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ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



The Balkans await!

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Guess I'll cover Renegade Crowns next. Just need to give it a read through first. Never had a game go out that way before so I haven't touched it before.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: Fire Bow, Because Fire Gun Was Insufficient

Heartsong is a 3-dot red jade powerbow. It dates back to the First Age, when the Dragon-Blood Arelys Turan forged it from the bodies and living Essence of two Fair Folk loreleis, Imban Dying-Light and the Orange Lily Chatelaine, twisting their desire together into a braid to serve as the weapon’s spine. The wielder may still feel the passions of the Raksha pulsing under the jade, locked together in an eternal mix of love and hate. There was no purpose in its creation but to make a thing of beauty, and Heartsong looks much more ornamental than practical, with every bit of it covered in decorative fluting and scrollwork. Turan was a passionate adventurer, dancer and poet, and by archery they inspired passion in others. Heartsong’s arrows terrified the Sky-Shouldering Bull and drove it from the land, enraged the aithon Ulta so that she left her protective circle, and stole the love of Usain of the Impenetrable Flesh by striking his soul rather than his body. The most recent wielder of Heartsong, the outcaste Nuja Starthrower, went into hermitage decades ago in the jungle north of the Dreaming Sea. She has used her arrows to gather beasts to her and to defeat the hobgoblins and other foes that have disturbed her solitude. It is unknown if she still lives or not, but either way, she probably still has Heartsong. It has a single hearthstone slot.

The wielder of Heartsong may use it to pour an emotion into an arrow, which turns into a blaze of light that flies for the target’s heart. This is a special gambit that has a difficulty based on the target’s Resolve. If it succeeds, it counts as an automatic Inspire action to create an emotion of the wielder’s choice as a Psyche effect. Magical emotion control arrows! They don’t hurt, but they can be quite handy. The first Evocation, Ardor-Sharing Technique, is gained free as long as you aren’t dissonant with jade when you uphold a Major or Defining Intimacy based on a strong emotion. It gives a bonus to inspire actions or the passion-inciting gambit of the bow. From there, one can learn Suitor-Punishing Shot, which makes your attack more accurate and damaging when you use it against someone with an Intimacy or Derangement focused on you or an inflamed passion focused on you.

You can also learn Lover’s Quarrel, which can be used to make Heartsong’s passion-inciting gambit create or strengthen a Tie of your choice, rather than inspiring an emotion. A Solar can also learn Radiant Sun-Heart Shot, which lets a passion-inciting gambit also deal damage. This doesn’t get in the way of learning any other Evocations, thankfully for DBs. Heart-Commanding Arrow lets you use the passion-inciting gambit to make persuade actions instead of inspiring emotions, and while they still need an appropriate Intimacy to leverage, they automatically succeed if you hit and have one of those to exploit. The ultimate power is Delirium’s Dart, which can’t be learned if you’re dissonant with jade. It causes a passion-inciting gambit to instill or strengthen a Derangement related to the inflamed emotion.

Heaven and Earth Gauntlets are a pair of 3-dot orichalcum smashfists (read: giant fuckoff knuckle gauntlets). The Sidereal Violet Pearl foresaw that her brother, the warrior-mendicant Ajni the Undying, would be surrounded by trouble. Thus, she forged the smashfists for him, mixing familial love into the orichalcum. Armed with this gift, Ajni wandered the land as a fist of justice, shattering the fortress of the Flying Devil Kings, defeating a sorcerous jade golem in a duel and diverting the path of the living mountain Mostath with a single blow to keep it from stepping on a village. The love that led Violet Pearl to make the gauntlets also led her to save her brother from the Usurpation, leading him on a path between seconds to a place of safety in the deep underground. He might have lived there forever, save that his heart could not abide injustice, and so he returned to the world to avenge the fallen Solars, eventually dying at the hands of the Wyld Hunt. Violet Pearl has kept a close watch over the gauntlets since her brother’s death. She intercepted his killers, stealing the gauntlets away along with their memories of the battle, and hid them in an obscure shrine to Venus, the Maiden of Serenity, to await a new wielder worthy of their power. They have two hearthstone slots.

The gauntlets have a larger than normal bonus to clashing. The first Evocation is Falling Star Fists, which removes the normal costs for making a smash attack and increases its damage. Mountain-Halting Might upgrades the Solar Charm Iron Battle Focus, making it cause an onslaught penalty when you block attacks with it from Close range. Comet-Diverting Guard lets you reflexively Clash attacks with a Withering attack that deals no damage (or, if resonant, deals damage but doesn’t gain you much Initiative) but still lets you gain a bit of Initiative and cause onslaught without being your action for the round.

From there you can gain Nova Breaker, which makes your arms glow with Essence that detonates in prismatic bursts when you strike. To use it, you must have hit a foe with a smash attack since your last turn and they must still be prone. You get to advance on them and make a Decisive attack that gets bonus damage and doesn’t count as your movement for the round. This can’t be learned by anyone dissonant with orichalcum. Meteor Fist Meditation upgrades the Solar Charm Adamantine Fists of Battle, making it compatible with the Gauntlets and letting you reflexively turn on the scene-long version of it when a fight starts.

The ultimate power is Legend-Forging Blow. This can only be used once per story and is reset by upholding a positive Defining Tie towards a community by defeating a powerful foe that threatens it. When used, it can do one of three effects. First, it can cause knockback to foes of Legendary Size as a Decisive attack, hurling them back three range bands. Second, it can smash through heavy fortifications in one blow, doubling your Strength for purposes of a feat of demolition and destroying the target instantly (usually) or requiring a few minutes to smash through (if you fail the roll). Lastly, it can be used to stunt any other application of strength, such as diverting a river’s course or stopping an avalanche with a punch. The ST should grant these stunts equivalent benefits to the other two things you can do.

Next time: Irenio’s Bell

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



My recollections of playing Torg back in the day make me wonder, the sheer number of combatants aside, how the PCs are expected to survive more than one or two of those fights, let alone ... what is it, four of them back to back? I can't imagine it happening without massive DM fudging. Especially since I assume that these are Dramatic scenes, which means the Drama Deck will be stacked against the PCs.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Also, one last weird as gently caress thing about the Liche Lord pre-mades: I just realized. Militiaman doesn't go into Thug. Goran specifically spent 200 EXP to leave Militiaman into an entirely new 1st tier (always an option) to go into a lovely criminal class.

I am in awe at how badly built that character is.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




As someone who played with the Masterbook system back in the day, it is really weird to me how the system is basically the same as Torg's, and it's a universal system, but it cannot handle anything more powerful than very low-level superheroics.

To zero in on what I'm talking about, spellcasting is handled with skills, and it has a spell design system, but you would have to painstakingly design your own book of spells. Things like magic equipment and super powers are handled with an Advantages system that is shaky and built around "Categories." And a Category IV advantage, the most powerful you can get, would be like "claws that do the same damage as a sword."

