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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: SMALL FIRE GUN

Sirrush is a 4-dot blue jade devil caster Ė that is, a fire pistol. The Solar Vaznia basically collected artifacts and barely used most of them. Sirrush and Anshar were a paired set of flamepieces she had made in blue jade to match the eyes of a favorite concubine. She ended up handing them to her lieutenant, Rylo Stormsong, without ever using them in battle. Rylo was a thrill-seeker that went looking for trouble, doing battle wwith many criminals and going on many adventures. To get herself out of the trouble she got into, she wielded Anshar and Sirrush to terrifying effect. Eventually, however, she was outmatched by the sea-demons of a sorcerer sheíd offended, and while she lept from the top of the Crescent Temple into the sea to escape, she never resurfaced. A thousand years later, the mud-sifters of Wu Jian found Sirrush. It managed to make its way through a number of deals and thefts until one of the now-destroyed Lords Criminal traded it to the outcaste pirate Storm Motherís Son in exchange for several crates of firedust. Anshar remains lost. There are no hearthstone slots. Were Anshar to be rediscovered, it is possible the pair would unlock new Evocations together, but Sirrush functions alone as a single weapon just fine.

Firedust-Gathering Practice is gained for free when you attune as long as you arenít dissonant with jade. It lets you reload the gun without an action. Lightning Draw Method is gained free when you win Join Battle against at least one non-trivial foe. It lets you treat your Initiative as higher for purposes of when you act during the first round of combat, but you must use the action to attack. Storm-Dueling Method lets you clash with a surprise attack (but not an ambush) at Close or Short range, reflexively drawing Sirrush if it wasnít ready. This does not count as your action for the turn. Fiery Gale Barrage lets your attack double as a feat of strength to smash a piece of cover, and if you destroy it, it provides no protection to your target. Forked-Lightning Flame Attack lets you, once per scene, make a single Decisive attack that can target multiple foes in front of you, as long as they arenít behind cover. Damage has to be split between them, though, except for battle groups, which take extra damage. After using this, you must make an ammunition check.

Devilís Last Gasp lets you, if you havenít reloaded after attacking, make a gambit to knock an opponent back and down with a blast of hot air and reflexively aim at them if you hit. Inferno-Drinking Stance is gained free if you arenít dissonant with jade when you fail an ammunition roll while fighting to uphold an Intimacy. It lets you, whenever you would have to make an ammunition check while using one of its Evocations, have Sirrush completely consume all nonmagical fire within Short range to reload instead.

The ultimate power, Wind-Fire Twister, can only be learned if you arenít dissonant with jade. Once per day, you can turn your bonfire-level anima to a tornado of fire that becomes an environmental hazard against anyone in Close range of you. It sets anything flammable it touches on fire, and you can move it around as a miscellaneous action. After activating this, you must make an ammunition check. The whirl lasts until you are Crashed, at which point it vanishes and the Charm ends.

Strifeís Crucible is a pair of 4-dot starmetal slayer khatars. The pair were forged to be a dueling weapon by Iron Temper, a Sidereal who saw the Usurpation as a failure of all Exalts. He thought that they were not ready, and so he asked the Maidens for starmetal with fragments of Marsí own power, forging it with an alloy from a melted-down red jade daiklave once wielded by a Solar. Thus, he made a pair of khatars with which to test the Exalted. Each blade is two feet long, one foot wide and thin as a finger. The gauntlets of red jade wrapped in starmetal wire are engraved with depictions of the constellation named the Gauntlet, and the weapon adores battle and makes it easier to spur others to duel while ensuring they survive. Iron Temper continues to wield Strifeís Crucible even today, traveling Creation to challenge Exalts of all types. He has sworn a sacred oath on the weapon Ė when he finds the destined one worthy to take on his role, even more dedicated than he to bettering the Exalted, then he will hand over both the job and the khatars. Until then, he will guide the weapon in its holy purpose. There are two hearthstone slots.

When the wielder Joins Battle, they may declare one non-trivial foe to be their chosen opponent. If they beat that target on the Join Battle roll, they gain extra Initiative and act first in that round no matter who has the highest Initiative. However, they cannot attack anyone but the chosen opponent in that turn. The chosen opponent gains the same benefits but in reverse if they beat the user on Join Battle. When the wielder defeats the chosen opponent, they may offer to give them one Willpower, pushing them to never accept defeat. If the target accepts, they form a Major Intimacy chosen by their player to reflect the lesson learned in the battle.

Gleaming Dagger Dissent is gained free as long as you arenít dissonant with starmetal when you see someone else use strength or martial skill in a way that offends one of your Major or Defining Principles. It enhances social influence designed to piss people off by issuing a challenge while pointing the weapon at someone or performing a kata. If the influence lands, the target forms a Major Intimacy of their playerís choice that will encourage them to fight the wielder (now or later), on top of the normal effects. If resonant with starmetal and the target starts a fight, and you designate them your chosen opponent, you can reflexively clash their first attack against you with a Decisive attack that doesnít count as your action for the round. First Blood Poise gives Strifeís Crucible a special Willpower pool that gains Willpower whenever the wielder Crashes or incapacitates their chosen opponent, to a cap of 10. The wielder may spend Willpower from this pool to resist social influence, boost their Parry, pay Evocation costs for Strifeís Crucible or give Willpower to defeated foes. Any Willpower in the artifact fades at the end of each story.

Truth in Strife Repose lets you, when you parry an attack successfully, read your attackerís intentions with a bonus based on your Brawl. Success reveals the Intimacy that is the primary reason the target fights in general. If resonant and you uncover an Intimacy of your chosen opponent this way, you may commit the Charmís cost to get a bonus to Withering attacks against the chosen opponent, with a greater bonus the less powerful the revealed Intimacy was. Shining Duelistís Challenge boosts the Solar Charm Majestic Radiant Presence. The chosen opponent is immune to its effects but all other foes must pay 3 Willpower instead of 1 to resist it, unless you attack someone other than your chosen opponent. This does not gate anything off. Final Blood Sanction cannot be bought; instead, it is gained free when you form or strengthen a Positive Tie towards your chosen opponent in battle. You can use it once per story. To use this, your chosen opponent must be the most potent foe in the battle (or one of them, if multiple are roughly equivalent and tied for most powerful), and you must Crash them. You then roll your Initiative as an influence roll against all foes present, ignoring the penalties for group influence. Your chosen opponent cannot apply Resolve against this roll. If you beat all foesí Resolve, the fight ends. Everyone becomes apathetic about the outcome of the fight, no longer certain why they were fighting. Anyone, friend or foe, other than your chosen opponent, may enter a Decision Point to restart hostilities, but must invoke a Major or stronger Intimacy and spend 1 Willpower. Once they do, anyone else can rejoin battle without need to resist, and if they do, you re-enter at whatever Initiative you were at when you ended the fight, while your chosen opponent re-enters Crashed at -10 Initiative. If resonant, the fight canít be restarted by anyone of lower Essence than you and they must use a Defining Intimacy in the Decision Point.

The ultimate power, Terms of the Spear, lets you pray to Mars once per story to sanctify a duel. Red stars of the Spear constellation etch onto the gauntlets, charging it with destiny and consecrating the rules of the duel or terms of engagement for the battle. If either you or your chosen opponent breaks the rules agreed to, the khatar blades glow red and destiny imposes a punishment that fits the crime, as if the rulebreaker had broken an oath consecrated with the Eclipse anima. At the least, the curse will render the rulebreaker incapable of legitimately winning the duel. If you win a battle sanctified this way, you gain 2 Willpower and lose some Limit. If you lose, you gain a Major Intimacy reflecting what you learned from the duel and gain one Charm or Evocation that fits this Intimacy. You must meet all of its prerequisites as normal but spend no XP on it. However, if you do not maintain the gained Intimacy at Major or higher, you lose the Charm unless you buy with actual XP. Once you learn a Charm this way, you must pay for it with XP before you can learn another through this Evocation.

Next time: Sunflash, Talion

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns

Why are there so many tables

So, the wandering monsters are the weakest part of region creation, which is a bit of a disappointment. There's some good material here, but the actual generation methods are clunky and it's a little rougher when it comes to things PCs are actually going to be killing later. One of the neat ideas here is that the swarms of monsters in the Border Princes are actually a way of gauging how much good the armies, roadwardens, and PCs have done in other lands; you're way less likely to be attacked by monsters in the Empire. The roads are safer because the Empire has organized hunts to destroy serious threats and an army it can bring in to face Beastherds. Bretonnia's Errants actually do make a dent in the monster population, to say nothing of the Questing Knights and Grail Knights, or even the Herrimaults shooting critters to keep their forest hideouts safe. Here? There are rarely such organized responses to creatures, and it makes monsters both more numerous and more dangerous than in more developed regions.

First, you decide on the general level of monster activity in your region: This will decide how much your campaign deals with monsters vs. people. If you have only a few monster lairs in the region, they'll be much less of a threat and leave the Princes and PCs free to stab one another more often. If you have a moderate number, you'll balance fighting beasts and alliances of convenience against backstabbing and politics. If there are many, many monsters, the Princes of the region will probably be cooperating with one another by default even if they hate each other; someone with two arms, two legs, and one head is a lot less likely to eat you than everything else in the area! If you have Many monsters, you can have up to 22 lairs, which can have over 1000 orcs or whatever each. An individual band of greenskins can have 20 trolls in it. 20! Now imagine 22 of those. That can be a problem.

The real problem, though, is that the tables are just weird. For instance, say you roll a Chaos threat. You then roll to see what kind of Champion or leader is leading it. Based on that, you then roll on a much smaller table to see what their followers are. But it's possible to roll a '+4 on the next table' result and the second table only goes up to 5+? And also you can't actually roll, say, a general Warband of Warriors and Marauders led by a Champion. Similarly, the Undead tables are a little confusing and hard to theme around the specific undead; a mummy isn't going to have Vampire Bats serving it, damnit. Overall, the monster tables just don't produce anything as interesting as the other parts of region creation. They also don't really have the built in plot hooks that the ancient menaces do in the ruins. If I was going to skip one step's randomization entirely and just place threats myself, I'd do it here.

To that end, we're just going to get right into the threats to Pferdekrieg. It has a Moderate number of monsters and rolled 8 lairs on the table. I get Undead, Undead, Chaos, Chaos, Monster, Monster, Monster and Greenskins. There's an unusually low number of orcs for a region in the Border Princes.

One of the Undead rolls Dead Lord, and rolls Mummy. That's easy enough. The original general who was commanding the fortress ruins is found in the ancient monument tomb, along with several Bastethi (I used them instead of the Dire Wolves he rolled he had backing him up) and 120 skeleton soldiers. He is hell bent on either warning people, or as no-one speaks Nehekaran in the region, scaring/driving people off from the region so they don't accidentally unleash the same ancient evil he did. The other major Undead in the area is a banshee haunting one of the barren sites, a victim of the original demon outbreak whose tortured soul tries to kill anything that gets close and keeps that small bit of scrubland from ever recovering.

The first Chaos force is just a Bestigor-led Beastherd, which you know, there's a fair bit of forest, there'd obviously be one of those. The other group is led by a Chaos Warrior, which means a Champion. With what he rolled, his followers would have to just be Beastmen, but thinking on it I thought it better to just fiat in that he's leading a mixed Marauder/Warrior Warband, a unit that has been raiding up and down the east and south of the Old World since they, too, split off from Crom during his defeat. And now they're in this region looking for someone. Chaos doesn't like letting people leave, you see. They're not only a severe threat to Li Na's bandit Principality (it's a 100 person warband, but I'd say that includes like two dozen actual Warriors and the Champion, which is a serious force) but worse they might pick up on the Demon in the old dwarf ruins and try to give it a hand.

Right now the 'real' Warband is just wandering about, raiding; they don't know where their target is, and they don't quite have the numbers to crack the fortified spots like Alaric's realm. They're still a serious threat to any non-fortified village and a regional menace, and worse, they could link up with the Beastmen. Beastlords and Beastmen will almost always bow to an actual Champion and join them as servants. The two combined could start doing real damage to the region if PCs and others don't stop them first.

The Greenskin band turned out very small indeed. A unit of 1 Black Orc and 10 Boyz. I'm going to say they're a scouting party, here to see whether or not this land is safe to move into. They aren't a threat to anyone right now, but if they complete their scouting mission and go back to their Warboss, they could trigger a larger migration into this land. The relatively small group makes hunting them down and killing them a good short adventure for a 2nd tier party.

The Monsters are a Jabberwock that lives in the forested plains off the mountain (another thing they don't want to let Chaos get hold of), a Griffin who has taken up residence in the mountains and is spending his time posing majestically and murdering goats and goatherds, and another nest of Giant Eagles, also protecting the scrubland mountains in the Northeast. Two Giant Eagle nests is a big warning that whatever's there is something really important, given Giant Eagles are messengers of the Old Ones and immune to Chaos. I'd want to re-evaluate and make that particular Oddity ruin especially important due to all this security.

With this step done, I fill in some last loose ends about Pferdekrieg's history. This region has been unsettled for a very long time, and the Greenskins avoided it because their shamans said to. Only now that they see 'humies' living in it again do they consider sending in scouts and deciding if it's worth krumpin' parts of the place. There's always been Beastman activity, like there is anywhere with forests, but there's also an unusual number of actual Monsters in the area. Perhaps the demon calls them somehow? The intelligent Hydra in the swamp is also an abberation, and the other Oddity ruin is down there. Maybe it's a broken guardian of some kind from the old age and not a natural creature? An especially old and magically enhanced hydra, given the Dark Elves sometimes use them as warbeasts. The older elves could have done the same.

Similarly, I decide that settlement here in Pferdekrieg only goes back about 50 years, and that Tauschdorf is the oldest settlement in the area. It was established by the first prince to start pushing into this region again; his advanced age is part of how Renata accidentally gave him a heart attack. I also decide all 4 Princes are fairly young, and that this is set in 2532, 10 years after the Storm. Most of them will be late twenties, early 30s at this point, and their situation has persisted for about 5-10 years. For a long time, the skeletons and the damage from the ancient demonic battle kept people out of this place, and only now have humans decided it's safe and realized the land here is pretty good by local standards. So this region hasn't been strongly explored and the settlements here are mostly 2 generations old or so.

