Talents from a table (stuff like a permanent +5% to one of your stats, resistance to magic, the ability to handle disease well, etc).

Elf: Elves are broken motherfuckers, straight up. They get +10% to Ballistic Skill and Agility with no corresponding penalties, and then they get to pick between a +5% to Willpower or Intelligence and can start out able to use a Longbow (one of the better ranged weapons) regardless of their career. Their drawbacks are poor wounds, terrible Fate, and being an Elf in Warhammer, a setting where people do not put up with Elf Bullshit.

Dwarf: Dwarves get a +10% to Weapon Skill, a +10% to Toughness, a -10% to Agility, a -10% to Fellowship (Charisma), and major bonuses to making stuff and fighting orcs and goblins. They're tough, salt of the earth guys who get on well with the humans due to a long history of working together. Most people respect dwarves well enough. Good at Wounds, mediocre at Fate.

Halfling: Personable and good at stealing crap, Warhammer Halflings' street vendor pies are not to be trusted (but omnipresent). They get heft Strength, Toughness, and Weapon Skill hits (10% each) but similar bonuses to Fellowship, Agility, and Ballistic Skill, plus they're immune to mutation and hard to hit with Chaos. Great at Fate, terrible at Wounds.

After that, you roll 2d10+20 (+30 if your race is good at it, +10 if you're bad at it) for each stat: Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Willpower, and Fellowship. One roll can be dropped and replaced with a roll of 11 (the average of 2d10) at your option. After that, you roll on a table for your race for your Career, the starting class that determines what you did prior to becoming an Adventurer. This can range from a political agitator, to a retired soldier, to a priestly initiate, but they all try to give you a solid base of skill with what you did before you lost your wits and decided to go fight ratmen for a living. You can, of course, pick your Career instead of rolling, but if you do that the entire party will obviously be nothing but Ratcatchers. You then fill in the skills and talents from your starting career, roll a d10 each and check on table for your starting Wounds and Fate, give yourself one stat advance from your first Career, and now you're ready to go get terrible diseases and bumble through renaissance/early modern Germany!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Love me some WHFRP2e. Please tell me you're gonna make an exmaple character.

theironjef posted:

Man the art in the original Urban Arcana book basically sells a 70s module all by itself, with the hard-nosed bugbear private eye and the gnoll pimp. I can just see orcs working on muscle cars in an alley and so on. That'd be awesome.

For that matter I've always lamented that there isn't a 70s Grand Theft Auto game.

How could I forget the gnoll pimp?

Vice City took a step in the right direction, but it didn't go far enough, if you catch my drift.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Belatedly, jef, I just wanted to say always find it amusing when you bring up fantasy shitfarmers being hapless, because I always feel like D&D farmers should actually be horrendous badasses. I mean, they have to live away from the protection of civilization and protect livestock from any manner of monsters, and have to deal with burrowing creatures like ankhegs and bulettes. Farmers or farming communities should be some serious badasses. "You fought stirges in the sewers? Son, I was raised where the winter wolves and owlbears run free."

And young adventurers would have less to do because orcs and goblonoid tribes don't feel like getting their arses kicked by elderly farmers of near-epic level (and their only marginally less experienced sons).

Simian_Prime posted:

Hey Jef, do you promote Movie Mastery on this site as well? It seems like Cinema Discusso might be a good place to find new listeners.

(The Yor: Hunter from the future review is my new favorite review, and I immediately broke into my dorkiest 80s New Wave dance when "Yor's World" was playing)

Did somebody say Yor (heads to the site ASAP) ?!

Man, I love that theme song.

Ratpick posted:

I kind of love the sheer amount of detail put into the Dark Eye. Combined with the few glimpses of rules we've seen it really seems like a bunch of German dudes looked at Rolemaster and thought "Surely this could use a few more hundred pages worth of rules."

There's definitely a certain feeling the game started out relatively simple (at least going by the core resolution mechanics) and then added a lot of weird stuff over years.

Speaking of...

The Dark Eye


Skills Part I - Combat Skills

(Actually, skills are called "Talents" in TDE, but I don't feel like making this needlessly confusing. Skills are skills.)

This beeing an older skill-based RPG, you can bet there are a crapload of skills to learn. 4.1 has around 100 (which is 1 less than 4th AFAIK because they removed the curtisan skill), 32 of which are considered base skills anyone can use without having to learn it first. Lovely.

Skills are split into different skills groups (combat, physical, society, knowledge, languages and writings, craft). With the exception of combat, all skills from the same group have the same cost to learn and raise them (rated with a letter to cross-reference on the big "improving stuff" table that handles all the XP costs from skills, spells and your stats). The only way to change this overall cost rating is through an Advantage and its Disadvantage counterpart - the latter being particularly useful for everyone because it gives you relatively many points for little drawbacks (why would a dwarven mercenary dude care much about having to pay more XP for raising his nature skills if he's never going to use them, anyways?). In a bit of foresight, the rules don't allow you to either more than once.

This post will only deal with the combat skills, as those are a bit special. And I can use them space to give a rough overview over the killing tools available in TDE.

But first, a rule that's especially important for combat skills:

Effective Encumbrance

Like in D&D, armor comes with encumbrance. It's usually equal to the protection provided by it (or more or less lower for more flexible armor that's easier to move in), and generally cuts donw on your combat stats and skill ranks.
But don't think for a moment this is like in D&D where the encumbrance affects everything equally - far from it! What TDE uses the Effective Encumbrance.