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 18:46 on Apr 15, 2019

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Selachian posted:

My recollections of playing Torg back in the day make me wonder, the sheer number of combatants aside, how the PCs are expected to survive more than one or two of those fights, let alone ... what is it, four of them back to back? I can't imagine it happening without massive DM fudging. Especially since I assume that these are Dramatic scenes, which means the Drama Deck will be stacked against the PCs.
Everything in the last Act past the point of the Gaunt Man showing up is a Dramatic scene, yes.

I also just realized that there's no point in the last Act where the PCs get to refresh Possibilities, because that only happens at the end of an Act, and normally you'd get like five.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The way I've always seen things handled in systems that don't have mook rules is that if you want a big battle, you just run it as a series of smaller encounters symbolizing the fights the PCs have to make it through on their way through the fighting. I've never seen anything say with a straight face 'Yeah here's 250 statted up foes on both sides'.

There is no way in hell anyone playtested the Torg finale. And even less of a chance anyone actually played it as written, because right there it already becomes impossible to do so.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: A Bell Is A Shield

Irenio’s Bell is a 3-dot orichalcum thunderbolt shield (read: magic shield). When Frey Irenio was making the blade Untimely Reprisal, he knew it needed 99 quenchings, but when he learned that a Circlemate was endangered, he took the blade out after only 98, riding to the rescue. He faced the Malignance of Castle Glass, whose cry shattered the not-quite-finished sword. Irenio remade half of the daiklave’s fragments into a new blade, long since lost. The rest he alloyed with the bronze of a demon prince’s temple bell to make a shield that contained the Essence of the Malignance’s terrible cry. He pulled forth the shield’s unique voice, harmonizing it with the alien musics of the demonic realm. Centuries after Irenio’s death, a scavenger prince of the South discovered the shield in the Wyld-warped, demon-haunted ruins of Ophlas. With no record of its true name, she called it Irenio’s Bell, and it has seen much use since, from service as a palace gong to the buckler of an immense Fair Folk. Currently, it sits in the workroom of the sorcerer Irenda White-Eyes as the centerpiece of a great working to call forth her patron from Malfeas. The shield is of a darker and redder color than most orichalcum, with a web of shallow grooves encircling its hearthstone socket on the boss. When it is struck, it rings with a pure, clear tone.

Every time Irenio’s Bell is struck, it rings out with an alien, shifting melody and produces 1 Vibration whenever it successfully blocks an attack, with a cap based on Performance. All Vibration goes away at the end of combat. If you are dissonant with orichalcum, it loses 1 Vibration at the end of any turn that you don’t gain Vibration. You can spend Vibration to boost your Parry or gain the Disarming or Smashing tag for one attack, using the vibration to ward off a foe or their weapon. Irenio’s Bell also reduces damage from sonic attacks such as the kiais of Silver-Voiced Nightingale Style or the shattering roar of a blood ape, and gains Vibration whenever this effect occurs. Particularly loud ambient noises such as earthquakes or cannonfire may also produce Vibration at the GM’s whim. However, you get a penalty to Stealth based on how much Vibration you have, because it’s…audible noise.

The first Evocation, Chiming Castigation, lets you give an attacker a penalty to attacks after you successfully block, especially attacks with weapons. If resonant, you can repurchase at Essence 3 to have this also shatter non-artifact weapons you block. Shield-and-Sword Harmony lets you spend Vibration to reduce enemy soak and Hardness against an attack. Sound and Fury cannot be learned if you’re dissonant with orichalcum and makes you gain Initiative whenever you gain Vibration from blocking. Singing Shield Technique lets you spend Vibration to have your shield maintain a few Solar Charms that require you to sing, and also gives a minor buff to rallying allied demonic battle groups while you do. Resounding Thunder Technique is usable when you use Heavenly Guardian Defense to drop an attack to 0 damage, and it lets you spend Vibration to give all foes in Short range a penalty to hearing-based Awareness checks due to the massive noise, knock them prone and knock them back. Also, allied demons in range gain Initiative based on the Vibration spent.

The ultimate technique is Demon-Calling Crescendo. You can only use it once per scene, when you have 15+ Initiative. You spend a bunch of Vibration to reflexively summon a First Circle Demon as if you’d used sorcery to summon and bind it for the task of aiding you in this battle. You have to make an Occult roll to get the kind of demon you want, but even if you fail, you get a demon – the GM just picks what kind. If the demon survives, it returns to Malfeas when the fight ends. A repurchase at Essence 4 lets you pay extra once per story to get a Second Circle Demon instead, and again, you get to roll but even if you fail, it’s bound unless you botch, you just get a different one than you intended.

Rainwalker is a 3-dot blue jade razor parasol – that is, a killer umbrella. The Amethyst Lord was a wicked Raksha noble, a seducer and deceiver who stole away many, charming them and taking their souls. The Lunar Seven Stars Glutton heard about this and sailed for 70 days and nights to reach the storm palace of the fae court, where they spoke for another 70 days and nights in a duel of diplomacy and lies. The Lunar convinced the Fair Folk prince of the terrible consequences he’d face if he stole another soul, and as a token of surrender, left the court with a beautiful umbrella made of solid mother of pearl that had been a fragment of the raksha’s own Essence. Seven Stars Glutton then layered it with moonsilver and blue jade, forging it into a shield. Rainwalker is usable as an umbrella still, but its jade handle and razor-sharp edges form a kaleidoscope of colors, etched in dream-runes and lined beneath in moonsilver. There is a single hearthstone slot.

In addition to blue jade, the moonsilver worked into Rainwalker means Lunars are resonant with it. The wielder may ignore all environmental penalties from rainfall and other weather. As long as you’re not dissonant with it, you also get the first Evocation free. Breeze-Catching Descent reduces falling damage for you and anyone you’re using Defend Other on. Because umbrella, obviously. Glamour-Sloughing Parasol reduces the cost of the Solar Charm Integrity-Protecting Prana; good news, it’s not actually a prereq for anything. Buoyant Guardian Aegis lets you make the parasol float next to you, letting you flurry a Full Defense action without penalties as long as you don’t attack, frees up one hand, lets you reflexively ready an object of your choice, and lets you Defend Other at Short range if you flurry it with a Full Defense.

Arrows Like Raindrops gives you a bonus to Parry against ranged attacks, especially if you used Full Defense last turn or are using Defend Other. Shelter from the Storm removes the Initiative cost of a Full Defense and gives a Parry bonus, and if you’re resonant, also drains the enemy’s Initiative when you parry while Full Defending. Rising Cyclone Deflection lets you redirect Withering attacks you successfully parry once per scene, making your foes attack each other. Really nice, and the enemy doesn’t even gain Initiative from it; of course, neither do you unless you’re resonant. If you’re dissonant with Rainwalker, you can’t learn this Charm.

The ultimate power is Laughing At Hailstones. Once per day, this sends a pulse of Essence out that disperses all non-magical weather conditions out to Long range, stopping all rain, slowing wind, preventing lightning strikes and so on for the rest of the scene. Further, you and all allies in that area get a Defense bonus and a bonus to all rolls to avoid environmental hazards. If you’re resonant, you can repurchase at Essence 4 to allow you to use it once per story to end storms or tempests out for several miles, which can even end magical weather effects such as the Rain of Doom spell.

