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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: ROBOT SNEK

The Golden Viper is a 5-dot Artifact that is also First Age Artifice. The techniques by which First Age crafters brought life to the inanimate are largely lost now, and while modern crafters can produce golems, homunculi and other simulacra animated by Essence or bound spirits, these automata tend to either be of animal intellect or dangerously free-willed. Of the few intelligent, fully sapient automata that survive to the current era, the most infamous is surely the Golden Viper, a lifelike serpent four feet long and two inches thick. Its scales are jeweled orichalcum, its bones starmetal, its muscles moonsilver and its ichor condensed from the radiance of the dark side of the moon. The Viper acts of its own will, needing neither Essence nor attunement. It accepts as its master the first person to speak to it after the death of its last master, and it is in all ways identical to a less robotic familiar in the way it acts towards its master. It is of service both as an advisor and an assassin. While it looks rather more spectacular than most snakes, it is no less subtle, and its bite is far deadlier, turning its victims into golden statues. It drinks the knowledge and experiences of everyone it kills, and there is only one gap in its prodigious library of experience. It remembers nothing at all of the First Age – or so it claims, anyway. It is far smarter than any mortal, but it is cruel and cynical, and none of its masters has long remained innocent once taking command of it.

The Viper has three Intimacies – a Defining Principle of “The ends justify the means,” a Defining Tie of dispassionate loyalty to its owner, and a Major Principle of “Compassion is weakness, as is mercy.” It’s not a nice snake, and like past robots, you can’t really change its intimacies much at all. It can poison people by spending Willpower on a Decisive bite, and its poison is pretty nasty, especially against mortals. It turns dead victims to gold and gains their memories. It treats any question about the First Age as unacceptable influence, and it gets a bonus to scent-based rolls, especially those involving assassination targets it’s smelled before. It can speak all languages, basically, and is considered to have all relevant specialties and backgrounds of everyone it’s ever killed for purposes of introducing facts. So, effectively, all of them, given how long it’s been around and how much murder it’s done.

The Veil That Holds Back Time is a 5-dot artifact, a sheet of gauzy fabric about three yards square that is nearly transparent. It is said to have been woven from the cocoon of what would become the Butterfly Star, and its fabric is so delicate that even an infant could tear it. The veil has only one ability: anything it covers is locked outside the flow of time. It will not age or decay, at all, period. A living creature under it is frozen between breaths, unmoving and unthinking, until uncovered. Lifting or moving the veil returns what it covers to the natural flow of time. For it to be put over a living creature, that creature must be willing, paralyzed or unconscious – it is otherwise far too easy for their struggles to tear the veil and destroy its power.

Siege weapons! We get stats for both mundane and artifact siege weapons, and they’re some of the few weapons that actually get worse at close range – their ideal range is Medium to Extreme, and they have penalties attacking things nearby. They all have the Siege tag, but otherwise use the same stats and tags as normal weapons. Particularly slow and heavy siege weapons have the Bombard tag, which gives them a penalty against any enemy that isn’t a battle group or Legendary Size, but a bonus when used for feats of demolition. Siege weapon attacks are rolled with mental stats and War, and Strength has no benefit for their Withering damage, obviously. Also, they can only be boosted by Charms that improve War rolls, add dice to firing rolls such as the Solar Charm Immortal Commander’s Presence, or are compatible with ranged attacks with any Ability. A siege weapon also requires a battle group to operate it, and aiming, reloading or attacking with it takes their entire turn. Using a siege weapon on your lonesome is possible, but you have to pay 2 Initiative each time you attack and you get a large penalty to attack rolls. If the weapon has the Slow tag, a single person cannot flurry reloading it with any action. Siege engines are also normally too large to move in combat, and trying requires a feat of strength that requires Strength 7+ to attempt and can’t be flurried. Success lets you move one range band and the action is your movement for the turn, too. However, you only have to make the roll once per scene – after that, you can heft the thing around slowly without needing a roll.

Your mundane siege weapons are stuff like catapults, ballistae, fire projectors (large, fire-barreled flamethrower cannons, usually mounted on a ship’s bow or caravan for short-range defense, and too short-range to be used in broadsides), fire cannons (massive flamethrower cannons), and harbor cannons (heavy siege cannons exclusive to the Southern satrapies, the Realm and Lookshy, exclusively mounted on fixed shore batteries and too large for any non-First Age vessel, which fire huge cannonballs of stone or brass).

Lightning Ballistae are 4-dot artifacts that are also First Age Artifice. These were some of the greatest weapons of the First Age, engines of brass and silver with inner workings of orichalcum and blue jade. When fired, they launch a giant blast of lightning that can melt steel or stone. To operate the machine, it must have a hearthstone to power it, or, in the case of a very rare few, a willingly bound air elemental. A hearthstone used to power a lightning ballista provides no increased mote recovery to its master but retains all other effects. Without any evocations, the weapon may only be used for feats of demolition. Fortunately, the thing only has one evocation.

Stormblast Barrage is gained free when you attune to the ballista. After spending a turn aiming, you may use it to launch an unblockable Withering or Decisive attack against everyone in a line out to Long range, friend or foe. Withering attacks get a flat minor accuracy bonus, and you make a separate damage roll for each target, but are limited strictly in how much Initiative you can gain from each one. Decisive attacks divide your damage evenly among all targets hit, rounding up, but ignore Hardness. Battle groups take greatly increased damage and do not count for purposes of dividing up your damage. After any scene in which this Charm is used, a lightning ballista must receive maintenance before it can be used again, which is a simple Craft (First Age Artifacts) check or a difficult Craft (ArtifactS) one. If you fail, you can’t try again until the next day.

Implosion Bows are 5-dot artifacts that are also First Age Artifice. These First Age weapons are beyond the full theoretical understanding of pretty much all modern savants. They resemble a ballista mounted on a heavy, machined pedestal and seem to be made of a glossy, wine-colored wood with elaborate fittings and inlay in all five magical materials and the diamond-like material adamant. They fire a spherical pulse of space-warping Essence that collapses whatever it hits into itself on impact, creating…well, a tiny black hole vortex. Implosion bows require a hearthstone to power them, and as with the lightning ballista, the stone provides no mote regeneration but retains all other benefits. Also, as with the lightning ballista, it can only be used for feats of demolition without use of its single evocation.

Collapsing Point of Destruction is gained for free when you attune to an implosion bow. After a turn spent aiming, you may use it to fire an unblockable Decisive attack at any point out to Long range. The attack targets everyone within Short range of the impact point, ally or enemy, and battle groups and trivial targets are automatically hit, no matter what, as long as you don’t botch. Each character takes base Decisive damage based on your attack roll, plus your Initiative divided up evenly between them, rounding up. Anyone that takes any damage is knocked prone and dragged one range band towards the center of the vortex. Anyone that dodges by 3 successes or less still takes Withering damage as they are forced into tactical disadvantage, and you gain all Initiative they lose. As long as anyone at all is hit, you reset to base before gaining that Initiative. Anyone incapacitated by the blast has their body utterly destroyed, drawn into the collapsing vortex and disintegrating. All that gets left behind are artifacts and indestructible items. Sorcery, mundane structures and any unattended objects in range are drawn into the vortex, suffering uncountable damage and leaving behind difficult terrain. This can only be used once per scene unless recharged by taking no movement actions for three rounds to let the thing recharge, and if you are Crashed, all charge is lost and you have to wait another three rounds without moving. After any scene in which this Charm is used, the implosion bow requires maintenance before it can be used again, similar to the lightning ballista.

Next time: Vehicles

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Hypnobeard
Sep 15, 2004

Obey the Beard





wiegieman posted:

Someday, someone is going to automate Phoenix Command and create the craziest and least played xcom-like of all time.

I think LatwPIAT (forgive me if I mangled that) did some spreadsheets that largely automated shots for their Phoenix Command let's play.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



wiegieman posted:

Someday, someone is going to automate Phoenix Command and create the craziest and least played xcom-like of all time.

I made something for MapTools did a,lot of automation after a lot of finagling. It was pretty fun, but gave up on it.

Might try to remake it in Tabletop Sim, if I'm ever bothered to.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

wiegieman posted:

Someday, someone is going to automate Phoenix Command and create the craziest and least played xcom-like of all time.

That's apparently already a thing that most modern Phoenix Command players do.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 29: Making Your Life Better - For Money!




I’m really not sure if that is a photoshop or some really bad poster work.

The real power factor in the 2050’s isn’t the crazy dictators that dot the third world or even the UN. It’s the megacorporations, commercial giants who rule the world with their money.

Do they really though? Because I haven’t even seen a smidgen of evidence to support that claim yet. Will this be different? Guess we’ll just have to find out.

There are many ways to organize a corporation. For the megacorps it’s very usual for the company to consist of several smaller subsidiaries or divisions that work within different areas. Obviously there are all kinds of cooperation between these parts, but in some extreme cases they can even compete with each other.
We get a bunch of talk for some reason about how a corporation can be organised. But I’m not sure why it’s there outside of filling up the pages with various organisation types like line organisation, functional organisation or organic organisation. My joke about N2 being an cyberpunk office simulator is becoming more and more truer because this is the only way I could imagine this ever become relevant to the players or the game itself.

The text goes on to talk about who owns a corporation, the shareholders in this case. This all reads like something out of school book about economy. There’s nothing really stand out with the introduction at least. It gets a bit more interesting when it start talking about the fact that most officials are prepared to walk over dead bodies to be able to advance within the company, and many even do. Promotions are meant to be handed out to those who are good at what they do but this system has been made flexible by lies, deceit, compromises, wheeling and dealing, theft and murder. The one who can best conduct their shady businesses are the ones who usually advance the quickest. Many ambitious officials even hire cyber jockeys to snoop out information about their competitors. Some also hire solos to either work as bodyguards or conducting wetwork to help their own cause. Key personnel usually get recruited by other corporations. That is obviously not something that is appreciated by their parent companies and most official are forced to sign five year slave contracts where they’re unable to leave beforehand. Longer contracts are obviously appreciated but hasn’t been able to be done yet. Some corporations have tried to keep their people through violence, blackmail and other shady methods. But that hasn’t worked out all that well and if they get such a reputation they will have a hard time to recruit more people elsewhere. So those methods are generally avoided.

What, no mention of corporations kidnapping key people to forcibly recruit them? I mean they have their own private armies and such as established. Anything like that in there? No?
It’s as if the game is trying its damndest to be as boring as possible and just evades the slightest notion of wanting to do something interesting. Corporations acting like they own everything and try to grab whatever they want? Naah, they’re too scared to use underhanded means to do such a thing.
Also, five years contracts and then they’re apparently free to go elsewhere? Boring, so utterly, utterly boring. Whatever happened to the idea of corporate families? Considering how much of a lowkey fetish this game has for Japan there isn’t a single mention about zaibatsu being the norm amongst the corps. No employment for life deals here no, everything more or less to work like it did decades ago. Ugh.

For some reason we have to get a rundown of each and every component of the corporations profiles. Including a mention of what logo they use with the added caveat that it can be different for the subsidiaries. Why is this something that had to be listed?! If anything the most interesting part is the section detailing what security levels they might have, something which is important for hacking attempts. Or I suppose any possible raids since it also deals with defensive and offensive capabilities as well.
Each profile also comes with a separate listing of the one thing Neotech likes the most, numbers. We get detailed rundowns of how much the company is worth, their assets, how much their stocks are worth and so on.
Also all of the logos are incredibly uninspired and looks like something whipped up in photoshop in 10 minutes.

We get a whole page of various smaller corporations sorted under various areas like Cybertech (Bruce!), Software (Microsoft still exists), Sports & Leisure (Toys ‘R’ us) or Military (California Weapon Systems).
Once again there is just a bunch of corporations from today that are listed. Coca-Cola still exists in 2059. Boeing-McDonnell-Douglas as well, for some reason it’s also spelled like that despite it just going over to just Boeing when they merged in 1997. Even if there is a later mention further down that lists them as separate ones. Also yes, IKEA is still around. There are some semi interesting merges like Daimler-Chrysler and Toyota-Lexus, but otherwise things have stayed mostly the same.

