Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Xiahou Dun posted:

PS tell us if they ever mention extravagant codpieces.

There is a reason I titled the NEXT TIME that.

You can get a Best Codpiece.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Two feet long, bright yellow with a wolf's head statue on the end?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Xiahou Dun posted:

Two feet long, bright yellow with a wolf's head statue on the end?

"Expensive codpieces may be made of silver, and highly stylized to the point of comedy. Bells, jewels, and even winking eyes adorn codpieces across the Empire. Some noblemen wear locks or pieces of armor, claiming that they must protect what is truly precious."

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Yesssssssssssss.

That's the good stuff.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Xiahou Dun posted:

I'm too lazy to post much in this thread (plus it's not like I have a super rarified RPG collection ; does someone really want my thoughts on Torchbearer or Blades in the Dark, games many of you have already played?)

yes

neither of them has been done before, and if you have something to say it's not like you're forbidden to cover a game a second time

Battle Mad Ronin
Aug 26, 2017


Xiahou Dun posted:

I'm too lazy to post much in this thread (plus it's not like I have a super rarified RPG collection ; does someone really want my thoughts on Torchbearer or Blades in the Dark, games many of you have already played?

I’d be really interested in Torchbearer. I have heard lots of good about the system but find it hard to understand. A structured review might be a great help with ‘getting it’.

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011
Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.



Battle Mad Ronin posted:

I have heard lots of good about the system but find it hard to understand.

this might as well be luke crane's epitaph

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Ugh fine then maybe I'll write a Torchbearer review soon.

Short version : the author really hates elves for some reason.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Xiahou Dun posted:

Ugh fine then maybe I'll write a Torchbearer review soon.

Short version : the author really hates elves for some reason.
Does anyone in this loving hobby LIKE anything? Other than micromissiles.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Nessus posted:

Does anyone in this loving hobby LIKE anything? Other than micromissiles.
Halberds!

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Night10194 posted:

There is a reason I titled the NEXT TIME that.

You can get a Best Codpiece.

"Bring me the Black Russian, that always terrifies the clergy!"

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Italicized Proper Nouns and their cousin The Glo'tal Stop

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



Barudak posted:

Italicized Proper Nouns and their cousin The Glo'tal Stop

the apostrophe-laden backstory is a staple of fantasy fiction.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I thought this

http://playingattheworld.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-legacy-of-gygaxs-armor.html

Was quite a good article about early D&D and indeed it's 70's rivals takes on armour.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Loxbourne posted:

"Bring me the Black Russian, that always terrifies the clergy!"

That works best with the whole ensamble
(timged for work)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

A Best Codpiece isn't a waste, it's an investment

So, this section has nothing that actively does anything in gameplay. In the normal rulebook, you just buy entire outfits of Poor, Common, Good, Best, etc clothing to determine the general state of your clothing. This section of Old World Armory introduces a lot of fluff on Imperial fashion, regional dress, and style, but also introduces the ability to buy every component of your outfit separately. The explicit, stated intent is 'So you can decide you want a really fancy, nice belt and that you're willing to put up with a patched or stained shirt for it, because you think this would be a fun look for your character'. I can respect putting in detailed fashion information specifically so you can play dress-up with your early modern fantasy adventurer. Especially as fancy clothing, slashed sleeves, and outrageous codpieces are legit one of the big draws of the Empire as a fantasy setting.

First, we get a general overview of regional styles and trends, both in the Empire and beyond. Estalians and Tileans are from a hotter climate and dress more for style than warmth. Neither will admit they dress like one another, either. They're fond of loose blouses for both men and women, cloaks (fencers wear longer cloaks to incorporate them into their fencing by catching an opponent's blade, and so they look cooler), and dashing, feathered hats. Kislevites incorporate a great deal of fur into their dress, especially their hats. It's warm, it's fashionable, and it's readily available. The Empire, however, is basically a confederation of several nations and regions and so does not have a monolithic style one can point to the same way they can Kislevites or Estalians. What Imperials wear is going to change a lot depending on what part of the Empire you visit.

The Western Empire is the richest part of the state and therefore has the most time to devote to fashion. Even the peasants of the West (like Reikland) are able to afford decent cloth, and even a peasant usually has at least one outfit that incorporates some expensive dye and actual style. Westerners have access to more dye than other parts of the Empire, but basically everyone in the Empire loves bright colors and decorated outfits whenever they can afford them. Men's fashion in the West does not favor beards, seeing them as a sign of being unkempt; a man should either be cleanshaven or have well maintained sideburns and a waxed mustache to show his facial hair comes from taking care of it, not from just letting it grow like some kind of barbarian. Women's fashion changes endlessly at court, but in 2522 low cut dresses with bright colors and plumed hats are the current style. All through the west, it's common to wear a draber outer layer and then slash the sleeves to show off a brighter or contrasting colored fabric underneath. Westerners change their styles and dress more than anyone else in the Empire.

Northerners (Hochlanders, Ostlanders, Middenlanders, and Nordlanders) prefer to dress in animal skins and decry fashions like face powder or makeup as a waste of goddamn time. Women are encouraged to dress more conservatively; whether this is because they prefer modesty or because it's loving cold and a low-cut neckline that lets the wind in is a bad idea is anyone's guess. Northerner men prefer to sport full, groomed beards and long hair, mimicking the styles of the dwarfs. Note that this doesn't mean they don't take care of their hair or beards: Ulricans are famous for how much care they put into grooming and caring for their hair, they just have a lot of it. Women also prefer to wear their hair longer, and spend an equal amount of care on it. While they might decry silks as a waste of time, Northerners still love color; sporting a colorful outfit with well-kept furs is still a big social marker. They just want it to be warm and 'practical' as well as garishly colored and elegant at the same time. It's loving cold up there.