Next time: Razor Dancer and Wise Steel, Summer Thunder

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Finish Reading TORG


Part 23d: The End

Yes, there's one final chapter (okay, technically it's the "Appendix"). Okay, technically there's two Appendixes, but the second one is just a sub-reality called "Arachnidia". Arachnidia is an underground domed world like the Land Below, only populated by insect people called ustanah. Long-time Torg scholars will remember that this was the species that the edeinos wiped out ages ago. There's really not much to tell because it's literally four pages long, so I guess it was just there to pad out the page count?

Appendix A is What Lies Beyond?, and covers what could happen after the War for those who want to keep their campaigns going.



Needless to say, Omni Gaming Products didn't actually produce anything. I can't even find any information about the company online.

Anyway, post-war scenario #1 flows out of the default events of the adventure. The world-wide reality storm has wiped all the invading realms off the map. However, the Nexus, the crystal that connects all realities, still exists in the caves of the Land Below. The UN has taken it upon itself to guard the Nexus, but they're doing a lovely job of it. Storm Knights have learned that they can travel through the Nexus to return to their home realities, but have also discovered that the Nexus leads to other worlds that were never involved in the Possibility War. What's more, by revisiting their home cosms, they can "recharge" their connections for about three months. On top of that, there's also the fact that Core Earth's Darkness Device has never been discovered, and is theoretically still out there somewhere. (The one from the "High Lord of Earth" adventure was from Kantovia, not Core Earth.)

quote:

The setting for this is essentially a world rebuilding, very much like post-World War II Europe. It puts the emphasis more on intrigue than on big battles and such, but remember that elements of the other two scenarios presented here can also be incorporated into it.

The second scenario is for "fans of the Max Max films, A Boy and His Dog, and the world of Tank Girl." In this set-up, the global reality storm ends up destroying most of civilization. Whole cities are wiped off the maps, portals to pocket dimensions are cropping up all over the place, and resources like food and water are scarce. Now all the refugees from the invading realities have to band together for survival.

quote:

The benefit of this scenario is that it essentially wipes the game board clean, so gamemasters don't have to deal with any aspects of Torg they don't like. The downside is that too many adventures can wind up being just about staying alive, with the characters' actions hampered by constant searches for water and ammunition.
God I don't even want to think of what a post-apocalyptic game would be like under Torg's rules.

The final scenario is probably the most complex, and was going to be the set-up for the next "version" of Torg. In this scenario, the global reality storm still did a lot of damage to Core Earth, destroying most long-distance communications but not enough other stuff to go full post-apocalypse. The storm burns out all the still-existing stelae, but the actual realms themselves get "burned into" Core Earth. Now they're self-sustaining mixed and pure zones, still maintaining their axioms and World Laws. And while the High Lords are gone, there are still plenty of minions floating around who see this as their big moment to rise to power. Most people have become Possibility-rated now, but the Storm Knights and Stormers are still the best at handling shifting between realities.

The Nexus itself has become tainted by the reality storm, and now other realities and pocket dimensions are starting to appear to prey on the existing realms, twisting their borders and axioms. People who have high reality skills can "lock" realities into place, to to make the change permanent eternity shards are needed.

This was to be the concept behind the next game, called "Storm Lords" and that involved the PCs basically trying to manage the conflicting realities, but of course that never materialized.

It's worth noting here that new editions of Torg were actually planned for 2004, 2005, and 2006, with a "big announcement" not-happening at GenCon 2005. The only thing that came out of this was the Revised & Expanded version, which was at best Torg 1.5. And while it does weigh in a little under 300 pages, it has no setting information beyond what's needed from a mechanical standpoint. Which means you'd still need to buy all the loving cosm books.

The book also contains conversion rules for WEG's generic MasterBook system, which was the cornerstone of most of WEG's games at the time. MasterBook was derived from Torg's mechanics, but the settings that were published for it were some...odd licences properties. Like "The World of Tales from the Crypt." Yes, the HBO series. Or "The World of Tank Girl." Remember Tank Girl?

Those weren't the only settings published (probably the two best known were the hard sci-fi game Shatterzone and the horror-noir Bloodshadows), but the idea was that your Torg characters could visit these other settings, or you could run Torg with the newer system.

And after that, are the final words.



And with that, we have truly reached the end of War's End, and, believe it or not, the end of Torg.

--
Torg. Man, Torg.

I mean, what's left for me to say about it at this point? I know that sounds trite but, again, I've been doing this for six years. I don't know what else I could say.

Way back on April 15, 2013, I started reviewing Torg with the claim that it's my favorite setting with my least favorite system. Now, here, on April 15, 2019, that still remains true. Hell, just doing these read-throughs revealed new levels of design crap I never noticed before, or discovering new metaplot moments because they were buried in the newsletter or mentioned in passing.

But really, how would I notice them without going through everything? Torg is rules upon rules, concepts atop concepts, words banging into words banging into words. Only a madman could run this game as written. It was big for a while in the 90s, the era of metaplot, rules bloat, and the supplement treadmill. But time moved on, these ideas passed out of vogue, and Torg was pretty much forgotten by the hobby at large.

Which was a shame, because it's actually got mechanics that you can see in modern games. Possibilities are very much an early version of Fate points or your various meta-currencies. Shane Hensley, founder of Pinnacle Entertainment Group and creator of Savage Worlds got his start working on this game. There were things like the drama deck that put narrative control in the hands of the players, which was pretty innovative at the time.

When Torg Eternity was announced, I'll admit I was hopful, but as I said around here many times, I was sure it was going to break my heart. And as I've also said many times, I'm so, so glad I was wrong. Torg Eternity takes everything I love about the setting, and while it doesn't throw away all the mechanics, it does look at them through a modern lens. The people who write it know how to create tone, and what works and what doesn't.

I feel like I'm just padding this out, but really, can you blame me? I've been doing this forever. And while I'm glad to finally finish it, at the same time it's a weird feeling. This has been a side project of mine for an insane amount of time. Even when I wasn't working on it for whatever reason, I was planning posts in the back of my mind. I'm pretty sure I've written more about Torg than most of the people who actually worked on the game itself.

I know a bunch of people have gotten Torg Eternity because of these reviews, and I know even more of you have been entertained by my suffering. Some of the gags I did in the middle of posts I literally had planned for years ahead of time, but a lot of the anger and frustration was real. Especially since I wanted to show why stuff didn't work. I had to loving push myself to get through some of these parts, like making a pulp device, and the entiretly of Land Below.

God I hate the Land Below.

But at the end of the day, I entertained a lot of people. And I got a lot of people interested in a game I love, which always makes the reviews I do feel worthwhile.

So yes, buy Torg Eternity. Play Torg Eternity. Explore one of the most batshit settings to come out of the 90s. Explore a game I love.

And honestly I'm going to get schmaltzy here, but goddammit I think I earned it. Thank you to everyone who read the piles and piles of words I put on the internet about a friggin' RPG.

Thank you.


Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm just...I'm just gonna go outside for a few minutes and just...state at nothing for a while. You understand.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Congratulations!

