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Aug 14, 2005

we aaaaare
not your kind of pearls
you seem kind of pho~ny
everything's a liiiiie

we aaaare
not your kind of pearls
something in your make~up
don't see eye to e~y~e

Mors Rattus posted:

Other reasons that nChangeling is the infinitely superior game: Child Satyr.



Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I forget, did Dreaming ever try to address the problem inherent in childling satyrs or did it just ignore that it had an X-splat based on being prepubescent and a Y-splat based on having lots of sex, and that these two had an uncomfortable intersection?

Oct 9, 2011

Rand Brittain posted:

I forget, did Dreaming ever try to address the problem inherent in childling satyrs or did it just ignore that it had an X-splat based on being prepubescent and a Y-splat based on having lots of sex, and that these two had an uncomfortable intersection?

They made Satyrs into being about more than just sex. They became about passion and obsession. A Wilder satyr might be obsessed with sex, but a Grump satyr might be obsessed with parliamentary debate, and so a Childer might be obsessed with... stickers? Or something. I don't know what kids are doing these days.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Meinberg posted:

Or something. I don't know what kids are doing these days.

I think kids today are pretty into that "pogs" thing.

Redeye Flight
Mar 26, 2010

God, I'm so tired. What the hell did I post last night?

Meinberg posted:

They made Satyrs into being about more than just sex. They became about passion and obsession. A Wilder satyr might be obsessed with sex, but a Grump satyr might be obsessed with parliamentary debate, and so a Childer might be obsessed with... stickers? Or something. I don't know what kids are doing these days.

Candy Crush Saga.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Tumblr .gifs and smartphones.

May 7, 2007

Meinberg posted:

I don't know what kids are doing these days.

Mindjacking low-tier decker scrubs who wouldn't know a sculp from a roxi.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica: The Contested Isle

The bards, unlike the faithi and draoithe, managed to survive. The Christians saw them as mere poets, and the Diedne as just petty magicians, and so they are virtually unchanged. They preserve the old legends and the Christian homilies, and they compose new works for their royal patrons. Today, they call themselves filidh, to distance themsevles from their druidic origins. Bardic study is divided into nine grades. The first four years are basic education - grammar, composition, history, genealogy, geography and society. Bardic schools fulfill the job grammar schools do elsewhere in Europe, educating the sons of the aristocracy. Any pupile that passes the (rather difficult) test at the end of four years can claim the title 'fili'. Bards who remain at the school continue to learn the tales and expand their memories massively. A senior bard is expected to know at least 200 stories and can compose poems layered with interpretation. Thge highest rank, Ollamh, takes twelve years of continuous study, and only an ollamh can found their own school. The ard-ollamh Erenn, the chief bard of Ireland, is not just the personal bard of the high king, but also the king of the bards. Only one whose father and grandfather were also bards can become the chief bard, and they mediate disputes between bards and non-bards as well as setting the fashion for poems and prose. Only the chief bard can strip a bard of their rank. The last chief bard was Giolla Ernain Ua Martain, who died in 1218, and a successor has not been chosen.

Bards are extremely respected, a respect that dates back to the druids. While the ocncept of bardic immunity, once guaranteed by the high king, is gone now, a bard's reputation still carries a lot of weight. A bard can expect basic hospitality from the Irish, and it was long forbidden to start feuds with bards. Even bandits and thieves fear attakcing or stealing from bards, so they can walk the roads in relative safety just by their reputation. There are several bardic schools, but four are more notable than others. The most famous bardic family, of course, is the Ui Dalaigh school of Dromnea. Most chief bards of the past 600 years have been Dalaigh, and the school was founded by Cearbhall Fionn mac Aonghus Ua Dalaigh after he received the gift of poetry from the milk of a faerie cow. The famous Cu Connacht Ua Dalaigh was celebrated as the finest of bards in all Ireland, alive or dead, and was the great grandfather of the current family had, Donnchadh Mor Ua Dalaigh. The school is in Dromnea, on the Mhuintir Bhaire peninsula of Connacht, which the Ua Dalaighs rule as chieftains.

Second is the Ui hEodhasa school, Baile Ui Eodhasa, on the shores of the Lough Erne in Ulster. They're famous for their epic poetry, focusing on grand battles and heroic slaughters. Such dramatic poems are no longer in fashion, so the Baile Ui Eodhasa are now rather weak and struggling to find patrons. Third are the Ui hUighinns of Ceall Cluaine, better known as Kilcloney in Leinster. They are the smallest of the four great schools, and famous for their intricate and beautiful tales that layer meaning after meaning on the story structure. They are also the greatest producers of magical stories, and the only bardic school that teaches music, though they do not hold it to the same bardic standards as prose and poetry. Last are the Mac Craiths, the hereditary poets of the U Briains. They are Munster bards, based out of Cahir Castle near Waterford, and perhaps the most politically obvious of the bardic schools. (The Ui Dalaigh are just as active, but much more subtle.)

You can, obviously, play a bard. Bards are protected by reputation and tradition, and are often able to mesmerize and invoke emotion with their stories and poems. They are rarely musicians, officially, though many do learn music. Still, combining music with bardic tales is a great sin in the eyes of tradition. They have extremely good memories. Some bards are magical, as well, using the ancient power of the old druidic bards, though not all can attain such power and no bard will admit it exists. Some bards of power are Maistirs, the Irish variant of the Maestro, and many of those along with some non-Maistir bards are Wordsmiths, particularly among the Ui HUiginn, who can even sometimes create more complex Craft Magic stories, like the Rusticani of Ex Miscellanea.

A Wordsmith is a bard who has the power to compose magical poems. These enchantments are made like normal magic items, save that they are not crafted by hand, but by mouth. Unlike most wondrous crafters, a wordsmith can create magical effects of any Art, but are instead limited in other ways. They gain only half the normal bonuses from shape and material of items that form a major part of the story or poem, and more importantly are limited in effect: they can only create personal-range, performance-duration, sound-target spells. Like other wondrous items, a wondrous tale can only be used by the person for whom it was made, and no one else - they just get words. When the intended user activates the magic by reciting the tale, it forms an Arcane Connection to them in the form of their speech.

Now, let's talk about geasa. A geas is an enchantment in which certain actions result in magical punishment. They were one of the great tools of the druids, applied to kings and champions to mark them as great heroes, and applied to enemies as curses. A fortifying geas strengthens its bearer, generally providing a minor Virtue along with a prohibition Flaw. If the Flaw's condition is broken, both Virtue and Flaw vanish, though it may be possible to perform a quest to regain them from whoever originally granted them. Often, such a Virtue has a minor supernatural manifestation - if you are blessed with skill in arms, your weapons might hum as you wield them, while a blessing of toughness might make you grow horny, thick skin. A prohibition geas is just the flaw, with no benefit. If you break the stricture, you lose the prohibition but gain a new flaw, either a permanent minor one or a temporary major one that can be removed via questing or time. Such a major flaw, if lost, restores the prohibition when it goes away. A blight geas is like a prohibition geas, but the cause is external rather than the character. Most famous among blight geasa is the ces noidhen, or Macha's Birth Pangs, which curses all trueborn, pureblooded male Erainn. When their homes - village, parish or province - are threatened, they are afflicted with the pains of childbirth for five days and four nights. This pain is statistically represented as a Medoim wound, which can worsen as normal and is treated as normal in all ways, save for two. First: you can't die of it. Second: medicine and chirurgy cannot heal the wound, for its pain is entirely phantasmal.

The conditions of a geas usually involve a type of person or creature (such as priests, otters, women or horses), a class of objects (swords, crowns or cabbages) or a location (by a ditch, under a roof, in Connacht). This thing is then linked to a circumstance, such as wearing, eating or harming it. The final part is the injunction. Prohibition geasa typically use 'never': Never harm a woman, never help a priest, never swim in the sea. Fortifying geasa can use 'never' but typically use 'always': Always help a woman in need, always wear a beard, always sleep alone. Blight geasa typically use 'while' or 'if.' While you are alone, while you are on the sea, if Ulster is in need.

So, how about non-humans? The Fomorach were never met by the first invaders of Ireland, the people of Cessair, but have always claimed to be the aboriginal people of Ireland. They have a strong tie to the sea, to darkness and to winter, so they easily survived the Flood and fought all later invaders, until their power was broken at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. They retreated to the islands north of Ireland, where they still dwell. The elders of the Fomorach were the children of the goddess Domnu, who was a ruler of abyssal darkness. These mythical kings - Balor of the Evil Eye, Cichol the Footless and Indech, to name a few - still exist as kosmokrators, immense spirits able to manifest vast elemental forms. They were defeated by the faerie gods of the Tuatha De Danann at the battle of Magh Tuireadh, and ever since they have withdrawn their aspects from the world and play no parti n mortal affairs. Today's fomorach are greatly diminished in power, and locked into horribly deformed bodies of immense size. Most have given up their predatory ways, though some are still pirates of less-used shipping routes. Their kingdom, of course, is Tir Ghomoraig, north of Ulster.

Fomoir, stastically, are Magic Humans. All of them are at least ten feet tall, and many larger than that. All of them are obviously deformed, though no two are exactly alike. Cichol the Footless had the lower body of a snake, Lot had four eyes on her back and a bloated mouth on her chest, and her husband Goll had no eyes on his face at all. Human descendants of a famoir may display similar deformities when they enter their battle-rage. Fomorach are associated with water, and often have powers related to the oceanic abyss. All of them are cursed to weaken and not heal when they set fot on Irish soil, and all of them possess the power to breathe and function normally underwater with no penalties whatsoever.

Now, the Fir Bolg. They came after the flood that destroyed the Nemedians, as three tribes: Fir Bolg, Fir Domhnann and Gaileoin, though the Fir Bolg were most numerous and so gave their name to the race. They landed in the southern part of Ireland but soon spread through the land and were the ones to create the provinces, with the exception of Meath. As they spread north, they found Fomorach cities. Initially, they fought, but peace was gained via Fir Bolg tribute, and they became a slave race to the Fomorach, growing food for their masters. When the Tuatha De Danann came, the balance shifted. The Fir Bolg were given the choice of one province to retire to once they were defeated; they took Connacht. When the Fomorach came looking for their tribute, the Fir Bolg were gone and the Tuatha De were ready to fight. The Fir Bolg are now rare in Connacht and dwell primarily on the isles of Aran. It is said that the Fir Bolg were once human, but moreso - taller, stronger, handsomer and more skilled. They were peaceful, expert farmers with power over fertility. However, the Fomorach bred with them, and today, few Fir Bolg have escaped the deformities of their mixed blood. Only the royalty are free of it.

Fir Bolg are statistically humans with Magical Blood. Most of them have a superhuman attribute and are around six to eight feet tall. Unless they have royal blood, they also suffer the deformities of the Fomoir, and while originally peaceful, their monstrous blood has made them wrathful and bloodthirsty, often suffering the Riastradh. Royal firbolg often retain some powers of healing or fertility.

So - what's the Riastradh? Ancient Irish heroes were famous for it, the battle transformation, along with the clesa. This transformation is due to descent from the Fomorach, either directly or via the Fir Bolg. Any amount of Fomoir blood is enough to have the possibility of the Riastradh, and it is also possible to have a lesser form by taking the Berserk virtue. The Riastradh is most famously a trait of the hero Cu Chulainn, who inherited it from his half-Fomoir father, Lugh. The Riastradh is a major part of anyone who has it, who always suffers either violent fury or at least wrathful nature. It is an involuntary shift to a fomoir form that occurs when you get angry. Any time you might get angry, you can either let it happen or try to resist it, though you must roll to resist each round that your anger's stimulus is still there. Pain is the most common stimulus. The Riastradh changes your skin color, bulges your muscles obscenely and may cause bones or bone spikes to pop out of your skin. Each one is unique, and you get three fomoir powers free. You can get more by taking fomour weaknesses, one for one.

Powers include two different levels of 'being huge', which can stack together, improved ability to soak damage, improved combat initiative with a single type of weapon, which can stack with itself, and improved skill with a single type of weapon, which can also stack with itself. Weaknesses include deafness, an appearance so horrible that you cannot even begin to interact socially - not even to lead men in battle, a bloodlust that takes you for as long as the Riastradh lasts and forces you to keep attacking innocents and friends when you run out of enemies, or a reduced ability to defend yourself. If you change size, your armor falls off when you transform. Your are immune to penalties from fatigue while transformed, but still suffer Fatigue - you just ignore it until you fall unconscious. Becoming unconscious is the sole way to end the Riastradh, though you can speed it along by deliberately exerting yourself.

Next time: Magical Beasts.

Aug 14, 2005

we aaaaare
not your kind of pearls
you seem kind of pho~ny
everything's a liiiiie

we aaaare
not your kind of pearls
something in your make~up
don't see eye to e~y~e

"Dreams come easiest to us when we're young. Before we're taught the way the 'real world' is, we live in a state of grace, believing that anything is possible. As children, we take every opportunity we can to act out that unlimited possibility. As pirates or astronauts, ballerinas or ninjas, we turn cardboard boxes into spaceships, backyards into desert islands, and treehouses into armoured forts. Fantastic worlds are within our grasp, and fantastic creatures - like faeries, dragons, and monsters - seem like they're only a heartbeat away. We can go anyone.

Somewhere along the way, we lose that enthusiasm. We stop playing and start surviving. Life becomes a matter of getting by, and our idealism is replaced by realism. We seek stable 9-to-5 lives, live in quiet homes, and narcotize ourselves in front of flickering television sets. The world of imagination is set aside as our lives become banal. Inexorably, our passion for life mellows into the contentment of security or hardens into the bitterness of failure."

Blah blah your wanderlust is replaced by a videotape collection and a retirement plan bluh bloo welcome to the Introduction to The Autumn People.

