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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Forces of Hordes: Circle Orboros



The druids of the Circle use the Wolves of Orboros as the core of their armies, wilderness warriors drawn from isolated villages across Immoren. The Wolves have an ancient tradition of service, and the druids protect their families and clans in return, partly as payment and partly to manipulate them and watch for the wilding. Traditionally, the Wolves serve out of family loyalty, and they must prove their skill with the group's traditional wepaons and wilderness skills. However, the rise of war lately has required recruiting more mercenary types. Besides them, the Tharn are also heavily used. The Tharn are clinging to a way of life that exists nowhere else any more, and they fight for the druids because they see them as emissaries of the Devourer Wurm. When Morvahna the Autumnblade released them from the Ten Ills, it only reinforced their loyalty. (Plus, they like fighting.) The Tharn channel the Wurm through their bodies, gaining strength or speed in battle. Neither they nor the Wolves understand the purpose of the Circle, but are instead given specific tasks and are then loosed on their foes. The armies of the Circle tend to be a lot more organic than other armies - they don't do ranks and formations, but flow across the field like a living creature.





Druid of Orboros Overseers lead the druids in battle. They are more skilled than the warders, and while they may not always understand their missions, they know failure is dire. Potents set the overseers to watch over specific territories and regulate the druids under them. They travle ebtween sacred sites, protecting them and calling on subordinates to serve. Overseers have experienced all the basic paths of Orboros, and they can tap into all of those powers. The earth opens to them, the wind itself is a weapon, and they can call on wild beasts or heal wounds. Even the elements can't hurt them at all.



Druid Stonewards command the Woldstalkers, stone and wooden constructs of their own creation. Each woldstalker is an implement of the stoneward's will, guided by mental commands and druidic enchantments. A particularly discipline is required to direct multiple stalkers at once, and the stonewards are well practiced at it. Even after death, their guidance lingers, sending the woldstalkers to follow the druid's last impulses, hunting prey with inhuman perseverence. The woldstalkers are simple in form and function - they're basically floating conduits of energy - but their firepower is formidable in concert. They channel energy up the wooden frame, focused into a small crystal orb that fires elemental blasts.



Sentry Stones and their Mannikins supplement the wolds as territorial guardians. Each stone surrounds itself with mannikins, animated constructs of wood and vine. They collapse if they go too far from the stones, but they are deadly killers that enjoy tearing humans apart. The runes inscribed on the stones cause them to mimic reaction and thought, with an innate territorial aggression and the power to devour magic.



Stone Keepers oversee the shifting stones that connect Circle sites. They are stoic druids who understand their importance to the order, guiding the rest of the Circle where they need to go. They use magic to hide their stones and strike down those unlucky enough to come near them, and while their life is a lonely one, they are deeply respected. They wield the power of the stones, smashing at foes with the earth itself and able to turn their flesh into stone. They deeply understand the ley line network, channeling the reality warping powers of the shifting stones into perfect configurations, moving in harmony with the stones as needed.



The Reeves of Orboros are the elite among the Wolves, master marksmen with a deep cunning. While most armies consider crossbows antiquated compared to guns, the reeves disdain powder weapons for their noise and the stench they produce. The crossbow, they feel, is superior - you can make bolts anywhere, and it's nicely silent. They use a double crossbow that originated with the Vorgoi and Kos people of Khador, regularly used in their wars of centuries past. The double bows are powerful enough to punch through armor and fire multiple times before needing to reload. Reeves prefer to attack by ambush, then fall back to observe the quarry. They have spent lives hunting and tracking, and they're able to find angles of attack through even the densest brush, so it's practically impossible to hide from them.

Next time: The Tharn

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Our newest Aftherthought is up, and we basically have a similar conversation to what happened in here a few pages back, regarding farming and why isn't there a rad farming game if it's so versimilitudinous already. Plus listener mail.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Forces of Hordes: Circle Orboros



A Reeve of Orboros Chieftain and Standard sometimes lead the reeves. They are the deadliest marksmen in Immoren, embodying the ideals of the Devourer and the wolf. Their standards often ebar a wolf pelt, the greatest their band has ever hunted, which binds the tribe together with vows of blood. These companies are more warrior cult than regiment. The reeve chieftains lead them to hunt and kill like a pack of beasts, moving effortlessly through any brush with perfect harmony and coordination. They reposition easily after kills, moving to clear lanes of fire without needing to think about it.



Nuala the Huntress sometimes leads Tharn bloodtrackers in battle. She is a myth come to life, a queen of many tuaths. She enjoys killing, but she has noble goals, seeking to restore the Tharn to the grand age of the Molgur, when the cities of man trembled at the might of the Wurm's chosen. With careful alliances, her tribes have prospered where others have withered or been harmed by the Circle's wars. Nuala is as happy to prey on remote villages as to fight for the Circle, choosing only the best bloodtrackers to aid her in battle. She and her followers descend on their victims with lethal javelins, getting bolder with each kill. Each death is a prayer to the Beast of All Shapes, who grants its protection to Nuala.



Tharn Bloodweavers are the women who have mastered the arts of blood magic. Their devotion to the Devourer Wurm is absolute. They conduct ritual hunts in accordance to the movements of the Eye of the Wurm in the heavens, drenching themselves in the blood of the dead. Rarer celestial events get greater blood offerings, sometimes bringing together very large gatherings. Each cabal has learned to fight side by side with practiced skill, relying only on nonverbal communication. Their silence in battle is quickly followed by ecstatic chanting. Civilized humans might dismiss their existence were it not for the gruesome remains they leave behind. Witnessing them in battle can drive pious Menites mad, and they cloak themselves in shadow to hide their movements. Primal power causes those they fight to erupt with gore, exploding over nearby foes.



Tharn Wolf Riders are bloodtrackers atop immense duskwolves. They move with amazing speed, darting around defenders as their riders hurl javelins. The wolvesp ull down the prey with their jaws, leaving enemies bleeding as they spring away to shelter. The bloodtrackers perform fearsome rites of the Wurm, bonding with their duskwolves to become a singularly deadly pack. Death follows them closely, by javelin or wolfbite.



A Tharn Ravager Chieftain will sometimes lead the ravagers in battle. They are great, bloody warriors with the absolute respect of their tribes. In addition to battle skill, they lead the Tharn to prosperity, reveling in the gifts of the Wurm. They must not only be strong, but wise, leading the Tharn to gather in great numbers and with excellent tactics. By the time a Tharn can be called chieftain, they have led war parties and killed countless rivals. They wear grisly trophies, like a creature from nightmares, with the hafts of their axes turned black by the blood of their victims. They are always attended by the greatest killers of their tuath, and to be a chieftain's personal guard is a great honor. Each chief knows he only leads as long as he maintains the tribe's respect, so they always seek out the heart of battle, to earn their victory directly. The guard are inspired to try and match their chieftain, pushed to even greater heights of violence and striving to be the ones to draw first blood.



The druids of the Circle are often accused of being priests of the Devourer Wurm, but those are, in fact, the Tharn Ravager Shamans. They accompany the ravagers into battle, razing towns and slaughtering the innocent in the name of the Wurm. The shamans direct their revels, urging their kin on to ever greater carnage. Each shaman is a priest of the Beast of All Shapes who can call down the power of lightning and the storm. They leave only charred corpses behind as the Tharn fight under their command.



Warpborn Skinwalkers are chosen from among the Wolves of Orboros of the deepest wilds. By nightfall, their skin warps and they hunt down interlopers as monsters. The druids select only the best hunters and trackers of each generation to join the skinwalkers, using rituals derived from those that create the warpwolves. Their flesh distends, with wolf snouts bursting forth, hair growing and muscles gaining strength. Their senses are heightened, and the skinwalkers become almost perfect hunters. They are stronger than any human, wielding immense pole axes with vicious brutality and returning to human form when battle is over.

Next time: More druids

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Forces of Hordes: Circle Orboros



A Wolves of Orboros Chieftain and Standard will sometimes lead the Wolves in battle. They are heirs to the oldest rituals, enduring training and customs tied to the Devourer Wurm, patron of all predation, whom they represent with wolf totems. Only the most grizzled masters of the hunt are entrusted to lead the true believers into the Wild Hunt, the most sacred blood rite. Their totems represent their vow to never rest, tracking foes to the ends of the earth. A Wild Hunt ends only when the sworn foe is dead or pack hunting them is. A master of the hunt never speaks their name, subsuming their identity into the pack. They have touched the essence of the wild, and are filled with a feral madness. They work the wolves up into a fever of bloodlust, leading them not as men, but as beasts in men's skin, wielding spears as fangs and moving in unspoken coordination.



Blackclad Wayfarers are masters of the druidic art of teleportation, summoning dark clouds and storms to allow them move with cracks of thunder. They have a deep connection to the shifting stones and their power, and they are the messengers of the Circle, carrying news of key battles and omens. They pass on orders from the omnipotents as well as helping to lead the druids to war. They are entirely confident in battle, throwing enemies into chaos with their ability to appear anywhere, only to jump back to their allies.



A Druid Wilder may be the least of the blackclads, but they already wield powers of nature and chaos. They accompany their masters into battle, learning to command warbeasts and channel their powers in combat. It's a very dangerous stage of initiation, and wilders are expected to obey their masters without question. Few warlocks will throw their lives away casually, but they are often in harm's way. Those that survive emerge stronger, ready to join the Circle as masters in their own right.



Many reeves die young, but not Reeve Hunters. They are legends, able to track beasts for miles undetected, patient beyond measure and stealthier than anyone. They are as skilled hunting men as animals, honing their skills to a razor's edge. When the reeves are called to war, the hunters are used as advance scouts and assassins, moving undetected through any terrain and disappearing into shadow even under midday sun. They are experts of evasion and positioning, and in attack they never sotp moving, pausing only to mark their targets before letting loose a flurry of bolts and moving on.



The Tharn Ravager White Manes are the eldest of the Tharn, seasoned killers both respected and feared by their younger kin. They love to kill, growing strong on the blood and hearts of their victims. Even without the reflexes of youth, they remain deadly, masters of their weapons and with nearly supernatural battle instincts. White manes do not fear death, but look forward to it on the battlefield, taking as many as they can with them. They prefer a blaze of glory to a quiet fading, and seeing them charge into battle inspires other ravagers to frenzy as they rush to follow. They carry trophies of countless kills and years of combat.



War Wolves are used by the Wolves of Orboros as kin and fellow warriors. They are stocky mountain wolves of Khador and the Wyrmwalls, with exceptional speed, senses and power. They are not bred for war, but are raised by the old families of the Wolves, who have hunted alongside them since the days of the Molgur. For some reason, the wolves seem to recognize the scent of their human allies, seeking them out and offering up their services without even begrudging the Wolves the pelts they wear. War wolves do not respond to commands, but fight on their own initiative. They are cunning, however, and are more than able to coordinate with the Wolves against their prey, circling and moving in while the enemy is kept busy. At the sound of crossbows, they leap forth in a blur of muscle, tearing at tendons.



Wolf Lord Morraig is a throwback, and embodiment of his ancient ancestors, whos bloodline seems to guide him towards a greater destiny. Even among the most respected Wolves, Morraig is larger than life. The war wolves, who can barely stand human touch, will bear him into battle on their backs. He is a pragmatic leader, with little tolerance for mysticism. He has become used to magic among the druids, however, as the warlord of nearly a third of all Wolves of Orboros, but he prefers practical matters. He was born in the Vescheneg Headlands of Khador, but is derived from Wyrmwall stock, tracing back to the Molgur. His family has uprooted itself many times, to go where the Circle needs them, and sometimes he jokes that he's likely related to any wilderness man with red hair. Few among the Wolves do not recognize him, treating him as family. He has done more to expand their number than any twelve other men. When he enters a hunter's lodge to share drinks and stories, invariably half of them en present will decide to join up. He claims the talk of destiny is nonsense, but he's working hard to prepare the Wolves for something. His friendly demeanor is a great contrast to the ferocity and ruthlessness he has in battle. He trains his men until they collapse, in the worst conditions. He does not compromise, but those wh follow him know he turns them into great weapons, and he leads every charge. Few can match him in battle, and the unusual motions of his wolf steed have proven an advantage against foes used to horsemen. He has always obeyed the druids, but recently, he has come to view no man as his master, respecting only a few blackclads. His ultimate loyalty is to his men, but on some instinctive level he knows he has a greater purpose. When he met Krueger the Stormlord, a thrill of recognition shot through him, and something beyond words connected the two. Morraig took his men into the service of Krueger even as other druids' emissaries became increasingly agitated. Whether he and Krueger journey to glory or ruin, Morraig has made his choice, and the wolves will follow him.

The End!

Next up, the Protectorate of Menoth, because after ecoterrorists we need religious terrorists.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

theironjef posted:

Our newest Aftherthought is up, and we basically have a similar conversation to what happened in here a few pages back, regarding farming and why isn't there a rad farming game if it's so versimilitudinous already. Plus listener mail.

Not gonna lie, I would play the poo poo out of Harvest Moon + Monster Rancher the RPG.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Ratpick posted:

Not gonna lie, I would play the poo poo out of Harvest Moon + Monster Rancher the RPG.

Same here no question. Especially if there was still the monster rancher random generation off physical media gimmick somehow. Dice aren't good enough.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

My wife just rediscovered Monster Rancher in the bottom of a drawer a few weeks ago, and you wouldn't believe the weird poo poo we got out of my Skinny Puppy CDs.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth



The Protectorate of Menoth is ruled over by the scrutator priests, and they have initiated a grand crusade to spread Menoth's worship across Caen. The Sul-Menite faith is ancient, but their nation is exceptionally young, born of the Cygnaran Civil War. Their army was made in secret for this day, and now they are a great power, armed with great weapons and greater faith. They have a vast array of protective abilities at their disposal, and even their sacrifices bolster their resolve and strength. Their warjacks are sturdy and tough, especially with the magical support the Menites are so good at providing.



The Protectorate has made greater strides from humbler beginnings than any other nation. They have gone from an oppressed minority to a great power. Their rleigion is ancient, dating back to the first written word, but their rise as a military power is only the past few decades. They have expanded and revolutionized themselves while staying true to their convictions, thanks great leaders of past and present. They are the smallest of any of the Iron Kingdoms, but their successes have been great - the defense of Sul, the invasion of Caspia and the seizure of Leryn from the Khadorans in Llael. They have taken control of their own destiny, and they've been preparing for this hour for decades now. Their military has been built strongly, and are now led by Hierarch Severius, the first warcaster ever to rule the Protectorate. He has spent his entire life ensuring the crusade is realized, and his people are united behind him. The military continues to be radically reorganized and expanded, blending old and new ideas and miximing pragmatism with ceremony. The Protectorate is always like that - it is not for temporal power that they exist, but to protect Menoth's interests on Caen. They are a theocracy, with priests ruling in daily life as well as the military. Most of the army are compulsory soldiers, but the elite are ancient martial orders integrated tightly with the church.



