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unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I'm a huge fan of an entire two- or three-line commentary for a Charm that is just "The backer wanted this."

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

SunAndSpring posted:

Cloud-Wreathed Scholar lets you introduce a fact while pursuing the goals of someone you have a Major or Defining Tie you have or a goal of your Circle, even if you've already introduced one. The charm says you can only use it if you perceive "a need for [your] expertise, and only if it pertains to the events at hand." Which is, uh, basically any time. 2/5, what's even the point of this.

Feat tax to get you out of a limitation that shouldn't have been there.

It's also a prerequisite for a few Evocations of the best of all artifact weapons.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Rand Brittain posted:

Feat tax to get you out of a limitation that shouldn't have been there.

It's also a prerequisite for a few Evocations of the best of all artifact weapons.

What Evocations use expansion charms as prerequisites?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Rand Brittain posted:

Feat tax to get you out of a limitation that shouldn't have been there.

It's also a prerequisite for a few Evocations of the best of all artifact weapons.

Yeah, the commentary is pretty revealing about what he expected "Introduce a Fact" to do to a game:

quote:

When I wrote the Lore rules, I limited players to one introduced fact per scene. I was wary of clogging one scene with too many lore-based revelations. But I think this Charm is significantly limited enough to prevent such abuse, while allowing the Solar savant to tackle a continuous flow of puzzles, riddles, and historical mysteries to aid her allies in advancement.

Which seems to land firmly in "JustÖdon't be a huge rear end in a top hat or game with huge assholes" territory and not something that needed an actual hard-and-fast rule about it. It makes trying to use Lore (or "know a thing" in general) in Exalted really weird.

And then this Charm is dirt cheap to use so, functionally, if you're willing to waste the xp on it you can go ahead and be exactly the kind of weird rear end in a top hat MÝrke was worried about, and very much explicitly allowed by the rules.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Joe Slowboat posted:

What Evocations use expansion charms as prerequisites?

Three directly. One for Fist of Titans, one for Sun's Brush, and one for Heartsbalm. Anything that builds off those charms further needs them as well, but I'm too lazy to count those.

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS






I agree with the sentiment but this calligraphy is a solid C+.

Gothic batard? Really? And you smudged the ink on all the serifs. (Not you, whoever did this.)

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

SunAndSpring posted:

Honestly Exalted could benefit from something like Godbound or Mage the Awakening's improv magic systems. Just say "ok these are the themes of the splat and what they can and cannot do, charms are your rote powers you buy because they're cheaper to do than improv".

Notably this is literally what Scion 2E seems to be doing with purviews. Hero has two example boons for each one and then there's general guidelines on improv magic, almost like maybe they learned some sort of lesson.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Xiahou Dun posted:

I agree with the sentiment but this calligraphy is a solid C+.

Gothic batard? Really? And you smudged the ink on all the serifs. (Not you, whoever did this.)

probably unzealous did it but unzealous is absolutely capable of doing a better job of calligraphy than this when not making a quickie shitpost on an RPG forums thread

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





SunAndSpring posted:

Three directly. One for Fist of Titans, one for Sun's Brush, and one for Heartsbalm. Anything that builds off those charms further needs them as well, but I'm too lazy to count those.

Huh, I distinctly remembered them building of Solar charms, but not charms from the Miracles book. drat. (I do not have Miracles and don't plan to acquire it.)

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





MollyMetroid posted:

probably unzealous did it but unzealous is absolutely capable of doing a better job of calligraphy than this when not making a quickie shitpost on an RPG forums thread

This was just aimed at making a cheap joke. My calligraphy is far from stellar and I just wanted to have some fun. Sorry!

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


unseenlibrarian posted:

Notably this is literally what Scion 2E seems to be doing with purviews. Hero has two example boons for each one and then there's general guidelines on improv magic, almost like maybe they learned some sort of lesson.

Scion is cool as a system, really liked what I read, but also I just find the setting kinda dull. It's like the real world but there's more people into pantheism, basically? I'd still like to play it some day, but it doesn't exactly grab me the way some other settings do. If they ever do a 4th edition of Exalted in 2050 or w/e, I think they should move on over to Storypath or modify it a bit because yeah, that improv magic poo poo is such a good idea.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




While Exalted 3 goes way overboard and is riddled with fundamental flaws that undercut it, I don't think "the core game is climbing around in trees of exception-based powers" is just plain a bad thing and shouldn't exist.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

SunAndSpring posted:

Scion is cool as a system, really liked what I read, but also I just find the setting kinda dull. It's like the real world but there's more people into pantheism, basically? I'd still like to play it some day, but it doesn't exactly grab me the way some other settings do. If they ever do a 4th edition of Exalted in 2050 or w/e, I think they should move on over to Storypath or modify it a bit because yeah, that improv magic poo poo is such a good idea.

The rules are dogshit

For all that exalted 3 is flawed, at least you can tell some thought went into them instead of your powers being grossly limited in how many times you can use them and the basic combat resolution system being straight up flawed. I've seen people have very fun and tactical combats in Exalted. In Scion, I managed to make a character who could appliy all but one combat trick out of chargen, all of which did mostly nothing except paint a really silly mental image.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Transient People posted:

The rules are dogshit

For all that exalted 3 is flawed, at least you can tell some thought went into them instead of your powers being grossly limited in how many times you can use them and the basic combat resolution system being straight up flawed. I've seen people have very fun and tactical combats in Exalted. In Scion, I managed to make a character who could appliy all but one combat trick out of chargen, all of which did mostly nothing except paint a really silly mental image.

Is this Scion 2e or Scion 1e? I haven't played 2e, but was hopeful they fixed the problems with the system

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Kaza42 posted:

Is this Scion 2e or Scion 1e? I haven't played 2e, but was hopeful they fixed the problems with the system
Well I'm not as smart as Transient People but I've been in a campaign that did some origin-level stuff and it worked pretty well. The main thing is that at the very beginning you're kind of limited in how much Legend you have. It was real clear to me that this was meant to create a natural progression of power between a guy with Legend 1 and Legend 3 without requiring that guy to buy an additional 31 Charms in four different cascades, like in Exalted.

Mr. Prokosch
Feb 14, 2012

Behold My Magnificence!


I don't know about 2e but 1e was badly designed even by WW standards.

Combat was:
Have Godly Dex? If no eat poo poo and die.
If yes, compare Dex with your opponent. Whoever has the highest number of auto successes wins. If you have exactly the same dots, maybe one of the other stats or powers might matter!

I checked out after glancing at that book, and I played exalted 2e for a couple years. It would be pretty funny if Scion 2e followed in it's predecessors footsteps by continuing to be the worst designed game of its generation.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Yeah, I was specifying Scion 2e as I have heard of 1e being god awful, but maybe I missed something horrible? Who knows.

Also ah gently caress I forgot there were 10 Melee charms in Miracles. Just gently caress my poo poo up.

Transient People
Dec 22, 2011

"When a man thinketh on anything whatsoever, his next thought after is not altogether so casual as it seems to be. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently."
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Kaza42 posted:

Is this Scion 2e or Scion 1e? I haven't played 2e, but was hopeful they fixed the problems with the system

2e

We played the playtest, it sucked, we couldn't even bring ourselves to finish the mini-campaign. I asked the guy who helped compile the errata for it if the rules for attack vs defense (attack is your usual WoD dicepool, defense is only one defensive stat which is half that and ROLLED - so literally half a pool) had been fixed, he said no, and that was all I wanted to do with Scion 2e.

As for the can't use your powers thing, Scion has a thing where you can spend...Legend I think it was called? To make random miracles that fit your portfolios, called I think it was Marvels. Problem: you only have Legend equal to its rating, which is your level, and you start at 1 by default. You can get more, but the two ways to do so are capped at 1/session. So every player gets to try three miracles a session starting out (hit or miss, at least in the playtest). Imagine getting to declare three charms period in exalted (and that's with heavy stunting and narrative complications) and you get why it sucks.

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!


That Old Tree posted:

Yeah, the commentary is pretty revealing about what he expected "Introduce a Fact" to do to a game:

Honestly I've always been hugely suspicious of "introduce a fact"-powers in any sort of game, because it requires that players and GM be immensely on the same page about the mood, feel, thematics, etc. of everything that's going on when you've suddenly got two(or likely more) writers on the setting and NPC actions than just the GM. It works fine for anything that's more or less a collaborative writing exercise than a game as it is, some of the lighter games, but for a game like Exalted it just feels massively out of place to me.