I'm not going to devote too many :words: to this, simply because everything'll come up in more detail later in the book and there's no funny/terrible lexicon this time. Anyways! So, the opening tells us, Kithain are the lone holdouts against the oncoming tide, keeping the power of make-believe and childlike creativity and etc. alive and isn't it terrible that they're the only ones dreaming in this bleak, banal world? The book throws this at us, and then it goes on to tell us about some people who sink so far into the mundane that they KILL DREAMS OKAY

Two main types! First, there are Innocents! Who are innocent. Because they KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO. (and what they do is KILL DREAMS UGH WHY ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF A MAGICKAL WORLD GOSH) Examples offered include teachers who take away students' comic books because comics are "dumb" "trash", out-of-touch bosses, fussy parents who want to protect their children by censoring saucyviolent books/tv, conformists, and joyless mope-mopes and boring dads and so on who suck the life and creativity out of everyone around them because SO DULL.

Second, Dauntain! They do know a magical world exists, but they're big ol' haters who can't stop hatin' all these vivacious dreamers so they try to snuff out all the magic and joy in the world. (See, you can tell they're haters, because they had the potential to become Kithain but "trauma and sorrow" twisted them into fun-ruiners who "reject their fae nature.") Examples include...well, there's only one here, and it's ~THE GRANDFATHER OF DEPROGRAMMING IMAGINATION, A VISIONARY YET DEVIANT SCIENTIST NAMED DR. ANTON STARK~ (i'm pretty sure they've used this exact line a few times in the books and holy poo poo it doesn't get less weird with familiarity), a psychiatrist who decided all this whimsical fun had to end so he "brought on her childhood's end" with "psychological counseling, cold reason, and arrogant condescension." Oh, and a boatload of drugs. And institutionalisation. And he goes on to do this to others and most of them just end up catatonic. (And uh is it just me or is there some p. creepy sub-subtext here?)

Also they loving love stepping on leaves and/or watching them fall and die (which, to be fair, i can empathise with -- I mean, have you met a leaf that wasn't a complete jerk? Every season save winter, they're all like ~~~blooms, sits there obnoxiously, falls in your coffee~~~ HA DEAL WITH IT NERD -- but even so it's kind of a weird thing to keep coming back to.)

The last part goes into mood ("tragic sorrow," unless countered with "manic creativity") and theme ("the death of creativity" :v: ), along with some chronicle advice. See, w/r/t the Autumn People, you can run a horrifying game for doomed people and just swim in fear and misery and loss, or you can run a lighthearted game where your totally random pooka characters can freak the mundanes a bunch! (No, really, it says this.)

It reminds us, though, that the Dauntain totally aren't moustache-twirling villains who want to ruin everyone's fun because evil before going off to kick some puppies. They have motivations and beliefs! Individual ones, even! NUANCED ANTAGONISTS OKAY

Next time, Chapter One: Watching at the Window, in which the writers pander pretty blatantly to their core demographic.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine

It's nice that Iron Man became a capitalist war profiteer instead of a Psych Major, I guess?

Also the leaves metaphor for the beauty and death of childhood is hilarious and they need to keep riding that fucker to the bank and back. Talk about knowing your audience.

Mr. Maltose fucked around with this message at 20:11 on Jan 13, 2014

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

I'd actually forgotten that "freak the mundanes" was a thing people said seriously, completely unironically, and with conviction back in the 90's.

So thanks for that, I guess.

Feb 13, 2012

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

In fairness to the horrible killers of all that is joyful and creative, crunching up leaves is fun as hell and something I did constantly as a child. So I guess I'm pretty evil.

General Ironicus
Aug 21, 2008

Something about this feels kinda hinky

GimpInBlack posted:

So give me your concepts for characters recruited into a weird, secretive, privately-wealthy paranormal investigation society. Remember that everybody recruited into the Society has a psychic power of some kind. Powers, like most of character creation, are pretty freeform, but to fit with the game's mythology they should generally be related to space and/or time (e.g. remote viewing or precognition moreso than telekinesis or mind control). Or you can leave your concept's power unknown and I'll pick something interesting. If I get enough concepts, I'll make an entire Seven Dogs Society!

Jimmy is a good southern boy with the best survival bunker in the county. His bug-out bag never leaves his side and he could live off the land for as long as it takes for order to be restored. Of course the reason he's so sure that all the zombie stuff has some truth to it is that he sees dead people all the time.

Mar 21, 2007

Ningyou posted:

Also they loving love stepping on leaves and/or watching them fall and die (which, to be fair, i can empathise with -- I mean, have you met a leaf that wasn't a complete jerk? Every season save winter, they're all like ~~~blooms, sits there obnoxiously, falls in your coffee~~~ HA DEAL WITH IT NERD -- but even so it's kind of a weird thing to keep coming back to.)

What the hell? When I was a kid I loved stomping on leaves. They go crunch in this really awesome way. And my bike was a spaceship and the leaves were aliens and I'd zoom along the sidewalk shouting "zap zap" and crushing the leaves and saving the earth, and even now when I'm riding back from work I will still sometimes secretly run over dead leaves and whisper "zap" to myself. If they think crushing leaves is some evil sign of a lack of imagination they need to go stomp on a bunch of leaves.

And man, the description of CtD is making me kinda want to run Animal House as a Changeling game. Dean Wormer, best villain. Ah, oWoD, personal drama and tragedy, truly a darkened mirror ~~~

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

Ningyou posted:

The lexicon from the intro, the opening fiction, leading into the dumb ~~freedom of the streets~~ thing by asking "why a 14yo girl would suck cocks in bus stations when she could be anywhere else"
At the other end of the spectrum, though....well, some "whitebread loser" with "his semen still warm in some 14yo boy's mouth" (whyyyyyy does the writer keep coming back to fourteen-year-old prostitutes that's kind of weirdly, frighteningly specific)

They're not "coming back" to them, it's the same prostitute in both examples, a subtle emphasizing of Mr. Minivan's utter cluelessness about the world beyond his Miracle-Gro front lawn where people stop being polite and start being real.

Also who the gently caress didn't love stomping through the dead leaves every fall when they were a kid.

Cynical-Pop Meikyuu Kingdom Dungeon Theater

Chapter 4.2: Tour of Data - Common Items

Items! They're what you own. Broadly split into two categories: Common and Rare. Common Items are the mundane things, easily bought with plain old cash money during the Kingdom Phase; Rare Items are the magical artifacts and suchlike, and are generally much harder to get your hands on. Rares are listen in the Dungeon Book, though, so data-wise, it's all Commons for now.

All characters have six Item Slots which represent their inventory. Each Item takes up one Slot unless specified otherwise in the Effect Text, and a character can only use Items which they have equipped in a Slot. So, a Knight equipped with a sword, shield, and a suit of armor would have half of their Item Slots filled just kitting themselves up for battle, never mind anything else they might want to carry along. Space management is essential!

Each Item Slot can also hold up to 10 Materials, of which there are also ten types: Meat, Fangs, Leather, Wood, Iron, Cloth, Reagents, Machinery, Gunpowder and Information. Materials can be used to craft Common or even Rare Items during the Kingdom Phase, and each Item has listed on its card the components required to make it. Any number of an Item can be made in a single action provided you have enough Materials on hand, although you can't make more than the Court has open Slots to carry.

Unless you combine the Items together, creating instead a single Item with an increased Item Level (unless the Item you're making doesn't have a Level to increase). Crafted or purchased Items always start at Level 0 (though Items looted from Monsters may have some Levels on them already), and can be raised up to a maximum Level of 10 by crafting, special events, or using certain Skills or Facilities. Naturally, higher Levels mean better effects: weapons do more damage, food restores more HP, that sort of thing.

Item effects have the same range of Action Types and Targets as I told you about in the first Advanced Skills post, so go back and read that one if you can't remember because I hate repeating myself. DATA TIME!!


    Blade - The king of weapons: a long sharp pointy bit with a handle attached to the blunter end. Flavor text heartily endorses reskinning into whatever sort of blade you fancy, from popular standbys such as broad swords and katanas to more exotic choices like flamberges or kukris.
    Dagger - The young prince of weapons: a short sharp pointy bit with a handle attached to the blunter end. Not as much to reskin here, so the flavor text instead has a Dungeon Boss calculating how many Rounds are left until the little girl poking him with one finally takes the last of his <HP>. Yeah, it's that sort of game at times.
    Battle Axe - The something big and menacing of weapons: a sharp edged bit at the end of a longer handle. Reskin suggestions stray a bit from the expected, including pickaxes and sickles alongside pulaskis and bardiches.
    Shield (Buckler) - The captain of the weapons guard: a sheet of some hard material strapped to one arm.
    Spear - The prime minister of weapons: a sharp pointy bit with a really long handle attached to it, so you can get your licks in without getting licked back.
    Shuriken - The ninja of weapons. The weapon of ninja. They're a ding-dang Class, you had to know these'd show up eventually.
    Crossbow - The okay I'm sick of this gag of weapons. Basic pew pew ranged.
    Armor - Hits hurt less.
    War Hammer - Big, heavy and blunt. Reskin suggestions include maces, mauls and... "go-go balls"?? :confused:
    Bomb - Did you know that the “petard” by which people are often said to be hoisted is actually a primitive grenade? :eng101: Well, that’s what I was told a long time ago, anyway, but I just looked it up and it’s actually a primitive breaching charge, so the fact’s not as relevant here as I thought it’d be but I’m leaving it because I haven’t got anything else to say.
    Firearm - Just another one of the many marvels brought about by the progress of MODERN SCIENCE!! :science: Far more damaging than comparable bow weapons!!...although, granted, it’s not any more accurate… despite being considerably more expensive… um… progress? :shobon:
    Great Sword - A sword so big it takes up two Item Slots. For those who want to play as Cloud Strife or Guts or Sagara Sanosuke or well you get the idea.
    Broom - “Now there’s something you don’t see every day, Chauncey.” “What’s that, Edgar?” “Princess disarming a pit trap with a broom.” “Oh, I don’t know. Haven’t you ever heard of ‘mine-sweeping’?” :haw:
    Armor-Piercing Bullet - Some Monsters have damage-reducing Skills; use one of these in an attack to negate them. Still just one to a Slot though, which seems really odd to me since they're just bullets, but whatever.
    Cannon - Only takes up one Slot, but requires at least 10 <Staff> to stay equipped, and burns 1 Gunpowder every time it's fired. Blasts the bejesus out of a whole Area for the trouble, though!


    Pan - An original hand-hammered wok for cooking on the fly.
    Backpack - So many pockets, man, you don't even know.
    Cracker (Clacker) - Y'know those things they sell at New Year's where you pull on a string and confetti comes popping out the other end? That's this. :toot:
    Purse (Frog-Safe) - The Japanese call classic coin purses gama-guchi, "toad mouths". Thus, this ordinary looking bag has a toad sprite living inside of it that will store any coins placed in the bag securely inside of its mouth! Makes perfect sense!
    Cloak - All the greatest adventurers have worn them.
    Cards - A deck of 52 for the passing of time. Friendly round of Spit In The Ocean, anyone?
    Apron - Protects your royal finery from blood spatters during those rip-and-tear moments.
    Citizen Registry (Resident Library) - A comprehensive list of every citizen and their capabilities, so that if the Ninja's chuunin squad gets wiped out by a trap while on reconnaissance, the Vizier can tell at a glance who among the Maid Corps is sufficiently stealth-rated to step in as replacements.
    Mobile Phone (Handy Phone) - ...of course, not trying to start an argument or anything, but he probably wouldn't have lose his chuunin in the first place if he didn't insist on communicating exclusively by trained courier sparrow. Tradition's all well and good, but don't you think they'd have used cell phones back in :airquote:"The Golden Age of Ninjutsu":airquote: if they'd only been INVENTED yet?! :rant:
    Portrait - Paint a picture, it'll last longer.
    Finery (Costume) - Just because you're wading through knee-deep ogre entrails doesn't mean you can't look ~positively fabulous~ while doing it.
    Snack of Sunlight Yellow - If you've read the Meikyuu localization thread at all, you already know the story here. If not, first read aldantefax's initial post about handling cultural references, then either scroll down a ways through the discussion it generated or just skip ahead to where I posted my own findings. Summarizing would just not do it justice.
    Glasses - For those who want to look intelligent. Actual intelligence not included.
    Credit Card - “A magic card that can topple even the mightiest of budgets with a single careless swipe.”
    Grimoire - That’s Latin for “101 Safe & Simple Feats Of Legerdemain To Astonish Your Friends!”.


    Box Lunch (Luncheon) - Light, portable, cheap, filling. This is THE essential right here, folks. All other Items are purely optional.
    Wonder Drug (Antidote) - One-stop cure-all for everything from nerve toxins to plantar warts. "Side effects"? Who has time to worry about that?
    Keepable Foods - "Meals ready-to-eat": three lies in one! Still, better than starving.
    Stretcher - For carrying home those who can't make it on their own.
    Coffee - Aaah, glorious caffeine.
    Chocolate - Valentine's Day is now, always has been, and always will be, nothing but a massive con job. :colbert:
    Alcohol (Drink) - "Humanity was drinking alcohol 5,000 years ago, and we're still drinking it today. Alcohol is humanity's friend. And how could I abandon a friend?"
    Full Course - Expensive, but sometimes a basket full of sandwiches just ain't enough.
    Potion - Pretty sure it's an actual international law that you can't have a fantasy setting without healing potions.
    First-Aid Kit (Trauma Kit) - Bandages and ointments.
    Tonic - [Potion]'s older brother. Marketed by the Hagulma Republic under the name "Ganbari v Do!", which I imagine I'd find to be riffing on some actual Japanese brand if I went looking, but :effort:
    Dungeon Insurance - I was kinda hoping the flavor text would name who or what pays out on these policies, but nope, just a concerned voice making a "just in case" speech to some second party. Dunno how you'd pay out on what's essentially a word of recall scroll, though... guess I was hoping to find that out, too. Oh well.
    Scientific Spice - Essence of Pure Flavor, only with less hallucinogens (probably).
    Love Potion - Well, whaddaya expect?
    Elixir - Not the Holy Grail, but a remarkable facsimile. Just don’t tip it over or you’ll set the whole drat town on fire.