The sane part of Effective Encumbrance comes in the form of Armor Adaptation, a 3-tiered not-Feat that reduces your encumbrance. The first rank reduces the encumbrance of one specific kind of armor (like chainmail) by 1, the second does this to any armor, and the last rank reduces the encumbrance by 2.
Armor Adaptation is commonly found in combat professions, with pretty much all but the Warrior gaining the first rank (Warriors start with the 2nd). Anvil Dwaves boost this by one rank because they already start out with Armor Adaptation in their favorite chainmail armor.
To give these professions a bit of niche protection, Armor Adaptation has what must be the strictest requirements to purchase and improve. I'm talking about "spend most of your daily activities heavily-encumbered for a couple years". I hope you know a good training montage song.

The insane part of Effective Encumbrance comes when you find out that every combat skill that can be affected by encumbrance has its own modifier to said encumbrance. This can range from -5 for the crossbow skill (aka armor won't really hinder you unless you're packing plate armor) and can go up to x2 for anything acrobatic-ish and siwmming. You really don't want to swim in armor.

Combat Skills

Combat Skills are quite strange in that they aren't actually skills in the general sense. You can't make any skill check with them, though they do all have the same 3 stats noted that you would roll on for a skill check. The reason they're listed is because the highest of the 3 stats associated with a skill determines the maximum rank you can have in that skills - giving you yet another reason why you really, really want to put the maximum allowed points into your stats at CharGen.
What combat skill ranks do instead is give you a pool of points to apply to your base Attack and Parry value (with both pools not allowed to be farther apart than 5 points). This is not a fluid pool you can change on the fly like in The Riddle of Steel. It's a fixed split that you write down on your sheet and will only ever change if you increase the rank and add another point to either Attack or Parry. So if you're kinda defensive with swords, you can only become more aggressive over time.
Ranged skills and Lance Riding are yet again different because the entire rank goes to attack, though those skills also have to deal with a bunch of additional penalties relativing to target speed, size and the like.

With that out of the way, here's the complete list of combat skills:

  • Bows
  • Chain Weapons
  • Crossbows
  • Daggers
  • Discus
  • Fencing Weapons
  • Infantry Weapons (aka "polearms" )
  • Sabers
  • Slings
  • Spears
  • Staffs
  • Striking Weapons (or something like that; axes and clubs and stuff)
  • Swords (I'm surprised there's no "one-handed" in front of "swords")
  • Lance Riding
  • One-and-a-Half Swords
  • Roughhousing (aka punching and kicking stuff)
  • Throwing Axes
  • Throwing Daggers
  • Throwing Spears
  • Two-handed Striking Weapons
  • Two-handed Swords and Sabers
  • Wrestling

(Note that you can usually replace a nonexisting skill on your sheet with a similar one you do have, though even the minimum penalty of -5 to your check hurts.)

Now for some interesting tidbits:

Chain Weapons

TDE does the typical German thing of calling the one-handed flail (aka "ball-and-chain on a stick") a "morning star" - which is actually a spiked mace that does exist in TDE under a more customized name ("Brabak Urchin", named so because it originated in the city of Brabak and is usually decorated with a smiling face on its mace head, with one of the spikes serving as its nose).

Names aside, chain weapons have the useful trait of hitting around shields, denying the opponent his shield bonus and applying a penalty to parry with a weapon (provided the weapon can parry a chain weapon to begin with). On the downside, botches are more likely to happen because the ball is so hard to control.

Sufficiently strong warriors can also wield more ridiculous flails with two or even three heads. There even exist 5-headed monstrosities that get almost a whole page of rules (which can basically be summarized with "roll 5 attacks and hope you'll get hit less often than your enemy, your crazy fool")

Crossbows

Remember how I said that TDE doesn't have firearms because the writers don't want gunpowder in their fantasy Rennaissance game? Well, apparently they still wanted some kind of firearm expy for their Horasians.

Meet the torsion weapon. They employ a crossbow-esque shooting mechanism that is built inside a casing, which therefore looks like a boxy pistol/carabiner, or a musket with a weird drum right in front of the barrel. They can use either quivers or lead bullets and require a stick to be rammed down the barrel to reload.
I think if you go that far to mimic firearms, you might as well just use firearms. Just saying. It's not like this weird replacements sees a lot of love in either the fanbase or fluff (the Horasians have invented them, but don't field enough on the field to have any kind of Napoleon line formation thing going on).

Oh and btw, crossbows kinda blow in combat. Most models are actually weaker than bows, but take way longer to reload. I'm talking about anywhere from 4 to 15 rounds of combat, which even the Rapid Reload not-Feat will only reduce to 3/4. Even the repeating crossbow that is as fasr as a standard bow as long as it has arrows left is kinda crappy because it is weaker than any bow, has a much shorter range and costs 8 times as much as the most expensive bow. I think I'd rather stick with bows, even if their skill is about 1.5x times as expensive to raise.
Torsion weapons aren't any better aside from one not-carabiner meant for not-dragoons that has a rather sweet damage-to-reload ratio, but those things are pretty expensive and hard to come by.

Fencing Weapons

If you're a fencer, TDE's nomenclature might just drive you insane. The three main fencing weapons (épée, foil, rapier) all exist, but TDE has the names switched around, with the more sword-like épée being called rapier. This is something that at least the armory book acknowledges, but the writers can apparently not be arsed to just retcon what seems to be an early edition error that has since became a weird kind of "tradition".

(The TDE rapier is also your best choice, seeing how the other more dedicated fencing weapons can't parry two-handed weapons, chain weapons, or really anything found on a proper battlefield.)

Staffs

This category includes a funky double-bladed staff called the "two-lilies", initially created to circumvent a "poles and staffs with a blade on one end are forbidden!" law one citiy once had going for. The blades are around dagger-sized, so they're not too insane.