One of the reasons all these terrible 90s systems are still worth going through is because so many of them do have hints of good ideas in between all the, uh, 90s. What we consider modern game design didn't just spring into the world fully formed and featured, it took a lot of iteration and a lot of terrible games before it popped up. So these long, deep looks at games like Torg and Rifts really are important.

I mean, I know I hated Torg through most of reading about Torg but I'm still glad I know something about Torg where I wouldn't have without your review. Thanks for doing it.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Renegade Crowns is easily my favorite WFRP book, and it's tempted me to run a game of it every time I look at it. Or maybe just get out some graph paper and generate my own little corner of hell.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Ratoslov posted:

Renegade Crowns is easily my favorite WFRP book, and it's tempted me to run a game of it every time I look at it. Or maybe just get out some graph paper and generate my own little corner of hell.

It's by the same primary author as Knights of the Grail, so whatever's in it I'm expecting it to be interesting at least.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Honestly I really want to try my hand at dragging my friends through Khemri funtimes now from your breakdown of the stuff in it. Sounds like a bunch of fun and only issue is getting them to be willing to try out warham fantasy, also adapting to 4e which probably isn't hard either

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Evil Mastermind posted:

So yes, buy Torg Eternity. Play Torg Eternity. Explore one of the most batshit settings to come out of the 90s. Explore a game I love.

They should send you an advertising check as it got me to buy Torg Eternity. Watching you suffer through the original stuff and seeing the mechanics were barf but the ideas were gold but then saying you got both good fluff AND mechanics in Eternity got me to pick up the first one and I've backed both Living Land and Nile Empire and will do the same for Aysle.

Thanks for the hard work.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Congratulations and good job, EM.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





That Old Tree posted:

Congratulations and good job, EM.
Congratulations!

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


Congratulations, EM!

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!


BinaryDoubts posted:

Congratulations, EM!

Congratulations on choosing not to collapse us all into tang at the end of your adventure, EM.

But seriously finishing off Torg is an accomplishment that will literally only be second to if RIFTS actually gets finished off without ARB going after Siembeda with a gun shaped like a knockoff Gundam action figure.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 23:40 on Apr 15, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


PurpleXVI posted:

But seriously finishing off Torg is an accomplishment that will literally only be second to if RIFTS actually gets finished off without ARB going after Siembeda with a gun shaped like a knockoff Gundam action figure.

And full of hidden micro missiles.

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


Fantasy Balkans

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 19: My vision is augmented.



Science!

What cyberpunk RPG is complete without the ability to remove your own fleshy limbs and replace with cold hard chrome and silicone? Neotech is no different in this case. Although in this case they’re apparently made out of reinforced plastic or light alloys. Close enough I suppose. Right off the bat the book throws us off the deep end by telling us to look at a table to see what is available. Which we will do in due time because there is a whole bunch of other stuff before that.

To instal cybernetics you are, in most cases, going to need another kind of implant. N2 cyberware have different kinds of connection requirements in order to work. In some cases both need to be fulfilled while in others only one has to.
DNC: Requires an internal DNC-net.
Computer: Requires an internal computer (or in some cases an external computer that has linked with DNC).
NMX-CP: Requires a cerebral interface.
Microphone: Either a larynx microphone or an extra microphone.
Cyberlink: Some kind of external DNC kommunikation is required. Such as: DNC-jack, DNC-radio link, DNC-IR-link or DNC-telelink.
Controller: If it’s mentioned that you need a controller then the implant must be connected via an internal DNC-net to some kind of control unit. You can use a dermal controller, dental controller, vocal controller, dermatrodes or a cerebral interface.

Installing cybernetic implants is a complicated procedure that requires advanced surgery and careful tuning. Ruleswise it counts as an operation but you use the lowest of Surgery and Cybernetics. Fumble means that the implant is destroyed as well as the patient suffering from an infection in the relevant part. To repair it costs half the retail price. Any serious clinic will replace any damaged material that has been ruined this way. But if they’re a serious clinic wouldn’t they then be staffed by competent people so that you don’t have to worry about fumbles?
There are 11 types of installation procedures, ranging from installing DNC cables or artificial nerves to implants or cerebral connections and so on.
So if you want to install cybertech you first need to consult the table for what kind of installation you need to do, because they are all divided into what is needed to be done. It also shows how much damage you will take from the operation as well as how much the base cost is modified. Then you need to check another table for what specific implant you want and how much that costs.

The operation takes a lot of time and costs money, how much is determined by what clinic you decide to visit. There are four kinds of cyber clinics.
Black: It’s illegal and is run by a ripperdoc or a shadowdoc. Most costumes are criminal and street gangs and syndicates usually have discounts there. The tech installed is usually as close as possible to be used in terms of quality. Even so there is a 50% discount if you actually want to use refurbished tech.
Drop-in clinic: Used for smaller operations that don’t last longer than three hours or costs more than 3000 euro. The Bruce company have become rich on these kinds of clinics. The drawback is the limited stocks, cybertech with the availability code C, R or X are not available.

Seriously, The Bruce Company?

Standard clinic: A private clinic run by competent personnel.
Luxury clinic: A top of the line clinic that takes care of their customers. This obviously means that the prices go up as well by around 50%. You can only find the most expensive tech, the kind that is worth more than 10 000 euros, in places like these.

You also use that clinic table for when you want Biotech installed, which is why I was wondering why that part was in the preceding chapter and not this one.

Cybertech needs a longer period of acclimatisation to let you be able to use them reflexively. Mechanically you can simulate this (ugh) by increasing the difficulty level by 3 for all relevant difficulty checks during the first hour after installation. After that it’s 2 levels during the first day and then during the first week it’s one level higher.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear, the N2 writers have never heard of the concept of downtime. Because why did they feel the need to add that rule suggestion? It’s not like you’re going to install cybertech during an active session and not do it during any downtime. Otherwise everything will just come to a screeching halt while the GM rolls so that Billy can get a new cybertech arm. Having a penalty for the first hour after having it installed is so utterly stupid. At most I can agree with the one week penalty depending on how short the downtime is but even then the whole group can just agree and say that they take a week and a half or something to let Billy get used to his arm so he doesn’t turn into a massive drag as he continues to botch rolls due to his modification penalty.
Of loving course there is a table for the difficulties because they had the space over for one.

N2 has, much like CP2020, cyber psychosis. The whole thing is most likely lifted wholesale from that game anyway. The idea is the usual, the more bits of metal you stick inside of you the harder you have to be able to identify yourself with the rest of humanity. We’ve all seen it before, it’s the usual prevention method as not to have the PC’s load themselves up with as much cybertech as possible.
If you install hidden cybertech that can’t be observed by others or you can feel yourself then you get 1 psychosis point. Installing cybertech that changes your sensory input you get 1D6 psychosis points. Installing cybertech that drastically alters your appearance will also get you 1D6 psychosis points.
We’ll get into what all this means next chapter.

