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The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

It seems kind of weird for modern Colombia to associate itself with Conquistadors.

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Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

The Vosgian Beast posted:

It seems kind of weird for modern Colombia to associate itself with Conquistadors.

That's Rifts for you.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



theironjef posted:

The problem was never their ground forces, it was always that they have aerial firepower, observation, and transport all running on neverending nuclear power. They can literally fly forever. The notion that they don't know much about ... say Florida is more an admission that they are lazy or stupid and not that the world is dangerous.

That's really my point. They tend to have operational ceilings of 10 miles and there's not a whole lot that's going to touch you there. Screw sending out SAMAS, just put an unmanned nuclear-powered drone flying up there is going to give you a poo poo load of coverage and you're not going to have the risk of the guy "going native" and disappearing with a multi-million credit war machine.

And the Death Head is particularly egregious, since it can drop the Rifts equivalent of mechanized infantry company anywhere in the world within 24 hours. The cargo holds are something like 150 to 250 tons, which gives them something like 2-4 million ton miles per day. For comparison, total strategic airlift capacity of the US military is 54 million ton miles and that's every cargo plane being mobilized. And there's a lot of them, since they're more equivalent to the tactical airlift role of the C-130 than they are to the strategic roles of the Galaxy and Globemaster. The Coalition could be forming airheads and airbridges into anywhere in the world like it's nothing.

poo poo, the Coalition could have a bunch of dudes flying loops around target areas akin to the old SAC bomber protocols, drop altitude and release a few dozen SAMAS and Skycycles as an rapid emergency response.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book Six: South America (Part 5): "These characters are tragic heroes committed to defending a world that does not completely accept them."

The Anti-Monster O.C.C.


All it takes is a little magic, a touch of cybernetics, and a full case of Weight Gain 4000.

The cover guy for the book, this is a magical cyborg created by Columbia. How do they do it?

:iiam:

Atlantis suspects they're made by a god or a supernatural intelligence (buy Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis), a few people aware of Wormwood think they're related to the Holy Terrors (buy Rifts Dimension Book One: Wormwood), while others think they may be created by the "extradimensional genius" Doctor Articulus or a peer of his (buy Rifts Sourcebook One). The final suspicion seems the most accurate, since they seem to match up with the magic cyborg from Rifts Sourcebook One, but it's left a mystery.

To make an Anti-Monster, you need:
  • One (1) psychic or wizard
  • One (1) secret magic ritual
  • Various (???) techno-wizard bionic parts
Surgically remove most of the subject's body parts, cast the magic ritual, replace the body parts, and voila! Their psychic or magic potential is sacrificed to give the cyborg parts "life" (but not as we know it), and so the metal can regenerate and heal because magic. Also they get access to some wizard spells.

The Anti-Monsters are cold, hard machines but loyal to humanity, like Robocop. Why they're so loyal is... well, it's a mystery again, but apparently exceedingly few go bad. However, the process makes 50% of them intolerant of human weakness, and 90% of them become cold and merciless-

- I want to see the survey that gets you kind of information, like does it say: "Do you feel your standards regarding mercy have changed since becoming an Anti-Monster? A) I feel more merciful B) I feel about the same level of mercy C) I feel less merciful"-

- and 80% of them have an obsession, usually fighting vampires or fighting supernatural evil or protecting humans, but 40% (which is to say 32% of all Anti-Monsters) roll on the normal obsession tables, which means you can get bizarre stuff like an anti-monster obsessed with being a criminal mastermind ("just call me Anti-Moriarty!... wait, that doesn't work") or become an (unlicensed) psychiatrist because get it psychiatrists are the real crazy people get it, ha ha... gently caress those tables.

So what does one get? Well, a pretty hefty around of M.D.C. at 400+, super-strength, super-charisma, super-agility, super-endurance, and super-speed. But you're ugly. You're immune to most hazardous environments, get some minor spellcasting, can sense psionics, spells, and supernatural beings, and get a variety of bonuses, chiefly against fear and psionics. However, you take extra damage from rune weapons, Wormwood crystals, Millennium tree goodies, and a penalty on stealth.Skills are enemic but not horrible, and you can get cyborg armor, effectively doubling your M.D.C. to 800+. You also can get some minor cybernetics, if you want.

It's a really strong ground-pounding class, but doesn't have much breadth. Pretty much for those players who want to just be an all-around better 'Borg, really. It suffers from, despite being a monster hunting class, running into the fact that a lot of supernatural stuff will still stymie it. It can't see the invisible, it can't counter teleportation or regeneration, etc. Though its punches do damage to vampires, it can't do much to a mist-form vampire or destroy them without a secondary tool. Alas.

But you do get to play a piece of ultra-roided Brom art, so there's that!

Next: A vampire with a sombrero.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.





It's mostly discussion about punk genres and answering questions about Tim Curry and Superman this week. Here's Afterthought 5: Rock, Punk.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

I've only listened to the Cheese Dude's (sp?) intro, completely cracked up and got some very strange looks from the other late night shoppers at the grocery.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

I've always thought Ol' Siembieda was barking up the wrong tree with the Rifts stuff. Instead of marketing it as an RPG, he should have pitched it as a Saturday morning cartoon series with a line of toys. Tha poo poo was the tits in the early 90's, and kids don't give a crap about a realistic post-apocalypse setting; they just want to see dudes covered in skull armor shooting missles at dragons and shiny robots and poo poo.

He could have made a mint and been the mogul of the next action-figure franchise instead of this sadbrains bargain-bin elfgame outfit. You think he would've learned from the TMNT license.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



Simian_Prime posted:

I've always thought Ol' Siembieda was barking up the wrong tree with the Rifts stuff. Instead of marketing it as an RPG, he should have pitched it as a Saturday morning cartoon series with a line of toys. Tha poo poo was the tits in the early 90's, and kids don't give a crap about a realistic post-apocalypse setting; they just want to see dudes covered in skull armor shooting missles at dragons and shiny robots and poo poo.

He could have made a mint and been the mogul of the next action-figure franchise instead of this sadbrains bargain-bin elfgame outfit. You think he would've learned from the TMNT license.

Hasn't he been trying to get a movie made to start up this sort of thing for the last 30 years?

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Don't forget the Rifts video game which actually came out.

Y'know, for the N-Gage.

Honestly the biggest sin Rifts commits is the number one cardinal sin anyone can commit when making a kitchen sink smashing-toys-together game like this which is that it's boring as poo poo. No offense to Alien Rope Burn whose writeups are comprehensive and informative but I could not tell you the difference between any of the stuff he's written about from book to book or chapter to chapter because Kevin Sembieda et al have the ability to take any sort of halfway interesting concept and reduce it to "like the last dozen cyborgs but even more powerfuler" or "this gun does 10d6 MDC damage while this gun over here does 11d6 MDC damage and who cares because you're going to use the gun that does 200d6 MDC damage." I doubt that the form of media that Kevin Sembieda has chosen to plant his flag upon is what's really holding him back, here.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kai Tave posted:

Honestly the biggest sin Rifts commits is the number one cardinal sin anyone can commit when making a kitchen sink smashing-toys-together game like this which is that it's boring as poo poo. No offense to Alien Rope Burn whose writeups are comprehensive and informative but I could not tell you the difference between any of the stuff he's written about from book to book or chapter to chapter because Kevin Sembieda et al have the ability to take any sort of halfway interesting concept and reduce it to "like the last dozen cyborgs but even more powerfuler" or "this gun does 10d6 MDC damage while this gun over here does 11d6 MDC damage and who cares because you're going to use the gun that does 200d6 MDC damage." I doubt that the form of media that Kevin Sembieda has chosen to plant his flag upon is what's really holding him back, here.