There are 12 specific mega corporations listed in the book. Another disappointing thing is that, unlike in Shadowrun, neither of these have any listed mottos or anything. It’s just dense flavourless blocks of information.

Chemcorp or Chemical Industries Corp main field is Chemical Engineering and their rise to power has been marked with plenty of enmity due to them brute forcing their way upwards. There are persistent accusations that they conduct inhuman experiments on people. That’s true of course. Thousands of people die from various experiments of their research base on Madagascar each year. Then there is also the CHEmcorp Research and DEvelopment CENTer or CHERDCENT facility located in the vicinity of St Nazarene in an area that became radioactive after a breeder reactor had a meltdown in 2009. What is going on there no one has any clues about. Their only big brand is Choo™, or CHOOH2, which apparently is the propellant that is competing against gasoline in the third world.
Chemcorp also has their own security force called ChemCorp MERC International, or CMI, that guard all of their facilities.
Their security status is very high on all accounts.

So they’re your average evil corporation that does evil experiments for unknown but obviously evil purposes. I should be annoyed by the fact it just casual drops one of those “poo poo happened here” mentions but at least it explains what actually happened this time around. Then again they’re not interestingly evil like Aztech in Shadowrun. They just do various experiments for no real reason given.

Gas Europa is a petroleum company that refines and produces electricity, gasoline and other fossil fuels as well as hydrogen for the European and Asian markets. They’re allied with Hydro against all other petrol companies and their main competitor is Arabic Petroleum and they openly feud against each other. But their biggest enemy is most likely Greenstrife and ever since Gas Europa bought Greenpeace the two have been bitter enemies. They also have their own security force called GasEuSec that is meant to prevent terrorist attacks against them. But also keeping a close eye on Greenstrife, and regular battles between the two groups are not uncommon. Otherwise it’s heavily armed security guards that deal with site protection.

GenCorp deals in Biotechnology. They were the first in 2010 to present the first fully cloned human, which catapulted them upwards and nowadays they deal in cloning both animals and people. Their main source of income is genetically manipulated cattle and plats. As well as people who can’t get children or want a cloned one. Otherwise they’re a rather secluded company who refuse to work in cooperation with other companies in the same field and their CEO is constantly rumoured to be in the works to stage some sort of coup to buy up parts of their competitors. They’re rumored to be conducting secret experiments about creating superhumans in one of their space based research stations. Their latest creation is the lovable Wuppie™, which is a small furred animal that has been created artificially. It’s cheap to make but the real income comes from the specially modified food it needs to eat.
Their security status is very high on the computer department while high in the physical security. Only other thing to mention is that their main office in Zürich has been designed to look like a DNA string.

So much for that mention about the dangers of gene manipulation from the preface if someone could clone people and make a living of manipulating cattle and plants without any consequences. Nice to see there is at least a hook here but good luck trying to do anything about it since its set in space and highly guarded.

IDC-Fujiyama deals with computers and cybertech as well as dabbling with the military somewhat. Their main strategy revolves around both creating and avoiding trouble at the same time. Focus lies on getting as many market shares as possible regardless of who are in their way. Tyrell are their most bitter competitors while the computer companies lag behind a bit. The corp was formed back in 2003 when several smaller brands merged together, it then grew and changed names several times. How it actually grew is hard to show because of the various coups and merges that have happened, but the end result is a slow lumbering giant that is hard to topple.
Their security status is extremely high on all parts except offensive. But even then they have an army of guards equipped with cybertech and heavy weapons protecting their facilities.

Ikeda or International Ikeda Ltd originally started as a consulting company for medical care in 2028, but it turned out that running it themselves was far more profitable. Despite running their own hospitals they also still deal with hiring personnel to other facilities. They have good connections with Progenex after having been abandoned by Takamura Biolabs after an extensive corporate war with Katsuichi-keiret-sun. Ikeda possesses some of the world's most advanced medical equipment found anywhere and they are equipped to handle pretty much anything when it comes to healthcare.
They have high security status and offensive capabilities but only normal physical security. Their main offensive capability comes from their special guard unit that is used to protect field hospitals and military doctors into warzones.

InterWorld deals with transportation of both people and cargo. Their origin lies in the various acquisitions, both legal and illegal, done by the van Meyer family as they merged together with various European transportation companies. They don’t have that many competitors and maintain good relations with various aerospace companies, with the sole exception of Joulianta. The family does however seem to have something against Madagascar and any company established there usually gets opposed sometimes. They were the first to start using automated cabs before it really took off globally. Interworld has, beyond a security force that guards airports alongside the UN and Interpol, a space based unit named InterOrbital Security. Their purpose is to guard their space transports and have access to the latest in space security. This all means that they have a high physical security while a relatively high computer security and normal offensive capability.

Joulianta or Joulianta Aerospace Inc mainly build military aircraft, both terrestial and space ones. They’re responsible for the small cargo shuttled used in orbit as well. Founded in 2011 when a number of Scandinavian companies merged together to be able to match the international ones. For a while things went slow but the big break happened in 2032 when they merged with the Scandinavian military. Because of this they are heavily militarised and most people higher up also possesses military ranks. Also unlike most other corps the Scandinavian government owns a large part of it. This obviously also boosts its offensive capabilities to extreme levels as well as their physical security. Even if any installation outside of Scandinavia is guarded by regular security.

Nimrod Management & Security Corp or simply Nimrod deals with security and was started in 2031 under the name Mercenary Brokerage Agency. True to its name it started as hiring various security consultants to other people and grew big enough to become untouchable by the police despite all the legal issues such a thing created. In 2045 they then merged with several other security companies and formed Nimrod or NMS. They have an openly hostile relationship with ParaMil and sabotage from that side is not uncommon. But as Nimrod has grown their tolerance for that has decreased and there are rumors of open battle brewing between the two corporations. Due to the fact it has access to some serious military hardware it has both high physical security as well as considerable offensive capabilities.

ONN or Orbital News Network was formed from a merger between BBC and CNN in 2007 and are leading in journalism. Something which has created some enemies over the years thanks to their relatively unbiased reporting. The biggest enemy is Progenex after ONN revealed that their AIDS medicine Promethiac was dangerous. Progenex is suspected to be behind the bombing of the ONN headquarters in the 40’s because of this. While they lack any considerable military resources, beyond a security force for news teams and for their headquarters, they do possess considerable vehicles. Ranging from vector jets to space shuttles that transport employees all over the world.

Surprised to see they actually explained what the whole Promethiac thing was about after all.

Sendai or Sendai Electronics Nippon Ltd focuses on electronics. What is perhaps most remarkable in this case is that the corporation is more or less fully controlled by an AI named Darkside (ugh), with its human CEO as a figurehead. Darkside was born in 2046 and was initially meant to be an economical advisor but quickly managed to take power and changing the corps plans. Due to the fact that Darkside is an old and very experienced AI by this point in time, with several updates under its belt, it has very different goals compared to much younger AI:s. It wants gain as much power as possible through Sendai with the ultimate goal of creating peace and order on Earth, with itself as its ruler. While lacking any military resources their facilities are usually heavily guarded. What few people also know is that Darkside has a number of specially equipped satellites gained from Exospace. Unsurprisingly due to the fact it’s controlled by an AI the company has an extremely high computer security level but also high physical security.

Probably the most stand out corporation in the whole setting just going by the sole reason that it’s controlled by an AI and actually has a motivation and drive behind its actions instead of just being around. Not that it says much else about it and considering there isn’t a hint of a metaplot anywhere it’ll most likely go nowhere ultimately. But a decent campaign hook though.

The Tyrell Corporation[/b] is… It’s the corporation from Blade Runner lifted straight of the movie. It even makes mention that they have a pyramid shaped building in Los Angeles. Using aggressive advertising and weird product names they’ve managed to become very popular in the civilian cybertech market. They also research heavily in AI:s, AP:s and replicants. The CEO is rumored to either undergoing constant gene therapies due to his young age. Others think the one seen in media is in fact a clone or a replicant of the real one. Their main security force consists of advanced surveillance systems as well as a cybergarde equipped with very exotic cybertech. The same garde also gets to try out new military tech for the company.

Ugh, I knew I recognized the name when it popped up before but this is just so loving lazy. It’s not even an homage or anything. It’s a straight up lazy copy. Also randomly dropping in stuff like replicants without having established that before is even worse. There’s also zero explanation what an AP is for that part.

UMB or United Medical Biolabs deal with medicine and was formed in 2039 by a defecting ChemCorp scientist who used secret information he took with him to increase the corporations position. This has obviously not stood well with ChemCorp and the two quickly came to blows but UMB managed to weather the storm with the help of the Roxxon security company and it fizzled out after a while. The CEO of UMB also has something personal against Progenex which means that the two are considered bitter enemies. For a while it was thought that UMB was the better counterpart to Progenex but as it later turned out this was a massive lie as they act very much the same way, just slightly more colder and calculating. UMB also has a research facility on Madagascar where thousands of prisoners die each year from tests. Much like ChemCorp is has extremely high security levels.

What is weird in all this that Progenex does not get an entry like this despite showing up constantly as some kind of really incredibly evil corporation that everyone seems to hate in some way or another and are up to some really shady stuff. You’d think they’d be the Aztech of Neotech instead of ChemCorp, but no.

One issue I have with this is that there are simply too many loving corporations around. There are no massive umbrellas like the megacorps in Shadowrun are but just a bunch of made up and real corporations that just coexist together more or less. That full page list for instance are all individual corporations that exist in the setting as individual entities. All of them lack any real drive to them or motivations to their actions and whatever is there is incredibly vague. Not even the loving Tyrell corporation gets much of a motivation other than they’re really mysterious. The biggest outlier here is really Sendai and the, ugh, Darkside AI:s plans for world domination.

Also surprised that Cyberdyne, which is also a corporation in this setting, doesn’t get much mention or an entry in this chapter as a producer of AI.

It’s also generally impossible to do anything against because any of these corporations none of them has a data security level below high. Most of them have it as extremely high as well. So going by the rules most hacking attempts or even break in attempts are doomed to fail because of that.

Next time: Organised.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Pretty sure Sendai is lifted from the Sprawl trilogy too. Especially with that rogue AI angle.

Tulul
Oct 23, 2013


Ono-Sendai was the company that made Case's deck in Neuromancer, IIRC.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Hypnobeard posted:

I think LatwPIAT (forgive me if I mangled that) did some spreadsheets that largely automated shots for their Phoenix Command let's play.
I know that she contributed to the computer program that runs Charlie ei surffaa, the Phoenix Command game that's been running at Ropecon for years and years.

Another game that used a complicated silhouette system was Aces & Eights, thought I don't think that and Millennium's End were made by any of the same people.

Cooked Auto posted:

One issue I have with this is that there are simply too many loving corporations around. There are no massive umbrellas like the megacorps in Shadowrun are but just a bunch of made up and real corporations that just coexist together more or less.
If you'd asked me ten years ago, I'd say one of the most cliche and unquestioned things about cyberpunk RPGs is the handful of enormous super-duper-megacorporations. But Disney will own every show I've ever watched by the time I finish typing this.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 03:56 on Apr 24, 2019

Barudak
May 7, 2007



I think old cyberpunk games were based on the idea of companies as zaibatsu/chaebol/horizontal businesses without an understanding of how digital would change that arrangement. Like absolutely none of the big tech groups have big media arms or vice versa, but thats what everyone is doing now.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Halloween Jack posted:

I know that she contributed to the computer program that runs Charlie ei surffaa, the Phoenix Command game that's been running at Ropecon for years and years.

