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  • Locked thread
inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord

senrath posted:

The Pathfinder Beginner Box doesn't even include the full rules of Pathfinder, right?

Of course not!

Midjack posted:

Force and Destiny, we already have Mouse Guard and I think Pathfinder got done too.

Well, yes, Pathfinder and Mouse Guard (1st edition though) did get written up. But I think it would be interesting to see what's in the boxed sets too.

Anyway, I'm planning on poking at all of them; the only question is what order.

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Spiderfist Island
Feb 19, 2011


Josef bugman posted:

I would love to see Glorantha get even slightly into the mainstream. It'd be wonderful if KoDP became the next 5 nights at Freddie's and more people became interested in it.

And yeah there is a lot of stuff, what we need is a kind of map like this one:

To show people what bits are where.

Out of fun I just whipped this together, but it's not exactly an answer to your request. I couldn't find a clean map to work off of, it's only the Continent of Genertela, and I'm not anything close to an expert on Glorantha (I only started reading about it a year ago) so my captions are probably not too accurate:

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I keep hearing that the Pathfinder Beginner Box is a decent, if not good, product as far as giving you a complete set of materials with which to play an RPG with, and instructions as to how that's actually accomplished (the specific ruleset aside).

I'd like to see if that holds up.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

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

Hostile V posted:

How in the gently caress do people end up with the same name as their ancestors, is it just random chance when they pick the letters out of a bag of Scrabble tiles? That is...one hell of a language.

In fairness, actual Madlander names are much shorter, more along the lines of John than Johnathan Sedgewick Darrington-Brunel III, Esq. Actual names given in the book include Agexa, Pa Upet, Bapex Bowev, and the longest I could find, Akik Takivodd. It's your fault you gave me long names :colbert:.

JackMann posted:

To be fair, you're writing it out in a fairly informal, easy-to-read manner. From what you were saying, the book is considerably denser.

:blush:

Also, you're right. Let me give you an example. That update I just put up? The one that weighs in at 6 pages long in 12-point font, single-spaced, not counting pictures? It covers 20 pages in the book.

inklesspen posted:

[*] Force and Destiny is the latest in Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars line. Learn how to use a lightsaber, if you can figure out their crazy dicepool system. (May feature a bonus appearance from ProfessorCirno to tell us about dice probabilities.)
[*] Mouse Guard 2nd Edition is the game of being a badass mouse in a region vaguely shaped like Michigan
[*] Pathfinder is a piece of poo poo but it's a well-selling piece of poo poo. Let's check out its production values. This edition of their boxset features a bonus booklet by everyone's favorite, Sean K. Reynolds!
[/list]

Oh sweet fancy Athe, tell us about Force and Destiny. I had no idea it was out and if I knew I would've blown my hanukkah :10bux: on it.

I have a little more experience (I backed the Complete Guide on Kickstarter), and the stuff you have seems right. The only things I'd add would be to change "Roman" to "Greek" and mention the incredible racism involved in Kralorela (seriously, that section broke me when I read the guide).

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Alright, fair enough. No time for longer names, Vug, we gotta go tie a man to a tree and yell at a fisherman.

EscortMission
Mar 4, 2009

Come with me
if you want to live.


I went through the Age of Rebellion box set and was pleasantly thrilled. I'm really interested to see if Force and Destiny keeps the same "no seriously, don't read anything, no not even the GM, just start playing guys, it'll be fine" attitude because that ruled. :3:

Besides it was just Jedi Christmas, c'mon.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Somebody's already given Golarion the same treatment, unsurprisingly. Blame all typos on the original creator.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


One thing that's kind of bizarrely impressive about Pathfinder is that they crammed so much random poo poo into it. Robots? Sure. Aliens? From which planet, we have several. Sentient Plant People specifically designed to be ridiculously delicious by their creator? Wizards shouldn't be trusted with nice things.

That's not even getting into the officially published adventure where you take a portal to 1920's-ish Russia in search of Baba Yaga and end up killing Rasputin.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 06:48 on Dec 31, 2015

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Kurieg posted:

One thing that's kind of bizarrely impressive about Pathfinder is that they crammed so much random poo poo into it. Robots? Sure. Aliens? From which planet, we have several. Sentient Plant People specifically designed to be ridiculously delicious by their creator? Wizards shouldn't be trusted with nice things.

That's not even getting into the officially published adventure where you take a portal to 1920's-ish Russia in search of Baba Yaga and end up killing Rasputin.

Someone really liked Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

And is there a link to that adventure or a review of it, it sounds hilarious.

Falconier111 posted:

Madlander translations

I didn't think you'd actually do all of them, that's pretty good.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Kurieg posted:

1920's-ish Russia in search of Baba Yaga and end up killing Rasputin.
If it's 1920s-ish and I encounter Rasputin, I would have some serious questions.

Fun fact: He was allegedly assassinated 99 years ago yesterday.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




So, I was skimming the Statosphere supplement and considering whether or not I should give it the same treatment as Postmodern Magick. I was a little doubtful since (on a cursory glance) a lot of the Avatars weren't amazingly interesting to talk about. But then I came to the Outsider and noticed their third Channel and I knew that there were things that must be shared.

So, here we go...



The first part of the book opens with info we've mostly already covered (the nature of archetypes, avatars, etc), so we'll skip right into the meat of things with the Avatar entries.

The Chronicler

The Chronicler is caught somewhere in between the Scholar (detailed later) and the Messenger Archetype. The Chronicler Archetype is all about making history, not merely knowing it and the closest analogue in modern life is a journalist, reporter or blogger. However, unlike the Messenger the Chronicler is not overly concerned with literal truth and authors and poets are just as valid as Avatars of the Chronicler, so long as their work speaks to time and culture they live in. Whatever form their art takes the Chronicler seeks to capture a snapshot of "life" as they see it and the current cultural zeitgeist.

Taboo: The Chronicler must be observers. They can take part in the events they are observing but they should never be the ones taking charge or the ones that the story is "about". An undercover reporter writing about the conditions in a sweatshop would be fine, but if he starts to encourage the workers to strike or unionize he'd break taboo.

Second, the Chronicler must spread their observations. Any time they take part in an event that is important to themselves or their world then they must record or express it in some way and do everything they can to spread it to the public. Needless to say, this can be dangerous for those involved in the twisted business of the Occult Underground. Better use a pen-name.

Suspected Avatars Just about any historical artist or writer whose work was a commentary on their time could qualify: Shakespeare, Dickens, etc. Many well-known reporters or investigators might also be Chroniclers.

Channels

1-50% By making a successful Avatar roll you can flip-flop the next roll you make to gain information about a situation or person. This is pretty broad and could include investigating a crime scene, interrogations, hacking a computer, etc.

The Avatar check is penalized or improved based on how much you know about what you're looking for already...it's no good to just roll it up every day to have a hanging flip-flop available, you need to have some idea of what you're after.

51-70% You gain an intuitive sense for important events. So long as you have a relatively specific idea of what you're after ("Where is the next big crime story going to happen?" is too vague, but "Where will the next big break in the Tongue-Tier murder case occur?" is fine). Chroniclers would make terrific detectives or investigators...if it weren't for their non-interference taboo. Your intuition can only function a few days ahead of time and can only reveal the "when" and the "where", not what will occur.

71-90%: This channel is a little vague. Basically you have your finger on the "pulse" of the world and simply learn of happenings elsewhere with a successful Avatar roll. The success of the roll is influenced by how much of what you already know of the situation you want information on...and that seems to be the only guidelines. So as far as I can tell a good roll lets you find or spy on anyone you want...kind of makes a lot of the other channels a bit obsolete.

91+% With an Avatar roll and an hour of in-person observation (significantly less time if you can physically interact with the subject) you can "read" their past and present, giving you an idea of their stats, stimuli, madness meters, skills, work, hobbies, etc. Each piece of info requires a separate roll. This gives the subject a -20% penalty to all attempts to deceive you.

You can even "read" the future if your roll is under 30, but this is limited to vague information, letting you know if they'll be involved in an important event of interest to you.