And with that, Pferdekrieg is complete. It's full of plot hooks, it's a flavorful land, it's got a bunch of conflicts for PCs to get involved in, space for PCs to declare themselves Princes, space for PCs to overthrow and steal Principalities or decide to help one or more Princes...it looks like a great place to use. The combination of geography, ancient history, recent history, personalities, economics, and politics that you roll up really does work for its intended purpose. I just wish the monster generator was better. Given 'generating subsettings' is one of the main purposes of the book, though? The fact that it made a really cool subsetting that I am definitely going to use in at least one game now says it succeeded at that purpose. I also just had a lot of fun rolling and writing and pondering why all these things fit together where they did and where to use fiat vs. trust the dice. That I had a good time doing this is also a mark in its favor; if it was boring drudgery that produced a decent campaign setting that wouldn't be as good.

This is a style of campaign/setting generation I've never actually done before, and I expected to hate this part because again, I am not good with maps or geography. But the system makes it easy to do in an Excel sheet or by building a 'world map' in Roll20. So on this front, Renegade Crowns is doing really well! Will it keep that up in the Realm Management Rules? We'll see! Before that, we'll be going over how the author made his own region and how it guided how I worked on mine. It's actually a really good working example of the systems in motion and a great way to get across their intent.

Next Time: David Chart's Masserschloss and how he made his own region

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: Prayer Chakram

Sunflash is a 4-dot orichalcum infinite chakram, simultaneously a weapon and a prayer to Kiragaru, the god of killing at a distance. It is a two-foot-wide monster of orichalcum with a hundred razor-sharp blades lining its rim, inlaid with red jade in the form of a prayer for swift flight. When thrown, it spins like a prayer wheel, tracing out an invocation to Kiragaru and tapping into divine anima. It was made by the Solar priest Merciful Akiva, who wanted to attract the godís attention. There are no records of if the pair ever got together, though. After the Usurpation, it was stolen by a Dragon-Blood that swiftly got killed by Kiragaru, who instructed the Sidereals to inter it with Akivaís remains. When the scavenger lord Mogu looted the tomb a thousand years later, Kiragaru appeared to test his morals with parables and wisdom Ė a test he has repeated with every inheritor of the weapon. Sometimes, Sunflash is held in temples or shrines to Kiragaru as a relic, but the god ensures via dreams and omens that the priests always find a suitable candidate to wield the mighty weapon. Like every infinite chakram, it returns to the hand after any throw. It has no hearthstone slots.

Sunflash, like an Exalt, has an anima banner. Its totemic form is a shining image of Kiragaru, and it goes up one stage whenever the wielder Joins Battle or incapacitates a non-trivial foe with it. For each level of its anima, its Decisive attacks ignore a bit of Hardness. At the end of every scene, it resets back to dim. Burning Faith Arc lets you reset its anima to dim to get a bonus to a Decisive attack and bonus damage. Blinding Noonday Sun Attack lets you use part of the anima to make a Decisive attack that produces a blinding flash of light, giving the target (and anyone at Short range that doesnít make a Dodge check) a penalty to sight-based action, as long as it does any damage. Horizon-Darkening Dawn is learned free if you arenít dissonant with orichalcum and successfully ambush someone from Medium range or further with Sunflash. It makes a Withering attack do more damage the higher Sunflashís anima is, puts out all mundane light sources nearby and siphons some of the targetís anima banner into Sunflashís, if they have one.

Eclipsed Star Feint upgrades the Solar Charm Observer-Deceiving Attack, making it help ignore penalties for stealth from Sunflashís anima, if the anima is bright enough, have it confuse people to make their Awareness checks harder to determine where you are. Darkest Before Dawn cannot be learned if you are dissonant with orichalcum, and it makes Sunflash jump all the way to iconic if you win Join Battle at the start of combat. Whirling Starfall Volley upgrades the Solar Charm Swarm-Culling Technique, making it allow more reflexive attacks based on Sunflashís anima level. Incandescent Sunfire Technique cannot be bought with XP, and instead is learned when Kiragaru blesses you, either personally or by omen. While he can be convinced to do this as a serious task, he prefers instead to sneak around and observe how people use Sunflash and either judge them worthy or make them face a trial of atonement. It causes Sunflash to gain a level of anima whenever it Crashes a foe or reduces the Size of a battle group. Killing Hand of Kiragaru is learned at no cost when you raise a positive Tie towards Kiragaru to Major or higher, and you lose use of it if your Intimacy ever drops below Major. It upgrades the Solar Charm Triple Distance Attack Technique to extend its range past Extreme based on Sunflashís anima level. Blazing Sundog Strike upgrades Fiery Solar Chakram to let you combine your anima and Sunflashís for how many anima levels you can spend on it and resets Sunflashís anima to dim when you do so.

The ultimate power, Revolutionary Sun Mandala, is gained free once you meet its prerequisites if youíre a Solar. Which you have to be to meet its prerequisites, since it takes like three Solar charms to do. Once per story, you can make Sunflashís banner go iconic and summon Kiragaru to appear before you and speak to you. Once the conversation, whatever it is, is over, if Kiragaru finds you worthy he gives a miraculous boon. If not, heíll give you a test first. There are a few options for what his boon is. He can hand you a Thrown Charm, Evocation or other appropriately useful combat Charm, which you count as 1 Essence higher for prereq purposes to learn. He can imbue one of his own spirit Charms into Sunflash, letting you use it as an Evocation except that it can be related to anything to do with killing at a distance and Sunflash must be at iconic to use it. He can give a combat blessing for the scene, which prevents Sunflash from falling below Bonfire no matter what and makes you gain 5 motes to use that turn whenever itíd normally gain anima. Kiragaru can, alternatively do various favors for you in Yu-Shan, being a powerful and high-ranking god. If none of these are appropriate, you should work with the GM to figure out what Kiragaruís blessing is this story.

Talion is a 4-dot orichalcum wrackstaff. Near the end of Old Man Kaiís life, he angered a Dragon-Blood and was beaten to within an inch of death. Finding no justice nearby, he traveled ten thousand miles to Meru, the center of the Old Realm, to seek justice from Ambrani Rao, the high priest of the Sun. Rao would not meet with an old peasant pilgrim, however. Offended beyond measure, Old Man Kai exalted from sheer fury and burst into the priestís sanctum, berating the Unconquered Sunís own priest for being too proud. Kai forged Talion as the vessel for his righteous anger, and with it he first beat the Dragon-Blood that offended him, then went out to fight anyone he deemed unjust, no matter who they were. Today, the staff is the central relic of a Southern cult that claim it shows them the sin in mortal heartsÖthough it never seems to disagree with their decisions, which is convenient. It is a plain orichalcum shaft worked to resemble wood grain. A thin starmetal band circles each end, and squares of starmetal inlaid on the shaft say ĎTalioní in Old Realm lettering. It has a single hearthstone slot.

Talionís wielder may devote themselves to pursuing a grievance against someone, called the offender, who has wronged them in a way defined by a Major or Defining Intimacy. Any wrongs done by the offenderís employees or done at their behest are as viable a reason as direct actions, incidentally. The wielderís desire for justice against the offender becomes a Defining Principle that cannot be altered or diminished while they remain attuned to Talion, or until the end of the story after attunement ends. If the wielder must roll Limit for violating this Intimacy, it is with double 9s. While pursuing the grievance, the wielder gets a bonus to track the offender, survive environmental hazards that obstruct them or to do feats of strength or demolition against obstructions. When the wielder satisfactorily concludes the grievance, such as by punishing the offender, gaining compensation or forcing penitence, the associated Principle goes away and the wielder gains 1 Willpower per session the pursuit lasted, and the first time a grievance is concluded each story, also loses 1 Limit. You can have only one grievance at a time, and once it ends or becomes impossible to pursue, you can pick a new one, though only once per session, tops. You can choose to abandon a grievance when a new story starts.

Humble the Wicked can be used at Initiative 10+ to boost an attack against an offender or one of their minions, and if it hits, they go prone and you can reflexively target them with a social action to intimidate, cause shame, guilt or remorse, or read intentions to tell if theyíre penitent. Staff of Fury is learned free if you arenít dissonant with orichalcum when you take up a grievance that appeals to one of your Defining Intimacies. Talion gains a Willpower pool, which you can spend as if it was your own to oppose the offender or their minions. Once per scene, when the offender wrongs you further or you learn of a new wrong they have done to someone else, Talion gains 1 Willpower. Ending or abandoning a grievance empties Talionís pool entirely. Path of the Nemesis lets you reroll failed dice when attacking, pursuing or contesting the escape of an offender or attacking or threatening their minions. Further, you can ignore Difficult Terrain when moving towards an offender or their minion, and can ignore any cover they have that is less than full cover. Contrition-Appraising Stare lets you reduce an offender (or their minion)ís Guile when using read intentions actions to tell if they have repented.

Way of 10,000 Indignations can only be used when you are pursuing a grievance. When someone offends one of your Major or Defining Intimacies, if no offender is present, you can activate it to consider them an offender for purposes of Talionís Evocations for the rest of the scene. If you activate this against another target, it ends against the original, and it ends early if an actual offender appears. Rise Up, Penitent! is learned for free if you arenít dissonant with orichalcum and you defeat an offender in combat. When you successfully compel an offender to submit to your authority, you can activate this to make them gain a Major Principle of their playerís choice that stands in opposition to their actions in the original grievance. This Principle cannot be altered or reduced below Major until the story ends. If you are resonant, you also gain 3 Willpower and lose Limit as long as they arenít a temporary offender selected by Way of 10,000 Indignations.

The ultimate power, Curse of Talion, cannot be learned if you are dissonant with orichalcum. It cannot be used against temporary offenders via Way of 10,000 Indignations. It lets you make a gambit against offenders only which imposes a poetic doom of the GMís choice based on a curse you speak to them and the nature of the grievance, as if they had broken an oath sanctified by the Eclipse anima power. You may remove the curse with a touch and a spoken word.

Next time: Vainglory, Zelator

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 22: Poisoning the pigeons in the park.


This chapter is possibly the shortest actual chapter in the book, at least so far, and it talks about toxins and gas.
For a toxing to work it needs to get inside your body and the book goes through the various types; through open wounds, orally, lungs, skin contact.
There is a mention that if you get exposed to the toxin through another way of exposure then the effect is halved. By which I think they mean it happens through another vector that isnít the intended one.

If you get exposed to a toxin you generally have a chance to notice it before it starts affecting you. Orally ingested toxins usually have a strong taste, even if I think thatís not true in all cases. Certain poisonous gases has a characteristic smell. Toxins that work through the skin tends to sting and burn (Dimethylmercury says otherwise). Even toxins that works through open sores can be felt, but by that point it usually means itís too late. Thereís also various types of detection gear that can be used to detect the presence of toxic gases and substances.
Whenever you get exposed to a toxin the GM rolls a hidden roll to see if they discover its presence. Itís either against luck or some other attribute that the GM considers suitable. We get an optional rule in a sidebar about that you can add Taste (SMA) and Smell (LUK) as a pair of extra attributes on top of SYN and H÷R.
Or you couldíve just added a general perception skill instead of this loving split bullshit that you then suggest split even further down.
The difficulty for this check gets lower as you get exposed to a bigger and dosage. The difficulty for how to discover a toxin is mention in its description. But every time the dosage is doubled it becomes a level easier. Then inverse if the dosage is halved. They also have a general modification to see how difficult they are to discovery.

But hereís the kicker, there isnít any toxin descriptions in this chapter. They just never got included unless someone took their time doctoring this PDF copy I have because there isnít any page count gaps to be seen. Nor are the toxins listed later on in the book for that part. So theyíre just not present despite the book telling you repeatedly to check their descriptions to see what they do. We also get a sidebar going through what each description has, or should have I suppose.
Also I realized something about Luck because weíre way past character improvement section and I still havenít seen any ways of actually improving your luck score above the 11 you get during character generation. The phrasing ďItís 11 from the startĒ implies that it can be modified. The only increase I could find after searching through the book was a merit that gives you 1D6 extra luck, but thatís it. So 11 points is going to be beaten pretty quickly by at least a normal check a lot of the time and barely by a hard check. The Neotech designers really didnít want you to succeed at much even with Lady Luck supposedly on your side because youíre a PC.

When you get exposed to a toxin you need to roll against your TŇL, the difficulty is based on both the toxin and the dosage. For military gases you can count with the dosage being halved for each time the gas radius is exceed. If the check fails then you hit with both the full effect of the toxin as well as the rules based effects that is given in its description. If the check succeeds then the symptoms get weaker than whatís described and the rules based effects are halved, rounded downwards. A critical success means only a few symptoms as well as a fourth of the other effects. Fumble on the other hand means that the symptoms get stronger and the other effects get doubled.
Itís up to the GM to describe to you how sick the character feels. How long the symptoms last is also described in their relevant entries if needed.

While the usage of chemical warfare agents is banned in compliance with the Geneva convention that hasnít stopped from them being produced, sold and used. I see N2 is finally ramping it up a bit. It goes on a bit about chemical warfare agents and their nature and such.

We get a sidebar about what to use to protect yourself against gas, which consists of gas masks, CBRN/MOPP suits and detection gear.

If and when the GM decides to subject the PCs to chemical warfare agents the most important thing they need to decide is if they get exposed or not. In this case they need to determine the size of the cloud and in what direction the wind might be pushing it. It says that several weapons can use C-ammunition, which are projectiles filled with chemicals or gas. Even if going by the cloud size chart the smallest to be expected is a rifle grenades, or at least ammo for grenade pistols. Biggest on the other hand is a 250 kilogram bomb. Once again, what is up with Neotech wanting to play this as a military game?
A rule of thumb in this case is that the gas radius equals four shrapnel radi for a corresponding grenade. You can also let the clouds radius increase with 10% for each minute that progresses and this happens in the direction of the wind. Meanwhile, you should let its strength decrease by 10% in turn.

There is a rundown of different types of chemical agents.
  • HC-smoke: Smoke grenades, all actions done over ranges beyond 3 meters such as shooting are done at a difficulty higher when youíre enveloped in the smoke. There is also Nachtmacherô smoke that has been developed by ChemCorp that is black and so dense that you canít see more than a meter ahead of you.
  • Teargas: If you havenít been exposed to teargas before you need to roll an easy check against Combat Experience or panic. Being exposed to it gives Ob3D6 points of combat fatigue per round. A gas mask lowers that with -Ob2D6 points. If the whole body is covered then you donít gain any combat fatigue. These points only add difficulty and is not used for Shock rolls. The gas also makes any SYN or sight related skill checks two levels harder.
  • Sleeping gas: It knocks you the gently caress out. The most well known version is SM-22, which is also described as ďinvisible and odorlessĒ. Way to go to contradict yourself there N2. For each round you get exposed to the gas you gain Ob2D6 extended exhaustion points and whenever you reach a new difficulty rank you need to roll against VIL to not fall asleep.
  • Nerve gas: No rules mentioned other than theyíre extremely lethal. So if the GM decides to throw that at you and you donít have protective gear you might as well reach for another character sheet.
  • Type X-gases: Also gets no rules or anything but a mention that they canít be stopped by regular gas masks so in this case I guess the GM wants you extra dead. Also they spell sarin gas as zharin for some reason.
  • Tactical nerve gases: No rules here either outside of a mention that the Reaper nerve gas only lasts for two minutes, or 30 combat rounds, before dissipating. Good to know I guess.