Easterners are usually poor, and dress in very Kislevite styles. It's common to wear a very drab outfit with very little dye, but incorporate a colorful sash or scarf to keep the outfit from being boring. Men usually wear their facial hair in a goatee or drooping mustache, and given the overall Kislevite and Ungol influence I wouldn't be surprised to see topknots. They don't get much description of their clothes, because they don't have as much money or time to waste on looking fancy as the Northerners or Westerners. Still, they'll look as nice as they can. If there's one universal urge in the Empire, it's towards being as colorful and well dressed as you can afford. Imperials love fashion.

One of the interesting bits with the clothing rules is that they describe Best or Good clothing as the kind of thing you can keep putting back together and cleaning off for a long time; it'll last even through hard adventuring and won't need replacement. A Good or Best set of boots (especially dwarf-made) should 'last an entire adventuring career' even if you have a long one. I'm reminded of the Sam Vimes Theory of Economics, wherein a poor man can only afford poor boots that break after a month while the rich man could immediately afford boots that last for years, so the poor man stays poor buying bad boots. A good set of Dwarf-crafted hobnailed boots is a full 30 crowns, though, which is an awful lot of money; that's more than a full suit of leather armor.

There are simply too many outfits and too many articles of clothing for me to go into all of them, but your PC can spend an enormous amount of money on looking good. In general, one of the things these 'stuff besides just adventuring gear' sections do is give you things to spend money on once you've already got your gear in order. It makes sense; PCs see a lot of money, compared to the average worker in the Empire. They also tend to throw it around a lot. A PC buying a cool Best Overcoat and Wide Brimmed Hat so they can properly look the part of an intimidating Witch Hunter or picking up expensive dyes to show off that they can afford them is the kind of thing I don't really object to as a moneysink; it's optional, but playing dress up is fun.

A Best Codpiece costs 40 GC, by the way. Just in case you wondered what was truly important in this section. Properly tailored codpieces (and especially properly decorated ones) are expensive, but absolutely worth it if you want to wow potential employers and gentlemen and ladies of good breeding.

One of the things I appreciate about Fantasy, and this gets it across, is that it's much more colorful than most Dark Fantasy settings. People try to put in bright dyes and pretty colors. They wear nicely tailored clothes. They put a lot of their effort into making art and architecture and fantastic codpieces. It's just usually got mud on it, or your fancy new doublet already has a couple patches because you wore it to an adventure and got shot a couple times. The pretty, but worn and lived-in look that the setting usually has is a big step up from everything being drab shitfarming all the time.

There's also a fun section on the materials your clothes can be made of and the sorts of dyes that are common, expensive, or in fashion. Red is a very popular color all through the Empire because the dye is cheap and it's nice and bright. Cotton and silk are imported from Cathay and are a mark of tremendous wealth. Homespun wool is common with the rural poor, while canvas, linen and flannel are popular everywhere. Black is considered the color of scholars, mourning, and the elderly, but is also popular with evil Chaos cultists and dark warriors who think it makes them look menacing. Light blues are cheap and come from copper, so everyone can wear them, while dark blues are expensive dyes and limited to nobles and rich merchants. Brown-yellow (tawny) clothing is popular everywhere in the Old World and almost everyone owns at least one working outfit this color. Green and yellow are both common dyes that almost anyone can afford, while purple is the color of royalty entirely because purple dye is so hard to get. The Emperor is said to prefer cloth with threads of gold to the more common purple, and silver and gold embroidery are the province of the wealthy.

The most important takeaway is that almost everyone wears colored clothing. Also, anything white doesn't stay white long.There's enough here to properly play dress up, and really, that's part of the appeal of playing an early modern Adventurer, isn't it? As silly as it can be, I like these bits and pieces on what the people of the Empire actually wear, eat, and do and I'm glad the book is more about this and less about giving direct stats to eighty varieties of polearm. I will be skipping the long section on carrying equipment, though, because that kind of stuff is pretty useless even within the game. No-one really cares that you need more than one pack to carry X amount of encumbrance. Especially with encumbrance being an optional rule, anyway. That kind of stuff doesn't tell you much about material culture and is really just filling out wordcount.

Next Time: Rumster's Special

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Cooked Auto posted:

There is a part of me that wants to cover Neotech, which is a Swedish cyberpunk game from 93 based on the Eon rules that I've heard are really dire. Problem is finding a PDF or a paper copy of it but I might look around a little.
No promises obviously but I've heard a bunch of stuff about it and the covers are some hilarious 90's photoshopping efforts.
Do it. Do it now!

SirPhoebos posted:

After this history, we get some more details about life in Cyberpunk America. Specifically, the book focuses on law and order. Police departments have added two departments: the Psycho Squads, which I described in the section on cybernetics, and Corporate Cops, who patrol the city centers and are more corrupt. The criminal code became a lot harsher after the Crash, though comparatively it’s no more draconian than what exists IRL. The main twists come with technology used for punishments: personality adjustments, exile implants that shock felons trying to re-enter a city, and braindances for prison terms. There’s even a table for randomly determining sentences On the other hand, guns have gotten easier to acquire after society collapsed, to the point that guns are openly sold and marketed to kids. Enjoy this bit of pre-Columbine writing:
Psycho Squads are there for playing Blade Runner, right? I guess you can also use them as a high-level goon squad to sicc on the PCs.

Reading capitalism.txt, and just the news, has taught me to turn off the part of my brain that says "Nah, that's too far-fetched" when it comes to dystopian fiction. If anything, the risk is that your satire will be eclipsed by reality in short order.