I like and trust most of my players but I still would not, in anything I run with any sort of crunch, trust them with any of those powers. Or, at least, not as something they can just bust out mid-sessoin. If it was, it'd be something they could do during downtime or whatever where we could talk about the consequences and adjust their idea so it doesn't torpedo everything.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




PurpleXVI posted:

Honestly I've always been hugely suspicious of "introduce a fact"-powers in any sort of game, because it requires that players and GM be immensely on the same page about the mood, feel, thematics, etc. of everything that's going on when you've suddenly got two(or likely more) writers on the setting and NPC actions than just the GM. It works fine for anything that's more or less a collaborative writing exercise than a game as it is, some of the lighter games, but for a game like Exalted it just feels massively out of place to me.

I like and trust most of my players but I still would not, in anything I run with any sort of crunch, trust them with any of those powers. Or, at least, not as something they can just bust out mid-sessoin. If it was, it'd be something they could do during downtime or whatever where we could talk about the consequences and adjust their idea so it doesn't torpedo everything.

I can't say I'm sympathetic to an attitude so allergic to collaboration that it's a wrangle for a character to know something that wasn't previously established. I make an effort to collaboratively flesh-out my games all the time when I'm GMing, so honestly I'm pretty over "roll to know a thing" anyway, let alone needing to pare that poo poo down to once per sceneóand then still make them roll for itójust in case I don't want to act like an adult and just say "Hey, Jason, slow down a sec, I've got plans/you're hogging the spotlight/you're getting a little silly."

EDIT: I feel like this might come across meaner than I intend. I know play styles can vary. It's just, particularly in a game with Know Things as a unique stat, with a pallet of its own Know Things magical powers, with implicit and explicit encouragements all over to create bold, daring and exotic characters, it's especially bizarre that "Hey guys, maybe <rolls 5 successes> the book we're looking for is in this secret library the next town over" is, like, a huge deal, especially with all the caveats about Storyteller discretion and control that make the core rule a lot longer than it really needed to be.

The whole thing is very afraid of players being able to possibly establish supplementary setting details, if the GM allows it, which is kind of a weird tack for Exalted.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 09:40 on Apr 13, 2019

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 16 - Guns, lots of guns.




In comparison to the other chapters this doesnít actually tell us all that much instead it shows you a lot of things. Because letís get one thing straight here, Neotech loving loves guns.

We get a sidebar about gun purchases in the year 2059. In many ways itís more or less the same as how it works elsewhere to the best of my knowledge. Your information, including biometrics, is fed into a database connected to both local police as well as Interpol. Interpol is a really big player in this setting I should add as the sidebar goes on to mention that they a lot of information about you, ranging from address to debts or if youíre an addict. All of which can be used to deny a purchase. Otherwise youíre free to buy a gun.
All weapons have been fitted with a transponder and its tested before purchase. Then the weapon ID is fed into the weapons computer that contains the owner and specifications. That number is also etched onto the gun somewhere.

If you want an illegal gun on the other hand you need to be careful to make sure the gun isnít considered hot property from being used elsewhere. Most serious illegal arms deals have means to either forge the weapon ID or hack the computer to make the gun appear legal. Or simply wipe the gun from all databases so it canít be identified. But if you possess such a weapon youíre in deep poo poo legally.
You can get pistols, revolvers, hunting rifles and semi-automatic shotguns without special licenses. Costs Iím sure will show up in the gear section or something.

Beyond that there is just an explanation of table terminology. Also of what accessories you can get. Of which there is a bunch like a guncam or a cyberlink. Or the usual things like sights, suppressors and so on. So odd to see a weapon attachment list that doesnít have a foregrip and just bipods. After that we get to the meat of the chapter.
Which is guns.
Several tables worth of them. Just pages upon pages of tables filled with various firearms ranging from revolvers to assault rifles, shotguns and going as far as gatling guns.
But thatís it really, itís just tables upon tables of guns. None of them get any kind of information about them. Theyíre just names followed by a string of numbers. There is art of some of them but a lot of them is also just modern guns slightly spruced up. Most notable is perhaps the G22 A1. Turns out the G11 project did work out exceedingly well in Neotech. None of them get any information dumps about them like Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun might do. Really dry and boring if anything mostly because itís hard to drool over just numbers in this case when itís all so dense..

As Iíve said before, damage in this game is derived from whatever ammunition is used and what follows after the weapon stats is 3Ĺ pages of all the kinds of ammo available in the game. There are 40 different weapon calibres and those are in turn broken down to 12 different types. Ranging from standard Full Metal Jacket rounds to some more in setting things such as Glaser Safety slugs that are made to be used in space or in aircraft where hull breaches are very bad ideas or Tenton rounds that are invisible to most security scanners.
A lot of these rounds have their own modifiers to a number of things like EAB, recoil and to hit.

The book then goes on to say that Neotech Offensive adds even more types of bullets and then goes on to list all of them directly afterwards.

Thereís also several pages worth of melee weapons. All of those broken down into various types as well. I can mentions that the Katana is neither the most expensive or best sword available in the list. The No-Dachi is the most expensive sword on the list and the Two handed sword is the most damaging at Ob4D6 compared to the Katanaís Ob3D6.

That is not to say thereís some oddities scattered around these tables. For instance the natural weapon table has entries for both shark bite and vampire bite. A frying pan does +Ob1D6+1 crushing damage. While a coffee maker or microwave both do Ob1D6+2 crushing damage if used as a throwing weapon. A coffee table on the other hand does Ob2D6+1 crushing damage if thrown.

But thatís it really, itís just pages upon pages of tables with weapons of various kinds and ammunition. Even as someone who is a bit of a gun nut itís just boring to go through this part because it has nothing to it. Whereís interesting world information baked into describing some of these guns? What does a Mauser Kampfgewehr-4 look like? Or an FWD Galaxy Assault for that part? (None of those are included in the small art display I should add.) Instead theyíre just numbers and names and thatís boring as gently caress. Not to mention insanely complicated for that part with having to remember the various kinds of ammo and what they all do.

Next time: Shot through the heart, and youíre to blame.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




PurpleXVI posted:

Having just gotten out of bed when I read this, I initially misread it as Magic Ape Ghosts, which would be a charm tree I'd be entirely comfortable with the game featuring.

This is almost certain to devolve into Harambe jokes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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





Arms of the Chosen: I Told You That Story So I Could Tell You This One, Among Others

Arms of the Chosen is the first book done by the new devs of Ex3, Eric Minton and Robert Vance. While Morke and Holden are credited as "additional development," this mostly means the book was begun under their watch and then they got fired before it was completed. The book is designed as an overview of artifacts and their place in the game, with a lot of examples. Artifacts in this edition are, after all, meant to have their own stories and legends. There are five chapters - first, a history of Exalted craftwork and the uses of the five magical materials, which overrides pretty much everything written in the Core about them, plus some (sadly vague and unhelpful) Evocation guidelines. Chapter 2 moves on to a list of weapons and their stories and powers, thapter 3 is armor, chapter 4 is miscellaneous artifact stuff, and chapter five is warstriders. (Read: Giant robots.)

We get a new list of suggested reading for this book's inspirations. From the Classics, we get Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel, which is a specific take on the Hindu Ramayana which is cited for Rama's use of a magic bow that fires universally destructive arrows against a trident that also has universe-ending power, and The Tain (Ciaran Carson translation) and Lady Gregory's Gods and Fighting Men to cite the insane superwepaons and other magic items of Irish literary mythology. From fiction, we get Elric by Michael Moorcock because of Stormbringer, Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, which involves sci fi heroes pretending to be Hindu gods that use high tech superitems to enhance their already powerful abilities. Movies gives us Doctor Strange because of Strange's learning to use the Cloak of Levitation and Eye of Agamotto. Comics goes with Witchblade for the titular Witchblade and its historic legacy. Then we get, from manga, Bleach by Tite Kubo, for obvious reasons, Fate/Zero by Gen Urobohi (for the legendary artifacts that the warrior servants carry) and Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi, for the way that the lost history of drama influences the legendary weapons, and the way the weapons don't always have to be killing ones. From anime, we get The Vision of Escaflowne, as the best example for how warstriders work and fit into a fantasy world.