You can even perform the "read" on a dead body, but it won't go any further back than the time of their death. Remember, this power reveals general facts about the target, not specific info (so you can learn a corpse was a former cartel drug trafficker, but won't tell you the time of his death or who killed him).


The Confessor


NOPE. Nope, nope, nope.

The Confessor is the mental and spiritual counterpart to the more physically-oriented Healer. The Confessor combines elements of psychoanalysis, priest and interrogator. They heal the mental wounds of others by revealing the source of these injuries and peeling away lies and self-delusion.

Taboo: The Confessor must hear a "patient's" whole story. They cannot interrupt or stop them (no "our time is up") and in fact the text even states that they cannot allow the confessee to pause...which has disturbing implications but may simply be poor wording. The confessor can offer honest advice, comfort or suggestions but they cannot force the victim along a particular path unless they honestly believe it would be the best for the confessee.

The second taboo is that the confessor must record the confessions they hear, writing everything down in a journal or a log so the secrets and stories they hear are not forgotten. Honestly, this feels a little out of place and it seems like the writers may not have been able to come up with a better taboo that has any meaning. It seems like a better taboo would be compelling the confessor to keep the secrets they hear and not act upon such information.

Suspected Avatars Sigmund Freud is the iconic modern Confessor but other suspected Avatars include inquisitors and lawyers.

Channels:

1-50%: With a successful Avatar roll you can diagnose someone's mental state, reading their Madness Meters, Obsessions and Passions. You can do this a number of times per day equal to the 10's digit on your Avatar skill.

51-70% You can be a Sin-Eater by encouraging the subject to reveal secrets and in return they can remove Failed or Hardened notches. The importance of the secret determines the amount of notches removed. Minor secrets remove one, Significant secrets remove two, Major secrets remove three and Mortal secrets (a secret capable of utterly destroying the subject if revealed) removes all. This can be done twice per day and requires a successful Avatar roll.

An important note...this does not require the target to be willing and the Confessor gets to choose which notches are removed. This makes it an extremely powerful interrogation tool or tool for weakening an opponent with a powerful mind by convincing them to reveal secrets and removing Hardened notches to make them more vulnerable to a Stress of your choice. Imagine a torturer who can keep their victim from building up Hardened notches in Violence and Helplessness.

71-90% Once per day with a successful Avatar roll you can convince the victim to reveal a secret to you. This can be just about any secret and even better the target believes it was their choice and does not feel like the Confessor forced it from them. Even better, better it combines with the Sin-Eating channel.

If you want a powerful Adept/Avatar combo think of what a high level Confessor/Eastern Cryptomancer could do. Remember that Avatar channels don't violate the Law of Transaction.

91+%: You can ease the spiritual wounds of ghosts and demons. With a successful roll you can get a revenant or demon to speak with you and reveal what binds them to this side of the Veil. The result is a sense of relief and positive feelings towards the Confessor, allowing them to interact peacefully with the demon and leaves them receptive to your suggestions. If you get a matched success or if your roll beats the demon's Soul stat then the spirit is freed of its obsession and it passes to the afterlife.

A failure normally just results in the demon behaving as it was already, but a matched failure may inspire it to attack or attempt to possess you.


The Healer

Not a very difficult to explain Archetype. The Healer is exactly what it says on the tin. The one note is that the Healer Archetype doesn't strictly follow the Hippocratic Oath...sometimes euthanasia is on the table and sometimes treating many patients might require a few to die (such as killing plague carriers to ensure an epidemic doesn't spread).

Taboo: The Taboo of the Healer is to refuse to give aid when they can. This doesn't mean they have to seek out patients or waste their time in hopeless cases but if they find someone they can help then they must.

Suspected Avatars: Florence Nightengale, Jonas Salk, Mother Theresa and of course Hippocrates. Generally, the Healer is best represented by those who were "hands-on" with their craft (sorry Alexander Fleming).

Channels:

1-50%: If you fail a medical roll that ends up less than your Healer skill you can reroll. This covers first aid, surgery and any medically related fields such as pharmacology or toxicology (although it won't give you a default in the skill if you've got nothing to begin with).

51-70% Jeez, only the second channel and we're already at the mercy-killing? With an Avatar skill roll and a few minutes and comforting words you can painlessly kill a willing patient. Although it's not bad from a purely "fluff" perspective, this really seems like a bit of a waste of a channel. Admittedly, it makes you great at killing willing subjects and helps avoid problems like cleaning up blood or worrying about autopsy results...but how many times are you going to be in a situation where this ability is relevant, let alone important (remember, at 50% the merchant could just buy all the person's Wound Points in exchange for a nice dream...plus all the other poo poo they can do. The Flying Woman can fly and the Pilgrim can cross continents).

71-90% Now we get to actual magical healing. It's a little hard to say how it works since I don't believe the healing rules between 1st and 2nd edition are exactly the same, but I'd guess it counts as treatment within the "golden hour" and a successful Avatar roll recovers damage equal to the roll result. This cannot be repeated until the subject is injured again.

91+%: With an Avatar roll you can heal diseases and permanent injuries. Penalties are applied based on how severe the disease is (up to -50% for terminal conditions like AIDs or cancer). Crippling or permanent injuries are penalized based on how long the victim has suffered from it. However, it's notable that there are no restrictions mentioned on trying again...

One notable point that is not clearly addressed is whether or not a Healer's powers work on themselves...because if they do the Freak missed a trick by picking the Mystic Hermaphrodite Archetype rather than the Healer. An Epideromancer who can heal permanent injuries is a terrifying thought.



That's all for now. Next will be the Hunter, The Judge and the Martyr.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Kavak posted:

Someone really liked Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

And is there a link to that adventure or a review of it, it sounds hilarious.

Yeah 1920's ish, yes they explain it, and Yes there is, apparently it, like the rest of the reign of winter, is pretty good.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


inklesspen posted:

My archive is now caught up to page 203; that's only a hundred and twenty pages behind.

To celebrate, I'm going to review some boxed sets. Here's what I have; vote on which you want to see first:


  • Force and Destiny is the latest in Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars line. Learn how to use a lightsaber, if you can figure out their crazy dicepool system. (May feature a bonus appearance from ProfessorCirno to tell us about dice probabilities.)
  • Mouse Guard 2nd Edition is the game of being a badass mouse in a region vaguely shaped like Michigan
  • Pathfinder is a piece of poo poo but it's a well-selling piece of poo poo. Let's check out its production values. This edition of their boxset features a bonus booklet by everyone's favorite, Sean K. Reynolds!

Force and Destiny first, please.

Kurieg posted:

One thing that's kind of bizarrely impressive about Pathfinder is that they crammed so much random poo poo into it. Robots? Sure. Aliens? From which planet, we have several. Sentient Plant People specifically designed to be ridiculously delicious by their creator? Wizards shouldn't be trusted with nice things.

That's not even getting into the officially published adventure where you take a portal to 1920's-ish Russia in search of Baba Yaga and end up killing Rasputin.

And yet at least the beginning stuff ingored all this crazy stuff and instead presented a very bland medieval fantasy setting with Gremlins as goblins and lots of edge.

Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook


Exhausted Loises

Loises are what keeps an Overed going. They're his desire to stay human. A Gjaum however has other desires, based on its Impulse and insanity. To help it fulfill its desires, some Gjaums develop Exhausted Loises or E-Loises, which is basically a result of them becoming so batshit crazy that their Renegade virus starts to mess around with reality itself.

E-Loises are essentially super-sized versions of the enemy-exclusive Powers found in the corebook. They let a Gjaum pull of powerful effects or do crazy stuff that the GM can base whole Scenarios around. E-Loises also continue the trend of DX defining cases of GM fudging as actual, clearly-defined in-game abilities. A lot of them are therefore about bending or screwing with the rules, and the GM is free to come up with conditions to break an E-Lois' effect.
Luckily for the players, each E-Lois can only be ues once per Scenario.