One-and-a-Half Swords

This one includes the bastard sword (which is actually kinda outdated in Aventuria) and the creatively-named one-and-a-half sword (aka "it's the historical longsword, but that name got already taken by the 'standard one-handed hero sword' and we apparently couldn't come up with a more regionally-flavored alternative"). The special fighting style employed by these weapons results in a lot of confusing rules and exceptions regard disarming attempts. Fun.
A lot oftwo-handed swords can also be used with this skill to take advantage of its more finesse-based maneuvers, though then the disarming nonsense takes effect.

Also included in this category are the not-katana and not-nodachi (except for another kind of not-nodachi used in Arania and parts of Horasia instead of Maraskan and whose blade is too long to be used one-handed). Most models of either weapon are actually an improvement from the Japanese counterparts because they actually come with saber-like guards. There are thankfully no rules in TDE concerning guard size and shape.

Wrestling

Surprisingly, TDE doesn't slow itself down with needlessly complicated grappling rules. Aside from different combat maneuvers and styles available, Wrestling is overall just a more expensive Roughhousing that let's you put people in a headlock, though TDE don't really explain what a standard wrestling attack (aka no lock or grapple, just plain one-shot damage) is supposed to be.

Next Time: More skills!

Doresh fucked around with this message at 23:44 on Sep 25, 2015

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Doresh posted:

TDE don't really explain what a standard wrestling attack (aka no lock or grapple, just plain one-shot damage) is supposed to be.

Elbow drop off the top rope.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


Doresh posted:

TDE don't really explain what a standard wrestling attack (aka no lock or grapple, just plain one-shot damage) is supposed to be.

Open hand slaps.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Simian_Prime posted:

Hey Jef, do you promote Movie Mastery on this site as well? It seems like Cinema Discusso might be a good place to find new listeners.

(The Yor: Hunter from the future review is my new favorite review, and I immediately broke into my dorkiest 80s New Wave dance when "Yor's World" was playing)

I eventually caved to this being a good idea and put a post up in the CD self-promotion thread. We'll see what happens with the gaze of cinephile Sauron turns towards us.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Some people may be wondering, why is the Rat Catcher such a beloved character job in the fanbase? It sure sounds useless!

One word: Skaven.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hostile V posted:

Some people may be wondering, why is the Rat Catcher such a beloved character job in the fanbase? It sure sounds useless!

One word: Skaven.

It's an actual in-setting detail that there is a constant, secret war between the Ratcatchers and the Skaven and that these humble 'vermin soldiers' have saved the world more than once.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

There have been 82631 posts made by sexpig by night, an average of 24.08 posts per day

The Democrats!


That, in my opinion, is why WFRP always worked for my group. Yea Charcoal Burner and Rat Catcher and all were joke jobs, but they weren't entirely useless, they had these weird angles where the rat catcher is secretly fighting Skaven in the sewers and poo poo like that. Plus there was this weird almost balance where yea even though Jimmy the rat catcher probably was gonna eat poo poo in combat...Mike the knight probably could too. The high lethality and all really unified characters and provided times like the knight going down and the poo poo farmer having to pick up the sword and kill the monster because gently caress you the lethality went both ways.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


That's why I've always enjoyed it. Instead of being about a bunch of shitfarmers who never accomplish anything, the way our GM always ran it was that it was about how even the most unlikely men and women could be the heroes if they were in the right place at the right time.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I like the angle that somewhere along the line, the shitfarmer learns chemistry and how methane and nitrates work and begins the journey from shitfarmer to medieval demolitions expert because they stepped up to test themselves and make a difference.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Hostile V posted:

I like the angle that somewhere along the line, the shitfarmer learns chemistry and how methane and nitrates work and begins the journey from shitfarmer to medieval demolitions expert because they stepped up to test themselves and make a difference.

Also let's hear it for Warhammer Fantasy, an RPG that fully embraces black powder and firearms.

The reason the Ratcatcher became one of the iconic WFRP careers is the "small but vicious dog" you start with isn't just a jokey bit of flavor, the dog functions as a kind of combat pet...the grungy, low-class version of a D&D Ranger, essentially...and in a game as potentially lethal as WFRP is having a dog buddy to flank people and distract them while you ram your dagger in their guts can be a huge deal.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kai Tave posted:

Also let's hear it for Warhammer Fantasy, an RPG that fully embraces black powder and firearms.

"Has a Gun and Can Use It." was the entire reason my Streltsi (Russian Musketeer) PC managed to kill a Chaos Warrior session 1. His gun and a fellow PC's crossbow. It was the whole reason Pyotr stood out from the start. That, and the depression.

I have relatively little to do so hell, let's do more Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2e!

Now, I mentioned some stats in the last post. Time to explain what these mean and why they're the entire core of the system.

Your stats are listed as percentages. Instead of having a different rating in 80 different skills, stats are your broad ability with anything related to that skill. IF you have training in a skill, you just roll under your stat+Modifiers for difficulties on d100. If it's important to see how well you did, you track how many 10s under you rolled (full 10s only) as Degrees of Success. If you don't have training and the skill's something simple (Physical skills, basic social interaction, etc) you can still attempt it, you just roll against 1/2 your stat+Modifiers. Weapon training works the same; if you're trained with a weapon, you roll against your full stat in Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill, if not, you roll against 1/2.

The stats are:

Weapon Skill: Your ability to handle melee combat, weapon skill is really important. Guns exist, sure, and a longbow or crossbow can be lethal, but weapon skill doubles as an attack and a defense (you can test WS to parry aside a successful hit once per turn) and without automatic weapons and stuff like 40k, a lot of fights are going to come down to sword and dagger eventually.

Ballistic Skill: Just like WS, but for shooting people with a gun or bow.