So yeah, a lot more anime and manga in this list! I wouldn't pick Lord of Light myself, but that's really my only quibble. (Well, that and I don't know a drat thing about Witchblade.)

now, the history of crafting! The oldest artifacts in Creation come from the Dawn Time, before the birth of humanity. When the Primordials made the world, it was filled with all kinds of lesser being - elementals, gods, inhuman races - which made their own weapons and armor to hunt or make war or for whatever purpose. Most of these species had little resemblance to humanity, and most of their surviving ancient relics are barely recognizable as artifacts to all but the hugest loving nerds. Stuff like twelve-fingered gauntlets made of vines, fractal crystal armatures, glowing purple gas that can be sung into the shape of a boat, immortal un-flames that glow with cold deathlight (whatever that means) or lances made of physical math. Those are literally all the examples. Most of these tools are so strange in their design that only a Lunar might use them, and only by mastery of shapeshifting. Even the relics of more humanoid species such as the Mountain Folk and the Dragon Kings were often of exotic materials and strange construction.

The first Exalts were quick to master the forging of the magical materials - at least, the non-soulsteel ones - and many legendary artifacts were born of the war against the Primordials, given shape by the necesseties of the battles. Among their greatest innovations was the invention of colossal weapons - daiklaves, goremauls and direlances, for example - whose sheer mass made their power devastating yet whose masters could lift them as easily as paper. They also learned the art of Evocations, bonding with their artifacts to draw forth their inner power. EVen today, some still recall the legend of Eternal Nova, the Sword Priest, whose master of blades was such that he could unlock another Exalt's weapon at a touch, releasing its Evocations for them. A few scholars have written of Feranth Dambresile, the Invisible, who stole the secret of Evocations from the prehuman Thau Irim, the Citiy in the Ruby, a long-lost inhuman species that was also a single stone.

In the First Age, the end of the Divine Revolution marked a new beginning. The world was new to the Exalts, as yet uncharted and full of strange people, untamed wilds and prehuman ruins. It was a time of adventure and exploration, as servitor races of the Primordials lingered in the dark, and the shadowlands unleashed by the war allowed dark Underworld beings to spawn as Fair Folk stalked the edges of the world. The Exalted Host were forced to battle many mighty peoples, such as the Niobraran League, an underwater confederation led by their own strange Chosen, or the Nine Foxfires, a band of witch-ogre siblings whose grew stronger with each defeat. Their crafters rose to the challenges, making new tools to tame the wild, from pages of Brigid's Atlas to the Singing Staves to the Compass of Mercury's Grace. They made regalia to show their authority over the world, like the Daiklove of Conquest or the cursed crown Vainglory. They made weapons and armor to defeat their foes, some revived and renewed from the Dawn Time, others siege engines and warstriders that were wholly new.

With the turn of centuries, the First Age crafters broke new ground. They integrated the results of sorcery, such as liquid light or crystallized music, into their works, drawing forth new and unnatural metals, plants and animals from the Wyld to use. They mixed artifice and gheomancy, tapping into the flows of Essencei n the world to empower their artifacts or fusing mystic devices with arcane architecture. They created superior prosthetic limbs, self-aware automata, flying ships - all manners of wonder. In the hight of the First Age, great artifacts were built with strange, even unfathomable powers. They made synthetic minds that outstripped their own intellects, metal dragons that drank Essence and oculd level cities, cornucopias of infinite wealth. The book Treatise on Wonders by Kesuth Amaldui speaks of the crucible of the sorcerer Tarim, which distilled spells into a liquid form, and the carvings in the ruins of Kingfisher Bastion depict the Seat of the Sun Ascendant, a great orichalcum throne that could unfold into a colossus the size of a city. Even today, the world fears the mighty power of the Sword of Creation, enshrined in the mountain-heart of the Realm Defense Grid.

Next time: Artifice in the Age of Sorrows.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



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


Part 23b: The Final Countdown

Act Two takes place stateside, starting in Boston, Massachusetts which at this point is part of the Cyberpapacy. Technically the Church doesn't run the city yet, but is slowly working its way into people's minds as Malraux trys out this cool new idea her heard of called "subtlety".

All the PCs have to go on at the start is a name (Roxanne D'Aramis). The Act starts with the PCs touching down at Logan Airport, and can branch depending on how they decide to get information. Which is to say, there's four options presented to them: getting access to Cyberpapal records, hitting up a cyberpunk nightclub, or just wandering around Boston Commons and waiting for a plot point to find them. The book sort of presents the church as the default start, so we'll begin there.

Getting access to Cyberpapal records requires breaking into the main Cyberpapal stronghold in the city: The First Church of Christ, Scientist. This landmark has been taken over by the Cyberpapacy and made into a staging area/GodNet hub.

This scene is treated as a pretty standard cyberpunk-esque B&E. The place is manned by 20 cyberpriests, 24 Church Police, four cybergargoyles, and is run by Archbishop Daniel Mouton. Hacking into the GodNet here reveals a bunch of stuff:
  • Roxanne was arrested four days ago by the Church Police shortly after arriving in Boston and shipped to Salem.
  • The Archbishop has been reading up on the Salem Witch Trials and thinks they'd be a useful tool in manipulating the area.
  • There's been a lot of fighting against Church forces in the Boston Commons and Kenmore Square areas.
  • The Kanawa Corporation has managed to get a foothold here by opening a Bank of Japan branch in the city.
From here, the group can explore the other original leads or work the Kanawa angle.

The nightclub lead brings the PCs to Kenmore Square and a cyberdive called "The Rat".

quote:

Situated within walking distance to Boston University and Fenway Park, Kenmore Square is a loud, crowded place these days, humming with a diverse nightlife of students, sports fans, cyberpunkers, and runaways. Always a busy place even before the war, it has been transformed into a leaner, meaner, and more exciting place than ever.

When the group arrives, they happen to coincide with a Church Police streetsweeper team chasing down a young woman accused of being a witch. Defeating the squad gets the woman's gratitude, but that's about it.

The club itself is a stereotypical idea of a cyberpunk nightclub: lots of chrome, lots of moshing, and a solid wall of noise. There's also two Kanawa ninjas stationed here in secret because the bar's owner is suspected of moving black market merch. They'll get photos of anyone who looks like a Storm Knight, and with a high enough roll the PCs can notice and trail them back to the Bank of Japan building.

There's really not much to do here except dig for rumors (most of which are pointless to the adventure), possibly get into a bar fight, maybe see the ninjas, and spend time in the mosh pit (taking damage roughly equivalent to a pistol for each moshing "attempt", which takes 10 minutes), because as we all know that's how moshing works.


Hey, ho, let's go!

The final initial lead brings the PCs to Boston Common, where they do indeed run into a plot device.

Word about what happened in Thebes has gotten around the High Lords, and Jezrael wants to get her hands on Roxanne to give her the upper hand in whatever's coming up next. She's sent our old buddy Thratchen and a dozen Tharkoldu to the city to hunt her down.

While wandering around the Commons, the PCs are required to make spot checks to see if they hear the sounds of a struggle, then make another roll to follow the source of the sounds. Hopefully they do, because otherwise the scene ends and nothing happens.

Following the noises will lead to Thratchen, who is getting information the only way he knows how: by attacking people. He's currently "questioning" two teenagers a third bleeds out on the ground. He's accompanied by a dozen cyberdemons.

quote:

"Ahhh, Stormers! I would know that stench anywhere! You are like insects,so easily exterminated, yet still found wherever one looks! Come then! Face he who was regent of Orrorsh, and is now the favored one of Jezrael! My wing here craves blood, and you'll do quite nicely."
That clunky challenge issued, he'll leap into the fight. Thratchen will retreat if he takes two wounds, using his followers as interference so he can run away. It's worth pointing out that, unbeknownst to Thratchen, the Gaunt Man can still see and hear everything Thratchen can. When he realizes that the Storm Knights are moving against him, he'll send Mr. Koar (from the last act) after them, assuming he's still alive.

The wounded kid can be saved with a first aid roll, but the teens don't know who Roxanne is. However, making a streetwise roll and talking to the various street people around will let the PCs know that Roxanne was here, but got picked up by the Church Police and shipped to Salem.

The last lead is the Kanawa one, and this is a little trickier. After the fall of New York and Philadelphia, the stock exchange was forced to move to Boston to keep the global economy moving. Now Boston is part of the Cyberpapacy and Kanawa is starting to move in, so the financial district is heavily patrolled by the state police force, the Church Police, and MarSec.

Getting a meeting with the bank president Mr. Takashima is pretty much impossible, so the PCs will have to break in to a second-story office in a skyscraper owned by the Kanawa corporation. This means the place is defended by twenty heavily armed-and-armored MarSec agents, a dozen corporate ninjas, and whatever Boston Police show up when the alarms go off.