Unless Eero has been including stuff I've posted to the Phoenix Command mailing list lately, I'm sad to say I'm not a contributor to that. :shobon:

His programme far predates mine, much like it predates the 2000s and the concept of a graphical user interface. I've been working on my own, though.

Halloween Jack posted:

Another game that used a complicated silhouette system was Aces & Eights, thought I don't think that and Millennium's End were made by any of the same people.

The idea dates back to at least the 80s, with Western RPG. (Swedish, not English. In Swedish, not English.)

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Halloween Jack posted:

If you'd asked me ten years ago, I'd say one of the most cliche and unquestioned things about cyberpunk RPGs is the handful of enormous super-duper-megacorporations. But Disney will own every show I've ever watched by the time I finish typing this.

That's true yeah. But when you something like 20+ different companies that are all the real decision makers in the world it feels too busy. Or they may just have needed far more advanced relations than what was described there to show how they work with or against each other.

Although I admit my views on things are heavily coloured by Shadowrun since it's one of the few cyberpunk games I've played.

IshmaelZarkov
Jun 20, 2013



Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns

Family squabbles, a cursed land, and the single unluckiest priest of Ranald around

The Sjkarny River Valley is cursed. Let's not pretend. The valley runs south west; rich in game, fine timber, and fat fish jumping along the river. An escarpment running the length of the valley holds the forested hills four hundred feet above the barren wastes - and the greenskin encampments - of the badlands below. Yet every attempt to settle it has ended in failure. The ruins of Tilean expansion are scattered along the valley, each a monument to the Sjkarny's cursed nature. Giovanas was covered by a landslide. Vessertulli was hit by plague. Sariane was a bustling metropolis, until the day that all the townsfolk vanished without a trace.

The natural resources of the Sjkarny River Valley have proven too tempting for Tilea to stay away. The twin Princes Leonardas and Lucretia Cancio have come to claim their birthright in the valley. Their grandfather, Giovanni Cancio, was the founder and Prince of Giovanas before it was destroyed, and both twins believe they have the right to these riches.
Lucretia has raised a new town in the heart of the valley, which she has dubbed Precipenanza. The town is already sizable by the local standards, with nearly eighteen hundred people making a home there. The local bees, the Sjkarnymehek, create a particularly pure wax, and the candles from Precipenanza are prized as far away as the Reikland. Lucretia is considered a down to earth Prince, preferring to cut out small talk wherever possible. She comes from a mercenary background, and has no problems with the idea of hiring ne'er-do-wells to clear out the small greenskin encampments nearby. She quickly loses her temper if anyone mentions the old ruins that litter the valley, and an absolute rage if anyone dares bring up her brother. She is currently curious about an old dwarven ruin that has been found in her lands. It is guarded by four animated statues that crush anyone who comes nearby, and Lucretia is convinced that anything with that sort of defence must contain some serious wealth.

Leonardas Cancio has long since been banished from the valley proper. He and his inner circle of ruffians, cutthroats, and thugs have taken control of the village of Sesselschein and the homesteads around. Despite being little more than the leader of a bandit crew, Leonardas claims to be the true prince of the Sjkarny valley, and constantly schemes to unseat his sister. The old ruler of Sesselschein, Maria Bennuci, has sworn herself to Leonardas' service, but he is unaware of her true master - the Chaos warrior Nikolas the Unborn. Through Maria, Nikolas has been slowly corrupting Leonardas, seeing in the bandit prince a potential servant of the Raven god. Maria has introduced Leonardas to the local art of tatooing, and his body is already dark with ink. As Leonardas sleeps, the various tattoos of warriors, emperors, beasts, and birds that adorn his frame whisper in Nikolas' voice, slowly giving Leonardas instructions. Nikolas craves access to the nearby tomb of a long dead chaos worshipper - and the fell weapon contained within - but the daemon that guards it would kill far too many of his mutant followers.

To the north of the valley, where the Sjkarny river splits into a vast swampland, Captain Boris Serchenko has raised the stronghold of Valley Watch Keep. Boris is here for one reason, and one reason alone - to cast down the works of the Cancio family, and wreak vengeance that has been brewing for a hundred years. The Serchenko family were the original owners of the Sjkarny valley, until the Tilean expansion drove them away. Boris was a soldier in the armies of the Empire for nearly forty years, man and boy, and has returned to his native soil as a Knight. He is honourable, brave, and utterly dedicated to taking the valley back over the dead bodies of the Cancio twins. Even if they surrender. The swamps surrounding Valley Watch Keep are infested with greenskins, with several major camps constantly raiding the few villages that cluster fearfully around the keep.

The final major settlement in the Sjkarny valley sits where the hills rise into mountains, and the river runs strongest. It is the only surviving settlement from the early expansion, with nearly three thousand people, thick walls, and a thriving market. An Amber wizard has made her home in the town, alongside a hospital run by dedicated Shallyan priests. It is the town of Hassalburg and it is run by the single 'luckiest' Ranaldan priest in the border lands. The Holy Father Marcus Flaus is barely an initiate into the priesthood, taking only the barest steps into the first career he's embarked upon. One day, two years ago, he challenged a stranger to a hand of cards. After a bad run, he found a perfect hand. He went all in, and the stranger raised him and offered the deed to a town in the border lands. Marcus won, and the stranger was true to his word. The rulership of a large, prosperous, town with a happy and productive populous. Marcus isn't a fool, and knows that this is clearly a set up. He doesn't know if the stranger was a drunken prince, a seer, or Ranald himself, but Marcus knows that there's something bigger at play. He's convinced the locals that he knows what he's doing, but he's on the look out for someone - anyone - who can help him work out what is going on, who set this up , and does it have anything to do with the cursed reputation of the valley. He doesn't have any contact with the other princes yet, but if any of them find out the truth, they'll almost immediately invade. He'll be honest with adventurers, attempting to use an honest face and a genuine desire to do the right thing to convince murderhobos to help him out.

The last of the princes isn't, not really. Boris is correct, the Serchenco's have long been the masters of the valley. Myca Serchenco has been the prince here for longer than anyone else. The strigoi vampire lord claims no one town or village of his own, but instead travels the valley in search of prey. Canny adventurers that discover the vampire may blame it for being the originator of the curse, but Myca is generally defensive of any human that lives inside the valley, considering them his personal herd, and has been attempting to hunt down the cause of the curse himself. Adventurers that approach the strigoi with openness about trying to uncover the curse will find a strange but potent ally.

The ruins of Giovanas, Vessertulli, and Sariane are all built on excellent sites for settlement for the aspiring town builder. But, well, curse. The landslide that hit Giovanas is still there and is strangely animate; swelling like a tide with the moon, rising and falling to crush those that get too close. The dead of Vessertulli have failed to stay dead, and hundreds of zombies and a dozen packs of wolves that fed from the dead still roam the area. Sariane is filled with several thousand bees, all of whom are violent and - for some reason - completely fireproof. The Amber wizard in Hassalburg is known to avoid the Sariane ruins at all costs, and refuses to answer any questions about them.

+++

In other news, this is the best book and I am so glad I bought it tonight.

e: Formatting

IshmaelZarkov fucked around with this message at 11:21 on Apr 24, 2019

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Barudak posted:

I think old cyberpunk games were based on the idea of companies as zaibatsu/chaebol/horizontal businesses without an understanding of how digital would change that arrangement. Like absolutely none of the big tech groups have big media arms or vice versa, but thats what everyone is doing now.
Yeah, none of the "classic" cyberpunk games or the homebrews they inspired could predict any economy where some of the biggest companies don't actually produce anything. It also didn't predict companies like Uber that are huge, but unprofitable, because they exist to angle for a future monopoly.

Cooked Auto posted:

That's true yeah. But when you something like 20+ different companies that are all the real decision makers in the world it feels too busy. Or they may just have needed far more advanced relations than what was described there to show how they work with or against each other.

Although I admit my views on things are heavily coloured by Shadowrun since it's one of the few cyberpunk games I've played.
I think Shadowrun's "AAA megacorps," which shift with the metaplot, is a reasonable amount. I've seen homebrew games that have one megacorp for each type of gear the PCs purchase, and if they're feeling realistic, a company for food and one for heavy industry.

One bit that stuck out to me in Neotech (which I've also seen in homebrews) is one or two media corporations. If ONN does "relatively unbiased reporting," what's their business model? They ain't selling broadsheets.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Renegade Crowns

Why did you want this?

So, rather than cover every scenario concept in detail (they're about what you expect: Popular issues, betrayal, war, conquest, building new resources, etc) I'm going to talk about the scenario design, the trouble gauges, and the overall structure of a Prince campaign.

First: There's a lot of really good advice about intrigue. The most important part is that no-one is omniscient, and everyone has to trust someone because it's completely impossible to rule alone. No-one has that shittiest of tropes, The Impossibly Vast and Clever Spy Network That Knows Everything. Princes know they live in a dangerous and unstable land where someone in their court is probably plotting to take the Principality, but they can't cut themselves off from everything or avoid trusting anyone because if they do, they've effectively already put themselves out of power. This is important both for your PCs betraying a Prince if they go that route, but also for remembering that they still need to trust and give jobs to members of their court, soldiers, etc. You cannot run a Principality alone, but the fact that you can't firmly trust anyone is part of why the region is a shithold of constant turnover and war.

Similarly, I like one of the ideas on betrayal adventures: It's fine to open with the players getting blindsided by an assassination attempt or something. But if you go that route (rather than a longer route of hinting and showing signs that they can spot and prevent the betrayal), the attempt will be deeply flawed or outright fail. The idea being that it's okay to start off with an unseen assassin throwing a knife at a PC who had no warning they were there...as long as that first knife misses and then the scene becomes an exciting escape scene or clues the players in that there's someone trying to kill them and kicks off a WEB OF INTRIGUE. The game should always be about the players' decisions. It's fine to have an in-character perception that the players only narrowly escaped totally unexpected assassination while the players know out of character that they're not going to get shot in the back without a chance to see it coming.

Second: The idea of STRENGTH is killing the region. The concept of the Strong Ruler who brutally kills all their enemies and rules with an iron fist is an ideal in the Border Princes, and it's basically why they're ungovernable because trying to live up to it causes your province to fall due to internal pressure while trying to ignore it outright will cause your province to get swarmed by outside foes who think you're 'weak'. You aren't actually an absolute ruler, and while the regional ideal is to act like one as much as possible, doing it will get you killed in the long run. At the same time trying to avoid it too much leads to you getting swarmed by people who misread Machiavelli and who hate you. One of the best examples of this is in the Popular Dissent adventure, where every Agitator you convert to supporting your regime gets you -2 Internal Trouble, a serious boon. Any you kill or imprison gets you +1 Internal Trouble. But every one you kill or imprison gets you -1 External Trouble because it's what impresses foreign courts. The astute among you will note that tradeoff is NOT WORTH IT. Focusing too much on appearing strong to fend off foreign trouble will get you overthrown in the long run. At the same time, you have to find places where you can afford it or else you'll be facing constant warfare.

Third: Theatricality loving matters. What you do is actually less important than what people think of what you do. For instance, if there's a rebellion in your lands and you decide to carefully investigate and make an effort to get the actual ringleaders and not hurt anyone else? Even if you miss and get the wrong people it still makes you more popular, because people are surprised you put in the effort (and a lot of them assume you must have gotten the ringleader), plus you still killed someone over it so you don't look weak. If your PCs declare themselves equal co-rulers and princes, you take +2 trouble an adventure on both gauges because you 'look weak'. If you declare one PC prince and then RULE as equal co-rulers but only one of you is actually called a Prince, no problem. People in this region care a lot about the appearances of your actions. There's always a ritual at the end of each major crisis where you have parades or festivals or elaborate ceremonies where you forgive a settlement for rebellion to let them know they can stop worrying about reprisal. The appearances of your actions matter a lot, and perception often matters much more than reality.