The diversity and complexity of the military make it hard to predict, which the Protectorate is excellent at using. Many of their decisions prioritize logistics and strategy, but they're just as likely to use force towards religious goals, sometimes comprehensible only to their prophets. The faithful, they believe, are part of the endless War of Souls fought by the gods, even if they do not understand it. The Harbinger of Menoth and the Reclaimants give the Protectorate a unique perspective on the divine will. Thus, the soldiers have learned to trust the priests implicitly, fighting in ignorance of their true purposes. They do not question orders, they take them on faith. Not ever Menite is equally pious, but in aggregate their beliefs give them a zeal and conviction that few can match. Enemies fear their zealotry, having to rely on things like duty, loyalty or coin. The Protectorate needs only faith, and no other army is so united.



A huge percentage of the Protectorate population is at least part-time military, much higher than any other nation. They have been devleoping and stockpiling weapons since the nation was founded, and can equip a full third of the country. Training takes time, and not every citizen is equally capable, zealous or qualified, so leaders are constantly evaluating how much time a soldier must be trained before they're fielded. Everyone else has more people, resources and manufacturing capability, after all. Despite their large number of armed civilians, the core of their military is most reliant on their trained martial orders, like the Knights Exemplar and the Temple Flameguard. The Temple Flameguard have ended up taking on the role of the regular army, though at one point they were just defenders of temples and holy sites. The Knights Exemplar have changed more. They were predated by the Order of the Wall, an independent Menite knightly order, but the paladins of the Wall will not serve blindly, believing that faith must be tempered by conscience. This regularly puts them at odds with the priests, so the Exemplars were made with a code of absolute obedience, eventually eclipsing the Order of the Wall in the Protectorate. Scrutators rely on them to maintain doctrinal purity and root out heretics and traitors. While the Order of the Wall still exists in small number, its impact on politics and the military is negligible, preserved out of tradition and popularity with the people. The Knights Exemplar are by far the more important group.

While they serve as the martial arm of the faith, over time they've been less concerned with protecting the faithful and more with battling foes. The role of internal police was shifted first to the Temple Flameguard, then to the Order of the Fist, created specifically for the task. The Order of the Fist monks are trained to blend with civilians and root out treachery. The Flameguard Cleansers and Daughters of the Flame work with them to watch the people and address threats. The Knights Exemplar are now a purely martial force against outsiders. However, their code and training limits their numbers. Not every pious man or woman serving the Temple is suited to their oath. The Flameguard, likewise, requires fulltime dedication while serving. Many citizens aid the war effort without being so completely devoted by serving as militia or joining up when the battle priests call for war. Arms are kept throughout the Protectorate to equip these forces at a moment's notice. They are referred to as voluntary, but service in a crusade is compulsory for a quota of all able-boded men and and women. The Order of the Fist have proven quite good at rounding up and enlisting those without the devotion to volunteer. Still, the continual immersion of the people in religious doctrine makes it easy to get lots of volunteers of all ages. These lay soldiers make up the lesser orders, such as the Deliverers.



There's been an ongoing struggle between respect for ancient tradition and establishing a clear chain of command. traditionally, as long as the leaders of each order are loyal to the Synord or hierarch, they have gotten total autonomy. Some of this remains, but Hierarch Voyle realized that to do war on a larger scale would take integration of these disparate elements, and so he promoted Severius to grand scrutator, charging him to unify the orders. Severius understood that this would take care, logistics and planning, so he made the office of war counselor, appointing Bron SCisson, his foremost secular officer, to oversee the militias and martial orders in order to keep the crusade running smoothly. War Counselor Scisson has no field authority, but all of the military is expected to cooperate with him and his staff regarding logistics and personnel. His office has no battle glory, but without it, the army would be impossible. The central staff has moved to Leryn alongside Severius, but couriers regularly convey messages back to the visgoths of Imer in the capital.

The Protectorate's founding terms in 484 AR prevented them from keeping a standing army. This was never strictly enforced, and for decades the Protectorate seemed to obey even while making and expanding martial orders to protect themselves, justifying it with the need to fight the tribal Idrians, which continued even after the majority were pacified and converted. For many decades, Cygnar was all right with this, perhaps in the belief that the resource-poor region was very hostile, and laws were enacted to allow the Protectorate to arm and train defenders of the temples. The adoption of laborjacks and later warjacks happened early in the reign of Hierarch Gevard Luctine, but not without argument. Hardline traditionalists insisted mechanika were not part of the True Law due to the arcane science needed to make them. Luctine and his visgoths saw the machines would be vital to prosperity, arguing that it was their holy duty to find a way to purify them. They granted that mechanika and magic were unquestionably tainted, but believed they could be sanctified with prayer and holy engravings, along with constant ministrations by cleansing clergy. Laborjacks were incorporated into many industries, but even more were given improvised wepaons to assist the martial orders, and the first choirs were made, using holy hymns to sanctify the machines in abttle.



It's doubtful that Cygnar was entirely fooled by the Protectorate pretenses to pure laborjacks. However, they turned a blind eye so long as they were just used against the savages in the wastes, and probably did not realize how many 'jacks had been converted to battle readiness. Cygnar's focus on the city of Sul, once the eastern half of Caspia, also helped. The Protectorate lacked any meaningful other cities for decades, so the oversight was understandable, but it blinded Cygnar to significant developments miles away. In 504 AR, an earthquake struck a battle between the Sul-Menites and Idrians, leaving the Menites standing but forcing the Idrians to kneel, and at that point most of the Idrians present immediately converted. This only increased and diversified the Protectorate population, bringin the Idrian city of Imer into the nation. It remained primitive for decades, but soon untapped mineral resources were found nearby, including iron,c opper and tin. It took years to build the mines and infrastructure, but they would become vital to the Protectorate's industry, particularly in the creation of weapons and warjack components. Most of the ore and resources were initially processed in Sul, so Cygnar never really understood the full extent of the mining operations, underestimating the Prtoectorate war industries. Even more resources waited to be found in the east by Hierarch Calgor Turgis of 535-549 AR. He oversaw the consctruction of Tower Judgment in the north and the rediscovery of ancient Icthier in the south, gaining both sacred texts and precious gems, which were used to bribe Cygnaran inspectors and open trade. This was important, but not so much as the discovery of Menoth's Fury, distilled from less volatile oil found in the sands. With the proper refining, this oil became more than just fuel for lanterns, able to spark immense conflagrations. AT its most refined, it ignites on contact with air, adheres to surfaces and burns hot enough to melt steel. In time, it would become one of the signature weapons of the Protectorate.

Next time: The Great Crusades

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


theironjef posted:

Our newest Aftherthought is up, and we basically have a similar conversation to what happened in here a few pages back, regarding farming and why isn't there a rad farming game if it's so versimilitudinous already. Plus listener mail.

How could I forget Wowsers?

theironjef posted:

Same here no question. Especially if there was still the monster rancher random generation off physical media gimmick somehow. Dice aren't good enough.

It just depends on how many dice you roll.

And while a Harvest Moon + Monster Rancher game sounds kickass, I prefer a hybrid between Harvest Moon and Monster Hunter. Go into the forest, kill some monsters, make a new hoe/axe/hammer/watering can out of their parts.

Super Console


Man, this one took a while for some reason.

Console Conventions

This chapter lists a bunch of common JRPG conventions and tropes, and how to include them in your campaign. Mixed and Brutal games will ignore most of these, but Console and especially Silly games are encouraged to go wild with them. I'll focus on the conventions most unusual and/or interesting in a roleplaying campaign.

Active Party

Arbitrary distinction between active and inactive party are pretty normal for Silly and Console games, less so for Mixed games were there really is no reason why you can't just have everyone active. Brutal games on the other hand probably need an inactive party in the form of reserve characters.

So how to deal with inactive party members? Well, you can just roll with it, or go balls out crazy and have inactive party members wait at a resort when they're not teleported to the active party.

Cheat Codes and Walkthroughs

Reading the campaigns walkthrough is a valid tactic in Silly games. And if the players somehow manage to input a cheat code in a tabletop RPG, let them go wild. And if they know the Konami code, give them some extra XP.

Cutscenes

Cutscenes are to be feared, because they take control away from the players and allow the CPU to get away with all sorts of stuff. So the benevolent king just got assassinated and nobody thought about using a Phoenix Down or a Life spell? That's a cutscene for you.

Demihumans and Other Species

Is that a female Ronso?

Intelligent humanoids not used as cannon fodder for the good guys exist, but they tend to be rare and secluded. Don't expect to see more of them than a village and the one token guy in the party.

Economy

There are these two info boxes about console RPG economy I just have to copypaste here:

Best Inn in Town? Ha! posted:

Don't be silly. There's only ne inn in town. There's only one magic shop, one weapon shop, one armor shop, and one item shop. In fact, there might be just one company that owns all the stores, since they all seem to have the same prices, and the magic shop buys your swords for the same price the weapon shop does. It's all one big monopoly, I tell you.

Discounts posted:

Sometimes, when you do something really nice in a particular town, the shopkeepers there will give you a lower price on their wares. 25% is the standard discount. This is a very rare occurence.

However, if you do something nice for the entire world (like saving it from certain destruction), no one will sell things to you for any cheaper. They won't even lend you a few potions for when you go fight the Main Villain. Shopkeepers are notoriously ungrateful.

The Great Disaster

These always happened at some point the world's history to explain where all those fancy ruins and artifacts come from. And you can be pretty sure that the Main Villain was involved in some way. He might've wrecked the entire world during the war that got him sealed away, he might have caused several natural disasters by crashing into the planet, or he might've unleashed one of those fancy 6th level spells (aka "plot device magic").

La Restiance!

Governments are always at least partially evil and/or corrupt. Therefore, rebels and bandits are always good guys with a valid point. Except for that one guy who always turns out to be working for the Main Villain.

Mini-Games

Play an unrelated party game for in-campaign rewards! Too bad they never released a standalone version of Blitzball <_<

Modes of Travel

Who doesn't like airships?

Parents and Role Models

All Main Characters only have on parent. The other one either died or went missing years ago. Most of the time, you don't even have to come up with the other parent's fate. Everyone just accepts that you just have one.

To fill out this void, most find a mentor and/or role model. Some of them are plot devices, others might join the party later, and at least one of them is actually evil.

Relative Time

Unless there's a timer on screen, time doesn't matter. The Main Villain will always wait with his world destruction plans for the heroes to arrive, no matter how many days or even weeks they waste on sidequests.
On the same note, the heroes can't wait for stuff to happen or get done. Unless they move the plot along, the smith will always take "just a little while" for his work.

Also, unless there's a day/night cycle, it's always the same season at the same time of day.

(Suffice to say, Mixed and especially Brutal games probably have a more realistic interpretation of time.)

Save Points

These can exist in any game apart from Brutal ones. Always glowing, always rotating, these mysterious structures save the campaign's current status. Mixed games tend to feature slightly less powerful Save Points that don't turn back time back to when the campaign was last saved. They just clone you.

The default in-universe explanation for Save Points is that they copy the user's soul (or an anchor for the actual soul), from which he can be reconstructed. Only one such copy can exist. Trying to make a another one can seriously mess with that soul.
The reason why Save Points aren't used by everyone and their mother is that you lose any memories you've gained since your last save. This includes any memories of the afterlife, and only determined heroes would want to get back into their aging, mortal shells once they've seen Heaven.
Evil characters like the Main Villain would probably like to abuse Save Points anyways, but souls of the damned can't leave the Underworld/Hell once they've entered it.

Suffer to say, whole adventures or even entire campaigns can be centered around finding the origin and true purpose of these wonderful artifacts.

Sequels and Prequels

True sequels are very rare in the world of Console RPGs (through exceptions have started to become more frequent). Themese and concepts might be similar, but they're usually set in an entirely different world with an entirely different cast.

If it is a true sequel, old characters tend to revert back to Level 1. This is perfectly fine for Silly games, but other kinds of games generally need an actual explanation.
The easiest general solution has the PCs play the next generation of heroes, with the old cast returning as important NPCs. One might even be the Main Villain this time around.

An important quirk of Console RPG sequels is that they typically change the gameplay in a more or less severe way. So feel free to include Rage Bars for the next campaign, or switch from Classed to Tasked characters.

Prequels are generally a bit easier to run, and they work in reverse in that this time, once important NPCs could be player characters. Still, gotta watch out for a time paradox.

Sidequests and Optional Bosses

There's always stuff to do aside from the main quest(s), and if the players become too overpowered, there's always that one monster lurking around that is even more powerful than the Main Villain (as in "everything only takes 1% Health, and he can one shot anyone.").

Townsfolk

Townsfolk in Console RPGs can usually just repeat the same one or two lines ad nauseum. Silly games might have them turn out to be robots, or perfectly normal human beings who go out of character when the heroes aren't looking. They are also perfectly okay with the heroes entering their house and taking everything that is not nailed to the floor.

On the other hand, the heroes can't actually cause any harm to anyone or anything in town, as they can't start fights. This way, the local guards will always be able to arrest the heroes, no matter how high their level is.

Of course, more realistic campaigns can just go the boring way and make everything realistic.

Typical Locations

Gas giants, suns and black holes are perfectly valid endgame adventuring locations.

Why not just kill the Heroes?

Depending on how realistic the campaign is, the Main Villain might gladly send weak minions towards the heroes, he might wait till they are actually a threat to him, or he might try to murder them in their sleep (so avoid his attention at all costs).

If the Main Villain is of the "Your soul is mine!" variety, he might just let the heroes get away time and time again because higher-level souls are more nutritious.

Next Time: Genre & Styles. Let's see how much Chrono Trigger and Live-a-Live I can find here.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth

The Protectorate stopped focusing on infrastructure around 568 AR, under Hierarch Kilgor Ravonal, who preached true independence. He directed the clergy to push the word of Menoth in other nations, cowing them into submission. He said that Morrowan nations were perfidious, lawless and faithless, so forcible conversion would be a mercy compared to what they faced in Urcaen. He stockpiled weapons and resources by selling diamonds, expanding the Knights Exemplar and Temple Flameguard. He also created the Order of the First, an internal police force founded and led by Garrick Voyle, his later successor, so that the Knights Exemplar coudl focus solely on the battles to come. After his death, years of infighting made the Synod ineffective until Voyle's rise in 588 AR, consolidating his power with the aid of his monks, his scrutator allies and his formidable skill. He continued the work Ravonal began, taking office just after the Scharde Invasions. He used them to expand the Protectorate's strength in the chaos and confusion, as well as the unrest after Leto's coup. Voyle understood that before the crusades could begin, the army needed a foundation, and he moved the capital to Imer, reconstructing it into a modern city, so that the central industries of the Protectorate were farther from Cygnar.

This also allowed Voyle to institute other military reforms, including the creation of the House of Truth as the headquarters for the new Vassals of Menoth, an organization based on earlier efforts to capture foreign arcanists to force production of cortexes. This practice had proven worthwhile, but Voyle greatly expanded it, recruiting and training arcanists and mechaniks from the faithful, that they might have loyal workers to supply the needs of the warjacks. They still had to be watched, however, to ensure they would not be corrupted and violate the True Law. Still, with the war industry procdeeding, Voyle began to test Leto's willingness to enforce the old treaties, encouraging surgical strikes on Cygnaran targets, to test the response while he lied to Cygnar about a desire for peace. The Cygnarans relied on diplomacy and did not escalate, convincing Voyle that they were weak and would not stomach the casualties of disarming the Protectorate by force, so he increased weapons production. When Khador invaded, the perfect time came, as proven by the appearance of the Harbinger. The Protectorate attacked, disrupting rail travel and assaulting the gates of Caspia.

In 606 AR, the Harbinger told Voyle of a vision she had, a mandate to confront a great darkness. The Northern Crusade was authorized and left to Grand Scrutator Severius to ensure the Harbinger arrived where she had to go and to convert as many outsiders as possible. The Harbinger's charisma and ability to sway the faithful proved quite useful, and thousands answered her call to pilgrimage towards the north. The battle the Harbinger had foreseen took place in the Thornwood, at the Orgoth temple Garrodh, as part of the maneuvering of the lich lord Asphyxious of Cryx. He sought to become a god by siphoning off the souls of Menoth's realm in Urcaen, using the Harbinger as a gateway. Khadoran and Cygnaran forces werel ured in to thwart Cryx, but were largely unaware of the cosmological considerations. As a result, they only ended up interfering. The Harbinger managed to sacrifice herself to end Asphyxious' ambition, freeing thousands of Menite souls that had been imprisoned by the Orgoth machines. It was a miracle, but her death was a great and unanticipated setback. The Testament and High Paladin Dartan Vilmon returned her body to Imer, where she was resurrected by the will of Menoth, as channeled through Hierarch Voyle. Grand Scrutator Severius continued to lead the Crusade, battling to fulfill its secondary purpose even without the Harbinger. He annihilated the city of Fisherbrook and headed north.

The first city selected for conquest was Fellig, but Khador and Cygnar got in the way. The Menites could not seize the city, but did destroy the monastery of Ascendant Angellia, one of Morrow's minions. Severius led his diminished armies to a more suitable site, crossing the Black River towards the Bloodstone Marches, where they found reinforcements from the Knights Exemplar and Flameguard. They moved on towards Llael, finding allies in the Resistance that led them to the city of Leryn. Severius led the battle with the power of the Covenant of Menoth, calling on it to unlock miracles. The relic heightened has already potent powers, and Severius was able to take Leryn without a siege, converting two members of a ranking Greylord Ternion governing the city.

As the Northern Crusade made its way to Llael, the rest of the military was preparing in Sul. Tensions were high, as Cygnar was rounding up Menites and locking them away. The Menites launched an attempt to conquer Caspia, but their attack was turned on them, and became a fullscale ivnasion of Sul, prompting the launch of two crusades: the Reclamation of Sul Crusade and the Crusade in Defense of the Great Temple. Both crusader forces worked as hard as they could, and in time succeeded in defending the holy city, rallying after a long period of street combat. They Cygnarans lacked their resolve, especially after Coleman Stryker was injured in combat with Feora, Protector of the Flame. Eventually, the Menites stormed Caspia, across the river. Hierarch Voyle led the attack. However, the Harbinger had foreseen failure, though Voyle ignored her, too blinded by the dream of uniting the two cities once more. It came to head when he faced Stryker in battle, and Stryker offered a temporary truce and to return the captive Menites.

The Harbinger again pushed Voyle to stop, but again he ignored her, ordering the army to fire on the captives. The Harbinger martyred herself to protect them, helping to defend the helpless alongside High Paladin Dartan Vilmon of the Order of the Wall. The hierarch continued, his rational mind overcome by hubris, striking at Vilmon in anger. However, the Harbinger took the wound onto herself, suffering what should have been a fatal blow. Voyle blamed Stryker, and the two fought. Stryker won, as Menoth withdrew his favor from Voyle, and some say the Harbinger's sword was what ended Voyle's life. His body was returned to Imer, where he was buried with full honors, to be remembered as a visionary. Severius swore to continue his work, and by the Harbinger's revelations, he was made the new Hierarch, devoting greater attention to the Northern Crusade. That brings us to now.

The Protectorate armies are organized into garrisons and crusades. Garrisons include reinforcements and defensive reserves, with the largest made purely of the Temple Flameguard or supported by smaller numbers of other orders, existing primarily to secure territories. Crusades, on the other hand, are large mixed groups of forces designed for a longterm objective. They are the most proactive armies, usually seizing territory or destroying a target. It is unusual but not impossible for them to be defensive. Crusades and garrisons are both broken down into interdictions, which are made of phalanxes of different orders. The hierarch appoints crusade leaders, who select interdiction leaders. Crusade leaders are always warcasters, and regardless of order, all members of a crusade answer to them, and all members of an interdiction answer to the interdiction leader.

At all levels, priests serve as army officers, commanding and directing soldiers as well as organizing logistics. Lay soldiers can get ranks of authority, like preceptor or arms master, but even they must treat priests with respect. In any situation of uncertain chain of command, priests are assumed to outrank secular commanders. A seperate priesthood division leads the zealot forces, which are rather less organized and cohesive than the martial orders. These warpriests are most numerous but least influential, rarely having any larger responsibility than the rituals they perform for success or last rites. Above them are the potentates and higher, and some of them are chosen to direct warjacks in battle. While ranking priests are generally busy governing, they do sometimes help the armed forces directly with their potent prayers and inspirational power. Visgoth Juviah Rhoven, for example, used his prayers in the battles in Sul and Caspia, and Hierarch Voyle led the attack on Caspia personally. Hierarch Severius loves to fight in active battle.

In fact, Severius' decision to remain in Leryn has meant a drastic reorganization in forces. The crusade in the north is the only currently active one now, with the Sul reclamation being left to garrison forces, though still on high alert. Most of the Protectorate's warcasters are now in the north, including the Harbinger, Testament and Grand Exemplar Kreoss, who oversees the day to day battles and reports directly to Severius. The Leryn garrison is run by Vice Scrutator Vindictus, another warcaster priest. High Executioner Rezzik has been granted command of an ancillary strike force, answering only to Severius. Some believe this shows a rift with Kreoss, but others believe it just means different tools need different jobs.

Feora, Protector of the Flame, has not been called north, however. Most see this as a sign of disfavor, but in truth her authority is greater than it's ever been, as she has been given general oversight over all the southern garrisons, including Sul, Imer, Icthier and Tower Judgment. Oversight is left to the visgoths, but the officers are all loyal to Feora. She has also established protocols that make the Flameguard Incendium serve as intermediaries between priests garrison officers, ensuring she controls information and resource allocation to most of the southern military. These garrisons could be easily reassigned to a new crusade if needed, but the Protectorate must defend its lands, especially Sul and Imer. The visgoths are especially unhappy that Severius isn't at home, and have advised him to return posthaste, but he's ignored them. Feora now attends the Synod in his place, serving as his unofficial proxy on military matters. She is easily the most influential person in the southern Protectorate now, even above the visgoth individually. The southern scrutators, including five of nine visgoths, also serve as Severius' eyes and ears at home, watching Feora. So far, she seems to be acting in good faith and is not ambitious beyond her station, but her influence over the visgoths is a matter of some concern.



The Protectorate military is strong despite being small, in part because they're very good at finding warcasters and training them. Many priests credit Menoth with this, but it's more likely that priestly meditations and training among Sul-Menites opens them to contact with warjack cortexes, and the force of will required to channel holy power reinforces their potential. Many priests, even without warcaster talent, have also proven adept at spotting potential. Even among the clergy, warcasters are rare, of course, but the Menites have found some that no one else would have recognized. It probably also helps that the priests keep themselves so deeply informed about their public's activities. No other nation so closely polices its people. Since magic is heretical, children with powers are often taken, and those that are not killed are trained in prayer to foster their talents.

For the Protectorate, training a warcaster is as much martial as doctrinal. All warcasters are taught to channel Menoth's might, but each has a unique set of abilities. Some theologians believe that each warcaster represents a specific passage or interpretation of the Canon of the True Law. Those that manifest their power later in life usually remain in their martial order, with instructors sent to them if needed. Each order has its own initiation and promotion ceremonies, and warcasters must ascend the ranks like anyone else, but given their power, they tend to do so quickly, as long as they remain true to the order's code and the True Law. Several orders are led by warcasters, subordinate only to the Synod and hierarch, and for the first time ever, the hierarch himself is a warcaster. Some take this as proof that the final crusades are here.



Next time: Warcasters

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Les Terres d'Amarande/The Lands of Amarande

Before I look at the various races of the setting, a little primer on game mechanics is needed. This is due to every race having different starting Stats: each race (except humans, who get a completely different bonus) start with 3 in one stat, 1 in one stat and 2 in all others. So, I have to explain what the Stats mean in a basic way. The basic dice-roll mechanic of the game is this: you roll a number of D6s equal to your stat and then you add a bonus to one of the dice equal to your skill (in case of a skill roll) or the stat again (in case of a raw stat roll). It's important to note which dice you add the bonus to, because every time you roll a 6 or more on a dice, it "explodes", letting you add another dice to the roll. All the dices are added together to beat the Target Number. There are six stats: Speed is agility and fastness, Morale is willpower and moral fortitude, Tonus is strength and stamina, Insight is general intelligence and understanding, Character is charisma and force of personality, and Instinct is perseptions and reflexes. While some stats have more skills associated with them than others, they are all equally useful. Each weapon use a different stat for hit and then damage, each classe use a different stat for the hit roll and damage/effect roll, and then each stat also determines some of your characters other stats. Morale and Tonus determine your HP, Insight and Character determines your Anima (MP), Speed and Instinct respectively determines your Physical Evasion and Magical Evasion and one of them is used to determine your Initiative bonus (your choice, usually the highest but sometimes you want to act later in the turn).

A sidebar talks a bit about the "Mortality Sickness". Humans spread mortality like a disease, and most PCs will probably be mortal. Elves will still live like 500 years, so it's not something that will come up in-game unless you've decided to do a multi-generational game across the timeline.

The Races of the Empire are divided into three categories: Humans, the Pure Races and the Impure Races. The Pure Races are naturally immortal and used to live on the Yggdrasil. Impure Races lives among humans and have kind of the poo poo end of the deal. I mean, the names Pure and Impure aren't some objective statement of fact, they're in-game terms suggesting the inherent racism of the Empire. In fact, a sidebar talks about racism and how it's something that should be reserved for bad guys and normal PCs shouldn't be dicks to this or that race unless everyone's okay with roleplaying those kind of characters. Racial Mixes, people with parents from different races, are treated even worse than that. Anyway, the Empire is dominated by Humans, and the various non-human groups often band together to get their own place in society.

Humans: Your usual humans in a fantasy world. The msot nuemrous and varied race, with pretty varied ethnicities depending ont he region of the disc (the world is a flat disc circled by the World Serpent). Humans start with 2 in every stat and get 4 more experience points at the end of the first game. There is an interesting kind of balance with those numbers. Raising Stats cost the level you want to reach X 4, so going from 1 to 2 costs 8 xp and from 2 to 3 12xp. Now, if the human waits until he can raise a stat to 3 and the non-human waits until they can raise their low stat from 1 to 2, assuming the average xp per game is 4 (usually how it goes in our games), then anyone, no matter the race can have 3 in one stat and 2 in all other stats by the end of game 2. This is by design.

Elves: A race of perfectionnists, always looking for the perfect moment. This tends to make them really arrogant. Originally from Alfheim, most live away from humans, following the orders of the mysterious Council of Elves, which is comprised of what is left of their nobility. Elves get +1 Insight, -1 Tonus, they are smart but somewhat weak.

Ratlings: A discrete and humble race, legend goes that they fell from their branch of the Yggdrasil because they gnawed through it. They don't see being cowards as a flaw, arguing that it is better to flee and live than fight and die. Survival is a key point there. They made a place for themselves among the lower rungs of Human society, and are probably the non-human race that understands Humans the best. They might manage to become the first non-human race to be fully accepted as equals one day, althoguh they would have to betray their ancient tribal heritage to do. Ratlings get +1 Instinct, -1Morale as they are a perceptive but nervous race.

Lizardmen: hailing from Musphelheim, Lizardmen are a proud race of warriors. Cold, hard, and monastic, they see faith as a transaction tool with the divine. Lizardmen get +1 Tonus, -1 Instinct, they are a strong race but not the most perceptive of fellows.

Fairies: they used to live in the Yggdrasil itself, tending to it as their duty. Now that is has fallen, they are a relic of the past, living hidden in natural places or as historians and priests. They get +1 Instinct, -1 Speed they see much but react slowly to changes.

Tomtens: originally from Jotunheim, Tomtens are a peaceful race who live in quiet farming communities. Small and with a tendency to become fat, they are a friendly people. They get +1 Character, -1 Tonus, preferring to resolve conflicts through diplomacy rather than force.

Felines: According to legend, a mockery of humanity created by the Gods for shits and giggles. They served the Gods for a long time before their masters tired of them and threw them off the Yggdrasil. Nowadays, they are a curious people, noted for their independant streek and their desire to be useful. They also seem to have an ability to stay enthusiasthis in terrible situations. They get +1 Speed, -1 Insight, they are fast but learn slowly.

Moonfolks: coming from the moon, there's a ton of legends about the Moonfolk. Apparently, in the early days, their knowledge of magic rivaled that of the Gods themselves. There's a ton of superstitions about them, and they often abuse that fact instead of dismissing them. They look like pale humans, soemtimes gray, with easily hideable antennas their distinguishing characteristic. Some have joined humanity in secret, while others plan for the day they can return to the moon. Their bonus is +1 Morale, -1 Tonus. They're confident and sur eof themselve,s but favor using their midns over their brawn.

A side bar of common Moonfolk myths:
- They turn into werwolves during the full moon.
- They communicate telepathically with their antennas.
- When a Moonfolk kills another, the Moon goes red. COnversely, a blue moon calms the entire race.
- When you look at a Moonfolk, he can read your mind thanks to his antenna.
- They kidnap human children and replace them with their own.
- They prefer to die during the day, when the Moon shines on the world of the dead.

Golems: The youngest race, created as servants through technology and magic. For the longest time, they were unthinking being until, one day, one of them became conscious. As such, many Golems starts as Monsters, unthinking automatons, and become real people only when they become self-conscious, at which point to switch over to character rules. Some think this might be a variation on Mortality Sickness. Golems created by other Golems tend to go through this much faster. Golems start with +1 Tonus, -1 Speed the classic storng but slow race.

Hippanthropes: THeir origins are unknow: some think they might have been the guardians of the mythical animal known as horse, while others think they might be descendants of Sleipnir. They look like men with horse or goat head. They're a simple race of nomads and wanderers. They get +1 Tonus, -1 Insight, they focus on survival skills over book leanring.

Dwarves: Coming from Nidavellir originally, they used to live and work in large stone fortress. They'Re the classic Tolkien Dwarves, hard-working, traditionalists, monarchist. Some have adapted to life with the humans, becoming merchants and artisans. Most believe their noble families are long-lost. They get +1 Morale, -1 Character, they're sure of themselves but gruff and unsubtle.

A sidebar talks about about the lost twelfth Race: the Dark Elves. Only the ones who somehow managed to dodge Humans and the Mortality Sickness could have survived and hope to recreate their race. In case it's needed, the race bonus of Dark Elves are +1 Insight, -1 Character.

Not quite a race, there's the Einherjars. Recruited through a Valkyrie, a Muse, a member of some special Family or simply by being in an Hunting Ground, it's a telepathic contract saving a dying person in exchange of service (often combat). Most recruiters belong to the Ragnar church, recruiting warriors and then training them ebfore sending them on to Valhalla. A few less scrupulous people just want to summon people to fight for them. When not summoned, Einherjars live in a grassy field in an empty starry void, with enough food to feed themselves. Each recruiter seem to have an unique area where their Einherjars are sent. Einherjars are at the mercy of their recruite,r who can summon and unsummon them,a s well as decide to "send them to Valhalla" at any time without their consent. There is actually no proof that the vanished souls were sent to Valhalla, it's an article of faith. There are no mechanical differences between Einherjars and normal beings otherwise.

Finally, the Undead. Through Enchantments or rituals, it is possible to rise after death as an undead while keeping you soul (different from Monster Undead who do not keep their souls and are animated by evil spirits or unscrupulous necromancers). Undead can either be corporeal (skeletons, mummies, zombies, revenants, headless horsemen, some types of vampires) or incorporeal (ghosts, specters, will-o'-the-wisp, poltergeist,s apapritions and some types of vampires). While not exactly well regarded by society at large, Undeads have managed to become grudginly accepted in the Empire, thanks to the help of the Church of Mercy. Mechanically speaking, undead characters are not different from their original races. They lose all disadvantages gained during play (but not the oens they started with) and are considered to have the Undead Status always on. What does this mean? Unless kileld with an attack of the Holy element, Undead will rise again after a few turns. They invert all negative effects of the Dark Element. Corporeal Undead are immune to Spells and Incorporeal Undead are immune to Physical effects. They can never be safe from the Holy element, and in fact beneficent effects will be inversed to become negative. Also, when suffering from the Undead status, they temporarily become mortals again.

Next time, the History of the setting, from Mythic times to the default playing eras (the chapters).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth



High Allegiant Amon Ad-Raza is an Idrian, born into a family that had to move constantly to escape Menite rule. If it weren't for his early hardships, he would never have found his true path. His first experience with the True Law was when he snuck into a Protectorate town for food and overheard the sermons of the local monks. Moved by their words, he entrusted himself to Menoth and joined the Order of the Fist. His faith and determination made him a prodigy, and his body was miraculous - his flesh broke swords as if made of stone, his movements were unstoppable. His ascension to high allegiant resonated with the divine hand, and he taught alongside his masters in mere years. Hierarch Voyle noted his potential and began to test him to his limits. Amon surpassed all expectations, triumphing each time, even when asked to mentally conquer a warjack. He was, it turned out, a born warcaster. Voyle sent him into the field, and as his legend grew, more and more Idrians converted. Amon goes into battle unarmored, relying on his monastic conditioning to endure great blows, and his attacks are charged with unstoppable faith. His gimmick is melee combat and melee boosts, and his feat keeps his warjacks from being ganged up on and shores up positioning weaknesses by temporarily removing the ability to exploit them. He basically temporarily unites them with his own soul.



Feora, Priestess of the Flame is known for a hot temper and an iron will. She is an exemplar to the Temple Flameguard, who are utterly devoted to her. She was a child when her affinity and control over fire manifested, and her family recognized it as a divine gift, due to their long association with the Flameguard. She was given to the clergy for tutoring, and she ended up joining the ranks of the Incendium, the elite of the Flameguard. Her talents brought her to the attention of several scrutators, and when the Priest of the Flame passed on, she was chosen to be the new leader of the Flameguard. She has been preparing them for war since that day. She considers Cygnar irreparably flawed due to its Morrowan leanings, and it galls her that they nominally rule the Protectorate. Feora holds her people to an extremely high standard, with herself as the example of it, so her troops respect her. She leads from the front with a zealot's fanaticism and terrifying flames. Despite her power, she has one fault: ambition. This and her intolerance of disobedience have made her paranoid, trusting no one else and resenting those above her. Her promotions have made her increasingly distant, and now the Temple Flameguard answer to her alone, and no other. It may be only time before she believes herself the Protectorate's true leader. Her gimmick is fire. Lots of it. Her feat sets all nearby enemies on fire.



Feora, Protector of the Flame is Epic Feora. She was both humbled and exalted by the battles in Sul. In the last days of the siege, she faced certain death after a battle with Allister Caine left her trapped under one of her ruined warjacks. She experienced full self-awareness there, and she didn't like what she saw of herself. She realized her ambition, though necessary to transform the Menites into a true army, had distracted her from the true path of forging the Flameguard into the greatest force of the Protectorate and rising to lead. She remembered her duty was to protect the Church and its holy places. With new clarity of purpose, she escaped from under the 'jack as the Daughters of the Flame came to her side, gathering the survivors of the Flameguard and heading for the Great Temple of the Creator. There, she unleashed her fire with renewed faith, empowering her warjacks and annihilating the foe. The temple was preserved. Months later, she marched into Caspia alongside Hierarch Voyle, and she saw him die. She was shocked by it, for Voyle had been instrumental to her rise to power. That he could be killed in his moment of triumph was troubling, to say the least. Worse, her ambitions were crushed when Severius was named hierarch instead of her...and she'd personally insulted him. Nevertheless, her ambition remains undimmed, and she knows that there will be opportunities for her in overseeing the southern garrisons while the hierarch focuses on his crusade. This may be her best chance to establish a foundation for her future rule. Her gimmick is still fire, but with more mobility tricks. Her feat lets her gain power from the nearby enemies that are already on fire, then rearrange which ones are on fire, enemy or ally.



The Harbinger of Menoth was discovered in late 603, when three scrutators and a squad of Knights Exemplar arrived in a village near Icthier to find a teenage girl. She claimed the Creator had come to her in a vision and declared her too holy to touch the earth. She has floated above it ever since. As she travelled to Imer, entire towns emptied to follow her. At sunset in the Sovereign Temple of the One True Faith, the visgoths met with her. She described her visions, claiming to wear a blindfold because she saw via Menoth's eyes and it was overwhelming. She spoke of the visgoths by name, revealing things they'd hidden, and Hierarch Voyle noted that, in fact, the sun had not moved since she began to speak ten hours before. He bent knee to her and asked her to serve as his spiritual advisor. The years since have only reinforced that the Harbinger is the voice of a god, as miracles have followed her. She endorsed Voyle when he called for a pilgrimage to witness her divinity, meant to heal the rift between the Sul-Menites and the Old Faith of Khador. Certainly, her coming is the single greatest religious event in Immoren since the discover of the Canon of the True Law. She went to the Thornwood to face the darkness that threatened all Menites, releasing the souls of thousands of captured dead and giving her life to save them before Asphyxious could use them to apotheosize. The Protectorate mourned her, and hundreds of thousands witnessed her resurrection by Menoth's will. When Voyle chose to lead the crusade into Caspia, she warned him not to, for Sulon had prophesied doom to any hierarch that entered Caspia before it was made whole. Voyle ignored her, and hours later he was dead. The Harbinger ensured his burial with full honors and named Severius as his replacement. she has journeyed forth to join Severius in the north, personally entering battle. She is immensely potent, commanding warjacks and extremely powerful divine magic, plus the holy sword Providence. She is a beacon to all Menites and a terror to Menoth's foes. Her gimmick is massive magic - buffs, debuffs, explosions. Her feat causes all enemies near her to explode as Menoth gets angry at them.



The Testament of Menoth is the Epic High Reclaimer. When he left Imer for the Stormlands, many believed he left to die, choosing to reclaim himself. This is not entirely wrong. He pushed himself to his limit to open the Gates of Urcaen, through which he was reborn. He entered the land of the dead, wading through hordes of unclaimed souls and suffering terrible wounds. He fought back with his weapon, Cremator, and the metal of it was transformed by the touch of the spirits. In the land of the dead, he found an ancient city, a shadow of Icthier, with a temple in which he found respite. The shrine opened, revealing the altar Omegus and its ancient tablet, written in an unknown tongue with the Creator's laws of the dead. The High Reclaimer was given the power to use its knowledge and set out to return to Caen. He was prepared for a long battle, but he found Menite souls holding back the dead and clearing a path for him. As they fell, more came to replace them, until the High Reclaimer again passed through the gates. He was given his new title by the Harbinger on his return, his name excised entirely that he might become an embodiment of the True Law. The Testament now wields the otherworldly weapon Requiem, and is an impossible champion, having gone to the land of the dead and returned. He can step between these worlds now for a time, so long as a soul lights his way. His power was forged in sacred oaths and the words of the Omegus, and with but a gesture he can restore dead Menites to life and banish infidel souls to the wastes of Urcaen. His gimmick is all about killing stuff, loving over anyone who needs soul tokens and reviving the dead. His feat turns his allies incorporeal briefly via the gates of Urcaen.



Grand Exemplar Kreoss is Epic Kreoss. Mikhail Kreoss has always been a devout and strict Knight Exemplar, and when the last Grand Exemplar, Bane Hurst, died to protect the Harbinger, Voyle didn't hesitate in appointing Kreoss as his replacement. For ten days and nights, Kreoss was in isolation, praying and purifying himself. His every deed was measured and weighed, and his commitment was absolute. He emerged with new, golden armor and the spear Justifier. Since then, he has lead the Exemplars at the fore of the crusade, a guiding light of righteousness. The other Protectorate leaders find him confusing - he is unhesitating in his duty, but does not hesitate either to question the church's actions. He is courageous, but he lacks the ruthlessness common to the Menite leaders. This has made him a hero to the common people, and while he mourned Hierarch Voyle, he did not like the man at all or his attitude towards other Menites. He takes the weight of the crusade onto his own shoulders, pushing himself to ensure its success, even if it means he goes without sleep. He has seen too many friends die, and he wants to avenge each one as the spear of Menoth's vengeance. His gimmick is troop buffing and his feat greatly boosts his allies' melee skills.



High Executioner Servath Reznik is the assassin of the scrutators, striking at those who think themselves safe outside the Protectorate. He hunts down those guilty of sacrilege, sorcery and treason, in or out of the borders. He is a throwback to the ancient Menite faith, before the coming of the Twins, and he was raised in the Khadoran mountains under the strictest interpretation of the Old Faith. He learned how to torture and kill with the right prayers to scourge a soul of sin, giving them redemption in death. However, being a priest did not suit him, so he headed south, to the Protectorate. The scrutator (not yet hierarch) Garrick Voyle saw the truth of his soul, a killer without mercy but with great faith, and Servath Reznik was made high executioner in that same hour of meeting. To this day, stories circulate of entire Menite villages burned to death by Reznik for punishment of some unknown crimes. The leaders of the Protectorate don't like him, and only Hierarch Severius can tolerate his presence, understanding what Voyle saw in him. Reznik's singleminded and inhuman appetite for punishing the faithless has made Grand Exemplar Kreoss despise him, and all Menites fear him, though those that relish the punishment of heretics also adore him. Reznik works in Llael now, helping the Northern Crusade carve out a stronghold. His gimmick is blasting enemies and buffing himself, and his feat fucks over warcasters, warjacks, warlocks and warbeasts, preventing them from using many powers and setting them on fire if they cast spells.

Next time: The Hierarch

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012




Character Example #2: The Scavenged Dragon

pkfan2004 posted:

The Scavenged Dragon, a centipede-style automotive repair and maintenance bot. She lives in the decaying ruins of a repair chain (King Krankshaft's) on a pile of parts she has taken from other machines and scavenged material. She used to look like a wyrm before the foam insulation and costume wore away but she still retains her pop culture fantasy draconic personality and desires and lovely fake Old English speech patterns.

Obviously our Dragon's purpose is to build and maintain her hoard in keeping true to her generic fantasy dragon trappings. Even if she doesn't quite look the part.
We'll start with Attributes:
RealityCom: 2 (3 points)
HumanCom: 1 (1 point)
DigiCon: 2 (3 points)
MechaniCon: 5 (15 points)

The most important part of all of this is MechaniCon what with her being a robot originally meant to do repairs. Ostensibly, it could be lowered to 4 to shore up two other stats, but it's more a matter of opinion and interpretation.

Dexterity: 3 (6 points)
Mobility: 2 (3 points)
Perception: 4 (10 points)
Reflexes: 3 (6 points)
Strength: 3 (6 points)

Repairs use Dexterity, however, as a scavenger, she also needs to be able to pick out what's good and what's junk and also be able to spot anything that might come upon her hoard.

Durability: 3 (6 points)
Buffer: 2 (3 points)
Size: 3 (6 points)
Power: 2 (3 points)

Most of these are to taste. Even Durability and Size, slightly low Buffer and Power.

Features:
Abrader (10 points)
Plasma Arc Welder (12 points)
Tools (8 points)
Liquid Dispenser (size 2, 1 Liter) (3 points)
Flexible Body (6 points)
Prehensile Limb (5 points)

The first three are tools it would likely have as a matter of its previous life. Same with the Liquid dispenser for things like coolant or motor oil or windshield wiper fluid. Containers are a little odd as the size is irrelevant to the cost. Only the quantity is relevant. For liquid storage, it's generally important to keep different fluids separated. However with internal or external storage, it's not as big of a deal and has the same cost so idk. :shrug: The last two are relevant to its form with the Prehensile limb getting into those hard to reach places

Rusting (-5 points)
Partial Casing (-7 points)
Salvaged (-3 points)

Given it's more decrepit exterior, it's likely parts have become exposed and started to deteriorate a little and what it has replaced or reused isn't exactly the best material.

With all of these features and defects, here are some relevant pools
Interaction Pool (Dex+Reflex): 6, 7 if using Prehensile Limb. In either case, 1s subtract successes
TN to be Struck (Mobility+Reflex): 5
Max OS Threshold (DigiCon+Buffer): 4
Damage Threshold (Durability+Size): 6
Repairing a Robot (MechaniCon+Dex): 8, 9 if using Tools
Strike Damage (Strength/2): 1
Abrader Damage (Size-2): 1
Plasma Arc Welder Damage (Size-1): 2
Tools damage (Size-2): 1

While our former wyrm isn't so good at beating up other Robots, it is fantastic at fixing things and taking them apart. It's also not all that tough and it's made worse with its Partial Casing. It's also not all that reactive what with its rusted case. Still, any damage it takes it can repair and being Salvaged is mitigated by using its own Arc Welder.

Character Generation within the bounds of the book is rather simple, though it all still feels rather lacking.

Next: The final post of Engine Heart

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

Halloween Jack posted:

My wife just rediscovered Monster Rancher in the bottom of a drawer a few weeks ago, and you wouldn't believe the weird poo poo we got out of my Skinny Puppy CDs.

I'm imagining something like those skinned animal costumes Ogre used to wear in concerts, and I don't know Monster Rancher well enough to know that I'm wrong.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012




Another piece of short fiction from the beginning of the book

quote:

Security Units V1 and C5 were first on the scene. The Municipal AI’s command was as straightforward as they came:

“QUADRANT 3. BLOCK A.”
“DISRUPTION OF POWER GRID.”
“INVESTIGATE. DETAIN.”

Despite their new titles and duties granted by the self-appointed AI that now controlled the City in the long absence of the normal bureaucracy, neither Security Unit knew the slightest thing about maintaining security. V1 whirred its ratty nylon bristles nervously, scattering pebbles. The former Klean-Sweep turned to its partner, who had once used its elongated shears to shape and trim the City’s topiaries. The blades were broken and useless now.

“You have similar directives. You communicate with it.”

The repurposed TopiMax inched towards the disruption. This new visitor to the City towered over the C5’s spindly frame on six jointed limbs. Large scrapes in the garish, industrial yellow paint revealed patches of rusting metal. Sparks flew from the circular saw as the new robot cut its way through another telephone pole. When it crashed to the ground, wires snapped and twanged, forcing C5 and V1 to duck. The robot methodically cut the pole into six pieces, then trundled forward to the next one.

Inching close enough to communicate, C5 asked the first question its processors could produce.

“Disruptive Unit, what is your purpose?”

The massive robot halted, spinning down its saw, and regarded C5. “I am LumberJock Number 17E,” it thundered. “My repair cycle was longer than anticipated. I have been reactivated and am behind quota. I must harvest these trees!” It gestured with its bladed limb at the row of telephone poles stretching down the boulevard, and then spun up its saw once more.

“I do not think you were successful,” chided V1.

Sarcasm hadn’t been programmed into the TopiMax, but it was learning. “If you would like to give it a good scrubbing, be my guest.”

Spare Parts
What remains after character generation is mostly relatively disparate stuff all connected by stuff needed in running the game. These include notes for the Programmer (GM), typical pools for rolls, an example of play and so forth. This post is basically a summary of those things and the rest of the book

Suggestions for the Programmer
Things like free Features or Mandatory Defects may be imposed on players' robots depending on the setting or scenario If players were replaying 9 for example, they might have one or two forced levels of Plastic Casing. Otoh, the the players were all operating in space, they might have Vacuum Propulsion. The suggested reward at the end of every session is 1 point and doesn't suggest allowing players raising Attributes above 3. I'm not sure how this affects the pace of the game, but given that players are playing robots and robots can potentially just salvage parts from other robots or machines, it's probably not too big of a deal (rules on salvaging others' parts and attaching them will be explained).

Bits from minimodules were also added like rules for Traps and Microgravity. Traps use RealityCom in their construction (so our Spider Tank would coincidentally be great a setting traps). Microgravity, meanwhile uses RealityCom+Reflexes to move and interact accurately as there's no deceleration in movement among other oddities with acting in microgravity. Different sort of hazards are also briefly mentioned such as electrical shocks, fire, falling, being submerged in liquid and others.

Useful Pools and Checks
The book proceeds to mention other frequent actions: Repairs, on itself or other robots, uses a MechaniCon+Dexterity pool with a TN of 11-Max Damage Threshold+Current damage (Max pool 10, min pool 2). Each success repairs damage by 1 and the repairs for that roll takes 1 hour. Subsequent attempts by the same robot, however, is reduced by a die for each attempt so the second roll would have -1 die and the third would have -2 die. Reprogramming a robot first requires it to be immobile or willing. A DigiCon check is made with a TN of the target's Buffer+5. Each success reduces the target's OS Threshold by 1 and can be resisted with a Buffer roll (TN 8) with successes negating a point of damage. A successfully reprogrammed robot will obey its new commands to the best of its abilities. To undo reprogramming or OS Threshold loss, a robot can reset itself with a DigiCon check with TN of DigiCon+5. It works just like repairs except for OS Threshold otherwise except that it also takes one round per check rather than one hour.

Hindering robots, to diminish their interaction pool or otherwise slow them down, uses Dexterity+Mobility. This might be things like blowing out tires or jamming sticks in exposed gears or joints. Successes on the check reduce the target's Interaction pool by 1 per success and essentially can be treated like damage such as being mitigated by Durability and being recovered via repairs. Defending has a pool of its own and can be done during a turn to further reduce damage.

As an optional rule, Features can be Salvaged and temporarily used once before breaking or otherwise ceasing function. It uses the same pool as a repair check with a TN 8. Obviously the Programmer has latitude in allowing freer or more restricted access to salvageable Features and the book advises not allowing the players to salvage features that cost more than 10 points (which means so salvaging a Cutting Laser because reasons).

In case you like flowcharts, the book provides one for Combat


Random Locale Generation
There's also a section for random Locale generation from another mini module. It's 5d10 in progression with each d10 modifying the next roll. Each die determines things like the condition of the location, how much power is available and what possible social structures might be in place. For example, a roll of [3, 1, 7, 10, 3] gets me a locale that's:
Building Condition: 3 = Ruins (-3 Building Density)
Building Density: 1 - 3- > 1 = A single Building (-5 Available Power)
Available Power: 7 - 5 -> 2 = Nonexistent (-5 Robot Population)
Robot Population: 10 - 5 -> 2 = Suite (-2 Social Structure)
Social Structure: 3 - 2 -> 1 = None

The rolls tend to err toward either very desolate places or highly populated ones depending on the rolls, as a single high or low roll skews the subsequent ones towards one end of the scale unless the next immediate number runs in the opposite direction.

AI Characters
Generally these are NPCs whose consciousnesses are housed in a separate location that's generally immobile or otherwise conspicuous (hiding and powering a series of Hard Drives and servers while in transit would be rather difficult in a semi-post apocalyptic scenario). They share most of the stats robots do, but lack Dexterity, Mobility, Reflexes, Strength, Durability and Size on account of lack of body. Additionally, their stats can go beyond 5 with costs listed for up to a rating of 10

Misc.
The last bit are stats for four different organisms that may never appear in a typical game but provide a somewhat useful baseline. They are: an adult human, a child human, a dog, and a bird. They're actually interesting benchmarks as, for example, all of the Chassis attributes for an adult human are 3 so being below 3 means being less capable than an adult human in those regards. On the other hand, the adult only has a 6 in HumanCom so it's possible to have an AI that's better understanding and interacting with people than an actual person. Also, the dog is more durable than the humans.

In the Power and Light Module, there's an optional rule about Firearms. There's already a preexisting roll for Projectiles (RealityCom+Reflexes), however, this likely assumes more makeshift ones like slingshots or ones whose damage can be approximated though other features or rules. Firearms use the same roll and add the successes to their base damage to determine its total damage. A pistol or rifle's base is 1, a shotgun is 2, a grenade is 3 (and would imply any explosive on that scale would do similar amounts of damage) and a rocket launcher is 4.

At the back of the book are also a list of inspirations. These include in the video media category: Toy Story (and the book makes specific mention of Toy Story 3), The Brave Little Toaster, 9, Robot Carnival, Short Circuit and others. In the Print category: There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury, The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch, The World Without Us by Alan Weismann, But Who Can Replace a Man by Brian Aldiss, The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov and more. The web category has only one mention: Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life. It's a webcomic that concluded in 2011(and I had forgotten about it a long time ago when it was still unfinished).

Final Thoughts
The game has a great concept. It does. But it lacks a certain polish and flexibility that more generalized point-buy games can offer. There's already a GURPS conversion (404'd though) and I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to create a robot from the Monsters and Other Childish Things monster generation rules or some variation thereof through One Roll Engine. It's not all that complex however so it's definitely something that newer players could probably just pick up and comprehend or at least grasp without too much trouble (literally telling them WALL-E or Toy Story or The Brave Little Toaster: the Game could be enough to get the point across). It's cute though. And it definitely succeeds a bit in what it's trying to accomplish as a game. It just needs a little more crunch as a point buy or or at least a better way to generate the multitude of features and defects players would invariably come up with.

The game is free as is all of its extra content. Though Viral's official website 404s when trying to download anything, others are graciously maintaining the files for download and the links to them can be found on this page: http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Engine_Heart so it isn't :filez:. I'm not going to go through the Mini-modules like Power and Light as they're mainly just settings and scenarios and pregenerated NPCs. There are some extra rules and such from them, but they've been included in the main book after its revision and updating and otherwise included in this post where noted. Beyond that, that's all. Nothing more's been added to the game since its Kickstarter shipped and Viral hasn't made a new game on /tg/ afaik, so that's all. I apologize for the rather dryness of some of the posts, but this isn't a book that's particularly dripping with fluff to decorate a post with and I'm also no wordsmith. Still, it was nice to look over the game I Kickstarted so long ago and even got to see the development of way back when.

So, since so many people (all four?) also wanted Dungeons: the Dragoning, I'll do my best to give that a shot, though I may just skip past the parts others have already done since those posts seemed to do a great job already and unlike Princess which also had two previous attempts, they haven't changed so I can safely just relink those without worrying about changes and move onto new stuff like Magic, Sword Schools, Alignment, the history of the setting (which it does have and is equally as blended as everything else) and content from the second book which includes ship building rules and Gun Kata along with more Races and Exaltations.

And now I return you to Mors Rattus and whatever WarmaHordes thing he has next.

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Doresh posted:

And while a Harvest Moon + Monster Rancher game sounds kickass, I prefer a hybrid between Harvest Moon and Monster Hunter. Go into the forest, kill some monsters, make a new hoe/axe/hammer/watering can out of their parts.

Okay, yeah, I could see myself playing this too.

But seriously, I loved that Afterthought episode and it got me thinking about homebrewing some kind of a tabletop RPG where the players are all farmers.

Wait, doesn't Ryutama have farmer as one of the classes your character can be? What was their thing again in the adventuring party scheme of things?

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.


Ratpick posted:

Wait, doesn't Ryutama have farmer as one of the classes your character can be? What was their thing again in the adventuring party scheme of things?

It does, but being a game about travelling, it does not give farmers much in terms of abilities or opportunities to do actual farming. They are more similar to a generic jack-of-all-trades class from roguelikes.

Foglet fucked around with this message at 14:34 on Jul 16, 2015

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Unknown Armies, part 21: Weird People



quote:

The Titanic was deliberately sunk by someone who wished to complete his ascension as The Survivor. He later disappeared, but nobody knows for sure if he ascended or failed to survive his attempts.

The Occult Underground

This is the GM's guide to the Occult Underground and it gives you a peek at some of the major movers and shakers of the Occult Underground. You'll notice a distinct lack of "Forgotten Realms Syndrome", that is characters from the backstory (or the creator's games) who're given unbeatable stats and skills that let them shrug off any attempt by the PCs to change the status quo (and freely push the PCs around when they want something). If you want to off Alex Able it'll be tough...but it's tough because he's a smart guy with a billion dollar budget for his own safety. Get in the same room as you and you can put a bullet in his brain just like anyone else. Like any organization most any group in the Underground can be toppled by people crazy and driven enough that they don't care about the consequences.

The Freak is a notable exception. The Count De Saint Germain is another (although of course in his case it's unsurprising). More on them later.

The House of Renunciation

One of the weirdest of the "factions" in UA. The House of Renunciation exists in a weird half-way state between the "real" world and the Statosphere, sort of like the Count de Saint Germain himself. The House of Renunciation is an Otherspace, one of those places that don't really exist in any proper sense of the word. Or it might be several Otherspaces. It's kind of hard to say. The House has many Rooms which never connect directly to one another, instead each room connects to somewhere in the mundane world (and despite the name, a Room can be made up of several actual rooms).

The House's only agenda is reversal. It could be seen as a counterpoint to the Invisible Clergy. If the Archetypes represent the same old stories getting told and retold until they become a power unto themselves then the House of Renunciation could be seen as a source of new stories and new roles. Or not. It also could just be a bizarre flaw in reality or a "side effect" of the process of an Archetype's transition.

Each Room in the house has a specific purpose and those who enter the Room are subjected to it's effects. The purpose is always one of change (although it's notable that the Rooms don't always succeed). No one knows how many Rooms there are, certainly not all of them are "active" at any one time. A Room becomes "active" when it has an Agent. Agents are those who either accidentally stumbled into a Room by mistake or who were taken there by a previous Agent. They have become subject to the Room's effect and then decided to use it. In "choosing" the Room the Room also "chooses" them back, granting each agent special powers and tending to their basic needs. Agents basically live inside of their Rooms and have a few main abilities:

*Luck: If an Agent of a Room makes a roll (any roll) that is lower than their Soul score then they may add or subtract 10 from the roll. Not up to 10, just 10. So a 46 can become a 56 or a 36 (assuming the Agent had a Soul of 47 or higher).

*Door Ritual Each Agent automatically knows a ritual (which requires only a Soul roll and no charges) which can turn a door into a gateway to their Room. The gateway allows the Agent to take others with them (but they can't send or trick people through without going themselves). The ritual can only be used on a door that resonates with the room's theme. For instance the Otherside Room (where deeply held beliefs are questioned) can only be accessed from doors of ideological significance (church or statehouse doors for instance). This ritual is learnable by non-agents but requires 5 significant charges and they'll be subject to the Room's effects.

*Support: Each room in some way provides its Agent with the basics they need. The method varies from room to room. The Otherside Room always has a wallet waiting for its Agents which contains 666$ in the US (in other countries it adds or subtracts decimal places until you end up with something of roughly equivalent value, 66,600 yen for instance.).

So...what do Agents of the room do? Whatever they want really. As far as anyone knows the Rooms aren't intelligent or capable of planning or scheming...Agents are those who see the Rooms as a means to change the world and thus become tied to it. They receive no instructions from the room or any kind of guidance. One Agent might be a Cosmic-level Lord who uses their room as a way to brainwash Avatars or shape society by "Renouncing" major world leaders. Another might be a hobo who stumbled on the room and knows if he pushes a businessperson inside they'll come out throwing their money away.

"Example" rooms are scattered all over, but here's a quick review:

*The Room of Upheaval: This room is a vast library filled with books detailing the true history of the world from now until it ends...plus countless alternate histories which could have or might yet happen. These histories are not labeled so needless to say the place isn't much use to a researcher. It's purpose is to incite stagnant political forces into action, leading to unrest, upheaval and change. Those who are brought into the room find a glimpse of their own possible future...something that they might yet do which drives them to act. This room is well known as it's first known Agent (a man named Hubert
Roscommons) cut a swath of chaos through Europe in the 1500s by using his Room on them in some mad scheme to control or destroy Europe. No one is quite sure because he was burned as a witch by the Order of St Cecil. However, Hubert was the first to refer to the House of Renounciation, although he was apparently unaware of any Rooms other than his own.

*The Otherside Room: This is the most detailed Room as it's the example write-up in this section. The Otherside Room is specifically "targeted" at those who have deeply held beliefs but lack complete and total sincerity. People who have that tiny grain of doubt or uncertainty despite being ardent supporters. To those with absolute, unshakable conviction the Room is, while unpleasant, no danger to their faith. Those who have cracks in their faith will be tested. Most will crumble under the pressure and are never able to embrace any cause with certainty again. A few will completely misunderstand the message of the Room (that you can't have absolute faith in anything) and instead dedicate their life just as fervently to whatever the opposite of their current belief system is. The current Agent of Otherside is one of those who took the third option. Before being Renounced she was a Randian "gently caress you, got mine" sort. Now she's utterly selfless...but still just as self-righteous and utterly convinced of her own correctness as before. She works towards the greater good, no matter how many lesser evils she needs to use to accomplish it. Unfortunately she hasn't quite grasped the subtleties of her room. She thinks that the "reversal" is a reversal of your own beliefs, rather than the reversal of "99% certain" to "1% certain". Since she's fairly "in the know" otherwise, one of her biggest projects is ensuring the "right" people Ascend to become Archetypes and that the "bad guys" don't. Her latest target was Dermott Arkane. She managed to kill or Renounce plenty of his agents before getting her memories hosed over by a Cliomancer in Dermott's employ (but she still managed to twist him from an obsessive antiquarian to a transhumanist technophile). But now she's convinced that Dermott has been unseated and is focusing on new targets.

*The Middle Room: The Middle Room is a place where the tall nails get hammered down. It is accessible from office buildings, apartments and suburbs. It is a place for those who are unique, driven or special are made not special anymore. Anyone who stands out from the herd or thinks they're better than the majority gets put in their place. Everyone must follow the "middle path". Adepts especially are preferred target, those who are so different that Reality itself is threatened.

*The Human Laboratory: There are those who are driven to learn and advance human understanding and there are those that aren't. This room is for the second type. It takes those who are content with "common sense" and "general knowledge" and turns them into knowledge addicts. Experimentation and research are the most important things, pushing the boundaries of human existence, whatever it takes. The Agents of the lab are likely to put people into the Room just to see what happens rather than out of any particular desire to "change the world". In fact, they're probably just as interested in shoving people through different rooms as well.

*The Penitentiary: This room requires two people to operate, where it trades "guilt" or perhaps "conscience". By putting in someone who's needlessly worried and stressed over what they've done (or haven't done) and someone who sins but feels nothing for it. The room might "swap" their relative feelings, or balance them out or who knows what. But it'll change them both.

Finally, no one knows which room handles it (or if it's done by the House as a whole somehow) but when an Archetype "falls" they're taken by the House and turned inside out. They'll have some of their memories (including fuzzy memories of the Statosphere) but they'll embody their polar opposite (both in mind and deed, even if they weren't particularly dedicated Avatars). The Warrior will become a coward or a pacifist. The Mother hates children or anyone in need. The Masterless Man is fine settling down in a mindless 9 to 5 job.

quote:

Che Guevara ascended as The People’s Hero. Robin of Locksley was therefore ejected from the Invisible Clergy and is now oppressing tribes in Burma.


The Sleepers

The Sleepers are the boogeymen of the magickal community. They're the guys who'll come after you if you decide to start freaking the mundanes too much or if you plot to reveal magick to the world at large. At the Cosmic level most of the really "with it" Lords know that the Sleepers aren't nearly as omnipresent or powerful as they're commonly believed...but they also know that the fiction of an all powerful "magick police" is too important to reveal to the rest of the Occult Underground. No one in their right mind (and most crazy people too) don't want to wake the Sleeping Tiger.

However, the Sleepers are even more of a fiction than most people know...

The "official" background of the Sleepers is that they were born as a response to the "witch hunts" of England in the 1600s. Rather than trying, uselessly, to fight back the sleepers instead made sure that they got to (and killed) any magicians first. By killing off anyone showing off real magickal power they ensured that the hysteria eventually died down as it was denied "fuel". Since then they've grown and spread, becoming the magick enforcers everyone knows and loves today.

The truth is very different. The actual origin of the Sleepers is in China in 1945. The founder of Cliomancy (which if you recall also had bogus "ancient" roots), Dugan Forsythe, was traveling there with a band of apprentice cliomancers and his daughter. This was during the young, heady days of Cliomancy when Major Charges were just a plane ticket away and history was more or less their bitch. Since WW2 was currently making Europe an unpleasant place to visit they were hanging around China and they ran into a group called the Brotherhood of Harmonous Repose, a magickal cult centered around bureaucracy. Their general goal was to suppress "disharmonous" magick (ie any magick they didn't like). Well, they got their mitts on Dugan and his crew and, ironically, showed the Cliomancers (masters of messing with memory) how you really gently caress over someone's mind.

After the Brotherhood was done with Dugan and his team they believed they were the Sleepers (a group the Brotherhood made up completely) on a mission that took them far abroad. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood sent agents to England to create a convincing "base of operations" for the Sleepers, a place that looked like it would be the headquarters of a powerful, 400 year old magick cabal. Then they wrecked the poo poo out of it, as though it had been destroyed by some other, competing group. Then they let Dugan and co. go free (believing they had successfully completed their mission) and allowed them to head back to England where they found their "home" had been wrecked and they were the only apparent survivors. So Dugan and his companions started rebuilding the Sleepers from scratch, recruiting new members and building (or to them re-building) their power base.

Ironically the Brotherhood got trashed by the fallout of WW2 and have actually been absorbed by the sleepers, becoming just the Chinese headquarters of the Sleeper organization. There are only three people who know the truth. One of them was an original member of the Brotherhood, Wu Zhanhan, who serves as one of the four leaders of the Sleepers. He considers the origin of the Sleepers entirely irrelevant at this point, what's important is the work they do.

The Sleepers are not nearly as powerful or widespread as most in the Occult Underground believe (being founded by Cliomancers its easy to see why they have a reputation that far exceeds their actual ability) and have only 4 main bases of operation: Their main headquarters in England and secondary bases in Berlin, Lisbon and Bejing. The organization is run by a cabinet of four members (including Wu Zhanhan) and advised by an Abominable Unspeakable Servant known as Lucifuge.

The actual resources of the Sleepers are almost frighteningly slim considering how much of the Occult Underground's stability relies on their reputation. They have under 200 agents total for the entire world and not even half of them have magick of their own. Their bases do have a decent collection of Artifacts and rituals but since their goal is keeping magick under wraps they often find it better to employ as much mundane means as possible. Once they recruit an agent that agent is given 25k$ to buy supplies and equipment and stashed cash. After that the only pay Sleeper agents get is about 500$ per month for extra expenses. Most do the job because they know (or at least believe) that poo poo will fall apart if they don't. Fortunately most Sleeper agents don't know that their organization isn't the powerhouse its made out to be.

One of the more interesting Sleepers is Angela Forsythe, the daughter of Dugan the founder of both Cliomancy and (unknowingly) the Sleepers. She's about 80 years old but because of the huge number of Major Charges she and her father were able to harvest she still looks (and feels) only middle-aged. When her father founded Cliomancy he included a healthy amount of BS, mostly to do with Cliomancy's acient "Atlantean" heritage. This was, of course, completely made up but it served its purpose: ensure that most Cliomancers were taught that ancient Atlanteans were still around and that they had the "right" to harvest any Cliomantic sites they wished. His daughter was taught what to do to pose as an Atlantean, ensuring that she can usually force any given Cliomancer to allow her to charge wherever she wants...and if they don't (or if they never heard of the "true history" of Cliomancy) then she's more than powerful enough to push most of them around herself.

quote:

A Dipsomancer dreamed up the entire town of Engerwood, Pennsylvania in 1953. He’s the mayor there, and has a small imaginary family.

The New Inquisition

Other than the Sleepers the New Inquisition (or TNI) are the other global bad-boys to watch out for. The head of TNI is a billionare named Alex Able. Alex is dangerous not just because he has tons of cash, a magnetic personality and a keen mind but because, most importantly he knows about magick without using it himself. An excellent comparison is made between him and Dugan Forsythe. Dugan is about as powerful as it's possible for an adept to be...he was in charge of both an entire new school of magick and one of the most feared organizations in the Occult Underground, plus his personal brand of magick meant he had access to literally hundreds of Major charges. But he was also a lunatic, obsessed with lies, deception and the past. He was looking to the past when he should have been thinking about the future. His ego and inability to look past the reputation he created for himself meant that he got betrayed by his own followers and probably died with more unspent Major Charges than most Adepts will ever see in their lifetime. Meanwhile, you've got Dermott Arkane who decided to pick a fight with the embodiment of the concept of communication itself which means that he's busy watching everything he's ever built crumble around him and that's while things are going as planned. Even worse there's the Freak, the biggest, baddest supernatural being on the block short of the Count de Saint Germain himself but it's so tied up in his taboos and the poo poo it had to do to itself to become what it is today that it basically has no other goal than "keep living". The pronoun should be a dead giveaway that there's something deeply wrong there.

Alex on the other hand is smart, cunning and, most importantly, sane. He's got a few Failed and Hardened notches here and there but nothing paying a 5-figure per hour therapist can't help him handle. To him, magick is a resource. A powerful and dangerous resource that must be harnessed and channeled by whatever means necessary and the New Inquisition is there to help him with that.

In 1990 Alex almost ascended to the Invisible Clergy, although the last steps where foiled by Dermott Arkane as part of the opening salvos in his war with the Messenger. Despite the failed Ascension he did get a glimpse of the Statosphere and it opened his eyes to the existence of a whole different world. Alex wasn't the type to pick up a Bible and start going to church so he picked up the phone and started making calls...hiring the people he needed to figure out just what the hell was really going on in the world. After assuring himself that magick existed he went to work creating TNI, a multi-leveled organization of mercenaries, researchers, adepts and avatars with him at the top, pulling the strings. Although its well-funded TNI (like the Sleepers) is smaller than a lot of people think. There are only 140 actual members and less than 50 have any magickal ability. But Alex has deep pockets and if the TNI needs additional firepower to get the job done there's plenty of hired guns ready and waiting to swell their ranks.

There are four "levels" to the TNI:

*D Level is the lowest and most expendable. They're watched closely and not trusted with anything to sensitive or too important. But they do get paid: 50k a year for most willing recruits (60k+ for adepts).

*C Level These guys have earned a bit of trust and may be given authority over D level agents. They make 100k$ per year.

*B Level Each B level agent is given a specific "domain" and have clearance for all of TNI's info and resources within that domain. This might be a region (operations in the West coast of the US for instance) or it could be operational (Artifact Retrieval or Political Manipulation). They're mostly desk workers (although a few field ops have this level of clearance) and have been with TNI for years. They pull a cool half a million every year.

*A Level: If Alex is "CEO" of TNI, then A-Clearance Operatives are his trusted VPs. Their salaries are classified but obviously they've got more money than anyone could possibly need. Notably, no one at A level has any magickal power, for very good reason.

Their operations are mostly confined to the US (which means they and the Sleepers generally stay out of each others way) and are still very much in their "infancy" (at least as far as Able is concerned). They employee a significant number of Adepts and Avatars but they're almost never trusted above C and D level work. Alex controls his magickal operatives by basically becoming their "dealer". He finds out what they want and gives it to them, or what they can't do themselves (usually due to taboo) and makes sure it's taken care of. TNI also makes a point of recruiting from the more "stable" adepts...you won't likely find an Entropomancer or Dipsomancer even at D level. More subtle and reliable adepts like Cliomancers, Plutomancers and Personamancers are preferred. For instance, If Alex employs an Urbanomancer he'll pull strings to give the guy a significant, but ultimately harmless, position within the city government to allow him to easily charge up by interfering with his city (managing things like parade routes or street repairs for instance). Avatars are often preferred, especially those who aren't looking to Godwalker status or those with a built-in "agenda" (like the Warrior). A sane, reasonable mid-level Avatar is a lot more desirable than someone gunning for the Godwalker or a crazed Adept.

So...with all those lawyers guns and money what is Alex trying to do with TNI? Fortunately he's a "good guy", he's ultimately got a strong sense of justice (although it may not match everyone else's) and he's looking to harness the supernatural for the good of humanity (although his vision of that may not match everyone else's). For now TNI is still very new and is still in the process of making connections, gathering information and eliminating anyone who tries to interfere with them. In another decade or so Alex will probably turn it into a major powerhouse...but for the moment it's still quite unstable. Everything ultimately depends on Alex's resources and willpower and it could all come crumbling down if a big player manages to get to him (like Dermott Arkane did back in 1990).



Alex himself is given a write-up, but his history is so entwined with TNI that you more or less know it by now. One notable thing, although he's smart enough to stay away from trying to learn magick or beocme an Avatar he does own (and use) several potent artifacts: a one-shot amulet that hits anyone that attacks him with a deadly significant Blast, a major artifact he keeps in his briefcase which inflicts a -10% penalty to all attacks against him so long as there's someone trying to protect him and the preserved tongue of an ancient sorcerer that inflicts a -30 penalty to all attempts to magickally spy on him. Powerful defenses, but (amusingly) this does mean he has to deal with the occasional random Unnatural Phenomena.

His bodyguard is the big guy on the left, Eponymous. An ex-green beret who spent several years working as an extremely professional assassin and bodyguard. Then he got hit in the face with a soap opera. Seriously, you'd think some Videomancer had it out for him. He fell in love with a woman who turned out to be a rival assassin hired to break his heart and kill him in that order. The two played a cat-and-mouse in Albania for six days before he managed to kill her. Then he finds out that she was the granddaughter of one of the heads of the New York Mafia. He ends up with a massive price on his head. Fortunately, Alex Able is able to fake his death, clean out his identity and maybe even some plastic surgery (or epideromancer reshaping) to ensure he's not recognized. The return on that investment is one of the most dangerous non-magickal men out there and an extremely loyal bodyguard. The guy is also Hardened to hell and back (he's a full sociopath) and you aren't very likely to shake him with most anything...although he's just one notch short of losing it from a powerful Unnatural shock. As Alex's personal bodyguard he's A-ranked, although he's not directly involved in running TNI, but whatever he says about Alex's security is law.

Violet Mcintyre is a C-ranked Plutomancer and one of Alex's more trusted mystic agents...and a good example of why Adepts rarely make it above C-grade. Alex provides her just about anything she needs: he gives her the cars, nice houses and jewelry she can't buy herself as a Plutomancer and provides her with insider trading tips so she can easily reap Significant charges from the Stock Market. She's protected, valued and powerful in ways most adepts (especially plutomancers) can only dream of...but she's still an Adept. Which is why in the adventure-book Weep she's willing to betray Alex for a shot at a Major charge...one of the few things Alex can't really give her. And it's not like she wants that charge for what it can do...if she actually thought about it logically she'd realize there's not really anything she can do with the Major Charge that would be worth what she's sacrificing with TNI and certainly nothing she could do with it that would be enough to save her from Alex once he finds out. But she's a plutomancer, that much money isn't a means to an end...it is the end in and of itself. The charge is really just a sort of "side effect" at that point.

quote:

47 dukes live in Grantham, Connecticut. I dunno, it could be something in the water. And I heard the Comte spends Christmas there.