Hacking into the computers here will give the group a lot of information, none of which is useful to the mission at hand, as well as the following memo if they roll high enough:

quote:

"It is with regret that Kanawa Corporation announces that the world known as Earth is no longer a valid site for continued business and trade. For a number of reasons, it has been decided that nothing less than a full withdrawal and re-consolidation back in Marketplace is necessary to ensure our continued prosperity.

"All holdings on Earth that have not been liquidated by the end of fiscal '95 shall be turned over to a handpicked consortium of executives, who shall run the businesses in our absence, in essence, leasing them from our megacorporation. This is done with the understanding that if we ever deign to return, all resources and assets revert back to us.

"This venture has been a beneficial one, in which many lessons were learned and many profits made. Our wisdom has increased greatly as a result. In fact, it is that wisdom which tells us that the time to leave is now.

"We wish to express our gratitude for your loyalty and service to Kanawa Corporation."
- Ryuchi Kanawa, CEO
Kanawa Corp
Now, this should be a huge red flag to the players to let them know that yes, the High Lords are abandoning this sinking ship. Unfortunately, this isn't actually useful information, because they can't do anything with it.

So after all that, only two of the four leads actually had anything useful. Good job, guys.


"Did you find anything yet?" "Yeah, Becky from Accounting is having an affair with Jeff from Sales."

Anyway, the PCs get on the road to Salem. This is where Scene Five happens: an encounter with a Nineties RPG Badass Serial Killer.

This NRBSK goes by the name Randolph Chapman. He used to be an operative for the U.S. government until the Gaunt Man got into his dreams; now he believes that the nightmares will stop if he hunts down and kills a specific Storm Knight. He doesn't know which Storm Knight that actually is, so he's just killing all of them.

Chapman has set up a trap alongside the highway; a van clearly forced off the road with blood on the doors. Chapman ran the van off the road, killed everyone inside, and is now laying in wait for whatever good Samaritans end up stopping to help. Normally this would be an easy fight, but Chapman got his hands on an eternity shard weapon: The Sword of Vlad the Impailer. The Sword is particularly vicious, effectively doubling his normal melee damage (in his hands, it does as much damage as a grenade), and allows him to detect P-rated individuals.

Chapman will try to fight until he gets a kill, but if that doesn't seem likely he'll fight until he manages to wound someone. When he does, he jumps on his motorcycle and takes off, content. The PCs can chase him down if they want, but really this is like the train fight in the last chapter: just there to be there. Although the Sword is a nice prize if the PCs can get it.


When you were arguing about RPGs online...

So anyway, the PCs finally get to Salem. At least, they get to the outskirts of Salem. The roads are blocked off by the cops and by a huge crowd of citizens. The reason there's a crowd is because everyone's het up for a witch burning.

Cyberpapal agents have been working the area for a few months now, spreading the word of God and in particular how that word relates to the burning of witches. "Witches", in this context, meaning "anyone who looks weird." Unfortunately for the PCs, this probably also includes the Storm Knights. The cops order the Knights out of their vehicle and into the main square, where the Inquisitor will sort things out "after the hanging."

The main square is surrounded by enraged citizens, all of whom boo and spit at the Knights as they're escorted through. A bonfire is going, full of books, CDs, video games, movie posters, and Bibles.

quote:

A huge platform and scaffold has been erected. Surrounding the area are a score of black uniformed Church Police, supplemented by a half dozen cybernetically enhanced warriors wearing white surcoats with red crosses over their black armor. These sit high on cybernetically enhanced steeds.

Atop the platform stand eight men in white robes and skullcaps, listening to a man in red robes screaming, "The time has come to purge ourselves of the influence of witchcraft and false religions! As we are burning the mind- and soul-poisoning materials found in our homes, we shall also remove from our midst those whose minds and souls are so poisoned with deceit that they are a threat to us all!"

The crowd cheers, punctuated with exclamations such as "Burn the witch!" and "Save us!" as the man with red robes raises a hand for silence. "Brothers and sisters, I present to you, the condemned! May the Lord have mercy on their souls!"

You see a line of people at the scaffold, each with a rope around their neck. You can quite clearly make out clergymen of various faiths, three young women, a young man, a male dwarf, and a Mystery Man. One Church Policeman, close to the gallows, holds a strange red helmet in his hands, evidently taken from this Nile hero.

The red-robed figure gestures up in the sky, and everyone sees a robed skeleton with oily black wings and a scythe. Some people scream in terror. "Behold!" the robed man shrieks, clearly building the tension up to a fever pitch. "Behold, the Angel of Death, Uriel, awaits the souls of the condemned! Let the executions commence!" The crowd roars its approval.
Soooo yeah poo poo is about to hit the fan. There's not a lot of options here, and none of them are good. And yes, Roxanne is one of the people about to be hanged.

The PCs can try to persuade the crowd; this is rough but doable, especially if they have the evidence from the Cyberpapal system before. Succeeding will get the crowd on their side, but the Cyberpapal forces will attack once they realize the crowd has turned against them. If they fail, or just attack, the crowd (over 100 civilians) will attempt to overwhelm them with the aid of the Church Police.

The Cyberpapal forces consist of the cardinal, 20 Church Police, six Hospitallers each mounted on a cyber-enhanced horse, eight Inquisitors, and the Angel of Death, which is a fifth-planting gospog and very bad news. On top of this are over 100 civilians, who'll either be panicking or attacking in a frenzy.

if the Storm Knights can get to the gallows and free the prisoners, Roxanne can help in the fight with magic, and the Mystery Man (a guy with flight named "Destructo Don", who apparently appeared in the novels) will help out as well. Two of the other prisoners have slight magic power, but not enough to help in a fight.

Once the dust settles, Roxanne can tell the PCs about two visions she's had: "two women, one who feeds on blood and one who lurks in webs, battle to the death in a city that is somehow both American and French" and "a one-eyed ruler, or monarch, seeking refuge in that same city." These are supposed to point the PCs to New Orleans, where the Gaunt Man has set up a reality tree and turned the place into a mixed Core Earth/Orrorsh zone.

But before the PCs can leave, there's another flash of light, and it's time to see what happens in Aysle and the Cyberpapacy.

The Aylse part is very infuriating, because it's two and a half pages of Tolwyn of House Tankred fighting the Warrior of the Dark. What makes this especially infuriating is that it's all written in that insanely wooden Ye Olde Fantasye Prose that makes me want to hit somebody.

quote:

Having beaten back the Warrior's first assault, the Army of the Light now launched a counteroffensive. At their head stood Tolwyn, slashing through the ranks of the Dark army, leaving a trail of corpses in her wake.

"It ends now."

Tolwyn halted at the sound of the chillingly familiar voice. Before her were the tents of the Army of Darkness' commanders, and standing alone, the black crown Drakacanus on her head, was the Warrior of the Dark herself. The two women confronted each other for the first time, even as the fighting raged around them.

"You were a fool, Tolwyn, to emerge from behind your walls," theWarriorsaid coldly. "You would have been well served to remain
beyond the bridge and let this world fall to me."

"Nay, villainess," Tolwyn snarled. "I tire of this madness. The war has been won on the world of Asyle; now it shall be won here."

The Warrior of the Dark threw back her head and laughed, the great helm hiding her features. "Fool! It will end, but only with
your death. We meet now, blade to blade, and I have the added advantage of Draka-"

At that moment, the Darkness Device vanished. All around, the fighting began to cease, as the soldiers noticed the impossible: the Warrior of the Dark was Tolwyn of Tancred ... or so it seemed.

"This is the second time I have faced my reflection in a dark and twisted mirror," Tolwyn said. "Are you, then, another Horror of Orrorsh?"

"No, sister," the Warrior responded, with a malicious grin. "I am you- the darkness within you, plucked from your soul during your sojourn in limbo. I am all that you could have been, if you did not wear the chains of Light."

"I wear no chains, thing of evil!" Tolwyn shouted. "And if you are my darkness, then I shall make an end to you, here and now!"
At this point, the Warrior of the Dark actually notices the PCs and sics a dragon (excuse me, "Draconis Teutonica") on them while she fights Tolwyn.

This leads to what may be the most 90's-est metaplot-est RPG-est sentence ever:


I mean, just look at that. Marvel at it.

Sorry, as I was saying, when the fight with the dragon ends Tolwyn manages to defeat the Warrior, at which point the most insanely cliche thing possible happens.

quote:

"Mercy!" the Warrior cried out. "I appeal to you, in the name of Dunad, to spare me!"

A loud cry went up from the assembled armies, as a horde of barbarians charged at the Army of Darkness. Tolwyn smiled and turned back to the bleeding High Lord. She took a deep breath and said quietly, "Go ... go and take your life with you. Your power is broken, monster. In Dunad's name, I spare you."