It's funny, but I came to the same conclusion although it was really about Glitter Boys, who pale in comparison to something like Shaian from the anime Dragon's Heaven, whose Dragon Fire cannon throws out nuclear explosions, or Killy from BLAME!, with his Graviton Emitter pistol that can ratchet up the damage.

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

theironjef posted:



It's mostly discussion about punk genres and answering questions about Tim Curry and Superman this week. Here's Afterthought 5: Rock, Punk.

The Bas-Lag books by China Mieville are much closer to punk than most steampunk books, to the point where the third book is entirely about a worker's revolution.

There's supposed to be an RPG based on them called Tales of New Crobuzon, but it's been perpetually delayed since 2008.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




The Vosgian Beast posted:

The Bas-Lag books by China Mieville are much closer to punk than most steampunk books, to the point where the third book is entirely about a worker's revolution.

There's supposed to be an RPG based on them called Tales of New Crobuzon, but it's been perpetually delayed since 2008.

Don't worry, I'm sure its 5-year development cycle will begin immediately after Far West comes out this month.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 15:02 on May 5, 2015

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

theironjef posted:



It's mostly discussion about punk genres and answering questions about Tim Curry and Superman this week. Here's Afterthought 5: Rock, Punk.

I find myself now reading GURPS Low-Tech and Mesopotamian sources to make a setting for a Stonepunk game.

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








The Vosgian Beast posted:

The Bas-Lag books by China Mieville are much closer to punk than most steampunk books, to the point where the third book is entirely about a worker's revolution.

There's supposed to be an RPG based on them called Tales of New Crobuzon, but it's been perpetually delayed since 2008.
Mostly because Gareth "Far West is totally coming out next week!" Skarka currently has the license.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



NGDBSS posted:

Mostly because Gareth "Far West is totally coming out next week!" Skarka currently has the license.

I'm honestly more pissed about his Buckaroo Banzai that's been "held up" by the license holder since like 2010. Even though the Atomic Robo RPG is a better BB game than Gareth could probably ever design.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I want a bucket of yump.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Lancero Light Tank/APC


Turrets on turrets on turrets.

How do you even open the lower hatch?

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, the weapons and armor are at the end of each nation's "chapter", speaking loosely, as Rifts doesn't have a traditional chapter structure. I'm mostly disappointed that the Incans and Colombia are on opposite sides of the continent, so you have to do some gyrations to have mecha-Incas vs. mecha-Conquistadors.

and no i haven't been spelling colombia wrong all this time, ha ha, that would be terrible of me

:saddowns:

Is there no mech designed after a feathered serpent? With the "feathers" actually being wooden semi-guided missiles to impale the hell out of vampires? I am dissapoint.

Also, having all those mechs carry what is basically infantry weapons is weird. Imagine Battletech soldiers carrying AC/20s o_O

The Vosgian Beast posted:

It seems kind of weird for modern Colombia to associate itself with Conquistadors.

Why, they just felt like putting superfluous helmets on their power armor.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

I want a bucket of yump.

Cool or mulled?


Kai Tave posted:

Don't forget the Rifts video game which actually came out.

Y'know, for the N-Gage.

Honestly the biggest sin Rifts commits is the number one cardinal sin anyone can commit when making a kitchen sink smashing-toys-together game like this which is that it's boring as poo poo. No offense to Alien Rope Burn whose writeups are comprehensive and informative but I could not tell you the difference between any of the stuff he's written about from book to book or chapter to chapter because Kevin Sembieda et al have the ability to take any sort of halfway interesting concept and reduce it to "like the last dozen cyborgs but even more powerfuler" or "this gun does 10d6 MDC damage while this gun over here does 11d6 MDC damage and who cares because you're going to use the gun that does 200d6 MDC damage." I doubt that the form of media that Kevin Sembieda has chosen to plant his flag upon is what's really holding him back, here.

He's definitely got a little publish or perish problem. I think about halfway down the rabbit hole he fell into the trap of just crapping out sourcebooks with the formula of "Location + (Most Famous Historical Warriors from that Location - Cultural Relevance of Whoever Holds that Land Now) = Conquistador robots vs. Ninja borgs" and ran with it. The really fun stuff is honestly in the margins between the hilarious history robots, stuff like the Mindwerks facility and psychic humpback whale RCCs (and spoiler alert the South America thing that's a magic flame power armor suit you put on as an amulet).

I don't remember which South America book has it, but the power armor suit that disappointed me the most of any Rifts thing ever is in one of them. After Atlantis gave us the Snake and Equestrian suits of Kittani power armor, which looked like anime cathedral robots strapped onto animal torsos and were legit amazing, there came another Kittani animal suit, which was called the Raptor or something and looked like a traced picture of a Utahraptor with some metal panel lines added in after the fact. Terrible.

theironjef fucked around with this message at 15:31 on May 5, 2015

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

NGDBSS posted:

Mostly because Gareth "Far West is totally coming out next week!" Skarka currently has the license.

God loving drat it. How long are people going to have to go off that issue of Dragon magazine adapting Bas-Lag to 3.5 D&D rules? How long?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

Cool or mulled?

Half and half; I'm on a diet.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I mean look at these:

Kittani on their A-Game:


Kittani scrawling desperately on a napkin three minutes before the big presentation:


I'm surprised that allosaurbot doesn't have "rawr" written in a crude speech bubble adjacent.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Genius: The Transgression, Skafoi

The last axiom in Genius is Skafoi, the Axiom of Travel, and like Automata it has a shitload of rules attached to it that I'm not going to detail. Skafoi moves things - not just vehicles, but gates and teleporters of all stripes can be built with this axiom.

Good news regarding Skafoi vehicles is that you don't have to worry about mundane fuel - Mania is all they need to run, though Mania costs can quickly get very steep at the high end of the axiom.

Skipping over a bunch of rules, one important rule to note about Skafoi vehicles is that each is capable of only a single mode of transportation by default, separated into the following types: ground-based, surface boat, mole machine, Skafoi 2 flying machine, Skafoi 3 aerospace vehicle, and submersible. By binding additional Mania into a wonder, the vehicle can encompass more than one - a jet fighter that turns into a submarine, for example, or a tank that can drill its way underground.

Skipping over even more rules regarding speed, passenger capacity, vehicle size, etc.

Skafoi 1 is limited to basic ground and water transportation - relatively conventional cars, boats, and the like. However, bouncing wonders are another option: spring shoes, grappling hooks, short-range jetpacks, and the like that let a genius jump around, and they get a slew of rules for operation.

Skafoi 2 opens up underwater, subterranean, and flying vehicles.

Skafoi 3 brings on the frontier of space, though restricted to sublight speeds.

Skafoi 4 is where poo poo starts to get weird: teleportation, FTL travel, and interdimensional travel. Whole bunch of rules I'm skipping over here.

Skafoi 5 is the big tamale, time travel. Or on a lesser scale, temporal distortion devices to speed up, slow down, or entirely stop time.


Skafoi variables!


Clinging lets a vehicle (or automaton, this can be applied to Automata wonders or full-body Prostasia suits) cling to surfaces of all kinds. Does slow down overall speed, though.