Four: This does not apply when an actual Courtier rebels. If one of your Courtiers rebels to need to A: Get the right person and B: Kill them. Getting the wrong person leads to the traitor being emboldened to one degree or another by getting away with it. Showing mercy to a rebellious high official makes others think it's safe to come at you. While you will need to balance perception and reality with the common folk and rebellious settlements, if your High Justicar or whatever tried to poison you, you need to hang them. You don't get much room to let them live unless you really need that person. You also need to actually show actual evidence or you start to scare your court. Acting arbitrary is another really good way to get everyone to sharpen the knives. When your real officials start turning on you, you need to find the right person and you need to apply the same kind of force they're trying to apply to you, but you also need there to be a consensus that yes, that person really was a traitor or you start making people think they'd be safer with the arbitrary Prince dead. Reality DOES suddenly start mattering more than theatricality at this point.

Five: You always want External over Internal trouble when possible. Solving Internal problems often only treads water on the External, but winning External adventures very well tends to resolve Internal troubles, too. While brutality shows off for your foreign audience, winning foreign adventures really impresses the people at home. Winning External crises with the best results will stabilize your realm. Sometimes you might even want to bait a neighbor into thinking you're 'weak' so you can punch them in the face for respect.

Six: You are probably going to fail and you won't get much out of being a Prince. You are kind of meant to wonder why you did this most of the time. You might survive it, but it's intentionally very hard to keep the trouble gauges in order and requires long strings of highly successful missions, as well as choosing the right trouble to have. You don't really get much from your renegade crown besides being able to say you have one. The general intention is that eventually, no matter how hard you fight, you will probably lose your crown and move on, wiser and wondering why it was ever so important to you. It IS possible to keep power, just very difficult by design.

One of the things that bugs me a little about the structure of Renegade Crowns' Prince Campaign is that there is no end point. I know this by design, and part of what the (very simple, but for what they're trying to do, effective) Realm Management system is trying to say is that there's not a lot of chance that you're going to be the guy or gal who manages to build a stable state here in the lovely Fantasy Balkans. But it would be neat to have something for players who beat the odds: An End Game Crisis or something. The Thing in the Ruins stirs, or the Greenskins cross the river, or even a neighboring real state notices you've done well and walks in to take your work from you and add a bit of the Border Princes to their actual borders. I just get kind of bored with games that are 'dodge the falling knife until you don't' without any kind of conclusion planned. 'Rule until you can't' risks getting dull as a campaign structure if the players hold on long enough.

I do like how much mileage the game gets out of a tremendously simple Realm Management system. And I really like the focus on player decisions. I'm still not a huge fan of 'victory points' design in RPG design, but this is one of the best manifestations of it I've seen. It IS possible to hang on, just very, very difficult, and I wish there was a little on what to do at the end of a Princes campaign where that happens. But in general, the scenarios section has a lot of good advice on handling these kinds of adventures and keeping it very focused on the PCs and their decisions. The culture of the region and the way the obsession with 'strong rulers' is corroding any chances of actually building stable states here also comes through in the rules, simple as they are. Brutality (or the appearance of brutality) is necessary to hang on sometimes, but it isn't always the right answer, either. The vicious 'pragmatist' who always chooses it won't do any better than a just and honorable person. Like I said, this isn't a land where evil triumphs because being good is dumb. This is a land where evil is dumb as hell, but thinks it's brilliant. So when people try to be better, the vicious brutality guys try to drag them back into the dirt with them.

Renegade Crowns is a very odd book. There's nothing quite like it in the rest of the line, and the focus on creating your own land and the new Prince campaign structure is a simple but interesting way to try to do what it does. The most valuable part of the book is definitely the subsetting generator; it's a huge amount of fun to play with and it produces a lot of wild, fun results. It's a good example of how to do 'good' randomization in a game, and recognizes it's using it as a writing prompt, not a strict guideline. The book also mostly explains its own systems well and has a great teaching example of how to generate a region. I really enjoyed my time with this book and I wasn't expecting anything out of it. I can see where it could be a disappointment to people expecting a ton of good, evocative fluff for a filled in and fun pre-made setting like they got with Bretonnia and a lot of the other books in the line, but producing Pferdekrieg was really fun and produced material I intend to use in my games, which is one of the biggest criteria for an RPG book being good or not.

This was definitely better than Warhammer Companion! I certainly wouldn't rate it as highly as Knights of the Grail or Tome of Salvation, but it opens up a neat new way to play Warhams and I think this was a much better way to do this region rather than trying to write a detailed Border Princes setting. It really emphasizes how anyone and anything could be here, and that gets at another of the fun aspects of Fantasy: The way everything can mix together in weird ways. You want to have a dishonored Dreadlord from Naggarond trying to be a lovely Border Prince? A Chaos deserter? Losers and edge cases from all over the world? People from far off lands? It's all possible and the game will try to help you make your weird and memorable edge cases. Anything is possible in your very own, special lovely borderland half the size of Rhode Island!

Next Time: Rats In Hats OR Waylaid By Jackassery: The Return

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Is it possible to roll up an orc Prince?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

Is it possible to roll up an orc Prince?

No, but they're on the 'pick one per region if you want' 'weird' table. The stuff like Orc, Dragon, Giant, Demon, Ogre, Vampire etc is there, but the designer intentionally didn't make them a 'roll a 00 to have a SPECIAL PRINCE in this region!' and instead says 'if you want one weird Prince, grab them from this list of ideas'. The implication is we all know those 00 super special weird results tend to get picked by fiat more than rolled because they're exciting and fun, so why not just make them a thing you fiat in from the start?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: BOTES

Vehicles! Horizon Endeavor is a 4-dot orichalcum warship that is also First Age Artifice. It is one of the greatest sailing vessels ever made, even in the First Age, and it has appeared in naval wars and stories of travel throughout history, generally vanishing shortly after. The pirate empress Zala Firemane sailed it against the hell-leviathan Rahabaris, called forth by the Lintha to terrorize the West. Laughing Mirror rewrote Fate and reshaped the landscape of Diamond Grass Province to let him sail it up the rivers to the Battle of the Five Suns. Most recently, legend says the Lunar Leviathan or perhaps the Scarlet Empress herself piloted it against the fae prince Balor, though these legends are generally considered pure fiction, along with the claims that Horizon Endeavor dates back to the Niobraran War. The ship is a triple-master ship of the line, though far grander than any modern vessel. Its hull is clad in orichalcum yet light enough to float, and its masts are carved of indestructible wood from the distant East, near the Pole of Wood, while its sails are cloth-of-jade. The lower decks house a device that can draw water through a spiral of black jade blades to propel it even in a dead calm, and hatches along the hull can open to reveal red jade dragon cannons that are able to set entire fleets aflame as well as powerful tidecutter bolts that can be fired underwater into enemy ships.

Horizon Endeavor is simply better than any ship. Period. It has four to five times their speed, as good maneuverability as any mundane vessel, and 3 to 4 times as much health as the toughest mundane ship. It can carry up to 300 people in its barracks and several thousand tons of cargo without appreciable loss of speed, and some legends claim it can carry literally anything you can fit inside it. The Red Jade Dragon Cannons are massive jade statues of dragons that, when you recite the prayers carved on them, spew massive flames. There are three on each side, plus one on the bow, and their broadsides will set ships on fire and damage them over time, with fires that take a special stratagem to put out and therefore waste the enemy’s time and Momentum. In normal combat, they are artifact siege engines. The Tidecutter Bolts are spiraled steel bolts that drill through the water when fired out of pressurized orichalcum-baned torpedo tubes on the bow, and their broadsides do large damage and get a boost if fired from concealment because they’re almost invisible beneath the surface and totally silent. Their only real weakness is there’s a finite number of them, so the GM may require a Major repair project to replace them if you use them in multiple battles without any chance to restock. The Horizon Endeavor just wins, period, in any naval battle except one where, I guess, you have the anti-naval crossbow that can instakill ships.

Chariot of Aerial Conquest is a 5-dot orichalcum airship that is also First Age Artifice. It’s a battle-airship from a time when sky warfare was common and the Exalted ruled by terror and force. It looks a lot like a five-sided howdah large enough to bear two dozen, but is plated in orichalcum and jade armor that makes it immune to most attacks. It requires a hearthstone be slotted into its control crystals at the fore to provide it with geomantic power, and using a hearthstone to power the Chariot prevents it from granting mote regen, though it retains all other powers. Once powered, a blue jade screen at the fore turns transparent to allow the pilot to see. The ship may fly up to 30 yards off the ground, or in combat out to Long range, using Sail rolls to make movement actions. Everyone inside benefits from total cover, though enemies may use custom gambits to disable or breach the ship. Each of the Chariot’s four other sides can be lowered to allow boarding or disembarking while it’s landed, and also have armored arrow-slits that may be opened while in flight, providing heavy cover for anyone using them. Once the Chariot has lifted off, its propulsion is silent, and blue jade alloyed into the hull camouflages it by blending with the sky, making it very hard to notice until it starts landing.

The Chariot is actually less terrifying than Horizon Endeavor. It’s super fast, sure, faster than any other ship, and it still has like three times as much HP as any other ship, but it doesn’t actually have any…weapons. It’s just highly maneuverable and able to handle up to two tons of cargo or forty standing passengers that don’t mind being squeezed in tight. Yes, it’s a nearly invisible flying bunker. Yes, that’s really good. But it’s still possible to beat in a fight, assuming you have long range weapons and good skill, whereas Horizon Endeavor just wins all naval engagements by force of stat numbers.

Hearthstones!
Crosswind Stone (Air, Standard): A gray-streaked blue gem that, when socketed in an artifact, lets it call up short blasts of wind to obstruct projectiles for one scene as a miscellaneous action, causing a small penalty on ranged attacks against the user. Unexpected attacks ignore this penalty. The winds may also be called on to blow out candles, scatter papers and so on.
Eiderdown Gem (Air, Standard): A striated gray-and-white stone that feels light as a bubble. When socketed into an artifact, it reduces gravity’s grip on you, giving a bonus to movement rolls when flying or gliding and reducing falling damage.
Gem of the Wind-Blade (Air, Standard): An orange-streaked blue stone that, when socketed into a melee or thrown artifact weapon, increases its maximum throwing range by one range band, to a max of Long. For non-thrown weapons, it gives them the Thrown (Short) tag.
Purifying Mercy Stone (Air, Standard, Steady): A clear jewel that purifies the air within Short range of its bearer, filtering out mist, smoke, poison and bad odors. Visible vapors show the edge of this globe. This only functions in a gaseous atmosphere – it doesn’t create air underwater or underground.
Far-Seeing Stone (Air, Greater, Dependent): A cat’s-eye gem that lets the bearer call forth an glowing electric blue eye from within it. The eye moves as directed, and the bearer may see through it. The magic eye is immaterial and cannot attack, uses the bearer’s Join Battle, movement pools and Evasion, and has soak and Hardness based on the bearer’s Essence, plus a single health level. It cannot go more than a mile from the stone.
Gem of Sapphire and Emerald (Air, Greater, Dependent, Linked): A gemstone that, depending on the angle, is blue or green, bright or dull and clear or opaque. It gives access to two Evocations – the first lets you freeze a just-cast Terrestrial Spell in place once per scene, then try to shatter it with an Occult roll to counter it even though it’s been cast. If you don’t counter it by the next turn, the spell thaws and goes off. The second lets you do the same to a Celestial Spell, but it’s harder and can only be used once per story.