Tolwyn turned her back on the defeated Warrior, contemptuously. She raised her sword in victory before her mighty army.
Can ya guess what happens next? Can you possibly imagine what twist is about to happen? Can you?

quote:

With surprising speed, the Warrior reached her feet even as a dagger slid from a sheath on her wrist. She raised it high and charged, its point headed for Tolwyn's back. But for some reason that may never be known ... perhaps because, in some way, the two were truly one ... Tolwyn turned in time to see the murderous attack. She wheeled and brought her sword down, severing the hand of the High Lord and sending the dagger spinning into the grass.
I suppose I should be grateful the Warrior didn't fall off a cliff into darkness, or Tolwyn didn't have a sidekick kill the Warrior for her. TVTropes would spit on this "twist".

Anyway, the Warrior dies while claiming it will return, Tolwyn wins and everyone cheers and she declares a new era for Aysle and Earth and everybody loves her and God I loving hate this character.


I guess she's also an anime now?

The PCs blip back to Salem, with the knowledge of events in the Cyberpapacy which is another two-page boxed text.

Malraux has hit a new high in paranoia, and is convinced that everyone is working against him. Seeking guidance, he prays before his Darkness Device, the black cross Ebenuscrux, in an attempt to tap into it and reinforce his control. Too bad that was the exact moment it was summoned back by the Gaunt Man.

In a panic, Malraux calls on the power of God to come to his aid. And shockingly, it does.

Which is to say, not the false God created by Ebenuscrux. The actual godhead of Core Earth, the Trinity, flows into him. And it is not happy.

The divine power strips away all his delusions, showing him the dark truths of his actions, and how he was manipulated by his Darkness Device. It takes over his body, and forces him out to the balcony where he was to perform his annual sermons about the power of the Cyberchurch and the omnipresent threat of the AntiChrist. And in front of the papal crowd, his image being broadcast across his entire realm, the power speaks through him.

quote:

"It's a lie!" Malraux said in a ragged shout. "It's all a lie! We have been deceived by Satan, the Devil in a form of a black cross! Yahweh is the one true God! Jesus is His Son! Muhammad is Allah's Prophet! Cybernetics ... cybernetics are an abomination."

A collective gasp erupted from the crowd. The faces of the assembled CyberChurch clergy went white with shock, then red with
fury.

But Malraux was helpless in the grip of a will far more powerful than his own. "We ... are all heretics! We have blasphemed against the Lord! And we must pay!"
The assembled Clergy manage to cut the broadcast and tackle Malraux, but it's too little too late. Without the power of the Darkness Device, the Church no longer has a hold on the people. In front of millions, the Cyberpope decried his God and was now speaking in tongues. In a rush, Malraux was dragged kicking and screaming back into the cathedral, to be sent back up to Magna Verita for "re-education" as the furious masses began breaking down the door.

And with that, two more High Lords bite the dust. That's the Nile Empire, the Space Gods, Aysle, and the Cyberpapacy now out of play. With the Living Land having been wiped out at this point, that still leaves Nippon Tech, Orrorsh, and Tharkold unaccounted for. Who's next on the chopping block? What other horseshit will the PCs have to muddle through to go nowhere? We're running out of time to find out!

--
Two acts left.

NEXT TIME: Things get dumber before they get better.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 04:03 on Apr 14, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


"Once the players finish playing the game a little continue the cutscenes." is indeed the most 90s metaplot insert I've seen. Well done Torg, I hate it.

E: Who is the anime queen lady again? I don't actually remember her, or anything about Ye Fantasy Realm.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:00 on Apr 13, 2019

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Wait, is Torg of the extremely 90s opinion that any fantasy setting set on Earth has to ultimately be Abrahamic? Because I didn't see that coming.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Night10194 posted:

"Once the players finish playing the game a little continue the cutscenes." is indeed the most 90s metaplot insert I've seen. Well done Torg, I hate it.

E: Who is the anime queen lady again? I don't actually remember her, or anything about Ye Fantasy Realm.
I think that's supposed to be Ardinay? She's out of the picture at this point but near the end of the game line the art in the books got very anime due to Torg apparently being popular in Japan.

Joe Slowboat posted:

Wait, is Torg of the extremely 90s opinion that any fantasy setting set on Earth has to ultimately be Abrahamic? Because I didn't see that coming.
Not really? Dunaad is the God of Honor (and as such is the one most used by heroes), but there are a bunch of others. There's no "head god".

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Is Ardinay still possessed by the ultimate evil?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Mors Rattus posted:

Is Ardinay still possessed by the ultimate evil?
Yes. That'll come up later.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





But there is a 'Trinity' which is the god of Core Earth and is explicitly Abrahamic in the quoted text?

E: whoops, not quoted, paraphrased. I'm not very together today, my apologies.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Joe Slowboat posted:

But there is a 'Trinity' which is the god of Core Earth and is explicitly Abrahamic in the quoted text?

E: whoops, not quoted, paraphrased. I'm not very together today, my apologies.
Oh, that. That's referring to Core Earth, not Aysle. When the invasion started it turned out that all the religions were right and granted powers. Of course, here it turns out that God is indeed God despite bringing up Allah, but really this is just Core Earth's religions finally getting fed up with Malraux.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Evil Mastermind posted:

Oh, that. That's referring to Core Earth, not Aysle. When the invasion started it turned out that all the religions were right and granted powers. Of course, here it turns out that God is indeed God despite bringing up Allah, but really this is just Core Earth's religions finally getting fed up with Malraux.

Yeah that's what I meant by 'fantasy set on Earth' sorry- mostly urban fantasy.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Miracles of the Solar Exalted, Part 3!

MELEE

Well, we got 10 charms here. Lots of backers really wanted melee charms, and Morke just throws in more just to expand that tree to 48 charms total. Lovely.

Nimble Reaving Wind feels like a Dodge charm, and perhaps one that's a little too strong. You get to auto-disengage for a measly 1m so long as you move into close to attack someone else. It is explicitly allowed to be used with Brawl and Martial Arts, but again, that could've just been dropped had it been in Dodge. 3/5, it's very useful but I'm questioning the logic of this.

Arc Shedding Rain Technique lets you disarm a trivial opponent on parrying them. If you have any charms that let you attack a person you disarmed (so, only that one Brawl charm all the way back), you may do so even if you have already attacked this round. This is allowed to combo with Brawl or Martial Arts so long as you use your fists or legs or an appropriate form weapon, but no reflexive drawing of a weapon. You can only use this amazing power to disarm a mortal once per round, unless reset by parrying an attack with -2 Onslaught or more (pitifully easy for a Solar), by parrying the attack of someone actually dangerous, or killing someone with a counter. This charm is mentioned to be based off a fan wanting to be like Moribito's character Balsa, so Morke made a charm to create openings for Savage Wolf Attack (a Thrown charm, so apparently the theoretical user of this is spec'd out in three separate attack trees) or "yet-unwritten Martial Arts or Brawl Charms". Incredible. 1/5, why are there so many charms that interact with characters that frankly should not be rolled into combat with Exalts to begin with?

Gleaming Sever gives one success to an attack and gives it one bonus dice of damage that goes through Hardness and Soak. If you use a Clash charm against someone throwing rocks or other heavy poo poo at you as a decisive gambit, you get three whole successes on your initiative roll. Just so much loving niche poo poo, why not parry the rocks instead of making the GM waste their time trying to figure out what the difficulty of a gambit to cut rocks in half should be? 1/5.

Stark Truth of Steel Method gives you one whole success against someone using magic to defend themselves, only if you've seen that magic used once before, and only against the specific type of magic used, and then once you use this charm you got to wait for them to use that magic again to use this charm again. A backer who wanted a charm to exploit a flaw in an enemy's defenses got this, and Morke mentions that his previous ideas of exploiting wound penalties or onslaught were not "skill-based" enough, even though I can totally see the logic of a Solar using their enemy's distractions against them. 1/5.

Victorious Wreath (Against the World Stance) has two names for some reason. Anyway, this is a scene-long charm where you get motes every time you successfully parry equal to the difference between their attack and your Parry. These motes can only be spent on Melee charms and disappear if you don't use them by next turn's end. You pay 1 initiative per round and if you crash, it ends. Buying this charm again means that if you use Ready in Eight Directions Stance (which lets you decisive attack anyone who attacks you in a round and your initiative doesn't reset until the end of the round) and parry every attack made against you, you don't reset to base period. It's a very strong charm in fights where there's lot of enemies, since it basically lets you avoid the slow and steady attrition of motes that would happen otherwise. 4/5, I'm sure the backer who asked for this was very pleased, considering they asked for a charm to basically let them stand against hundreds and still win.