Aside from making a Gjaum more powerful and/or annoying to fight, E-Loises also have a positive effect: As they highlight the absolute worst that the Renegade can turn you into, Overeds will react in disgust and vow to not end up like this. At the end of each Scenario, E-Loises of defeated enemies are turned into bonus dice to reduce the Encroachment Rate further, which offsets the penalty of a T-Lois and allows those without T-Loises to be more spam-happy.
Some E-Loises are considered so potent that they count as multiple E-Loises, granting more bonus dice.

E-Loises and T-Loises (which any enemy can have, be it Gjaum or just a normal Overed) can also grant bonus XP if the GM feels like they had enough of an impact.

General E-Loises

  • Infectious Malice: Wanna keep anyone from entering the current Scene? With this, you can. Turn the building you're in into a solid cube, or project a field of hate so strong that people just can't get near you.
  • Mirror Image of Nightmares: The Gjaum is actually a copy of someone else (or is he the original?!). He must have the same core stats and Personal Data, but everything else (including powers and even looks) can be different. Not sure why you'd want a different look if you can just go the evil doppelganger route.
  • Impossible Existence: The Gjaum has surpassed its own Renegade's limits, and he gains a Power at max level from a Syndrome he doesn't have. Good for some neat surprises.
  • Arrogant Ideals: A meta-E-Lois that turns a single-target E-Lois into an AoE. None of the previosu E-Loises apply for this, obviously.
  • The Solitary Cry: Forces the target to have you as a Lois, and prevents him from gaining other new Loises. A Gjaum with this is basically an obsessive stalker who can infect people with the Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Growing Despair: Summon another enemy, whether it was born out of your hate or just attracted by you.
  • Encroaching Impulse: This is a fun one. It forces everyone in the Scene to make an Impulse check, failure meaning they have to act according to the Gjaum's Impulse. If used against normal people, this typically transforms them into raving Gjaums on the spot.
  • The Temptation of Corruption: The Gjaum just wants to drag everyone down with him, trying to raise everyone's Enroachment Rate to 100%. Can also be used to awaken people as Overeds or just make some Gjaums.
  • Undying Delusions: The Gjaum just keeps coming back from the dead until the PCs can figure out a way to end him for good. Double Cross - now with full support for Liches.
  • Self-Centered Mindset: The Gjaum is so full of himself that he can pull of a sort of X-Magic from Final Fantasy, letting him dual-cast a Power or E-Lois.
  • Twisted Whisper: Taking cues from Grima Wormtongue, the Gjaum is able to mess around with a person's Loises, making positive relationships negative and vice versa.

Now for E-Loises that are exclusive to an Impulse, of which there are two per Impulse.

Release

Ultimate Existence is a variation on Undying Delusions that makes the Gjaum completely invulnerable, forcing the PCs to figure out a way to nullify this E-Lois. The Fool's Contract is a wish spell (with lots of bad consequences because its being used by an insane monster), letting the Gjaum play Mephisto.

Bloodsucking

These are all about being a monstrous vampire: Bloodlust let's the Gjaum slurp up HP from everyone around him, while Blood Bride makes loyal Gjaum minions out of corpses.

Hunger

Lots of creepy stuff here. Starving Soul lets the Gjaum steal a single Power from anyone it kills (and probably also includes eating the victim), while Depths of Hunger lets it straight-up absorb someone else for a nice buff. The absorbed will also most likely be important to at least one PC, so they better find a way to make the Gjaum vomit her/him back up.

Slaughter

For especially gruesome Gjaums. Impulsive Slaughter makes it so that everyone dies unless they are healed in the same round they are KOed, while Circle of Tragedy merely grants bonus actions with which the Gjaum can do nothing but finishing off characters.

Destruction

The first E-Lois Shattered Bonds is very subtle and metaphysical for this Impulse, as it "destroys" the bonds between people aka Loises. You have a very dear childhood friend? Well, now you no longer remember her.
Manifestation of the Destroyer is a lot less subtle and just has the Gjaum destroy "one of anything in the universe", be it a single building or the whole moon. Useful for fights that have a time limit or just have to be won. Important characters still have plot armor against this, but blowing up the Earth or Sun.

Torture

For Gjaums who want to be major dicks, there is Festival of Torture which makes it so that the target will just blow up if it gets KOed, or Absolute Shackles which is like the Geas spell except that it kills the oathbreaker instantly.

Distaste

Fated Malice is good for clingy boyfriend Gjaums, for it deals heavy damage to anyone who turns a Lois with you into a Titus. Wall of Denial on the other hand is for loners who don't care about other humans, and it allows the Gjaum to just nullify Titus bonuses.

Battle Lust

In true "Blood for the Blood Good!" fashion, Decree of Death can make everyone in the Scene go berserk, while World of Battle lets the Gjam shrug off Bad Statuses and fatal hits.

Delusions

These are fun: Crumbling Reality lets the Gjaum reject reality and substitute his own, while Delusional Appearance gives it a makeover that also grants access to a Power outside of the Gjaum's Syndrome.

Self-Multilation

Gjaums with this Impulse turn pain into power with Dark Joys, which grants them a cumulative bonus to everything each time they take damage (which thankfully only lasts for one Scene). Blade of Mortification is a tricky one in that the Gjaum's desire for Self-Mutilation becomes so strong that it makes the surrounding people try to off it themselves. Not ideal for your typical bad guy, but useful for more tragic Scenarios, or if the Gjaum has teamed up with someone else and just wants to act as a meat shield.

Fear

These two are in some way all about sharing fear with others: The Look of Fear makes people go berserk as they get a glimpse of the Gjaum's mind, while Utter Rejection is another "Awaken people as Overeds or turn them into Gjaums" that also increases the Encroachment Rate.

Hatred

Hate is the name of the game here: Strike of Undying Hatred reflects damage back at the attacker, while Wedge of Hatred makes people hate their loved ones, turning on of their Loises into a Titus.

Enemy Data

Included here are several new enemy writeups, be it various kinds of criminals like Yakuza, members of the military Overed groups Strangers and Tempest, a few Renegade beings and even a security robot.
The biggest junk of these writeups consist of EX Gjaums, which largely consist of monster rage animals, but also include a sand golem and zombies.

Provided are also three different boss enemies: Fenrir, a Chimaera Gjaum that has taken on the form of the mythical wolf, Boulder, a Morpheus/Balor EX Gjaum that is literally a boulder (that can also turn itself into a black hole), and Serial Killer, an Orcus/Solaris/Black Dog Renegade born from the urban legend of a serial killer who now tries to understand humans by killing them.

Next Time: Scenarios - Happy Tree Overeds.

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.

Kurieg posted:

Yeah 1920's ish, yes they explain it, and Yes there is, apparently it, like the rest of the reign of winter, is pretty good.

Ugh. The basic concept seems good, but then it falls into the Pathfinder trap of throwing a crazy grab-bag of crap at you with no coherence.

"Your party arrives in 1920's Russia and RASPUTIN'S there and BABA YAGA is his mom and ANASTASIA is there and Prince Alexi's a THREE-HEADED DRAGON and you're just constantly FIGHTING AND BLOWING poo poo UP!!!"

It's like a game written by an over-caffeinated 12-year old, and with the PF rule set you know the whole thing is going to be a tedious exercise. Pathfinder is truly the new RIFTS.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?



Chapter 5: Optional Rules

This chapter details rules so detailed that they're not even used in the Advanced rules. There's not much meat to get into here, since there are many small rules that do very little all in all. There are:
  • Rules for widening your character's Field of View
  • Rules for spotting enemies
  • Rules for hearing enemies
  • Rules for making skilled characters better at not getting shot
  • Rules for how long it takes for your character to plan what they're going to do next
  • Morale rules
  • Rules for knowing the exact tenth of a second something happened on
  • Rules for follow-up shots
  • Rules for aiming at locations in preparation of an enemy appearing there (e.g. doorway or cover)
  • Rules for laying down covering fire (basically the automatic fire rules used against a hex)
  • Rules for the differences between single and double-action weapons
  • Rules for enemies being knocked down by the impact with a bullet
  • Rules for determining which kind of incapacitation an incapacitating hit inflicted
  • Rules for modelling characters who take dozens of bullets without dropping

The rest of the book is tables and gun stats. I'll go into detail about some of these though.