Exposed Cockpit creates a vehicle that does not fully enclose its pilot, ranging from a jeep to a motorcycle in effect. The steeper the cover penalty, the bigger the construction bonus.

Hovering lets a flying vehicle hover but adds a penalty to construction.

Increased Range is a variable that's cropped up many times before. When used with Skafoi, it affects non-vehicle wonders like gates and teleporters.

Increased Bouncing Range gives S-1 bouncing wonders more range and requires Katastrofi 1 for some reason.

Legs Instead Of Wheels makes a vehicle that's slower than conventional vehicles but has an easy time with difficult terrain and can jump (physics majors may want to avert their eyes).

Maniacal Speed Increase adds a Mania-powered nitro boost.

Off Road makes all-terrain vehicles, but they still can't jump like walkers.

One Location Teleporter makes a teleporter with a single preset destination.

Remote Control requires Apokalypsi 1 and lets the vehicle be controlled remotely for all your rigging/batmobile/drone/etc needs.

Self-Sealing Mole Machine adds a penalty to construction but makes subterranean vehicles collapse the earth behind them rather than leaving behind tunnels like default.

Skafoi Ray is like all the other rays, and is used for non-vehicle wonders ala Increased Range.

Rails means the vehicle can only follow preset paths, like trains or non-maneuvering spacecraft, but moves faster.

Slow Acceleration slows the vehicle's acceleration in exchange for a construction bonus.

Speed and Handling lets the genius trade Speed for Handling and vice versa when designing the wonder.

Transporter is for your Beam Me Up Scotty needs and does not travel with the teleporting subjects.


Skafoi faults!

Genius posted:

1. The wonder accelerates very slowly, at 10% Safe Speed.

2. The wonder can get "locked" into acceleration mode. In a dangerous situation, there is a 10% chance that
this happens: the wonder increases to its Maximum Speed as quickly as possible. Fixing this requires an
Exceptional Success on a Wits + Crafts check with one check allowed every turn, or somehow damaging the
engine, which requires only a regular success and causes all movement to stop until the engine can be
repaired.

3. The wonder suffers a -2 penalty to Handling.

4. The wonder operates under some kind of "taboo," and will stall if brought across certain areas, such as over
running water or into tunnels.

5. The wonder provides a horrible, rattling ride. It is impossible to sleep within, and all actions except driving
are at -3 due to the shaking. Every six hours spent within causes one Health level of Bashing damage.

6. The wonder is dreadfully loud and incapable of stealth when it moves, and isn’t very quiet idling, either.

7. The wonder is prone to stalling if it takes damage. Any hit incurs a 10% chance that the wonder stalls out.
Restarting it requires a Wits + Crafts check.

8. The vehicle controls are laid out in a lunatic fashion, and probably change when you’re not looking. Upon
first sitting down every time to use the controls, the subject must make an Intelligence + Computer check.
Every success reduces the penalty to use the vehicle by 1. The penalty starts at -4.

9. The wonder possesses a tediously legal quasi-intelligence and will not function outside of the proper traffic
lanes. Flight plans must be filed, lane shifts must be signaled, and so on, or the wonder stalls and requires a
Wits + Crafts check to restart.

10. The wonder only functions in a specific environment. Roll on the special conditions chart, below.


With this, we are now done with axioms and will begin more miscellaneous crunch and rules.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kai Tave posted:

Honestly the biggest sin Rifts commits is the number one cardinal sin anyone can commit when making a kitchen sink smashing-toys-together game like this which is that it's boring as poo poo. No offense to Alien Rope Burn whose writeups are comprehensive and informative but I could not tell you the difference between any of the stuff he's written about from book to book or chapter to chapter because Kevin Sembieda et al have the ability to take any sort of halfway interesting concept and reduce it to "like the last dozen cyborgs but even more powerfuler" or "this gun does 10d6 MDC damage while this gun over here does 11d6 MDC damage and who cares because you're going to use the gun that does 200d6 MDC damage." I doubt that the form of media that Kevin Sembieda has chosen to plant his flag upon is what's really holding him back, here.

I think this is because Kevin's never left the early 90's design mindset, back before people would ask questions like "but what is your game actually about?" or "so what am I supposed to do with this?"

Kev comes from an era where games were presented to players and that was that. It was the GM's job to figure out where things were going to go.

TyrsHTML
May 12, 2004

There is a difference between "you can have sex with anything" and "Anything can have sex with you".

Has anyone ever been brave enough to do a write-up on the full meta-plot of 7th sea? The most I can find in some lazy searching is somehow Cthulhu made magic and left all those cool artifacts around, but locked himself out of his house and wants back in?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



TyrsHTML posted:

Has anyone ever been brave enough to do a write-up on the full meta-plot of 7th sea? The most I can find in some lazy searching is somehow Cthulhu made magic and left all those cool artifacts around, but locked himself out of his house and wants back in?

Someone did in one of the old threads (Mors Rattus, I think? Been a long time since I read that), but that needs archives by now.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Looks like it's up on the offsite archive. http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/mors-rattus/7th-sea/

TyrsHTML
May 12, 2004

There is a difference between "you can have sex with anything" and "Anything can have sex with you".

Oh cool thanks! I looked at the entry but though it was just the base book. Ill give that a read.

Edit: i should have just looked an seen it had 212 sections. Thats a lot of effort there Mors Rattus, god drat!

TyrsHTML fucked around with this message at 21:07 on May 5, 2015

Bacchante
May 2, 2012

Friends don't let friends do sarcasm.


The Vosgian Beast posted:

God loving drat it. How long are people going to have to go off that issue of Dragon magazine adapting Bas-Lag to 3.5 D&D rules? How long?

... please tell me which issue that was in.

Mimir
Nov 26, 2012


Bacchante posted:

... please tell me which issue that was in.
#352. And when I googled "Bas Lag Dragon Magazine", as one is wont to do when prompted, I found the beautiful, perfectly home-made map of the setting he did as reference for their map.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Kai Tave posted:

Honestly the biggest sin Rifts commits is the number one cardinal sin anyone can commit when making a kitchen sink smashing-toys-together game like this which is that it's boring as poo poo. No offense to Alien Rope Burn whose writeups are comprehensive and informative but I could not tell you the difference between any of the stuff he's written about from book to book or chapter to chapter because Kevin Sembieda et al have the ability to take any sort of halfway interesting concept and reduce it to "like the last dozen cyborgs but even more powerfuler" or "this gun does 10d6 MDC damage while this gun over here does 11d6 MDC damage and who cares because you're going to use the gun that does 200d6 MDC damage." I doubt that the form of media that Kevin Sembieda has chosen to plant his flag upon is what's really holding him back, here.

What's the worst is looking down the road to World Book 33: Northern Gun One and there's all these neat mecha designs and it's all just the same 1d4 x 10 rail guns and uninspired piles of statistics. For all the descriptive designs, most of them play about 80% the same. At least by the time we get to Carella's later books he starts giving different countries different strengths and weaknesses to their weapon lines and injecting a light amount of variation to it all, but he's quickly off the game line after and things revert back to form literally one book after that.

Of course, it all takes me back to Palladium Book of Weapons and Armor, which are the old Palladium books of weapons that try to give different statistics like how fast or defensive or damaging a weapon is, but then you get weapons like the Mudgar, Flamberge, or Claymore that have just fantastic all-around stats and so there's not much point to using anything else. Rifts doesn't do much to grow beyond those early design notions, unfortunately, so if something turns out to be much better than a boom gun or a missile barrage than combat, it's probably an unintentional rules break.