Whirlwind Tempest Deflection is a backer charm based off the request to make a shockwave when you parry an attack. You do just that when you parry someone at Initiative 17+ (generally a killing blow on characters without one purchase of Ox-Body Technique), damaging all the scenery around you (trees fall, pillars get sliced in half, et cetera), hits every trivial opponent around you, and hits (best of Essence or 3) dangerous enemies. You roll damage equal to half the initiative of the attack you blocked against all dangerous foes, and the trivial foes take damage plus three. Once per battle unless you build up to Initiative 20+ and land a decisive attack or rolling Join Battle (which again, happens in one niche scenario barring certain Artifacts). If you know Sandstorm-Wind Attack, you can pay 3 motes to extend this to short range. This feels a bit too complicated for what it's worth, being not that much better than Heaven Sword Flash in core unless you have Sandstorm-Wind Attack. 2/5.

Shattering Clash lets you exchange 3 levels of decisive damage if you've done at least 6 to break someone's weapon, but only if it is made of normal stuff like steel. This takes Melee 5 and Essence 3 to purchase a charm that almost always only fucks over mortals and not anyone that's a challenge to you, and if you've dealt 6+ levels of decisive damage, you've almost certainly have just killed them because it takes only 7 to do so. 1/5, at least someone did not pay for this one.

Omniscient Focus Attack lets you clash an ambush or an immaterial attack with its prerequisite, Fervent Blow. This makes it almost impossible for someone in close range to ever ambush you, unless they're also a Solar or an Abyssal. I don't think there has been anything yet that can attack while it is immaterial, however. Not sure how to feel about this one, it seems odd to just obviate entirely the need for Awareness, although if you're a fighter, you've almost certainly got Awareness up to 5 and enough charms to boost it that this is probably a moot point. 2/5, I suppose?

All-Sundering Strike lets you re-roll your clash attack and take the best result. All charms applied to the first roll apply to the second roll, but no new charms can be added. This was a backer charm requested by someone who wanted to make their clash master even better at clashing, and I suppose they got what they wanted. 3/5, boring but effective, and it did what the backer wanted.

Divine Executioner Stance lets you commit 6 motes to basically swear an oath to defend a Principle or Tie you have. From then on, any time you make an attack in defense of that intimacy and pay one mote, you get its intensity in bonus dice. If the target has acted to harm one of your ties or principles (so, not just the one you just swore an oath on), you add damage equal to the strongest intimacy of the opponent that opposes that intimacy. Even if you don't know that target has an intimacy like that, your GM has to tell you to add dice if they do. For instance, if your character has sworn to defend all orphans and your foe hates children, you might not know that but your sword will hurt them way worse as a result. Finally, if your opponent is a "cursed, blighted creature" such as a ghost or demon, or even an Abyssal (why not just say "creature of darkness" and save some word count? Oh that's right, Holden and Morke didn't define it in core like loving idiots), you get an extra dice of damage, gain one automatic success on the damage roll, and the damage is Aggravated. I like it, despite the oddness involving the opponent's intimacies and the natural language bit at the end there; it encourages you to actually act self-righteous, which is basically half the reason you became a Solar, and it matches the backer's request for a charm that boosts their attacks by drawing on their intimacies. 4/5.

OCCULT

Oh thank god I'm free of the Melee charms!

Six Eternities' Travail boosts its prerequisite, Ancient Tongue Understanding, letting you spend a willpower when you activate that to get reroll up to your Essence 10s on any Occult roll, including 10s rolled with this effect. Still doesn't get rid of Ancient Tongue Understanding's stupid effect that makes you incapable of speaking a modern language, however. 2/5, it's a dice trick attached to a charm I already kinda hate from my time spent having to use it as a Twilight.

Anima-Suffused Spirit lets you spend your anima banner and 2 motes to heal your familiar, or your summoned elemental or demon. It's reflexive, so you can just pop this whenever. This was a backer request for a charm to heal their familiar. 3/5, it does what the person asked for and works fairly well on the battlefield, although you're better off using Medicine outside of that.

What Light Reveals (Living Specter's Flame) lets you buff your spirit familiars with spirit charms from spirits you've captured with Burning Exorcism Technique (so far the only things I think you can exorcise from people is a ghost and one demon). It is scene-long and based off your anima, rather annoyingly as you'll see. At dim you can do nothing, at glowing you can give (Essence/2, rounded up) "minor charms", at burning you can add a "major charm", and at iconic your can add a minor and major charm. If your anima levels drops, they lose any charms you gave. The last paragraph makes this charm actually usable, also allowing you to give spirit charms given by Carnal Spirit Rending, Gloaming Eye Understanding, or Divine Mantle. No mention of letting you use Eclipse charms as well, which is odd. The backer wanted a charm to power up their familiar based on anima intensity, and got something where you have to argue with your GM about what exactly a minor or a major spirit charm is instead. 1/5, utterly shameful.

PERFORMANCE

Divine Instrument lets you chuck an instrument Elsewhere (this basically just means you make it disappear), and then you can only make it reappear with a golden glimmer or gout of Solar flame. This makes people immediately "aware of the Solar's divinity", which mechanically means any intimacies for spirits or divine beings qualify as Resolve modifiers for your music. Whether this is good or bad depends on the scenario; presumably one should not do this at a bar that Dragon-bloods from the Realm frequent. The commentary has Morke rambling about how there's an Abyssal version that's super spooky and how there's "another kind of Exalt" that has a version where they just toss it into the sky and then bring it back down, even if you're in an enclosed space when you do so. Gotta love 3e core and this hinting at poo poo they haven't started work on and never will. 3/5, I guess this helps you out if you're playing to religious types (of which non-Immaculates are common enough) or if you need to make your orichalcum-stringed guitar go away before the customs agent on the Blessed Isle sees it.

Seventeen Cycles Symphony lets you play your instrument to quell environmental hazards, rolling off against the difficulty of the hazard in question. Success lets you bring yourself and up to (Essence+one per two extra successes) of people in Size through a safe path through the hazard; a blizzard will quiet around you, flames will part, and lightning won't strike you or your pals. This effect lasts for (Essence x 30 minutes) and if you know that time is about to run out, you can use this charm with its willpower cost discounted again. Buying this again lets you use it against supernatural hazards and "unusual hazards" such as acid baths. At Essence 4 and if you've bought this again, you can outright destroy or disrupt a sorcerous working that is in the way of you pursuing a Defining Intimacy, rolling your Charisma or Manipulation + Performance against the Resolve of the sorcerer who made it, even if they're dead. Success destroys a minor working or undoes a major working until you've safely passed on (why not just list Ambition or Circle instead of saying minor or major?). The charm specifies that environmental hazards by sorcery are already covered by the prior part of this charm; if someone made a working that makes knives whirl around and stab people around their tower, you just roll off against the hazard as normal. This is for stuff like, say, someone fusing a mountain together to bar a pass, making an impenetrable door, or cursing your best friend to fight you to the death.

I like this a lot! The backer asked for a charm to be Solar Orpheus and they got it. It even has a very unique effect in that this is, so far, the only thing that can actually end a sorcerous working. 5/5, great stuff for once, and probably only once.

Drama-Fueling Ardor says that, while acting, the Solar's "energetic charisma and sexual energy is almost palpable." Guess people are getting really horny watching whatever the equivalent to Shakespeare is in Exalted's world. You add one success to a Performance roll while acting in a play, also muting (best of Essence or 3) peripheral motes used on this roll. Any successes over the Resolve of the average audience member transfer to the next roll of any one of the other actors on stage as non-charm dice, fluffed as your performance inspiring them to do better in turn. Those actors, if well-received by the audience, will generally form an intimacy towards you based off respect for your talent or adoration. Any 9s or 10s they roll turn into motes for you. I like the effect, although I'm really confused by this charm implying that people are turned on by you going "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!" I guess I just don't associate the theater with the same feelings I get looking at a particularly handsome movie actor. 3/5.

Divinely-Inspired Performance lets you know the script of a play without having to read it and what emotions to express during a line or in reaction to a line. Unless your Solar has a habit of wandering into plays without knowing anything about them, this is useless. 1/5.