First, Phoenix Command is one of few RPGs that actually care about which direction characters are facing. This, together with the spotting rules, makes for a game where identifying where an enemy is becomes an important part of combat. This adds a fairly novel and realistic aspect to a firefight, but at the same time the rules are very time-consuming. Counters used on the map must have distinguishable facings, and both Referee and players need to keep track of who can see what. The book seem to imply a kind of hive-mind approach where both sides can see anything seen by anyone on their side, which is convenient, but a kind of giant, gaping hole in the realism. At the same time, like many games, there are rules for spotting enemies, but not any rules for losing sight of enemies. It can be handled by the judgement of the Referee, but it means that this game with its detailed rules for spotting enemies and player facing does not itself have structured rules for hiding and setting up quick ambushes.

That said, I feel the need to applaud the game for at least trying. I had some fun playing through Rainbow Six: 3 this holiday, and from my own research into room clearing and military operations, reconnaissance and spotting enemies before they spot you is extremely important, yet most games gloss over it entirely. There are practical reasons for this - Phoenix Command demonstrates that it can be a laborious process - but the failure of many games to even try is at times grating. (On that note, Phoenix Command is almost perfect as a tabletop Rainbow Six game.)

The rules for hearing enemies are very realistic - everything is basically rated in dB, and you compare the volume of the sound you make against the background to determine whether you can hear it. Fairly simple, and I've run a short game using these rules; they add a tactical dimension where you can know where enemies are if they make too much noise, and sneak around and set up ambushes by carefully managing the sound you make yourself. That scene in Enemy at the Gates where Zaitsev masks his shots with artillery fire? This game has rules that let you do that. It's not always clear what kind of sound masks other sounds though, which is a let-down with these rules.

There are rules for planning your actions in this game, adding the realistic delay that comes in having to think about something. I can understand why these rules are optional, since they add a whole lot of overhead (you need to keep track of what you're planning, when you started planning, how many 'actions' your plan requires, etc.) and complexity. I've been told from more seasoned PCCS veterans that these rules completely change the way the game plays and in some ways are preferable, because of the lulls in combat they create. I should note that "taking cover" and "returning fire" never use these rules, which is explicitly noted. Instead, it's for things like "moving out of cover, advancing down a corridor, opening the door, throwing a grenade in, ..." etc. A bit like the spotting rules, these are an attempt at realism that gets incredibly complex and time-consuming, yet at the same time it's interesting to see how that kind of realism actually affects a game, both from the realism-side and the game-side of things.

The game has morale-rules. Morale is, again, an often forgotten element of combat in RPGs, at best relegated to a specific niche attack, whereas in the real world all attacks on an enemy wear at their morale and willingness to fight. That said, the rules in Phoenix Command aren't very good and basically never allow characters to recover morale and get back into a fight. Their realism is more guesswork than the game's usual detailed physical models. (I know this because I happen to have read several research papers by the US Army on suppressive fire, and the models the US Army produced look nothing like PCCS' rules.)

The rules for knock-down add a third (fourth if you include the Morale rules) for getting enemies to stop shooting. There's killing enemies, incapaciting enemies, scaring enemies, and now simple knocking them flat on their back with the sheer momentum of being hit by a bullet. I think that last one is a bit overkill, and further not very realistic. Yes, people sometimes fall down when shot, but that has less to do with the momentum of the bullet and more to do with mental shock inducing a vasovagal syncope, or organ disruption causing momentary unconsciousness - which is already modelled by the incapacitation rules.

PCCS has 8-second long combat turns (almost never used) divided into 2-second combat phases, which are divided into 0.5-second impulses, which themselves are divided into 0.1-second Master Phasing Counts. The MPCs are not particularly egregious; they're provided as a tool to resolve what happens when two multiple things happen in the same Impulse and you need to know, truly, what happened first. For example, bullets have a Time of Flight (TOF) value that tell you how long they take to reach their target, in MPCs. If you get hit by a bullet the same MCP you fire a weapon, you take either a -10 or -20 penalty, depending on whether you make your Knockout roll. However, at short ranges many guns have TOF 0, just raising once more the question of what happens when two characters shoot each other at the same time. Additionally, there are no rules explaining what happens if the TOF is so large a target can move back into cover before it hits - does the bullet curve after them?

So, Phoenix Command. A revolutionary and unique game full of novel ideas that even 30 years later still haven't been copied. It is a complex game, make no mistake, but at the same time a lot of its reputation comes more from being poorly laid out and edited than actual complexity. It has lots of flaws, but at the same time I think its unique ideas and willingness to take the extra step to be a realistic game is admirable. There's a lot to be learned here, both good and bad.

Table Count: 36 (+10)
80's Action Film Dialogue Count: 29 (+4)

"My loyal troop! You came back to save me!" - Captain Stora
"Actually sir, we came back for your gun..." Gill the Treacherous

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!


So, Hc Svnt Dracones had its first expansion officially launched today. Is everyone tired of it or does anyone want to hear what 200 pages and 14 dollars gets you?

It's got more options!

More lore!

Apparently also robot dogs and squidcats!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I had actually forgotten I wrote up Pathfinder.

It's true!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

So, Hc Svnt Dracones had its first expansion officially launched today. Is everyone tired of it or does anyone want to hear what 200 pages and 14 dollars gets you?

It's got more options!

More lore!

Apparently also robot dogs and squidcats!



How did that game get an expansion.

I mean, I was surprised when Albedo did, too, but at least Albedo was an interestingly weird game.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

So, Hc Svnt Dracones had its first expansion officially launched today. Is everyone tired of it or does anyone want to hear what 200 pages and 14 dollars gets you?

It's got more options!

More lore!

Apparently also robot dogs and squidcats!



I actually just re-read your old review yesterday. Please subject us to this insanity

Also LOL at the raccoon holding a sniper rifle too big for him to actually wield in any way.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


LatwPIAT posted:

So, Phoenix Command. A revolutionary and unique game full of novel ideas that even 30 years later still haven't been copied. It is a complex game, make no mistake, but at the same time a lot of its reputation comes more from being poorly laid out and edited than actual complexity. It has lots of flaws, but at the same time I think its unique ideas and willingness to take the extra step to be a realistic game is admirable. There's a lot to be learned here, both good and bad.

I wonder how things would've went if it was released in modern day, when writers have figured how to edit and properly convey their system.


I'm just dying to hear the story behind squidcat. And whether or not it involves anime jokes.

Night10194 posted:

How did that game get an expansion.

It appears that "furry capitalists" is a lucrative niche market.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Kurieg posted:

I actually just re-read your old review yesterday. Please subject us to this insanity

Also LOL at the raccoon holding a sniper rifle too big for him to actually wield in any way.

Guardians of the Galaxy strikes again. I'm sure Rifle Raccoon's gun is preventing our exposure to the terrible joke on his t-shirt that says something about "drones".

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Doresh posted:

I wonder how things would've went if it was released in modern day, when writers have figured how to edit and properly convey their system.

Not to toot my own horn too much but... I'm working on a retroclone. If I'm lucky I might be able to tell you the answer to that within a year or two. : D

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

PurpleXVI posted:

So, Hc Svnt Dracones had its first expansion officially launched today. Is everyone tired of it or does anyone want to hear what 200 pages and 14 dollars gets you?

It's got more options!

More lore!

Apparently also robot dogs and squidcats!