    Flag - :patriot:
    O-Mamori (Amulet) - Actual item. (Also, a quick reminder that the names I provide are literal for clarity, not preference.)
    Star Fragment (Blad of Star) - According to the flavor text, they’re happy to hang around with Landmakers “until they grow up”, so apparently they’re not so much star fragments as star larvae. And, as I believe I mentioned previously, these are your primary sources of light. Christ’s nails, but I love this loving game. :allears:
    Instrument of Torture - Self-explanatory. As with the weapons, the flavor text on this one suggests several options for reskinning: interrogation chairs, witches’ needles, iron maidens, pears…
    Power Wrist (Heavy Wristband) - For weight training. Y’know, like in Dragonball?
    Tent - Yep.
    Instrument -
    Familiar (Animal Companion) - Anything from cattes and dogges to domesticated monsters.
    Mount (Ride) - Man, used to be you had to grind your way up to the level cap to get one of these. Now they’re practically throwing them at newbies. I’ve been with this game since launch, but it’s obvious all they care about is money anymore, so I’m deleting my account and burning all of my Jinx shirts, hoodies, figures, comics, novelisations, trading cards, soundtrack CDs, strategy guides, decals, keychains, jewelry, life-sized loot replicas, and imported body pillow covers in protest. :reject:
    Trap Encyclopedia (Trap Collection) - Perhaps a set of flashcards? :iamafag:
    Dungeon Protection Clothing (Dismaze Gear) - As far as I’m concerned, you’re not using this Item right unless you’re also carrying around a [Mace] reskinned as a crowbar. :colbert:
    Map - Wait! They don't love you like I love you.
    Watch (Ticktick) - The Harlequin’s true sin was not bringing enough for everyone.
    Mole-stick (Living Drill) - Literally a mole tied to the end of a stick. You point the stick at a wall, and the mole digs through it. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this game?
    Pumpkin Coach (Pumpkin Wagon) - Flavor text says that by feeding milk to Monsters for 100 days straight, they’ll turn into a team of white horses, which was part of the original story maybe? I never got around to reading them, so :shrug: Anyway, it then goes on to talk about how the first Pumpkin Coach was used by a princess from a certain small kingdom to… assassinate an imperial prince?! :magical: I knew the Grimm versions were darker, but holy poo poo!

That’s it for Common Items. Next time: infrastructure!
The verb “itomeru” literally means “to stop with a shot”, with the implication that the target has been stopped by death, but can also be used as a euphemism for capturing another’s affections. So don’t worry, the prince is probably just fine!

Aug 14, 2005

we aaaaare
not your kind of pearls
you seem kind of pho~ny
everything's a liiiiie

we aaaare
not your kind of pearls
something in your make~up
don't see eye to e~y~e

Bitchtits McGee posted:

They're not "coming back" to them, it's the same prostitute in both examples, a subtle emphasizing of Mr. Minivan's utter cluelessness about the world beyond his Miracle-Gro front lawn where people stop being polite and start being real.

Uh, not to nitpick or nothing, but I'm pretty sure they aren't the same prostitute, what with the two of them being different genders. :v:

Also I think they're a Ms. Minivan in this case?

Also also I guess the leaves thing is supposed to be some totally deep and poignant symbolism but ehhhhhhh.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

In Alpha Complex's war on crime, the worst Commie Mutant Traitors are pursued by the Troopers of Internal Security. These are their stories.

So, Trooper Jobs! Every Trooper in a team has a Special Officer Duty to fulfill in the group and that means you get to hinder your allies in some way, shape or form. You get a Teamwork Enhancement Upgrade to control and you have a responsibility you are accountable for. Your fearless leader is the...

LEAD TROOPER: The big boss, the captain of the team, the Lead Trooper is in charge of all of the others. This means that if anyone yells at the team, they'll yell at him first. The best candidates for Lead Trooper are generally incompetent and easily manipulated knuckleheads, wishy-washy hand-wringers who try to make everyone on the team happy, or sociopaths all too eager to put his allies in danger. The Lead Troopers moves the investigation, so don't be afraid to bully them into getting on with it if everyone's taking too long. They get the Teamwork Enhancement Upgrade known as the...

FIREPOWER CONTROL: the Lead Trooper has a belt-mounted wireless doodad slaved to the Cone Rifles of the other Troopers. If the switch isn't on, the gun can't fire, but unless you stare at your leader's crotch you generally don't know if your gun is on or not. The control on your gun can be hacked manually so you can use it whenever you want, or you can make excuses to hug or bump into the Lead Trooper and "accidentally" turn your own safety off. A good Lead Trooper would never tell his followers that their guns can fire and leave them defenseless in certain death, no sir, nuh uh.

COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER: The face of the team, the CLO has the job of interacting with the civilians and doing talky things like hostage negotiation or reading bomb-defusal instructions. They handle the requests and the paperwork and any complaints from the civilians and they're also in charge of the Compliance Index whenever they go somewhere. In a nutshell, they're a customer service agent with a big ol' gun and they will end up with the mindset appropriate for this task. They have control over...

DIRECTIVES CHIPS: little chips implanted in the skulls of Troopers (next to the remote-controlled cortex bomb) that temporarily paralyze anyone issued with it with a set of directives delivered by mental briefing. The main purpose is to educate Troopers on new tasks on the fly. The book recommends using them to kill people or lie to them by, say, turning their chip on as they try to scale a ladder over an active trash incinerator or by pretending you were the one with the chip and that other people have to do what you say. In short, it's a handy little bit of weaseling material.

SECURITY OFFICER: You get the blatantly fun and destructive toys. Like I previously mentioned, you get to control and ride around in the Power Armor, and you can go as slow as you want in it and the others have to wait for you. You also get to make sure everything is secure and you control manipulating the Security Index, which is generally making citizens feel secure. I'd say a good way to do that is to equip your Power Armor with a megaphone and stomp around issuing vaguely comforthreatening platitudes. But you also get...

CORTEX BOMBS: To ensure loyalty for all Troopers, every Trooper has a hole drilled in their head and a mechanical/electronic socket is installed. This is where all of your Trooper chips and your Cortex Bomb get installed. Don't put your finger right in the socket, that's gross and you don't need to poke your brain. The Security Officer has a little panel on his wrist that lets him detonate the bomb and POOF goes the Trooper head. This isn't to say that every single mission requires that your Cortex Bomb be live or even installed; you never know when the angry Security Officer is bluffing about his ability to kill you instantly.

SURVEILLANCE AND FORENSICS OFFICER: The S&FO gets to monitor security feeds and collect evidence. And oh boy is there evidence! Tons of it, most of it planted, all of it contradictory and it's up to you to fabricate or destroy evidence as you see fit. You also get a little forensic scrubbot to help you do stuff like dust for prints and find toenails or really just act like a little Roomba version of Friend Computer. The S&FO also gets access to all of IntSecs archives in Central, meaning that they can feasibly look up anything they want, such as past data relevant to your teammates. The big hazard of doing that however is that the archives are massive and sprawling and you're gonna have to work hard for your data. And who has time to go fact-hunting when you're in charge of raising the Loyalty Index to boot? Or you can just use...

SURVEILLANCE CHIPS: more head-chips that let you see through the eyes of another Trooper. It may or may not temporarily blind the other Trooper as you use it, it may or may not give you both a headache, and it may or may not cause a bizarre feedback that causes you to swap bodies or gives you a cerebral hemorrhage.

INTERROGATION & THOUGHT CONTROL OFFICER: Like the legendary gun-toting clerics of Christian Bale's youthful adventures, your job is to get confessions out of perps and citizens. They can send you to the Confession Booths or interrogate you and get what falls out of your mouth. I&TC Officers control Perception Filters on their allies' helmets, which is akin to temporarily deafening and blinding an armed maniac. Their job is to raise the Happiness Index, and who better to use for that than the guy who can beat nine shades of treason out of you with a truncheon? Their other tool is...

MEMO-MAX RECORDINGS: Brain chips that overwrite the personality of the Trooper who has it installed. The main mind can watch everything that happens as the stranger takes over, and in theory the chip has an upstanding citizen/Trooper on board. In reality it's a shadow of a mind on a chip and there's an equal chance a traitor or a criminal takes over your armed comrade. Also in theory you should be able to turn the chip off remotely. But it's a chip in a brain so why not just give his head a good, solid thumping?

DESIGNATED DRIVER: Aww. They didn't have any job for you. Your job is to drive, maybe. More often than not you're probably just going along with the others or shooting your gun. On the upside, you have nothing extra to worry about. On the downside, they don't really need you, so guess who they're gonna send to see if that Commie with a plasma gun is still shooting? You get...

NOTHING: Maybe the keys to the car, maybe some gear the others need you to carry.


Nothing is ever easy in Alpha Complex, citizens.

For starters there's surveillance everywhere, strong or weak depending on where you go. Surveillance in an area is rated at a minimum of 0 (Outdoors, sewer tunnels, talking to the GM) or 1 (IntSec interrogation chambers) to 19 (Central Compnodes) or 20 (bathrooms). Everywhere is monitored to a certain extent, so the process of Investigation is pretty simple.

1: Receive your mission and mission briefing, receive additional supplies as necessary, buy additional supplies as necessary, make any pre-mission calls to "acquaintances" who might "help" you.
2: Review surveillance evidence, if there is any.
3: Head to the scene of the crime.
4: Keep alert at the scene of the crime. Search for evidence, question citizens, wave your gun around. Come up with your own drat conclusions based on stuff that's circumstantial at best or false leads fed to you by the GM: unless you're face-to-face with the source of the problem (PURGE terrorists, sewer mutants, Machine Empath controlling a warbot) you have to figure out who to blame and why they're responsible for it.
5: Pick up on clues and follow them to the next scene then repeat step 4. Keep collecting as much evidence as you can; the point of the game is to rack up 20 points of Treasonous Evidence for someone to take the blame, even if they're your allies. Don't be afraid to use your little Forensic Scrubbot buddy or cash in a Secret Society IOU for help.

6: Interrogate the traitor. Unless you're playing this in Straight mode where it's all intentionally horrifying and grim, don't dwell too much on what torture and rendition actually is and what it entails. IntSec agents have Telescopamine (truth serum) at their leisurely disposal, brain scanning probes/mind-reading machines and lots of very loud agents to Law and Order the heck out of the perp; if your players are uncomfortable with interrogation and torture, keep it simple and tread lightly on the details. The creators admit that torture is a means to an end and that answers given under duress are not inherently the right answers, they're just said to make it stop.

Interrogation Rules: The interrogator rolls Interrogation and the subject rolls a relevant skill to resist. Macho is good for resisting, so is Chutzpah, Suggestion or a blanket Violence or Management roll. Interrogation and torture inherently does some damage to the subject but not on a success; a success gets you the answers. A failure deals damage to the subject based on how big the margin of failure was, meaning you've simply hurt them but not succeeded. If the subject succeeds in their roll, they're hurt but they don't divulge anything. In a nutshell: a Trooper with a bad Interrogation skill is a bad interrogator. They're working them over but they're gonna kill them before they get an answer. There are alternatives to performing interrogation yourself as well. Interrogation Booths can do the job for you and just require you to put the subject inside, pay a few credits and wait a minute for a result. Interrogation Booths have a 10 in Interrogation. If the subject is strong-willed or if everyone's just very bad at doing their job, they can be renditioned and brought to MiniPOL Central who have a 15 and are scarily effective but are a giant bureaucratic department and it might be weeks or hours before you get an answer. Every confession adds to the subject's Treason points and Interrogation ends when the subject's score reaches 20 on top of evidence against them.

Again, I respect the creators for admitting that this is a touchy, possibly uncomfortable subject for people, and if you're not okay with it you can have an Interrogation Booth do the job. They also emphasize that you should not be reliant on torture to get answers, that interrogation and presentation of good, solidly built evidence and a case along with some perp-sweating tends to get the job done. We're operating on TV/video game logic, after all.

So you've got a person to blame, they're giving up the names of everyone they're associated with and the Commissioner is satisfied. Good job, right? Well, remember Troopers: everyone in Alpha Complex is in a Secret Society and playing Paranoia: IntSec lends itself well to episodic, continued gaming. The GM might have something big planned and they may decide that the Free Market Enterprise is mad that your arrests interrupt their operations or PURGE thinks that your busts means they should strike on IntSec first before the rest of Alpha Complex. The path of the Trooper is a dangerous one, citizens, and higher-clearance citizens are in Secret Societies too.

7: Punishment of the guilty. 20 points of treason mean that you qualify for termination; laser through the head, next clone pops out and this new one totally isn't a traitor. If the guilty party (or Trooper) is being punished for anything before 20 points of Treason, they can accept punishments to lower their Treason score. It's perfectly possible for you to build that 20 point case and have only half of them count, even after interrogation, which can lead to doling out punishment. Counting Termination (which resets your treason points to 1), punishment can go from slap-on-the-wrist to erasure.

Fines: Pay a sum of money, from cheap to outrageous, as your punishment. Removes 0 points, just takes a toll on your wallet.
Official Reprimand: An official or a counselor gives you a stern talking-to/yelling-at and you get to feel like a little kid when your dad is very disappointed in you. Removes 0 points, leaves you feeling kinda crummy.
Probation: The offender is reprimanded and given a time-out on top of that or issued a device that punishes you or reminds you of your misdeeds if you slip up. Removes 1 point of treason.
Censure: HPD&MC teams up to make citizens know this offender did something bad, from a mention of their offenses in the news or a forehead tattoo that displays their misdeeds. Expect lots of dirty looks from strangers and coworkers going tsk tsk tsk. Removes 5 points of treason.
Public Hating: Like Censure but HPD&MC makes you the face of public shame and ridicule for what you've done and encourages people to shun and ostracize you. In your shoes, I'd stick with the forehead tattoo, at least they can remove it. Also removes 5 points.
Demotion: You go down a Clearance level. Harsh. That means you have to give up everything of that clearance you own and you have to move to another lower place to stay. Removes 5 points from your Clearance level, if you're a Trooper this means that you have to listen to what other Troopers tell you to do.
Medication: You get pills you have to take. What drug you get really varies depends on what you did, what it does depends on how the GM rolls. Remember, try not to mix drugs, because then you end up with even more side effects. Removes no points if it's a one-time deal, if you're permanently stuck on that medication you get 7 points removed.