Strength: Your ability to lift and push stuff, Strength is also a bit of a standout. Strength has an added feature called Strength Bonus, equal to the tens digit of your Strength Score. This is the base for all your melee damage. Strength matters a fair bit and it's tightly controlled for advancement. It's very hard to get a 5 or 6 SB as a normal human, but enemies like vampires will be toting around 7s or 8s and crushing through your armor hard if you fight them head on.

Toughness: Like Strength, Toughness has a Bonus that's used to calculate the amount of damage you knock off any hits you take. Being able to subtract 4 or 5 Wounds from every hit when you only have 10-20 Wounds in the first place can make a huge difference. This being Shitfarmer country, Toughness is also really important to resist save or die poisons and diseases.

Agility: Grace and coordination, this determines who goes first in combat and IF you have the Dodge Blow skill, gives you the ability to test it to try to avoid one melee hit per turn. This can be done in addition to parrying with WS. Agi is also important to stealth, and again, this being shitfarmer country something that can let you avoid fights entirely or get the drop on them is really goddamn helpful.

Intelligence: Int is useful for absolutely everyone, because Int doubles as perception. It's used in a bunch of really helpful skills like Heal (you really want a decent medic/doctor among your party if you can get them, barber surgeons can save your bacon) but really, the use in Perception is the big reason dumping Intelligence might not be safe. Getting jumped is lethal.

Willpower: One thing I really appreciate about WHFRP compared to WH40kRP is that Warrior-type characters tend to get a ton of Willpower, considering it's the bravery and heroic resolve stat. Willpower helps you resist evil magic, mind control, insanity, and fear. Depending on the flavor of the campaign this could make it insanely helpful. It's also very important to Wizards, as it helps their magic function better.

Fellowship: Charisma, friendliness, and the general ability to read and relate to others. I actually kind of like calling this stat 'fellowship' to emphasize its social nature. You'll often be gathering information or bargaining for a few coins more or trying to talk out of trouble to avoid a fight (fights are deadly and should be avoided if there's no reason to get into a brawl, the game itself is very clear on this) so this is a pretty helpful stat, too.

Your other stats are Wounds, Fate, Attacks, Movement, and Magic. Wounds are your HP; once you run out of Wounds (and starting characters have somewhere around 10 on average) you take critical hits that start lopping off limbs, taking out eyes, and doing permanent damage to you. Wounds are explicitly 'meat' instead of fatigue, etc in WHFRP, but the represent the number of dramatic shoulder injuries, bruises, and other 'it looks worse than it is' cuts you can take before something really messes you up. Fate, as mentioned, serves two purposes. You have Fate, which never regenerates and can be spent to no-questions-asked avoid certain death with you do so, and Fortune. You get Fortune equal to your Fate every game-day (though we generally amended this to every session) and it can be spent to reroll tests, help you try to go first, give you an extra defense during your turn, or give you an extra action during combat. Fate represents your protagonist status; it is explicitly the measure that makes you a main character compared to other peasants or mercenaries and is generally reserved for PCs. Movement is based on your race and very hard to raise (Halflings and Dwarves can't move as far per turn, Humans are average, Elves are faster). Attacks are the number of times you can attack with a fast-loading ranged weapon (like a bow in the hands of a trained shooter) or a melee weapon if you do nothing else but attack this turn. Magic represents your overall power as a wizard or priest and generally goes up very slowly, with each increase being a big deal and the stat capping at 4.

Next Time: A look at Careers.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

There have been 82631 posts made by sexpig by night, an average of 24.08 posts per day

The Democrats!


Hostile V posted:

I like the angle that somewhere along the line, the shitfarmer learns chemistry and how methane and nitrates work and begins the journey from shitfarmer to medieval demolitions expert because they stepped up to test themselves and make a difference.

Yea hard to get more of a feeling of growth than going from a dude collecting twigs to burn into a guy dual wielding pistols taking on orc warbosses purely because you're one of the rare idiots who goes adventurous and lives.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Halloween Jack posted:

I don't want to be pedantic, but Entropomancy is my favourite school and I wanted to talk about how the Law of Transaction is kinda weird in general, particularly in their case.

For most adepts, Transaction prevents them from basically pulling the "I wish for a million wishes" stunt. Granted, there are some loopholes even in the system as it is. For example, Epideromancers can potentially “get more out than they put in” by harming themselves and then casting Regeneration. (Three points of self-inflicted damage nets you a minor charge; Regeneration costs a minor charge and heals 1d10 points. Sure, you can’t heal wounds you made, but you could survive a nasty fight, limp back to your bolthole, and give yourself some cuts in order to heal more serious injuries.) A dipsomancer who used random magick to find some booze probably wouldn’t get more charges than he spent, but this could save him from sobering up and losing all his charges.

There can be a lot of weird loopholes, although most of the ones not covered by the Law of Transaction can be slapped down by the GM with the law of Obedience (for instance, the plutomancy "hack" of a plutomancer and a few friends trading money back and forth every day). Stuff like the epideromancer biting their tongue to heal a knife wound is fine, if risky.

quote:

With Entropomancers, their magick pretty much takes care of itself with regard to Transaction. So you take a stupid, pointless risk and get a charge, then you use the charge to save your bacon? Magickally it's a zero-sum game, and practically it's a loss, since you have to deal with the social consequences of fighting or gambling or playing in traffic. And you can't use this roundabout to accomplish other goals--charging risks have to be pointless by nature.

The main thing would be using several minor charges to "rescue" yourself from the consequence of a Significant charge, or several Significant charges to save you from the consequences of a Major charge.