I think the answer is always yes.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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



Ursara: Be Still! A Mountain Passes By

quote:

Denny cursed as he felt his legs go out from under him, pitching his body into the 12-foot-deep pit trap he’d set up early last evening. He landed hard on his rear end, the wind knocked out of him but not much the worse for wear — other than a seriously turned ankle. He’d have to have Marva fix him up a soak when he got home after checking all his bear traps.
“Need a hand up?” a gruff voice called down to him from the forest floor.
“Yeah,” he said, extending his arm toward the proffered hand, a broad, firm-gripping appendage that hoisted him out of the pit with no apparent effort.
“Thanks,” he said, once he stood on his feet again. “My name’s Denny Gorvis,” he said. “What’s y’orn?”
“You don’t need to know that,” the big stranger replied. “I moved the deadfall to the pit,” he said, “just so you’d land in your own trap. I figured I’d give you a little taste of your own medicine before I give you a good dose of mine.” His broad face broke out into a smile that somehow wasn’t happy and cheerful but grim and justified.
To Denny’s horror, the man grew in size until he lowered over Denny like an avenging mountain. The trapper tried to scream, but no sound came out except a tiny, mewling plea
for mercy.
“Sorry,” a voice growled in his mind. “Sorry was yesterday. Today it’s goodbye.”

Hooray for having the Writer who wrote the Pack chapter back. Sadly she'll be going away after this, enjoy it while you can.

Behold the Beast: The Bearkin have both aided and hindered man in their time upon this earth. They watched from afar as Man fought their way from cave to castle, but they push back when they see their Ursine kin displaced by man's advancement. Legends of the Bear-Folk stretch back into ancient times, when man first moved into caves to find shelter. There they fought bears, or came to terms. Shaman burned fires and cast ancient rituals to appease the beasts inside. To face a Bear and Live marked you as divine. And the ancient Nords wore the bear shirts into battle, filled with a primal fury and insanity that drove them to the brink of madness. Few blessings are as powerful, or dangerous, as bears. Bear is a powerful totem in almost every culture it appears in. Only Lion, Wolf, Tiger, and Raven can match his hold on Man's imagination. But bear is as much a totem of lonesome solitude as he is one of rampaging might. And having man's respect is not the same thing as having his devotion.

Also they don't explicitly mention bestiality. So :toot:

The bears tend not to stray far from their native lands, though some do travel. They see more value in staying home and fighting tooth and claw (literally) for the land lost by their endangered kin. Bears can fight a mountain lion and live. But pollution, deforestation, and climate change are not things with a throat you can rip out, so the bears must use other means.

In their human shape, the Ursara tend to tower over normal humans. Even those kin to Black Bears make up in mass and presence what they lack in height. They're exceptionally strong and deliberate in their movements. They tend towards deep voices. Men growl, and women "speak with the vocal range of a coloratura soprano and the carrying power of an Amtrak." They tend to make supporting and nurturing mates and parents. Excellent teachers and doctors. But even the kindest bear has an edge, a limit that you do not want to push it past.

Thematically Bears have often been associated with Death and Rebirth, through their process of Hibernation. Even the most spiritually tonedeaf Ursara tends to attract spirits, and they're second only to the Uratha Werewolves in their faculty for spirit magic.

Ursara prefer to live alone, except when raising their children. Once a Mountain Claw reaches self sufficiency they tend to move out on their own. This is normal for Bears but not so much for their Human kin. Though they do still visit their human relations, there's always a certain edge to such visits that means that while their presence is welcome, their leaving is moreso. Bears tend to accept the presence of the Ursara, provided they don't overstay their welcome or eat all the game. The exception to this rule is, of course, Polar Bears, which tend to live in groups anyway.

What culture they have of their own is one of solitude and isolation, but they're not idiots. They know the internet exists, and will use technology to stay in touch and call for help if necessary. They do not gather unless necessary, but when they do it is a celebration with feasts, storytelling, gossip, gift-giving, and ritual dances. If they do need a leader, it is almost always the eldest amongst them. But if there is a challenge for dominance it is almost always to the death. When the need for leadership passes the Alpha steps down and the Bears go back to their homes.

quote:

Stereotypes
Man: Long ago, Man looked to us as gatekeepers to the lands of Death. Perhaps he needs to be shown the way there more often.
Mages: Too much power in such a small vessel. Who picks up the pieces when it explodes?
Vampires: Only Man refuses to die. We can fix that.
Werewolves: The bond between us is as ancient as the hills. Their teeth are sharp, but I will not “forsake” them.
Again, not terrible. Yay.


Yonah: The Dead Daughter
The unfortunate end result when you drop a Dragon in downtown Japan.

Wait no.


Cosby: The Black Neighbors
You're pretty sure the dad is a rapist.

.....drat it.



Yonah: The Black Neighbors
The Black Bear kin are the most even tempered of the Ursara. And sometimes choose to live in the fast paced world of man if need arises. Otherwise they prefer their rustic cabins, or to live with their Native American kin.

As youths they have an uncanny sense of wonder and play, almost as if they know they need to cram their childhoods full of as much youthful joy as possible before they need to take on their adult responsibilities. With their first change the weight of the world falls on their shoulder, and they begin to find their purpose in life. Some choose to look after their Bear-kin specifically, ensuring their survival and cracking down on those that over-hunt or exploit them. Others plunge into environmental issues and (groan)"Inconvenient Truths". And...

quote:

Others, less civic-minded, retreat to the wilderness to reclaim the name of Bear from such over-coddled ninnies.
Was that a Bear Grylls dig? :swoon:

Anyways, they prefer to keep their claws clean but they will, when forced, remind people that Nature does still have claws at it's command.

Appearance: Their human appearance depicts their rural pedigree. Native American stock with a little bit of european settler mixed in. They prefer cloting made from natural fibers and I guess you would too if the alternative was running around naked. Their primal form is a regular black bear. And their War-Form is a huge bipedal man-bear 7 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing in at nearly half a ton with 5 inch claws. So don't cuddle the teddy bear unless you're damned sure it's not going to eat you.

Background:The Yonah are more personable than most, even their Bear-kin are more accepting of them than the would be of the other Ursara. To a native family that has a Yonah born amongst them constitutes a great honor, but they always recognize that the child does not belong only to them. In such families their first change is a bittersweet celebration. But outside of such upbringings they can turn into bitter loners after their family casts them out.

Breed Favors: Fang Bite 3(L) and Claw 2(L), Natural Armor 2/1, Size 6
Breed Bonus: One free social skill specialty!
Common Aspects:Beast Surge, Birth Blessing, Culling the Weak, Durga’s Blessing, Earthbond, Hound’s Honor, Magnificence, Mother’s Fury, Sexual Dimorphism, Shadow Bond, Spirit Animal, Spirit Gift, Spirit Secrets, Spook the Herd, Tell (Powerful Frame), Territory Bond, Twisted Tongue, War Heart, Warrior’s Restoration, Weatherskin

Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Str+4, Sta+4, Size 7, Health+6, Speed +7, +1 to Perception Rolls Primal Beast: Str+2, sta+2, Size 6, Health +3, +2 to Perception Rolls.

They actually got the Health Calculations right! And the breed as written isn't terrible! Huzzah! Though having access to a 3(L) attack seems a bit much, all the bear folk get it so I'm not going to hold it against them specifically. They are a bit more powerful than Uratha but they're not the strongest thing in this writeup by a large margin.


Nanuq: The Icy Hearts
As the biggest bear this side of the Grizzly, the Ursara that share Polar Bear blood are Apex-Predators. But their "Icy Hearts" name describes more their love of cold climates than their temperaments. They love traveling in groups and they never lose the sense of "play" that they have as children. Unfortunately their preferred prey don't exactly survive "playtime". Their harsh living conditions have turned the Polar Bear almost entirely carnivorous to get the large concentrations of meat and fat it needs to survive the winters. And..uhh.. "Nanuq aren't shy about adding humans to their diet of seals and walrus. Given recent events, humans may, in fact, be the first items on a Nanuq's menu." I'm not sure if the person who wrote this chapter was consulted when they wrote the Hierarchy of sins for Harmony.

Despite the popular apeal of Polar Bears, the Nanuq are exceedingly rare. Born almost exclusively to Inuit or Yupik people, the "gift" of a white pelt seems reserved for those who have lived on the ice for ages. But a smattering of "White-White Bears" have been born in recent years, and they face scorn from their "pure-blood" cousins. Seen as interlopers at best, and spiritual opponents at worst, the European bear-folk find themselves chased southward or killed as harbingers of the final age of the Ghost Bears.

Appearance: As mentioned, they tend to be of Native blood. Short and stocky they prefer the clothes of their tribal past rather than modern gear. Oilskin clothing, parkas and windbreakers made from sealskin and dog fur. They are consummate artists and excellent survivors, smiling easily but holding resentment deep when it is justified. Their beast form is a polar bear, so they're huge, over 1300 pounds and from 7-10 feet in height. Their War-Beast form is even bigger, 10 feet in height, doubling their weight, and turning their rage up to 11.

Background: After their first change, the Nanuq are 'adopted' by a Mated Pair of Icy Hearts and perhaps one or two other "Foster Children". THey spend the next several years traveling and learning the lore of the Nanuq and their human tribes. Unfortunately they also learn that the ice caps are melting and their ancestral cultures are being lured away by "technology" and deceptively easy living. If there is ever a war between the Ursara and Man, the Nanuq will be the ones leading the charge.


Breed Favors: Fang Bite 3(L) and Claw 1(L), Natural Armor 2/1, Size 7
Breed Bonus: One free survival specialty in arctic surroundings
Common Aspects:Aww!!!, Beast Surge, Birth Blessing, Blend In, Culling the Weak, Durga’s Blessing, Earthbond, Keen Senses, Magnificence, Mother’s Fury, Sexual Dimorphism, Shadow Bond, Spirit Gift, Spirit Secrets, Tell (Silver-white Hair), Territory Bond, Twisted Tongue, Unspeakable, War Heart, Warrior’s Restoration, Weatherskin

Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Str+5, Sta+5, Size 8, Health+8, Speed +6, +1 to Perception Rolls Primal Beast: Str+4, Sta+4, Size 7, Health +6, +1 to Perception Rolls.

At first I thought "wow this is kind of racist" but it does seem that's somewhat the point. They're basically a slightly better written Wendigo from W:TA. And using the metric of "Everything else written in this book", "resents the encroachment of the white man on their native lands" is well written.

Other Species:

Storm Bears: The Howling Heart
These guys are basically were-dire-bears, or Ursus Spelaeus. It doesn't really matter. 10 feet tall in Primal Beast and 15 feet tall in the War-Form. If while they may be a loving parent, and a good friend, if they get pissed off your best chance is to point them at someone you hate and run

Breed Favors: Fang Bite 3(L) and Claw 2(L), Natural Armor 3/2, Size 8
Breed Bonus: ...

No he does not.
Common Aspects:Beast Surge, Culling the Weak, Durga’s Blessing, Earthbond, Keen Senses, Magnificence, Mother’s Fury, Needleteeth, Nine Lives, Sexual Dimorphism, Shadow Bond, Spirit Secrets, Spook the Herd, Tell (Burly and Surly), Territory Bond, Tiger Heart, Unnerving Cry, Unspeakable, War Heart, Warrior’s Restoration, Weatherskin

Form Adjustments: War-Beast: Str+6, Sta+5, Size 8, Health+8, Speed +6, +1 to Perception Rolls Primal Beast: Str+4, Sta+4, Size 7, Health +6, +2 to Perception Rolls.

These guys are a collection of stats masquerading around as a breed. And to their credit they didn't try to mock up some fake justification. They're just angry super-bears that are probably there to kill people.

Up Next: Deerhoof Antlerdude's Beercan Penis

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Simian_Prime posted:

Ugh. The basic concept seems good, but then it falls into the Pathfinder trap of throwing a crazy grab-bag of crap at you with no coherence.

"Your party arrives in 1920's Russia and RASPUTIN'S there and BABA YAGA is his mom and ANASTASIA is there and Prince Alexi's a THREE-HEADED DRAGON and you're just constantly FIGHTING AND BLOWING poo poo UP!!!"

It's like a game written by an over-caffeinated 12-year old, and with the PF rule set you know the whole thing is going to be a tedious exercise. Pathfinder is truly the new RIFTS.

Eh it all hung together pretty well, and actually implemented a rule for vastly simplifying large battles, namely the troop enemy type to represent dozens of others individually weak dudes. Naturally this rule was abandoned and never followed up on because this is a Paizo product.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I AM A DEEPLY DECENT PERSON, WITH THE LOVE OF HUMANITY IN MY HEART



Fairly accurate actually.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


LatwPIAT posted:

Not to toot my own horn too much but... I'm working on a retroclone. If I'm lucky I might be able to tell you the answer to that within a year or two. : D

Excellent. Finally a system for my magical girl / tokusatsu parody setting. Or as an addition to Stars Without Number. One is certainly more likely than the other.

Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook


Let's see if I can finish this supplement in this 2015 thread.

Scenarios

Scenario design is an interesting beast in Double Cross. The game's very keen on self-contained Scenarios that take around 3-4 hours to complete (preferrably in a single session I assume) and roughly cover a typical anime episode's worth of plot. The biggest chunk of each Scenario focuses on character relations and investigations, with only two actual combat scenes per Scenario (which is just right for the system because combat makes your Encroachment Rates rise like you wouldn't believe). Whenever any PC runs into some thugs or other cannon fodder outside of these scenes, they're usually just Extras the PC can defeat by just saying so (hopefully with a little description).

Most Example Scenarios in DX sadly come across as a bit railroady, and aside from that one Scenario in the corebook where the PCs had to fight their way through enemy hordes to destroy missiles before they fly too high, battle setups generally default to "There's a group of bad guys 5 meters away from you, and maybe a second group of bad guys 5 meters behind them."

Most of these Example Scenarios also tend to feature roughly the same type of character, allowing the GM to string them together into a campaign with only a few modificatioins. So, let's cover the archetypical PCs:

  • PC1: Main protagonist guy and fresh UGN Illegal. If the Scenario involves saving a girl (which is almost always the case), she will share most of her "screentime" with PC1.
  • PC2: Pretty much always an UGN Child that tends to have some kind of connection with the Scenario's antagonist, be it because the antagonist is a traitor and they got along well in the past, or because they have some sort of rivarly going on.
  • PC3: Is always the UGN Branch Chief of City N, proving that even the higher-ups like to get their hands dirty. This position can probably be abused by a munchkin player who just orders the entire branch to gang up on the villain.
  • PC4: Usually either an UGN member or a freelancer who stumbles into the Scenario because of a seemingly unrelated mission,
  • PC5: A lot like PC4, except when he is a Renegade Being getting his orders from Xenos. This one will require the most modifications when trying to play all these Scenarios with a single group of PCs.

With that out of the way, let's tackle the Scenarios. The Advanced Rulebook has 2 complete ones and 5 Scenarios Starters:

Memorial Blossom


The big focus of this one is City N's Central Park and its iconic Lord of the Cherry Blossoms, an ancient tree that rarely blossoms anymore. The last time was 3 years ago, when PC1 had to say goodbye to his childhood friend Mika Minashiro who was leaving the City with her parents.
Fast forward to the present, and Mika is back in town, and some weird stuff is going on: Warding fields appear randomly around the park, and there's been a big influx in Gjaum activity. And PC2 just so happens to be chasing a False Hearts agent named Rainbow Snake who turns out to be Mika.

Unbeknown to most, the Lord is actually an EX Renegade that is slowly starting to awaken. Finding out about this, False Hearts as sent their agent Kazuya "Shadow Night" Kageyama (a Hanuman/Orcus Overed) and Mika to City N. Both are busy pumping the Lord full of Alpha-Trance, a Renegade stimulant. Once the tree turns Gjaum, Mika is to use her Exile/Hanumann powers to fuse with the Lord and spread Renegade-infused pollen over the entire city (a more subtle application of the "Manifestation of the Destroyer" E-Lois).

Why Mika's doing all of this? Well, she only became an Overed a year ago, and she's still pretty scared and confused about her new life, not to mention the old life she can no longer have. But let's hear it from herself:

Mika posted:

"The color of the flowers we saw three years ago was beautiful. But I can never go back to those days."

"I'm tired of fighting, tired of living. All that's left is to become one with the Lord... and die in peace."