Like whales. Deadly, murderous, magical whales.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 05:03 on May 6, 2015

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book Six: South America (Part 6): "A humanoid with an over-developed, muscular upper torso and arms and relatively short legs and narrow waist, giving him an almost cartoonish appearance."

The Vampire Kingdom of Haktla (The Columbian Andes)

First, we get numbers. There are four master vampires! Four thousand secondary vampires! Two thousand of those are in suspended animation! Two thousand wild vampires! One thousand of those are in suspended animation! Rainy day vampires! There are five thousand assorted demons! Buy the demon variety pack! Three hundred thousand humans! Two hundred and fifty-

:suicide:

So most vampires stay the hell out of South America, because as we know by now, vampires in Rifts are literally water-soluble. For those joining us late, yes, vampires will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West in this setting in any "running water", raindrops and squirt guns included. However, Haktla, a mean giant vampire intelligence (they're like Lovecraftian vamp-making factories), was like gently caress that, imma make it a desert! Coincidentally, he knew just the dude, and that dude was Enumu, King of Drought. Enumu is a demon who goes around soliciting worship as a protection racket using his drought powers. "Nice ecology you got there, be a shame if somethin' happened to it." People had kicked Enumu around enough though, that he had become a demonic hobo and so Haktla was like mi casa es su casa and Enumu has crashed on his couch ever since. And that couch was the Columbian Andes.

As we know from the Columbia section, these guys have been making war on humanity for centuries, and they have one of the biggest vampire kingdoms anywhere. Haktla is not a subtle vampire but has been hesitant to play his hand too much because he's worried about all the other supernatural forces in the world. Also he adopted some magic bat people from another world, because when you're a vampire blob, you have a image to maintain. And that image is helped by magic bat people that can be psychically controlled by vampires. Coincidence abounds!

Their main city is Pyramid City that is built aroudn a "Mayan-style" pyramid (not be confused with actual Mayans, but we'll meet them much later), so Haktla is a Mayan poseur, essentially. The human population are slaves that donate blood to support the vampiric masters and see them as gods, except for "less than 10%" that "seriously consider rebelling". Wow, how fuckin' vague is that. Could be 1%, could be 9%, could be actual rebels, could be those that just think about rebelling extra hard.

:iiam:

The Plaza of Punishment

Pyramid City has a place where people are hung regularly to terrify the populace where they're tortured or have their blood drained or wh'ev. It's generally foreigners or rebels that are brought here, though if they don't have any of those they'll just hang up somebody at random. Those who try and help anybody at the Plaza are either killed or just put next in line. And then killed.

Enumu, Lord of Drought


Bat-belt.

This guy is a demonic "semi-elemental" (a word that not explained and which is never important) that can can control the weather, and uses it to extort places across the megaverse until people get sick of his poo poo and kick him out. He's best buds with Haktla because he's finally on the gravy train without anybody rebelling against him, all he has to do is cancel the rain (for vampires) or bring the rain (against invading troops). He's generally kind of bossy and arrogant and cruel, you know, generic demon guy.

Ultimately he's your generic supernatural Rifts demigod; he has 1800 M.D.C., putting him on the level of with vampire intelligences, regens, is immune to lightning, teleports locally and dimensionally, knows all air & water & fire spells, and can control the weather for a thousand miles. Like you do.

Hak-Talon, Master Vampire


"Could I possibly be evil in this hat?"

Hak-Talon is an evil vampire in a menacing sombrero. :v:

Oh, there's more.

Apparently he was a simple shepard until he was enticed by dreams of power that involved biting all the people he hated, and rejected them until he was eventually like "you know, in this dreams I get to be the boss of everybody" and finally like he got rejected by a girl and he was gently caress it vampire time and took up Haktla's deal of being vampire numero uno and so he turned a bunch of villagers into vampires and started taking over the local area.

He's power-hungry, thanks to Haktla's machinations pushing him to eviler ends, and realizes he's hit his vampiric glass ceiling and wants to find a way to become a vampire intelligence, but he's really secretive about it for the obvious reasons. He has "Indian features" which I'm pretty sure doesn't mean Hindi and is "attractive in a terrible, scary way". Also he's 11th level.

Giant Vampire Bats
A D-Bee Monster



"I am the night!"

These aren't really giant vampire bats, but more giant vampire man-bats. They hate the light and don't hesitate to eat people, so they're more... just... giant man-bats. Except they're 5' tall, so maybe not so giant. Just man-bats, then.

They may have been created by mystery bullshit foo foo to serve vampires or maybe it's just coincidence, but they can be summoned and controlled by master vampires and their vampire intelligence bosses... let's see... caves can have flocks of 2d6 to 1d6 x10 individuals (that's some big fuckin' caves) they naturally travel in groups of 1d4+1, and are organized by Haktla in groups of 1d4+5. Number appearing, folks! They've got mild M.D.C. (about the same as an armored human), radar, regen, modest melee damage, and are vulnerable to silver and sunlight (but they're not vampires!), an can track blood and bluuuuh I'm done.

Haktla

... doesn't get any stats, or even a description. Well, none of the vampire intelligences have gotten thei specific stats. Presumably you just randomly roll him up as a generic vampire intelligence from Rifts World Book One: Vampire Kingdoms, who cares about fangblobs? Not this book!

Next: Pirates of the Amazon.

Bacchante
May 2, 2012

Friends don't let friends do sarcasm.


Mimir posted:

#352. And when I googled "Bas Lag Dragon Magazine", as one is wont to do when prompted, I found the beautiful, perfectly home-made map of the setting he did as reference for their map.

Marry me.

-cough- I mean, thanks,

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Those vampire men are super adorable. Probably not so much when they're chewing your limbs off.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book Six: South America (Part 7): "A few pirate bands do not kill, rape or plunder indiscriminately, but limit their attacks to rich or tyrannical targets like modern Robin Hoods of the seas."

The Pirate Kingdoms

40% humans, 20% lizard men, 40% assorted D-Bees, one guaranteed rare D-Bee in every pack!

So these are a variety of pirate-dominated islands about halfway down the Amazon river (as a reminder, the Amazon is expanded to essentially be sea-sized now). They're mostly just organized as per their trade, and don't travel as far as the Pacific, because apparently a different group of pirates called the Bahia Pirates there. Who are the Bahia Pirates? Read Rifts World Book Seven: Undersea! Or don't, because there are no such pirates mentioned in that book. They also trade a lot of slaves to the Splugorth, which is their main source of income.

Kryang's Land

We get the population stats again, and they have a cliff-heavy, battery-defended island that has fought off the Columbian forces twice. Kryang is their titular leader, and it bears noting that despite Palladium's licenses at the time, he has nothing to do with Terrordomes or turtles. Instead, he's a Rathos demon (as noted in Rifts Dimension Book One: Wormwood). The actual port and town is fairly ramshackle and disorganized, except for his highly fortified palace. It's a den of scum and villainy, etc.

King Kryang


"My kingdom for a pair of comfy chonglers."

A former interdimensional mercenary, Kryang was in a battle where a wizard opened a bunch of Rifts, and Kryang was sucked through to his present home, where he took over on account of his demony powers. He's become a famous pirate and even has gotten Splynncryth's attention (see Rifts World Book Two: Atlantis), even if the big giant dictator blob is just humoring him for the most part. His turn ons: piracy and gladatorial combat. His turn-offs: being interesting or nuanced in any way.