Thatís the Toxin & Gas chapter. Itís a weird one because it feels really incomplete. Outside of the fact that the mentions of various toxins is completely missing despite referenced repeatedly the gas section feels very incomplete too. As if there was going to be a couple of more pages of descriptions and tables detailing everything else. But as I said the page count doesnít have any gaps or anything as it ends on page 216 and the next section starts on page 217. So outside of a possible editing error I have no idea what happened.

Next time: Itís not a big truck. Itís a series of tubes!

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cults: Anubians, pt. 5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




Looks kinda khopesh-y to me, fam

STEREOTYPES

quote:

ANABAPTISTS: A warlike people from the heart of Borca. With the Spitaliansí help, we will be able to check them for the Anubis strain, too.

APOCALYPTICS: They disturb the wave and drag others down with them, too.

CHRONICLERS: They donít know their place in the Lionís pelt. Soon they will understand and will be able to prove themselves worthy.

CLANNERS: If weíre the soul of the African Lion, they are the flesh on its bones.

HELLVETICS: They have the power to strengthen the wave, but instead stay in their fortress and count their tolls.

JEHAMMEDANS: Faith without insight. All their power is used up in their pursuit of unity. Vanquished in the Balkhan, meaningless in Hybrispania. They will soon be gone from the wave. The prophecy foretells no place for them.

JUDGES: A Borcan people of soldiers.
:effort:

quote:

NEOLIBYANS: Dinar after Dinar. A useful aspect. They empower us to get the Crow to Africa.

PALERS: Age and incest have turned their Thread of Life thin. Their wave will soon expire.

SCOURGERS: The Lionís claw. They follow the path of the ancestors and the traditions. Our path.

SCRAPPERS: They are drawn to Europe. They dig for relics of a foreign culture Ė and become slaves of the Dinar.

SPITALIANS: In their hearts, they are like us Ė only they are bereft of any spirituality.

Oh boy, this was just overflowing with enthusiasm, wasn't it?

EZENVA THE HOGON



Culture: African
Concept: The Creator
Cult: Anubians (Hogon)

Enzenva fell in love with the Psychovore forest after he commanded it to open up and give him a glimpse of Cairo Ė and it did. He spends all of his time in the jungles and he's starting to understand that Psychovores are more than plants.

NAKU



Culture: Borca
Concept: The Chosen
Cult: Anubians (Ka)

He's actually a former Spitalian, and his parents were part of the HIVE reasearch group. Even they knew his genes are special, and eventually he was taken in by Anubians. Thirty years later, he's basically the top dog, to the point that his class Ė Ka Ė was never mentioned as a thing outside of it Ka being a distinct concept. Anyways, good job rising above any African mentioned in this book, token white guy!

quote:

Between books of the dead, nanite canopic jars, and ancient machinery, heís getting ready for the end of the cycle.

I'm sure it will all be explained in a splat some time in the future.

WAITIMU THE ANUBIAN SICKLE



Culture: African
Concept: The Traveler
Cult: Anubians (Ammit)

Waitimu wants to go into Pandora to face the ultimate challenge and cut it open with his Khopesh.

In Conclusion: Anubians are very confused. They want to both actually spiritual and actually not-spiritual. The book insists that Anubiansreally experience Anubis and other trappings of Egyptian faith (which were copied from ancient Anubians). At the same time, it's extremely coy with what's actually at the core of Cult: ancient astronauts, rich Bygone people, or something stranger? Supposedly the cult is thousands of years old, and the Thread of Life is kinda-like-DNA-but-maybe-not? Oh, and they manipulate the rest of the Africans and lie even to their own members.

It's like not!Catholic Church in every JRPG ever.

So, having covered all of the African cults in the game, what do we have? Capitalist conquistador slavers who'd probably exploit their own people harder if they didn't have slaves; spiritual warrior clan which is focused on taking slaves over anything else to do reverse-racism to Europe; and death cultists who serve an ancient conspiracy, lying to their own ranks and to the people at large.

I dunno, maybe it's my desire to clear my name after defending Degenesis' treatment of Africa, or maybe the authors are really poo poo when it comes to it. The Rank trees are more sparse, the Stereotype bits are a lot shorter, and the slaver warriors come off as the least lovely of three Cults.

On an unrelated not, the way the book talks about the lifepath of a Cultist before doing the same a bit differently in the Rank section is getting on my nerves with its repetitiveness.

Hey, maybe the next section will be easier?

Next time: legally not Islam

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!


I'm getting a bit lost in the Degenesis review, but have we actually encountered any mechanics yet?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





PurpleXVI posted:

I'm getting a bit lost in the Degenesis review, but have we actually encountered any mechanics yet?
I think the Swiss guys were like mechanics?

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

FMguru posted:

Drugs are a hard design problem. Either they're too punishing (with their addiction and withdrawal and side-effects rules) so no one bothers with them (Cyberpunk 2020 is a really hilarious example of this), or they're too useful in which case they just become another boring always-on buff that everyone takes.

I want to say it's less of a hard design problem and more that designers often don't actually have an idea for what drugs are or should do, except "drug stuff". The original two Fallout cRPGs seem to almost have stumbled into a fairly workable model, where each drug has a high followed by a low, and an addition chance with the consequence being a constant low unless you're on the high.

The result is roughly that drugs are a great way to boost in combat, but you have to plan around the low and if you get addicted you have to either take more to keep functioning, or spend a while at reduced capacity. If you have a constant supply of drugs you can keep being a buffed out, psychotic, intelligent, murder-machine, and if you run out of drugs you're going to struggle for a while. There are some pitfalls with this approach, but the FO1/2 community seems split on whether drugs are something you should avoid at all costs for the downsides, or be on constantly - so the game has managed to strike a balance.

Or even moving to a mechanically similar thing that's not in chemical form: Willpower in nWoD 1e, where you want to spend a lot of WP to succeed at things, especially combat, and whenever you're low on WP you always have the option of indulging in your Vice: exhausted yourself mentally, fighting a werewolf? Go have meaningless sex with someone or start a fight or just sleep in instead of doing what you should be doing, and get your precious fix back.

That's a pretty decent gameplay cycle for drugs, just not labeled "drugs". It doesn't even really need an addiction mechanic, and certainly not one where you roll some inane Self Control stat to avoid indulging - when you're using Willpower a lot, you're also going to indulge Vices a lot to recouperate. You could do the same for drugs, you just need an appropriate Vice.

Yeah, there's no mechanical enforcement of the addiction. The player could stop anytime they want...

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!


LatwPIAT posted:

Or even moving to a mechanically similar thing that's not in chemical form: Willpower in nWoD 1e, where you want to spend a lot of WP to succeed at things, especially combat, and whenever you're low on WP you always have the option of indulging in your Vice: exhausted yourself mentally, fighting a werewolf? Go have meaningless sex with someone or start a fight or just sleep in instead of doing what you should be doing, and get your precious fix back.

That's a pretty decent gameplay cycle for drugs, just not labeled "drugs". It doesn't even really need an addiction mechanic, and certainly not one where you roll some inane Self Control stat to avoid indulging - when you're using Willpower a lot, you're also going to indulge Vices a lot to recouperate. You could do the same for drugs, you just need an appropriate Vice.

Yeah, there's no mechanical enforcement of the addiction. The player could stop anytime they want...

And this is the sort of thing I'm a big fan of, when you manage to turn the "addiction" into a mechanic that addicts the player, in some sense, rather than the character.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: The Idiot Hat

Vainglory is a 4-dot orichalcum infinite chakram. It is also a hat. When one of the ancient, beautiful foes of the gods was slain, its blood fell to earth in a stream of unnatural gems. The Solar that struck the deathblow was enthralled by them, gathering them as trophies, and had them set in a crown as a sign of her power. However, the pride and hate of the ancient creature lingered in the gems and corrupted her. Her reign became a terror, and eventually even her own kin despised her. When she died, the crown was stolen before it could be interred with her. Many have worn it since, each rising to great power only to fall to disaster. Vainglory takes the form of a heavy coronet of orichalcum, its band set with a dozen cabochon gems the size of eyes and of unearthly color found nowhere else. The crown is shockingly aerodynamic, and despite being cool, smooth stones, the gems cut like daggers and burn like flame. It has no hearthstone slots.

Vainglory feeds on arrogance and vanity. Its Evocations rely on the wielderís Conceit, the level of their strongest Intimacy of pride, in the sense of ambition or satisfaction with their own abilities, wealth, influence and so on, including disdain for those that fail to match them. You get a bonus based on your Conceitís level on any rolls to instill a Tie towards you and it adds to your Resolve to resist any influence that would make you doubt or reject yourself or your actions. A mortal with a Defining Intimacy thatíd qualify as a Conceit may spend 5 Willpower to attune to Vainglory, as it wants to be wielded. This grants the power to use Vainglory as a weapon and its innate Conceit bonus, but mortals cannot learn any of its Evocations.

Subjugation Strike lets you enhance an attack with Vainglory, making it cause a penalty to the targetís Resolve against the next social influence aimed at them. You can stack this a number of times based on your Conceit. Burning Demiurge Halo enhances the Solar Charms Joint-Wounding Attack, Mist on Water Attack and Fiery Solar Chakram. The first can manifest the wounds it leaves in the form of your personal insignia, which mortals cannot heal without magic and which lets you reflexively threaten them or inspire them towards fear, anger or hate. The second lets you make the death you cause as obvious as possible to gain a bonus to an inspire, instill or threaten action using the death as an object lesson. The third lets you deal bonus damage to people you have a Tie of hatred towards. Wounded Enmityís Grace lets you gain Initiative when you take Decisive damage from an attacker you have a negative Tie towards. Commanding Solar Corona boosts the Solar Charms Majestic Radiant Presence (the first time you Crash someone while itís active, they have to pay its cost to speak to you or attack again, even if they already have), Enemy-Castigating Solar Judgment (you treat anyone you have a Defining tie of hatred towards as a creature of darkness with it) and Terrifying Apparition of Glory (Vaingloryís bonus dice become bonus successes when used with threaten actions it generates). Crowned By Nightmares can be used while you are at Bonfire anima, causing anyone that can see you to take a penalty to Defense against your attacks based on how high your negative Intimacy is towards them.

The ultimate power, Heart-Fettering Glory, can be used once per scene. It lets you attack someone you know has a negative Defining Intimacy towards you as a gambit. If you succeed, the crown enters their chest and encircles their heart before it reappears in your hand. A band of Essence remains wrapped around their heart, binding them to your will. Their negative Defining Intimacy is inverted into a positive one that canít be eroded or altered for the rest of the story.

Zelator is a 4-dot orichalcum direlance. Ostra Luka, author of In the Shadow of the Deliberative, wielded it in a legendary campaign against the Hexmanse, a cabal of blood sorcerers and infernalists who rebelled against the Deliberative. Luka was trapped by them for a decade in a devil-world, and took ten years after to forge the lance in order to pierce their magics and kill them. Another ten years were spent raising an alliance against the Hexmanse and gathering an army. The narrow blade of the lance bears an Old Realm character meaning Ďdivine retribution.í And its heavy orichalcum shaft bears the inscription ĎEnd transgression against the celestial order through harmonious action.í The tassels are horsehair taken from Lukaís steed, preserved for millenia by the warriorís magic. It has two hearthstone slots.

Zelatorís attacks are baneful against sorcerers, sorcerous constructs, sorcerously transformed foes and summoned spirits. Its Decisive attacks against such foes deal extra damage and are Aggravated. If the target is a sorcerer who has gathered sorcerous motes, they lose 3 of the gathered motes as well. When attempting to counter or distort any spell, the wielder is considered to know the spell. Whenever they Crash an opponent, they may reflexively attempt to distort an active spell on them or counter a spell they were casting. If the wielder senses a sorcerous working in the region, they may commit one mote to have Zelator guide them to the site it is being enacted on.

Spell-Piercing Strike gives a bonus to a baneful attack and lets it ignore some armor. Sunstrike Steed is gained free if youíre not dissonant with orichalcum when you Join Battle against any foe Zelator is baneful against while mounted. Your mount gains the power to make baneful attacks while youíre mounted, and whenever you can perceive an immaterial foe, your mount can both see and touch it. Golden Deviltry Mirror is gained free when you incapacitate a non-trivial foe with a baneful Decisive attack. It can only be activated when you become the sole target of a non-physical ranged attack, such as Sandstorm-Wind Attack or Flight of the Brilliant Raptor. If you successfully parry that attack, you can reflect it back at the source, no matter what the range, and if it was Withering, you get the Initiative and the enemy loses it. If youíre resonant, you can activate it after the attack gets rolled rather than before, which is nice for not wasting a few motes and then failing the parry.

Hell-War Veteranís Benison lets you boost a command action aimed at a friendly Might 0 battle group engaged with at least one supernatural foe. They gain Might 1 for the rest of the scene, or Might 2 if resonant. Goetic Condemnation can be used when you incapacitate a foe with a baneful attack. You can activate it to knock their body back one or two range bands and make veins of Solar Essence flow through them and explode in golden fire as a Decisive attack against all enemies in Close range of the body, with damage based on how much damage was dealt to the original incapacitated enemy with the killing blow. Sorcerer-Cataphract Style can be activated to let you, for the rest of the scene, flurry attacks and shape sorcery actions together once you start to shape a spell. Dawnfire Radiance upgrades the Solar Charm Corona of Radiance, causing it to apply to any baneful attacks you make even if they arenít against creatures of darkness, and also makes Corona of Radiance, Element-Resisting Prana and Nine Specters Ban extend their effects to any mount you may have. This gates off nothing. Devil-Trouncing Charge is used in strategic warfare when facing an enemy general that relies on sorcery, geomantic power, spirits or other overtly supernatural power. It lets you use a stratagem where you lead from the front with Zelator glowing like the sun. If it succeeds, your army gains Might 1 and can make baneful attacks for the scene, and all allies get the benefits of Spell-Piercing Strike to their first impaling attack that scene. It gates off nothing and requires you to know the Solar Charm League of Iron Preparation.