But like you said, generally the Entropmancer takes care of itself. In fact, I'd agree that Entropmancy is probably my favorite school because their charging probably requires the least "oversight" and it automatically causes the player to "buy in" to the concept. With something like Pornomancy you know intellectually that the charging/taboo structure leads to kind of a lovely, lonely life but none of that really directly impacts the player...in the end most people dont' really care about their character having a fulfilling sex life or is capable of normal social relationships. But the threat of death or injury to a character is a lot more real and at the same time just separate enough that the player can feel more tempted to gamble with their character's life than their own, making it really easy to emulate the adrenaline addict nature of the entropomancer. The mechanics and roleplaying merge in a very seamless way.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Midjack posted:

Elbow drop off the top rope.

Mr. Maltose posted:

Open hand slaps.

Man, now I feel stupid. I even made a "Aventurian gladiators not from the South are more like pro wrestlers" joke earlier.

(And you can even become a master of improvised weaponry to hit people with chairs.)

The Dark Eye


Skills Part II - Moar Skills

Physical Skills

This skill group naturally covery anything involving physical activities that aren't related to a craft or something. Your typical adventuring stuff like riding and swimming. Because these kinds of checks are common in adventures, the physical skill group is the most expensive of the bunch, only surpassed by a couple combat skills.
The hefty price tag attached to every physical skill showcases how making all skills of the same non-combat group cost the same, while surprisingly streamlined as far as TDE is concerned, might not have ben the wisest of choice. I certainly don't think Singing, Dancing, Carousing and friggin' Jugglery are quite as useful as Climbing (adventure modules love having you climb all over the place) or Self-Control (aka "temporarily ignore wound effects to delay the spiral of death").
Also, Sneaking and Hiding are their own, separate skills.

Society Skills

The skills for the party's face - except for Teaching which really anyone should take so the PCs can teach and improve each other without paying extra cash for a dedicated teacher, or extra XP for self-improvement.
Very integral to the party's face is Etiquette - aka "how to not embarass yourself in front of the rich quest giver".
In 4.0, there was a courtesanery skill. In 4.1, you have to do this through the general Beguile skill.
Strangely, the "Get NPCs to do what you want them to do" skill is split into Persuasion (which also includes haggling, lying and begging) and Convincing, which result in more long-term changes to the NPC than Persuasion bordering on brainwashing. I think TDE "heroes" could do some funky stuff by kidnapping important NPCs and "convincing" them to do various things.

Nature Skills

As wilderness trips make up a good chunk of many adventures, it is very much required to have something with a knack for nature skills in your party so you know where you're going and reduce the chance of dying.
Learning how to properly tie people up for better "convincing" is also a nature skill.

Nature skills also see usage in meta skills, special kinds of skills that aren't actually learned, but just use the average rank of every skill associated with it. The only two meta skills I know of just deal with hunting and foraging for times you don't feel like having an entire session revolving around stalking a deer or looking for herbs.

Knowledge Skills

Whether its heraldry or just being able to do math, knowledge skills got you covered on having your PC no trivia that may or may not come in handy at one point. Who knows when Petrology might save the entire party in a dungeon adventure?
Of particular interest for warriors is the skill Anatomy, as that one gives you a small damage bonus against humanoids if your rank is high enough, though only on unarmed attacks.

Also included are nature-oriented skills like animal and plant knowledge, or geography (the skill groups are a bit overlapping at times).

Languages and Writings

Did I say this game has around 100 skills? It's actually more like 120+ if you count the various different langauges and writing systems you can learn - which are of course learned separately, and while you get a free rank in your mother tongue based on your Intelligence, you don't free points in the writing system associated with your mother tongue.

Like combat skills, languages and writings aren't actually used for skill checks. The ranks just signify how fluent you are when speaking or writing, based on how close your rank is to the language's or writing's Complexity (aka the highest rank you can possibly have). If you really dumb down on your Intelligence, you could start out with a dude who has to struggle to say longer sentences in his own tongue and somehow sounds like a foreigner. This is easily fixed however as languages and writings are the cheapest skills to raise outside of some exotic stuff far away from your own mother tongue.

The TDE analogue to D&D's Common is the Middlerealmian's Garethi, which I would assume to be not-German if Garethi didn't belong to the same language familily as the older Bosparano which is straight-up Latin. And then you find out that the Horasian (aka not-French) Horathi is just a dialect of Garethi that doesn't even count as a separate skill.
The Common writing system to go with this Common are the Kuslikian Letters with 31 different letters, which I assume (there's no official clarification) is just our alphabet with the Eszett, the three umlauts used in German and some mysterious 5th additional letter (maybe an "i" with two dots?)

Tulamidyian langauges and writings are - unsurprisingly - Arabian analogues. Seeing how the Maraskans are a mix of Middlerealmians and Tulamidians, this results in their language being a weird mix of not-Arabic and not-German.

Thorwalians - being vikings and all - do of course speak something Norse-sounding and write with runes. Dwarves and elves go the boring route and speak very Tolkien-esque, with the dwarves of course using their own set of runes. Orcs and goblins have very guttural langauges (of course) and no writing system at all.
The only original part to be found here is that orcs somehow have two languages (essentially High-Orcish and Dirty Peasant Orcish with the lowest complexity of the bunch), and that elves can speak in two tongues, which I think is even required to truly master the Elven tongue (especially the older Elven which requires you to be a linguist to master even if you are an elf yourself).
Aventurian elves have also codified the typical elvish shtick of being a bit of a jerk with the word badoc. Badoc is the general term used for anything un-Elven, which includes (but is not limited) to hanging out with non-Elves, worshipping gods, capitalism, money in general and personal property beyond the stuff you carry around with you. Non-adventurous elves (as PC elves already have to be somewhat badoc by definition) are very, very paranoid about catching the human-ness. Sadly, I don't think "Rebellious goth elf arguing with his parents about how he was born badoc" is a common archetype in this game.