In any case, he's about as tough as a dragon hatching, but is about twice as strong, can regen, has a pretty random selection of spells from spoiling your food to making a wall of clay. He likes using Kittani that shoots weapon and has a fire rune wand that shoots fire, predictably.

We also get stats for a "typical Kryang Pirate" which actually just gives some guidelines that keep saying "Varies wit the character's race and R.C.C.", which makes me wonder why it's laid out as a statblock.

Slavers' Port

This is a trading port for Atlantis, who have their one note to hit over and over - slavery! This is a main place for pirates to dispose of their booty, and has a magic pyramid so the Splugorth can use their pyramid power to defend the island with ley line storms.

It's really horrible and brutal, etc., but not interesting, so I'm moving on.

Other Pirates


something something aiming at his own crew something

The Brethren of the Coast are back! Or still around. It isn't clear. There are the River Rats, who use "hydro-bikes", not what we have much idea what those are. There are The Wreckers, who use warlocks to force ships onto reefs and make them sink, which seems like a dumb idea if you're going to try and loot ships, but what what do I know? I'm not a warlock. Presuming they have to use magic to dredge poo poo off the bottom when they're done. There are also merchants that double as part-time pirates, and it notes you can come up with new pirates if you really want! Honest, you're allowed.

New O.C.C.S

Sailor O.C.C.

Sailors might use canoes or they might use mega-subs! They might be travelers or they may be explorers! They may be seeking the big job or just might be working joes!

... basically this is an awfully vague description that sounds a lot more like Siembieda than Carella. Hm. That would explain the general... boring... ness of the Pirate Kingdoms in general. Naturally, the sailor gets a variety of boat-centric skills and a little bit of extra endurance. They get a modest variety of other skills, but nothing to give up being a Godling over. There are also special rules for armor with floaters attached that "allow the character to swim while wearing armor", even though armor has never been a drawback for swimming before. Oh, and the low strength requirement means this is one of the few Rifts occupational classes players have a 91% chance of qualifying for.

Pirate O.C.C.


Some pirates lose legs or eyes, she lost half of her waist.

We get some descriptions of the pirate condition and generalities. We also are told that the captain gets 30-40% of the booty, the first mate gets 10-20%, and normal sailors get 0.5-1%, a number that would cause mutiny with most historical pirates, where the captain traditionally only got 2-5 times the amount of your average sailor. We're told there are a few Robin Hood-ish sorts but most pirates are slavering, slaving, slaughtering maniacs. It notes many pirates will actually have other classes like juicers or smugglers. But they have to bone up on their boating, I guess.

Stat-wise it's basically a more fighty sailor that takes a punch to the breadbasket in terms of skills in exchange for better hand to hand and a lot of weapon profiencies. It gets an endurance boost that's a little better than the Sailor. And they get a 1d4 minor cybernetics, if they want some. And lastly, their physical requirements mean you have a 75% chance of getting a chance to play one.

We also get a long discussion of all the other O.C.C.s you can play in this area, so if you want to play an herbalist pirate or flooper pirate, it's official, your GM can't stop you. It's in the book. The pirate section is ultimately one of the more dull ones and I feel like I hear a lot of Siembieda's voice in it. It's too bad! Pirates are really interesting, and it takes a lot of hard work to make magical demon pirates less interesting than actual historical pirates, but there you have it.

Next: Misunderstanding Vodou.

occamsnailfile
Nov 4, 2007



zamtrios so lonely

Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Rifts World Book Six: South America (Part 7): "A few pirate bands do not kill, rape or plunder indiscriminately, but limit their attacks to rich or tyrannical targets like modern Robin Hoods of the seas."

Pirate O.C.C.

We get some descriptions of the pirate condition and generalities. We also are told that the captain gets 30-40% of the booty, the first mate gets 10-20%, and normal sailors get 0.5-1%, a number that would cause mutiny with most historical pirates, where the captain traditionally only got 2-5 times the amount of your average sailor. We're told there are a few Robin Hood-ish sorts but most pirates are slavering, slaving, slaughtering maniacs. It notes many pirates will actually have other classes like juicers or smugglers. But they have to bone up on their boating, I guess.

Stat-wise it's basically a more fighty sailor that takes a punch to the breadbasket in terms of skills in exchange for better hand to hand and a lot of weapon profiencies. It gets an endurance boost that's a little better than the Sailor. And they get a 1d4 minor cybernetics, if they want some. And lastly, their physical requirements mean you have a 75% chance of getting a chance to play one.

We also get a long discussion of all the other O.C.C.s you can play in this area, so if you want to play an herbalist pirate or flooper pirate, it's official, your GM can't stop you. It's in the book. The pirate section is ultimately one of the more dull ones and I feel like I hear a lot of Siembieda's voice in it. It's too bad! Pirates are really interesting, and it takes a lot of hard work to make magical demon pirates less interesting than actual historical pirates, but there you have it.

Next: Misunderstanding Vodou.

It is not surprising that KS took over the pirate section and filled it with a droning static but it's still disappointing. There's still a part of me that would leap into a Rifts-pirates game right now until the crushing failure of the sourcebooks to give that any support left it high and dry. Also, in high school, I once made a Pirate OCC mutant parrot for a Rifts game using TMNT rules. I don't even like pirates that much but the concept is so easy to get something out of!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts World Book Six: South America (Part 8): "Prepared and fortified, the priests were able to defend their people while all around them millions of nonbelievers died horribly."

The Land of a Thousand Islands

Now it's time to discuss the areas closer to the mouth of the Amazon, which mainly deals with two areas: Bahia and Maga, which are both magically-dominated countries.

The Kingdom of Bahia

Rifts World Book Six: South America posted:

Author's Note: The descriptions and O.C.C.s described in this section make mention of the mystical religion of Voodoo. Although the word voodoo commonly refers to evil magic, the raising of zombies, and similar mischief, Voodoo is an actual religion worshipped in many places in America. The depiction of Voodoo in this book is pure fantasy and has no relationship to existing religions or reality.

Yes, the same boilerplate nonsense from Rifts Conversion Book Two returns. Previously used to excuse away using Hindi deities, now used for Vodou. Remember, Palladium Books exists in a topsy-turvy land where getting it wrong is more respectful.

History

So we learn that before the Rifts, every priest and priestess of Voodoo started having nightmares and premonitions of the disaster to come. That's right. Druids, they were clueless. Hindis didn't know. Jehovah didn't bother to warn any of his fans. But Voodoo. Voodoo knew the truth. So they gathered everybody they could convince (which turned out to be like only a few hundred people, whups), and then they went to a secret place they'd prepared and used their magic (boosted by the Cataclysm) to protect their people through the troubles. And they named their new land Bahia, after the lost city what was once the center of Voodoo-

- wait.

Bahia is actually the center of not Vodou, but Candomblé, a related but different religion. It has similar roots, but it is not the same. Yes, unfortunately, Rifts transplanted the entirely wrong religion in, unless for some reason Haitian Voudons went on down to Bahia for no particular reason and then named themselves after a city that had no particular importance to them at all. It's like calling Israel a Christian nation - close enough, right? They both believe in this God fellow and angels and stuff and all that... after all, it references houngans (wrong: the correct term is pai-de-santo) and mambos (wrong: the correct term would be mãe-de-santo) and that they're guided by loas (wrong: the correct term would be orishas).