All implants require energy to work. Smaller ones that aren’t that energy hungry is usually fed with glucose cells or artery turbines. Bigger ones like cyberlegs need batteries or accumulators that need to be charged up. If you have an internal DNC-net then you only need to install an energy source somewhere on your body, or you install it in close proximity to the implant. If you don’t have enough energy for all your implants then you run the risk that they’ll stop working. Whenever you use an implant you need to roll against Luck to see if it will still work. The difficulty is based on how much energy is missing. If you lack more than 75% in energy then all implants will stop working. In some cases you can install back up power for those very important implants. Another solution is installing an oversized energy source.
I’m thankful I don’t have to track energy consumption. Either way it’s just more pointless simulationism that will 9 times out of 10 never become relevant.

It’s inevitable that your cybertech will get damaged. The basic rule is that if they gain any extra wounds then they stop working as its considered destroyed. Lesser damage will only produce scratches, dents or other blemishes. All cybernetic parts have SKY 0 but some come with built in armor. To replace a broken implant or limb you first need to remove it and then install a new one. At black clinics you can usually get the broken implant repaired at a cost of 10% of the retail price. If it’s removed by force or through an accident then you get the same amount of Trauma and Blood Loss as you did when it got installed. Pain is however doubled. I’m going to assume that limbs are not fully counted for this as there is a comment right before that you don’t really feel pain anymore with them.

Removal of limbs can only be done at clinics. The procedure takes half the time it took to install it, the cost is also half as much. But you get the full amount of Trauma, Pain and Blood loss. But you don’t have to pay for the materials. If you decide to visit a shadowdoc you can get a discount that is equal to 10% of the material costs. That is to say if you want to let someone else use your old discarded cybertech.

A ripperdoc is a criminal shadowdoc that steal cybertech from their victims. I thought they also ran black clinics as well? Make up your mind here N2. If you are unfortunate to encounter a ripperdoc that violently remove cybertech for you that can lead to disastrous consequences. For limbs that is counted as an amputation and you gain a Bleed rate that might lead to you bleed out unless something is done about it. For upgrades you gain Ob1D6 points of pain from the rough treatment. Otherwise you can expect to gain twice as much Trauma and Pain points than from a normal installation. You also gain as a Bleeding rate that is equal to the amount of Blood loss you’d get otherwise.

The rules for cybertech varies from country to country. There are certain kinds of cybertech that is illegal and in certain countries, such as Scandinavia and the Arab world Middle East, the laws against cybertech are harsher. This generally does a bunch of things with the availability codes in this case. Illegal cybertech can also be be hard to go through with at check ups at airports. This is rarely the case with biotech.
Hang on here, that seems to imply that they had more in mind for biotech rather than just cloned replacement organs. Because why would you have issues passing through security with an organ that is built from your own DNA and therefore virtually indistinguishable from you? But I guess that idea fell through or something during the writing of this. Or maybe the lead writer thought that making Biotech was an affront to his dislike for gene manipulation. Who knows in this case.

DNC, or Data-Neural-Cerebral, is the industrial standard to ensure that all implants are able to work together without issue. Data, neural impulses and cerebral information is sent through the various cables and digital transmission also let you transmit all kinds of information as well. All you really need to do when installing new cybertech, not count the surgery, is run an installation process in the implants DNC processor.
Remember to read the EULA.

Military cybertech on the other hand does not use DNC standard. This can cause some problems if you want to get your hands on some MilTech, either you need to find more from the same manufacturer or simply have to deal with that they can’t be interconnected. Why the hell wouldn’t the military use the DNC standard? This feels like a massive roadblock put in the game by the writers to disallow the players to grab military grade tech, or make it extra complicated for them.

After the rules we get a table of what cybertech is available to purchase, followed 24 pages of item descriptions about how they work ingame. Also a number of various different models and variants. It’s a far cry from the bare bones weapon section from before. Reminds me a lot of the gear section from Shadowrun in this case. This part also features some hilarious art as well. We also get an idea of what companies exist in the setting such as Cyberdyne, Tyrell, IDC-Fujiyama, MosCorp and Bruce. Interesting model names in parentheses.

As the book established before you need power for all the cybertech to work. There are a couple of options beyond the glucose cell or artery turbine such as body heat generator, Body Movement generator or Microcell. The latter being a small but powerful batteries. It says that they can last for several years but if used at full capacity needs to be exchanged every day. Considering it provides 2000 watts of energy I’m wondering what kind of implants you need to be running in that case. Other options are micro accumulators (Tyrell Use-Your-Really-Small-Accumulator™) or regular accumulators (Tyrell Use-Your-Accumulator™). All of these also require an internal DNC net to work.


I’m pretty sure she’s not naked but it sure looks like it.

Plugins is not something I’ve brought up before, in this case they are downloadable upgrades to various implants. Such as data interfaces, cyberlinks for weapons (Tyrell Watch-It-Shoot-Addon™ or MosCorp Look’n’Fire™) or cyberlinks for vehicles (Bruce Driver-in-Me™).

Some implants also have addons that modify or add functions. Such as adding a flashlight to one of your eyes (Tyrell Watch-It-In-Light™, Frank Chen Disco-Eyes, which can also blink in rhythm to music. Kinda neat.).



There are also cybertech packages. Our first of these is the Wanglow Mediaman™ that a number of various implants that lets you record video and audio. It costs 26998 euros. Another option is Wanglow EzyLife™, made for all the rich slackers. What it actually does isn’t explained but going by the various implants including things like artificial jaws, artificial skin (Tyrell Cover-It-With-Pseudo-Skin™) and similar I assume it lets you be the biggest lazy slob imaginable. It costs 44998 euro.

There are also rather weird things you can install such as a floodlight (Tyrell Light-it-with-headlight™ or Cyberdyne PowerBeam 47), the recommended places for that is in the forehead, temples or hand. But other places are also possible and it requires a controller of some kind. Can not be used to blind people because it takes a while to turn on and gain power.
Or you can get a foundation where you can install horns on your head. Or an internal bomb (Tyrell Kill-Me™ or Scheffka Security DeathTrap-9) There is also a cortex bomb option for when you really don’t want the PCs to interrogate mooks.

There is a sidebar about the GM having to decide how much cybertech should be available in their campaign. Allowing them to use how much they want might work in some kind of campaigns while it might damage it in some cases. But at the same time it’d be rather boring to forbid or prevent the usage of cybertech. Something which I feel the rules is making a good enough effort at. There is a couple of suggestions at how to restrict the cybertech usage.
Prohibit: Cybertech is disallowed in many situations. Places like airplanes, subways and public buildings might ban it. In many countries cybertech is forbidden and because the players are often travelling all over the world this can be a good motivation to skip some types. The book calls it the best method but I call bullshit on that since that would either lead to meaningless party splitting if someone actually has gone in to use cybertech and suddenly they’re not allowed to go into places where others can so they’ll just end up sitting around doing nothing while the rest have fun. Hell no to that.
Security checks: Stopping people with cybertech, obvious I assume mainly, at security checks is also one way of doing it. But then again you run into the same issues as before where people who decide to use it are left twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the others.
Social issues: This probably the more interesting option in this case, and not something unknown since both Deus Ex prequels dealt with issues like this. So this one gets a pass by me.
Unreliability: Even the book admits this method is dubious, so why is it even suggested then? Either way it means that the player has to roll against luck each time they use an implant of some kind. This feels more suitable if you went the cheapskate route rather than it happening for all implants. This is pretty much the same as banning them as you’re penalizing players heavily. I’m not even sure if there is a way to actually increase luck because I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere up till this point.