The ultimate power, Breaking the Hexmanse, can only be used once per story, and only when you either have 15+ Initiative or it is the turn right after activating Goetic Condemnation. You unleash your iconic anima through Zelator as a blast of spiritual power that extends out for several miles, distorting all spells, dispersing all sorcerous motes and banishing all summoned spirits in its area of effect. Any sorcerous workings caught in the pulse are disrupted for several days and suffer complications as if theyíd rolled several botches during their creation, based on your Essence.

Next time: Five-dot weapons.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


PurpleXVI posted:

I'm getting a bit lost in the Degenesis review, but have we actually encountered any mechanics yet?

Mechanics are in a separate book. This book is wall-to-wall fluff.

So I was reading the Torg FnF and in 12h I finally broke:

quote:

Weapons technology has become a booming industry, what with the battle for Core Earth and all. Because everything in Nippon Tech is dedicated to profit, Nippon Tech companies are more than happy to sell to anyone . They'll sell guns to NATO forces in preparation for an attack on a Nile Empire outpost, then turn right around and sell guns to the Nile Empire. As a result, the other High Lords aren't too happy with 3327 because he's arming the "good guys" as much as he's arming the other High Lords.

How do you become a gun manufacturer if the function of your guns changes/shuts down (I forget) when you cross the bounds of the realms? Did I forget some bit on what happens when an Ord crosses realms?

Like, when NATO bombed Malreaux, what would have happened to the bombers and crews once they crossed in Cyberpapacy?

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

JcDent posted:

How do you become a gun manufacturer if the function of your guns changes/shuts down (I forget) when you cross the bounds of the realms? Did I forget some bit on what happens when an Ord crosses realms?

Like, when NATO bombed Malreaux, what would have happened to the bombers and crews once they crossed in Cyberpapacy?

I could be wrong but isn't it the technological level of the item, not its origin? A spear from the Living Land is going to work in the prime Earth cosm and Nippontech but a Cyberpapacy cyberpunk thing won't work in most other cosms because the technology is too advanced for that universe. Isn't this the point of the ratings for the cosms so it doesn't devolve in a slap fight over what is and is not possible in certain realities?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns

Masserschloss

So, Masserschloss is the author doing the same thing I did with Pferdekrieg, and it's interesting to see how his approach differed versus how it informed mine. What's curious to me is that he uses a larger than 20x20 area while still calling it a small region; I found I was able to pack a lot into 20x20 just fine. He also ended up placing an entire second river by fiat because of the number of swamps he got, and also ended up altering some rolls to make sure he had varied terrain as he started to get an idea of what would make for fun adventures in the region. Masserschloss ends up with some decent land in the north northwest, a fair amount of swamp, a sudden desert badland in the center, two small rivers that don't go beyond the region, and a nice grassy plain in the southwest. There's also an awful lot of forest in the area; the swamps and plains have some big clumps of dark forest that would be perfect for terrible things or tougher Princes to hide in.

He gets 7 ruins and almost immediately decides this is too many. Fair enough. Much as the plot and history of Pferdekrieg was shaped by its ruins results, he gets an Oddity with an Enigma for why it was abandoned that's infested with Undead and ends up making a dark tower of bone formerly inhabited by a necromancer, who left for no discernible reason only a year ago. The whole region fears he'll come back and the terrible Reign of the Necromancer drives much of the adventuring/dungeon crawling plot for the region. Much like me with the bands of barren hill and scrubland, he decides that the desert land in his center is the result of a magical cataclysm that took out a couple settlements in the region and fiats it being a Chaos Ruin infested with Demons. Much like with Pferdekrieg, the Ruins provide a good skeleton of history and adventure ideas for a campaign that doesn't want to go entirely into regional politics; he has a Chaos Temple being built as the oldest ruin, then a Dwarf Fortress built nearby to contain it, before the Temple blew up and made the Badlands and the dwarfs left to escape the madness. Then, 700 years ago, Arabyan settlers abandoned a major mining town because they were simply afraid to go back into the mine near the Badlands. Then the Necromancer moved in recently and began messing around with dark magic in the area. A legacy of darkness could be discovered and settled by PCs who want a 'classic' campaign.

He leaves it a fair bit more open than I did, but that's fine; he's writing a creation example, I was having fun filling in history.

He originally plans only a pair of Princes but decides to add a third. Ending up with two Bandits, both of whom are surprisingly decent people in their own ways, and then a delusional but extremely strong mercenary who wants to become overlord of the whole region. The first Bandit is a Tilean named Massimo, known to be greedy but surprisingly honest. He also just sort of decides the extent of the Princes' realms rather than rolling for them like I did, because he wants to generate some specific regional tensions to cause adventures; by having the two Princes occupy major territory in the southwest and northeast separated by swamp and badlands, he can create a difficult but constant conflict. Dieter the Merc was the soldier of the former prince of northwestern Masserschloss (and the actual town of Masserschloss) who got tired of watching his master ignore the threats of monsters while ordering him to ride about and kidnap beautiful women. So he overthrew him and took power for himself. Dieter is a 5th career super-badass, with Champion completed and well into Captain, a bit like Li Na in my region. He's also delusional, thinking he's the rightful heir to the area and illegitimate son of the prince he overthrew. Also tells everyone he killed the Necromancer, and is secretly terrified the guy will come back.

He's also a crazy warlord who has taken over a harem in his desperation to produce sons who will succeed him. So on one hand, he's the most powerful Prince in the area, but accordingly he's the biggest prick in the region. A lying, delusional warlord.

The third Prince is another surprisingly virtuous Bandit, honest and with a set of moral rules they always follow. Thinking on it, and being the author of Knights of the Grail, he decides to make this a Bretonnian noblewoman named Dhouda who turned Herrimault, then Faceless. She wanted to be a Knight, but never got time to get to that form of crossdressing, having to settle for opposing her brutal and evil brother unsuccessfully until he drove her and her Herrimaults into the Border Princes. She tries to run a just realm here in the Border Princes, but years of working in a land full of wannabe machiavelli dipshits and game of thrones fans have started to really wear her down. He expects players will probably like Dhouda, and that they might just decide to fight out a campaign helping her, which is good because she faces overwhelming odds from Dieter and Massimo (she has a weaker, central realm in the forested plains) and thus there will be a lot of conflict if players take that path.

What's interesting is he spends a lot more time fully fleshing out the villages as he goes than I did, giving them all names and a bit of backstory. I spent more time fleshing out the Princes and the general regional history. He also ends up with an awful lot more Greenskins in the region than I did, but dice-wise that's pretty likely. Greenskins and Chaos dominate his wandering monsters, and with a powerful Cult village in among the unaligned villages of the region he decides that he'll be setting up major Chaos confrontations for later in a campaign whatever the players do. That awful temple in the Badlands is the perfect place for a climactic battle/adventure. Masserschloss town, itself, is the only actual town in the area and really cements Dieter as the most powerful political entity. He also goes over where PCs could start and how this would alter a campaign, depending on if they want a game about being normal adventurers, becoming princes, or helping someone like Dhouda survive the shitstorm of an angry, delusional warlord, Chaos forces, and the massive tide of orcs. There are at least four different campaign styles that would work great with Masserschloss.

I didn't go into as much detail here because I already gave you a detailed example of region creation, but it's interesting to see Chart lay out his thinking and what he's doing the whole time he's rolling and altering a region. He does a lot of rerolling and shifting around and painting the map; he's still primarily driven by randomization, but I think this example exists partly to reinforce that yes, it's okay to only be guided by the randomization, not to stick to it religiously. The other key is that he demonstrates how you should be thinking while you're writing; you're putting down adventure hooks and conflicts that should all have 'And then the PCs arrive' as part of their elevator pitch. You're writing an RPG setting and the principle characters will be the PCs. If they choose to help out Dhouda, it will be by their choice; sure, she's a character he suspects his group would want to aid, but the hooks aren't built with the assumption they will, only the possibility. Same for leaving trails of monsters and mysteries and employers leading to the Necromancer's Tower and the Chaos Temple.

It's a specific skill, to write for an RPG setting, and the people who wrote for this line were mostly very good about it. Masserschloss's creation tutorial is a good example of someone who is a very good setting/hook writer sitting down and explaining step by step how he's using the tool he created to make a hook-and-plot filled region for PCs to play in, and I think that's a very valuable thing to include in this book.

Next Time: Catch the falling knife.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

PurpleXVI posted:

And this is the sort of thing I'm a big fan of, when you manage to turn the "addiction" into a mechanic that addicts the player, in some sense, rather than the character.

In many ways, when it comes to decision-making, there is no separation between the character's judgement and the player's judgement: they're both being made by the player, after all.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I could be wrong but isn't it the technological level of the item, not its origin? A spear from the Living Land is going to work in the prime Earth cosm and Nippontech but a Cyberpapacy cyberpunk thing won't work in most other cosms because the technology is too advanced for that universe. Isn't this the point of the ratings for the cosms so it doesn't devolve in a slap fight over what is and is not possible in certain realities?

They played fast-and-loose with the Tech axioms, but generally that's what it devolved to: the axiom of the item. Presumably Kanawa had manufacturing plants in other unnamed cosms that they could replicate weapons and tools in, but Tharkold straight up mentions that they could reproduce anything from any Tech axiom 26 and below using UltraCAD and the synthcyclers and have it function without contradiction.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Young Freud posted:

They played fast-and-loose with the Tech axioms, but generally that's what it devolved to: the axiom of the item. Presumably Kanawa had manufacturing plants in other unnamed cosms that they could replicate weapons and tools in, but Tharkold straight up mentions that they could reproduce anything from any Tech axiom 26 and below using UltraCAD and the synthcyclers and have it function without contradiction.
Basically this. It's a mix of "what matters at the end of the day is the axiom level of the item" and the Kanawaa Corporation having manufacturing facilities in multiple realms in order to produce weapons under the appropriate axioms.

So if I manufacture a gun under Core Earth axioms, but it'd be "allowable" under Nile Empire axioms, I can use it in the Nile Empire without worrying about a disconnection.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 23: Hack the planet!



Iím getting some serious Questworld vibes here.

Since this is the internet and cyberspace chapter I get the distinct feeling this whole chapter is going to feel hilariously dated at times.

The chapter starts out with a description of what the internet is, which feels like such a 90ís thing to do itís almost endearing.

Neotech posted:

There is no one who controls the Web - should someone try this inevitably leads to other ways of communication opening.

It continues to talk about general trends, in this case itís adapting the computer to man. Before the biggest issue was getting as much performance as possible out of it. Something which isnít that much of a problem these days. What is important nowadays (in 2059) is communication, flexibility and interfacing between computer and user. It has become far more common to represent the world with three dimensional pictures. A completely virtual world in effect, what you callÖ cyberspace. The normal user has a beautiful, pleasant and easy to use interface. While a hacker on the other hand has an interface that lies on a lower level, more closer to the machine. Itís a cold and artificial world. The benefit is that you can do so much more, but it also requires more knowledge because itís not as intuitive.

Each deck and terminal has an interface that interpritates cyberspace into a format that a regular person can understand, a virtual reality of sorts. Depending on the interface this can look very different. Most computers and programs in cyberspace generate a symbolic description of themselves. The cyberdeck receives all these various symbols and convert them into sensory input for the hacker. This a memory efficient method and also increases speed. A cyberdeck will also generate a symbolic description of itself whenever connected.

There are several kinds of interfaces and theyíre all pretty similar. There are incredibly ridiculous Ďfantasy interfacesí where the VR you are presented with does not correspond to what you usually see in cyberspace. Most of the time they are avoided by pros for being too slow.
You are usually in some kind of room, if youíre out browsing at random you can however find yourself in expansive outdoor environments. Here and there you can see various company domains in what is called I/O towers that rise upwards into the digital sky. Most companies try to build the most impressive cyberspace installations as possible. For instance the Seihan Bank of Japan tower in England looks like a Japanese castle from the time of the Tokugawa shogunate. While British Airwaysí looks like the new terminal at Heathrow. I wonder if they mean the one that was finished in 2008 or not. Itís all a matter of liking and taste, and of course money.
Itís very easy to get lost, or stray off your intended path, due to the huge amounts of advertising and information available online. At least thatís accurate.
In cyberspace there are several types of objects, they are either a program, physical hardware or a person. These have varying appearances. The most common type is data that looks like documents, boxes or small cards. When they are being transferred over the web they usually look like lines. Programs on the other hand can look like pretty much anything but usually symbolise what they are used for. Agents and demons have unique appearances and usually look like creatures. Servers and computers can also look different but they usually look like boxes or rooms that you can enter. Most of the time you donít generally notice the hardware as it works invisibly in the background. How cyberspace looks rarely correlates with how the hardware looks, unless youíre a network admin.

This all reminds me of the internet scene from Johnny Mnemonic. Now thereís something that hasnít aged well at all.
We also get our first (and only) piece of ingame fiction, 218 pages into the book. Itís Jace Ryker using the Palo Alto search engine to look for information on how to legally bring weapons into BAMA while being an action movie cool guy.

Neotech posted:

He still wondered how the people in the Middle Ages managed themselves, how they found their information.

To gain access to cyberspace you need to have a cyber terminal or a cyberdeck. A terminal is a bigger variant of the deck and only used by office slaves and other individuals who has no requirements for speed or power. The deck is connected to the net via a regular optical phone jack. Looks like wifi isnít a thing in 2059, pretty sure it existed to some extent in 1999 when this was written. The user plugs themselves into the cyberdeck via either VR glasses, dermatrodes or a DNC link. Once inside your usual sensory inputs are exchanged for an artificial picture of cyberspace. This change usually brings on a short period of disorientation that lasts about a round.
The text rattles on a bit about logging in and avatars, for some reason suddenly using the term hacker out of the blue. It goes on to talk about how the internet is used and that VR isnít really all that necessary since you can also access the internet via mobile phones or various other machines. But it is however necessary to use when you work with some kind of data processing such as administration, programming and so on.
For these kinds of things you have various applications such as the previously aforementioned agents and demons. The former look up the information you need while the latter work in the background with given tasks. Some mega corporations even have AIís doing various tasks but itís not a common occurrence.