Seven Thunders Voice lets your voice be heard to "extreme long range". Thank you, Morke, you could've said either Extreme or Long, but you've gone and hosed it up. In any case, you're louder than everyone and everything else, but can only Inspire or Threaten people if you're talking that loudly, although you can lower your voice at any time. You can spend one extra mote to attack with this, rolling with a free Charisma + Performance full excellency with your Essence in automatic successes, but no range because gently caress you idiot. This can only be parried or dodged by magic (so even just 2 motes for an excellency works) and on a hit, they're knocked back a range band and take one automatic level of bashing damage, and fly further for every three extra successes on the attack, taking another level of damage per range band and if they crash into something, they take fall damage equal to the number of bands they were blasted back minus one. This doesn't used your initiative but you reset to base anyways if you do this. Uh, I really wish this would tell you range, but it's an alright effect. 3/5, if I'm being generous.

PRESENCE

Poised Lion Attitude should've been in the book. It lets you make a social influence roll with Presence or Socialize reflexively in a fight, so you don't have to spend your turn doing that or flurry it with an attack. 4/5, it does exactly what the backer wanted (to be able to banter on the battlefield) and well.

Holy Touch lets you use Charisma or Appearance plus Presence to do a force push, basically. You do a gambit with difficulty 3 against someone in close range, and on success you touch them and send them flying back a range band, where they take a single band of fall damage (or more if you punt them off a cliff). You can use this to break free of a grapple. I'm a little confused why this is in Presence rather than Brawl or something, but alright? Morke says you can gather your Essence to condense your anima into a sphere or some poo poo when you do this in the commentary, if you want to be really cool I guess. 3/5.

God-Heeling Gesture is another masterpiece of natural language. You can "reverse a lesser miracle" reflexively with a gesture or action. If necessary, the Storyteller may make you clash Charisma + Presence with whatever did it. It lists things you can do, like make a well that dried up fill with water again, make a withered plant bloom, and so on. If you do this in a spirit's dominion, they automatically know it's a Solar that did it. The commentary goes on about how you could reverse the death of a sparrow (I thought resurrection was a big setting no-no?) that died due to winter thaw, and how this can't counter the effects of an attack. I just hate poo poo like this that you have to bicker with your GM on whether or not a spirit drying up the only well for miles is a lesser or major miracle. 1/5.

Unnerving Solar Presence lets you respond to social influence by someone intimidated by you or sexually attracted to you, removing your Essence in dice from their attempt. Basically, you either look super scary or super sexy for a moment, but no one but them notices this. Morke says the backer wanted a perfect social defense but says he couldn't think of one that was balanced. Uh, except for the one he wrote for Integrity in this very book, 1/5, there's so many better ways to do this and this was what was chosen.

Voice-Empowering Aspect (Aspect-Imbued Voice) is really the most ludicrous of the charms with two names. You just shifted the words around, you geek! Anyway, you make a mortal with both Charisma and Presence 3+ into your prophet. They get 3 motes and a single charm that gives them one auto-success on a Presence roll in accordance with one of your Defining Principles for 1 mote, or raises their Resolve by one (this part is mentioned at the rear end end of the paragraph rather than with the main effect, of course). You make them aware of one such thing during their uplifiting, and uh, I guess you have to talk to them and tell them the other things you value after that. Finally, if your prophet is yelling at someone who has transgressed against you, you sense this and can pay one mote to possess them. They take your form and your voice, and you can use all your Presence and Integrity charms and your big mote pool to scream at them in all the ways only a Solar can do, but can't roll Awareness or Investigation or fight people. The backer got what they wanted, I suppose; a charm to give a follower divine power and go forth to do battle with evil (or well, yell at it for you). I never really liked the idea of these charms that empower a mortal to go about on your behal because I feel that just will get the poor bastard killed and I'd rather go on an adventure myself than send someone else. 2/5, but I stress your mileage may vary on this and the backer did get what they wanted.

Divinity-Conferring Method (Celestial Exaltation Method) commits a hefty 10m to give a follower of yours access to your cult and three spirit charms, "2 minor miracles and 1 major miracle" (again with this!), that fit their significant Principles. If they spend a Willpower from your Cult, they can use those Charms. So long as the Solar keeps adding people to their Cult, their magical servant's usage of the Cult's Willpower is separate from the Solar's. The backer wanted a charm to uplift a follower with divine status and power, but honestly, couldn't you just turn them into a god and have this be a once a story effect? It wasn't out of the realm of possibility in 1e and 2e for a god to make a mortal or god-blooded a full god, why can't a Solar just make a person into a helpful spirit? Instead you're committing 10m for a really loving dull effect you again have to quibble with your GM about how strong each "miracle" is. 2/5.

RESISTANCE

Armed and Ready Discipline lets you attack while putting on armor with Whirlwind Armor-Donning Prana (which reduces the time needed to put on armor from minutes to turns) with a stunt, and can activate Summoning the Loyal Steel or Call the Blade to get your sword for free in the same instant. This is marginally useful for the scenarios where you aren't walking around with your armor on all the time, and useless by Essence 2 when you get access to Hauberk-Summoning Gesture, which just lets you put on your armor instantly if I'm reading it right. 1/5, someone paid for this.

Blade-Turning Body Technique is the first charm to get the Apocryphal keyword, rendering it non-canon. Why? It's just Diamond Body Prana but without the RNG and a nerf to the environmental damage you can resist with it. You resist 3L of environmental damage that would burn or cut you instead of Diamond-Body Prana's 4L, and you gain a flat 8 soak and 5 hardness rather than rolling (Stamina+Resistance) with Essence automatic successes and no other magic to determine your soak. The backer wanted a charm for his unarmored Solar (Morke specifically seems to be annoyed the backer describes his character as "shirtless") that wasn't as RNG as Diamond-Body Prana, and Morke simply gave him Diamond-Body Prana without the chance to get hosed over by a bad dice roll and said it was not canon or that it could substitute for Diamond-Body Prana as a prerequisite for other charms. 1/5, what a smarmy dick.

Fortress-Body Discipline is probably the loving charm the previous backer wanted; it adds (Essence) soak and half of that in Hardness, rounding down, and can stack with Diamond-Body Prana and Durability of Oak Meditation, although it reduces the latter's soak for 4 to 2. It is incompatible with armor. 1/5, I'm so loving mad at this oblivious dickhead. What a good way to end off this part.

Next up: Ride, Sail, Socialize, Stealth, Survival, Thrown, War, and ???! What the heck does ??? mean? Find out next time!

SunAndSpring fucked around with this message at 20:28 on Apr 13, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: Modern Magic

After the Usurpation and the establishment of the Shogunate, the Dragon-Blooded spent centuries fighting each other, Fair Folk, Lunars and many other foes. For centuries of Shogunate rule, Dragon-Blooded dynasties and their Lunar foes made weapons to pursue their eternal war with each other, primarily in jade and moonsilver respectively. The Sidereals continued to seek out starmetal and make it into artifacts for hteir own secretive purposes. Many of the greatest and most renowned weapons of the Time of Tumult were made under Shogunate rule. While the era's crafters could not match the peerless skills of the fallen Solars, and their supplies of First Age tools and infrastructure soon withered, their superlative skill could not be denied. The white jade wrackstaff Thundering Echo was used by Alac Mere to shatter the bridge at Archflame, ending the Gilt Tiger advance, while the black jade dagger Breathstealer was used by Otani Kensen to assassinate the Shogun Issen in order to earn her son's freedom from a god, while Slumbering Phoenix, a suit of red jade armor, was used to call down fire to defeat the cataphracts of the Hyacinth Court, and the moonsilver daiklave Disillusion was wielded by the Lunar Eyes-Like-Knives to flense the souls of the Velen daimyos.

Since the Great Contagion, things have gotten worse. Most First Age lore is entirely lost, and outside the Realm and the great domains of the Lunar elders, even the most potent civilizations of Creation, such as Whitewall or Randan or the cities of the Scavenger Lands, have few of the occult tools and ingredients required to awaken new artifacts. Obtaining these resources takes the aid of sorcerers, scavenger lords and Guild merchants. Even then, few artifacts can match those that came before - and even so, each is a wonder.

Artifacts have left great marks on the world. Creation itself still bars scars from the Empress' invocation of the Realm Defense Grid to defeat the Fair Folk invasion with massive elemental force. Ten thousand hobgoblins remain locked eternally in stone on the Plain of Statues, and the Persimmon Marshes are still red with rust where the storms of iron barbs rained from the skies. A dozen columns of prosmatic flame, each the size of a city, still burn in the Need-Fire Pergola, eight centuries after the fact. These are not the only scars, nor the Grid the only artifact of power to leave them. In the Hull Plain, near Jiara and the Tower of Vultures lie six ancient vessesl, their hulls intact, though vines have overgrown their oarlocks and trees grow on their decks. Legend has it that they were sailed against Gethra Lion-Skin, only to be left stranded on the plain when she used her Wave-Seizing Gauntlets to change the curse of the river Ondessics, pulling it out from under them and hurling it to the horizon.