Another sidebar deals with Cybertech and NPCs, or Game Master Character as the book calls them. In this case the GM is allowed to go nuts with cybertech and have heavily cybered characters be used as cannon fodder or hard to kill bad guys.
GM’s are also encouraged to have the ‘bad guys’ use a lot of cybertech, in that way they make it clear for the players who is a bad guy. But then they cal also confuse the players by breaking against this convention.
Uh ok? That whole suggestion seems rather weird.



So it turns out that the vampire and shark bite attacks in the weapon section are there because you can get either as an implant. The variant names for the first one are pretty great in this case: Tyrell Chew-It-Like-A-Vampire™, TepesCorp Vamp-III, Tarot Bloodsuckers™, Wanglow Real Vampire Implant, Bruce Artificial Horror-Teeth™, Transylvanian Terror Lord Dracula JR™. Then there is also the Wanglow Vampire kit™ that lets you go all in on being a vampire. I feel there might be a decent plothook in there featuring some rich playboy or corporate suit that got a bit too obsessed with being a vampire. I say those two because the whole shebang costs 17998 euros so its well out of the range of most average people.

There’s also two kinds of full body conversions that replaces everything except your organs with cybernetic parts. One being a normal one and the other one being a Dreadnought conversion. Could be good for when you want to go the extra mile with the musclehead mook.

There’s the obligatory cyber weapons. One options is Slashes, or Wolverine claws, with sound effects. It’s mentioned that the choice of sound effects include lines from the movies “Slashers” 1-7. The listed model is Collorage WTUYNC™ or “Want-These-Up-Your-Nose-Chummer?”
Was wondering when they were going to work in an actual Shadowrun reference. Beyond that there is the usual choices of underarm weapons such as revolvers, SMGs, shotguns and grenade launchers.


Budget corporate ninja.

Another sidebar talks about Cybertech in sports, a rather legit concern in this case if anything. In Neotech it took a surprisingly long time until cybersports became a thing. Cybertech is banned from the Olympic games and careful screening processes are employed to prevent this. Using cybertech in this case is classified as doping and athletes caught with unauthorized tech are banned from participating.
Cybertech has however found its niche in sports shows like wrestling which has its own class for cybered up fighters. But that doesn’t some from using it in the other classes to cheat. Other popular sports are Cyberball and Bloodsport. The first one is land hockey but far more brutal, it also has an element of show to it and it’s usual to hear that games have been rigged from the start. Bloodsport on the other hand is banned more or less everywhere because of its brutality, this means most major matches are broadcasted from Madagascar. The idea is a Team versus Team game of two different times fighting against each other. You’re also limited to two liters of blood replacement.

The vast majority of the cybertech is various body parts with different specializations or modifications. Like taser hand or grappling feet. A finger telephone is however an option. Oddly enough the microphone is in the thumb and the speaker is in the forefinger. Whatever was wrong with the classic Thumb/Little finger phone?! A finger camera is also an option for that part.

Another tech package is the Wanglow Streetfighters Edge™ that sees a lot of usage amongst wannabe-boosters, especially those who want to join booster gangs in poorer areas. That feels weird because the package costs 23998 euros in total. But I guess you’ll just put yourself in debt for the rest of your life in order to get it.

Speaking of boosters, there is also booster bands. What kind of music they play though isn’t mentioned in the sidebar that deals with cyber instruments. These are called ‘cyberaxes’ by the way and can look like anything from a guitar to a keyboard or a drum set.

Then there is also Biosofts, or moddies. These let you raise your skill ranks and costs several hundred euros per unit. Because yes, the units from character creation is suddenly showing all of a sudden. With biosofts you can increase Combat Experience but those are illegal and go for 2000 euros per unit.

One of the creepier cybertech options is the Puppeteer implants, a highly illegal cerebral interface addition that lets you control other people’s actions. Why this is added as an option is beyond me because this is honestly something that strictly belongs as a plot device for an adventure and not something that a PC could technically get. Doesn’t really matter that its illegal and costs 90.000 euros. Someone is going to get it at some point.

More sidebars, despite the fact that cybertech is a regular thing in 2059, it’s still not readily accepted by a lot of people. People using obvious cyberware might be subjected to discrimination and prejudice. This usually means various penalties when in social situations. On the other hand cybertech readily accepted in some subcultures and also a way for someone to express a sense of belonging or identity.
I kind of wish this was explored a bit more in the book rather than just a minor sidebar in the cybertech section because elements like this make up a huge part of the genre. Or maybe it will show up once the book is actually willing to fully discuss its setting.


He should see a doctor about that skin condition.

The Cybertech section is perhaps the most interesting section so far in the book because here the writers suddenly go all out in describing the various kinds of implants available. Including a lot of unexpected flavour to them with various in setting models. There is some repetition however, hidden compartments in particular shows up several times. The rules on the other hand is more of the same annoying simulationism that gets in the way of everything. Having both cyber psychosis and energy levels to keep track off feels like a dumb oversight.

Next time: Insane in the Membrane.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Fantasy Balkans are going to be interesting. The writing is pretty good, but it's also for a style of game I've never used Hams to run: The idea is that you fill in a region of the Princes and partially randomly generate a campaign setting on about the same scale as the region in Lure of the Liche Lord. Also rules for being a Border Prince, wherein your troubles are driven by and lead to Adventures as the core of a realm management minigame.

The new classes are mostly absolutely terrible, though.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

Fantasy Balkans are going to be interesting. The writing is pretty good, but it's also for a style of game I've never used Hams to run: The idea is that you fill in a region of the Princes and partially randomly generate a campaign setting on about the same scale as the region in Lure of the Liche Lord. Also rules for being a Border Prince, wherein your troubles are driven by and lead to Adventures as the core of a realm management minigame.

It's a pretty cool idea for a campaign. I honestly love PCs setting down roots and getting into their day-to-day lives. Maybe 4E will have something similar.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Cooked Auto posted:



Neotech 2
Part 19: My vision is augmented.



Budget corporate ninja.

Good to see that "Ask a Ninja" guy is still getting work.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


YOU HAVE COME TO A WORLD CALLED TORG! *Storm cracks*

Congrats on finishing!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Well done, EM. Congratulations!

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Thanks everybody. :3: It's good to know my suffering wasn't in vain.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Night10194 posted:

Also rules for being a Border Prince, wherein your troubles are driven by and lead to Adventures as the core of a realm management minigame.

I originally read this as "your troubles are driven by and lead to Adventurers" and pictured a game where you're a ruler who has to constantly deal with this sort of troublemakers and grows to absolutely despise them over time.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



The Lone Badger posted:

I originally read this as "your troubles are driven by and lead to Adventurers" and pictured a game where you're a ruler who has to constantly deal with this sort of troublemakers and grows to absolutely despise them over time.