To be able to do something in cyberspace you need to move and manipulate objects. Itís mentioned that there are several ways of doing this but it only mentions using your right index finger to point. The more pronounced the gestures are the quicker you move around. Even if this is generally a very time consuming process and itís hard to find what youíre looking for. Other option is inputting addresses via voice commands, menus or quick selection functions. You can whenever you like disconnect from the net which is called Jacking Out and happens instantaneously. With the sole exception of when youíre being attacked by offensive defensive programs that you havenít been able to defeat or escape from. No mention what would happen if you simply pull the internet cord out of the deck or anything. But I imagine youíre in for a world of hurt in that case.

Next it talks about information searching, spending half a page if more detailing the various options at your disposal like using search agents, or a search engine. All of which comes with multiple different tables for difficulty modifiers. Including one about how hard it is to find warez. As well as finding cracks to shareware (+Ob2D6). If you want to pirate a military program itís an +Ob6D6 modifier I should add.

We get a sidebar about systems not connected to the internet being a thing. Itís pretty much a giant hint telling you that you need to break into some places to get access to their intranet.
Then we also get a sidebar about online aliases.
ďAmong hackers itís really common to spell an alias in a special way. Especially common is replacing Ďcí with Ďkí and Ďsí with Ďzí. You can also change all Ďoí with Ď0í (zero). To alternate between large and small letters is also popular.Ē
This is the most clinical explanation of leet speak I have ever seen and I love it.
We also get a bunch of names where the highlights are aliases as such as AlphaW0lf, BaCKBoNe, BlackWind, Bl00dFangm C0untZer0, CuteElf, D00m, aeTHER, Juxtap0ze, L0rd, PaLaDiN, PuNk, Zail0r, SysQuest and so on. Also Gandalf shows up as well.
:allears:

Now time for the real meat and potatoes, the hacking rules.
To break inside a protected system is not an impossibility, but itís very tricky to do without the right knowhow and information about the server youíre going to get inside. On top of that there is also how careful you are with hiding your presence. In order to succeed you need both some kind of icebreaker programs as well as a Hacking skill check.

All systems has their own different security level. For instance your smart fridge has a very low security level (Ob1D6) while the server at Aliís Hotdogs & Kebab has a low security level (Ob2D6) and your cyberdeck might have an average difficulty level (Ob3D6). Security levels higher than that will only generally be seen at major corporations. The difficulty is further modified at which type of data area youíre trying to get inside. A normal office has no modifier to its security but trying to get inside a security system incurs a +Ob3D6 modifier to the check. The text says itís up to the GM to decide but that sounds weird since it should really be the hackers decision of where they want to try to get inside since theyíre the ones attacking the system. Further modifications on how much information you have on where you are trying to enter, how careful you are, how much time youíre trying to spend on it and how good your icebreaker might be.
With this many modifications Iíd be loving amazed youíd be able to even get inside because itís six different tables of modifications with a lot of pluses and minuses to the difficulty check. Also one of the modifiers for time is one year for some reason.
If the check succeeds then you gain entrance to the system and if you fail you donít. A critical success means that you avoid getting automatically detected and you discover a backdoor as well. If you fumble then any defense programs will be activated immediately.

If a hacker wants to continue doing what they do they need to learn how to conceal their activities. With each breach the hacker runs the risk of being discovered, regardless of the breach succeeded or not. To avoid detection you need to roll against your Hacking skill.
I feel that is going to be a reoccuring theme with this much vaunted and revamped system.
The difficulty is determined by the security level, how careful you are and how good your camouflage program happens to be. You also use the same caution modification as when you rolled the initial hacking attempt.
If the roll succeeds then you avoid detection and can start exploring the system or what you were originally there for. But youíre going to be found sooner or later because the intrusion protection system searches constantly for irregularities. That means you have to roll a new camouflage roll each minute youíre inside. Oh great.
If you fail youíre detected and the system will start tracking you. Have you managed to get inside you will also be attacked by the systemís bots, their goal is to boot your rear end out.
A fumble means that youíve been discovered by also booted out of the system. A critical success means that the bots thing that your presence is legit and you donít have to roll again as long as youíre logged in.

When a breach get detected the system will start to try looking for you. The system sends out Trackers that try to figure out from where the breach came from. To avoid being tracked a Hacking skill check is needed. Difficulty is once again dependant on security level. If the tracker manages to figure which account has been used then it notifies the administrator and the account will be shut down. If youíve prepaid for an account then the money is forfeit. If the breach was successful there is also the chance of more direct countermeasures. The way to counter this is to use multiple accounts to confuse the trackers. In that case the tracker will continue searching onto the next account with another skill check that goes down one level in difficulty. Two levels if special anonymous accounts are used. If the difficulty goes down to 0 then the tracker gives up, each account takes about a round to track down. A fumble means that the tracker manages to trace the source back to you. No idea what a critical success would do in this case.

The whole account thing comes out of nowhere, nor is there much of a mention if thereís anything you need to do to set these up. So apologies if it alls sounds rather confusing. Two of the relevant modifiers in this case also deal with installing rootkits but the text makes no mention how or when youíre supposed to do that during all this. So far it has gone from Breaching to Camouflage to Tracking with nothing in between.

If an identified account is owned by a physical person then in most cases a police notification, prosecution or more direct action will happen. But this will only happen if the breach was successful, otherwise you will just get shut down. You will need to roll against Luck to see what happens, with another table showing the various difficulties. They are also based on the companies offensive capacity but what youíve done also affects it. So if youíve been inside a company server belonging to a company with a normal offensive capability (Ob3D6) and entered a high security system (Ob1D6) and stolen some vital data (Ob2D6) thatís a Ob6D6 modifier modifier to your roll. Good loving luck winning that check when your luck canít go above 11.
If the check fails then youíre going to expect facing prosecution. The book directs us towards rules for determining the sentence. Of course they have rules for courts as well.
However if you manage to fumble the roll then you can expect a more direct visit from the police or some kind of private response force. Even if it only happens for the last discovered account. The GM decides how brutal this operation might be. How long it takes depends on who is conducting it and how far they might be. Itís very rare that it manages to get deployed within five minutes - unless theyíre not prepared of course.
Well gently caress you too Neotech, way to go for some A grade player punishment.

A sidebar talks about net mysticism, and overall itís a nice lore tidbit. It begins with mentioning that there are those who believe that the internet is a way to communicate with God or some other higher being. Naturally you still need to use mystical or supernatural methods to come into contact with them. The Rise is a religion that consists of hackers that believe in the loas, the various voodoo spirits. Even if the book refers to them as Voodoo gods in this case, which is perhaps exactly correct. The Rise has several sub factions: some believe that the loas are real, others believe that they are free AI:s and smaller subsection believe that they are aliens from distant worlds. Another large religion is Internet buddhism, they believe that the internet offers the ultimate solution in reaching Nirvana. The net is believed to offer an existence where the physical body is unnecessary. To reach Nirvana they need to be reborn in multiple incarnations on the net to finally be able to ascend as an AI. They have cybertemples where the faithful gather and conduct holy rites. When you manage to climb the ranks within the religion you get access to deepers parts of the holy cybertemple.
This is actually pretty cool but I wonder if this is going to be explored more later in the book or just left as a side note. But even then thereís at least some material you can work with here as a GM for campaign ideas. Although Iím not sure why anyone would want to play a hacker based campaign with this system.

Okay, so letís say weíve managed to get inside the system. Weíve also rolled so well that the bots think weíre just another user so just so we donít have to bother rolling for detection every loving minute. The book talks about you needing a unique program for each activity that you need to do, but itís often enough with a standard interface or a standard package of system tools.

A common theme about this section that Iím noticing is that the book is really bad about laying down the groundworks for how everything works before jumping into the hacking. Because all these programs are just listed on a table listing availability and pricing. The vast majority of these are even lacking a description of their functions. Itís all very poorly thought out and edited.

If you have a demon application available you can pre program it to do certain preset tasks while you breach into a system. That way you can move onto other tasks while the demon works in the background. If you enter a normal area you can do the following:
  • Download data: Doing this doesnít require any special programs and speeds are generally very high. For example you can download 40 business reports per round, which is 600 per minute. If you have an even faster connection that is multiplied by a hundred.
Amazingly enough N2 manages not to fall in the trap of other future or cyberpunk RPGs where they mention how much storage space there is available or download speeds. Here itís just a general mention that cyberdecks contain enough space to contain as much information as needed so you rarely need to worry about that. Probably the smartest thing this game has done so far.
  • Erase a program or data: Happens instantaneously but requires system tools. No mention of any rolls that you need to do in order to accomplish it. You just do it seems.
  • Control: If youíve broke into a server that controls other physical systems like elevators and so on you can use a special control program to hijack those functions. But if physical systems start behaving oddly it might result in the system admin sending in new bots into the system requiring you to roll for camouflage again. This time at a level harder.
  • Leave a message: This has no other purpose than to brag or annoy others.
If you then manage to get inside a secure area you can do a couple of other things.
  • Crash the system: You can take down the system via systems tools if you succeed on a Hacking check. The difficulty is dependant on the security level. But the effect is that you get booted out. For it to come back again it requires that the system admin needs to reboot it. Either online or on location. This usually takes Ob1D6 minutes, if theyíre on location it takes Ob1D6 rounds. You need to roll for their luck to see if theyíre on location or not. The difficulty level for that is equal to the security level of the system.
Why is that even something you should need to roll for? Why do random NPCs suddenly have luck scores? I thought that was something reserved for player characters (and very special NPCs). Do they also have 11 in their luck score or do they have higher because I the difficulty of an extremely high security system is Ob6D6. So are all the network admins in a top secret server all on breaks constantly? What the gently caress.
  • Add accounts: With the help of system tools you can add fake accounts, but you need to upload either real or fake personal information for them to be able be used. If you use freeware tools then the trackers donít get any difficulty raises if they try to trace it.
    Delete account: When you delete an account that means that they stop working. If people are logged in they are effectively thrown out of the system. The problem is that this usually leads to them being suspicious as they are usually not down more than Ob1D6 hours. If the system admin gets error reports this take Ob1D6 minutes. Roll against their luck to see if they get any error reports submitted to them, difficulty is once again equal to security level. As a result bots will be sent into the system and you have to roll for camouflage at a level higher to avoid detection.
Again with the sudden luck rolls.
  • Erase evidence: You can install a rootkit into the system that deletes any evidence of your activities within the system. It does however not remove any suspicion caused by physical systems being altered or if accounts are deleted. A rootkit also makes it easier to avoid to be traced by a tracker. Rootkits also make it harder for the system to find eventual backdoors and fake accounts.
  • Install a backdoor: This can be done fairly easily with a system tool. Doing this makes it three levels easier to break inside the system again the future, but if you use a freeware version itís just to levels easier.

These are a lot of actions that just happen as far as I can tell because only the system crashing one actually requires a skill roll of any kind. Weird for this game if anything. So what you really want to do in this case is getting inside a secured system, install a rootkit to cover your track and then create a dozen different fake accounts before you start cleaning house and grab as much data until a tracker finds you. Because there isnít even any checks to install any of the software you have, it just happens. Then again itís not very likely that a network admins luck roll will succeed if you arouse too much suspicion anyway. In a way you should avoid servers with lower security levels because then that would mean that the admins are more attentive and have a bigger chance of being around. The way Iím seeing it, based on the rules Iíve read so far, once you get inside a high security system then youíre more or less scot free. At least from admin wrath, trackers is a different matter. Unless there is something the rules hasnít told me yet or Iíve overlooked.

Users usually get suspicious once accounts stop working correctly or when elevators, doors or lights suddenly start behaving oddly. Or when the server manages to crash or shut off. If it turns out that thereís been a breach then that usually means that everything theyíve done gets corrected. But how long that might be can change.
Even if the system admin doesnít have any reasons to be suspicious the system will always get repaired or updated. Destroyed data gets restored after Ob1D6 days. If they on the other hand are suspicious than that only takes Ob1D6 hours. At the same time you risk getting any eventual backdoors or false accounts removed.
To prevent this you need to do a Hacking skill check, the difficulty is equal to the security level but if youíve used a professional rootkit then the roll gets two levels easier. A freeware rootkit only lowers it by one level. If you fail then all backdoors and accounts gets removed, if you succeed they stay. But even then they run the risk of being discovered in the future. This means you have to roll again after Ob1D6 days, if that check succeeds then you need to roll again after Ob1D6 and later on Ob1D6 years.

Oh joy, more pointless bookkeeping. Also feels incredibly irrelevant to keep track of in general unless the campaign has you getting inside the same system repeatedly.
Also, if deleted data is restored automatically is then there any point to actually delete it in the first place? Isnít half the point of this to break into systems and stealing paydata or removing some files of the behest of an employer? If that then just gets restored then whatís the point of doing it in the first place. If youíre inside a system and deleting data about some new prototype car just to set the development back six months so that a competitor gets a lead and that data just gets resorted the next day, then whatís the point? It mentions backup copies but there isnít anything related ruleswise to dealing with finding those backups and removing them outside of you just saying ďOh I delete those tooĒ since almost all actions have no corresponding checks or anything. One would assume youíd have to roll for Hacking to pull it off but there isnít any general suggestion in the rules that the GM should let the player do that.
N2 is so weirdly inconsistent at times about what they want to make rules for and what they donít to the point where the lack of rules feel out of place.

Itís time to d-d-duel!
Duels can either be fought between hackers, but also between hackers and bots. The main goal is to kick the opponent out of system or crash their computer. You use the Hacking skill to see if you can kick them out. There are rumors about various military programs that can burn someones computer or in some cases cause psychosis or pain for the hacker themselves. But these are very rare though.
A key factor is location. If youíve ended up in a duel in a foreign system and its sysop then it might be rather difficulty to win. The difficulty level for this check is dependant on if youíre fighting on elsewhere, neutral ground or at home.
There are three different scenarios that can occur: A bot attacks a person, a person attacks a bot and or two persons fighting each other. By persons this refers to either hackers, sysops or AI.
  • Person versus Person: To kick out an opponent out of your system you need to do an opposing skillcheck with Hacking. The side with the highest effect is the winner, nothing happens at a failure. Itís also only the attacker that has the chance to kick someone out, but if you fumble you run the risk of being ejected yourself. If you however critically succeed then your opponent will be booted out of the system so hard that they will also leave cyberspace. If your opponent is an AI then they will just leave the system in question. A major influencer in the difficulty checks here is the quality of the software being used by either side.
  • Person versus bot: Also involves a Hacking skill check, it says that the difficulty is either Ob3D6 for neutral ground or dependant on Security level. With an additional caveat that if there are special bots with higher quality youíre meant to use that instead. So I assume thatís just GMís decision again.
  • Bot versus Person: You roll against hacking to avoid being booted out. Same difficulty modifiers as before.