Deep.

Anyhow, after figuring everything out, beating up Shadow Night and a bunch of Gjaums that keep popping up as the Lord gets crazier, it's finally time to confront Mika, who has fused with the Lord, adding her own powers to its own Orcus/Solaris set. Also, the fusion apparently makes her naked.


Classy.

Depending on how the relationship between Mika and PC1 develop, the Lord with either sacrifice his own life to save Mika (leading into her getting her act together and eventually becoming an UGN Illegal), or they both turn into Gjaum and get die together.

This Scenario is also where DX starts having "Test-Play Reports", which are summaries of who the Scenario went for test players. Apparently everything went fine for these groups, except for a case where Mika died and PC1 went Gjaum.

Dual Calamity


If the title and picture makes you think that this Scenario is about trying to help a school girl with a split personality, you're right, though the whole story is a bit crazier.

It all started when Remi "Prospector" Ogata (Neumann/Balor/Angel Halo), UGN researcher and developer of battle personalities, goes a bit crazy scientist and develops Dual Calamity, a battle personality that can take over multiple people with nano-machines.
When the UGN tried to stop her from unleashing Dual Calamity, she defected to False Hearts and is now hunted by PC2, which the Scenario heavily recommends to have the "Dual Personality" T-Lois, adding the backstory of PC2 having gotten his battle personality from Remi back in her sane days.

While this is going on, PC1 is tasked to monitor his schoolmate Yuu Takahara. The UGN had her diagnosed with a case of Morpheus/Salamandray Syndrome (do they take secret urine or blood tests?), but she has yet to actually awaken.

In order to monitor her, PC1 has to enlist into the Astronomy club, which appears to be some kind of alibi club because Yuu has so far been the only active member. Before PC1 arrives, she was all alone :smith:

Since you is incredible shy, the two-person club meeting will mostly consist of them sitting awkwardly in a room and reading astronomy books. When PC1 finally talks to her, she keeps stammering about stars and even asks PC1 whether he likes stars.

Yuu posted:

(Say you like them) "R-really?"

(Say you don't) "O-oh... yeah."
Not sure if funny or sad.

She finally gets around telling PC1 that she bought a new telescope and would like for them to watch the stars together, but then she becomes too embarassed and uses the bell ringing as a n excuse to GTFO. In the hallway, she overhears two girls talking about the Silver Rain, a rain falling on a clear night sky that can supposedly change your personality. I think you can guess where this is going.

Unsurprisingly, the next day PC1 encounters Yuu with a new hairstyle, a much more cheerful personality and a getup I can't believe the school lets her get away with. To make this even more confusing, she suddenly reverts back to her old self mid-sentence and runs away in panic and confusion.

As it turns out, the Silver Rain was actually Dual Calamity, which PC4 (in this Scenario an UGN Agent who has fought him on multiple occasion) can confirm because Dual Calamity likes to say "happy" a lot.
While PC1 has to deal with a Yuu that appears to switch over to the Dual Calamity personality more and more often, Dual Calamity finds out that PC1 has a Renegade Crystal (another T-Lios recommendation from the Scenario) while trying to literally backstab him. He wants the crystal for himself, and Yuu is just the right bait for this job. And he has no trouble using her unawakened powers.

While this is going on, the PCs have to track down Remi, deal with other Dual Calamity "bodies" and hopefully find and destroy Dual Calamity's server that keeps the nanites flowing. The last one is the main factor that determines whether Dual Calamity can be destroyed for good and whether or not Yuu dies in the process.

The final confrontation features both Dual Calamity and Remi duking it out with the PCs on a hill at night, with Dual Calamity eager for PC1's Renegade Crystal because it would allow him to spread over the entire world.

quote:

"Hey... PC1"

"Don't the stars look beautiful? This is what I wanted you to see."

"It's nice that we could do this together..." (Passes out / dies)
:smith:

The Test-Play Report tells us that PC2 used the whole battle personality focus to flesh out his own, and that spamming Dual Calamity's favorite word "happy" made it easy to figure out when Yuu was being possessed. And they got curbstomped in the final battle.

Scenario Starters

Just a few short adventure ideas, so here goes:

  • From Hell: What if a member of the archeology team from 20 years ago got locked up in the ruins and has no escaped as a Gjaum rage monster out for revenge?
  • The Forgotten City: Following a series of disappearing UGN Agent, the PCs stumble upon the mysterious City F and an even more mysterious little girl. Turns out the whole place is a memory-devouring Renegade Being!
  • Childhood's End: A young False Hearts agent trolls the media by claiming to be an alien, and tries to turn people into monsters with Gjaum cola.
  • The Many Little Wars: Rumors of a doppelganger of one of the PCs turn out to be true, and the doppelganger claims to be the original.
  • Legend of the Art: A Xenos member forces the PCs into a shounen fighting tournament, with the opponents being copies of legendary martial artists like Miyamoto Musashi, James Figg and probably also Bruce Lee and maybe Jackie Chan, too.

And with that, my content for this year ends. I find the first Scenario a bit so-so, but the second one and these Starters are just crazy.

Next Time: Public Enemy - forget the satanic panic, lets be terrorists!

Doresh fucked around with this message at 23:32 on Dec 31, 2015

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Simian_Prime posted:

Ugh. The basic concept seems good, but then it falls into the Pathfinder trap of throwing a crazy grab-bag of crap at you with no coherence.

"Your party arrives in 1920's Russia and RASPUTIN'S there and BABA YAGA is his mom and ANASTASIA is there and Prince Alexi's a THREE-HEADED DRAGON and you're just constantly FIGHTING AND BLOWING poo poo UP!!!"

It's like a game written by an over-caffeinated 12-year old, and with the PF rule set you know the whole thing is going to be a tedious exercise. Pathfinder is truly the new RIFTS.
Nope. Its an exact duplicate of D&D. Nothing more nothing less. Even 4th edition had a weird as all hell reference to what that Adventure Path references though I've never exactly been bothered to figure out who was the original person to equate Baba Yaga comes from our earth.

Kurieg posted:

One thing that's kind of bizarrely impressive about Pathfinder is that they crammed so much random poo poo into it. Robots? Sure. Aliens? From which planet, we have several. Sentient Plant People specifically designed to be ridiculously delicious by their creator? Wizards shouldn't be trusted with nice things.

That's not even getting into the officially published adventure where you take a portal to 1920's-ish Russia in search of Baba Yaga and end up killing Rasputin.
Ehhh... I don't think Pathfinder ever compares to D&D at its weirdest. What makes Pathfinder odd really is that there is only one setting whereas in base D&D its typically comparmentalized into many smaller thematic settings.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at 00:06 on Jan 1, 2016

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

MadScientistWorking posted:

Nope. Its an exact duplicate of D&D. Nothing more nothing less. Even 4th edition had a weird as all hell reference to what that Adventure Path references though I've never exactly been bothered to figure out who was the original person to equate Baba Yaga comes from our earth.

Ehhh... I don't think Pathfinder ever compares to D&D at its weirdest. What makes Pathfinder odd really is that there is only one setting whereas in base D&D its typically comparmentalized into many smaller thematic settings.

Just from a quick google, Baba Yaga is a figure from Slavic folklore as a witch/crone figure.

It got involved in D&D because early D&D was a pastiche of whatever random mythology Gygax wanted to pull out of his rear end and throw into the game, and specifically it seems like Gygax homed in on the fact that the hut she lives in is described as being raised on chicken-leg stilts, and that the dimensions of the inside of the hut seem to defy explanation.

He translated this into the hut's leg-stilts being literally large 12-foot long chicken legs that can run really fast over terrain and smack around adventurers with ease, while Baba Yaga herself is a powerful magic-user that's going to hurl all manner of destructive spells at adventurers as she uses the hut to travel across multiple dimensional planes. The insides of the hut are then some sort of labyrinthine construction that's many times larger than what it looks like from the outside.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


gradenko_2000 posted:

Just from a quick google, Baba Yaga is a figure from Slavic folklore as a witch/crone figure.