Root-of-the-Earth Gemstone (Earth, Standard): A dark blue stone that, when slotted into an artifact, causes it to become insanely heavy outside the bearer’s hands, requiring a Feat of Strength to even move it at all or prey out the stone. If a foe is prone, you can drop the artifact on them to pin them down as a gambit.
Stone of the Ram’s Horn (Earth, Standard): A furrowed brown sphere that, when socketed into a non-ranged artifact weapon gives it the Smashing tag. If it already had that, it reduces the Initiative cost of smashing attacks.
Caryatid Orb (Earth, Standard): A white cabochon that, when socketed into an artifact, lets you learn an Evocation that grows a marble skin on you, increasing soak and Hardness until you take Decisive damage, once per scene.
Gem of Crushing Might (Earth, Greater): A piebald sphere that, when socketed into an artifact weapon and charged for one mote, causes the weapon’s Decisve attacks to ignore some Hardness.
Spirit-Grounding Stone (Earth, Greater, Wild-Born): A gold-speckled brown rock that forces all spirits within a mile of it to become material at no cost and become unable to dematerialize, though Essence 4+ spirits can spend Willpower to resist its effects.

Ardor-Igniting Gemstone (Fire, Standard): An orange jewel that glows brighter when the bearer tries to share their passions. While socketed into an artifact, it gives a bonus to inspire actions meant to evoke the same emotion the bearer is currently feeling.
Gemstone of Shattering Force (Fire, Standard): A gray-brown gem bisected by a vermilion line. When socketed into an artifact, it gives a bonus to feats of destruction, and if set into a weapon used to stunt a feat of destruction, the bonus gets larger.
Jewel of Swift-Strike (Fire, Standard): A yellow gem that, when socketed into an artifact weapon, lets it reroll one failed die on attacks if you moved at least one range band immediately before attacking.
Passion-Unbinding Stone (Fire, Standard, Steady): A sparkling amber gem that stirs passions in everyone within a mile of it. People break oaths more easily, fall in and out of love more easily and start fights or parties more quickly. All inspire rolls get a bonus and Guile gets a penalty when used to conceal emotions.
Trance-Scorching Sardonyx (Fire, Standard, Dependent): A striped red-and-black sphere that, when socketed into an artifact, can burn away lethargy, giving its bearer a bonus to Resolve against any effect that would induce sleep, apathy, forgetfulness or other passive mental or emotional states.
Gem of Perfect Mobility (Fire, Greater, Dependent): A coruscating red jewel with tiny lights throughout. When socketed into an artifact, it gives access to two Evocations. The first lets you treat your Initiative as higher than it is for purposes of when you act and gives a bonus to rush, disengage, or oppose rush and disengage rolls. The second lets you reflexively take any Dexterity-based non-attack action you want, preempting Initiative order, once per scene.

Sapphire Duck Stone (Water, Standard, Steady): A blue gem with feathery white striations. Within a two mile radius, non-aquatic mortals and animals can float easily on any water, and even non-swimmers are unlikely to drown, while divers require heavy ballast to get far. Within the area, all attempts to swim downwards get a penalty and all attempts to swim upwards get a bonus. Restrain or drag actions to hold someone underwater cost an extra turn of control.
Stone of Aquatic Prowess (Water, Standard): A colorless, slick gemstone that is invisible when immersed in water. When socketed into an artifact, it gives access to two Evocations. The first gives a bonus to aquatic movement rolls and extends how long you can hold your breath to minutes rather than rounds, and makes an armor the stone is socketed in gain the Bouyant tag. The second extends how long you can hold your breath to hours and prevents all penalties and harm from the cold or pressure of the depths. Also, whenever you successfully dodge an attack while underwater, you can spend 3m1i to move a single range band down.
Stone of the Vanisher (Water, Standard, Steady): A cloudy gray stone that, when socketed into an artifact, makes you hard to remember, giving a penalty to rolls to investigate, track or contest attempts to go to ground.
Bloodstone (Water, Greater, Dependent, Manse-Born): A red-speckled green gem that, when socketed, gives the Natural Immunity and Toxin Resistance merits and gives a bonus against nonmagical disease and poison even beyond that. Further, the bearer’s wounds cannot get infected and never bleed, even if a limb is severed. (Not that Exalts can get infected wounds to begin with.)
Fighting-the-Tide Gemstone (Water, Greater): A sea-green stone streaked with pale lines. When socketed into an artifact weapon, it prevents onslaught penalties once per round when you successfully parry an attack.

Faerie-Ring Jewel (Wood, Standard, Wild-Born): A many-colored pastel stone that, within a two-mile radius, causes fungi to grow faster and stronger than normal. Mushrooms and toadstools grow thickly anywhere they can and rot comes extremely quickly. Rolls to forage for fungi, for any purpose, get a bonus.
Gem of the Shield-Sister Tree (Wood, Standard): A green orb dappled with gray that, when socketed, causes living plants to bend to protect the bearer. Whenever they take cover behind living vegetation, light cover protects as if it were heavy and heavy cover as if it were full.
Ivy-Hilt Gemstone (Wood, Standard): A black stone shot with interwoven green lines. When socketed into an artifact weapon it lets the bearer charge it with a mote to make vines grow from the weapon and cling to their hand, making disarming harder.
Stone of the Emerald Rooster (Wood, Standard, Steady): A green jewel that shines with rainbows in sunlight. When traveling on a task related to a Major or Defining Intimacy, you don’t need to rest to regain Willpower each night.
Stone of Resilient Bamboo (Wood, Standard): A stone the color of young bamboo leaves. When socketed into an artifact and charged with a mote, it increases soak, lets you parry Lethal attacks while unarmed without a stunt and halves healing time for Bashing damage.
Gem of Incomparable Wellness (Wood, Greater, Dependent, Linked): A cluster of emerald crystals that changes shape continuously by budding and absorbing its own crystals. If you charge it with 3 motes, it makes you heal significantly faster – 1 Bashing per 10 minutes, 1 Lethal per hour and 1 Agg per day. It also prevents fatal diseases or lethal deprivation like starvation, dehydration or drowning from doing more than knocking you out, and you can recover even from dismemberment and cremation. This ends only when you lose attunement (and committed motes) from the stone or if it becomes inert or is destroyed.

Next time: More Hearthstones and giant robots.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Halloween Jack posted:

I think Shadowrun's "AAA megacorps," which shift with the metaplot, is a reasonable amount. I've seen homebrew games that have one megacorp for each type of gear the PCs purchase, and if they're feeling realistic, a company for food and one for heavy industry.

Yeah, the SR ones work because they have their fingers into plenty of things and the backstory has laid it out so that you know they have huge influence. Not to mention the fact that AzTech owns large parts of South America as well. If anything I'm fine with the bigger ones being involved in plenty of fields just to mix it and you can make up smaller specific ones depending on the setting or as you go.

So I checked and there are just over 180 individuals corporations listed in the book. Most of them in the first table. This includes the ones who get extended profiles. I obviously have no idea if the others are also classified as megacorporations or not but it still feels far too busy.

Halloween Jack posted:

One bit that stuck out to me in Neotech (which I've also seen in homebrews) is one or two media corporations. If ONN does "relatively unbiased reporting," what's their business model? They ain't selling broadsheets.

In this case there's 7 but only ONN really focuses on news. As for how they get funding? :shrug: Doesn't stop their revenue from being 102.391 million (euros). I assume it's ad revenue that keeps them going seeing how much the book plays up that.
What is hilarious is that Progenex owns 8% of the company and they're considered their biggest enemy.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




There's a good chance a lot of companies, especially media companies exist solely because some rich gently caress is bankrolling them. Y'know, like they do today.

Capitalism is some crazy poo poo where the direction of entire industries is basically decided by one guy's whims. Like the whole incest fad in porn is apparently started by one guy who owns a bunch of porn companies and everyone assumed it must be the new thing. And the fashion industry has probably been doing that for decades if not centuries.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




If they're going to have dozens of corporations it should be nothing more than a table on a scenario generator. Jesus.

Cooked Auto posted:

In this case there's 7 but only ONN really focuses on news. As for how they get funding? :shrug: Doesn't stop their revenue from being 102.391 million (euros). I assume it's ad revenue that keeps them going seeing how much the book plays up that.
I guess if news is your only business, advertising for all the other megacorps isn't competing with yourself.

quote:

What is hilarious is that Progenex owns 8% of the company and they're considered their biggest enemy.
Welp.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Ghost Leviathan posted:

There's a good chance a lot of companies, especially media companies exist solely because some rich gently caress is bankrolling them. Y'know, like they do today.

There's also various flavors of extortion, from straight blackmail of wealthy enemies (see Jeff Bezos) to "catch-and-kill" deals to bury stories of friends (Trump).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Arms of the Chosen: Giant Robots

More hearthstones.
Jewel of the Shining Heart (Solar, Standard): A golden stone that lets you pick a Defining Intimacy and treat it as a relevant specialty for any action that upholds it, for as long as it remains Defining. Once per story, you can swap this benefit to a different Defining Intimacy.
Lantern-Soul Diamond (Solar, Standard, Manse-born): A clear, colorless hearthstone that, when socketed, lets you meditate for five minutes to charge it with your bonfire anima. While charged, it glows with the colors of your anima as brightly as a lantern. At any time, you can expend the charge to either raise your anima one level or pay one level of anima as part of a Charm cost.
Jewel of Hero’s Panoply (Solar, Greater, Dependent, Linked): A glittering white gem that reduces the attunement cost of an artifact it is socketed into.
Key of Mastery (Solar, Greater, Dependent, Linked): A diamond jewel that, when socketed by a sorcerer, gives access to an Evocation that lets you imprint a Terrestrial Circle spell you know into it (or Celestial, at Essence 3+, or Solar at Essence 5+), treating it as a control spell for as long as it is imprinted. You can swap spells once per story.

Blood-Drinking Jewel (Abyssal, Greater, Dependent): A crimson gemstone fueled by blood. When socketed into an artifact weapon, if you have any Evocations for that weapon or any hearthstone in it, this stone gains a pool of 5 motes spendable only on those Evocations. The pool begins empty and gains 1 mote each time you deal a level of Decisive damage to a non-trivial foe with the weapon.
Stone of Hatred (Abyssal, Greater): An icy-cold red and black stone. It turns unbearably hot when you think of an enemy. When socketed into an artifact weapon, it causes the weapon to deal Aggravated damage to any foe whom you hold a Major or Defining Tie of hatred for.

Key to the Dream Palace (Lunar, Standard, Linked): A black opal, one side rounded and smooth and the other covered in tiny, tiny turrets, domes and spires. All who have touched the stone in the past day share a collective dream when they sleep – a fabulous black opal palace, where they live lives of great opulence with no ties to the real world. These dreams are lucid and recalled as clearly as waking life after awakening. The palace and anyone in it cannot be affected by any dream-influencing magic less powerful than Celestial or Solar spells or sorcerous workings.
Mount-and-Rider Onyx (Lunar, Standard): A stone of interwoven black and white. When socketed, it increases your Withering damage bonus from being mounted and makes unhorsing you harder.
Twin Crescent Stone (Lunar, Standard): A moonstone that, when socketed into a one-handed artifact weapon, lets you create a duplicate of it out of moonlight and shadow as a miscellaneous action. The duplicate shares all traits with the original and gives the benefits of dual wielding, but has none of its magical effects. It dissolves if either it or the original is wielded by anyone but the bearer.

Jewel of the Rabbit’s Sword (Sidereal, Standard, Wild-born): A chartreuse gem whose facets seem to change number and shape whenever you look away. Once per day, you can spend a Willpower to reroll all 1s on a single non-extended action until no 1s remain.
Exorcist’s Jewel (Sidereal, Greater): A white stone speckled with red, gold and black. When socketed, it lets you prevent anything from possessing your body or soul by spending a Willpower, and also lets you learn an Evocation that lets you make a gambit with the weapon it’s socketed in to free someone else from possession and cause a penalty to the possessor’s next action.
Seven Leaping Dragons Stone (Sidereal, Greater, Manse-born): A gold-tinted orange jewel that gives an innate understanding of martial arts katas and their Essence flow. While socketed, it causes you to gain Initiative whenever you use a Form Charm’s special reflexive activation trigger to assume the Form.
Stone of One Voice (Sidereal, Greater, Steady): A milky blue stone with many glimmering lines and arcs. All humans within 4 miles of the stone can speak and understand Old Realm, even if they lack the Lore or Occult prerequisite. This is unconscious and automatic, though those that make an effort can learn the language permanently over time, as can children raised in the area.