Getting back on track, they were able to trade their rich, magically-fuelled crops for technology, and so have a pretty decent standard of living despite having no real industrial base. Good for them! I'd be really glad to hear about one of the few places in Rifts that isn't run by a dictator, overrun by monsters, locked in eternal war, or generally doomed... if it wasn't such a cultural blunder.

Government

It's a dual monarchy, ruled by a King and Queen who are not necessarily married, so sometimes it's been ruled over by different relatives or strangers, but the leadership is chosen by the spirits, whatever that entails. They then name a cabinet that handles most of the actual administration, though it's generally local Voodoo (wince) priests that actually handle looking after local towns.

Society

Though it's mostly rural, most of major cities do actually have 20th Century-style amenities. It's ultimately a theocracy overseen by Voodoo (double wince) priests, though other spellcasters are valued as well, unless they're necromancers, witches, mind bleeders, or rain makers. Wait, rain makers? I think they were just listing off Rifts World Book Four: Africa for a bit here.

Rifts World Book Six: South America posted:

The people of Bahia tend to view things in a relaxed, unhurried manner. The work gets done, but people are rarely in a rush to do anything. The villagers tend to be happy, boisterous people, given to dance and music. Bahia is also open to beings of all species. D-Bees find themselves cheerfully accepted and treated as equal members of the community, provided they follow the voodoo laws and religion.

:sigh:

There's a feeling here much like World Book Four: Africa where the African people are treated as specially magical and wise and all too willing to toss away their jeans and run off to live in a magical utopia like their ancestors. Once again, it's well-meaning, but... it's a romantically prejudiced view. I'm not saying there isn't a room for a near-Utopian nation, but it justifies it based on some magical wisdom passed down from Africa instead of having a people who have faces or names or accomplishments all their own.

Rift Activity

The *sigh* Voodoo priests use *sigh* loa to monitor nexus points for rifts and to defend their land from bad things that pop out, though non-hostile arrivals are usually allowed to roam free after some questioning.

Foreign Relations

Atlantis tries to enslave Bahians but for the most part Bahia has been able to fight them off. Columbia has a strong trade with Bahia and they have an informal agreement of mutual assistance. Maga isn't really friends with anybody because they're snooty elves, but they're less non-friends with Bahia because voodoo is closer to nature, apparently. Lagarto is driving refugees to Bahia and the Voodooians are really concerned about the stories they're bringing. Silver River trades technology to Bahia, but that's the limit of their relationship. The Coalition thinks Bahia is a collection of magic-corrupted maniacs who need to be stopped, but they're in no rush about it. We get some listings of their power armor and unit composition and all that boring stuff and then the-

Voodoo Priest O.C.C.


They're trying not to cast Vodou in a negative light.

For the record, you have about a 2% chance of playing one of these thanks to the really high mental requirements. Of course, we get a diatribe about voodoo not being evil, though there is the rare evil priest that is either shunned or killed by the good ones. It also notes you can use the Medicine Man or Rain Maker O.C.C.s from Rifts World Book Four: Africa, because hell, Brazilian and African religion is all just one single tradition, right?

But what can they do? Well, they can commune with spirits. We don't have any information on these spirits, but they can commune with them. They can control loa by doing a 10 minute ceremony, which the loa resists with a save vs magic, which makes things tough for the priest, since loa get a bonus to that, so it's like a 65% chance of success unless the loa is particularly powerful. They can control one to five loa depending on their level. Also, you have a 55% chance of getting an ancestral loa that hangs out all the time, though if you miss that roll, you get a new roll every two levels to see if your ancestor shows up. Of course, if your loa gets destroyed, you only get a 25% chance every two levels of getting a replacement. That's right, your class feature can be snuffed out by a bad crit. With all this, I'm gonna skip ahead and see what loas can do.

There are two types: divine ones that serve a voodoo gods, and ghostly loas, who are energy beings that have absorbed memories from a dead person and think that they're ghosts. They aren't very tough, about as tough as a human in mega-damage armor, but they're immune to most physical attacks - something has to be magical or psionic to hurt them. They're invisible and intangible, though they can appear as ghoooosts. They can possess and control people, which gives the host a decent bonus to physical traits, but it won't make people M.D.C. They also need to eat magical energy given by rituals, priests, or ley lines. They also get two super psionic powers depending on their patron deity or role in life. It also gives a warning that you can't use them as PCs because they're too niche and alien, which seems weird coming from Rifts, which lets you play a dryad, a faerie who can't leave the immediate vicinity of a single tree.

We also get a list of Voodoo gods, most of which are not shared by Candomblé, unsurprisingly at this point, since Brazil = Haiti for all purposes here.

Ultimately, loas do have some decent utility, though I wouldn't ever put one in a fight. They also have the issue that practically any supernatural threat in Rifts can see the invisible and has magic or psionic attacks. Those Splugorth forces they're supposedly driving off can make ectoplasm of these things pretty readily, so priests better be able to enlist these suckers in graveyard numbers to actually be a major supernatural force in a conflict.

They get an exorcism ability like African priests and the ability to turn dead because everything is fuckin' D&D. They get some minor normal spellcasting which levels very slowly, with the punishing fact they can't take high level spells until they actually reach those levels, unlike most spellcasters. They also get a small chunk of bonuses to mental defenses, modest wilderness and mystic skills (Voodoo priests are renowned trackers, aparently), and that's that. They aren't a bad spellcasting class, honestly, but they don't have nearly the flexibility of the core spellcasting classes. For a force that's supposed to defend an entire nation, they're relatively limited in what they can do.

And that's it! It'd almost be interesting if it was better handled culturally or mechanically, but... as it is, it's a letdown, particularly after the relative nuance of Columbia. Yes, the guys with the conquistador robots.

Next: Ferngully, Rifts-style.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 02:37 on May 8, 2015

Galaga Galaxian
Apr 23, 2009

What a childish tactic!
Don't you think you should put more thought into your battleplan?!


LETS GET READY TO ROLEPLAAAAAY


Is it just me, or is Solid Snake moonlighting as the Ref?

Released early this year, World Wide Wrestling The Roleplaying Game (WWWRPG) is one of the latest in an increasingly large amount of kickstarter launched indie RPGs based off the popular Apocalypse World rules engine. Many would agree that *World games are best when tightly focused on the emulation of a single genre (EG: Apoc World, Monster Hearts, Night Witches) and WWWRPG is definitely that, emulating the testosterone filled, over the top action of modern wrestling entertainment. While I am not some huge wrestling fan/nerd, in my opinion it hits the bullseye harder than a slam from the top rope.




Chapter 1: About the Game

Chapter one is just a quick five pages that give a quick rundown on what kind of game WWWRPG is. The first thing it does is assure the reader that they don't have to know tons about real-world wrestling to play and enjoy the game, and this is true. The book does a pretty good job of going over things and is full of simple illustrated examples of wrestling moves like the ones above. The second thing it does is talk about the kind of characters you'll be playing and the stories you will be telling. In a way players will be playing two characters at once, as WWWRPG embraces the staged "Kayfabe" reality of modern "Pro Wrestling", its all "fake" (sorry to burst your bubble). The players will be handling not only the "On Camera" story of larger than life wrestlers and the dramatic conflicts between them but the "Backstage" reality of the entertainers behind the personas as they work to help their wrestling promotion grow and, more importantly, further their own wrestling career.

The Introductory chapter next gives a brief overview of the roles the players will be taking. One player will, of course, be the GM, called "The Creative" in WWRPG. He handles nearly all the NPCs and also represents the writing staff. Its up to Creative to determine the matches that will play out in each episode/session as well as their pre-determined endings. That said, that doesn't mean everything is set in stone, the characters will all have their own agendas and goals, and that doesn't necessarily line up with what the Management has planned. There is nothing stoping a player from making a "run in" and heels have the ability to force a win in their favor even if Creative says "you lose". In addition, wrestling is a dangerous job, and the potential for genuine injury is ever present. It is Creative's job is to take these "Swerves" in stride and adjust things to make it look like they had planned that way all along...

WWWRPG features ten playbooks, called "Gimmicks" that the players can choose from. In addition to these, kickstarter backers received an extra set of five "Season one" Gimmicks. Fortunately for non backers, a few weeks after release the author was kind enough to make these extra gimmicks available to everyone as a free/pay-what-you-want download on the WWWRPG webpage. Here are the Gimmicks available to choose from as well as a short one sentence description of each, they'll be covered in more detail later on.

    The Anti-Hero
    You don't play by the rules.

    The Golden Boy
    You're the future of wrestling.

    The Hardcore
    You sacrifice your body for the fans.

    The High Flyer
    You take big risks for big rewards.

    The Jobber
    You make everyone else look good.

    The Manager
    You're the brains of the operation.

    The Monster
    You scare people.

    The Technician
    You're the master of the canvas.

    The Veteran
    You show them how it's done.

    The Wasted
    You have a problem.

The additional Season One Gimmicks are the following

    The Athlete
    You're blessed with natural physical gifts

    The Clown
    You bring comedy to the ring.

    The Gatekeeper
    You're the strong right arm.

    The Giant
    You're one of the largest athletes on the planet.

    The Provocateur
    You're the sui generis, the strange one, the weirdo.

While everyone who isn't Creative normally plays their respective wrestler, whenever their character isn't actually competing in the ring, they are encouraged to slip into the role of the announcer (as either their characters guest announcing or a different character). It is the announcer's job to help embellish the descriptions and actions of the currently performing player(s). The announcer even has a special power, once per match they can "put over" each performing player by really talking up their actions with excessive praise, disbelief, and/or description. This has the effect of boosting the result of the player's move to the next level of result. If you are a wrestling fan, imagine all those moments in WWF/WWE where Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jim Ross just completely lose it with excited cries like "OH MY GAWD! OH MY GAWD!" and "That killed him! As God as my witness he is broken in half!!"

Finally, Chapter one finishes up with a page covering a brief glossary of common wrestling terms. Stuff like "Work", "Heat", "Pop", "Over", etc etc.




Chapter Two: How to play this game

Chapter two is even more brief than the first one. This chapter is basically the same stuff "What is an RPG? How do I play?" stuff every RPG books seems to be doomed/obliged to include. Stuff like what you need, how roleplaying works, one-shots vs campaigns (aka "Seasons"), the usual. Unlike many RPG's I've read, however, it actually includes a modest paragraph mentioning ways you can play the game via the internet. It also includes a section on "The Conversation" which is a concept that will be familiar with fans of another * World games. Please forgive me for glossing over it, as there isn't really much interesting in it, its also only 4 pages long. So let's just toss it out of the ring like a low card Jobber in a Royal Rumble and be done with it.


Next time on WWRPG, Chapter Three: The First Episode

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



Chapter 4: Spells

By far the longest chapter, Path of Shadows contains 71 new spells and they draw from a diverse assortment of schools. I counted around 2 abjuration, 12 conjuration, 1 divination, 1 enchantment, 13-14 evocation, 6 necromancy, and 7 transmutation spells, the rest being illusion (29-30, so little less than half). I was surprised to note the large amount of evocation spells, in part because most such spells in other products mostly focus on the five energy types and blasty stuff, so I didn't except to see so many in Path of Shadows. Granted, a lot of them revolve around using shadow energy to do stuff, but I'm happy to see this magic school getting some love.

Naturally I won't be covering every spell, but I will highlight many of the more interesting ones. The numbers indicated in parenthesis indicate the spell levels for listed classes.

Banish Light and Banish Shadows (6th to 7th) are the two abjuration spells, and they do exactly as you imagine: dispel natural and magical sources of illumination (or lack thereof) in a 30 foot burst radius.

Curse of the Lightless (5th to 6th) permanently destroys a touched creature's shadow, making it impossible to use shadow surge or any spells/special abilities/etc which require the use of one's shadow. They also get staggered by bright light and are treated as undead for the purpose of damaging spells. After 24 hours exposure to direct sunlight is capable of killing the target, much like a vampire.

Dark Confinement (2nd) is a pretty good battlefield control spell available to a wide variety of spellcasting classes. It can target one creature per level and force them to stay out of well-lit areas for 1 round per level.

Dark Recovery (2nd) is a nightblade spell which grants a shadow surge, provided that said nightblade is below their maximum number of surges at the time of casting.



Deathwings (5th to 6th) causes a touched creature to sprout wings of shadows and fly! The wings are also natural attacks which deal bonus negative energy damage, and can release the spell energy in a burst akin to a cleric channeling negative energy which ends the spell. It's much shorter in duration than Overland Flight, 10 minutes per level, but it grants some cool abilities and can be used to heal undead minions long-term between fights.

Entropic Storm (9th) creates a gateway to the boundaries between the Negative Energy Plane and Plane of Shadow. Creatures within are subject to entropic energies, rapidly aging living beings and eroding non-living ones, and those killed or destroyed by it are reduced to dust and cannot be restored save by the most powerful magic. The spell cannot destroy artifacts, but they can be damaged by said spell, opening up a host of interesting possibilities.

Eyes of Eventide (1st) and its 2nd level Communal version grant low-light vision to the beneficiaries, and bonuses on saving throws vs. blinding and dazzling effects. Given the huge amount of creatures out there who have some means of super-vision in Pathfinder (only humans, halflings, and lizardfolk are humanoids lacking low-light or dark) and the darkvision spell's much higher level, I'm happy to see that there's a spell now which grants a light-source-free method of dungeon exploration for 1st-level adventurers.

Grasp of Darkness (1st) is a touch attack spell akin to shocking grasp, only it manifests shadowy energy which deals cold damage. It also forces the opponent to roll a Fortitude save or suffer 20% miss chance as their vision is cloudy and all others gain concealment. It can make for a nice debuffer for magus players.

Illusory Strike (4th) is meant to be cast on an active illusion spell, briefly turning its effects real. For the purposes of the spell, this only pertains to damaging effects, which can manifest as melee, ranged, energy, area attack, or energy area attack. For example, a dragon's bite would count as melee, whereas a shower of arrows would be an area attack. The radius is limited, however, to a pre-select amount (30 foot cone, 60 foot line, 15 foot burst radius). It's pretty cool, but since it's one attack per casting it takes some time to set up, limiting its potential.

Lunar Prophecy (5th) is the sole divination spell, a 10 minute ritual calling upon the power of the moonlight reflected in a pool of water outdoors. For 24 hours one creature per 2 caster levels gains a 24 hour benefit depending on the phase of the eight phases of the moon, which when activated lasts for 1 minute. For example, first quarter can grant freedom of movement, full moon 30 foot blindsense, last quarter the benefit of a single feat the target qualifies for, etc. This is a very thematic and cool spell.

Maw of the Nightwave (8th) is an awesome area of effect damaging spell. It summons the front half of the nightwave, the strongest known specimen of nightshade, into the caster's plane! Instead of being treated as a monster, the spell is duration-based and anyone within the area is subject to a dark void of biting teeth which deal damage and a potential negative level. The maw can also grapple and swallow whole gargantuan-sized and smaller creatures! I really like how this conjuration spell is unorthodox in summoning a creature, but instead of making game statistics and the like it turns it into a damaging spell, the massive body part of an even larger entity on another plane.

Night Terror (3rd) targets one creature per level within short range, invoking a primal fear of the unseen and unknown in them. The spell is interesting because the caster does not need line of sight to target opponents, and those who fail become shaken/frightened within dim or total darkness.

Phantasmal Foe (2nd to 3rd) is an illusion which takes the form of an enemy which always remains adjacent to the target. As such, the creature is always treated as flanked for the purposes of attacks made against it. A very good way for setting up sneak attacks and the like.

Phantasmal Polymorph (6th), on the other hand, fools a target into believing it has changed into a creature the caster designates, and acts as such. Being "turned" into an object makes the creature lie still, helpless. Naturally, stimuli which directly contradict their nature (a large creature which thinks it's a mole trying to fit through a small hole) provokes a new saving throw, although a maximum of one save per round. This is a fun spell with some dire possibilities depending on how the caster uses it.

Sensory Deprivation (3rd to 4th) and its Greater counterpart (6th to 7th) can cause a creature to lose extraordinary or magical supersenses, respectively. Blindsight, scent, tremorsense, active divination spells, and other such potential abilities are nullified. This can be a great debuffer against certain monsters.

Shadow Binding (2nd) and its Greater counterpart (6th) cause a target's own shadow to twist around its body, entangling it. Its movement is hindered so much that every time the creature attempts to attack it must make a Will save or automatically fail or miss in its efforts. The 2nd-level version only restricts one attack per round, but the 6th level version can halt any numbers of attacks. This is a very good spell because it can help save a PC's bacon when a powerful monster finds its movements halted.

Shadow Blast (6th) creates a replica of a thunderstorm from the caster's hand in a 60 foot cone, dealing cold and electricity damage to those within the area. Shadow Vortex (detailed below) is a lower-level evocation spell which also deals the same type of damage. As I don't often, if ever, see these too energy types combined into one spell, this is a surprisingly interesting magical effect for a straight damage evocation effect.

Shadow Conjuration, Lesser (2nd) works as its normal counterpart in the Core rules, only it duplicates sorcerer/wizard conjuration spells of 1st level or lower. Same for Shadow Evocation, Lesser (3rd) which duplicates 2nd level or lower sorcerer/wizard evocation spells. Shadow Necromancy (4th) duplicates 3rd level or lower spells of the mentioned school, but it can't be used to create undead, and permanent effects only last for 1 hour per level instead. Shadow Necromancy also has Lesser (2nd) and Greater (7th) counterparts, too. Now bards, illusionists, and nightblades are even more versatile at low levels!

Shadow Courier (3rd to 4th) is a cool spell. Originally developed by smugglers, it causes touched objects or one willing creature to turn into shadowstuff and meld with the caster's shadow for one day per level. As they're in a pocket dimension within the Plane of Shadow, the caster's shadow does not radiate any magical auras, although detect magic can detect the presence of an active spell on one's person. The spell can be dismissed at any time by either the caster or the willing recipient. As most PCs past 4th level have some kind of magic item as part of their equipment (and thus generating an active aura), this is a handy spell for smuggling treasure and prisoners.

Shadow Stream (1st) is a pretty good AoE spell for its level. It creates a 30 foot line as a stream of darkness erupts from the caster's hands, dealing 1d4 cold damage (max 5d4) per level.

Shadow Structure (3rd) creates quasi-real structures made of shadowstuff lasting for 1 minute per level. Walls, bridges, and stairs can be made, in some cases very long (5 feet long per caster level for walls, 20 feet long per caster level for bridges), which can make for some very good battlefield control and movement.

Shadow Vortex (3rd), another evocation-based area of effect goodness, creates a dark storm of crackling ice and thunder, dealing half cold and half electricity damage and dazzling foes who fail their save.

Shape Shadows and Snuff are both 0 level spells, meaning that they can be cast at will in Pathfinder. Shape Shadows can alter the size and dimension of shadows to a limited extent, while Snuff can extinguish a single non-magical light source no larger than a campfire, making it a very good spell to give to dark-vision using enemies in a dungeon.

Summon Horror I to IX is a series of evil-aligned spells which summon terrifying and macabre creatures into the world. It functions a lot like Summon Monster, and the author even notes that a GM may allow classes with the latter to trade in those spells to cast the new horror-themed ones instead. Although it's going to be more limited thanks to the amount of 3rd party material allowing for their newly created beings to be summoned via Core spells, Summon Horror contains non-outsiders and at least one undead creature per level (making it useful for necromancers who don't want to lose costly onyx gems or need to raise that zombie horde right friggin now).



The nightblade class exclusive access to a series of six themed spells: Umbral Assistant (1st), Umbral Berserker (2nd), Umbral Defender (3rd), Umbral Informant (4th), Umbral Magician (5th), and Umbral Nightblade (6th).

Basically by using a series of invisible ink of increasing cost and quality as a material component, the nightblade can create a visible aura of darkness to coalesce around the spilled ink, forming into a humanoid-shaped servitor for the remainder of the spells' duration. Umbral Assitant and Informant are longer-duration utility-based spells, the former being able to manipulate and move objects and sacrifice itself on a target to blind them with inky blackness, the latter being able to scout far away from the nightblade and telepathically communicate with them and act as a scrying sensor. The other four spells are shorter-duration and have combat applications and tend to be able to replicate limited abilities of their illusory counterpart: berserkers can attack, defenders can intercept damage intended for the nightblade, magicians can grant the benefits of a limited selection of metamagic feats and cast one of four damaging spells, and the nightblade has very limited access to nightblade arts. Each Umbral spell has an ability which can be used once on the created being's part upon which the spell immediately ends, and generally are the most useful abilities (magician's spells, defender's damage interception).

All in all, the Umbral X series of spells are quite nice for the nightblade; the beings are not very tough in combat, and they cost material components, but they can be cast as a standard action and can make for some nice synergy abilities in the case of the magician and nightblade servants.

Void Field (4th to 5th) no only creates an area of supernatural darkness, no sound can travel through it either! It also nullifies the other remaining three senses, nullifying scent-based senses and attacks, vibration-based senses and pain-based attacks. Creatures within the field take -10 penalty on all Strength and Dexterity-based checks in addition to the penalties for being blind and deaf, and all Perception checks fail.

Wall of Darkness (3rd) and its Greater counterpart (5th) creates a wall of shadows which cannot be seen through and grant concealment (20% or 50%) to folks taking cover behind it. Those who end up in the wall's area can end up fatigued or exhausted depending on which spell was used. It also lowers the light level of the nearby surrounding area.

Thoughts so far: Damage, debuffs, utility, summoning, and creepy stuff, this is a very versatile chapter both in game mechanics and themes. You'd think that with so many shadow-based forms of magic that the entries would get repetitive or have almost all Illusion, but this chapter proves otherwise. I like enough of these spells that I'm strongly considering using them in my own self-published products (all game mechanics are OGL in Path of Shadows), many of them are that good.

Next time, we tackle the final chapter of Path of Shadows: Magic Items!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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It is very hard to think of an RPG that has done voudoun or any similar religion all that well. Or any game in general, I think, besides Gabriel Knight.

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Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

GURPS: Voodoo did it better than most.

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