Which reminds me, Class of 1999 is one of the absolute best post-apoc/cyberpunk films. It's nominally about the school system, but is as much or more about the police state. Maybe even better than 2019 and the Bronx Warriors films.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 14:08 on Mar 19, 2019

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Great. Now part of me wants to write up something for High Adventure Cliffhangers, the other Buck Rogers RPG from the 1990s.

Problem is, besides me being a terrible writer, is that the only supplement doesn't seem to be available in PDF form and I don't have a scanner. (There's also The Other Problem with the game, but I suppose that's well-known by now.)

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Halloween Jack posted:

Do it. Do it now!

I did manage to dig up a pdf of the core book for the sequel Neotech 2 that came out in 99 (which was the one I was thinking of in the first place) and it's special in its own right. I just need to read it through most of it first.

Cooked Auto fucked around with this message at 14:43 on Mar 19, 2019

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Halloween Jack posted:

Psycho Squads are there for playing Blade Runner, right? I guess you can also use them as a high-level goon squad to sicc on the PCs.

Yeah, but there's also a lot of AD Police in there as well. And you're absolutely right, Psycho squads were the stick to keep PCs from getting too much game-breaking 'ware.

With all the double-digit mass shootings, Psycho squads seem rather quaint.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Young Freud posted:

Edit: Honestly, brigandine should be an option for armor, not armor by itself. Should really just be the medieval version of a concealed bulletproof vest.
Matt Easton did a video on 15th century armour, and the brigandine he had was quite heavy and rigid, and meant to go over top of mail armour.

Night10194 posted:

As weird a game as it is, Albedo is one of the only games I've ever seen really encourage this kind of behavior and it did it by having you play an officer/sergeant and have 4 NPCs you control directly in combat so that one player could set up a whole infantry tactic at once. That would be one player's turn in that system, controlling their 5 playing pieces to have them all do that. Also the way fighting worked it was actually a good idea to do this.
Albedo's system seems pretty complicated, but it does seem to model how hard it is to actually hit a moving target at any distance, and how it's advantageous to take cover, move into position, and pin a target down instead of standing still and firing. To say nothing of the psychological impact of shooting and getting shot at.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Halloween Jack posted:

Albedo's system seems pretty complicated, but it does seem to model how hard it is to actually hit a moving target at any distance, and how it's advantageous to take cover, move into position, and pin a target down instead of standing still and firing. To say nothing of the psychological impact of shooting and getting shot at.

The interesting bit about it is, if you're out of cover at anywhere approaching firefight ranges you will die. That's why they specifically have a bunch of skill checks (with the option to rote for a standard rate) for how fast you can move, because your ability to sprint to the next covered position or sneak quietly between two hidden spots without exposing yourself to the sniper on overwatch can decide if your character lives or not and movement can be a risk, as well.

Albedo's issue is that it's a wargame playing at being an RPG, but it's a pretty interesting wargame. I really need to take a stab at running it properly but I'm just not good at the kind of encounter design it requires.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 22d: We invaded you, please help us

So now we have this race of aliens coming to Earth, setting up colonies, and spreading a virulent disease in what may be the weirdest metaphor for colonialism ever. What's it like in a realm of mixed realities and full of psychic zombies?

The Akashans' ships were first noticed in the skies over Peru and Bolivia before they ended up touching down at Machu Pichu. Needless to say, there was surprise on both sides.

Core Earth and the invaders were not expecting aliens to show up, of course, and the Akashans were surprised that Core Earth wasn't the super-advanced race they had expected. And in actuality, the Council was ready to just leave rather than exacerbate the already chaotic situation they stumbled into.

But then the debate started.

As was stated previously, all Akashans belong to one of three schools of thought; Coar (asserting your will on others aggressively will lead to enlightenment), Aka (self-reliance and not interfering with others will lead to enlightenment), and Zinaat (enlightenment comes from finding the balance between the Coar and Aka beliefs).

The Coar elements of the Council argued that it was their duty to stay and help. After all, the Akashans had done this thousands of times before, aiding less-capable species and lifting them to the heavens. The situation on Core Earth required the Akashans to stay, fight the invaders, and lead humanity to a Bright And Glorious Future.

The leader of Council then asked the highest-ranking Akaite to provide a counter-argument. Unfortunately, that person was Sarila, and she said nothing. She had just started picking up the options that the Possibility Wars would open up for her, and she wanted to stay and learn how to turn this mess to her advantage.

(It's worth pointing out that, at this point, Sarila has no long-term plan. She is winging it as best she can with no end goal beyond "become a god". She's even managed to fool herself into thinking that the Comaghaz isn't killing people despite the obvious fact that it kills everyone infected. She won't get much better at things down the line, either.)

With the Council in "agreement", the Akashans landed at Machu Pichu and began planting reality trees. It also turned out that when the Akashans last visited Core Earth centuries ago, they left some labs hidden deep underground with 100 Monitors waiting for the Akashans to return.

quote:

The Akashans who have been in Machu Picchu all these years consist of over 100 Monitors and bioengineers, virtually all of whom would be considered radical Coar by the present Akashans. Their abandonment by the High Council has long been a cause
celebre
in the Star Sphere, and they are legends to a whole new generation of Akashans who believe their race has a right to guide others.

Their revival produced a psychic explosion in Peru, as their awakening minds began to probe for others of their kind. Latent psionic powers were triggered in a number of people who were unversed in how to use them, with the result that many were felled by severe headaches or plagued by visions of Akashans clad in Incan garb. Meanwhile, the first to awaken prepared the reality of Machu Picchu by planting the lone surviving reality tree.
I'd like to point out here that prior to this text, we get like two pages of the Akashan's history on Core Earth and how they influenced the locals. You'll forgive me for not getting into this but it's pretty pointless even by Torg standards.