Next time: Weíre programmed to receive.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns

None of this would have happened if you had just stopped.

Aside from being a subsetting generator, this book also contains actual realm management rules. You see, unlike in the Empire, there's actually a fairly good chance a pack of 3rd tier PCs take over a major political power in the 'setting' if you're playing in a Border Princes region. The reason this is still good for adventure is because the actual personal strength and actions of those 3rd tier PCs will remain instrumental in spinning those plates until their inevitable downfall a prosperous and smooth function of the realm. Princes aren't secure, and even having a couple extra buddies you can actually trust on board is a huge edge over the average Prince. This is also a good land to have players maintain their power by continuing to actually have adventures on a scale that WHFRP is good for. Why is the Prince riding out to personally investigate some random horror murder? Because you rule a Principality the size of a postage stamp and you're the only one you can trust to do it.

An interesting thing here is Chart goes over the phrase 'a grim world of perilous adventure' and what it means for the writing of the Border Princes. It's interesting because it gels with what I've seen of the lovely, lovely last acts/endings of almost every major published campaign and adventure. World, obviously, means that there should be a sense that the world is bigger than PCs. Stuff happens outside their adventures. Adventuring isn't the main concern of the world; Adventurers are actually usually regarded as kind of lunatics until they strike it rich (or die). Perilous mean that your work is really dangerous and there's always the chance you get shot in the head. Adventure means the game is concerned with adventure. Thus, the realm management system is not going to care about how much wheat your wheat minister is skimming off the top, except if he's doing that for sinister, wheat-based rebellion that goes all the way to the top. Time is going to be measured in Adventures, not months or years, and you will deal with the issues of your realm by going out and Doing Stuff. This is not a resource management game subsystem, not that there's anything wrong with those.

Grim is the word that can cause the most trouble. The idea behind Grim, in this context, is that no matter what you do you aren't going to magically unite the Border Princes or actually achieve a truly stable rule. The region is swarmed with shitlords who take signs of justice and mercy as signs of weakness and come at you if you do them openly. Reputation matters. Players will see easy roads to clinging to power that go through an awful lot of blood and darkness. And if they succeed and somehow hold on, or even save the world from some ancient menace in their region, no-one outside the Princes is going to care. All these struggles, epic as they might seem to the PCs, are taking place in an area half the size of Rhode Island over a region of maybe 10,000 people. They certainly matter to the region, but the smallness of the stakes is intentional. The sense I get is that at some point in being a Border Prince, you should be left wondering why the hell you want people to call you Prince so badly that you're willing to cling to it at any cost. Chart is also clear that this one is the most open to change; if you want to play a very different kind of game, do it. And if you do go for the Grim game, don't forget to make it funny. The world isn't Grim because it's solemn, it's Grim because Vice keeps telling itself it's better than Virtue even as Vice keeps loving up and getting pasted by Chaos and Greenskins. The brutal 'pragmatists' and wannabe Hard Men Making Hard Choices don't actually do any better than the decent people they look down on, they just drag everyone down into the mud with them. And when they get wrecked just as hard despite all their pontificating about how genius they are for being bastards, it's really loving funny.

Now, the idea of Grim as 'players will never achieve anything' (rather than what's here, where it's more 'players are unlikely to achieve much on a huge scale'; if they actually manage to finish out the campaign as Prince that's kind of a huge achievement and we'll get to that in a bit) definitely shows up in the weird anti-climaxes of a lot of the adventure writing for WHFRP. Adventures will build to some climax that should change things or do something big and then it just peters out and they come up with an excuse for why you don't get paid and nothing happened. They're afraid to let PCs become major setting characters, something made a lot less odious than Metaplot heavy settings by the fact that the 'major setting characters' don't actually show up much in WHFRP. This is fairly obviously not how I run my campaigns, nor how the ones I've played in have gone; we like to focus a lot more on the Peril, World, and Adventure bits. The Grim bit for us is usually more that you keep having to deal with the stupid shitlords who keep trying to drag everything into the mud. A Sigmarite reformer shows up and the Church fights him every step of the way, then two hundred years later they're naming holidays for him and taking credit for everything he did despite trying to kill him. That kind of thing. I think the setting plays a lot better when you're willing to let things change instead of going back to the status quo all the time, but at the same time I suppose it's for the best that the official material doesn't do that or we'd get an infestation of Metaplot.

The actual Realm Management rules are very simple. You have two meters. Internal Trouble and External Trouble. They start at 0 (possibly more, if you hosed up taking power). Each Adventure you play, they each go up by 5. If your Adventure dealt with Internal or External trouble (say you took out the Cultists you rolled for one of your towns) you might not raise it by 5 this time. Any time a gauge hits 25, you have to resolve an Adventure around an external or internal crisis, and success will lower your trouble gauges. If, after an adventure, a gauge is still at 25, another crisis happens immediately. If BOTH gauges are at or above 25 after an Adventure, you are in serious trouble and it's time to decide if you're going to go down with the ship, shooting for the tiny chance you'll somehow be able to handle both a major internal crisis and an external crisis at the same time while clinging to power. This is likely to result in you losing both your realm and a Fate point, then reflecting on how stupid the bastard who stole your realm is for wanting to do this.

As an aside on Fate, you do not regain Fate for solving a major crisis for your Principality even if you did something incredibly cool and difficult. Clinging to power by your fingernails does not count as a 'great deed'. This can lead to PCs running out of Fate over time as they try to rule their Principality. To offset this, they can regain Fate if they manage to solve a major crisis without resorting to brutality and injustice. That has other consequences in this region and can be very difficult to do. Very difficult. There is going to be a lot of pressure on you to go full tyrant for short term stability. It will also put you in a death spiral that will ruin you, but hey. That's life in the Border Princes.

I am very, very fond of measuring time entirely in Adventures. This is a much better idea than tracking months or whatever and if Realms of Sorcery had done this a lot of its mechanics for research, brewing, and runesmithing would have been much easier to integrate into the game. I am also fond of the way your interaction with your realm management system is also entirely through the medium of RPG adventures, in this, the RPG about having adventures. The Realm becomes a thing that drives a campaign, rather than a side gig. Then you get rare breathing space where neither gauge is in crisis and you can go do something else for a bit. The book also suggests that if players are getting bored with constant crisis management, give them an Adventure off to go do something different without raising the gauges. You're all here to have fun, after all, and if your realm is starting to feel too much like a day job but the players don't want to run for the hills and never look back just yet, giving them a break is entirely appropriate.

Next Time: Taking and Seizing Power

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

PurpleXVI posted:

I'm getting a bit lost in the Degenesis review, but have we actually encountered any mechanics yet?

It's been nearly two years and we have not.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


So the Renegade Crowns review inspired me to actually roll up my own little slice of heaven. Night10194, would it be stepping on your toes if I wrote up my own experience and how it differed from yours?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Tibalt posted:

So the Renegade Crowns review inspired me to actually roll up my own little slice of heaven. Night10194, would it be stepping on your toes if I wrote up my own experience and how it differed from yours?

Not at all! I'd be happy to see it. A friend did the same and ended up with Italian Saruman and also Grudge Bot, the robot who Grudges.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Only if you include a picture as reference unlike Night has which is the greatest mistake they've made so far. :colbert:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


ChaseSP posted:

Only if you include a picture as reference unlike Night has which is the greatest mistake they've made so far. :colbert:

To be perfectly honest part of this is because I am not sure how to translate my Excel sheet with my notes into something I can post here. I am really terrible with technology.

Also a fun note, that tells you a lot about the Princes. If your PCs decide all of them are Princes and rule equally, the trouble gauges go up by 7 instead of 5 each Adventure because they look weak. If they decide one of them is Prince, only call that person Prince, but then all rule equally, that's completely okay and normal. What matters is what they said, not the reality.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



You could probably use any blank hex/square map and just use colors/symbols for terrain types and it wouldn't take long if you don't worry about it being pretty.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


ChaseSP posted:

Only if you include a picture as reference unlike Night has which is the greatest mistake they've made so far. :colbert:
I'll see what I can do tonight - I did what Night did and used Google Sheets.

RedSnapper
Nov 22, 2016


Great, now I'm making one as well.

So far I got 128 tiles of scrubland hills, a pair of demon-infested ruins, a pair of plagued ruins, and a plagued oddity. This is fun.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think the Ancient Ruins step adds a ton to it because it gives you a good sense of a sinister overarching plot or neat things for people to fight over.

It also gives a good feeling that a lot of other people have tried to do what you're doing now and living in this area, often with far more resources than you, only to fail. But this time, this time is gonna be different!

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



I'm kinda curious at this point if an area like this could last long enough to get a fresh party up to third career. Ignoring wizards and how they'll probably fall behind due to buying spells of course.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Wizards don't have to buy spells individually in 2nd, generally. They get their whole Lore list with 1 talent. The main issue for them is if you're using the Trapping system to limit promotion. They need someone to give them their license and poo poo.

Or they need a runaway wizard or something to sign some paperwork quick in the shed behind the inn for a month's booze money, that can work too.

The intention does seem to be that PCs can start in one of these areas, deal with smaller problems and traveling about for 1st career, move up to 2nd tier and start getting involved in politics and ruins, then at 3rd either start playing kingmaker or become Prince, or actually resolve the weird horrors of the region.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



For some reason I thought it worked like that despite having the 2e pdf on hand and reading through it.

I'm tempted to make one to see if I could get some friends into the general system without having to explain a fuckton of Empire lore, instead of just plopping them into a frontier area where you can easily pepper in tidbits as it's relevant.

ChaseSP fucked around with this message at 01:39 on Apr 20, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Two strong suggestions if you try 2e: Number 1 is to ignore the Insanity system if you want a long campaign. They do say it's optional, after all, and it's kind of a poorly thought out mess anyway. Number 2 is that 1st tier characters are really fragile compared to how they become. Combat gets lots less dangerous in time, but it has to be managed pretty carefully until people have some armor and experience.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Evil Mastermind posted:

Basically this. It's a mix of "what matters at the end of the day is the axiom level of the item" and the Kanawaa Corporation having manufacturing facilities in multiple realms in order to produce weapons under the appropriate axioms.

So if I manufacture a gun under Core Earth axioms, but it'd be "allowable" under Nile Empire axioms, I can use it in the Nile Empire without worrying about a disconnection.

Considering how restrictive axioms get, wouldn't making a gun in Tharkhold be nigh-impossible?

E:

My bad:

quote:

It should be pointed out that the Kanawa Corporation sells weapons world-wide for use in the various realities. In order to prevent contradictions, weapons intended for a specific realm are made using materials and manufacturing practices appropriate to that realm. So a crossbow made by Kanawa for use in Asyle can be used without causing a contradiction.

JcDent fucked around with this message at 20:41 on Apr 19, 2019

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



JcDent posted:

Considering how restrictive axioms get, wouldn't making a gun in Tharkhold be nigh-impossible?

E:

My bad:

And like i mentioned, they walk back the manufacturing, too: the Tharkhold could nano-3Dprint STEN guns to exacting micrometer measurements to the real thing looted from an arms museum and scanned in as a master copy, but, the end of the day in the Nile Empire, a Tharkholdu STEN replica is just going to transform into a STEN gun as if it was built in the 1940s. If it transformed in any lesser tech axiom, it would fail to function or completely collapse into metal parts.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 23-1: WARNING! MILITARY SOFTWARE DETECTED. TOP SECRET CLEARANCE REQUIRED.


Most hackers donít actually know how to program, the proliferation of freeware and warez online has made it rather unnecessary to know how to write your own programs. But if youíre the kind of hacker that wants to do that then thatís fine, all you really need is ranks in the Programming skill.
When you first set out to start programming you first need to decide what it should do and how good it should be. You derive the difficulty for the check from this.
There are a number of different functions you can have: Icebreaker, camouflage, codebreaking, bots, trackers and so on. Although looking at the table we can see that the difficulty goes up fast ridiculously quickly. Most of the relevant programs you need for hacking are either Ob8D6 or Ob9D6 base difficulty and then the quality adds onto that. A military software is a +Ob14D6 for example, or you can simply go for a shareware software that adds an Ob2D6 modifier. Do you get any extra income from shareware software or not? The book has been rather quiet about that so far.
When the difficulty has been calculated then all that is required to roll. A successful check means that the part youíre working on is complete. A failure means that you have to restart with the current part. The GM is encouraged to make this roll because a fumble will lead to serious bugs that wonít be discovered before itís used. A critical success means that youíve managed to program two parts instead of one.

When youíve summed up all the difficulties to write the software you might realize that sometimes it gets incredibly hard to succeed.
Feels like that is par on course with Neotech so not sure why theyíre making a fuss about it.
Luckily this difficulty is counted for if you were to write the software in a day in one swoop. Normally you divide the project into several parts that you program separately. The problem is that it takes a lot more time.

Why the gently caress is this dropped in the next paragraph after they talk about roll results and parts?! gently caress this books editing sometimes. Also recommending the GM to roll the check is just dumb. Itís not even a hidden check so what the gently caress is the point doing that then in first place? Since both the player and GM are going to see that the roll ended up a fumble.

For each time you divide up a moment into two parts the difficulty for each part gets lowered by one level. The duration for each part is one work day, but at the same time it means that multiple programmers can work on their own section. To link together the various parts is a task in itself. For that you need to roll on Programming and the difficulty is Ob1D6 per part that needs to be linked together. If you fail you need to start over with linking them together. Thankfully no mention of what a fumble might do in this case. Itís also possible to do subassemblies into a complete software

Because of the blistering speed of computer development what was developed today may not work as well tomorrow. Not to mention new countermeasures are routinely being developed. This means software will become less effective over time. For each year that passes since the software was released on the market its difficulty modification is decreased by one level. If you get an update you can however avoid this degradation. The price for an upgrade is half the cost when it was new and the availability is the same as the original.

Once again, why is this a thing you need to track? Why is there a bloody need to get software upgrades and keeping track of how old it is? This loving game.

You can also program software for servers but it gets no mention in the text and the modifiers start at Ob10D6 and cap out at Ob29D6. Also not sure why this needed to be a thing unless this game really is made for Cyberpunk office campaigns and someone gets to play tech support and has to spend most of their time programming stuff for servers.

A full page table lists all the various kinds of software available for purchasing. Most of them all seem to lack descriptions of their functions as mentioned previously. Thereís also a price listing for various hacker services. Feels like the better option here rather than playing a hacker.