(Any kind of self-mutilation like tattoos, piercings and earrings also count as badoc, which let to yet another Drakensang-related grog outrage because the elven lady you can rescue from a rapey demon tree and have her join your party dares to wear earrings.)

Lizardfolk and other reptilian humanoids generally speak Rssahh, which is heavy on the "s" and low and vowels.

The most common language for demon summoning and general magic stuff is Zhayad. Its writing is probably the most fleshed out in all of TDE because they actually wrote the entire alphabet for it, spawning a couple fonts for your word processor of choice.

Craft Skills

This skill group probably hast the highest concentration of skills that are pretty much meant for NPCs only. Being able to create and maintain various kinds of weapons and armor is fine and dandy (as is lookpicking which can also be found here), but stuff like Agriculture, Carpenter, Gemcutter, Stonemason or Tanner is not really something that comes up all that often in any kind of session.
Similar to Anatomy, you can get yourself the Butcher for a small damage bonus against animals. This seems to work with any kind of attack, but the animal in question has to resemble cattle. Better hope to run into many aurochs and boars.

If you're thinking about becoming a non-magical healer (which is actually a lot more useful than in D&D), get ready to invest in four different skills (five if you count Anatomy, as that can help; oh and plant knowledge is neat too), because treating poison, diseases, wounds and psychological issues are all separate skills.

Next Time: I think I should talk more about combat now, should I?

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



oriongates posted:

There can be a lot of weird loopholes, although most of the ones not covered by the Law of Transaction can be slapped down by the GM with the law of Obedience (for instance, the plutomancy "hack" of a plutomancer and a few friends trading money back and forth every day).

I can't remember if this was in Postmodern Magick or not, but I know that a in-universe version of the Laws of Obedience was at least kicked around with the notion that if you kept charging the exact same way time over time (the example that I remember was a dipsomancer drinking exclusively from Nixon's favorite coffee cup) then you started getting a degree of mystic bleed where things other than just the raw power you wanted started to seep into your soul. The dipso would start becoming paranoid, short-tempered, and generally more Nixonian, and a plutomancer's little microfinancing circle will start to pass along memories, personality traits, or maybe even physical features as they stop being part of the overall economy and become part of a closed network centered on the plutomancer.

One of the "nice" things about UA is that while it's generally bad form for the GM to be adversarial, the entire loving universe is kind of adversarial so clever players/characters should expect their One Weird Trick to be answered in kind.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's time for more Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e!

Alright, it's time to explain Careers, then we're going to make a (probable) peasant as an example.

Careers are one of the cores of the game and the absolute core of the advancement system. A Career determines what advances, skills, and talents (Talents are a bit like Feats) you have access to. Instead of making advances cost more or have diminishing returns, you have caps on how high you can take each stat, which skills you can buy, and which career you can go into next after you've bought everything out of your current one, but every advance costs 100 EXP and you earn at least 100 EXP a session (more for accomplishing things or if the GM feels like accelerating advancement). This is a touch I like quite a bit; you're earning a new talent, or skill, or a stat-up after every session and so it makes it hard for things to stagnate.

For your first career, you either pick from or role on the list of Basic Careers. Basic Careers are the sorts of thing you did before you were an adventurer, and usually only have a +10 or +15 cap on their best stats. They're also uniform in how many advances they'll take a starting PC to get out of them; almost all of them take 10, a couple take 9. This means everyone will promote into a second class at roughly the same time and if you're earning bonus EXP, it doesn't take that long. An Advance is either a new skill, a new talent, a +5% to a stat, an extra Wound, an extra point of Movement (I think only one career in the game gives this, the dwarven Runebearer messenger), an extra point of Magic, or an extra Attack. Note a lot of fighting Basic Careers can still get a second attack to start with; the Soldier having a 45-50% to-hit but two attacks helps mitigate the early game whiffing a fair bit. You can also transfer to a different Basic Career at any time, with no restrictions, by spending 200 EXP. If you want to do something wildly different like making your Squire fall in with thieves and hard times, you could make him a Thief despite it not being a career exit for him.

When you roll your first career, you also start out with all of its listed skills and talents (in addition to any racial skills) except for places where it states a career gets one OR the other skill, in which case you pick one. You may, at your option, spend EXP to buy the skills and talents you don't start with, but this isn't necessary to complete the career and advance. You also get all the 'trappings' of the career to start. Say you were an Outrider; you'll have your horse and a light crossbow to begin with in addition to the basic melee weapon and pittance of gold every PC starts with. Or a Hunter will start with their longbow. This can be a really big deal if you get to start with a gun.

Once you finish a Career, you look at its exits. These are the careers it can promote into, usually a mixture of sidegrades and upgrades. Promoting costs 100 EXP and instantly moves you into the new career. When you promote, though, you do not get all the skills and talents of your new career like you did the first one; you'll have to buy them with EXP. If your new career has a skill you already had, you have the option to spend 100 EXP to get a permanent +10 to uses of that skill, but again, this is not required to finish your career. No skill can get up to more than Skill+20.

One really lovely rule that I will admit my group has universally ignored is that you have to have all the Trappings of a new career to promote into it. It never really looked like it was necessary and it bottlenecked things in a way we didn't like.