It only took a few months for the reality trees to take root, making a sizable chunk of South America's western coast a mixed zone. Sort of.

Which makes this as good a time as any to talk about how Akashan reality works!


Looks comfy.

As stated in previous posts, Akashan reality is non-invasive and non-destructive. What this means is that Akashan reality does not cause transformations in the same way that other realities do. It's still possible for someone to flip to Akashan reality, but only in extreme circumstances, such as being caught in a reality storm. That's not to say you couldn't disconnect, but even if you did you can reconnect pretty easily.

In addition, the World Laws allow the World Laws of other realities to remain in effect for P-rated people. If you're from Aysle and in Akashan territory, then you'd be operating under the Star Sphere's axioms and World Laws as normal, but you'd also still have access to the World Laws of Aysle. The only exception is when a World Law directly contradicts ones of the Akashan ones (such as the Cyberpapacy's "Law of the One True God"), in which case it causes a one-case contradiction.

The way Akashan reality is spread is not through stelae zones, but by reality trees. Reality trees are probably the pinnacle of Akashan bio-engineering, because they allow the users to create safe, permanent, mixed reality zones without having to worry about stelae boundaries or having access to a Darkness Device.

Reality trees are grown via special seeds, planted in locations picked by the Rotan himself. Once planted, the create reality tree miracle is performed, imbuing the tree with possibility energy.

quote:

At this point, the process enters its most critical stage. For an extremely brief period (normally not more than an hour) during the course of the miracle, the outer surface of the tree will become fluid. When this occurs, a living, cognizant and willing being must enter the tree by passing through its surface. Once inside, he will become a part of the plant, sustained by it until it is fully grown.
Yikes.

Once the tree is fully prepped, it begins creating a mixed zone out of the reality it's planted in and the reality of the person inside the tree. So if you planted a tree in the Cyberpapacy with a person from the Nile Empire inside it, the tree will start forming a mixed Cyberpapal/Nile Empire zone. It takes nine months for the tree to fully gestate; when the process is complete, the person is expelled by the tree and the mixed zone will extend out to a radius of 160 km (about 100 miles), and will be permanent. This means that if the aforementioned Cyberpapal zone came down, the Cyberpapal/Nile Empire mixed zone would remain. A tree's zone can be extended through the use of "secondary seeds", which the tree will sprout from its roots.

Unlike stelae, reality trees don't need to be powered by Possibility energy or a Darkness Device, don't cause reality storms (at least, not big ones), and don't need to be placed in any sort of pattern (although the Akashans generally plant them so their radii don't overlap).

The Akashans only end up planting six trees at the time the book takes place, but have managed to extend things out so that most of the western coast of South America is a mixed Akashan/Core Earth zone. It should be pointed out that at no point did the High Council ask anyone on Core Earth if they were okay with this.


The Akashan realm, not long after their arrival.

Now, the clever amongst you will have realized that this is a potential way to take back territory from the High Lords without having to go through the whole business with doing great deeds and hunting down stelae. That's deliberate.

quote:

The End of the War?

The non-destructive reality technology of the Akashans represents major progress in the war against the High Lords, as it may solve one of the greatest problems the Storm Knights face: how to successfully reclaim an area without immolating hundreds of the transformed?

Prior to the Akashans' arrival, the only way to do this was to perform a great deed about which tales could be spread, thus infusing the transformed with new hope and Possibilities. When stelae would then be removed, those refilled with energy would be safe from the consequences of twin transformations.

Reality trees provide a more reliable answer to the problem. For example, reality trees could be planted on the island of Hokkaido in Japan with Nippon Tech characters within them. When enough area was covered by what would now be non-destructive Nippon reality, stelae could be ripped up. All of those on Hokkaido who had transformed to Nippon during 3327's invasion would be safe, as they would still be living within a Nippon reality. But 3327's Darkness Device would no longer be receiving
possibility energy.

In this manner, the High Lords can eventually be defeated, but the alternate realities they brought with them can remain. This, of course, depends on the Akashans' willingness to share the technology, which many wish to be conditional upon receiving aid from Storm Knights against the Comaghaz.
Spoiler alert: this doesn't happen.

So let's get into the nitty-gritty of how humanity has adjusted to this mess landing in its backyard.

When the Akashans first arrived, the Nippon Tech-controlled media outlets immediately started urging panic at the threat of a new invasion; 3327 (probably) didn't know who the Akashans were, but took the safe bet that they weren't here to help the High Lords. The Cyberpapacy also got involved, but that was due more to Malraux having already having a foothold on Central and South America.

Before landing (and seeing the effects their arrival had already caused on the populace), Council leader Ulka ordered reality trees to be planted in secret at the landing site at Peru before his ships touched down. Note that he didn't mention this to the Peruvian government.

When the ships finally landed, onlookers were pretty shocked to see that the aliens looked pretty much like humans in ancient Incan garb and were speaking the native language of the native Peruvian tribes. They were even more shocked when the translators arrived and the aliens were talking about something called the "Signal Fire" and by the way there's this plague they needed help with...

Not exactly what you'd call an optimal first contact situation.

quote:

With a general truce in effect, the Akashans and the Peruvians began to work together. Already considered the "major gene pool of the world," Peru offered a vast bounty of research material for Akashan bioengineers. As the Space Gods' reality has spread throughout the country, the jungles have grown lush again and the government has sponsored institutes to study the psionic abilities now being evidenced by many in the realm.

In addition, the Akashans' extensive knowledge of the ancient civilizations that thrived in Peru has led Core Earth archaeologists to many startling finds. There have been reports of more secretive expeditions by the Akashans to major archaeological sites such as Cajamarquilla and Pachacamac, something which has been denied by representatives of the Monitors.