The Sect of the Naked Goddess

The Sect of the Naked Goddess is the current incarnation of an older cult, known more simply as the Cult of the Goddess. The Cult of the Goddess is the Occult Underground's version of the relatively common neo-pagan "Goddess" concept as a catch-all for divine femininity in all it's various guises: maiden, mother, crone, etc. Obviously, being part of the Occult Underground the Cult was a bit more "hard-core" than most who use the term. They're still around, but they were never major players in the Underground and after the followers of the Naked Goddess split off they've been mostly eclipsed.

The Sect of the Naked Goddess was created in 1996 with the Ascension of the most recent member of the Invisible Clergy, known by her followers as the Naked Goddess. The Naked Goddess was a porn star who managed to become the ideal embodiment of a new facet of human existence and instantly ascended on camera. The Sect keeps some of the trappings of the old Cult of the Goddess but is centered around the concept of Affinity...which is kind of a souped-up version of The Secret, that desire is a force like gravity or magnetism and it can produce change in the universe.

When the Goddess ascended the videographer, Daphne Lee, saw it as a revelation and believed she had a mission to spread that vision to others. Fortunately she had a very literal means to do it: the tape of the Naked Goddess ascending. The tape had an extremely powerful effect on anyone watching, allowing Daphne to quickly convert several women to her growing cause. They were not originally members of the Cult of the Goddess but it wasn't too long before they encountered one another. Specifically, Daphne and co. ran into the Chicago branch of the Cult and quickly gained several converts from viewing the tape. However, the actual message of the Naked Goddess followers was pretty repugnant to the Cult as a whole...not only was the Naked Goddess a porn star, it's heavily implied she was involved in much of the darker, more degrading films in the industry which meant most of those who weren't under the influence of the tape found her repulsive as a symbol of female empowerment. It didn't help that Daphne's claim was that she was a purely new Goddess, meaning that the Goddess the cult was dedicated to had never existed in the first place.

The effect of the tape was extremely powerful and it created a schism in the cult between Daphne's converts who had seen the tape (and some who simply found her rhetoric and ideas compelling) and the more traditional Cult members. One of the key events that turned the Sect of the Naked Goddess from a fragment of an already relatively unknown cult into an actually player in the Underground was the creation of Pornomancy. Pornomancy started as an attempt (although Daphne didn't have the magickal vocabulary at the time) to reach Avatar-hood but critically the Sect of the Naked Goddess has not truly grasped some element of the Goddess' Ascension but they did manage to stumble on a new school of Adept magick.

Daphne and her followers had an opportunity much like Dugan Forsyth did with Cliomancy...access to an entire new school of magick and the potential for dozens and dozens of Major charges. Daphne had the chance to make a huge impact in the Occult Underground, but she wanted to think bigger. She wanted to bring the "good news" of the Naked Goddess worldwide by sneaking the original Naked Goddess tape into a TV station and expose a good chunk of the city to the "truth" and make thousands of converts. Well, things didn't go well. The plan was foiled, the original tape was stolen and one of the three founding members of the cult got literally torn to bits by an Entropomancer. There's no sure sign of who was behind this reversal (certainly the plan would have gotten the Sleepers good and pissed. but just about any major power in the Underground is a likely candidate).

The Sect has grown fast considering their utter lack of any material resources and backing but they've made enemies even faster. The original Cult of the Goddess, the Sleepers, TNI and even members of their own group are starting to say that Daphne has misunderstood the true message of the Naked Goddess and the Sect may schism again. Only Daphne and her inner circle's enhanced pornomantic powers have allowed them to survive this long.

quote:

Every time a certain number of people die, one person figures out the meaning of life. This is the only way anyone can figure it out.

This is a heft chapter so I'll be splitting it up. Next we'll look at Mak Attax, the Global Liberation Society and maybe the Order of St Cecil

Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Foglet posted:

It does, but being a game about travelling, it does not give farmers much in terms of abilities or opportunities to do actual farming. They are more similar to a generic jack-of-all-trades class from roguelikes.

That's a shame. The first game I would've looked for inspiration for a feelgood slice of life JRPG farming simulator would've been, well, the feelgood slice of life JRPG with farmer as a class. I must do some more digging around.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth



Hierarch Severius is Epic Severius. All who attend him can feel the divinity of his words and actions, and when he raises his staff, righteous fire blazes forth. He is both awe and terror, protector and destroyer. The death of Hierarch Voyle could have been a catastrophic blow, and the priesthood despaired for the first few hours, remembering all too well the chaos before Voyle took power. The Harbinger, however, reassured them. She told them that the next hierarch walked among them, in the north. Severius' rise is the fastest any hierarch has ever been chosen and the first time with such irrefutable approval from Menoth. Severius no longer refuses authority as he did as grand scrutator, where he'd removed hgimself from politics to fight. He takes leadership in stride, knowing the Protectorate must have one voice in war. He knows, however, that his place is at the forefront of battle still. This is very different from Ravonal or Voyle, who prepared for war. Severius is the user of their weapons, leaving the bureaucracy of the Temple to the Synod. Before his elevation, he spoke the words of the Covenant of Menoth with blazing fire, and his voice remains imbued by terrible power and authority. He can pierce the hearts of his foes, and he walks beside the Testament and the Harbinger. He has taken it as his work to unite the True Faith and spread it to all humanity. Those who answer his call will usher in a new age, destroying the Morrowan temples in favor of Menoth. His gimmick is buffs, debuffs and controlling soldiers. His feat allows him to either temporarily take control of enemy soldiers or set undead ones on fire.



No one cares so much about heathen souls as Vice Scrutator Vindictus. Others see heretics, but he sees potential Menites, preacing with word and deed. When an unbeliever cannot hear the truth, he is not afraid to teach them via pain. He is compelled to convert the wicked wherever they may be, seeing it as his duty to tend to the flocks of mankind born without a chance to witness the glory of the Protectorate. Thousands of priests tend to Menoth's flocks, but few act as missionaries, and so Vindictus periodically travels far and wide, bringing loyal armies with him to capture those he believes that pain can grant conversion to. Vindictus has traveled deep into the heartland of the enemy to preach, delivering many new zealots to the True Faith. His sermons are full of the language of penitence and the wrath of Menoth. More than one Cygnaran or Khadoran village has been torn apart by the newly converted desperate to prove their devotion with blood. The zealots that follow Vindictus fight with the strength of martyrs, eager to emulate him. He himself can be more forgiving, and eveni n battle he will spare his foes if they accept Menoth. He is a potent warcaster with great power and knowledge. He understands heretics and their magic, taking on that burden to understand those who seek a corrupting path. This is dangerous, but he has the conviction and will not to use this lore save to root out blasphemy. He is a master of finding weaknesses in his foes and using their failing convictions against them. He intends to show all of Caen Menoth's glory - or, failing that, send them to it in Urcaen. His gimmick is martyring his own dudes for buffs or tactical reasons. His feat allows him to harm those who have harmed his allies.



The Protectorate has a rather unique and contentious relationship with mechanika. Strictly speaking, doctrine says that all arcane works are heresy, but mechanika are required for military dominance. As Menoth intended victory, therefore it must be his will that a way exists to sanctify warjacks. The Protectorate's earliest use of mechanika was laborjacks for industry and agriculture, inscribing prayers on their hulls. Hierarch Luctine weighed in early, agreeing that this was the correct path. In the early decades, it was important to appear in accord with treaty, so the laborjacs were secretly armed for battle with smuggled warjack cortexes and other refined machines brought in from Khador. Quickly, the Protectorate gained a handful of functional black market warjacks and a few simpler home-made components. In time, they become bolder and less focused on disguising their work. Within decades, they were making their own warjacks, with cortexes made by kidnapped experts. These enslaved arcanists, eventually organized as the Vassals of Menoth, would become critical to the war effort. They still rely on captives, but also have some of their own citizen arcanists, who at one time would be killed as children. A stigma associated with working on mechanika remains even today, though, and many who join the Vassals do it to avoid reclamation. Despite the formidable number of warjacks they make, they still lag behind other nations. Many think of their warjacks as precious, blessed weapons, with the warjacks and their inscribed prayers and following choirs inspiring awe.





The Dervish is over 8 and a half feet tall and 3 and a half tons, built on a Devout chassis reworked for offense. It wields twin blades like a metal butcher, tearing off limbs and killing soldiers. It is light and a gile, excellent for a force on the move and with better reflexes and flexibility than any other Menite warjack. Its blades move at blinding speeds and it can avoid attacks in the some motion as it moves in to attack itself. It is clearly designed for war, made in secret in small numbers. Now, the line has been called to the front to carve a swath through the enemies of Menoth.



The Devout is over 8 and a half feet tall and nearly 4 tons. It was designed to protect Protectorate leaders, and every part of it is meant to enable that. It's light enough to keep pace with warcasters, uses enhanced reflexes to intercept attacks and has a massive shield sanctified with holy inscriptions to protect against magic. When the Vassels of Menoth were ordered to make a bodyguard 'jack, they wasted no time. The Repenter chassis was rejected as too cumbersome, and a new one was made from the ground up to ensure its suitability. The Devout still made heavy use of smuggled parts, but the cortex was homegrown. Its reflexes and heavy shield make it a perfect guard, its every reaction tuned to battle.



The Vigilant stands almost 10 feet tall and weighs 5 tons. It is one of the oldest chassis designs still in service, among the first ever made for the Protectorate. It has defensive armaments, obeying Cygnaran prohibitions to the letter while still being a weapon. Its two fist-mounted shields make it very durable, withstanding attacks that'd cripple heavier machines. It is practically immune to artillery fire, making it a favorite among warcasters, and it is very low maintenance, serving well as a supply train as well as a weapon. It's ability to maneuver barricades and weather fire in street fights made it crucial in the siege of Sul. After decades of service, it's just as dependable now as the day it was created. Some Vigilants have been in continuous use for over 50 years. Their simple weapons and cortex make them easy and cheap to make, too.

Next time: God's Giant Robot

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


More like the Protectorate of Pauldron.

I know I keep harping on the drat shoulder pads but jesus christ, it's like every new book Mors posts they grow like a cancer. Like that Harbinger; her pads are bigger than the rest of her costume/body combined.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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


Night10194 posted:

More like the Protectorate of Pauldron.

I know I keep harping on the drat shoulder pads but jesus christ, it's like every new book Mors posts they grow like a cancer. Like that Harbinger; her pads are bigger than the rest of her costume/body combined.

The harbinger's pauldrons are literally there to hold her down.

He didn't include the rest of her artwork but her model includes a bunch of dudes holding onto those chains struggling to keep her from flying away.

It's not a good reason but it is a reason.

They're also a lot less egregiously huge on her model.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The ones with organ-pipe smokestacks make me giggle. I can see it on the 'jacks, sure, but otherwise it's even sillier.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth



The Blessing of Vengeance is a custom Revenger, nearly ten feet tall and over 4 and a half tons. It has served Severius for nearly 30 years straight, channeling prayers through tis arc node onto the heads of the enemy and to bless the faithful. The zealots whisper that it can see into the souls of men and smites the impious on its own. Certainly, it is well tuned to Severius' prayers and is ready to defend him without orders. It seems aware of its function and that it requires it to survive, so it happily tears apart the enemy, going to any lengths to avoid distraction from its master. Since Severius became hierarch, keeping Blessing of Vengeance battle-ready has become even higher priority, and an entire choir and dedicated Vassal of Menoth attend it at all times, sometimes forgoing food and rest. The Blessing is the final line of defense for the hierarch, both weapon and bodyguard.



The Castigator is twelve feet tall and almost 8 and a half tons. It is a product of the expanding war industry of Imer, built on a Reckoner chassis. Few outside the Vassals of Menoth know the Castigator was designed before the Reckoner, but was prevented from creation due to problesm with its weapons system. Visgoth Ark Razek was so angry that he had every mechanik on the project wracked to within a breath of death before restoring them and putting them back to work. Miraculously, the problems were almost immediately resolved. The Castigator's fists burn continuously in battle, with the heat rippling the air as it charges. Each fist has a sophisticated delivery system for Menoth's Fury, compress and piped into direct contact with the warjack's furnace. If surrounded, it will ignite the air itself in an explosion that can melt iron and cremate flesh. One big advantage is the ease with which it's refueled. Unlike the Reckoner's Condemner cannon, which requires specially made shells, the Castigator's fists only need a fresh supply of Menoth's Fury, so they need far less support from Imer, and have been sent north to the front lines.



The Guardian is 12 feet tall and almost 8 and a half tons. It is coated in holy script and able to channel divine power via na arc node. Originally made to help defend sacred sites, they have since become a very versatile weapon. While only a few were initially made, the utility of the Divinity arc node and the resilience of a heavy 'jack couldn't be ignored, and soon they were made in greater numbers, though the cost keeps them relatively rare even now. Their primary weapon is a superheated pike, based on the traditional weapons of the Flameguard. Each one is a finely crafted instrument, and the warjacks are painstakingly engraved with liturgical verses, so infused with holiness that some priests use them as battle altars.



The Reckoner is 12 feet tall and over 8 and a half tons. It's name comes from scripture: "He who is the Grand Reclaimant is, too, the reckoner of Man, burning away the sins of the faithful with but the merest glance." The Reckoner is a titan, its mace constantly issuing forth incense and its Condemner cannon firing huge, burning rounds. It was made in secret, and now is at the forefront of the crusading armies, spreading Menoth's word by fire. It was the first purely Menite warjack chassis, designed and built in the Protectorate.



The Avatar of Menoth is 13 feet tall and almost 10 tons. It is the hand of the Creator directly, unfettered by mortal will. The Harbinger oversaw its construction, and the Vassals who built it were driven by an unseen force, laboring endlessly. They could not understand what they built, for Menboth guided their hands to divine specifications. The schematics were stricken from their minds as they completed it, leaving only awe. At the end of it, the Harbinger placed her hands on its helm and whisper the Creator's final imperative to it. The construct filled with soulfire, roaring to life like a beast awakened. It walked out into the desert as the Harbinger and mechaniks looked on. In its right hand, it wields an immense blade, named Burning Wrath in the ancient tongue of Icthier and inscribed with prayers unspoken for millenia. With each strike, it destroys the foes of Menoth. In its left hand, it has the Divine Shield, which bears the words Menoth spoke to the first Menites as he built the first wall. It is protection incarnate. A lesser warjack is animated by a cortex, guided by a warcaster or marshal. Not so the Avatar. So far as anyone can tell, its name is not hyperbole: it is directed by Menoth's wrath, and even the Harbinger cannot command it. It does as Menoth wills it, and nothing else.