For an example career, let's take our Hero, the Ratcatcher. She starts with the ability to care for her dog, train her dog, sneak through the sewers, spot danger, search for hidden things, and set traps. She's good in tunnels, resistant to poison and disease, and gets the ability to use slings (which is nice, they're one-handed, about as good as a bow, and let you use a shield). She'll need to buy +5% to Weapon Skill, +10% to Ballistic Skill, +5% to Toughness, +10% to Agility, +10% to Willpower, and 2 additional Wounds to finish her time as a vermin soldier. She also gets to add some animal traps, a sling and ammunition, a pole with dead rats for advertising, and her small but vicious dog as her loyal companion for her Trappings. Once she's done being a Ratcatcher, she can promote into a bunch of other Basic careers (A Bone Picker scavenger, a professional Grave Robber, a Jailer, a Thief, or an honorary dwarven Shieldbreaker, even if she isn't a dwarf) or one Advanced one (She can immediately become a suave cat-burgler if she wishes).

So that's the Career system. Which species of PC would you like to see rolled up and created? Dorf, Hobbit, Manling, or Elf?

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Make a Halfling, let's kill Chaos with pies of dubious provenance and make friends with Ogres.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Definitely Halfling. Bonus points of the dog is actually big enough to serve as his mount. All Skaven shall fear the mounted slinger of doom.

Night10194 posted:

One really lovely rule that I will admit my group has universally ignored is that you have to have all the Trappings of a new career to promote into it. It never really looked like it was necessary and it bottlenecked things in a way we didn't like.

I think they wanted to avoid situations where a D&D character chould just start becoming a wizard between adventurers while the actual party wizard has spend years studying that stuff. WFRP2e has you work towards your next career, both in terms of skills/talents and your gear. Still a bit weird how you have to just possess those trappings when you want to enter the career and can theoretically ditch it immediately afterwards. Though I'd say some trappings that essentially force you to horde masterwork weapons and ancient tomes could nudge you into the kind of adventures you want to undertake.

Wat I really like about the career system is how your choice of careers basically tell your character's story, in a much more flavorful way than say D&D. Sure, you might've started out as a ratcatcher, but maybe you then became a badass champion, master spy or outlaw.

quote:

For an example career, let's take our Hero, the Ratcatcher. She starts with the ability to care for her dog, train her dog, sneak through the sewers, spot danger, search for hidden things, and set traps. She's good in tunnels, resistant to poison and disease, and gets the ability to use slings (which is nice, they're one-handed, about as good as a bow, and let you use a shield). She'll need to buy +5% to Weapon Skill, +10% to Ballistic Skill, +5% to Toughness, +10% to Agility, +10% to Willpower, and 2 additional Wounds to finish her time as a vermin soldier. She also gets to add some animal traps, a sling and ammunition, a pole with dead rats for advertising, and her small but vicious dog as her loyal companion for her Trappings. Once she's done being a Ratcatcher, she can promote into a bunch of other Basic careers (A Bone Picker scavenger, a professional Grave Robber, a Jailer, a Thief, or an honorary dwarven Shieldbreaker, even if she isn't a dwarf) or one Advanced one (She can immediately become a suave cat-burgler if she wishes).

Didn't remember how good slings were in this game. A nice change of pace in RPGs, seeing how slings actually were that good in RL.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alright, then. Thus begins Bogdan Stoutfoot!

His initial stat rolls: WS 27, BS 42, S 27, T 27, Agi 44, Int 31, WP 34, Fel 39. I got ridiculously lucky rolling him (3 17s? Only one stat below an 11?) and so Shallya's Mercy (the 'make one stat roll 11') will go to his Fel, raising it to 41.

As a halfling, he gets 1 random talent, night vision, resistance to all mutation and Chaos influence, and the ability to use a sling. Their provincial English life also gives him Gossip, Genealogy/Heraldry, Common Lore (Halflings), Speak Language (Halfling), Speak Language (Reikspiel), and his choice of a trade skill in cooking or farming. His random Talent is WARRIOR BORN, raising his WS to a very unhalfling 32. Bogdan is astonishingly strong and skilled at hand to hand combat for a halfling, which means he's still slightly below average for a human on physical ability but a bit above one on melee skill.

Also gets 2 Fate (minimum for a Halfling), and 11 Wounds (Maximum for one, Bogdan is the most badass of all halflings).

His Career options are: Entertainer (A circus performer, singer, or something similar), Thief (Self explanatory), or Fieldwarden (Halfling rangers/defenders of the Moot, often have to fight vampire minions from neighboring Sylvannia). Which should I do him up as?

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Something something cinnamon bun

Entertainer! Don't you know that bards are the best characters?

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Fieldwarden! Shank aristocratic bloodsuckers in the thigh and stake them up for the sun.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Badass vampire minion slayer does sound enticing, but killin vampire minions and ratfolk while juggling slingshot ammo does sound even better.

And what kind of pseudo-German is "Reikspiel"? I can see the first half, but the latter is just odd (unless I'm missing an archaic alternative meaning of "spiel").

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Doresh posted:

Badass vampire minion slayer does sound enticing, but killin vampire minions and ratfolk while juggling slingshot ammo does sound even better.

And what kind of pseudo-German is "Reikspiel"? I can see the first half, but the latter is just odd (unless I'm missing an archaic alternative meaning of "spiel").

The german in WHFRP is awful and hilarious.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




The song of Bogdan Fieldwarden, stronkest hobbit of them all, shall be sung far and wide.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think I might take this guy and make a CYOA about him or something because holy poo poo, stronk hobbit is a great hook.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Night10194 posted:

The german in WHFRP is awful and hilarious.
"Mordheim" is my favourite.

Doresh posted:

I think they wanted to avoid situations where a D&D character chould just start becoming a wizard between adventurers while the actual party wizard has spend years studying that stuff. WFRP2e has you work towards your next career, both in terms of skills/talents and your gear. Still a bit weird how you have to just possess those trappings when you want to enter the career and can theoretically ditch it immediately afterwards. Though I'd say some trappings that essentially force you to horde masterwork weapons and ancient tomes could nudge you into the kind of adventures you want to undertake.