Thus far, Comaghaz infection in Peru is relatively rare, with most of the problems focused on the Arequipa area in the southern section of the country. Although the Akashans are concerned, the Peruvian government is not yet willing to commit resources for what they see as simply mass hysteria.
After this set-up, we get into the highlights of major locations in the area. We start with the Nazca Lines, because that's an important adventuring spot. And it's also something that could have been a sidebar, because the only thing that's not something you could look up in an encyclopedia is that ever since the Akashans showed up, the lines have begun thrumming with energy for some reason.

The first actual location that's discussed is Cuzco, which was the heart of the Incan empire back in the day. Now, the inhabitants have welcomed the Askashans into the city because they feel that the Akashans were the source of the valley's prosperity back in the day. The Akashans have turned the city into its military headquarters, feeling that the small valley is a perfect location to hold of Comaghaz hordes should the need arise. Rotan Ulka has also relocated to this region.

Next up is Lima, which is the capital of Peru and is also not as cool with these aliens showing up and setting up shop. Riots happened with the arrival of the ships, and the government attempted to keep the Akashans out of the city while they tried to figure out how to deal with this whole situation. I say "attempted" because a few Coar-aligned Akashans managed to sneak into the city to try and "fix" things (again, without asking). This lead to more riots and the Akashan leaders and important people (like Sarila) to pull all their people out of the city while they met with the country's leadership.

That went about as well as you think.

quote:

Not everyone heeded this offer, and Lima is now home to the dregs of the client races, radical Coar activists, and Comaghaz carriers who have started spreading the disease in the slums of the city. Periodically, Monitors are dispatched from bases outside the city to capture and discipline Star Sphere residents.
On top of that, black markets for Akashan tech have begun operating out of the city.

Hey, you know what Columbia was known for in the 90's?


Yeah.

So I'm sure you're all assuming this is a case of the Akashans having the ability to create superdrugs would result in the cartels trying to get in on that action, right?

Wrong.

Here's the thing: the Akashans have created recreational drugs (of course), but long ago bioengineered methods to eliminate the addictive qualities of those drugs. On top of that, the drugs have the nice side-effect of cleansing the human system of other addictive substances. Needless to say the cartels are not happy about this, and have begun preliminary strikes on the Akashans. Which would seem suicidal given the differences in technology, but fortunately for the cartels they've begun getting backing from various Nippon Tech sources. The Akashans have been playing a defensive game on this front, but some of the coar followers have been pushing for a full offensive to wipe out the "vermin of this society".


Not really relevant, I just wanted to break up the text.

Brazil hasn't really been directly touched by the invasion, but that doesn't mean they're not affected. Brazil contains a pretty sizable chunk of the world's rain forests, and despite everyone telling them the planet needs all that biomass the Brazilian government has been pretty dedicated to ripping it down. The arrival of the Akashans and the sudden axiom changes has re-awoken an old Akashan creation: the rhadangea plant, a plant/animal hybrid that is more than capable of fighting back against the logging companies. They were created way back when the Akashans first arrived on Earth, but laid dormant until the lighting of the Signal Fire.

This is actually a very important detail, partial because environmentalism, but also because the discovery of the rhadangea had a pretty bad domino effect. After a few loggers got strangled to death, the Brazilian government hired some Storm Knights to go find out what was going on. It was determined that the rhadangea wasn't the work of a High Lord, and this investigation was the first contact the Akashans had with Storm Knights.

It was also the first time a Storm Knight was infected with the Comaghaz.

In the end, the Brazilian government declared the Akashans enemies of South America. This may have been influenced by the Cyberpapal nuncio in the capital, but we'll talk more about that later.

Bolivia has been thrown into near total chaos by the arrival of the Akashans.

quote:

Roughly half of Bolivia's population is descended from the pre-Columbian Aymara and Quechua cultures, and have in general been considered an underclass, derisively referred campesinos ("peasants") by the European upper class. As the Akashan realm spread across the western half of the nation, with some transformations occurring near Tarija and Monteagudo, the poorer classes began to look to the visitors as saviors. Some paint them as agents sent to restore the ancient glories of the native Indians, others as military leaders who will reclaim the territory Bolivia has lost to its neighbors over the years.
The Bolivian government hasn't taken an official stance yet, but it's pretty clear they see the Akashans as a threat to the stability of the region. Not helping matters is that the Akashans are accepting these new "citizens", and are aiding them in all sorts of fun ways. Such as showing how to detect oil reserves deep underground and building safe technologies to drill down to it. This has caused a pretty severe economic disparity between the eastern and western halves of the country. Stirring this pot are Nippon Tech agents who are suppling aid to the Bolivian government in hopes that the region will rip itself apart, at which point Kanawa will come in and clean up the pieces. On top of that, Comaghaz victims have begun siding with the rebels, so it's only a matter of time before the whole situation detonates in one form or another.

Chile has been heavily populated by the Akashans, but the government is trying to split the difference between giving the Akashans power and balancing it with negotiations with the Comaghaz hivemind for some drat reason. Something something "both sides" I guess. The Akashans don't know that the Chilean government has been talking to the hivemind, but would presumably not be happy about it if they found out. The whole situation has been set up by the Kanawa Corporation under the guise of the South American Development Trust, which was actually set up at the start of the Possibility War under the cover of "providing aid to South American economies". Somehow, the SADT has managed to get up branch offices and research facilities in Akashan territories, so I'm sure nothing good will come of that.

Lastly, we have Argentina, which has made out worst of all the South American countries due to the lightships that landed there having a lot of infected on board. Sarila has made a big push here, spreading the virus as widely and as quickly as she can. This has caused the Argentinian government rejecting Akashan offers of help due to distrust of the aliens who dumped this mess in their lap. That, in turn, has made containment difficult. The uninfected parts of the country have seen a strong increase in generalized xenophobia, making it dangerous for pretty much anyone from the outside who's trying to help.