In the heart-trees of the Hundredwood were born from the blade Viridian Branch. Telian Talebearer slew there the Beast That Was A Hundred with the weapon, and from its corpses rose many grotesque trees. Several still stand, and some say the Beast's shadow still devours those that would harvest their timber. Yu Sun, the prin of Tarry, lay dying from the venom of the Nightshade Wyrm when he pronounced a deep curse. Any would-be ruler of Tarry that could not don his armor, the Black Rose Panoply, would die - and yet the armor itself slew many princes, its soulsteel thorns tearing through them. Over centuries, the city has risen and fallen, but even now, iti s run by a council of regents in stead of a prince, for Yi Sun's curse lingers, and the armor has not yet submitted to a new master.

Twelve mile-long chasms cross the Highmoth Hills, left by the Solar Yelesta Litan, who once wielded the mighty powers of the grimcleaver Falling Star Chisel against the Iron-Hide Boar. Her final blow cast it into the depths of the ground, where the buried cities of the prehuman race the Yspra lay forgotten. Now, mortals mine out veins of precious metals from the chasms, and the vegeful Yspra, worms of black chitin that grow in communal pools, rise up from the deep to slay them and haunt the land. The Lunar Kasanje Brightmane attacked the Shogunate fortress Chiyemi armed with the direlance Silver Key, which he stabbed through the substance of the world itself to open a terrible wound into the Wyld. Today, chaos still sweels under the scar, making the land itself undulate and shift. Insects there fly on wings of glass and the flower growl like dogs. At the heart of the land rises the palace of the raksha queen Ankou Thousand-EYes, who each year sends a new champion into Creation to seek Silver Key.

The Eye of Autochthon, near omnipotent, is a pearlescent orb of black ebony, so large that a man could barely hold it. It has appeared in history many times, and each time, the one that discovered it transformed the world. Bagrash Kol raised an empire of towers so tall they touched the sky. The abhuman Aiun used it and her sorcery to raise a new continent in the Northwest for her people. Monsque Viridian led a nearly unstoppable rebellion against the Scarlet Empress. And yet, each time, the Eye turned against its master and destroyed them utterly, leaving only ruins where their empires lay. Artifacts leave marks.

Many substances can be used to make an artifact, but none are so good for this purpose as the magical materials. Each has a natural affinity for power and a set of distinctive if overlapping correspondances that flavor the Evocations that can be drawn out from them. Other factors also play major roles in an artifact's abilities, of course, such as subsidiary materials, exotic ingredients, method of manufacture, intent of the creator and history of use. However, the magical materials are still the foundation for an artifact's character. An artifact can have multiple materials, alloyed or used as inlay, wrapping or filigree. One material's Essence almost always predominates, but when the materials synergize in just the right way, they can harmonize to gain affinities broader than those that would be available to only a single material. We're going to get new correspondences for the materials, to override the ones from the core...next time.

Next time: The Five Magical Materials

drunkencarp
Feb 14, 2012


SunAndSpring posted:

I'm so loving mad at this oblivious dickhead.

There's a Sail charm coming up that moved me from not having an opinion about Morke to actively despising the jerk. Made me say "what? no, gently caress YOU" aloud and angrily close the PDF, first time I read it.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


SunAndSpring posted:

Drama-Fueling Ardor says that, while acting, the Solar's "energetic charisma and sexual energy is almost palpable." Guess people are getting really horny watching whatever the equivalent to Shakespeare is in Exalted's world. You add one success to a Performance roll while acting in a play, also muting (best of Essence or 3) peripheral motes used on this roll. Any successes over the Resolve of the average audience member transfer to the next roll of any one of the other actors on stage as non-charm dice, fluffed as your performance inspiring them to do better in turn. Those actors, if well-received by the audience, will generally form an intimacy towards you based off respect for your talent or adoration. Any 9s or 10s they roll turn into motes for you. I like the effect, although I'm really confused by this charm implying that people are turned on by you going "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!" I guess I just don't associate the theater with the same feelings I get looking at a particularly handsome movie actor. 3/5.

Divinely-Inspired Performance lets you know the script of a play without having to read it and what emotions to express during a line or in reaction to a line. Unless your Solar has a habit of wandering into plays without knowing anything about them, this is useless. 1/5.

Presumably, with these charms for actors you are going to be playing an actor and being able to just walk in somewhere and do that becomes really useful. Niche, but knowing all the lines is a good charm actually imo, especially if you do a lot of acting and don't want to gently caress about with downtime learning scripts.

As for finding theatre actors hot? It's pretty much your favourite handsome movie actor performing on tv vs your favourite handsome movie actor performing in the room with you looking directly at you and definitely totally for real reading all the lines specifically at you and you alone. You can see why that might make people go phwoar what a hunk/babe. Don't just be thinking of Shakespeare, in the East Asian themed game you need to consider the theatre native to that region too, although historically theatre has been pro-pimping out its actors worldwide, with people being super horny over performers pretty much all over. Kabuki plays were performed almost entirely by sex workers as pretty much just showing off the goods. It's why women were banned from performing in them. Of course that just meant it became entirely gay sex workers instead. The government tried to ban it entirely for decades, but the residing emperor loving loved kabuki because he loved to go have sex with all the actors when they came to town and he would veto banning it outright. When he died and was replaced they tried to ban it again, but the new guy didn't understand the deal and said "no, out of respect for that last guy and his love for it, I will not ban it" then they told him it was about being gay as hell and he changed his mind and instantly banned it because gay sex was a thing that poors weren't allowed to do.

quote:

"extreme long range".

hosed up but true, but apparently there is more than one type of extreme range. You can be like 3 extreme range from someone apparently. Doesn't help this bad description work though.

quote:

Armed and Ready Discipline lets you attack while putting on armor with Whirlwind Armor-Donning Prana (which reduces the time needed to put on armor from minutes to turns) with a stunt, and can activate Summoning the Loyal Steel or Call the Blade to get your sword for free in the same instant. This is marginally useful for the scenarios where you aren't walking around with your armor on all the time, and useless by Essence 2 when you get access to Hauberk-Summoning Gesture, which just lets you put on your armor instantly if I'm reading it right. 1/5, someone paid for this.

Hauberk Summoning Gesture just lets you summon your armour from Elsewhere and put it on as if you were putting it on normally so it still takes time (rounds instead of minutes because of the prereq). It's the "put a thing in a magic hole" power for armour. Quote from Vance on that one

Blade-Turning Body Technique doesn't exist in my copy. I bought it after the kickstarter so maybe they errata'd that one out? And loving Fortress-Body Discipline isn't supernal proofed so you actually become worse until Essence 3.
If it read "(whichever is higher, Essence or 4) soak and (whichever is higher, half-Essence rounded up or 2) hardness" then it would be fine, but as written you can reduce Durability of Oak to +2 Hardness while only getting +1, making you get +3 total instead of 4 from just using that charm by itself. Nice work Morke.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Being a sexy actor is a fine thing to mention offhand in a Charm about bring an actor, and I don't think it's meant to be just that all the time.

EthanSteele posted:

Presumably, with these charms for actors you are going to be playing an actor and being able to just walk in somewhere and do that becomes really useful. Niche, but knowing all the lines is a good charm actually imo, especially if you do a lot of acting and don't want to gently caress about with downtime learning scripts.

As you say, "niche", in fact I'd say way too niche. But I think it's another illustration of how up his own butt he was about this poo poo. Because he will go on, in this very PDF, about Solars needing their Charms to be about skill and not conjuring or whatever. But then he writes this where you just magically know a play you don't know, when the obvious Charm to make is that you improvise so good no one's thrown off and everybody loves it and it's as good or better than the original play.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I honestly really like the Charm about writing someone into your presence, except that it doesn't explain how it works enough for an ST to narrate it. If it was closer to "you write a character introduction so convincing and cool that fate immediately begins routing someone appropriate to you to act it out" you might be able to use it.

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SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


That Old Tree posted:

Being a sexy actor is a fine thing to mention offhand in a Charm about bring an actor, and I don't think it's meant to be just that all the time.
I think it is just my modern conceptions of what theater actors look like compared to film actors, I'm not grossed out by it or anything like the weird "I can write my waifu to me!" in that Linguistics charm.

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