Brainscrub: You're taken into a nice bright room and strapped into a chair and a bunch of DocBots and other IntSec Troopers take a good look at your brain and using drugs and procedures help erase those treasonous thoughts. Best case scenario, you can still function. Worst case scenario, you have to rewrite your whole character sheet. Removes 10 points.
Imprisonment: Very, very rare, normally reserved for those being held before trial. Long-term Imprisonment actually adds 5 points to your Treason Points because you're surrounded by the stuff and probably learned a few new things.
Termination: Bring out the next clone!
Erasure: The last resort of punishment in Alpha Complex, normally reserved for Machine Empaths. Erasure doesn't just kill you; they erase your genetic codes from the clone banks permanently (unless you paid someone to back you up), erase your MemoMax recordings so your personality is destroyed (see previous statement) and then they kill you. Rough stuff, doesn't even factor into the removal of Treason points due to your cessation of existence.

So that, in all, is the general gist of what it's like to be an IntSec Trooper and an overview of Paranoia: Internal Security painted with rather broad strokes. If you're interested, I recommend picking up the PDF at least. It's a neat breed of creature and I will admit it's not for everyone. Also included in the book is some premade characters and some adventures to let you see what it looks like in motion.

Thank you for your time, citizens, and have a pleasant daycycle.

NEXT TIME: Anything I might've missed, anything anyone has any questions about. I'd like to answer questions about Secret Societies and Mutations too if you have any.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 22:37 on Jan 13, 2014

Aug 23, 2009

Ningyou posted:

"Dreams come easiest to us when we're young. Before we're taught the way the 'real world' is, we live in a state of grace, believing that anything is possible. As children, we take every opportunity we can to act out that unlimited possibility. As pirates or astronauts, ballerinas or ninjas, we turn cardboard boxes into spaceships, backyards into desert islands, and treehouses into armoured forts. Fantastic worlds are within our grasp, and fantastic creatures - like faeries, dragons, and monsters - seem like they're only a heartbeat away. We can go anyone.

Somewhere along the way, we lose that enthusiasm. We stop playing and start surviving. Life becomes a matter of getting by, and our idealism is replaced by realism. We seek stable 9-to-5 lives, live in quiet homes, and narcotize ourselves in front of flickering television sets. The world of imagination is set aside as our lives become banal. Inexorably, our passion for life mellows into the contentment of security or hardens into the bitterness of failure."

Behold the anthem of the dread Autumn People!

Dec 30, 2006

I had a beer with Stephen Miller once and now I like him.

d20 Modern Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook - Part 8

Chapter 4 - EQUIPMENT continued!

So your death-dealing research scientist is kitted out with a shotgun and several pistols and also a katana and is totally ready to murder Batman. But it turns out that guy has, like, martial arts skills and throwing weapons and stuff! You should probably take some steps to mitigate those threats, which is where the next section of the Equipment chapter comes in.


Like the weapons, body armour in d20 Modern runs the gamut - everything from a leather jacket to plate mail is represented and statted up. Armour is broken down by weight (light/medium/heavy, each requiring a feat) and type - archaic, impromptu, concealable, and tactical - but type isstrictly a reference measure. Each armour type provides a bonus to your Defense, a lesser bonus if you’re missing the appropriate armour feat, and controls a number of quickness-related bonuses. Wearing heavier armour means getting less of a Defense bonus from your Dexterity (which is a trade-off, at least), and taking a penalty to certain skill checks and potentially your movement speed.

Tactical armour. Also tactical monster-person.

The armour listing includes old favourites like leather armour and the chainmail shirt, but the more modern stuff is actually pretty cool. There’s a fanny pack that pulls up into a protective vest, various formats of actual bulletproof vests for all occasions from stealth to shootouts, and full-blown tactical forced-entry armour. The armour section only runs about two pages (by comparison, weapons covers fourteen) however, and then it’s on to the next shopping list.

General Equipment

Now that you know how you’re going to kill Batman, and what you’re going to be wearing when you do it, it’s time to get down to brass tacks: you’re gonna need a whole load of gear to locate, lure, and otherwise prepare for your encounter, and also some cameras to take sweet selfies with. Luckily, this book has you covered. Where other games would fill their equipment section with a list of meals at an inn, or types of cart, d20 Modern devotes a full page to various consumer and professional goods. There’s a massive, categorized shopping list, and I’m going to go through and highlight some of the cool stuff in each section.

Bags and Boxes - gone is the simple rucksack of yore. Instead, stash your things in a briefcase, or range bag, or something called a “patrol box” which is basically just a beefy briefcase with a lock that fits on a car seat.
Clothing - there’s casual & formal options, outerwear, and a ghillie suit (which grants a whopping +10 to Hide if you’re in appropriate terrain). The game also lists a photojournalist’s vest that grants a bunch of bonuses to concealing small items on your body!
Computers and Consumer Electronics - this is sort of a neat snapshot of the times - film cameras, “PDAs”, and broadband modems listed alongside police scanners and walkie talkies.
Surveillance Gear - lots of cool stuff here including wiretapping equipment, night vision goggles, and black boxes for phone phreaking!
Professional Equipment - mostly just kits for things like forgery, demolitions, and lockpicking, but also has spike strips, fake IDs, and instruments (so you can stat out your favourite band!)
Survival Gear - chemical light sticks (awesome), electro-optical binoculars (awesome), and combat webbing to carry around your white phosphorous grenades.
Weapon Accessories - detonators for explosives, laser sights, and suppressors. Also, the game makes you buy your own ammunition receptacles (speed loaders/box magazines) because it’s important to account for every last pinch of salt.

So yeah, tons of stuff, but a lot of it is useful in strange plans and clever heists (the same cannot be said of the typical wages of a cartwright). Of course, no extensive table of inspiring gear would be complete without telling you how much of it you could schlep around at a given time, so the Equipment section next proceeds to cover carrying capacity. It’s the usual thing - your capacity is based on your Strength score, and you have three load categories (light/medium/heavy). Under your light load (43 lbs. for Strength 12) and you’re good. Over that, you’re encumbered - this caps your Dexterity bonus, as well as imposing a static -3 check on most Str/Dex skills. Anything over your heavy load capacity (87+ lbs. for Strength 12) and you’re heavily encumbered, which basically doubles the encumbered penalties as well as reduces your combat and running move speeds.

After carrying capacity is the Lifestyles and Services portion of the Equipment section. Lifestyle is basically just purchase DCs for homes (there’s no mention of rent, because it’s built into your Wealth bonus already), meals, plane tickets, and hotel rooms. Services cover auto repair and bail bonds, the bribery of various low-level functionaries, and the all-important hospital care. It’s important to note that the price of medical care is dependent upon the Treat Injury ranks of the doctor - you’re within your rights to go get stitched up by a veterinarian if you need to do it on the (relatively) cheap.

The last portion of the Equipment section is dedicated to Vehicles. There are thirty-seven listed in various categories (watercraft, civilian automobiles, military, etc.) and they all have a detailed stat line incorporating the following:

- crew, passenger, and cargo capacity
- initiative and maneuver penalties
- top speed and acceleration
- Defense, hardness, hit points and size (all controlling overall durability)
- purchase DC and license restrictions

As was the case with the weapons section, the listed vehicles are meant to span categories - mid-size sedans, boats, jetskis, civilian helicopters, and whatnot, and for the most part they do a pretty good job. There are probably too many different cars (eleven listed), but the other categories cover their respective spectrums pretty admirably.

Please do not drive while using your cell phone in assault rifle territory.

And yes, as mentioned earlier by 50 Foot Ant, the M1A2 main battle tank has hardness 20. This means that any attack dealing less than 20 points of damage will not even scratch it. However, if you check back to the class section, you can, by 4th level, make a Strong hero with two ranks of the Melee Smash talent (+2 melee damage), the Power Attack and Sunder feats (trade base attack bonus for damage at 1:1, and double your damage against unattended objects), and, assuming you have 18 Strength, completely negate the hardness of every tank in the motor pool as you hack away with your katana and destroy each tank in roughly 45 seconds. Which is pretty cool for a fourth-level hero, you have to admit (this assumes, of course, your DM counts an unpiloted tank as an object).

Finally, as an additional note, I'd like to call attention to an interesting quirk of the equipment section: all the weapons and vehicles are branded. The guns are all specific real-world models ranging from the Pathfinder .22 revolver, various AK-47s, and some kind of thing that shoots through engine blocks. Oh, and speaking of engine blocks, d20 Modern features meticulous stats for the Acura 3.2 TL, Chevy Cavalier, Ford Crown Victoria, Lamborghini Diablo, and Volkswagen Jetta, amongst a slew of other real-world vehicles. I am one hundred percent certain that they did not seek approval from the manufacturers to use these things (50 Foot Ant, prove me wrong, I'd be pleasantly shocked). Just a weird little thing in the book!

Anyhow, that’s it for the equipment section. Next up is Chapter Five: COMBAT - a guaranteed delight for all involved.

Sep 2, 2012


Libertad! posted:

I ran the Banewarrens back when it came out. Hell of an adventure, though quite killer.

The only reason I'd ever run 3e again is to run the Banewarrens.

Unrelated: Is the F&F 2 thread going to get goldmined like F&F 1 did? Lot of good stuff there; would hate to lose it.

Sep 12, 2007

He push a man

Don't worry about meeting a platonic ideal right now, you need some place to grow.

Chapter 2 of the C:tL corebook opens with a quote from The Island of Dr. Moreau, poetically imagining that every person walking down the street is, somehow, a metaphoric creature. When you take a step back, people often attempt to live up to certain images of themselves- the entire fashion industry rolls on these concepts. This is the purpose of character creation- the challenges you face are largely arbitrary (if not god-like), and so attempting to scale that mountain is hardly the point. The game is, after-all, about self-empowerment through inter-personal growth- and not murderhobos.

The next few columns are the same numberwang spiel you've seen in any other White Wolf product. However, C:tL is built to give a player much more freedom than other splats: there is no pressure to give your character traits that a basic bougie american should have. Not every changeling remembers- or was taught- how to drive, or how to use computers, or how to tell a lie, and so you can create a far more 'twinked' character sheet than is at first blush acceptable. Further, a well-established feature of the True Fae is their love of the exceptional- your talent is hardly a virtue (ha ha dark irony indeed). So making a character with brute strength or exceptional knowledge of, say, surviving in a desert is hardly a stretch.

But again with the big stop sign on character creation: no adolescent characters, no characters from more than 50 years ago1. You are playing a character than has something to return to from Arcadia, not to escape into the fairyland to live inside your make-believe story.

The Changeling Template gives you very little compared to other White Wolf splats: a free skill specialty in Athletics, Brawl or Stealth2 that corresponds to your escape from Arcadia, rather than bumping up a resistance trait or what-have-you. When it comes to being a human, changelings are hardly better than a normal mortal. This is not a game about diving into the secrets of the multiverse or perfecting yourself into the ultimate killing machine or becoming king turd of poo poo mountain... so why are you asking for what amounts to a gamist 'free xp bump' for nothing?

The rest is what I am going to gloss over by describing it as the 'basic nWoD design'. Having been fairly late in the line's life, there is something more unique in that there are 24 different combinations (6x4) rather than 25 (from a 5x5)... but I feel like the evocative nature of the Courts (and the unspoken fifth court) keeps things much more alive.

Another special note here is that the specific magik powers known as Contracts (which we'll go into later) also allow players to justify getting a one-dot clause of a Goblin contract with your starting dots... which is strange if you consider your character being a fresh-from-the-thorns changeling, as they are specifically contracts found at the Goblin Market. Huh. :pcgaming:

And another, buried at the end of the usually skippable Virtue and Vices section: a changeling's willpower has half as much to do with what is 'normal'- especially for changelings of low Clarity- as with your Wyrd-tinged life. While the book makes pains to note that you don't deserve Willpower refreshes for being virtueous or viceful regarding your Arcadian "truth", I find it more fun to dole out willpower for it anyway when I'm playing more gonzo hedge-filled games.

Pages 76-77 is the splash-page of easy-to-index statmunching. Special note: Wyrd is very expensive compared to most other things, and contracts can be just as expensive as becoming a genius or a body-builder. Mortal skill is, afterall, hardly a challenge compared to the blissful fae.

The next section of the book concerns the Prelude: that beginning-of-the-Bond-movie element of storytelling that sets the rest of the campaign forward. Rather than being handwaved like so many other 'adventurers in a tavern' stories, C:tL is built to bring the players together despite however many special snowflakes have to be crammed into the same campaign.

Thankfully because of the flexible nature of time in the hedge, you're even given explicit license to weave each part of your preamble without regard to cause and effect. You can run a character's escape with Tom Dick and Harry before you even, as a player, know how you were taken... or you can escape so fuzzily that you're not entirely sure how it happened3.

Your name is your name. I've gamed with a 'nameless wonder' :spergin: and its maddening to begin with, but because of the nature of the Wyrd, you're given much more license to go HAM into your folklore rather than Big McLargehuge or Frank Yeoman. Being TOO special snowflake, however, can result in the wrong kind of attention (because it just might be the name of a Keeper, strumming the string of the vast spider-web of Fate). So Damiens, Mega-Mans, and The Crow v2 need not apply (if the ST is feeling titchy)

The example given of character creation is of a character built for the in-book campaign setting of Miami with its Eternal Summer King: Jack Tallow, Elemental Fireheart of Summer and social crusader. As an old hand, it feels like he was twinking as a cross-Fairest with your basic 3 defense and decent Magick tricks involving that most loved of elements: fire. I understand why the section exists, but I would personally pay for my 3rd copy to be a special-edition that cuts it out because its two and a half mostly-worthless pages4.