It got involved in D&D because early D&D was a pastiche of whatever random mythology Gygax wanted to pull out of his rear end and throw into the game, and specifically it seems like Gygax homed in on the fact that the hut she lives in is described as being raised on chicken-leg stilts, and that the dimensions of the inside of the hut seem to defy explanation.

He translated this into the hut's leg-stilts being literally large 12-foot long chicken legs that can run really fast over terrain and smack around adventurers with ease, while Baba Yaga herself is a powerful magic-user that's going to hurl all manner of destructive spells at adventurers as she uses the hut to travel across multiple dimensional planes. The insides of the hut are then some sort of labyrinthine construction that's many times larger than what it looks like from the outside.
I meant why is she does she also have a connection to earth. In 4th edition you actually come across a Soviet Tank while exploring her hut. Like the only other character in all of D&D that I know of which can travel to earth is Elminster.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

gradenko_2000 posted:

Just from a quick google, Baba Yaga is a figure from Slavic folklore as a witch/crone figure.

It got involved in D&D because early D&D was a pastiche of whatever random mythology Gygax wanted to pull out of his rear end and throw into the game, and specifically it seems like Gygax homed in on the fact that the hut she lives in is described as being raised on chicken-leg stilts, and that the dimensions of the inside of the hut seem to defy explanation.

He translated this into the hut's leg-stilts being literally large 12-foot long chicken legs that can run really fast over terrain and smack around adventurers with ease, while Baba Yaga herself is a powerful magic-user that's going to hurl all manner of destructive spells at adventurers as she uses the hut to travel across multiple dimensional planes. The insides of the hut are then some sort of labyrinthine construction that's many times larger than what it looks like from the outside.

Which is awesome as hell, and one of the best parts of Gygaxian GMing. The man gave no fucks.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.

Buglord



WEG WotC FFG

If you are reading this on the Internet (as opposed to from a yellowed printout you found in a data cache while seeking a respite from your post-apocalyptic hellscape), very likely you know what Star Wars is, so I won't bother regurgitating it here.

There have been three major groups of Star Wars RPGs published over the last few decades. From 1987 to 1999, West End Games published the first one, which later became the D6 System. From 2000 to 2012, Wizards of the Coast published a RPG based on their d20 System; the "Saga Edition" released in 2007 brought the game a little closer to D&D 4e's simplicity.

But we don't care about any of that. In 2012, Fantasy Flight Games released a beta version of Edge of the Empire, the first game in their Star Wars line. This line includes three games which all use the same system (with one unique stat per game); characters from one game's rules can join a campaign running under another ruleset very easily.

  • Edge of the Empire is intended for scoundrel-type characters: smugglers, bounty hunters, etc. The cover art shows Han and Chewie. The custom stat is Obligation.
  • Age of Rebellion is intended for members of the Rebellion: ace pilots, diplomats, generals. The cover art shows Luke (in his pilot suit) and Leia (in her white robe). The custom stat is Duty.
  • Force and Destiny is intended for Force-sensitives who may or may not actually be Jedi. The cover art shows Darth Vader and Obi-Wan. The custom stat is Morality.

Each of the games provides a core book, a GM's guide and screen, a variety of supplements, and a "Beginner Game" which retails for US$30. We're going to take a look at the Beginner Game for Force and Destiny, though I'm told the basic structure of the beginner games is the same for all three.



The front of the box shows two of the pregenerated characters, while the sides show Yoda, Obi-Wan, Vader, and Palpatine (none of whom feature in the game). The box itself is made of really flimsy cardstock; it will probably not hold up to repeated opening and closing.



Most of the interior volume is actually wasted. The game materials take up a third of the box volume; the rest is a cardboard spacer.



The box includes a "Read This First" flyer, a 32-page "Adventure Book" labeled "Read This Second", and a 48-page rulebook labeled "Read This Last". It also has a dual-sided map and a bunch of cardboard creature (and Destiny pool) tokens, four pregenerated character booklets, a set of the special dice FFG invented for their game line, and a booklet showing FFG's many other fine products which are available for purchase. There's also extra resources for free on their website: a 40-page followup adventure and two more pregenerated character booklets.

The "Read This First" flyer is your basic "what is a roleplaying game" and "here is a transcript of some people playing". The transcript doesn't go into detail about mechanics; it just talks about making skill checks and using Force powers without giving any numbers. On the reverse is a classic "opening scroll" showing the adventure hook:



Next time, I'll discuss the pregenerated character booklets and the first few scenes of the Adventure Book.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



MadScientistWorking posted:

I meant why is she does she also have a connection to earth. In 4th edition you actually come across a Soviet Tank while exploring her hut. Like the only other character in all of D&D that I know of which can travel to earth is Elminster.

That's a callback to the original "Dancing Hut" module printed in Dragon #85, the one that actually used a tesseract to map out the inside. One room in the hut is a museum that includes a Soviet JS-1 tank -- the module says Baba Yaga picked it up while visiting Earth during World War II. (The module is also careful to note that it cannot be made operable, even with a wish.)

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

They named the polar bear splat... polar bear. Bra-loving-vo.

From what I've heard of the Pathfinder Alien wank from a friend, it strikes me as a callback to things like Blackmoor, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and even Metamorphosis: Alpha. Or, if you were around for the bleating about 3E being like Diablo, the Might and Magic games.

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!


MadScientistWorking posted:

Like the only other character in all of D&D that I know of which can travel to earth is Elminster.

Specifically to hang out with Ed Greenwood and tell Ed what a great guy he is.

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.

EDIT: Wrong thread

Simian_Prime fucked around with this message at 11:27 on Jan 1, 2016

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Bieeardo posted:

They named the polar bear splat... polar bear. Bra-loving-vo.

From what I've heard of the Pathfinder Alien wank from a friend, it strikes me as a callback to things like Blackmoor, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and even Metamorphosis: Alpha. Or, if you were around for the bleating about 3E being like Diablo, the Might and Magic games.
I thought it would be Spelljammer and Planescape more than anything.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Kurieg posted:

Yeah 1920's ish, yes they explain it, and Yes there is, apparently it, like the rest of the reign of winter, is pretty good.

Is this guy really bad at selling the adventure? Because a near-constant march from fight to fight, sideways swarm mechanics that somehow reduce the number of rolls even though all the individual soldiers act on their own initiative, and a final fight vs an 18th-level full caster that you have to kill three times doesn't sound very fun


This is ignoring the SHOCKING TWISTS like Anastasia Romanov being the secret daughter of Rasputin granddaughter to Baba Yaga, and also heir to some Golarion throne, which sounds dumb no matter what

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Nuns with Guns posted:

Is this guy really bad at selling the adventure? Because a near-constant march from fight to fight, sideways swarm mechanics that somehow reduce the number of rolls even though all the individual soldiers act on their own initiative, and a final fight vs an 18th-level full caster that you have to kill three times doesn't sound very fun

Welcome to Pathfinder, enjoy your stay.

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senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




Nuns with Guns posted:

Is this guy really bad at selling the adventure? Because a near-constant march from fight to fight, sideways swarm mechanics that somehow reduce the number of rolls even though all the individual soldiers act on their own initiative, and a final fight vs an 18th-level full caster that you have to kill three times doesn't sound very fun


This is ignoring the SHOCKING TWISTS like Anastasia Romanov being the secret daughter of Rasputin granddaughter to Baba Yaga, and also heir to some Golarion throne, which sounds dumb no matter what

He's kinda bad at selling it, but you probably wouldn't like it anyway since it's mostly just a bunch of fights (although there's certainly room to throw other things in there). I'm also not sure how you got what you did about troop rules from his summary, though. Instead of, say, 20 soldiers all with their own initiative and attacks, they're lumped into one Troop that has only a couple of (AoE) attacks it can use. If you have more than one Troop they each get their own initiative, not each soldier.

As for the throne thing, the Queen of Irrisen is always a daughter of Baba Yaga, or one of their descendants. Since the point of Reign of Winter is to get rid of the current one for trying to take over the world

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