Now, let’s talk warstriders. Warstriders are some of the most potent weapons ever made, immense armors piloted by Exalts. They stand at least 30 feet tall and are made from the magical materials, making them exceptionally expensive. Even in their own time they were considered great wonders, allowing their pilots to go toe-to-toe with behemoths on an equal level and to smash entire armies underfoot. Only a scant few were ever made after the First Age’s end, as they typically required the cooperation of the Solars, Dragon-Blooded and other Exalts to create them. Most warstriders fielded in the modern age are Artifact 5, termed ‘noble warstriders’ by scholars. The greatest, though, are Artifact N/A – ‘royal warstriders’ of world-shaking power. All warstriders are First Age Artifice. A pilot must attune to a warstrider like any other artifact by committing 15 motes to it – at least. More potent ones may require more. Further, a warstrider requires a Greater hearthstone placed in one of its sockets to power it. Such a hearthstone does not grant any mote regen, but all of its other effects remain active.

While a warstrider is powerful on its own, their true might is in their Evocations. As with daiklaves, every warstrider is a unique and singular weapon of legend, armed with potent Evocation that express its nature and story. Learning them is the same as for any artifact, but they tend to operate on a larger scale than normal weapon or armor Evocations. They may manifest the metaphysical power of the warstrider’s Essence, as most Evocations do, or they may represent learning to awaken and wield the ancillary systems of the machine, such as mounted lightning ballistae, active camouflage systems or wings able to fly.

A warstrider’s pilot operates from the thing’s torso fuselage. In most still-operational warstriders, they must wear a harness connected to the frame by leather straps. This causes the warstrider to mimic their movements in the arms and legs. Ancient warstriders from the height of the First Age may have more elegant control mechanisms, such as levitating crystals, complex light-based control interfaces or suits of liquid metal, but all operate on the principle of emulating the pilot’s movements. Thus, acting in a warstrider is essentially identical to acting normally. You use your own stats and Charms. The exception to this is the traits the warstrider itself has – a Strength score, soak, Hardness and damage track. These are used in place of yours, and you cannot directly enhance them with your magic, though you may still use any powers that enhance Strength-based rolls or defend against damage – you just can’t directly increase your Strength, soak or Hardness, or get any bonus health levels. You use your own Strength to determine maximum dice added from Charms still and for any Charm calculations.

Operating a warstrider is complex and difficult. You need to tug and pull at the harness for all actions, giving -3 to all physical actions. This penalty can be removed by taking both an Athletics specialty in operating warstriders and a Lore specialty in warstriders, representing the specialized training needed to be an ace pilot. All warstriders count as heavy armor for purposes of Martial Arts or other Charms that care about that. Strapping into or leaving the fuselage is a lengthy process, requiring at least one person’s help and ten minutes to get into and at least five minutes (but no help) to get out of. Both can be rushed, with the same rules as rushing putting on armor, and magic that decreases the time to don armor also works for warstriders, reducing the time to either one minute or ten rounds in combat. You can still reduce damage by accepting a Crippling injury while piloting, and it counts against your per-story limit. This disables a limb, sensors or major ancillary system on the warstrider, requiring a Superior repair project to fix.

Warstriders require at least Strength 2 to operate, and accessing their full power requires at least Strength 4 and the two specialties noted before. The higher your Strength, until you hit 4, the higher your Warstrider’s Strength, and being trained increases it further. A Strength 4 trained pilot gets the full ability, making their warstrider count as Strength 7 normally and Strength 15 for feats of strength. (Warstriders otherwise range from Strength 5-6 normally, and 10-12 for feats of strength.) You use your own Initiative when piloting, but all warstriders have their own soak and Hardness – usually 15 and 10 respectively, but this may vary. Warstriders typically have 30 health levels total – five -0, five -1, ten -2 and ten -4. You cannot target a warstrider’s pilot with Decisive attacks, and pilots take no damage from environmental hazards, area of effect attacks and so on – those all damage the warstrider. A special breach frame gambit must be used to open a gap to target the pilot through. Warstriders are, naturally, immune to poison, disease and non-magical environmental hazards. Also, they are Legendary Size.

Next time: WARSTRIDING

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


I don't mind Corporations being fleshed out, setting important organizations in a Cyberpunk game - they're basically the equivalent to the competing spy agencies in a spy game, or whatever. They should be distinct and important to your characters.

The laundry list of corp names and a description like "they're mostly in biotech. They are concerned with physical security. The CEO is secretly a robot", yeah, a random table would be better.

Edit: also only like a half dozen are going to be actually important to the character. More than that, they stop being distinctive.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Young Freud posted:

There's also various flavors of extortion, from straight blackmail of wealthy enemies (see Jeff Bezos) to "catch-and-kill" deals to bury stories of friends (Trump).

Or burying uncomfortable stories by running stories about sex maniac pandas.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I will be picking back up on Ashes of Middenheim, I think. That 'Abandoned' bothers me and I think going over the lovely Grand Campaign will do a good job of explaining how badly it hurt Sigmar's Heirs and other books to have so much chopped out of them and shoved into a mediocre epic.

When I abandoned it years ago, it was to write more interesting hams. I have done that. I think contrasting the interesting campaign approaches in books like Liche Lord and Renegade Crowns with the mediocrity of the actual narrative campaigns has merit, anyway.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Tibalt posted:

The laundry list of corp names and a description like "they're mostly in biotech. They are concerned with physical security. The CEO is secretly a robot", yeah, a random table would be better.

Had it been any other game I would've blamed on my dry retelling of it but that's pretty much how all the entries are laid out.
Let me pull out the ONN entry as an example:

Neotech posted:

Revenue: 102.391 mil
Profit: 52 mil
Profit margin: 0,05%
Assets: 97.805 mil
Equity: 88%
Share: 90,5
Number of shares: 894 mil
Employees: 554.330

Name: ONN, Orbital News Network Inc.
Branches: News service 42% Media production 12% Other TV shows 10% Advertising 4%.
Organisation: A structural organisation. CEO is Otto Dübeck who previously was a relatively unknown person within corporate circuits. The Board of Directors have great power within ONN and are usually totally united. Because of this hostile takeovers of ONN have been hard to do. The Chairman is Anan Terobi, who is a representative of Free Media Foundation. It is FMF who has the biggest influence in the board, roughly 35%. Other bigger owners are Progenex with 8% and Farring International with 7%.
Relations: Orbital News has always been relatively objective in their news brokerage, which has meant that many people want to keep them around, but at the same time many haven't been too happy with ONN's revealing reportages. Friends are various bigger and smaller foundations and organisations, amongst them Médecins Sans Frontières. The biggest enemy of them all is Progenex, as ONN revealed that their AIDS medicine Promethiac was dangerous. Other companies that ONN happened to anger are for example Ares Mining & Shipping and ChemCorp. Various criminal organisations are also after ONN.
Location: ONN:s headquarter is placed on Freeport and few companies have such a famous headquarters as ONN. Freeport was damaged in an explosion in the 40's that is believed to have been set up by Progenex. ONN has branches across the world but the most important are: European Headquarters in Rotterdam, North American headquarters in BAMA, Asian Headquarters in Peking and South East Asia Headquarters in Brunei.
Important products: ONN has several famous shows and TV stars. An example is the program The Week In Focus with Maximilian Mauser, the uncrowned king of news. ONN has also a very famous report and TV personality, the exquisitely beautiful Cassy Loring who with the help of a fair share of operations is as beautiful now as ten years ago.
History: ONN was formed 2007 when CNN and BBC merged together. The company was initially called World News Service but changed names as they moved to Freeport. The company was involved in the disclosure of Progenex AIDS drugs Promethiac.
Security level: Very high computer security, high physical security, normal offensive capacity.
Other: ONN has no significant military resources. They have 50 specially equipped guards in their headquarters in Freeport where they also have automated surveillance systems from Ultech. They have a security force of almost 800 men that follow a news team in more critical areas or situations. They are equipped with what the situation demands. The Company also has countless vehicles, everything from vector jets to space shuttles, that transport ONN:s employees.

Now imagine that fact dump repeated 12 times with bare minimum of interesting things to dredge out of it and nearly zero story hooks or anything to really use them with.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Arms of the Chosen: Lesbian Gigant Robits

Warstriders require specially sized weapons – twenty-foot blades, bows made of entire trees, that kind of thing. They are unblockable unless using an artifact weapon, defensive magic or you also are Legendary Size. While they are usually not made from magical materials, their sheer scale means they use the artifact weapon stats. They have no attunement cost, but also lack any hearthstone slots or special powers, which are in the warstrider itself rather than its weapons. Warstrider-scale artifact weapons are exceptionally rare, as they require vast amounts of magical materials to make and have limited utility. They use the same traits as normal artifacts, with their Evocations being their primary benefit. Warstrider fists are not considered unarmed for purposes of Charms. On each turn, a warstrider may also make a special reflexive action, called a devastating action. This is a reflexive attack against either an enemy battle group or all trivial foes in range of your weapon. It doesn’t count as your combat action for the round, and your devastation action may be a Simple charm that creates an attack, as long as it still targets the same things as just swinging your sword would.

Warstriders have long legs, making them able to cover ground very efficiently, and thus they all get a bonus on combat movement rolls from speed – usually +2, but a warstrider designed for mobility or scouting might go as high as +5, while a heavy model might not even have a bonus. Warstriders never need to make a disengage action to move away from human-scale foes, except for battle groups. Outside of combat, if range bands are being used, a warstrider may move 3 range bands per round, and for overland travel may move at least 50 miles in ten hours, usually more.

It's not all bonuses, though. Unlike most Legendary Scale stuff, being big has penalties for warstriders. They get a penalty to any physical action targeting an object or character that is human-sized or smaller, or when attempting a feat of strength requiring precision without collateral damage, such as forcing open a door and not breaking the surrounding walls. This also applies to any Awareness-based rolls to notice things of human size or smaller. Warstriders can essentially not attempt Stealth in most circumstances, getting a huge penalty to attempts to do so, though warstriders designed for assassination or other stealth pursuits may well have Evocations that mitigate this or special features that get around it. Even the lightest warstrider weighs thousands of pounds, sinking in any soft surface (like mud). They may well be unable to cross many bridges without breaking them or face other complications, which can usually be bypassed by use of Charms such as Graceful Crane Stance.

A warstrider that operates in the field also requires upkeep. To perform maintenance or repairs, you need to know Craft (First Age Artifacts) if you want reasonable rolls – Craft (Artifacts) can do it, but the difficulties are rather higher. The specialized tools and materials needed for warstrider upkeep and repair cost Resources 4 and are large enough to fill a two-horse wagon or a medium workshop. For every 10 hours of operation, a warstrider requires a maintenance check that takes a single scene, and it’s harder if it’s damaged. If the check isn’t made or fails, the warstrider takes damage if you attempt to use it before a successful maintenance check. Damage cannot heal on its own, and must be repaired. Each level of damage is a Major project, but only costs silver points. The higher the wound penalty, the longer it takes and the harder the repairs are. A warstrider that has been Incapacitated by damage is inoperable until repaired, which is a Superior project for 5-dot warstriders and a Legendary project for N/A warstriders. This only clears the Incapacitated damage level, not any of the other damage, which will also need fixing. However, unlike most First Age Artifice, repairing a warstrider does not require a sorcerous working if merely damaged. Restoring one to operational condition from a ruin still does, however.