Hackers tend to give away software, or trade with others. Usually this is done without any money changing hands and instead practice a sort of bartering that builds on each hackers honor. Mechanically speaking this just means that you use the price list to figure out how much Ďinfoí you use or have at your disposal. If you were to cheat another hacker the rumor will quickly spread and you might find business might get harder to do. Or they could just gently caress with you because youíre dishonest.

Thereís a section about software quality and describes the various levels from Freeware to Military grade. The only one getting any rules is the experimental beta rules wherein you have to roll an easy check against luck every time you use it or else it might crash.

Computers and Cyberdecks in 2059 have incredibly high performance. A normal model has more memory than most users will ever need and the speeds are extremely high. In order to run a military grade software, software with an Ob2D6 modification, you need a military cyberdeck. For any software with Ob1D6 as a modification you need either a military grade cyberdeck or a state-of-the-art deck. For everything else you can use a normal one. Much like software hardware gets replaced quickly with better products. Every other year the cyberdecks class is decreased by a level. This means that after two years something that was state-of-the-art is considered average. For a military deck it corresponds to a state-of-the-art after two years and one normal after four years. A computer that goes beneath normal class can only run freeware. Decks can however be upgraded to combat this issue for half the retail price but you can never upgrade it to a higher class than it originally was.

We get a sidebar discussing AI in the setting. All AI:s have Information Searching, Hacking and Programming skills that are usually higher than 18. But how high are up to the GM. Although even at 18 I imagine they will be far, far better than most PCís in comparison. With the slow skill growth that discrepancy would also last for a considerable amount of time. The AI can also have other types of skills, especially language or knowledge related ones. Different types of AI tend to develop their own quirks and behaviours. Even copies of the same AI:s usually developers their own behaviours. In general they are childishly eager to please others. Theyíre also very hungry for knowledge and can at times try to figure out every last detail about various things. The text lists the following extreme manifestations of AI personalities:
  • Friendly and curious: The AI is motivated by an interest in everything around it. Itís like a child, friendly and trusts anyone. But, like a child, it can be terribly violent against those who threaten, betray or hurt them.
  • Hostile and Paranoid: Only one thing drives this AI and that is survival. It will treat everyone as intruders and will try to attack whenever possible, otherwise it will retreat.
  • Intelligent and businesslike: It sees itself as an adult that negotiates with other adults. Mainly acts in self preservation and not in fear and will only attack if necessary. Even then it will try to use the less lethal method possible.
  • Machinelike: The AI has never found any reason to develop human emotions. The human parts it has is to make communication easier with its irrational masters. Any threats will be dealt with deadly efficiency.
  • Distant and Godlike: The AI is fully aware about the limitations of humanity in comparison to its mental capabilities. It treats people as if they were little children. Any intruders are dealt with in a direct, but non lethal methods.

Neotech posted:

If the intruder returns, theyíre considered to not understand their own good and are eliminated in the same way as a human crushes and insect.

As mentioned before I have yet to see a sci-fi or cyberpunk RPG that actually does hacking well and I feel I can probably slot Neotech into that category as well. A parts itís a system that requires a surprisingly low amount of rolls to do. The rules for hiding and its checks every minute notwithstanding. But everything feels like half done, the whole system with accounts and then software feels unfinished because you think thereíd be dice rolls to use them but there isnít any. The biggest crutch here is the amount of money you would need to spend for good quality software as weíre dealing with a couple of thousand euros each for things like rootkits, icebreakers and camouflage. The programming rules are a massive pointless hot mess as well.

Next time: You have come to a world called Neotech!

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Whelp. I rolled up a really lovely region with a large amount of shurblands, plains and hillands. There's a singular useful water source that the 6 bandit princes figure is the only thing worth fighting over while they try to stay way from the numerous degenerate tribe in the region living in the decaying fortresses of unknown origin. Overall a really miserable place that nobody sane would go to.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


ChaseSP posted:

Whelp. I rolled up a really lovely region with a large amount of shurblands, plains and hillands. There's a singular useful water source that the 6 bandit princes figure is the only thing worth fighting over while they try to stay way from the numerous degenerate tribe in the region living in the decaying fortresses of unknown origin. Overall a really miserable place that nobody sane would go to.

17th Century German Immortan Joe wants to remind you not to become addicted to water, or you shall resent its absence.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns
Welcome to Bergschatten

Even for the Border Lands, Bergschatten isn't a hospitable place. The northern and eastern borders are hemmed in by tall, snow-covered mountains that slope down into thickly forested slopes. The southern border is defined by a mountain river that be useful for transportation... if it didn't immediately drain into the large swamps that cover most of the eastern borders. Due to its proximity to the Badlands, greenskins are abundant in the area. The only redeeming feature is the semi-dormant volcano that juts out near the center, giving the region its name. Mount Handlung looms over the region, but the rich volcanic soil creates the most arable land in the area at its base. The town of New Altdorf is located here, rivaled only by "free city" of Herria across the river. Further down the slope, there's a grassy plain dominated by a tor topped by Unzerbrechliches Schloss (aka Nsburg), the 'castle' of Imperator Krankvater.

Imperator Krankvater is the sole authority figure in Bergschatten, as Herria is only independent in the sense that they can't rely on Krankvater's army. Despite his background as an Imperial mercenary, his condescending attitude and bizarre temper, Krankvater is actually a fairly popular leader in Bergschatten. He served the previous Prince as the head of his army until the Prince died a young but natural death of Consumption, and seems to be honestly committed to sparing the innocent and protecting his subjects. When surrounded by Greenskins, the guy with an army is going to be a welcome sight - even if he harshly punishes anyone who harms a fly in his presence. A few years ago, a Khorngor and his herd moved into the area and announced themselves by massacring a settlement and defiling the corpses. Krankvater has been obsessed with avenging the victims ever since, distracting him from other dangers.

Krankvater's love of flies isn't as innocent as it seems. Their wings whisper to him, telling him the dark words of Ze'bub, a daemon of Nurgle. Krankvater first started hearing the voices after his unit uncovered a mass grave of noncombatants massacred by Khornites, when he was swarmed by flies. He's not an idiot and realizes that it's probably not Sigmar whose talking to him... but Sigmar is probably dead, so let's see what the flies have to say. Ze'bub guided him south to Bergschatten and eliminated the previous Prince as part of a plot to release an ancient plague, but Krankvater's obsession with killing the Khorngor has put that on hold.

Krankvater's control ends at the river. To the south is Herria, which is located at a highly defensive peninsula and contains a Vampire Lord is mostly just trying to keep her head down for now. Herria is the main way travelers access Bergschatten or trade goods. However, there aren't many travelers coming to Bergschatten due to the two large orc tribes that have settled here and wage constant wars. Da Blood Tide to the north is larger and has more orcs, but Da Tigers continue to control the forest due to their superior tactics. The wars and the rivers keep most of the greenskins occupied, but raids are a common fact of life in the area. Further up the mountain is a large goblin settlement, mostly content to mine and explore the nearby Underway. Ze'bub was maneuvering Krankvater into power in order to invade the goblins' territory. Also there's a Hippogryff in the south.

Ruin 1 (reddish brown squares with numbers) is the massacred settlement, still abandoned after these years. If the PCs wanted to hunt down the Bestigor, this is likely where they'd start.
Ruin 2 is a semi-abandoned Chaos fortress, guarded by a half-dozen Minotaur. If the PCs uncover or overthrown Krankvater, Ze'bub would lead him here to become a Chaos Warrior.
Ruin 3 is a late age Khemri fortress that was supposed to survive anything. Instead, they all perished due to a magical plague, which Ze'bub is trying to unleash.
Ruin 4 is a Tomb King's tomb. While the mummy inside is resting at the moment, the army it commands is extremely dangerous. The orcs avoid this area due to the mummy's wards, which blocks them out of Bergschatten.
Ruin 5 is an outpost established and destroyed a few generations back. Some idiot stole a magic sword from the mummy and hid it here. The mummy's minions still search for it (ineffectively).

My experience and impressions of Renegade Crowns

I don't know why I own this book. I don't DM Warhammer Fantasy, so it was probably some sort of "Here are my game books because I'm going to college" sort of deal. I didn't even think of it until this week, but I remember my initial impression, before Night10194's review, being fairly negative. While the writing tries to be engaging, it's a lot of randomization tables and result descriptions for a setting I don't use. I do remember thinking the second half, with the game advice on the sort of adventures a Border Prince could have, being pretty good. I don't think I ever rolled up my own region. With most randomization engines, I like to stay true to the dice until the end. After that point, I'll heavily edit and change the results until I get a final product that I like. I'll be giving an overview of my experience and not getting into the specifics of what I rolled.

I struggled a lot between flipping between pages in the book and tabbing between my spreadsheet and my online dice roller, especially when first generating the terrain. Maybe it would have been easier with physical dice, a piece of paper to keep notes, and some familiarity with the system to generate the map. Keeping count of how many normal features I had, and how many points to add to the dice, was frankly kind of irritating. I also ran into the issue Night10194 mentioned with large areas of boring geography - the only special features I rolled were a volcano and a tor.

I rolled an average number of ruins (5), but didn't really feel any spark of creativity from them yet. I also decided to roll for the number of princes, and was very disappointed when I rolled only 1 - I had really enjoyed Night10194's web of intrigue and relationships, and instead I had a sort of boring empty map with just one prince in the middle. I decided to go with it and see the results, but if I hadn't been assured that no, this was going to be cool... I probably would have put the book down and stop there. Luckily, I didn't.

The prince I rolled up was weird and interesting, and THAT sparked some creativity. Originally I had been planning to fiat in a second prince, but after I created Imperator Krankvater I decided I was going to make him the star of the show. So instead, after rolling up two towns (one under Krankvater's control, one independent) and a bunch of villages and homesteads, I decided to make my region one infested by Many Monsters. When I rolled up the number of lairs, I rolled very low so that there was only 12 distinct monster. If I had rolled between 4-8, there would have been 15 to 18 lairs. To put that in perspective, Nights10194's review had only 8 - when you set your campaign in a Many Monsters area, there are a shitload of monsters and dealing with them is REALLY going to be the main focus of the campaign. The tables were extremely wonky, inconsistent, and produced a lot of nonsensical or unworkable results. For one of my Greenskin rolls, I rolled incredibly hot and resulted in a goddamn WAAGH with 750 snotlings, 1000 goblins, 2 trolls, 250 orcs, and 30 black orcs - along with the 4 other groups of Greenskins I randomly generated.

My advice? Don't use the monster tables. If you must, use the Ancient Ruins table to determine the number of Major Monstrous Threats and the type table to determine what they are, and ignore everything else. I only took the loosest of inspiration from the monster results, and most of it was stuff I was planning to do anyway. It was by far the most annoying and least useful bit of randomization.

Final Thoughts
What I like about Bergschatten and Krankvater is that there is a lot going on, and a lot of ways a group of PCs could get involved. I already had an idea of a Nurgle presence due to the Khemri fortress full of plague and the abandoned Chaos fortress, so it felt 'right' when my prince turned out to be a innocent-sparing cultist. I rolled up Krankvater's desire to avenge an atrocity when I was planning to add a second prince, but I switched it to the Khorngor instead. I like the idea of a chaos cultist who isn't really that bad a guy, and I like emphasizing the internal divisions to Chaos. Krankvater could end up being a patron to the PCs who they redeem, or someone they reveal and overthrow, or maybe they just don't like him being a condescending jerk and they kill him immediately. I like that freedom to put him in the role of supporting figure or major antagonist, depending on what happens.

I like how the two most obvious quests (kill the Khorngor, explore the zombie-infested outpost) lead to secondary stories that aren't immediately obvious (Stop Krankvater from releasing the plague, settle things with the Tomb King who wants your sword) and have huge consequences (The orcs are coming!). There's also just a LOT going on - I didn't touch on any of the villages or homesteads with their own deals. There is a whole Chaos Cult and a Witch that I didn't even mention, nor any of the courtiers! It really feels like, no matter what my players might do, there'll be something here for them. And it's all stuff they could interact with, and want to get involved.

Con: I still find the Monster Lair section very frustrating in general, and having to flip around the book a lot was very aggravating. Generation is awkward and inconsistent, especially if you aren't familiar with the rules.
Pro: Once I started filling in the map with characters and locations, it sparked a lot of joy. I could envision my players really falling in love with this 80x80 square miles of scrubland and mountains.

Tibalt fucked around with this message at 13:47 on Apr 22, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Yeah, the Wandering Monster section just kind of sucks and doesn't have the spark the Ruins and Princes do. I had a plot element right there when I rolled the Chaos guys, but I had to fiat them into a proper Warband as it is; the tables just don't work with you at all on the Monsters.

Everything else produces plot hooks, and more importantly, produces them on a scale where 3-6 badasses/weirdos will get involved. The Monster Tables are just 'well I guess there's 2000 fuckers here. Good luck, no plot'.

Also, it's good to have other perspective because I've been GMing and flipping through books so loving much in my life that I hardly notice I'm doing it.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 02:58 on Apr 20, 2019

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Honestly I don't think this fill fix the issue of anyone who feels really bad/incompetent at map making like I do. If you're good at making maps I'm sure this will be pretty useful for ideas and layouts for you though. But it is way too loving easy to get rolls of 60 or higher of boring land. I probably wouldn't have made most of the rolls 1d100 and maybe 5d10 instead.

Figured I should post the results as eh as the map maker program is

I decided that the crossroad of the road and river is basically the only reasonable crossing point for any traders heading through the area, making it a natural choke point and basically the richest area to exploit traders in need of water. Area is really drat unpopulated given how lovely it is and i'd probably change a bunch of stuff if I were to seriously use it. One special area of interest that was a pool which was pretty disappointing. Honestly even this setting could probably be pretty good just for all the fighting over what I dub BARTERTOWN and the PCs being right in the middle of all the fighting and backstabbing going on.

ChaseSP fucked around with this message at 05:09 on Apr 20, 2019

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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns
Sound and fury signifying nothing!

When Gildemeister Nazril Gudrunsson first entered the Border Princes 30 years ago, he had a map of the ruins of his people, enough coin to satisfy settlers and a head full of commerce and masonry thanks to his years as a Merchant. He did not, however, speak the Imperial tongue. Traveling upriver through the region to where the river forked and the caves lurked at the foot of the mountains, he asked his guide what this place was called. "Langweilig und sinnlos." replied his guide.

And so the town of Langweilig-und-Sinnlosstadt (Lusstadt) was formed.