There's a pretty compelling video game series about that called Majesty. Some goons did an awesome LP of it that got the game's main voice actor to join in.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


One thing I really appreciate is that its random tables are prefaced with 'If you roll, then hate what you rolled, roll again! Or if you roll and find yourself wishing you'd rolled another result, just pick that one! This is all only here to help you get ideas.'

Anfauglir
Jun 8, 2007


I stumbled on this a few weeks ago and saved it to quote today just for fun, but its much better now that you've finished EM. Congrats on being done with that mess forever.

Evil Mastermind posted:

Today is April 15, 2016.

Three years ago today, I started the first iteration of the Torg read-through.

It's three years later, I've restarted once, and I'm still only like halfway through the stuff I want to get through.

Three years of writing about Torg.

What the hell am I doing with my life?

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009
BUTTS





Congrats, EM!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wait, so in Neotech you need batteries for your cyberstuff. Okay. And you have to track how much charge you have... Super fiddly but not really surprising, so sure. But if your battery is at 75% or less you can’t use anything. Uh am I reading that correctly?

Cause that means the bottom quarter of your battery is actually “zero”, so the whole percentage system is just a lie and 1% of battery is actually at 25.75% and owwww my brain is unhappy.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


PurpleXVI posted:

But seriously finishing off Torg is an accomplishment that will literally only be second to if RIFTS actually gets finished off without ARB going after Siembeda with a gun shaped like a knockoff Gundam action figure.

My Tolkeen War coverage is intended to be the coda on it for a while, and it's just a question of how much supplementary material I want to cover regarding it. I'm not saying I'll never come back to it - it'd be easy to pick up on the books that follow - but it's a natural breakpoint for the line before it's effectively revised with Ultimate Edition.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Anfauglir posted:

I stumbled on this a few weeks ago and saved it to quote today just for fun, but its much better now that you've finished EM. Congrats on being done with that mess forever.
You laugh, but I saw that a few weeks ago and realized that I had to finish by today. That's what gave me the final push to get through Space Gods and finish everything off.

Also that final question still applies.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


From the impenetrable depths of my SA reading backlog comes...

Cults: Anubians, pt. 2



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Lost Children

The book loops back to the past to say that Anubians went into hiding among the advanced African civilizations of the time. Some even forgot their purpose, but their thread of life (the genetic strain) remained. It can be found among North Africans, Asians (not appearing in this book), and even the bloody Euros.

To detect it, the Anubians use an inscribed bone the length of a forearm, for some stupid reason called the “finger of Anubis”. It is passed down from generation to generation and rumored to be filled with jackal bile.

quote:

When an Anubian scratches an African’s skin with the finger of Anubis, a true descendant develops eczema the size of a fingernail from sunrise to sundown: the mark of Anubis. An African who bears it is destined by birth to walk the path of Anubis. He’s an Initiate.

Welcome to the cult of transcendental eugenics! :godwinning:

Imiut Skin

Side section!

Bruises, smallpox and other similar stuff is sorta easy and rote for Anubites, who have elixirs, ointments and amulents aplenty (probably because they crushed the Big Amulent shortly after Eschaton) – or they can go into Anubis realm to battle Ammit, the devourer of souls and “return with Duat blood (no idea) in their veins.”

But when a Scouger gets hosed up by a stake trap, a bullet or “the detonating tank of a Kom” (how often does that happen), things get serious. The dying is rubbed with Duat blood (no idea) and sown into a jackal or dog skin cocoon, the Imiut skin. This symbolizes going back into the womb for rebirth and the Scourger, bald and thin, claws his way out in a few days, weak, but alive.

Death

Once you are scratched by a disgusting bone and found to be a Merovingian an Anubian, an Embalmer starts tutoring you. First, your skin is blackened with resin and you get to wear a cool mask. Then you're lowered into an Anubian catacomb.

quote:

Down there in the darkness, surrounded by his ancestors’ bones, he waits. He eats bugs and corpse flesh that the Embalmer throws into the shaft. He devours rotten mash mixed with drugs.

:catdrugs:

The poisoned man-flesh, the darkness and all the skulls makes the Initiate go crazy, and in their visions they eventually confront Anubis, probably to ask “what the gently caress, man?”

Rebirth

The Embalmer then drags out the passed-out Innitiate, “embalms” him with scented oils and rolls him in bandages like a mummy. The oil and the heat are supposed to draw the poison out of the body in a few days. The Embalmer keeps watch and gives the mummy water via a straw. Eventually, the Innitiate is symbolicaly reborn.

Seven Circles

Then comes the time for the Embalmer to tattoo seven concentric circles around the Innitiate's navel. Seven different kinds of white paint (prepared according to a secret formula guarded by Cairo) are used. Each circle uses different paint and is drawn according to a set order.

quote:

To the Initiate, the Circles symbolize the wave on which every living being drifts towards death, but also the world created by Anubis.

Embalmers only have five circles upon them, since you lose them as you rank up:

quote:

The Initiates move on the outmost Circle, the Enchanters on the sixth one, the Embalmers, Sickles, and Healers on the fifth. The honorable Hogons have left the four outer Circles behind and stand on the third one. They decide when an Anubian is ready to leave his Circle.

Anubians: great at healing and tattoo removal.



Ain't no business like spooky business

The Wave Breaks

Side-section! When an African dies, an Anubian prepares their body like in the introductory fiction, and then burries them in their Boneyard.

Initiated

After the cannibal drug trip is over, the Embalmer teaches the Initiate about burial rites and bug use. They have to listen to the Psychovore forests for the voices of the ancestors. Eventually, they have to expose themselves to the Raze.

To Anubi's Right Hand

Everybody knows that Psychovores will gently caress you up. If the thorns that drip with poison that eats through flesh and bone won't get you, then the epigenetically active fruit will via rapid aberrant mutation – the Raze.

quote:

The only exceptions are the seeds used by Europe’s Scourgers. Bitten in two, they break into a thousand splinters that enter the gums and the mucosae like glass. They don’t kill, but strengthen the Warui outside of Africa.

It works via the blood, you see. :science:

Meanwhile, the Anubians are nearly immune to Raze. Sure, festering wounds still happen, but they can heal them. Meanwhile, their blood reacts to Psychovore substances as if to Witcher mutagens, changing the body into a bioreactor (I doubt that means what the developers think it means).

quote:

Spitalian would barely recognize an Anubian blood sample in this phase as human.

Anubians go into the forest, get themselves some Duat fruit and eat it. Their body immediately begins self destructing and regenerating in turn.

Then they die and face Anubis.

quote:

The bioreactor kicks in. The body vibrates from heat. The heart pouns and circulates the seething blood. A honey-like ichor wells from glands under the tongue, in the armpits, and in the groin. The body’s blackness disappears.

They are grabbed, torn away from Anubis’s throne, come back into life wincing.

Hmm, I wonder who else synthesizes various compounds from glands in those specific locations?

Basically, they use their body to transform Duat fruit into useful compounds. That's what the Duat blood is: the blood of an Anubian who had a Duat fruit trip. Various fruit combos produce various versions of blood that have different uses.