Wat I really like about the career system is how your choice of careers basically tell your character's story, in a much more flavorful way than say D&D. Sure, you might've started out as a ratcatcher, but maybe you then became a badass champion, master spy or outlaw.
I'm OK with the Trappings limitations because they help make the Careers more than just names on stat-packages you can purchase with XP. Sometimes they're trivial, but communicate what the Career is about and what it does (like the Charlatan's requirement of little bottles full of coloured waters and powders). Other times they're stuff that you really can and should work towards besides a +10% to your Dodge Blow skill, like the Crime Lord needing an actual criminal organization to lord over, or the Outlaw Chief needing a band of outlaws.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I suppose it's a chicken and egg thing. When I've run the game and people have promoted without a trapping, the first thing they often do is go 'Okay, I'm a Crime Lord now, my first adventure as a Crime Lord will be getting my Crime Gang together.'

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Better get the gang starting before the cosmic powers (aka Tzeentch) take away your Crime Lord powers.

Night10194 posted:

The german in WHFRP is awful and hilarious.

I just hope there isn't a whole lot of fluff text where they speak perfect English, only to then sprinkle in some outdated German words like Schweinhund (a word only really used in WW2 flicks produced outside of Germany anymore), or calling dudes Herr (because just saying "Mister" is apparently stretching their English skills too far) - aka the Battletech way. That's just silly. I'd rather take mad scientist speak. That's like the best accent you can hope for.

Halloween Jack posted:

"Mordheim" is my favourite.

I like it. It perfectly encapsulates what to expect from the place. Altdorf (aka "Old Village") on the other hand is pretty lame for a main capital.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:40 on Sep 28, 2015

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


WHFRP2e

I think we're gonna go with Bogdan being an Entertainer because it lets me show off the Careers a bit better.

He gets to choose between Animal Care OR Swimming (He'll take swimming, he's a halfling pro athlete), gets Charm, Common Knowledge (The Empire), Evaluate (Judging prices and things) or +10 to Gossip, Perception, two Performers of his choice (We'll go with Strong Man and Acrobat; he's billed as THE STRONGEST HALFLING ALIVE!), +10 to Reikspiel (in case he needs to cut a promo on someone and needs some flowery language), and his choice of one of a ton of skills like blathering, sleight of hand, ventriloquism, etc. He'll take Scale Sheer Surface because it's athletic.

Then, Entertainer gets a ton of options for talents and takes 2. They do this because Entertainer is a really broad category and so they want you to be able to make a singer, a stand up comic, or a knife thrower with the same class. He has the choices of Lightning Reflexes (+5% Agi Permanently), Mimic, Public Speaking (Charm tons of people at once), Quick Draw (Draw stuff for free), Sharpshooter (Better to-hit bonus for spending time to aim), Specialist Weapons (Throwing), Wrestler (Grapple bonuses), Very Strong (+5 Str permanently) and Trick Riding (Don't make checks to do stuff like leap from horse to horse, you just do it).

I think we all know where this is going. He's getting Very Strong (making him stronger than the average human) and Wrestler. We have made a pro-wrestling hobbit who travels the world showing off that a 4' tall little dude with hairy feet can suplex mustachioed Germans. For his one free Advance he'll take Entertainers +5% to WS, making him officially pretty good for a starting PC at hand to hand. As a halfling.

And so begins Bogdan Stoutfoot, halfling wrestler. Yeah, I think I'm gonna make a CYOA for this guy after awhile once I think of a few more ideas.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


You just rolled up Mascarita Sagrada and that's amazing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mr. Maltose posted:

You just rolled up Mascarita Sagrada and that's amazing.

One of the trappings for an Entertainer is an ELABORATE COSTUME.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.





It's really great to see you guys geeking out over the awesome output of Fantasy Flight Games. We want to get in on that over here at System Mastery. So we covered Fireborn, the game where you play as otherkin dragons except you're right and you really are a dragon on the inside.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


WHFRP2e wasn't written by FFG, actually. The transition from Black Library to FFG is one of the reasons WH40kRP is kinda schizo sometimes. I think the guys who designed WHFRP2e are with Green Ronin now, actually.

Also, goddamn. I remember trying to play Fireborn in high school because a guy bought it and was super excited, and it was *awful*.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 04:48 on Sep 29, 2015

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




The only thing I remember about Fireborn was that it had a kinda-neat system for combat where depending on what fighting arts you were trained in, one move would combo ("cascade" I think) into another move and then branch out into multiple possible combos from there. I think Secret of Zir'An would have something similar, and Cthulhutech definitely did.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Halloween Jack posted:

The only thing I remember about Fireborn was that it had a kinda-neat system for combat where depending on what fighting arts you were trained in, one move would combo ("cascade" I think) into another move and then branch out into multiple possible combos from there. I think Secret of Zir'An would have something similar, and Cthulhutech definitely did.

It had some neat ideas in general, but even for a FFG product it was insanely badly edited and organized, which made puzzling out how to do anything really goddamn hard.

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Fireborn had a neat but fiddly system where you had four "stat pools" for your attributes/skills and you could shift dice from one to another to boost one at the cost of temporarily being weaker in another, so you could put some mental focus dice into your physical pools to give you a combat buff but it meant you were temporarily vulnerable to being blindsided. I mean, that's in theory, in practice it was kind of a mess. Also the combo system for combat was another one of those "neat on paper, kinda janky in practice" things because if you messed up at any point during your combo, welp, that ends that. Also it did the whole "comes in multiple core rulebooks" thing that D&D likes to do, and on top of that I recall that setting for it being much, much more boring than a concept like "you're all reincarnated dragons having Matrix-style kung fu battles" deserved.

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