The game offers a number of special gambits that characters on foot can take to try and even the playing field against warstriders. Legendary Size, after all, is a huge pain in the rear end to deal with, and warstriders are extremely tough foes. For example, you can use a Block Vision gambit to gently caress up a warstrider’s sensors (or, in less advanced models, the holes that you see through), giving a penalty to all vision-dependent actions until the pilot takes a miscellaneous action to clear things. A Disable Arm gambit can temporarily disable a warstrider’s arm somehow, making it drop whatever it was holding, preventing use of the arm, and giving a penalty to anything that takes both hands. Restoring the arm is a miscellaneous action that costs 5 Initiative. A Disable Leg gambit is similar, but knocks the thing off-balance or renders the leg unusable, forcing an Athletics check to not fall prone and giving a penalty to movement rolls until the pilot pays 2 Initiative on their turn, which counts as a movement action. If all of a warstrider’s legs are disabled, it automatically falls prone and can’t take any move actions until the pilot spends 5 Initiative and their whole turn to get it upright and working again. A Breach Frame gambit is very difficult, but probably still easier than trying to hurt the warstrider directly with infantry weapons – it pries open the warstrider’s fuselage or otherwise breaches it, creating an opening to allow the pilot to be directly attacked for the rest of the scene. However, any Decisive attack targeting the pilot directly costs 1 Initiative to make before you roll.

Now, specific ones! All-Conquering Colossus is a 5-dot orichalcum warstrider. Mirshaan the Immortal Chrysanthemum was one of the greatest warriors of the Divine Revolution, but was unhappy in the peace that followed. She wanted to fight, and she swore to never stay in one place until she’d slain every peril that remained in existence. Many of the world’s finest lovers tried to win her heart, for she was fiercely beautiful, but none could dissuade her. She laughed at love poems from Arahant Ikal Orinya, she slapped Intemperate Mongoose into a mountain when he tried to impress her by stealing her kill, and in the end, it took her Circle’s scholar, UIyana Thunder-Daughter, to win her heart by creating the ultimate gift: All-Conquering Colossus. It is a walking fortress of orichalcum, its lighter segments reinforced with red jade, and every inch covered in Old Realm calligraphy forming prayers to Venus and Mars to protect Mirshaan. The warstrider was completed with the black ichor drawn from the tomb of one of the Primordials Mirshaan had slain, tempering its armor with invincibility. It took decades to create, and decades more to find and present the thing to Mirshaan. However, Mirshaan did not recognize her circlemate behind the armor’s helm, thinking it some new terror, and the two fought. Mirshaan was shocked to find she could not win, knowing it by the second blow. By the third, she recognized Ulyana’s work, and the battle ended in an embrace. Shortly after, the pair got married. The warstrider has since fought behemoths, god-kings and more. Mirshaan’s urge to fight is seen in its Evocations, and Ulyana’s devotion can be found in its defensive power. The weapon was lost in the Fair Folk invasion, when a lone Exalt piloted in a doomed last stand against an endless horde of nightmare. The Realm has sought it out in the Wyld, but have yet to rediscover it. It has 3 hearthstone slots. It typically goes into battle with a greatsword and two paired short swords.

All-Conquering Colossus’ pilot gains 1 Initiative whenever its Hardness prevents all damage from a Decisive attack, and it gets +3 Overwhelming to its Withering attacks against battle groups and foes with Legendary Size. Unstoppable Sun-Fire Puissance can be used when it gets hit by a Decisive attack, allowing the pilot to make a roll based on Initiative, with a bonus against Legendary Size foes, and increase its Hardness based on the roll’s successes by spending Initiative. If resonant and you take no damage from the attack, you gain Willpower. Heaven-Forged Titan Attack lets you make a Decisive attack while at Initiative 12+. It deals double damage against battle groups or foes of Legendary Size and forces them back one range band. Further, it shatters the ground under the target, creating difficult terrain. Against smaller foes, this instead targets all foes in Close range of some point in your weapon’s range, making one attack roll but different damage rolls per enemy, with base damage of threshold successes and then Initiative split evenly among all attacks, rounding up. Initiative does not reset until all attacks are completed. The shockwave turns the entire range band targeted into difficult terrain. If resonant and this is your devastation action for the turn, the cost is reduced and your Initiative doesn’t reset after the attack.

Star-Seizing Grasp is used to boost a grapple against a foe with either Legendary Size or higher Strength than the warstrider, giving a bonus to the control roll and forcing the target to pay the grapple’s Initiative cost if hit. If resonant, it also prevents loss of rounds of control from attacks by non-battle group foes without Legendary Size. Behemoth-Breaker Might upgrades Dragon Coil Technique when used to grapple foes of Legendary Size or higher Strength than the warstrider. With it, any foe that takes damage from a Decisive savaging attack or is Crashed by a Withering savaging attack loses the benefits of Legendary Size until your next turn, you make difficult terrain when you restrain foes and leave a trail of it when you drag them, or deal damage instead when you do other where there’s already difficult terrain, and deal extra damage when you throw or slam the foe into another foe, or cause a feat of demolition with a bonus when you throw or slam someone into an object.

Crashing Meteor Impact improved the Solar Charm Shockwave Technique, letting you use it to throw a foe of Legendary Size out to Extreme range and make an impact shockwave out to Medium range from that point, or cause damage as per falling if they hit an object or structure before that point (and still make a shockwave). Crushing Hand of the Colossus lets you pay Initiative to make your devastating action against a foe of Legendary Size rather than a battle group or trivial targets. Indomitable Eternal Nova lets you clash a Decisive attack with Resistance, and if you win the target loses a bunch of Initiative (but you don’t gain it) and is disarmed. If their weapon isn’t an artifact, it is destroyed by the impact. God-Metal Fortress Stance lets you, once per scene, blaze your anima through the armor to shift it into a defensive configuration, getting a bonus to Defense and Hardness which increases each time you defend against an attack successfully or take no damage from an attack. If you start your next turn without having taken any Withering or Decisive damage, you pop back to bonfire anima for free and make a Resistance roll to gain a bunch of Initiative. Embrace of the Celestial Aegis causes the armor to shine red and blue along the prayers carved into it and makes the sign of Mars appear in red on its right hand and the sign of Venus in blue on its left. For the rest of the scene, your Decisive attacks get a bonus to damage and you gain Initiative for each 10 rolled on them when you reset to base. Even if a Decisive attack on you gets past your Hardness, you reduce the damage based on Hardness, with a bonus against foes of Legendary Size. This ends if you are Crashed.

The ultimate power is Starfall Eschaton Hammer. It is learned free by Solars when they clinch a foe with Legendary Size that threatens one of their Major or Defining Ties. It can only be used once per season, and to use it, you must be grappling a Legendary Size foe with at least 6 rounds of control and be within several miles of a manse, airship or other magical structure to throw them into with a Decisive throw. At the GM’s discretion, appropriately dramatic scenery may also work, it just has to recall when Mirshaan hurled the Vritra of Infinite Coils through the aerial war-palace of Teshim Umbereyes – so throwing them into a volcano that erupts when they hit it would, for example, work. You may forfeit any number of rounds of control for this throw and get a bonus to the damage roll. If you deal at least 5 levels of damage, the impact releases a shockwave that destroys whatever you threw them at – though for, say, the Imperial Manse or an Artifact N/A warship, it may just end up badly damaged and in need of significant repair. The shockwave extends out to Long range of the point of impact and four range bands up. Anyone caught in it has to roll against an environmental hazard with damage based on your throw’s damage, and trivial targets, mundane objects and mundane structures (as well as the surrounding landscape) take as much collateral damage as the GM likes. If you have a positive Tie towards a person, object or other thing caught in the blast, it takes no damage.

Next time: The Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

All-Conquering Colossus kind of makes every other artifact in the book constructed as a gift to your girlfriend seem a bit shabby.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




My love for you is like a giant robot.

I also want to say that I appreciate how the Solars really commit to being horny for each other.

wiegieman fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Apr 24, 2019

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





As the theme song from Megas XLR taught us, "Chicks dig giant robots."

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Arms of the Chosen: Murderous Giganti Rabitsa

Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation is a 5-dot orichalcum warstrider. It was developed to handle the threats that even in the First Age remained potent, things from the Wyld and strange monsters from the depths below Creation. Specifically, it was built to face the face-snaked legions of the Scorpion Empire. (Not a typo.) The marksman Seres Ebonheart fought them to protect his kingdom, but ultimately he was forced into retreat and his dominion was destroyed. He did not swear vengeance, however, for his rage was only for himself. He set about making the warstrider as an act of punishment and purification, rededicating himself to the protection of Creation with each effort. In completion, the Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation marched on the invaders as heaven’s judgment, driving them from the field in a sustained fury of sunfire weapons. It is as much a siege platform as a warstrider, bristling with thunderbolt ballistae, implosion bows and other ancient siege weapons. It is boxy and dense compared to most other warstriders, to better accommodate its many weapons and the autonomous systems that maintain them, but moonsilver gyros in the joints make it no less graceful than others of its kind and no less precise in battle. However, accessing its full power is not simple. Its Evocations only slowly unlock the full power of its weapons platform. It has two hearthstone slots and is armed conventionally only with a large crossbow and a firedust cannon. Everything else is Evocations.

Whenever the pilot of Cathedral of Sublime Annihilation takes an Aim action to make an attack out to Medium range or longer, they retain the normal Aim bonus without need for another round of aiming. Further, the warstrider may ready weapons reflexively due to its complex weapon-preparation mechanisms, which also reflexively reload weapons with the Slow tag, thus allowing them to be used in concert with Charms that create multiple attacks in one turn. God’s Eye Reticule activates the warstrider’s long-range sensors – a dozen eye-like spheres of starmetal and blue jade. They give a bonus to vision-based Awareness rolls and extend the range of warstrider-scale Archery weapons the pilot uses by one range band, to a max of Extreme. They also give Extreme-range attacks an accuracy bonus rather than their normal penalty. Blazing Eyes of Annihilation is learned free if you aren’t dissonant with orichalcum when you Join Battle against a battle group or foe of Legendary Size that has caused harm or destruction to one of your Major or Defining Intimacies or beaten you before in battle. It causes light to shine from the Cathedral’s sensors, converging on a single point. This can be used to reflexively Aim at a battle group or foe of Legendary Size, and if this enhances a Decisive attack that incapacitates a non-trivial foe or does enough damage to drop a battle group’s Size, you reset to a higher Initiative than normal. If resonant, it also increases damage of attacks it’s used on.

Far-Reaching Sunfire Fury upgrades the Solar Charms Force Without Fire, Revolving Bow Discipline and Heavens Crash Down, allowing you to pay Willpower to extend the range of attacks they enhance to Long, or Extreme if God’s Eye Reticule is active. Iron Shrikes Take Flight allows the armored plates on the Cathedral’s arms to retract, revealing a storm of flechettes. This is a Decisive attack against all foes in one range band within Short range, enemy or ally. If God’s Eye Reticule is active, this can be out to Medium range instead. You make one attack roll, but roll damage separately against each target hit, which ignores Hardness and does extra damage to battle groups. It doesn’t reset your Initiative. An Essence 3 repurchase lets you reflexively use this as a counterattack against any foe within range of it, with a bonus to your attack roll and your damage roll against specifically that target based on how many 1s they roll. Guarding Star Interception upgrades the Solar Charm Searing Sunfire Interdiction, letting you pay Initiative to use it reflexively as your devastating action for the turn, which can target a foe besides a battle group or trivial target. It also reduces the cost to use it against battle groups and trivial targets, both normally and as a devastating action.

Lighting Ballista Fusillade activates the Cathedral’s lighting ballistae under the pauldrons, which pivot and unfold. These make an unblockable Withering or Decisive attack with both ballistae that hits a line out to Long range, striking everyone in that line. Withering attacks use the stats of an artifact siege weapon with a flat accuracy bonus not dependent on range and separate damage rolls against each target, but you can’t gain much Initiative from any single target. Decisive attacks split your Initiative equally (rounding up) among all targets hit to determine damage, ignoring Hardness, and dealing extra to battle groups, which don’t count for purposes of splitting the Initiative. If resonant, you can use this reflexively as your devastating action as long as your attack includes at least one battle group, trivial foe or enemy with Legendary Size, and explicitly this can attack nontrivial foes.