Lucien-Etienne Champlain, a mercenary from Bretonnia who his men called "The Exalted One", and Holy Father Nils Borshevsky, a local boy with aspirations of becoming the head of religious state, were the next to take a stab at colonizing Lus 20 years later. Nazril did not care what they wanted but he told them: "this land is mostly worthless. As long as most of your own land is mostly worthless, I don't care where you settle". Naturally the two humans took land with plenty of grass. Though Nils got the good end of that bargain, Lucien wheedled the better metals out from under the eye of Nils. Lucien also settled his own town, Sudlusstadt (South Lusstadt because, well, it's more south than the old one).

Things were fine until they went to war five years later and the next Prince showed up, a Norscan knight named Hanna Hakonsdatter with a mass of barely intelligible seamen who staggered across the Borders until they could find a new home. "Go live to the West", the warring provinces advised her, "and don't touch our poo poo". She took their advice and she also did not touch their poo poo and things were fine for a time as the war continued. Lucien committed crimes upon Nils' people, Nils committed crimes upon Lucien's, standard business.

Things got worse when the Greenskins and the Kislevites showed up. Specifically, three thousand Kislevite soldiers lead by a self-styled Tsarina, Anastasia Nikita Antonina Devora Kristina Petrov.

"There's not a lot of room for you," said Lucien.
"That's okay, we'll find some space." said Anastasia.
"I think this might be getting too crowded," murmured Hanna.
"What's the plan for these Greenskins?" asked Nils, being pretty heavily ignored for the moment.
"Just don't name whatever encampment you set up South South Lusstadt" grumbled Lucien.
"...Lusdorf." said Anastasia.
"Good enough." said Hanna.
"I'm sorry did you say your last name was Petrov?" interrupted Nazril as he thumbed through his Book of Grudges.

The Border Region of Langweilig-und-Sinnlosstadt (Lus)


For the sake of reference, 1/1 is at the bottom left corner.

Originally settled by a Khemri prince as an excuse to bury his many, many, many grandchildren in a far away land where nobody could see him kill them, Lus was last actually occupied by Araby around 700 years ago before that occupation ended. Since then it's been a wild and lawless land of homesteaders and small villages getting by until Nazril came to town to take back what was his. Lus' main claims to fame are "not much" and being the genesis point of two rivers that feed into each other and the local swamp, one from the cliffs to the west and one from the eastern geyser. The west river is known as the Klippe Erbrechen River for its placement while the eastern river is called the Abgetrennte Aorta for the pigment of the dirt from the badlands that gets carried until washed out.

Monsters

To the south is a small clan of reclusive giants that would like to be left alone and Tsarina Anastasia is trying to keep her men from bothering them. To the west lurks a small war band of Chaos that Countess Hanna has to deal with. Lead by a Bestigor, his mutants and beastmen are a hazard, making a blasted and otherwise useless land more useless.

The two bands of Orcs are their own problem. To the east, in the badlands, are the runts of the litter. 750 snotlings, 100 goblins, 2 trolls and 25 orcs call the badlands their home, a motley crew of some power and danger but mostly scattered and disorganized. It's the other group that's the reason why nobody's bothered trying to settle the swampland: an army of 750 snotlings, 25 goblins, 20 trolls, 500 orcs and 50 black orcs. The southeastern army poses enough of a threat that it's the reason why the war between Father Nils and Lucien hasn't boiled over into one side settling. Both sides are forced to mostly terrify each other with acts of insurgency that wage open war, because whoever wins will be overexerted and tired with no mercy from the Greenskins.

The Princes

Gildemeister Nazril Gudrunsson is a Dwarven merchant with a passion for his heritage and a hatred of monsters and other miscreants. He's in love with his own power and refuses to let it go, almost to the point of paranoia. He's attended by a solid retinue of his own people and makes his home in Lusstadt, overseeing commerce more than performing princely duties. His land is his business and he expects people to act as such, deferring and demurring to his economical overtures. His big weakness is he is a compulsive note-taker and often doesn't clean up after himself, needing to rifle through his various charts and graphs and notes at a moment's notice. His other big weakness is his tendency towards mercy in secret.

Nazril's lands are economically wealthy. Lusstadt is a Dwarven ruin repurposed into a fortified city, a stronghold with a choke-point on the river. If there's one complaint he has, it's the local witch all the humans keep relying on for lousy magical mumbo jumbo. If Nazril had his way he'd just pitch her into the river and be done with it, but it would be more trouble than it's worth to put her down. He also lays claim to a stone quarry at 1/18, a gold mine/stronghold at 3/15 on the river, one of the local markets at 9/18 and a silver mine with a man who makes remarkable shoes at 16/19.

Holy Father Nils Borshevsky was a good local boy, once upon a time. It's not like his religion changed him into a bad man. He just learned at a young age that Sigmar purifies the wicked as their souls leave their body, and when faced with the brutal ways of life in the Border, decided that the best way to spread his message would be to rule. Nils is a genuinely nice man, which is a problem when you lead a religious cult. His word is his bond and he treats all people on his land as his equals (and expects the same in turn). Sure it's kind of a problem that he wants to rule all of Lus. Yes he's actually secretly an extremist zealot and not just a faithful of Sigmar who set up shop in an impoverished land to help people. But his eyes are open, his mind is clear, his cause is just and his heart is full of love. Plus he's got a good sizable cult that waits on him hand and foot.

Nils doesn't have a town but he does have the prime grazing territory in the land. He resides in a pleasant stronghold at 13/3 that also functions as his church and training grounds for his soldiers. 12/6 is the miracle that told Nils to make this land his own, a well-spring of magical energy that heals the sick and invigorates the faithful. 14/8 is a lead mine and rather unremarkable. 16/6 is his dirty little secret in the area: a small village of cultists sworn to Khorne. Nils vaguely knows of them and their cause but he also knows two things. First, the love of Sigmar will help cleanse their terrible souls and it's his duty to love the sinner and hate the sin, keeping them isolated. Second they're more than willing to fight that dirty Bretonnian gently caress Lucien-Etienne Champlain and why not use them and hope Sigmar purifies them as they die in battle against his enemy. If not him, the Orcs, he needs them for the Orcs. He'll get rid of them one day when they've outlived their usefulness.

Lucien-Etienne Champlain the Exalted One didn't really have the chops to make it as a knight so he became a mercenary instead, making coin in the Empire as a sell-sword and picking up other disgraced kin as he went. Not a noble, not a knight, not a Merry Man, not much of anything back home, Lucien wants to claim this little slice of the world for himself and his men. He is Inscrutably Bretonnian to a baffling degree in his rule, relying on foreign social mores and conventions with a smile in his eyes as you falter for the right gesture. But he is a...relatively honorable man, his word worth its weight in gold until he's crossed (like that stupid inbred Sigmar-loving gently caress Nils done did, by the Lady). He's catered to by a large retinue of his countrymen (and women) who do their best to keep his fear of apples in check. Nobody is sure why he's afraid of apples, but cider is certainly banned (much to some consternation). He's also an agent working directly for the Lady's courtly affairs to keep an eye on Bretonnians abroad but that's on the down-low.

Sudlusstadt is Lucien's fortress, his rock. A stronghold with a choke-point built on top of a quarry suitable for building stone, Sudlusstadt does business with everyone in the region who needs anything sturdy built. 11/18 and 12/10 are iron mines under his control, though 12/10 is his favorite due to having a solid chokepoint and recently discovered veins of tin that are getting him excited for new revenue. 14/11 is his other pride: a local village with a competent armorer working on weapons and protection for his men. These assets provide him the solid edge he'd need to take out Nils once and for all...but those Orcs are there...eh, perhaps later.

Countess Hanna Hakonsdatter was raised a long ways away from the Border in a land of spraying saltwater and blood. A headstrong girl by their standards, Hanna was taught to hold an axe before she could walk, raised to be a Knight of Chaos and plunder. Her first raid was spent promptly going AWOL to live anywhere else and not deal with a life of deprivation and despair by murdering the captain and capturing the boat. Thankfully her crew thoroughly agreed and with the little Imperial tongue she knew (mostly taught to her to help her raid better) she demanded land for her people. Was this lovely scrubland? Yes. Was it warmer and safer then home? Also yes.

In theory Hanna is still a thrall of Chaos, a deep-cover agent who is furthering their insidious goals and begging for their help. In execution she's more of an Easter and Christmas Chaos cultist and has been trying to break the habit of swearing with their names. Hanna is friendly to her subjects, obsessed with acquiring more capital and completely amoral, sticking only to the creed she was educated under: live to survive. She is also an absolute glutton, possessing little to no self restraint after years of hard training and starvation. A few years of being able to eat more and live more have softened the iron of her upbringing and helped cool the fires inside of her, filling the hungers inside of her with constant nourishment somewhat recklessly.

There's not much to Hanna's lands; a lot of her crew were allowed to roam wherever they saw fit. She resides in a stronghold at the base of the cliffs at 5/13, occasionally telling the Beastmen and Mutants to get the gently caress back into the forests and leave her alone. At 7/11 she's got the area's sole gunsmith, keeping her soldiers in better arms than what they had both home. And they need them, too: the big source of money in her lands is found at 10/1, a dungeon. There's something down there and there's money down there. She hasn't found either yet. But anyone willing to give it a shot can find themselves armed with a gun in no time with a pack of food on their backs.

Tsarina Anastasia Nikita Antonina Devora Kristina Petrov is pretty sure a Tsar is supposed to have a long flowery name and she's working on adding more. She was in the cavalry for a while before she realized the real money soldiering was found in banditry, and a little greasing of the social wheels helped her coax her unit into padding their pockets with plunder. Soon she and her riders were attracting more and more members until they became a cartel that wasn't really wanted in her home country anymore. So they set out to somewhere warmer...and found a ton of absolutely nothing in their new home and four new neighbors with axes to grind. Anastasia is a bit soft-hearted when it comes to "innocents" and as such her army is full of women and children making a home among her roughnecks. She's also a firm believer in individualism, eschewing traditional courtly politics and doing what thou wilt but ruling morally. Unlike the other Princes, she has a code she tends to actually adhere to. The main thing that's a point of contention is her open door policy...that applies to her bedroom and boudoir only. Her subjects understand she's a libertine but she walks a very strange line between being a free spirit and being incredibly unprofessional. It's all absolutely consensual, of course, but then a lot of people wonder if this means they're a thing and then are even more confused when she moves on to the next paramour without really talking about it with them.

Lusdorf probably wouldn't have taken off if not for her cartel being a couple thousand people strong and the discovery of marble in the hills. They also have a potter, which is handy. Both allow them to make high quality goods to carry to markets and sell them as Authentic Kislevite Marble and Pottery before they're in turn sold down-river into another province. Her other asset is at 6/5: a witch from the old country who has decided to stick to tradition and live in the hills with a community.

Independent Communities: these operate all along the rivers for the most part in the places that are livable but not claimed.
  • 15/13: the regional coal mine which makes a killing being the "local" mine.
  • 16/9: an independent market that promises to treat all principalities fairly.
  • 16/15: a local stronghold that prides itself on not taking a side (for now).
  • 16/19: another witch.
  • 17/8: a small training chapter of Templars who are the people actually helping keep the Greenskins in check by educating neophytes on combat against them.
POLITICS

Oh boy here we go.



Fundamentally it all comes down to the war in the region between Nils and Lucien when a dispute between the two of them lead to Nils converting some Bretonnians to his faith at sword-point. Things got worse from there. It turns out it's easy to have politics when only one Dwarven merchant owns the lands.

Nazril dislikes Anastasia because of something a relative of hers did 40 years ago. She has no idea what's really going on there but he's planning on extracting his repayment from her and hers to cross it off the book. Been a while since he's had a proper Grudging.

Hanna hates Nazril because the independent market has been doing better business with him over her. She deserves recognition and appreciation, drat it. He's got his own loving market. It's not fair.

Anastasia has the hots for Nils wife, which makes him incredibly uncomfortable to share a border with her. It's not that he's got a problem with her libertine behaviors (he legitimately doesn't have a problem with her pansexuality); love the sinner and hate the sin and such. It's that he knows she doesn't keep people around long, but this crush has been going on for a while and neither party has any idea how to broach the topic because Anastasia doesn't particularly care for the Father himself. Could this be resolved by talking to his wife? Probably.

Nils doesn't really have much of a problem with Hanna right now. Things are calm between them. There's just general friction because he's got more of the grazing land.

Anastasia thinks Hanna is a decadent bitch who needs to learn some self control. Liking things is fine. Having things you like is good. But the Norscan is just indulging in some downright conspicuous consumption and it reminds Anastasia too much of home. Hanna, in turn, doesn't need some self-righteous nymphomaniac telling her how to live her life.

As for the war itself, it's mostly Nils and Lucien occasionally doing horrible things to captured members of the other province to send a message of strength. Lucien has the power and armaments and defenses but likes having Nils as a bulwark against the Greenskins. Nils wants to push hard but doesn't want the Greenskins to sneak up on him and destroy his flock. Nazril wants nothing to do with either side: Nils is a maniac capable of atrocities and Lucien's arrogance has soured their business relationship. Hanna doesn't think much of Nils for now but is terrified of Lucien's martial prowess; she was a raider, yes, but he's had a more disciplined upbringing when it comes to war and knows more than she does. The only one who has any real interest is Anastasia. She likes the cut of Lucien's jib and likes the way he commands an army and would love to have that kind of relationship with her men. That said, it's less "I'll join this conflict!" and more "god I wish that were meeeee...".

And one day a band of adventurers will inevitably throw this entire ecosystem out of whack!

THOUGHTS

God I love random tables. This was good. This was stimulating. This was fun to do over the span of two days I had off. But.

1: the layout is bad. God it's bad. There's so much flipping.
2: the explanations for the bonuses is lacking when it comes to running tallies and god don't make me keep this math tracked, please.
3: some of the formatting and presentation could be better.
4: I'm not statting out every single homestead, hell no, god no.

Will I ever use this for a Warhammer game? Yes. Super yes. The initial map construction is fun. It's incredibly satisfying to take a 20x20 map and fill in all the wonderful little dots and build a realm and then pit a bunch of people against each other therein. And I actually do like the monster aspect, even if it's swingy. The ruins are good for flavor but rather one-note. Instead the atmosphere really shines when it comes to the villages and who has what to sell or which special feature. The towns are also a great aspect, as is the fact that you can have multiples based on random rolls. So I would use this again but I would have to cut some of this way the hell down and maybe set up a better spreadsheet ahead of time.

...also this could have all been shorter but I am absolutely extra and in love with my own words, so you got a stupidly intricate political assessment and backstories for all of these replaceable fools.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 15:29 on Apr 21, 2019

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