This is fine.

There's a little info on the rise of the Comaghaz and psionic powers on Core Earth, as well as the usual details on money and how people dress, but this is insanely long at this point so we're just going skip those really short sections and (assuming anyone's still reading this) go ahead and talk about how the other High Lords are dealing with this new twist in the War.

At this point, Baruk Kaak's in a pretty lovely position and has been losing a lot of territory. As such, he's eying Akashan biotechnology as a useful new weapon that'd be an easy sell to his followers. After all, these weapons aren't dead things! How could Lanala be offended by their use? Interestingly, the Akashans seem to have very little problem with the edeinos in general; they see the edeinos as a primitive version of themselves from back before they were uplifted.

Lady Ardinay and Lord Uthorion are too busy dealing with each other to really worry about the Akashans, although Ardinay has extended diplomatic contact in hopes of an alliance (assuming the Space Gods are as good as they say they are). Uthorion really doesn't care outside of some sympathy for his old buddy Malraux, who's having issues with the Akashans. Neither Ardinay or Uthorion know about reality trees yet, but once that knowledge gets out both leaders will be heavily invested in acquiring them. Ardiany would see them as a way to pull out of the War without killing millions, Uthorion would see them as a way to cement his holdings.

Speaking of Malraux, the Cyberpope has a lot of loving problems with this whole scene. A race of heretical aliens arrive in the territory he was trying to claim for the Cyberpapacy, bringing with them disease and this strange "psionic" witchcraft? And on top of all that, they think that all religions are equally valid? It's like they were created solely to be a slap in the face of the entire Cyberpapacy! He's been trying to undermine the Akashans through the various groups he controls in the area, and knows enough about reality trees to order them all destroyed when encountered by his forces. The Akashans, for their part, are smart enough to realize that Malraux's faith doesn't work well with the whole idea that "all religions are valid", and as such are prepping for the inevitable conflict.

Over in Orrorsh, the Gaunt Man is still trapped in his pocket dimension at this point in the timeline. That means that Thratchen the cyberdemon is still airquote-"in charge", and is so busy trying to maintain the illusion that the Gaunt Man's still in charge and trying to seize his Darkness Device that he's pretty much ignoring the whole thing. Heketon, the Orrroshian Darkness Device, is very aware of what's going on, and already has plans in motion to take advantage of the situation.

Dr. Mobius is loving ecstatic at the arrival of the Akashans and all that sweet, sweet biotechnology, not to mention all those cool psionic powers. He's extended the hand of friendship, but fortunately the Akashans were warned about him early on and are just playing along for now. Mobius is too egotistical to think the Akashans are a threat, and the Akashans have a strong interest in the fact that some of their old temple/colony/labs are in Nile Empire territory.

3327, like Malraux, has had designs on this region since the beginning of the war. Unlike Malraux, however, the Kanawa Corporation was further entrenched when the Akashans showed up. Seizing control of criminal cartels, destabilizing various economies, buying up resources, manipulating governments, all the usual Nippon Tech bag of tricks got thrown out the window when the Akashans touched down. Arms sales are down (since the Akashans have better guns), the drug trade is hurting, and the economic and governmental controls 3327 had in place were shattered. As such, Kanawa has declared war on the Akashans. He's throwing everything from boardroom experts to ninjas at South America, and is also looking into aquiring reality tree technology for himself. While the Akashans don't see 3327 as a threat, Sarila is smart enough to realize that 3327 is a major obstacle to her plans.

And with that, we finally reach the end of the chapter.
---

Here we are at the end of the chapter again, and once again I don't have much to say in summary. There's only so much I can say about piles of setting info, really. At least now we can get to the mechanics.


NEXT TIME: The mind is the limit

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Xiahou Dun posted:

Ugh fine then maybe I'll write a Torchbearer review soon.

Short version : the author really hates elves for some reason.

In Burning Wheel Elves are just The Best because it goes hard on Tolkien stuff. They're the best but also they can just loving die of sadness, like Dwarves are pretty rad but covet things and if you get too greedy you go hole up in a cave somewhere with all your treasure. They can even use their Grief and Greed scores for bonuses so you want to skirt the line between it being high enough to make you unstoppable and so high you die.

Elves are so superior they recommend against having a mixed party and if you do then you should make the Elf 1 or 2 lifepaths less than the other player characters. It'll be interesting to see how Torchbearer messes with that.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


The amount of Torg content is as mad as RIFTS.

It never ends. IT NEVER ENDS.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



PurpleXVI posted:

The amount of Torg content is as mad as RIFTS.

It never ends. IT NEVER ENDS.
Technically I think there's more RIFTS than Torg. It's just that Torg seems longer because I keep getting burned out.

I've still got about 2/3 of Space Gods to finish talking about, then it's just War's End after that. Then my curse shall be lifted, and I can finally rest.

e: bear in mind, too, I'm only covering the "main books". I'm not touching adventures, the city sourcebooks, or the various gear books.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 17:18 on Mar 19, 2019

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011

yospos



Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Old World Armory

A Best Codpiece isn't a waste, it's an investment


One of the things I appreciate about Fantasy, and this gets it across, is that it's much more colorful than most Dark Fantasy settings. People try to put in bright dyes and pretty colors. They wear nicely tailored clothes. They put a lot of their effort into making art and architecture and fantastic codpieces. It's just usually got mud on it, or your fancy new doublet already has a couple patches because you wore it to an adventure and got shot a couple times. The pretty, but worn and lived-in look that the setting usually has is a big step up from everything being drab shitfarming all the time.

...