All-Consuming Implosion Bow lets you, once per scene, unfold an implosion bow out of the Cathedral’s right forearm. You must spend a turn aiming at a point out to Long range, or Extreme if God’s Eye Reticule is active, and then you fire a black hole at that point as an unblockable Decisive attack on everyone within Short range of it. Battle groups and trivial foes are automatically hit on anything but a botch. It deals damage as per an implosion bow, breaks terrain and objects as per an implosion bow, and so on. It’s an implosion bow. It even resets the same way. If resonant, you can use this reflexively as your devastating action as long as your attack targets at least one battle group, trivial foe or enemy with Legendary Size, and it has reduced cost if it only targets trivial foes, battle groups and/or enemies with Legendary Size. Reality-Stabilizing Cannonade is learned free when you kill a powerful Wyld creature, and if you do in the Wyld, this Evocation’s stabilizing effect occurs for free when you learn it. The Charm lights up a solid-light targeting display that overlays the pilot’s vision, with each reticule spinning as a prayer wheel to sustain the natural order. This increases Overwhelming on Withering attacks against Wyld creatures and Fair Folk and makes Decisive attacks deal Aggravated to them. If you incapacitate a foe that is a meaningful challenge to you while in the Wyld, you impose order on reality out to Short range, turning bordermarches and middlemarches into Creation proper and the deep Wyld into a middlemarch. As long as you or another native of Creation remains present to observe these patches, they remain stable indefinitely, and fade after a few days once left unobserved. If you know Chaos-Repelling Pattern or Order-Affirming Blow, they are improved while piloting even while this isn’t active, causing the former to extend out to Medium range and have no mote cost, while the latter can be used cheaper and fired through the warstrider’s ranged attacks.

The ultimate power is Godsigh of Noonday Triumph. It can’t be learned if dissonant, and it can only be used once per story, and it makes eight wing-like blades unfurl from the Cathedral’s armor, locking into place in a ring behind it, which draws in Essence. A halo of Essence shines around it, strobing through the spectrum as it builds charge until it is at last unleashed in a single sunfire blast that can devastate entire battlefields. The world around the warstrider dims as the Evocation charges, light itself being absorbed by the machine. To use this, you must be at Initiative 20+ and have spent three consecutive rounds aiming – or two rounds, if using Blazing Eyes of Annihilation or similar magic. You then make an unblockable Decisive attack out to long range, or extreme range with God’s Eye Reticule active – or several miles, if resonant. The blast rises two vertical range bands and three horizontal range bands – so out to Medium range up and Long range around from the point of impact. Every foe that gets hit takes damage, more if they’re trivial or a battle group. All scenery and structures are levelled, and the blast causes a fire as an environmental hazard that lasts the rest of the scene, or longer if terrain and weather allow it to spread.

Next time: Crusading Spear of the Depths

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Night10194 posted:

I have done that. I think contrasting the interesting campaign approaches in books like Liche Lord and Renegade Crowns with the mediocrity of the actual narrative campaigns has merit, anyway.

Good news, they're rereleasing it for 4e so we'll be able to compare them and see if they've learned some some lessons in campaign design.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


ChaseSP posted:

Good news, they're rereleasing it for 4e so we'll be able to compare them and see if they've learned some some lessons in campaign design.

I thought they were doing the 1e Grand Campaign, Enemy Within, not the 2e Paths of the Damned.

Weirdly, the more I read of 1e, the more I think 4e is primarily based on 1e, not 2e.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Oh, so they are. poo poo now I look dumb.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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






Neotech 2
Part 30: That's terror.



Cosa Nostra and Mob Lounge are a little bit too on the nose I think.

Beyond the governments and mega corporations there are a number of different organisations that have large amounts of influence in how the world works. The major crime syndicates for instance has large amounts of power through their influence over the corporations and governments economy.
Meanwhile, terrorist organisations can affect people’s lives despite their lack of resources. The mega corps themselves also have various organisations that can exercise great power on their behalf. Beyond those there is also various groups. But the one thing they all have in common in this case is that they all have lots of power and influence and as are a result either feared or well known.

I’m not going to cover all of them because the vast majority are groups that still existed back when the book was written. So I’m going to try to pick out the more interesting and ‘original’ ones. Or as original as this game goes.

The Syndicate is an relatively new criminal organisation that was formed around 2035. It’s very much tied up with the corporations and its ranks are filled with disloyal executives and shady financiers who simply want to profit and survive without any government or authority getting in the way. Their main area of speciality is economical crimes in all shapes and sizes. It can be seen as a conglomeration of various companies that want bigger opportunities to do shady deals or operations.
What was that about the mega corps being the ones in power and above the law again?

Terrorism has been on the rise for the last thirty years, mainly thanks to lowered living standards and the fall of democracy. The methods are the usual with bombings, murder, sabotage and so on. Anything that gains them media attention is used.

Asian Dawn: Chinese terror group that tries to counteract Japanese influence across Asia.
Aum: The group responsible for the 1995 sarin gas attack are still around and back in force, responsible for blowing up at least one Japanese Maglev train at one point.
CySLiG or CyberSpace Liberation Group is a hacker group of around 200 members and at least 5 AI who fight to extinguish government and corporation control of cyberspace. Responsible for releasing several AI:s into the wild and known to take down servers just for fun.
Free Information Movement is another hacker terrorist group that fight for the right of free information online.
Gaia Liberation Front is an extremist environmental terrorist group that attack both corporations and government through brutal means. Favourite methods are blowing up polluting industries and kidnapping industrialists. Possess their own territory in New Caledonia.
Greenstrife is a breakaway from Greenpeace after it got bought up by Gas Europa. Not as extreme as GLF but still resort to various terrorist methods when it comes to stopping pollution.
The Korean Liberation Army fights to throw out the Japanese from the Korean peninsula.

That implies that Japan are apparently occupying large parts of Asia again. Still not something mentioned elsewhere.
KKK still exist in the setting as a side note, they obviously have plenty of power in Texas and the Federation.

Sherwood Liberation Movement is a popular British resistance movement against the dictatorship of St John. The legend of Robin Hood gives them the justification to fight against unjust rulers. St Johns regime claims that its a movement created by the IRA to give the illusion that the people have turned against the state. Most citizens don’t buy it-

Something I picked up from a description of the European centric splat book is that England has turned into a dictatorship at one point. This is really the first actual mention of that in the whole book, outside of some vague allusions in the newspaper segment.



Many environmental organizations have under the latter half of the 21st century grown into far more aggressive movements, but there are some who still fight through peaceful means and sustain themselves via donations.

Global Environment Trust is a rather reclusive organisation but is still very respected. They get large donations from both various individuals and corporations who are in need of goodwill. They also have their own tv-channel that airs rather angled environmental propaganda. They are actively thwarted by Greenstrife who have realized what threat they pose.

Which is what exactly? Honestly not sure what they’re implying in that case.

Greenpeace is still a major organisation but now that they are owned by Gas Europe they are used to give badwill to competitors through blockades and demonstrations.

This is probably the only evidence so far of a mega corporation actually playing their role as far as I’ve seen. Buying up another, more well meaning, organisation and then using them to further their own goals feels very cyberpunk.

Save the World! is a populist environmental group that usually performs various stunts in order to promote their message. Run by young and overambitious individuals, which more often results in popular but hardly profitable projects. No one really takes them seriously because their actions are usually rather awkward. But they’re still a power factor due to their large membership numbers.

The Land is Ours! is a group that wants to demolish the mega cities and start an ecologically sustainable society. Their main activities are usually house occupation or projects that aim to start farming in the middle of the cities. Their members are mainly idealistic urbanites who have never, or rarely, set their foot in the countryside.

Aid organisations have been on the decline during the 21st century as decreased living standards and a more brutal society decreased the number of private donations, all the while the disasters and wars increased in numbers.

Amnesty International
are still kicking around and have in recent years begun to fight for enslaved AI rights.

WorldMorale is a group that usually don’t intervene directly in disasters or wars, but mainly work behind the scenes. They work for peace, ethics and improved living conditions in general all over the world. But they do however have some weird ideas about just what morale and ethics are and have subsequently gained lots of powerful enemies. More often they can act very cynically and their press releases often seems to promote the message of “You should’ve thought of that before” or “What was it we said”.

Corporate organizations are a fairly new phenomena, they’re the corporations equivalent to the various joint government organisations such as UN and Interpol. Unsurprisingly their main agendas involve limiting government involvement in corporate business as well as freer trade.
They are considered by many as nothing but a rumour. A secret council consisting of the rulers of various mega corporations obviously can’t exist. Back in 2047 a rumor began circulating about there was a secret group called ‘They who rule the world’, or simply ‘They’, that ruled through their widespread power. The most extreme versions of the rumor says that ‘They’ is in fact an AI that controls everything. But those versions appeared to have disappeared when no evidence emerged could support the claim.

Can be used as a decent hook but there’s barely anything to work with I feel.

The Coalition Conference was formed in 2048 and invites all corporations with a capital over 50 billion to become members. It’s meant to be an antipole to the UN with an express purpose to safeguard the free market for all the major corporations. Usually it’s splinted there internal conflicts and the only time it manages to unite under one banner is when some government is trying to encroach on enterprising. This usually leads to various blockades or embargoes.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, or MITI, can be considered as the shadow government of Japan as they possess large amounts of power and influence in Japan and surrounding regions. They deal mainly with Industry and Trade questions and simply work to support Japanese companies against foreign ones.

The United Business Agency, or UBA, is a group that ties together smaller corporations together to let them have a chance against the bigger ones. UBA are well known for using semi-legal methods such as bribes, blackmail, stock manipulation and so on to improve their position. It’s actively opposed by the Coalition.

Several nations have their own security or intelligence agencies to make sure their own interests are preserved. But they have decreased in relevancy ever since the companies took over as the leading world power.
There really isn’t much to go on about here since it’s just various agencies from across the world. Most interesting is perhaps that NSA got privatised after the US got divided and saw their funding cut in comparison to the CIA. So as a response they decided to go global and offer their services to the highest bidder instead. Their main customers are corporations and some foreign states, with the main caveat that they aren’t enemies of New England or the Union.
Beyond that most of them, more often than not those outside Europe and Asia, are almost as brutal as the terrorist organisations they go up against.

Lastly there’s th supranational organizations but on that list we just find things like the UN, G11, IMF and WTO. As well as the Union. Nothing to write home there.

This has been just one gigantic shrug of a chapter really. That’s all I can say about it since it’s just reads as more or less the world today with some very minor changes. They, for instance, are just Bilderberg group with a different wrapper around it. The lacklustre or poorly explained world building shines through as per usual.

Next time: Cheese it, it’s the fuzz!

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Mors Rattus posted:

A Disable Leg gambit is similar, but knocks the thing off-balance or renders the leg unusable, forcing an Athletics check to not fall prone and giving a penalty to movement rolls until the pilot pays 2 Initiative on their turn, which counts as a movement action. If all of a warstrider’s legs are disabled, it automatically falls prone and can’t take any move actions until the pilot spends 5 Initiative and their whole turn to get it upright and working again.

I think this means that if you knock a warstrider over then back off it's unable to stand up again, because there's nobody in reach to hit to gain the Initiative needed to stand up.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The Lone Badger posted:

I think this means that if you knock a warstrider over then back off it's unable to stand up again, because there's nobody in reach to hit to gain the Initiative needed to stand up.

well, after 3 rounds it resets to base, but it's kinda stuck until then.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





ChaseSP posted:

Oh, so they are. poo poo now I look dumb.

Nah, I really liked Enemy Within.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Mors Rattus posted:

well, after 3 rounds it resets to base, but it's kinda stuck until then.

It just flails around like a giant, gun-covered turtle while everyone snickers.

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Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Only until someone learns how to breakdance-battle in a giant robot.

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