Fire of Salvation is Mikael Kreoss' personal Crusader. It acts more like a person than a machine, fervent in its wrath and inspiring in its bravery. It fights to avenge those that die around it, wielding an immense, flame-wreathed weapon named Absolver. Menites of other nations who have seen it have been known to fall to their knees and forsake their old loyalties, begging Kreoss to restrain it from killing them. The choir priests that attend it know its every detail, which is densely inscribed with the history of its battles. After each battle, the armorers write new liens in the plated steel of its armor. Kreoss and Fire of Salvation have fought together since Sul, often with just a handful of exemplars. Few knights survived these rearguard actions,a nd without Fire, Kreoss would have died as well. Its hull was further ornamented in the days after Voyle's death, when it battled to push back the Cygnarans and lay siege to Caspia. Though its cortex and wepaons are more recent, its armor is drawn from machines of the original Protectorate crusades, many of which were left in the deserts north of Icthier after they were destroyed in battle. These became holy artifacts, and the priests deemed it only right that these relics should be placed on a 'jack that has served Kreoss since his earliest days of service. During the ceremony where he was made grand exemplar in 605, it was affixed with blessed parchments bearing illuminated passages of the Canon of the True Law, formalizing the sanctity it had earned in battle. Fire of Salvation has leanred a lot from Kreoss, inspiring the Knights Exemplar just as he does and fighting with the ferocity and anger of a brother knight.



The Protectorate's ability to establish itself as a military power is the reuslt of nearly a century of work. It lacks the population of other nations, so it compensates with fanaticism. Nowhere else are so many willing to fight and die for their beliefs. The crusades create a constant need for soldiers, with the various orders providing dedicated forces that must be coordinated across amyn leaders with different biases. This makes the Protectorate very unpredictable in the field. The backbone, though, is the Knights Exemplar, supported by the Temple Flameguard and militias. The Knights are the pinnacle of Protectorate soldiers, tasked to do Menoth's will at any cost. They use punishing training and grueling tests as well as immersion in radical Menite philosophy, and those who complete their training are forever changed. The Flameguard, meanwhile, have gone from just guardians to the largest part of the army, citizen soldiers trained to march in unprecedented numbers under Feora, Protector of the Flame. Anyone can apply to the Flameguard, but not all pass the rigorous training. Life for them is similar to other professional soldiers, save that they serve until the Incendium priests give them leave to retire. While this term could be as short as five years, in war it may be a decade or longer. Particularly valuable soldiers may not be let go until they are killed or very old indeed.

Next time: Soldiers of Menoth

fool of sound
Oct 10, 2012


Bieeardo posted:

The ones with organ-pipe smokestacks make me giggle. I can see it on the 'jacks, sure, but otherwise it's even sillier.

All the (human) warcasters actually have coal powered steam engines strapped to their back powering their magitech armor, so most of them have smokestacks somewhere in their art.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

fool_of_sound posted:

All the (human) warcasters actually have coal powered steam engines strapped to their back powering their magitech armor, so most of them have smokestacks somewhere in their art.

That's fair, I'll give them that.

Honestly though, most of the designs and fluff in these games is so over the top, I can't help it.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


There's suspension of disbelief, and then there's a heavily-armored assassin sporting chimneys.

Ratpick posted:

Okay, yeah, I could see myself playing this too.

But seriously, I loved that Afterthought episode and it got me thinking about homebrewing some kind of a tabletop RPG where the players are all farmers.

Wait, doesn't Ryutama have farmer as one of the classes your character can be? What was their thing again in the adventuring party scheme of things?

There's always hope for poo poo: The Farmering.

Night10194 posted:

More like the Protectorate of Pauldron.

I know I keep harping on the drat shoulder pads but jesus christ, it's like every new book Mors posts they grow like a cancer. Like that Harbinger; her pads are bigger than the rest of her costume/body combined.

"Sensible Pauldrons (Included)" would be a great title for a little indie wargame that boldy swims against the stream.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 21:00 on Jul 16, 2015

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Feora's Shoulder-to-Waist proportions are kind of scaring me.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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What bothers me, personally, is her armored belly button.

Forces of Warmachine: Protectorate of Menoth



Every soldier in the Protectorate earns a modest wage, usually enough to support a family. In the event of a death, the family gets a stipend. Orphans become wards of the state. However, many familis have become tied to the Temple over hte years, with service being expected. Often, they are groomed from childhood as preceptors or Incendium priests. The Flameguard also supports two specialist groups: the Flameguard Cleansers and the Daughters of the Flame. Both are famously ruthless and devoted, open only to the best. Cleansers will not hesitate if ordered to burn an entire village down and don't care who the enemy is - just that the priests say they must die. The Daughters, on the other hand, began as a small group of volunteers, all of whom were daughters or widows of dead soldiers. They hoped to honor the sacrifices and avenge their loved ones, willing to do even the most dangerous missions without regard for their own safety. Feora expanded them due to their successes, and they are now a significant tool - assassinations and surgical strikes are their specialty, and recruitment has opened to anyone who is zealous and has the right capabilities. Every priest, monk and acolyte also serves the True Law, and several small orders, like the Fist, REclaimers and the Wall, fight in the war. More than anyone else, the Protectorate can depend on all of ther citizens in battle - any able-bodied man and woman could become a citizen soldier if needed. They are organzied into lesser orders, like the Deliverer rocketeers, and are led into battle by their local priests. They have limited training and discipline but have plenty of fanaticism and numbers.



Daughters of the Flame are feared even within the Protectorate as silent killers. They were founded in secret by Feora with Voyle's consent, guarding the sacred places. Over time, they have become a precision tool for removing both internal and external threats. They work as small strike forces, or hands, stalking foes with singleminded devotion. They are chosen from fresh recruits based on potential and dedication. Most are widows of soldiers, others grieve dead parents, siblings or betrothed. They are technically Flameguard, but are trained seperately, both physically and mentally. They have peerless grace and skill in sneaking, and they move very quickly, bending and contorting to take advantage of any cover at all. They are rumored to have trained in the same martial techniques as the Order of the Fist, but they use blades, cutting through narrow spaces between armor plates. Some say Feora overreached her authority in expanding their role, but no one would doubt it's been good for the war. Since the start of the crusade, they have served alongside the Flameguard and Cleansers on battlefield, conducting precision strikes and battlefield recon.



A Deliverer Sunburst Crew supports the army from afar, hurling flaming death. Their bolts detonate on impact, creating holes in the enemy line. The Sunburst was made as part of the disarmament agreement centuries before the Menites rebelled against Cygnar. They were prohibited from having dedicated weapons, so they couldn't use cannons. Instead, they used ancient ballistas, dating to before the Thousand Cities era. The platform throws its payload, allowing for a heavier and more destructive charge than a shell sent by blasting powder. The charge is a spherical orb containing refined Menoth's Fury in a lattice of metal designed to splinter into shrapnel on detonation. The gunner and crew can range and attack targets easily as long as they remain in communication, and the crews are very proud of their job.



Exemplar Bastions are a select few among the Exemplars. During their initial fasts, they experience a dream of being buried, but remain calm and unafraid. They wear heavier armor and stand in the temple courtyard for two days and nights without food or water, loaded down by weights. At the end, they must march across the temple, despite the fact that several suffer crippling injuries from the ordeal. If they succeed, they can endure the rest of the training for bastion armor, made of ancient steel plates engraved with holy script. The bond each bastion has with their brothers in arms grant them collective strength. They can ignore their injuries and needs for days or even weeks without removing their armor. Enemies despair on seeing them, as their attacks only grow stronger as they are wounded, as if their near reunion with Menoth empowers them.



Exemplar Cinerators wear blessed armor of fallen exemplars into battle. They are the fire of Menoth's will, moving ahead of the Exemplars to breach enemy ranks. Their training strengthens them even more than most bastions, preparing them for their massive armor. Some initiates are crippled or even killed by the training, but those that survive are perfect crusaders. Years of prayer allow them to internalize wounds that would kill lesser men. They are conduits of Menoth's rage, channeling their pain into anger and rushing ahead to attack. Like the first Menite warriors, they have a savage hunger for battle. They are cruel, armed with ancient swords that are imbued with blessings that render them aflame in battle. When they strike down a foe, Menoth shows approval by causing a burst of fire to explode from the heretic's body to consume their allies but leave the Menites unharmed.



Exemplar Vengers derive from the Khadoran horselord tradition, after some converted to the True Law. They are paragons of tradition and Menoth's will. In the days of antiquity, they were warriors of faith, bodyguards and defenders, but as time passed, the knights were named vengers for carrying Menite justice to all the Thousand Cities, ruthlessly and passionately. Today, they are the spearhead of the holy war. Many are descended from the Khadoran horse lords and are tied to the Khadoran Old Faith. Hierarch Severius continues his advance through Llael with the greatest gathering of Exemplars in history, and the vengers may be more civilized than their forebears but no less resolved. They serve the will of the Creator, and they are relentless. They are deadly, as well, with blessed lances and war-bred stallions of great strength and beauty. Their warhorse are chosen from Idrian lines in the south and Pozdyov warhorses in the north, especially among Llaelese knights, some of whom are former Khadoran uhlans. They do not use or need mechanika of any kind. They feel the pain of the brother knights, fighting harder for each drop of blood they lose. Venger charges are sepcially terrifying, thanks to the power of their horses and lances, and after each battle, the vengers take time to cleanse themselves in sacred ritual, sacrificing the tainted blood of the foe to Menoth in flaming braziers as gratitude for victory. These rites are central to venger tradition and are never given up, even in war.



Exemplars Errant are knight outriders, heading out of the Protectorate on missions of vital import as an advance strike force. They do not use the relic blades of the Knights Exemplar, for fear that they should fall into heathen hands. Rather, they use lighter and more versatile weapons, which they train with extensively. The errants use blessed crossbows to pierce magical shields and bear shields inscribed with sacred passages to protect themselves. Each knows that if they die, their acts will go unrecorded in Caen, but that is acceptable. Their job is to carry the Synod's will across Immoren, hunting traitors for years. They are advance scouts as well, seeking out the enemy as they wait in ambush. While all Exemplar knights must be faithful and dedicated, the errants are chosen from those with the spirit of martyrdom, willing to die if it will complete their tasks. They will sacrifice their own lives to save a threatened brother, willing their life on to another and passing into Urcaen to heal the otherwise fallen.

Next time: Onward, Menite soldiers!

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.

oriongates posted:

Unknown Armies, part 21: Weird People

The House of Renunciation


God, this whole thing... Aah, poo poo. Unknown Armies has so many amazing plothooks, but I could never run it. I'd fail horribly if I tried. Unknown Armies is the best game I'll never run and probably won't play in. I mean, the House is an adventure hook all on it's own, and you could run a game just based on this poo poo, even without Avatars and the Clergy and Adepts.

Amazing.

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

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

My ideal UA situation is Tynes and Stolze writing UA books forever.

Then again, that would interfere with them making new awesome stuff, so nevermind.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Neopie posted:

God, this whole thing... Aah, poo poo. Unknown Armies has so many amazing plothooks, but I could never run it. I'd fail horribly if I tried. Unknown Armies is the best game I'll never run and probably won't play in. I mean, the House is an adventure hook all on it's own, and you could run a game just based on this poo poo, even without Avatars and the Clergy and Adepts.

Amazing.

The main issue I see with Unknown Armies is a similar one to games like Wraith or On the Edge where they're fantastic settings lacking an easy campaign hook. They're heavily character driven, and require a lot of heavy lifting by the GM and the players to define the campaign. That can be really rewarding once you work it out, but it's pretty far from having adventure paths or big, obvious bad guys that need punching.

Nea
Feb 28, 2014

Funny Little Guy Aficionado.

I know, but god, I'd love to do a game at the global or cosmic level knowing all of this, man... I don't suppose anyone here'd run a game online? :P

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

oriongates posted:

The House of Renunciation
Well, now we know who killed Laura Palmer.

fool of sound
Oct 10, 2012


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The main issue I see with Unknown Armies is a similar one to games like Wraith or On the Edge where they're fantastic settings lacking an easy campaign hook. They're heavily character driven, and require a lot of heavy lifting by the GM and the players to define the campaign. That can be really rewarding once you work it out, but it's pretty far from having adventure paths or big, obvious bad guys that need punching.

The problem I had the one time I ran it was that my (all low-powered Adept and Avatar) party mostly wanted to go do their own things most of the time. I was running it as a Neil Gaiman-esque 'pub of the strange', where they mostly solved paranormal mysteries and tried to keep their heads low when high powered strangers rolled through town, and even then they constantly wanted to split up and work on other stuff. I can only imagine that gets worse at higher power levels.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Yeah, one issue is that almost everyone wants to play an Adept or Avatar because they're one of the cool, weird highlights of the setting (and they give you access to neat tricks) but they also come with built-in agendas which rarely overlap with one another. Beyond Street-level, the "Cabal" system is very important to actually get a game going. It's not enough to be a loosely associated group of weirdos, you've got to actually build a team with a driving, common goal. This is harder at Global level since you don't have the "big picture" view of Cosmic level to motivate you. But if you've got a bunch of avatars and adepts without a unifying motive then you end up splintering.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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I think my favorite characters in UA aren't the avatars or adepts, though, it's the cabal of stage magicians who have realize their poo poo is actually way, way more impressive than actual magic.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Halloween Jack posted:

Well, now we know who killed Laura Palmer.

Similarly, Lost is way better if you think of it as a House of Renunciation.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


oriongates posted:

Yeah, one issue is that almost everyone wants to play an Adept or Avatar because they're one of the cool, weird highlights of the setting (and they give you access to neat tricks) but they also come with built-in agendas which rarely overlap with one another. Beyond Street-level, the "Cabal" system is very important to actually get a game going. It's not enough to be a loosely associated group of weirdos, you've got to actually build a team with a driving, common goal. This is harder at Global level since you don't have the "big picture" view of Cosmic level to motivate you. But if you've got a bunch of avatars and adepts without a unifying motive then you end up splintering.

Greg Stolze posted:

The "...but whaddaya DO?!?" issue is something we took a stab at in UA2, by encouraging narrative structures, but in UA3 I'm really trying to bury it in the backyard. Specifically, player groups collectively define what they WANT, their specific objective, and they get a moderately straightforward metric for "how close to that we are." It's a gas tank that starts out empty but, eventually, can get your problem solved off-camera.

The way I view it is that in a lot of games (more often Call of Cthulhu than WOD), you wind up with a "stop the cultists from making drastic changes!" plot. In UA, you're the cultists. Someone else recently described it as "...so, you're having the players build a railroad for the GM?"

It's going OK so far.

-G.

:toot:

Mors Rattus posted:

I think my favorite characters in UA aren't the avatars or adepts, though, it's the cabal of stage magicians who have realize their poo poo is actually way, way more impressive than actual magic.

I swear to God I saw this movie. Can't remember what it was called, though.

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Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Tulul posted:

:toot:


I swear to God I saw this movie. Can't remember what it was called, though.

It was either the Prestige or the Illusionist.

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