That's actually kinda metal. :black101:

Anansi Spiders

Side section! Spiders are present in the grassy Anubian plains and it is considered an art to trick them into making a funerary cocoon.

quote:

The spiders react to the embalming oil as if they had been bred for just this task.

DUN DUN DUUUN?!!

Next time: Duat blood of the masses

Barudak
May 7, 2007



EM, as I say congratulations Im clapping for you on the 2d picture of the earth at the bottom of my heart

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Thank you for the Torg, EM! I first discovered Torg in a Half-Price Books back in 2004, but I'd never have picked up Torg Eternity if not for your reviews.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Selachian posted:

My recollections of playing Torg back in the day make me wonder, the sheer number of combatants aside, how the PCs are expected to survive more than one or two of those fights, let alone ... what is it, four of them back to back? I can't imagine it happening without massive DM fudging. Especially since I assume that these are Dramatic scenes, which means the Drama Deck will be stacked against the PCs.
The intro adventure ends with needing to do something, you don't know, which requires pulling four cards in order, and succeeding on the roll, with a 20 round time limit.

Even if you teleport directly to the thing instead of spending time fighting the skeletons, know what you need to do, and succeed at every roll, you can quite easily just be stonewalled by not pulling the right action cards to progress.

Failing at this is a worldwide disaster where the entire planet stops rotating, massively loving up the entire setting.

Torg absolutely fails to actually think out the consequences and likelihood of failure, constantly.



Also, dang, it's hard to believe it's finally over. Thanks, Evil Mastermind, for taking us on this extremely 90s journey.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: Kung Fu Lovers

Razor Dancer and Wise Steel are a pair of artifact 3 soulsteel short daiklaves. The heroes Adalin Razor-Dancer and Seren of the Wise Steel met in the city of Plenilune in the North; Adalin had come to destroy the Nine Red Chambers syndicate in fire and blood, while Seren had infiltrated them to destroy them from within. At first they fought, but eventually joined forces to defeat the criminals and fell in love, setting out to wipe out tyranny and crime in the Saltspires. However, the witch-queen of the wastes, the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears, witnessed their deeds. Contemptuous of their true love, she lured them to her crimson ice tower, where she tested their love, their trust and their skill. They passed all of the tests but one – they died in battle against her, their bond unbroken. In mocking honor, she bound their souls into a pair of blades, to let them fight at each other’s side for all time. The soulsteel blades, while paired, are not quite identical. Razor Dancer is longer and meant to strike, while Wise Steel is broader, for defense. The tortured faces of the two heroes can be dimly seen in the black blades, as though through a broken mirror. Drawn together in battle, their moaning is a duet of haunting regret and love. Each blade has a single hearthstone slot in it.

The blades each grant mastery of the fighting style of the hero within, which may be assumed as if they were martial arts forms. The Evocations of Razor Dancer and Wise Steel can be used with any martial arts style compatible with paired short daiklaves, and the blades themselves are compatible with light or medium armor, but not heavy. They are better than normal paired weapons on Clash attacks, too. The blades are less than a year old, so they have not had time to develop a full suite of Evocations yet – only three. This is meant as an example of a young artifact; these will generally have only a few Essence 1-2 Charms rooted in the intent of the crafter, with Evocations growing one at a time as the wielder develops the legend of the weapon or tool.

Razor Dancer Form grants you the speed and assurance of Adalin Razor-Dancer, increasing your effective Initiative for when you act in a round, making you more accurate against slower foes and giving a bonus to rushes against slower foes plus giving Initiative on a rush. It can be auto-activated whenever you move away from an ally to whom you have a Major or Defining positive Tie and then perform a rush before the start of your next term. Wise Steel Form gives the caution and grace of Seren of the Wise Steel, increasing your Parry and giving a bonus to disengage or resist rushes. You also do not pay Initiative to disengage and you gain Initiative whenever you disengage or resist a rush. You can autoactivate it whenever you use a disengage’s movement to move towards an ally to whom you have a Defining or Major positive tie.

The ultimate technique is Razor Steel Lovers Form, which gives a bonus to accuracy and Parry, all combat movement rolls and rolls to oppose enemy movement. It also removes the cost to disengage and gives Initiative whenever you win an opposed movement roll, as well as allowing you to act earlier in the round than your Initiative would indicate. It is, in fact, basically both Forms at once, and can be activated for free whenever either of the Forms could be activated for free.

Summer Thunder is a 3-dot orichalcum short powerbow. After the War of the Gods, the Solar Kestra Lightning-Hoof went home to lead her steppe people. However, they rejected her, as they were of the tribe of the god Hiparkes, and she was now of the Sun’s tribe. Thus, Kestra and her blessed steed hunted the horse god Hiparkes, forcing him to kneel and breaking him to her will. She shaved off his mane, twisting it into the string of a powerbow, and rode the god home in triumph to demand the fealty of her people. Summer Thunder was borne by Kestra and each of her heirs across the East, used to fight the Shadow-Riders of Wan, to hunt behemoths and Wyld terrors, and to rule the steppes and prairies. It was buried with its final Solar master in what would become Medo. One of that land’s massive walls is now built over the tomb. The bow has a single hearthstone slot.

A wielder that twists a strand from a willing steed’s mane or tail into Summer Thunder’s string may spend a Willpower. This causes the steed to become bonded, gaining a Resolve bonus for as long as the bow is attuned. Any mount summoned by Phantom Steed is always considered bonded. Summer Thunder’s Evocations only function while riding a bonded mount. Period. Hooves Like Sunlight increases your mount’s speed for one movement action based on the strength of your Intimacy towards it and, if resonant, you gain Initiative if it succeeds. Nock-and-Canter Unity lets you, once per scene, instantly and reflexively aim. You can reset it by Crashing, unhorsing or taking out a non-trivial foe. Laughing Stallion’s Escape lets you disengage without cost and anyone that tries to stop you loses some Initiative.

Skirmisher’s Piercing Deliverance lets you make a Decisive attack against a foe in Close range, then reflexively disengage, with the target taking a penalty to their roll if you hit. Squadron-Increasing Flare gives a bonus to rally actions, especially for mounted battle groups. Evoke the Equestrian Echo lets you, once per scene, summon a phantom warrior from an arrow. This warrior is a nomadic horse-archer that needs not eat, sleep, breathe or drink, never tires, and is completely loyal to you (as is his mount) and can’t be intimidated. This is not a ghost – rather, it is a memory drawn forth from your anima and Summer Thunder and given physical form. These may be your lovers or relations, or those who die in your service. Likewise, when you use Phantom Steed, you may now have the steed be the memory-phantom of mounts that have died in your service.

The ultimate power is Phantom Cavalry Cavalcade. You must be resonant with orichalcum to learn it. Once per story, it summons forth a phantom battle-group of at least a hundred horse-archers, with elite Drill, Might 2 and Size based on your Essence. The Charm’s cooldown can be reset by experiencing a major military victory or loss that is related to one of your Major or Defining Intimacies, such as surrendering to an enemy you despise or accepting the surrender of a foe in accord with a Principle of magnanimity in victory.

Next time: Sun’s Brush, Tusk of Galaech-Ma

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