The most important takeaway is that almost everyone wears colored clothing. Also, anything white doesn't stay white long.There's enough here to properly play dress up, and really, that's part of the appeal of playing an early modern Adventurer, isn't it? As silly as it can be, I like these bits and pieces on what the people of the Empire actually wear, eat, and do and I'm glad the book is more about this and less about giving direct stats to eighty varieties of polearm. I will be skipping the long section on carrying equipment, though, because that kind of stuff is pretty useless even within the game. No-one really cares that you need more than one pack to carry X amount of encumbrance. Especially with encumbrance being an optional rule, anyway. That kind of stuff doesn't tell you much about material culture and is really just filling out wordcount.

That reminds me of an interview with a historical consultant for Vikings. He mentioned that the wealthiest and most powerful Viking leaders would wear fine pants with white and other bright colors, to prove they were rich enough to maintain such easily stained clothes. But the show decided not to include this, because they didn't want scared badass Ragnar Lothbrok to walk around in "clown pants."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


golden bubble posted:

That reminds me of an interview with a historical consultant for Vikings. He mentioned that the wealthiest and most powerful Viking leaders would wear fine pants with white and other bright colors, to prove they were rich enough to maintain such easily stained clothes. But the show decided not to include this, because they didn't want scared badass Ragnar Lothbrok to walk around in "clown pants."

I suspect a lot of what made Hams go the colorful route was its origins as a wargaming setting. After all, if it's canon that you can paint your soldiers in all kinds of vibrant uniforms it makes for a better tabletop miniatures army.

Battle Mad Ronin
Aug 26, 2017


golden bubble posted:

That reminds me of an interview with a historical consultant for Vikings. He mentioned that the wealthiest and most powerful Viking leaders would wear fine pants with white and other bright colors, to prove they were rich enough to maintain such easily stained clothes. But the show decided not to include this, because they didn't want scared badass Ragnar Lothbrok to walk around in "clown pants."

The vikings freaking loved their bright colors. Paint fragments and residue shows everyone could afford it would paint their houses blue, yellow, red...

And the gold. Vikings loved gold. Wearing and arm ring and earrings just to show of your gold was a very manly thing to do. The myths tells us a chieftain’s gifts were 8ndicative of his prosperity, with gold jewelry being one of the most best things a warrior could get from his chief.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Evil Mastermind posted:

Technically I think there's more RIFTS than Torg. It's just that Torg seems longer because I keep getting burned out.

I've still got about 2/3 of Space Gods to finish talking about, then it's just War's End after that. Then my curse shall be lifted, and I can finally rest.

For what it's worth, I'd be interested to see what you make of Eternity. I've liked what I've read (up to and including Nile Empire) but I'm sure I've missed things. They even seem generally well-reviewed, save for this one dude on DTRPG who keeps leaving one-star reviews on things with super contradictory complaints. It's like the system kicked his dog or something.

On the actual matter at hand, is it weird that Space Gods feels like the 'bridge too far' bit for the setting? Cyborg-Cenobites? Sure! Cyber-Catholics? Yes, have some! Aliens? Eh.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Battle Mad Ronin posted:

The vikings freaking loved their bright colors. Paint fragments and residue shows everyone could afford it would paint their houses blue, yellow, red...

And the gold. Vikings loved gold. Wearing and arm ring and earrings just to show of your gold was a very manly thing to do. The myths tells us a chieftain’s gifts were 8ndicative of his prosperity, with gold jewelry being one of the most best things a warrior could get from his chief.

This is also why the Hams Norse don't use gold coins; they melt any gold they take down to make more jewelry, because a Jarl or King being able to hand out gold rings is great for their warriors and great for the King, too. Much more valuable to have gold gifts to give than coins. They still happily use silver coins, though, since there's a lot of silver in Norsca and they don't think it's anything special.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Dawgstar posted:

For what it's worth, I'd be interested to see what you make of Eternity. I've liked what I've read (up to and including Nile Empire) but I'm sure I've missed things. They even seem generally well-reviewed, save for this one dude on DTRPG who keeps leaving one-star reviews on things with super contradictory complaints. It's like the system kicked his dog or something.
I did a quick two-post review of it last year that's on the archive (which is blocked at work, so I can't link it), but my take is that it's good and fixes a lot of the problems I had with the original game.

quote:

On the actual matter at hand, is it weird that Space Gods feels like the 'bridge too far' bit for the setting? Cyborg-Cenobites? Sure! Cyber-Catholics? Yes, have some! Aliens? Eh.
Not at all. I happen to agree with you there.

The thing is that the Akashans came in like a year after the start of game line, and they really do have a tacked-on feel. Now we know they were planned from the beginning due to stuff like the early adventures, but they feel very much like they were shoehorned in. The other problem is that the whole aliens and Comaghaz things don't fit thematically with the rest of the setting. The whole setup might work as a stand-alone game, but here it's just One More Thing in a game that already has a ton of things going on.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



More and more why I love Warham Fantasy, it feels like a setting people actually live in.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Evil Mastermind posted:

Technically I think there's more RIFTS than Torg. It's just that Torg seems longer because I keep getting burned out.

Yeah. I think there are, like, 40 or so original Torg books? And these days there's 100+ Rifts books. Evil Mastermind's also been diving deeper while my reviews have gotten more streamlined over time, if not by much.

But they both have South American biomancy and benevolent supertrees, so there's that.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:




Part 12: Scrounging for help like an anteater in a Raid warehouse



”Maximum” Mike Pondsmith posted:

Life in 2020 isn’t just all guns and drugs. If it was, we woulda named the game Dungeons & Drug Dealers.

The best Cyberpunk games are a combination of doomed romance, fast action, glittering parties, mean streets and quixotic quests to do the right thing against all odds. It’s a little like Casablanca with cyberware...”