Next time: the three unique flavors of Changeling

1 - Personally I fudge the 50 years to pre-WWII, but I definitely understand why some people might want to avoid having characters from before the Civil Rights era.
2 - I used to give people leeway at deciding a different skill specialty, but I've come to believe that anything else doesn't jive with the visceral truth of having fight/run/sneak the gently caress out of there.
3 - To play up the dream-like quality of Faerie, C:tL even tells you to ignore all logic and play with rules and objects outside of the regular gameplay and kill people off ignobly and then bring them back. Done well, sure... but I'd say to try and play loose with reality, not as a chance to run your dick through Pissforest at the player's expense.
4 - Its only worth it to see another case of WW's personal view of what Status, Contacts and Specialties are to use as Canon Law for later arguments... :sigh:

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


The trippy movie Beyond the Black Rainbow could work as a Changeling escaping the True Fae.

May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.

It's time for some more NERO-based entertainment!

                           NERO Live Action Role-Playing, 9th Edition
Chapter 3: Skills
This chapter describes all of the available skills for characters in NERO. As a start, we're introduced to the concept of Skill resets - some skills are only usable a certain number of times per day. There are two types of resets - Standard Reset, which occurs at 6 PM the next day or immediately before an Adventure module - a way to have parties leave for specific scenarios, and Limited Reset, which is an optional rule for some chapters that allows some skills to reset at 6 AM the next day. This is designed to create some limitations in skills, but due to the wording, it makes it mechanically disadvantageous to use some skills after midnight or very early in the day.

Next, we get to a little disclaimer regarding skills - these are skills that your character has, rather than your own, personal skill. As such, if you don't have a skill to use a certain weapon, then you can't pick it up and defend yourself with one in a moment of desperation. Instead, the swings represent what your character is capable of - damage and ability is reflected by mechanical skills, rather than personal ability.

I'm going to admit - I have a huge problem with this. It takes personal abilities out of the equation, arbitrarily restricts what players can do, and makes it so that what is meant to be a live experience frequently comes down a numbers game. Think about it - even someone who's never handled a sword can figure out how to pick one up and block with it in a moment of desperation. As you'll see from some of the skills later on, this also leads to a number of restrictions on players as to what they can do. It changes the game from "I have trained and developed personal skills in fighting" to "I have larger numbers on a sheet" - which, by the combat rules, which are lightest-touch, means that rather than emphasizing learning skill, games can easily come down to people machine-gun tapping one another and shouting numbers.

Next up is the spell system. Spells are memorized in slots - you buy the ability to memorize a spell, then you get spells. This is organized in a pyramid - you need two level 1 spell slots before you can buy a 2nd level spell slot. The maximum slots you need of a level you need is four - unless you want to add more spell slots of a higher level spell. If that sounds vague, then you're reading it the same as I am.

On to skills! Skills cost different amounts of Build Points for each class - a Fighter has an easier time learning fighting skills, whereas a Scholar has a harder time. This means that everyone can develop skills in different areas, if you've got the Build Points for it. At the same time, certain classes have pre-designed routes they should take.

Now, what are some amusing skills?

First off, there's Assassinate/Dodge. It's a double-skill, which either allows someone to backstab for 100 damage once per day or use that skill to "dodge" a weapon or packet that hits you by calling dodge. You can buy it multiple times, each of which adds another daily attempt and, every four levels, gives you one "super-assassinate" for 200 damage. This is the first in a series of "Parry/dodge" skills that, again, remove player skill and turn things into a numbers game with "Whoever has the most uses of hit-negating abilities lasts longer".

Gypsy Curse is another interesting one - it allows a Gypsy to curse a target by calling out their name/description and listing the actions. It's intended to be embarrassing or humorous - you can force a player to role-play a certain way, give them warts or physical deformities, or make their personality change. It can be a cool tool for RP, but again, it falls into the really racist "Gypsies are magical people with a cruel sense of humour" interpretation.

Read and Write is another interesting skill - it's assumed that players can neither read nor write if they don't have this skill. It can be a good idea - we're role-playing in a medieval society, so not everyone is literate, but it can lead to some weird metagaming when your character can't read, yet you can read signs. It could lead to some interesting RP, but it tends to be more overly restrictive, and it can be seen as an experience sink for people working with fighter skills.

Stop Thrust allows you to hit an opponent, who can only use dodging skills to stop it - no blocking with a weapon or shield. They cannot advance towards you for five seconds - essentially stopping them.

There's also a brief aside on Archery - note that using real bows is prohibited in NERO. Instead, you use props that look like bows and throw packets, much like the magic system. This means that bows have very little range - exactly like their real-world counterparts. From a liability point-of-view, this makes sense - they're a big national organization, after all - but there's been a number of innovation in combat-safe arrows and bolts that actually give a bit of range to folks. Again, verisimilitude is lost in favour of mechanics.

That wraps up the interesting skill sections - we'll cover some of the elements later when discussing magic and how hilarious it can get in terms of damage differences. A bit short, I know, but rather than going through and listing all of the skills (most of which are variations on "You can do this thing, which does extra damage or allows you to perform a specific action"), I figured I'd give the summarized version of events.

May 7, 2007

Good people deserve good things.

Till someone lets the winter in and the dying begins, because Old Dark Places attract Old Dark Things.

Majuju posted:

d20 Modern Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook - Part 8
Oh, and speaking of engine blocks, d20 Modern features meticulous stats for the Acura 3.2 TL, Chevy Cavalier, Ford Crown Victoria, Lamborghini Diablo, and Volkswagen Jetta, amongst a slew of other real-world vehicles. I am one hundred percent certain that they did not seek approval from the manufacturers to use these things (50 Foot Ant, prove me wrong, I'd be pleasantly shocked). Just a weird little thing in the book!

Anyhow, that’s it for the equipment section. Next up is Chapter Five: COMBAT - a guaranteed delight for all involved.

OK, I've heard two different stories involved exactly in that.

The first, is that WotC, like most people doing d20 at the time who wanted to have good reputations, contacted the various companies PR department, asked to speak to someone, and got a quick fax permission. That's what a lot of us did, and Coke, Pepsi, Ford, Cold, Detonics, and the like, just went "Yeah, yeah, whatever, we ain't paying you though." and you went with it.

The other story is regarding a secondary story. IIRC there was someone who used some real life products in their product and when taken to court, since it was just a namedrop (George ordered a Coke Zero from the bar...) the judge ruled that it was exposure for the company.

Another story had it that if you approached certain companies with the offer to highlight their stuff in the work, they might pay you. A lot of people tried this, but I don't know of anyone it succeeded.

The last was that the major companies basically don't give a gently caress as long as you aren't badmouthing their poo poo. This is commonly accepted, and usually if you called Colt or Ford or Chevy they'd just say "Whatever, man, just don't badmouth our poo poo" and things go on as normal. No contact really needed, you just do the writeup and everyone walks away happy.

But, I'm inclined to believe story #1, or the last one.

I was getting help putting together products back then, and the advice given to me was to contact those company's PR departments, to the point where someone leaked me a contact list, so I really put a lot of claim on the first one.

Additionally various people who worked on said that including the names of vehicles made it easy to look up on the internet, used commonly known vehicles, so it made it a lot easier to people who weren't gearheads or whatever, to identify the vehicle in question. By adding in the names of firearms it made it easier to envision, by using common action movie weapons.

Rambling, yeah, but you get the basic point.

Another big point of contention was the armor section.

I asked the local Sheriff's department if I could try some of their armor on, as well as the local National Guard unit, to compare it to the kind of poo poo I'd worn over the years, in order to see just how hard it was to put it on untrained. Turned out it wasn't that hard.

Which led to big disagreements on the way armor ate up feats.

Coming from Shadowrun and a few other games where the only armor that ate up something like feats was power armor or robot power armor and poo poo like that. Something that you wanted a mechanical hit to offset the serious bonuses you got from the major armor, ala mechs.

Now, in d20 Modern you had to pay light, medium, and then heavy armor feat chain to be able to use the hot poo poo armor. Which was bullshit, supposedly to keep everyone from wearing heavy armor as they ran around. On top of that you took a hit to your Defense bonus (according to some guesses) from your class as well as your Dex bonus.

So your Fast Hero had all kinds of armor bonuses that don't slow him down and weigh a ton, but for a Strong or Tough hero to meet them they had to blow three loving feats.

The feat problem was really bad, like I said earlier. For a guy who passed basic training in 2005 he'd have the equivalent of like 8 feats, some of which he wasn't even eligible for until like 4th or 6th level, just to pass basic training.

Which led to a lot of design arguments, that basically boiled down to "But then my guy/pet class isn't special!"

Which is why you say most PC's crossclassed into at least 1 level of Fast Hero just for the loving Defense bonuses.

There was even talk of adjusting feats big time, to put the difference between combat feats, social feats, and technical feats, but in the end it was decided to leave feats alone.

I did most of my work with milporn d20 Modern works, where everyone was assumed to have access to heavy firepower, operated in Post Apocalypse settings, or were in some other kind of unrestrained setting, which meant that there was plenty of adaptation work to do on d20 Modern.

Sitting down and just making basic soldiers from any modern army was an exercise in madness.

Despite having someone who was a tanker in Desert Storm, the combat section of d20 Modern and the feats surrounding it, as well as the gear, was loving laughable, since it just reminds me that the only thing dumber than a tanker was an orderly room clerk.

Take the Military background and you still don't have anyone who can pass basic training. Same with police.

Someone who was technically savvy was still tough to make, since skill point adjusting feats were next to useless. Mainly because the feat system was still hilariously broken. Not as bad as regular d20, but still hilariously broken, and that's without getting into Urban Arcana, where magic and monsters got an (un)needed boost for d20 Modern.

But that was a personal problem with character generation.

Nostalgia4ColdWar fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Jan 14, 2014

Dec 24, 2007

Palladium called out specific cars by name in their equipment sections too, including such commonly seen vehicles as the Delorean.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica: The Contested Isle

Besides the riastradh, there is another new magic power introduces: the luan laith, or hero's light. This is a physical projection of light from your forehead, fairly common amonger Irish berserkers or sufferers of the Riastradh, though not exclusive to them. You can will the light to appear easily, and it often spontaneously appears in times of stress. If you act in a cowardly way, it will fade and flicker. The light can be seen by all even on the brightest dear, making allies braver and enemies fearful. If you are fighting on your own alongside allies, than any allied group gets +3 to any Brave or Morale checks they have to make, while enemy groups get -3 to them. This has no effect on characters fighting solo on your side, though they're sure to notice it. A similar power is the sian cuarad, the hero's war cry, which is essentially identical, save that it is an unnerving sound rather than a bright light.

So, let's talk about the magical beasts unique to Ireland. Occasionally, the seventh filly born to a mare with intervening colts is born a true mair, a fiorlair. No evil force can interfere with a fiorlair or anyone riding it. They are the fastest of horses, and any magus or lord would love to own one, but all attempts to deliberately breed them so far have failed. Enslaving a fiorlair with magic will certainly raise a complaint from the King of Eagles, so they must be befriended instead. At the very spot where a true mare touches the ground when born, a plant will grow: the seamair Mhuire, Mary's Clover, a four-leaf shamrock that can be turned into a protective talisman. It must be plated in silver, then blessed by a priest, then have prayers to the Blessed Virgin sung over it every day for a full season. After that, it will give its bearer great luck.

The dobhar-chu, or king otter, is a gigantic otter with pure white fur, save for its black ears and the black cross on its back. Its hide cannot be pierced by any metal save silver, and anyone hwo kills a king otter will suffer its death curse, and probably die within a day. The dobhar-chu are highly aggressive, similar to lions or leopards in ferocity, and usually travel in aoirs. One will hide while the other fights, and come out if it seems the first will be defeated. The skin that bears the black cross is legendary for its protective powers - it can be made to bless a boat against sinking, a house against fire or a person against accident. However, this can only be done by the killer of the king otter, who must survive the death curse. The skin must be cured, either in salt (for a boat), smoke (for a house) or sweat (for a person). The curing must be done once a day for a full season, and each day the hide must be rubbed 729 times - that is nine times nine times nine. Once the season ends, the skin will either grant an immunity to all water-based harm to a boat, fire-based harm to a house or immense luck to a person. Note that the boat and house are protected, but not necessarily the people on or in them. The death curse of a dobhar-chu takes the form of a single moment of extreme back luck - a lightning strike or collapsing bridge, say - which will likely be fatal if the victim is not either very lucky or very skilled.

So, on to the faeries. Faeries are common in Ireland, and everyone has at least had some interaction with them. Perhaps a peasant spots faeries from afar, or a king ritually marries a faerie. Their homes are common, and they can be quite dangerous. To avoid their anger, the word 'faerie' is avoided. They are known as daoine matithe, good neighbors, daine sidhe, people of the mound, croc na gcnoc, the host of the hills, or even just iad, them. Because of their reputation, most people can easily recognize faeries. Several resemble humans, though better dressed and more handsome, while others are animal shaped, such as the Salmon of Wisdom or the two bitches of Fionn mac Cumhaill, while others are monstrous hybrids. The Otherworld of the Irish faeries is known by many names - Tir na nOg, the Land of the Young, Tir na mBeo, the Land of the Living and Mag Mell, the Delightful Plain. Hermetics are unsure if the different names are different places or the same one. Tir Tairngaire, the Land of Promise, refers to an immense Faerie regio overlaying the sea around Ireland, which is said to be only enterable via the Isle of Man, where a supernatural tree grow, supported by four legs of silver that rest on the ocean floor and from which grow golden appels. No one knows if Tir Tairngire connects to Tir na nOg or not. Magi do know these names refer in some way to the worlds of Faerie that have generally been categorized. About half of the Irish fae live in Elysium, the land of recorded myth, while a third live in Eudokia, the land of personal growth and story. Eudokain fae include baby thieves, wife-stealer and drunk-misleaders. Arcadia is home to the fewest of the Irish fae, though it's a growing population. The most common faerie home is a mound, or sidhe, which is a word also used for the fae themselves. The interior varies wildly by its inhabitants, from a rude cave to a grand mansion. Cairns and tumuli also house the fae, along with mountain peaks, lake bottoms, forest hearts and marshlands.

Now, it is known that on the night that Conn of the Hundred Battles was born, five roads were found leading to the royal fort at Tara. Thse High Roads reach to all parts of Ireland. They are named slighe, and are wide enough for two wagons to travel side by side. The other roads of Ireland are not so reliable as the slighe. Each of them has a Faerie aura, and is a trod, a liminal space between places. Each road ends in two places - one end at Tara and one elsewhere. At each of the endpoints, the Guardian of the Road can be called forth. When evoked, the Guardian will seem to appear, but in truth the summoner is transported into Faerie by the Guardian, who might then be persuaded to allow travel on the road, generally by defeating its challenge or appeasing it. Those who travel the road can thus use Faerie to reach their destination. They appear to spend the same time travelling as they would in the mundane world, but on reaching their destination they will find they moved at twenty four times the normal speed, taking less than half an hour to complete a day's travel. The destination may be any point along the Guardian's road. Some know how to cross into Faerie on points along the road other than the endpoints, but must do so without the aid of the Guardian.

Slighe Assail travels west from Tara, towards Lough Owel, then on to Rathcrogan. Its Guardian is a middle-aged woman with a crooked staff, whom some magi claim resembles Pralix. Her challenge is a debate on some esoteric subject, which is won not by knowledge but by clever answers. Sligh Chualann runs through Dublin, on past the Wicklow Mountains, then south along the River Barrow to Waterford. Its Guardian is Oisin, son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, who rides the faerie horse Embarr. To pass his challenge, Oisin must somehow be made to dismount, at which point his faerie youth evaporates, leaving him old and withered. Sligh Dhala heads southeast to the Littey, then southwest along the Bog of Allen to Limerick, then ends at the mouth of the Shannon. Its Guardian is a Black Dog, a faerie embodiment of fear. To defeat the Black Dog, it must be dominated, and the terror overcome. An tSlighe Mor runs south, then follows the Eiscir Raidha between Dublin Bay and Galway Bay, passing through Durrow and Clonmagnoise. Its Guardian is Gamal mac Figal of the Tuathe De Danann, a doorkeeper who demands that you prove your uniqueness in a chosen skill. Slighe Mhidluachra, the final High Road, leads north to Eamhain Mhacha via the foothills of the Mournes, then along the east and north shores of Lough Neagh, ending in Derry. Its Guardian is a faerie lord who demands a game of fidhceall - chess, basically. Those who lose tend to find themselves in bad places.

There are four types of Irish fae. Strongest and rarest are the pagan gods. The legendary heroes of the past are social faeries, reenacting their old adventures. Trooping faeries are those who roam the countryside as gangs, causing destruction. Solitary faeries are unattached to a group, generally linked to some terrain feature. Each obeys a set of traditions and roles, and what is true of one may not be true of another. The pagan gods, the Tuatha De Danann (which means 'Children of Danu') were originally faeries attached to the powerful elemental spirit of the Danube. They were found by a Nemedian descendant's tribe after fleeing Ireland, and relocated to four mysterious cities before returning there, invading the Fir Bolg and Fomorach. For 200 years, they ruled and interbred with their motal followers, but were eventually defeated by the Milesians and left for the underground. While rarely found, there are many of them, mostly kings, warriors and leaders. They are all well-formed and handsome nobles. They are not quite gods in the traditional sense - they have interests, but no specific portfolios or areas of control. They were not truly worshipped, but lived with and learned from, and many still remember and revere them without worshipping them.

Social faeries are those that seek interaction with humans the most. They are also called hero-faeries, for they are frequently heroes. They are more prone to peaceful interaction than others, though some can be very dangerous. The most common type mimics famous heroes, often from the Ulster or Fenian Cycles, but any character from the hundreds of folk tales and legends could show up, even a saint or demon. Some have so many tales about them that magi suspect several faeries of adopting different aspects, and so magi refer to them by longer names. Cu Chulainn Slaying Connla, for example, is the Cu Chulainn who kills his son, while Cu Chulainn Stealing Emer is a different faerie that abducts his wife, and Cu Chulainn Killing Cu Roi is the one that kills the faerie king of Munster. Others disagree, though, saying that there is only one very powerful Cu Chulainn, perhaps the most potent faerie in Ireland. The truth is uncertain.

Trooping faeries, also called slua si, are roving gangs that wander the night, killing and destroying. It's hard to say what they emulate, as they've played the role for so long that they're basically a story unto themselves now. Some might have started out mimicking pagan warbands like the fianna or the Ostmen, while others might be copying English knights. Some of them look like ghostly replicas of modern soldiers, while others are primavel, hunched and hooded men. Still others are flying phantoms, thought to be the restless dead, though they have no connection to either the Infernal or Divine realms.

Solitary faeries are a catchall for faeries that work alone. Sometimes a small band of them might work together, but only if they're unconnected to a larger group. An old crone that lives in the wood, the three-headed giant that ravages Tara and the sea monster of Lough Derg are all examples. They are often just as bad as trooping faeries, following regular patterns of destruction in legend.

Now, let's talk about the Divine. In western Europe there is only one Church, led by the Pope. The Irish accept the Pope's authority, but a strange situation has arisen, and in 1220 everyone accepts that there are now two Churches in Ireland - two factions of the greater church, one based on native tradition and one looking to the English throne and Church. They are conflicting over discipline and organization. Complicating this is the divide in the Irish native Church between reformers and traditionalists. The dioceses of IReland came later than in Ireland and are still at times contentious. By last century, they were imposed by reformers, but the relations of the new bishops and the old abbots who head the ancient comarha are still troubled. Most traditionalists look to the comarha, not the bishops, for leadership.

Next time: Christianity in Ireland

Dec 19, 2012

I'd like to see a campaign where the PC concepts cone straight out of C:tD and then dropped into C:tL

Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

The wife's at rehearsal all evening and I've got nothing better to do than write some more about...

"No, Steve. I didn't see that. rear end in a top hat."

Before going into character creation, a short detour into Chapter Five. You see, Aletheia commits that layout sin so common to RPGs: telling you how to make a character before it tells you how to play the game. Since that's annoying as hell, we're going to take a minute to talk about the basic task resolution mechanic first.

Aletheia uses a straightforward d6-based dice pool system for task resolution: The GM sets a target number from 1 ("For actions routinely done with ease by mildly trained individuals.") to 7 ("For extraordinary actions rarely done by highly trained individuals.") and you roll some dice determined by your character's Attributes (usually between one and six). Any dice that come up 5s or 6s are considered victories. (The game text consistently italicizes all these terms, which I admit makes them pop on a quick skim better than just capitalization.) If your victories equal or exceed the target number, you succeed. If not, you don't. Other aspects of your character's stats can give you extra dice to roll or even free victories to help you hit those higher TNs.

And that's... it. We don't get any more detailed discussion of how to gauge appropriate TNs than that. No discussion of shifting TNs based on mitigating circumstances. We get two examples, but they literally only tell us that the target number of picking a lock is 2 and the TN for first aid is 1, with no justification at all. No critical success or failure systems. Not even a general rule for acting in opposition to another character. I like a rules-light system as much as the next guy, and granted a lot of this stuff is intuitive if you're an experienced GM, but it seems to me this section could have used a little more love. Maybe shave a few pages about the dinnerware hutches from the last chapter.

Now, back to character creation. Assisting us in our character creation process are the following completely fictional and most assuredly not-at-all-real characters:


For once we get a chapter with some actual introductory text! It's a fairly standard three paragraphs about how roleplaying is interactive storytelling and the PCs are your way to interact with the world, PCs should be dynamic, interesting, and three-dimensional, and how in game terms they're defined by a series of traits, but still, it's an intro. We then get a reiteration of the basic high-concept pitch: PCs were recruited about a month ago to the Seven Dogs Society. Members can come from any background or walk of life, but backgrounds in religion, philosophy, science, or investigative work are especially valuable. Having been around for a month, the PCs are assumed to have met the other Society members, gotten familiar with Hepta Sophistai (including the Annex), and have access to the pages of the Usher Codex. However, they probably don't know a huge deal about each other. Oh, and they don't have to worry about anything as trivial as money--Chastain funds all their operations, provides room and board, and pays whatever stipend is required to keep them engaged and happy.

The first step to creating a character is to choose a motivation: What got you convinced to join the society and go off investigating the paranormal and the weird? We get a few pretty generic examples like "wants an explanation for her powers" and "on the run from a checkered past," but we're also told that they're just examples and you should flesh them out or come up with your own.

Our boy Brant was told to join the Society by the aliens who abducted him in Thailand. They told him that a secret intelligence called GALGOMETH was waiting for him on the far side of Jupiter, and that only by aligning his chakra with the wisdom of Usher could he meet it. Also, he was promised lots of drugs. Brant's player writes down "make contact with GALGOMETH" as his motivation.

Albert told Terrance Chastain to bugger off the first seven times he was offered the job. Then he learned that Brant Harriston was on the team and promptly agreed, just to piss him off. Brant's player writes down "take the piss out of Harriston" as his motivation.

Georgie Hicks has been trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together herself for years. She identified the original Seven Dogs Society members from a bunch of disparate accounts in fringe literature and just showed up on the front stoop one day. She joined as soon as Chastain showed her the Annex. Her player writes down "understand the big picture" as her motivation.

Lister Shroud's older sister was recruited to the ill-fated second incarnation of the Seven Dogs Society. Her ghost told him to pick up the phone when Chastain called him. His player writes down "find my sister's killer" as his motivation.

Father Delmont figured it was this or the bottle. His player writes down "make some kind of peace with my abilities" as his motivation.

Finally, the Custodian has just kinda... been there the whole time. All five of the others are at least considering the possibility that he's a figment of their imagination that only they can see. He writes down ":troll:" as his motivation, because he's an rear end in a top hat.

The book next presents a short section on "Agenda," which is kind of odd because it's just a list of some of the kinds of stories an Aletheia game might include: investigating anomalous phenomena, decoding the Usher Codex, stuff like that. It's not a part of character creation and there's no place to put it on the character sheet. It's useful for inspiration but it probably should have gone back with the overview and the high concept pitch earlier. :shrug:

Next up in actual character creation is Attributes. These, you'll remember, form the basis of all your dice pools, and all characters have four:
  • Fitness is your general physical capability, useful for all those running/jumping/climbing trees bits.
  • Awareness is your general perceptiveness, wits, and quick thinking. It's useful for CSI type stuff and making snap decisions under pressure.
  • Personality is how charming and likeable you are. Equally good for getting the eyewitnesses to talk and getting the local LEOs to let you talk to the eyewitnesses.
  • Reason dictates whether you have to label your shoes "lefty" and "righty."
Attributes range from 1 to 5, with human average being two. You get eight points to distribute among your Attributes, and you can't have a 0 rating. So effectively all four Attributes start at 1 and you have four points to distribute.

Each one of your Attributes also gets a Descriptor: A word or short phrase that describes how your character presents that Attribute to the world. For example, both an Olympic figure skater and an NFL linebacker probably have a Fitness in the 4 to 5 range, but the former is better described as nimble while the latter might be brawny. If you can work a Descriptor into your action, you get +1 die (e.g. the brawny linebacker gets +1 to smash down a door while the figure skater gets +1 to do a triple Salchow or whatever). We also get an actually kind of cool sidebar reminding us that, since Attributes are so broad in scope, you don't have to feel like having a 1 in an Attribute means you have to give it a negative Descriptor. You can have a Fitness of 1 and still be brawny, it just means you're also clumsy and uncoordinated and probably not in great health from all those steroids.

Brant's in pretty decent shape for a writer, he's charismatic as hell, and he's bright enough to wrap his mind around chaos magik and poo poo like that. Unfortunately, all his communing with the Godhead of John Lennon has left him not wholly connected to this reality. His player goes with Fitness 2 (wiry bastard), Awareness 1 (Zen-like), Personality 3 (magnetic), and Reason 2 (non-linear).

Albert has lived a life of largely sedentary wizardry and his personality is generously described as "cantankerous," but he's extraordinarily well-read in a variety of fields and has a keen mind. His player settles on Fitness 1 (Beard), Awareness 2 (Beeeeeeard), Personality 1 (BEEEAAAAARD!) and Reason 4 (Son of Beard).

Georgie is a leading young academic in her field, but all that time in the stacks means the only exercise she gets is fieldwork. Her brilliance means that she's often conversing at a much higher level than people around her, which can put others off. Her player chooses Fitness 1 (tough), Awareness 3 (detail-oriented), Personality 1 (dizzying), and Reason 3 (font of obscure knowledge).

Lister's a survivalist born and bred, and a tough bastard to boot. Trying to sneak up on him is a waste of time. Trying to outthink him? Not so much. His player settles on Fitness 3 (tireless), Awareness 3 (ears like a bat), Personality 1 (unfailingly polite), and Reason 1 (practical).

Father Del is a wreck of a man, barely holding on--but damned if he doesn't see everything. Going for extremes, his player picks Fitness 1 (portly), Awareness 5 (insightful), Reason 1 (erudite), and Personality 1 (comforting).

The Custodian is the everyman. In fact, he may be every man. He chooses Fitness 2 (fit), Awareness 2 (aware), Personality 2 (personal), and Reason 2 (reasonable).

Now that we've settled on Attributes, it's time to pick our occupation. Yes, despite being a game term, this one's neither italicized nor capitalized. Go figure. Anyway, your occupation represents what you did before joining the Society and how good you were at doing it. If the action you're undertaking is something your occupation would reasonably prepare you for, like a lawyer interviewing a witness or a doctor autopsying an alien, you get a number of automatic victories depending on your occupation level.

Occupations are rated on two characteristics: Star rating and expertise level. Star rating is just like on Netflix, with the star rating representing both the breadth of the occupation and its relevance to a typical Aletheia game. Five-star occupations include doctors, professors, and CSIs, while down at the one-star level we've got things like businessman, firefighter, and auto mechanic. Expertise level is Rookie, Professional, or Veteran, and gives you one, two, or three automatic successes on relevant rolls, respectively. The book gives us about 20 sample occupations, but stresses that they're only examples and benchmarks. Even then, we're reminded that the ratings in the book are for a typical Aletheia game. If the GM is running something more action oriented, for example, occupations like cop or soldier might replace professor and CSI at the top tier.

You get 5 points to spend on occupations. Rookie level costs one point per star rating, while buying up to Professional or Veteran costs one or two more points on top, respectively. You don't have to spend all your points right now; unspent points can be used to buy additional occupations (which may or may not have restrictions, it's unclear) or Extracurricular Skills (and we're back to italics). Extracurricular Skills are like occupations, except that they're all effectively one-star because they aren't package deals, just single discreet talents. That still means you're getting charged the same for Veterancy in Muay Thai or String Theory as you are for Underwater Basket Weaving, though. It's not directly stated, but it is implied, that your Extracurricular Skills can't "double up" on things covered by your occupation. No buying up "shooting" if you're a cop. Oh, and apparently Terrance Chastain runs a self-defense class at Hepta Sophistai, because everybody gets a free Rookie level of Fighting for free (or any Extracurricular Skill you want if your occupation covers fighting).

Brant's a writer of weird fantasy and cerebral comic books. Writing by itself is a pretty narrow skill, almost just an Extracurricular, but being an author also means knowing how to network, promote yourself, research stuff, and understand how people think (or at least convince yourself that Castle is an accurate representation of an author's usefulness to an investigation). That looks about on par with three-star occupations like Researcher or Private Eye, so we'll put it there. Naturally, Brant's a Veteran Weird Fiction Writer, which uses up all 5 of his points.

Never one to give the competition an edge, Albert's player buys the same occupation at the same level. Veteran Weird Fiction Writer ahoy!

While "Anthropologist" isn't on the list specifically, "Professor" is, and that's close enough. It's a five-star occupation, so becoming a Rookie Anthropologist eats up all her points.

"Survivalist" sounds pretty close to "Forest Ranger" in terms of scope and applicability, and the book tags that as a five-star occupation as well. Lister's player has to content himself with being a Rookie Survivalist.

Father Del's a priest, naturally, and Priest is a four-star occupation, which tells you a lot about where this game is going. The padre's been at this a while, so his player spends his fifth point to bump it up from Rookie to Professional Priest.

No matter how much he argues that janitorship is the true key to enlightenment and the full realization of the principle of mind/no mind, the Custodian is clearly a proud member of our only one-star occupation. Never one to do things half-assed, he spends three points on being a Veteran Janitor, and spends his last two points to learn Professional Stealth. He is the wind.

After all this point-spending, we're told to pick a few hobbies to flesh our characters out. These don't cost anything, but they don't do anything other than character-building either. These are things you enjoy, not things you're good enough at to make a living. We're going to skip this step because this post is getting so long I'm probably already going to have to split the meat of Chapter Five off. So lets move on to the final mechanical step: Supplemental Points! You get 15 of them, and you can use them to beef up the stats you've already picked.

We're told in this section that additional occupations beyond your first can't be higher than Rookie level at character creation. This rule was not mentioned earlier when we were told we could buy multiple occupations with our occupation points. We can also buy one (but only one) extra Descriptor per Attribute. Also, we have to have at least one Power, and unlike the example occupations I'm going to talk a little about these because they're cool. Powers are rated one to five stars like occupations, but they have no expertise levels. Powers cost three points per star rating. Oh, and though we aren't told this till next chapter, activating Powers is always an Awareness roll, and neither occupations nor Descriptors apply to activation roles.

One-Star Powers
  • Presque Vu: You can sense when events are related to the larger pattern of... whatever the hell it is the Society investigates. Basically a psychic clue-by-four.
  • Deja visite: Remember how Buckaroo Banzai said "No matter where you go, there you are?" That's deja visite. No matter where you are--strange city, trackless desert, middle of the goddamn Atlantic--you know your way around like you've lived there your whole life.
Two-Star Powers
  • Remote Viewing: You can spy on a person or place anywhere in the world, just by thinking about them.
  • X-ray Vision: Why see anything anywhere in the world when you could see through a wall for the same price?

Backscatter fetishism?

Three-Star Powers
  • Postcognition: You can see the past. With a modicum of effort, all of the past. Oh, and you can see the past anywhere in the world, so good job spending the extra three points to be flat-out better than Remote Viewing.
  • Precognition: Exactly the same as the above, but you see the future.
Four-Star Powers
  • Ghosting: Walk through walls. Or instead, for the same cost, you can get...
  • Teleportation: No range limit. We're told that the closer/more familiar the destination, the easier the jump. This is a filthy lie, as we will see next chapter.
Five-Star Powers
Only one, but it's a doozy. Motherfucking Time Travel. Like the book says:

Aletheia posted:

No timeframe is unreachable with this power, but there are risks in journeying too far into the past or future. Travelling seconds or minutes in either direction is likely to have few ramifications, but not so with deeper Time Travel – the further one journeys, the more likely the character is to alter the existing timeline.

And as an added bonus, Time Travel includes Teleportation.

We have one final step, and luckily it's an easy one: Recording your character's starting Will. Will is a slowly-recovering pool of points you can spend, one for one, to get extra dice on your rolls. Will is equal to the star rating of your highest-rated power.

We'll dig into the mechanics of the powers next chapter, but this is getting long as hell so let's come up with powers and spend our example characters' Supplemental Points and wrap this thing up.

Brant's power is the ability to influence reality by writing comic books. There's no clear analog there to the example powers in the book, but it sounds kind of similar to the way Time Travel can alter the course of events. It's not quite as versatile as Time Travel, though, so I'll call it a four-star power. That eats up 12 points, and with his last three points Brant's player buys Veteran Occult as an Extracurricular Skill.

Brant Harristown
Motivation: make contact with GALGOMETH
Attributes: Fitness 2 (wiry bastard), Awareness 1 (Zen-like), Personality 3 (magnetic), and Reason 2 (non-linear)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Veteran Weird Fiction Writer, Veteran Occult, Rookie Fighting
Power: Comic book-based reality manipulation
Will: 4

Albert, being an antisocial recluse, is very hard to pin down for things like interviews. That's because he can Ghost through walls. Wanting to differentiate himself from Brant, his player opts to spend his last three points on a secondary occupation of "wizard." Sadly, it's only at Rookie level.

Albert Stoor
Motivation: take the piss out of Harriston
Attributes: Fitness 1 (Beard), Awareness 2 (Beeeeeeard), Personality 1 (BEEEAAAAARD!) and Reason 4 (Son of Beard)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Veteran Weird Fiction Writer, Rookie Wizard, Rookie Fighting
Power: Ghosting
Will: 4

Georgie sees ghosts. She describes it as psychometry with an auditory-visual synesthetic component, and it's triggered by any strong emotional impression, but 'she sees ghosts' is less of a brain-ful. That sounds like a combination of Presque vu and Postcognition to me. That's ten points, and her last five will go toward buying up one more rank each of Fitness and Reason, and adding a Descriptor to her Reason.

Georgie Hicks
Motivation: understand the big picture
Attributes: Fitness 2 (tough), Awareness 3 (detail-oriented), Personality 1 (dizzying), and Reason 4 (analytical, font of obscure knowledge)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Rookie Anthropologist, Rookie Fighting
Power: Presque vu, Postcognition
Will: 3

Lister also sees dead people. Except what he sees isn't ghosts or whatever, he sees people around him as they're going to look at the moment of their deaths. He's effectively precognitive, he just doesn't know how to fully harness it yet. That's nine points, and his remaining six will go toward Rookie Music as an Extracurricular Skill and bumping his Fitness and Awareness each to 4. Finally, since "Survivalist" covers fighting, his player swaps his free Rookie Fighting for Rookie Computer Use instead.

Lister Shroud
Motivation: find my sister's killer
Attributes: Fitness 4 (tireless), Awareness 4 (ears like a bat), Personality 1 (unfailingly polite), and Reason 1 (practical)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Rookie Survivalist, Rookie Singing, Rookie Computer Use
Power: Precognition
Will: 3

Father Del's ability to see people's most recent sin is pretty clearly Postcognition. That leaves him another 6 points to spend, so his player chooses Professional Research as an Extracurricular Skill and a point of Reason.

Father Delmont Skirt
Motivation: make some kind of peace with my abilities
Attributes: Fitness 1 (portly), Awareness 5 (insightful), Reason 2 (erudite), and Personality 1 (comforting)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Professional Priest, Professional Computer Use
Power: Postcognition
Will: 3

The Custodian is everywhere. He is allwhen. He is omnipresent, and he is watching you.

The Custodian
Motivation: :troll:
Attributes: Fitness 2 (fit), Awareness 2 (aware), Personality 2 (personal), and Reason 2 (reasonable)
Occupation & Secondary Skills: Veteran Janitor, Professional Stealth, Rookie Fighting
Power: Time Travel
Will: 5

Thoughts So Far: I like the speed and simplicity of character generation, but some of the power rules seem pretty rushed. Like "walk through walls" and "teleport anywhere" being the same level. And if you're thinking Ghosting can be used for other stuff like going intangible to avoid attacks and get into unknown places you can't teleport to, nope. It literally just lets you want through solid objects. And teleport has no "you must know your destination" rule either. After seeing the powers you goons came up with, I wish there was more support for devising new powers, or at least putting interesting limitations or twists on the powers that are in there.

The game also uses different costs for Supplemental Points than the base points for different traits, which can lead to one character getting more bang for her buck than another. It's not as pronounced as, say, WoD, but it's there. Overall, while there's not a ton wrong with it, this chapter (and the next one) I feel like could have used more polish.

Next Time: Smarty stuff, fighty stuff, and earning XP for reading the GM's mind.

GimpInBlack fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Jan 14, 2014

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

I just paged through Alethia a little earlier tonight (thanks for pointing out that it was on sale!) and... yeah. I think there's a line in there about 'sometimes' you 'might' get in a fight says something about the intent of the game. I think the automatic victories are supposed to cover for shifting target numbers, similar to the way the investigation system works: unless you're working completely at cross-purposes to the plot, you're probably going to succeed.

The powers are bigger and more static than I expected. I can't really complain, because it REDACTED REDACTED fnord REDACTED but you know.

And speaking of without actually speaking of, god drat does this poo poo get late Seventies Disney, fast.

Bieeanshee fucked around with this message at 05:56 on Jan 14, 2014

Oct 14, 2011

The City in the Jewel - Lin Carter posted:

In a vast chamber beneath the Tower of Skulls, Zazamanc he Veiled Enchanter set enthroned in Power. This throne stood on a dais composed of nine tiers of black marble, and it was carved from the ivory of mastodons, Set within the broad arms of this throne were the sigils whereby the Veiled Enchanter summoned the demons and genii and elementals that served his wishes in all things. At this hour he wore the Green Robe of Conjuration, and his left hand was set upon Ouphonx, the ninth sigil of the planet Saturn, which the Lemurians of his age knew by a different name. Under his right hand lay Zoar, the third sigil of the Moon. Before him, on a tabouret of jet, lay the Crossed Swords and the wand called Imgoth.

Amulets were clasped about his wrists and throat. Pendent upon his brow hung the talisman the grimoires named Arazamyon, and upon it a certain Name was written in runes fashioned of small black pearls.

The face of Zazamanc went masked this day behind a single tissue of pale green gauze; through it the cold pallor of his handsome visage gleamed like an ivory mask, and his eyes glittered with frozen malice.

Chapter 6: Sorcery

The Teachings of Myr'vaan the Jealous posted:

I offer you the wisdom of snakes, eldritch knowledge older than this mountain you scaled for my council: There is no knowledge that is not power, and no power that is not fleeting. Be wary therein, lest questions you would slake draw you beyond the precipice.

What would Sword and Sorcery be without the Sorcery? Just swords, obviously. But anyway, it's time to look at how this game tackles magic in a genre where magic is typically incredibly powerful, yet dangerous to its caster almost as much as to its targets. Well, for one thing, sorcery is not an academic pursuit. Nobody knows exactly how it works; they can at best make educated guesses. There is no understanding it, because it is a force completely alien to all we know - whether it comes as a barbed gift from alien gods or from any other origin. If it does come from other beings, then those beings always have their own agenda, one which is at best indifferent to the human suffering it causes, and at worst actually enjoying it. Basically, sorcery isn't about knowledge or understanding, it's about power, and a sorcerer is more likely to spend time sacrificing virgins than reading musty tomes.

Mechanically, sorcery relies on the Sorcery Pool. This comes from the Power Combined Attribute, which is Sagacity, Tenacity, Brawn and a bonus equal to the number of mysteries known divided by three (but never higher than the proficiency of the highest known), and the mystery he's using. The dice are split into two groups whenever casting a spell - a casting check and a containment check. Naturally, the more you put into one, the fewer you have for the other. The higher your Sorcery priority was, the lower your TN is for these checks - 6 for A, 7 for B and 8 for C. You roll the casting check first, and if that succeeds, you then roll the containment check. If you get as many successes in the containment check as the casting check, you succeed in containing the sorcerous energies. Otherwise, you gain 1 taint for every success you missed it by.

The higher your taint is, the harder it is to cast magic (you get a penalty to your Sorcery Pool) and the harder it is to interact with people and animals - they sense your strangeness, even if it's at a subconscious level. Every 12 hours, your taint goes down naturally by 1, so long as you haven't gained any more in the mean time. Alternatively, you may perform a 12 hour ritual of purification, which ends in a Power check against TN 7, where every success reduces your taint by 1. Finally, Taint Backlash is a serious possibility - if you have more taint than Heart, and you gain 3 taint in one go, you gain a minor but obvious physical affliction - a third eye grows somewhere conspicuous, you grow scales instead of skin, or anything else the GM can come up with.

Next, the book discusses the different mysteries. There are six Lesser Mysteries and two Greater Mysteries, which may themselves be combined to form Arcane Secrets. The first Lesser Mystery is Cursing, which requires either the victim or else something of their's close at hand to basically cause them to have a run of really bad luck, or else for a very specific bad thing to happen. The second is Enslavement, which basically involves controlling a person's mind. You may make a person perform just about any task, which they will do while ignoring all else, or you may make them see something that isn't there - a venomous snake around their waste instead of a belt is one of the examples given. The third is Mending, which is essentially magical healing. Mending may be used to cure wounds or lift curses, but can also be reversed to inflict pain. The sorcerer must decide whether they prefer the healing or the harming side of Mending, and then have a +2 TN penalty on the other side. The fourth Lesser Mystery is Prophecy - this basically allows the Sorcerer to get answers to questions. The fifth is Scrying. This involves leaving one's body as it rests in order to watch people as a disembodied spirit. Humans can't see you, but anything supernatural can, and sorcerers can feel your presence. The final Lesser Mystery is Witchfire. This doesn't need to be fire, but is basically a combat application of sorcery; from throwing fireballs to lightning from your arse. Sorcerers gain half their Power attribute as Armour against Witchfire - or their full Power if they know the Mystery themselves. Characters with an E or F in Sorcery, and are thus weak to it may not even use their Brawn to absorb any of the damage.

The first Greater Mystery is Goety - the ability to summon or banish demons. Demons typically require a sacrifice to be successfully summoned - virgins are traditional, but some aren't quite so picky. If you use a better sacrifice, you get a bonus to your SP. Once the demon is summoned, you may give it commands. Banishing a demon you summoned is pretty easy - banishing a demon summoned by someone else is less so. The other Greater Mystery is Necromancy. Necromancy is not used to create undead - though it can lead to such practices later - but is instead used to summon the shades of the dead and to question them.

Next, we have Arcane Secrets. These are limited to the most powerful of all sorcerers, and since sorcery isn't an exact science, you cannot research them. This must be obtained by other means. Demons may teach you, for a price; some cults may know one or two, or you may be able to learn from the ghost of a dead sorcerer, as a few examples. In order to learn an Arcane Secret, you must be proficient in at least one Greater Mystery. There are some examples listed below:

Abomination allows you to create a monstrous creature by performing a ritual over a pregnant woman every week for the first trimester. The birth will almost certainly kill her. This requires Goety and Mending. The Acolyte's Claw is a martial art which allows a sorcerer to empower his fists with eldritch energies. This also requires Goety and Mending. Animate the Dead is exactly what it sounds like, and requires Necromancy. Bind the Soul allows you to force the soul of a dead person into a living body, and again requires Necromancy. Blight is a combination of Goety and Cursing that makes the land in a large area less fertile - can be quite nasty if you curse a village with it. Chariot of Sorcery allows you to enchant a vehicle of some kind to make it better - using Goety and Necromancy, you may give it an untiring crew (or the ability to move without), an unusual type of movement, the ability to move when it wouldn't normally have such a thing, being bigger on the inside - yes, you can basically create the TARDIS with this, if you're powerful enough... Eldritch Effigies allows you to split into multiple versions of yourself - though only one of them houses your soul. Firestorm uses Cursing and Witchfire to attack a large area with one's Witchfire - it could be an army, or a city or any other sensible area, and over the course of a single limelight, or thirty seconds if not in combat, per success on the casting roll, it randomly targets people in that area. Hand of Doom uses Goety and Necromancy to rip an internal organ out of a person's body and into your hand. Death is typically quick after that. Master of the Beast allows you to control a specific type of animal. Mold the Flesh allows you to magically disguise yourself. Plague Wind and Portal are exactly what they sound like. Shake the Bones of the Earth allows you to create massive earthquakes. Whisper My Name In Fear allows you to instantly know if someone says your name aloud, who said it, where they said it and in what context, as well as who is with them.

Sorcerers may combine their efforts to cast a spell; the person with the highest Mystery score in what is being attempted takes the lead, and everybody else provides bonus dice. Any taint and backlash caused affects all casters fully.

Next, we have the Duel of Wills. This is very similar to melee combat, but naturally uses magical energies instead, and doesn't typically aim at specific body parts the way you do in melee. I actually prefer this way of doing magical combat to the way The Riddle of Steel handled it - it's far less book keeping, and it fits quite easily into the combat system already provided.

Finally, spells may affect multiple targets (not 'effect' as written in the book), but one success is removed for every target after the first, and for everything but Witchfire, the person best able to resist the spell makes the roll for all the targets; if he succeeds, everyone resists, while if he fails, everyone fails.

And here endeth Chapter 6. I hope you all enjoyed this; next up it's a guide to playing and running Sword and Sorcery campaigns. See you all then.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Chapter 8: That’s “Fronckensteen!”

The “do you believe?” paragraph at the beginning of the reanimates chapter is particularly corny--even the waterheads who believe in vampires and buy books by people with names like Konstantinos and Starhawk aren’t out buying torches and pitchforks in case Frankenstein’s monster attacks. It mentions the people who have their heads cryogenically frozen, and wonders if scientists might be capable of reanimating the dead already. (Even as a zombie, the creepiest thing about Walt Disney would still be that goddamn moustache.) As somebody who works for a pathology department, let me assure you that Victor Frankenstein wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a job at Pfizer or a grant from the NIH.

Increase the Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around.

Reanimates are created by “dark scientists” who combine medical and occult science to trap a Dead Soul and implant it in a dead body. There isn’t one correct method, but any way you slice it (sorry) reanimation requires a large laboratory with things like meat lockers, chemical baths, intimidating orthopedic surgery tools, and spooky machines with lights and dials and Tesla coils and poo poo like that. Even an experienced mad scientist with cutting-edge (sorry) equipment can only get it right about 25% of the time.

The “scientist” in charge picked out individual lips, cheeks, breasts, and a navel. The first woman designed with the help of r/MensRights/‎ and a suave fedora.

Reanimates come in three basic varieties. The first is fleshfreaks, who are created from parts of recently-dead bodies. A reanimator may harvest parts from more than two dozen fresh corpses to assemble a specimen. The most interesting thing about fleshfreaks, and indeed the whole chapter, is that their creation is driven by a group called the Friends of the Automatons, scientists who create reanimates “for the betterment of mankind.” They’re competitive, they circulate an underground medical journal (called The Re-Animator Monthly :rolleye:), and they prize creations that are healthy, attractive, and resistant to aging and disease. The first fleshfreaks were created 275 years ago with chemicals and galvanism. (When this book was published, that would be 1720, more than a century before the publication of Frankenstein.) Fleshfreaks themselves come in three subtypes. Superiors are walking masterpieces and indeed physically superior to most people. Patchworks are, well, not-so-seamless attempts, and often suffer from visible scarring and mismatched body parts, while Obscenities are twisted and deformed. Fleshfreaks often have the “advantage” of cybernetic implants and extra organs, transplanted from both humans and animals. Most reanimators aren’t deliberately trying to create monstrous deformities, so subtle advantages like a second heart and night vision are much more common than extra limbs and eyes.

Hey, sexy mama...wanna kill all humans?

Deathmechs are reanimated bodies who have had some of their parts replaced with cybernetics. Several governments and powerful eldritch have discovered the secret of creating deathmechs to serve them, including a US government program called Project Ghostwalker which has been around since the late ‘40s. Deathmechs have a sorry lot--most of them are built to be perfectly effective, obedient killing machines, not to enjoy quality of life or have the physique of a Greek god. Most of them are dehumanized with names like KLFK-9000 and discouraged from developing their humanity or recovering memories of “past lives.” They often have scarring and visible cybernetic implants, need regular maintenance, and worst of all, may have to have more and more necrotic tissue excised and replaced with machinery. Their bodies are often implanted with weapons, armor, reinforced tissues, and all kinds of sensors.

Golems are entirely magickal, entirely inorganic reanimates. The first was created by Kabbalists, but other magickal traditions have copied their methods. Golems don’t need to eat, sleep, or breathe, and they’re hard as stone, but they still enjoy five senses and the ability to speak and move with the suppleness of a human body. Many can pass for human, they’re just square-featured and plain, unless their creator deliberately sculpts them to have monstrous features or extra limbs and eyes and such.

Maybe it’s a good thing Robert Smith got fat.

Reanimates’ Torment is literally Angst, and needs little explanation, though “monstrosity” might be a better word. Reanimates are created fully-formed without a natural origin or identity, so they struggle with self-loathing, disgust with their own capacity for violence, and a tendency toward depression and impulsive violent behaviour. Revenants fight Angst by developing relationships and finding meaning and emotion in their lives, and give in to Angst by giving up their free will and becoming distant from humans.

Like other unliving, reanimates lose 3 animus a day, but their means of regaining it is left almost entirely to the Guide. Fleshfreaks and deathmechs usually need electricity or chemical baths; the process can be as simple as attaching a gadget plugged into a wall outlet, while there are guidelines for how much daily chemical baths should cost. Magickal means of recharging, like herbal concoctions or spending time recharging in a magic circle are completely up to the Guide. Some reanimates have to eat human flesh, in which case they gain animus from it just like ghuls.

Reanimates all get increased Aspects, rapid healing (but not regeneration), and resistance to disease, poison, and drowning. Deathmechs also get body armor, golems get more body armor, and any reanimate may have enhanced senses. They take debilitating damage from fire (except golems) and can be “killed” by decapitation or damage that’s more than twice their Life score, but as long as the brain is mostly intact, they can be rebuilt.

If you’re playing a reanimate, your innate advantages and disadvantages can vary wildly with the Guide’s attitude. Fortunately, beyond “maybe you need to eat plutonium to power your railgun penis, just wing it” reanimates do have a few preternature available.

Revenant powers are called Augmentations and are as follows:

Animal Sensory Organ Transplant: You get a bonus to tests using a particular sense.
Chemically/Pneumatically Enhanced Musculature: Permanently boosts Strength.
Electromagnetic Metabolic Enhancement: You have regeneration and the ability to regrow lost limbs.
Fringe Lurker: Like powers for several other character types, this makes you unnoticeable without conveying true invisibility.
Human Perfection: You can force mortals to revere and be in awe of you.
Neuro-Net: Permanently boosts Speed.
Post-mortem Memory Retention: You fully remember your past lives, and levels in this augmentation permanently boosts Intellect and gives you free skill points.
Synthetic Flesh: Permanently boosts Resilience.
Wallcrawl: Like several other powers, you can climb walls like a spider.

The sample character is named Alexandra Cruesoe who is actually interesting. She was a ballerina who died in a fire, and whose husband reanimated her as a patchwork fleshfreak. She lives in seclusion as a science fiction writer and makeup prosthetic artist, which allows her to leave her home from time to time. Her writing has been very successful, and now her agent is pressuring her to do a book signing tour to promote a book that’s been made into a film.

Next time, on The Everlasting: Join the Everlasting Fun Club, Mac!

May 28, 2004

Strong And/Or Free

Halloween Jack posted:

Hey, sexy mama...wanna kill all humans?
Soooo... I gather Marvel Comics never saw this?


Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

Bieeardo posted:

I just paged through Alethia a little earlier tonight (thanks for pointing out that it was on sale!) and... yeah. I think there's a line in there about 'sometimes' you 'might' get in a fight says something about the intent of the game. I think the automatic victories are supposed to cover for shifting target numbers, similar to the way the investigation system works: unless you're working completely at cross-purposes to the plot, you're probably going to succeed.

Yeah, it's definitely not a combat heavy game by intent. Which is fine, the game doesn't need Phoenix Command level tactical engagements, but what's there is pretty stingy. God help you if you piss off a moderately competent shootist.

Bieeardo posted:

The powers are bigger and more static than I expected. I can't really complain, because it REDACTED REDACTED fnord REDACTED but you know.

Yeah I can completely understand why the powers are the way they are. I'll probably talk more about them later once we've learned more about the secrets of t
he universe in Chapter Seven or so.

Bieeardo posted:

And speaking of without actually speaking of, god drat does this poo poo get late Seventies Disney, fast.


Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

JohnnyCanuck posted:

Soooo... I gather Marvel Comics never saw this?


Great artists steal :colbert:

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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

Wow that's pretty much Eddie from Iron Maiden.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Halloween Jack posted:

Dante With a Gun

Wow that's pretty drat blatant. Capcom might want to have words if these guys still exist.

Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

Robindaybird posted:

Wow that's pretty drat blatant. Capcom might want to have words if these guys still exist.

That's from Hunter: the Vigil. It was all handled a few years ago. Pretty sure that artist is blacklisted now.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

GimpInBlack posted:

That's from Hunter: the Vigil. It was all handled a few years ago. Pretty sure that artist is blacklisted now.

Yeah - I would hope the artist was blacklisted after pulling that stunt - there's a world of difference between taking inspiration from DMC and basically copying and editing a sword into a gun. It's just stunning that a) no one editing noticed, and b) the artist thought that was okay.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Robindaybird posted:

Yeah - I would hope the artist was blacklisted after pulling that stunt - there's a world of difference between taking inspiration from DMC and basically copying and editing a sword into a gun. It's just stunning that a) no one editing noticed, and b) the artist thought that was okay.

Even since they stopped being edited by, White Wolf has had editorial issues when it comes to copying. Danse Macabre had a chapter literally cut and pasted verbatim from the Mage Chronicler's Guide with names swapped around and the editor didn't notice until fans pointed it out.


Sep 27, 2012

That's right, kids, take lots of drugs, leave the universe behind, and pilot Enlightenment Voltron out into the cosmos to meet Alien Jesus.

Robindaybird posted:

Yeah - I would hope the artist was blacklisted after pulling that stunt - there's a world of difference between taking inspiration from DMC and basically copying and editing a sword into a gun. It's just stunning that a) no one editing noticed, and b) the artist thought that was okay.

It's stunning on the artist's part, sure, but that image was ripped off from a (at the time) three-year-old video game. A fairly popular one, granted, but if you're not really a big video gamer--which as I understand it the art director on the book wasn't) and you're assuming your artists are producing original works in good faith, it's an easy oversight to make.

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