The section on how to run the game is pretty short. Some of the advice on setting the mood and describing the environment that I think is redundant because the book has done an excellent job of setting the mood. There’s a paragraph encouraging the the Referee to play for keeps, which I don’t even think is worth commenting on. It’s an Eighties RPG, of course it’s going to tell GMs to be adversarial. That’s not to say it’s good advice, but nothing they put in here rises to the level of, say, Play Dirty. And at least it’s up front with how it expects you to run things.

So are there any good pieces of advice? Well there’s a good paragraph on what it means for conflicts to be ambiguous. It’s not just betrayals, or heroes making Hard Choices. Sworn enemies can be forced by circumstances to work together. A villain might have to do good once in a while. While this doesn’t really work in conjunction with the adversarial tone (“lol you took Bob Evil’s offer what did you think would happen? Roll new characters!”), on its own I think a good starting point for GMs used to running dungeon-crawl on how to be more nuanced.

The other piece of advice is to start with a reason why the PCs are working togethers. These “Teams” have the benefit of giving a through line for what the initial campaign goals are. The teams that are suggested are a corporate team, a band, a Trauma Team, a mercenary group, a gang, a nomad pack, a police department, and a media team. There’s even suggestions on how to adopt different roles for specific team (a Corporate can be a police captain, or a gang’s covert sponsor), but also point out that any role can find themselves in any setup due to weird circumstances. A few of the groups have a lot of player slots, and it would have been helpful to point out that not all of these have to be filled. And some roles have more representation than others (*cough* Solos *cough*).

There’s one more piece of advice in this section, and that is for the Referee to immerse themselves in the genre. As I’ve said, the book is chock full of flavor, and there’s a short story included to show how it all fits together. The book also recommends the Referee read books and see movies that Cyberpunk took inspiration from. The bibliography contains the usual suspects: William Gibson, Walter Jon Williams, Bruce Sterling, George Alec Effinger. Likewise, Filmography has the cornerstones of Cyberpunk as of 1990: Blade Runner, Max Headroom, Mad Max, Robocop, and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.

Wait, what?

:psyboom:

For those who’ve never heard of this move, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank is a really awful made-for-TV film from 1983, produced by RSL Productions in Canada and financed by WNET and New Jersy Public Television. It stars Raul Julia and no one else you've heard of. The plot is beyond description, but for most of the movie Raul inserts himself into Casablanca and pals around with himself playing Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine. Almost no one would know about this movie except it was riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1997. And yet here in 1990, Mike Pondsmith is telling Referees to go and watch Overdrawn at the Memory Bank in order to better get Cyberpunk.

I have so many questions about why this is in the Filmography. The biggest is why this low budget public television movie made the list when there are so many movies that didn’t. Not Repo Man, not Escape from New York, not The Warriors, not A Clockwork Orange. Nah let’s send our fans to watch a minute long staring scene between Raul Julia and a guy with only 7 credits on IMDB, because that screams “Cyberpunk!” And the worst part? After typing this out, I think I know why. Overdrawn is the only film on the Filmography that depicts hacking anywhere close to what it’s like in this game. There were other hacking movies out in the Eighties, like War Games, but they didn’t plug the hacker’s brain into a computer. Or at least none that the staff at R.Talsorian had seen. I don’t know if you knew this, but there were a lot of movies made from that decade.

Aside from that one surprise, I don’t really know what to say about the Referee section. The advice is threadbare, but this was still from a time where “GM Advice” meant giving a map of a town and a random encounter table. The adversarial advice is irritating, but I get the desire to recreate the scraping-by aesthetic of the genre. The one thing that I would say needs to be added is that if the players are supposed to play protagonists that don’t trust each other (a common occurrence in Cyberpunk stories), then the book needs to tell the Referee how to set up that dynamic in a way that won’t jeopardize real life relationships. CP2020 just says “Cyberpunks don’t trust each other” without setting up relations and why they wouldn’t trust each other. And the frustrating thing is that the game is half-way towards setting this all up with the Lifepaths. Jamie has people from her Lifepath that like or hate her, including a former love that turned out to be a professional rival. But those are all NPCs. CP2020 could cut all the nonsense about VR creation for guidelines to interconnect all the player’s Lifepaths and still have room to talk about setting appropriate boundaries.

Next Time: Local Celebrity Destroys Office Building, Fridges Own Girlfriend

SirPhoebos fucked around with this message at 14:44 on Mar 20, 2019

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


I genuinely want to be at the table where people sit down to play rad Cyberpunk badasses, and instead you get...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAeuWej8fu8#t=1054s

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's really weird to look at lots of old GMing advice and see how terrible it seems to us in 2019. What the position means and how you play it has changed so much since I was a kid (and for the better, I think).

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I genuinely want to be at the table where people sit down to play rad Cyberpunk badasses, and instead you get...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAeuWej8fu8#t=1054s
I know I'd be pretty mad if the game bungled or bobbled the Fingal dopple.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




In 1990, you couldn't just go online and conjure up a list of hundreds of dystopian films. (It's unsurprising that Pondsmith was a big anime fan but probably hadn't seen Burst City.) But he had to have heard of the films you mentioned.

Liquid Sky is also an odd choice. It's a weird indie movie about fashion models in NYC doing coke, with the throughline of aliens killing people who have sex. It is considered a movie that really gets the NYC art scene, i.e. struggling young people living in closets and doing drugs and begging their rich parents for money.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Evil Mastermind posted:

I know I'd be pretty mad if the game bungled or bobbled the Fingal dopple.

"Roll your Resources to keep possession of your rock. 14? Whups, no, the other baboon seizes your rock. You're going to have to get harder than that to make it on the savanna, Choomba."

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply