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Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.

Night10194 posted:

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.

4e has a lot of the same people who wrote 1e working on it so its not that surprising


Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Arms of the Chosen: Swimming Gigantic Rabbits

Crusading Spear of the Depths is a 5-dot black jade warstrider. It was built in the years of the Niobraran War, when the Exalted needed weapons and vehicles that could confront their undersea foes at their heart. The weapon was forged by the Sidereal master crafter Oadenol, who gave it to the Dragon-Blooded hero Karesha Coral-Breaker. Karesha and Spear fought together against the benthic monsters and the Niobraran armies, staining the sea red with blood. She died in honorable combat, outnumbered on all sides by the Spoken, and with her final breath she drew on the warstrider’s ultimate power, twisting the seas themselves to destroy her foes along with her. Crusading Spear of the Depths was lost after Karesha’s death, eventually drifting through the Undersea and into a reef, where coral covered it over. It was discovered by the Jade Lion Dynasty of the Shogunate, but it was irreparably damaged by the internal wars that toppled the dynasty. To this day, it sits entombed in a Shogunate ruin. Some in Yu-Shan claim that Oadenol spoke a secret prophecy about one worthy of inheriting the Crusading Spear, and that anyone else who tries is doomed to die like their predecessors. The warstrider’s primary armament is a trident and it has three hearthstone slots.

Crusading Spear is able to operate underwater and suffers no environmental penalties or difficulties for doing so or being partially submerged. It increases its Speed bonus to +3 (from +2) while underwater, and the pilot may use their reflexive move to swim one range band horizontally or vertically without need for a roll. Blue jade filtration systems in the fuselage draw breathable air out of the waters, allowing the pilot to remain submerged indefinitely. Depth-Plumbing Descent is gained free if you aren’t dissonant with jade when you enter the water in Crusading Spear to pursue a foe. It allows your reflexive move to be used to descend two range bands vertically, and can be activated when you successfully defend against an attack while underwater to descend one range band away from your attacker reflexively. Dark Depths Hunter lets you draw on the fluid grace of black jade, which makes Crusading Spear a much sneakier warstrider than most. It reduces the warstrider stealth penalty, or eliminates it entirely if underwater, and if resonant, it also gives a bonus to any movement actions while underwater.

Deep-Sea Echo Sense is gained free if you’re not dissonant with jade when you descend into a body of water in the warstrider as part of making progress towards a major character or story goal. It allows the warstrider to send out sonar pulses, which are interpreted by intricate starmetal wiring in the fuselage, allowing you to ignore all penalties from darkness, blindness or other visual obstructions while underwater and also gives a bonus to hearing-based rolls while underwater. Riptide Trident Attack lets you make a Thrown attack and extend a tentacle of water out from the Spear’s arm. Whether the attack hits or misses, the weapon is returned to its hand, and if you deal any Decisive or Withering damage, it drags the target with it into Close range. If you’re resonant, this also increases your attack’s range by one band while underwater, potentially out to a max of Extreme. Crashing Wave Assault can be used once per scene to go into a flurry of flowing hits. You must first use Riptide Trident Attack to draw a foe in from at least Short range. On your next turn, you can then use this Charm to make a Decisive attack that gets a bonus to its damage and, if resonant, knocks the foe back one range band and prone if it does at least 3 damage. If they are knocked from land into water, they move two range bands instead before going prone.

Hunting Siaka God-Armor causes black jade fins to unfold from the warstrider, channeling water Essence into a current. For the rest of the scene, you get a bonus to all movement actions while swimming and can rush from Medium range while underwater. On a successful rush through water, you automatically move one range band closer to your foe on each of your next two turns on top of your normal movement. If resonant, this extends to an hour duration and increases overland speed greatly while underwater (swimming or walking), and reduces the cost to keep using it each hour. Sevenfold Tidal Binding is gained once for free if you aren’t dissonant when you use Riptide Trident Attack to grab a non-trivial foe and incapacitate them with a Decisive attack the next turn. It upgrades Riptide Trident Attack. When it is used to make a Decisive attack and both you and the foe are underwater, if the attack does damage, you can pay 1i1WP to anchor the chain of tidal force to the foe, locking them in place rather than dragging them to you but tethering them to the warstrider. For as long as they are bound, they get a penalty to all movement actions and must disengage to move in any direction but towards you, and you gain any Initiative paid to disengage. Further, when you move, you can make an Athletics roll to drag them with you, and even on a failure the chain just lengthens and they stay bound. The tidal chain can be destroyed as a gambit with an artifact weapon or a stunt using offensive magic, or by moving out of the water entirely or out to Long range and then making a miscellaneous action to make an Athletics check that counts as their movement for the turn. An Essence 4 repurchase makes this Stackable, allowing you to have multiple foes chained at once. When you drag them, you only roll Athletics once for all of them.

Tide-Spun Steel Aegis causes blue water Essence to shine from the Spear’s hand as it makes a mudra of ocean-shaping. This hardens existing water into an impenetrable barrier out within Medium range, one range band high and one wide, which gives total cover to those behind it. Anyone wanting to move into the walled-off band must first go one range band vertically or horizontally to go around the barrier, then take another movement action to get behind it. You can position this barrier vertically or horizontally as you like in a body of water, so others may use it as a solid surface to walk on if you place it right. If you want, it can be permeable in one direction but not the other. Forcing through the barrier is a difficult Strength 5+ feat of strength and destroying it is a very difficult Strength 10+ one. Magical Decisive attacks may, at the GM’s whim, be able to destroy it if they are area of effect and include the barrier or if they are magic that specifically manipulates and controls water. Barriers may block ships, requiring a Sail roll to go around or else they take damage. If resonant, this is Stackable, letting you make multiple barriers as long as each segment is connected to an existing one. As long as at least one barrier is intact, you can use this reflexively on your turn, and activations after the first have slightly reduced cost. Barriers last an entire scene, resonant or not.

Depths-Sealed Vault Technique can be used once per scene to send a current of mystic flow from the warstrider’s hands into water around or near a foe, shaping into a prison-sphere. This is an unblockable gambit against a foe in Short range that is either submerged or within Short range of enough water to fully contain them, with success causing it to solidify around the foe as a solid globe of water. The imprisoned character must hold their breath or drown, and the sphere functions identically to the barriers of Tide-Spun Steel Aegis, except that it cannot be passed through with a feat of strength. Instead, the target or their allies can attempt a gambit at close range to destroy it, or a very difficult Strength 10+ feat of destruction. If used against an enemy chained by Seven-Fold Tidal Binding, the enemy remains bound and the sphere moves with them when they are dragged, which the foe cannot prevent by any means as long as they remain in the sphere. If resonant, you (and only you) can attack through the sphere as if it weren’t solid.

Ocean-Parting Blow is learned free if not dissonant when you use Crusading Spear to defeat an aquatic foe that is a significant challenge to you and the warstrider in combat. It lets you draw on the water Essence around you to unleash a burst of violence. Once per scene while underwater, you can spend 3m1WP to make your devastating action be a Decisive attack on all underwater foes that are within Close range of a single point, even if that includes non-trivial foes, dividing your Initiative between them evenly, rounding up, for damage. You do not allocate any to battle groups or trivial foes, who just take a bunch of damage. This attack ignores Hardness, and you reset to base when it’s done. If resonant, you also gain Willpower if at least one non-trivial foe is incapacitated by it. Slaying the Seven Leviathans is learned free if you aren’t dissonant when you have at least 3 non-trivial foes bound by Sevenfold Tidal Binding at once and have higher Initiative than all of them. This causes the warstrider’s gauntlets to shine with dark water Essence as you retract your tidal chains to destroy all foes in one blow. To use this, you must have higher Initiative than all foes bound by tidal chains and you must have at least one foe chained. You draw all bound foes to Close range and make a Decisive attack against all of them, dealing about half the damage of a single normal Decisive attack to all of them. If there’s an obstacle in the way of dragging them like a shipwreck, they instead take falling damage for smashing into it. If you use Ocean-Parting Blow, you may reflexively use this as your devastating action instead of the normal Decisive attack it allows. If resonant, you also get an Initiative boost after resetting if you take out any non-trivial foes with this.

The ultimate power is Ocean-Twisting Maelstrom. It cannot be learned if dissonant. This Charm draws on Karesha Coral-Breaker’s sacrifice, for Crusading Spear is empowered with self-sacrifice and the ocean’s fury. It must be underwater to use this and you must have at least 20 Initiative. You cause a spherical whirlpool centered on you out to Medium range (or Long, if resonant). The Evocation is ended prematurely if you take a move action, are Crashed or take any Decisive damage before your next turn. On your next turn, if none of those happened, the spherical vortex collapses in on itself, causing a one-time environmental hazard targeting everyone within it, including Crusading Spear. Its difficulty is based on your Essence and its damage is based on your Initiative, so it’s pretty powerful. Battle groups, trivial foes and foes in Crash cannot roll to resist it. As long as anyone other than you fails the roll, you reset to base Initiative, unless you are resonant, in which case you don’t reset if any non-trivial foe is incapacitated by the hazard.

Next time: Emerald Chevalier

Feb 13, 2012

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

Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 1: Ashes of Middenheim

Returning to you with Waylaid By Jackassery, Part the Second

Holy poo poo, this is back? I abandoned this in a ditch a year and a half ago! But in the face of the desperate Hams Shortage, it's time to bring it back. For those who don't remember, this is the story of the Brute Squad. They are Liniel of Caledor, an elf noble who left her home to get ahead of the elven Murdoch press and accusations of Slaaneshi worship, Pierre Rhone, a young Bretonnian knight turned Tomb Robber archeologist who refuses to follow in his sister's chivalrous footsteps, Otto Blucher, an Imperial Protagonist and professional duelist/mercenary, Katiya Demechev, a Kislevite refugee and peasant who wants to become a famed warrior and mercenary, and Feargus Grimminson, a talented young Runesmith and dwarf grad student. Together, they exist to face the bullshit of the Paths of the Damned grand narrative campaign. Inspired by Hostile V's Abandon All Hope campaign writeup and the exploits of G-Unit, I created them for an analytical runthrough of the campaign before giving up in 2017 to go back to writing up the sourcebooks.

However, I still have all my notes, all the past writing is in the archive, and we were just about to get to one of the hilarious parts anyway. So, join me, as our bold heroes return to getting waylaid by jackassery.

When last the intrepid party met, they'd explored the underwhelming low-level tomb of KHAZARAN GORESPITE, a Chaos Champion and the owner of an evil skull. They did this on orders of Medium Priest Klaus Liebnitz, who was trying to get them out of Middenheim to prevent them from continuing to investigate a missing icon of Sigmar that he's got eeeeeeevil plans for. The tomb contained mostly low level combats and a few sad traps that made Pierre disappointed; this was his first on-camera tomb and it sucked! And there won't be any more tombs in this campaign! Sorry, Pierre. At least your Basic Career is still great. With them is also the blind but no less intrepid Father Odo, an Ulrican Escort Quest NPC who knows buffing magic and isn't afraid to use it. When I ran this campaign, my party really liked Odo.

We get a long sidebar about THE SKULL: It contains the essence of the terrible demon XATHRODOX, who will be our absentee antagonist for the entire campaign. He sucks, but c'mon, what did you expect? He annoyed Khorne somehow at some point, then got stuffed in a skull where he can gather neither blood nor skulls, which is TOTAL BULLSHIT and Khorne totally overreacted (I like to imagine him whining in the skull, it's more character than he gets in the adventure). If you are stupid and wear the evil demon skull necklace, you gain Frenzy and Resistance to Magic but must test at WP vs. WP with XATHRODOX (I think I got his name wrong in everything I used him in) vs. his WP of 58. If you lose, you go Khorney for a day. Do not put on the skull. You get a bunch of SFX and spooky things that happen while carrying the skull. Do not put on the skull!

Xathrodox is upset about being found by the forces of good relatively decent people who want to make a lot of money, and so he is planning to kill them with mind powers and beastmen. As the party rests for the night and Feargus refits KHAZARAN GORESPITE'S armor to Otto (no reason why not; who the gently caress turns down an untained suit of full plate? It's explicitly safe to take!) and files off the spikes and skulls, they are waylaid by jackassery as per the title. Xathy (I'm calling him Xath or Xathy from here out, Xathrodox is a dumb name) tries to grab anyone who has touched the skull and make them pick him up and take him out to the woods to meet the Beastmen. He can only attempt this WP vs. WP with people who have touched him and Odo, and only Pierre has touched him. He gets one attempt per character. My rolls for this? Failure for Xathy, Success for Odo. Failure for Xathy, Success for Pierre. The same thing happened in my home game; I think this just short-circuits the entire subplot. You're supposed to have weird dreams where the skull tricks you into grabbing it and then there's a scene where everyone struggles to hear you trying to walk out with it and stop you from sleepwalking off, but for our party, Pierre resists the strange dreams of lovely women trying to hand him swords out of a pond and Odo ain't having any of that poo poo.

The real issue with this is that even if the PC who is entranced gets away with the skull, you just...wake up and go into the woods and find them. There's actually no stakes here and success doesn't prevent any of the other upcoming bullshit. It's just a weird little interlude. There's no extra fight if you fail, nothing; you just go grab the entranced character before the Beastmen get them and then proceed as normal. Similarly, succeeding won't prevent any future Beastman encounters. This is just a weird little 'look how powerful and evil the skull is' moment. There's also no planning in the book for the above scenario where Pierre fights it off, and given this happened both here and in my home game there should've been: 58% WP is not an unbeatable or sure thing even if it has the edge!

Up next, our heroes are making their way through the wood when the skull just starts screaming and won't stop. So much screaming. As you might imagine, this calls on Goatman Prime, who has been dutifully waiting in the bushes with his mates. This starts one of the most difficult to run and annoying things in any RPG: The Hopeless Boss Fight. There is NO guidance on running this, either. "There should be enough Beastmen that in time, the PCs will be wiped out but not enough to kill them quickly." the book says. Oh? How many would that be, on average? Any advice on what units to use? No advice, eh? Just 'enough that they know they're hosed' but 'not enough to gently caress them quick', huh? That's pretty hard to work out, book. When I did this, I had them surrounded by Beastmen but had the Beast Champion challenge their party, sending some of his boys to get blooded while they had the fight under control. So I gave them a winnable fight while surrounded by too many enemies to win forever.

The reason you're not able to win is because this is a cutscene. Our heroes are going to assume they fought off a couple Gors and are now surrounded by more Gors, a Minotaur, and a Beast Champion, and they're starting to realize they're hosed. When out of the blue comes some HIGH LEVEL NPCS! Remember those Ordo Fidelus guys our heroes heard about a long time ago? The buddies of the guy who got killed investigating Skaven? They're high tier Witch Hunters and they've been tracking the PCs, too, curious about all this skull nonsense and the way the PCs were investigating their dead buddy. These guys are, in fact, here as a preview of how powerful your PCs will be late campaign. It says as much in the book; they're here to show off to a 400-500 EXP 1st tier party what 3rd tiers look like. They're a Soldier to Initiate to Priest to Annointed Priest to Witch Hunter in full plate and a Roadwarden to Sergeant to Judicial Champion in the same, plus their fat little torturer/medic buddy. They're here to kick the everloving poo poo out of the Beastmen to 'put players in awe, aspiring to develop their PCs to the same level of ability.'

I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, I'm not very fond of 'And then the awesome NPCs showed up and saved you' for obvious reasons. On the other, I kind of don't mind a brief 'Hey, look what happens at high levels.' It's the first time I've seen one of these scenes where the intent is 'Hey, this is where you're going to be in a few more adventures.' I think if I wanted to get that across better, instead of having them be NPCs, I'd shift control of the Witch Hunter team to the players and use this as a chance to let them briefly play the high level characters rescuing their party. I think actually letting them run through Gors with heavy blows bouncing off their plate armor as they hack down the stuff that had just been giving their main party trouble could be fun; it's better than a cutscene of the Super Badasses saving you. The other nice part is these guys aren't here to take over the plot; they're actually going to mostly go about their own role in things with tremendous arrogance and self-confidence that ends up making everything worse for everyone.

They are Matthias Hoffer, Jakob Bauer, and Ulrich Fischer. There is no real accommodation for 'what if your players made the Knowledge check to know that the Ordo Fidelus is a thing, and also that they're kind of lunatics'. You will recall our party made that check, so Liniel is instantly suspicious as soon as she realizes the party's rescuers are wearing the same OF Comet badge as the dead guy back in Middenheim. Remember, the description you get if you make that check includes 'They are a barely restrained order of sadists and zealots'. Hoffer is meant to be very close-mouthed, barely explaining anything to the players while asking them what they're doing and why, and the book mentions he'll use his high Fel and Charm or Intimidate on the PCs if they won't answer. C'mon, book, we all know those skills don't (or shouldn't) work on players. Hoffer won't really answer any questions and has already decided the PCs aren't Chaos tainted, so this scene is just pointlessly stand-offish. If he just introduced himself and said the PCs seemed to be in trouble and asked why Beastmen were on them, he'd get further, but Hoffer is kind of an idiot as we'll see in the rest of the adventure. At the end, he agrees to help the PCs get back to Middenheim and they'll make it back to the city without further encounters.

The party finds these people really annoying, and moreover they know they're not really super-official 'Witch Hunters' at all. They agree to go with them, but are watching them carefully the whole way back to Middenheim. Feeling defeated by the death of its Goatmen, the skull shuts up to brood morosely.

Herein waits more jackassery.

Next Time: The Tragedy of Father Odo, Buffbot

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Arms of the Chosen: Giant Robot Horse

Emerald Chevalier is a 5-dot green jade warstrider. It is one of the very few Shogunate-era warstriders, made after the fall of the First Age. The daimyo Ghasara Steel-Petal sought the greatest savants to find remnants of the fallen past, and she command her court’s crafters to make for her a new weapon from these scavenged wonders. They built a mighty warstrider, that she might trample her foes. She was, after all, unmatched in skill on horseback with a lance, and so they made a weapon in the shape of a woman riding a horse. While Emerald Chevalier’s upper body is human-shaped, like most warstriders, its lower body is equine and has four legs. Ghasara rode the Emerald Chevalier against her foes, smashing through their armies and fortifications and forcing them to kneel before her. In the end, it was only her own victory that destroyed her. The rival daimyos of the period had been able to guard their borders, but Ghasara found herself unable to handle their combined domain defensively. She eventually died in a futile resistance to coalition of invading nomads. Emerald Chevalier was pushed beyond its limits and denied maintenance too many times, and it finally collapsed under her and allowed a nomad to kill her as she struggled out of the fuselage. When word of her death spread, the Dragon-Bloods of the Shogunate fought bitterly for control of the warstrider, both against the nomads and each other. Legends and history do not agree on who eventually came to own it, but it doesn’t really matter. The damage dealt to the Emerald Chevalier was beyond their ability to repair, and the artifacts that had been destroyed to make it were likely irreplaceable. It is believed that the warstrider currently remains in some Shogunate ruin, waiting for someone that can actually repair it and return it to battle. It has a single hearthstone slot and its customary arms are a lance and shortbow.

Because Emerald Chevalier is quadrupedal, it is faster than most warstriders and further is able to add its Speed bonus to any rolls to keep its balance. Further, it is more difficult to knock over with Disable Leg gambits, because it has four of them you’d need to take out. It can wield lances one-handed and may make impaling attacks, thanks to its design as a horsewoman. Its pilot learns ]i]Eternal Cataphract Empowerment[/i] on attunement if not dissonant with jade. Emerald Chevalier pulses with Wood Essence, and this charm prevents the pilot from gaining fatigue penalties or growing tired while using it even for extended periods. Any time spent piloting is treated as if it were time spent sleeping, giving all benefits of rest. If resonant, it also gives a bonus to resist poison, disease, fatigue and other physical ailments. Lance of Flourishing Triumphs enhances an impaling attack, increasing both Withering and Decisive damage. If the foe is Crashed or takes 3+ levels of Decisive damage, they also get knocked back one range band and go prone. If resonant, there is no cost to use this to enhance your devastating action.

Indomitable Charger Focus lets you flurry a rush and an aim action together if they target the same character, ignoring the normal restriction on aiming and moving in the same turn and with no flurry penalties. If resonant, your aim dice become successes if you succeed on the rush, as well. Legendary Armor-Rider Invocation enhances the Solar Charms Coursing Firebolt Flash, Sometimes Horses Fly Approach and Soaring Pegasus Style, allowing them to enhance Emerald Chevalier’s movements even if they use Athletics. It gates nothing off. Swift-Blossoming Aegis gives a bonus to Defense and soak for the scene, but ends if you don’t move at least one range band each turn. Shimmering Wind-Strewn Petals Stride causes your anima to unfurl behind the Chevalier, spreading petals in its wake. You rush a foe within Long range, with a bonus to the roll, and on a success, you move one range band towards that enemy on each of your next 3 turns without it counting as your normal movement. If Thousand-League Charge is active, you can rush from up to Extreme range and the free movement lasts four turns. You may also activate Indomitable Charger Focus to reflexively aim at the target, and unlike normal, this lasts until you reach Close range and applies to your first attack against them. If you don’t attack the turn you reach Close range or you attack someone else before then, the aim bonus is lost.

Thousand League Charge causes the Chevalier’s legs to glow with a beryl shine of Wood Essence, improving its speed. Its Speed bonus dice are now successes, and whenever you succeed on a rush or reflexively move towards a foe as part of a rush, you drain the foe of some Initiative. While this is scene-long, you must move at least one range band each turn or it turns off. If resonant, this can be used indefinitely as long as you maintain constant movement, which greatly increases the warstrider’s overland speed. Might of the August Colossus causes the Chevalier’s arms to ripple with Essence as it builds speed. It gets a Strength increase, plus a bonus to Decisive damage based on that increase. At the start of each turn, its Strength continues to increase, to a cap based on your Essence, but to keep the charm going you must move at least one range band each turn. If you don’t, it ends. Soul of Living Armor allows you to, when the Chevalier takes Decisive damage, transfer some of it to your own body to reduce the damage dealt to the warstrider. You cannot reduce transferred damage in any way. If resonant, you gain Willpower if doing this makes Chevalier take no damage. Stampeding Titan Devastation upgrades Chevalier to let you, once per scene, pay 5m1wp to have your devastating action trample a range band as you cross it, which counts as your movement for the round. This is an unblockable Decisive attack against everyone in the range band, with a separate Bashing damage roll against each target hit that does extra damage to battle groups and trivial foes. The damage does not use your Initiative or reset you to base, and it doesn’t count as your combat action for the round. If resonant, you can trample across two range bands when you use this rather than one.

The ultimate power is Creation-Piercing Lance. This is learned free if you aren’t dissonant when you Join Battle against a foe of Legendary Size or a battlegroup that you have a negative Defining Tie towards that is a significant threat to you in battle. It can’t be learned if dissonant. You pour your own life force into the Chevalier to overload its geomantic core. Once per story, after you land a Decisive impaling attack against a battlegroup or foe of Legendary Size, you can boost the damage roll. If you do, it gets a bonus and the force of your blow extends out as a lance of spiritual power, extending one range band per 5 Initiative you had when you made the attack, even across multiple Extreme bands. Anyone caught in the pulse whose Evasion would not have stopped the original attack takes Bashing damage based on the damage the original attack dealt. If resonant, you can choose not to launch the pulse in a straight line but instead in a shockwave that hits everyone in a 180-degree arc out through one range band, plus one per 10 Initiative you had when you attacked.

Next time: Godspeed Vanguard

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

For extra good times, you do the thing our Night did in the playtest where she used Lock-Evading Touch to just mosey on into the cockpit and attack the pilot personally.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


That adventure would be so much better if SkullDaemon actually bitched and moaned the whole way.

:skeltal: *sniff* it's not fair! Come back to me Kho... *muffled*
:black101: who's turn it is to carry the skull? The bugger chewed through my last piece of cloth and I'm really tired from the visions of slaughter and romantic images!

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Rand Brittain posted:

For extra good times, you do the thing our Night did in the playtest where she used Lock-Evading Touch to just mosey on into the cockpit and attack the pilot personally.

That sounds like a pretty Night Caste thing to do, so good for her.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Arms of the Chosen: Giant Robot Sprinter

Godspeed Vanguard is a 5-dot orichalcum warstrider. In the early days of the rule of the Exalted, they fought each other often to establish new nations. Godspeed Vanguard dates back to these ancient wars, made in the jungle-manse of the devil-eating queen Yamira before it was stolen from her by Kaleidoscopic Dog. It was made as a long-range scout and covert combat unit, so its armor is rather lighter than most warstriders, allowing increased speed and mobility. Dog and her Circle used it as an assassination tool, performing blitz attacks on rival Solars’ bases or using sorcery to do aerial drops into the middle of battles. In the end, however, they surrendered Godspeed Vanguard as part of negotiations to bring peace among the Solars. For the rest of the First Age, the warstrider was used as a monument to peace, though it was deployed a few times when needed. The last of its deployments came in the Usurpation, when the Dragon-Blooded rose up in rebellion. Six Lightning Hokh was one of the few Solar survivors, having Exalted a scant nine days before the uprising and thus not been invited to the ill-fated Calibration Banquet. He survived the killings by hiding inside Godspeed Vanguard and used it to flee to the edge of the world, vanishing from historic records with his subtle arts. The warstrider remains lost, though the Shogunate’s heroes sought it many times. It has two hearthstone slots and is armed with short swords and a boomerang.

The pilot of Godspeed Vanguard gets an Evasion boost while in it. Fleeting Shadow Scout gives a bonus based on Speed to Stealth checks to establish concealment in combat, as Godspeed Vanguard shrouds itself in light and shadow, and reduces the penalty for warstrider stealth. It is also able to be used with Transluminal Stride, allowing the user to take their next turn at any point in the next round if they beat all opposed rolls to their stealth check. Transluminal Stride causes armored hatches in the legs to retract, revealing sunfire Essence jets. These turn the Speed bonus into successes and, if you succeed on an opposed roll that Speed gives a bonus to, defeating all opposed rolls, you may take your next turn on any tick next round, regardless of Initiative order. If resonant, you also gain 1 Willpower on a successful opposed roll this way. Horizon-Attaining Pace upgrades the Solar Charm Racing Hare Method. As long as you have Initiative 15+, you get an increased bonus to rushes, and if movement is being tracked in range bands outside combat, you can cross even more than usual per round. If you use Racing Hare Method for long-term travel, it greatly increases Godspeed Vanguard’s overland speed.

Aegis of Light and Shadow distorts the light around Godspeed Vanguard, making it nearly invisible. It removes all Stealth penalties for being a warstrider and allows Stealth checks even outside concealment. Midnight Sun Vanishing upgrades Shadow-Crossing Leap Technique, letting you use it to move up to three range bands to enter a new hiding spot, and if Aegis of Light and Shadow is active, you can use it to go to places that have no cover by relying on the light-warping Essence. Shimmering Afterimage Refraction can be used once per scene when you are targeted by a Decisive attack with at least 12 dice. If you successfully dodge, you move so fast you leave an afterimage, which has a single health level for each success by which the attack failed to hit your Evasion. From then on, any time a Decisive attack hits you but has more 1s than 10s, it damages the afterimage instead of Godspeed Vanguard, and you treat the attack as having been dodged. Once the afterimage takes enough damage, it vanishes, and any overflow damage is wasted on the attack that destroyed it, not applied to Godspeed Vanguard. A foe that is using Eye of the Unconquered Sun or similarly potent illusion-piercing magics can target Godspeed Vanguard directly still. If resonant, you can wait to use this Charm until after you dodge rather than before the attack is rolled.

Shooting Star Technique upgrades the Solar Charm Mountain-Crossing Leap Technique. It causes your warstrider leap to generate a shockwave out to Short range from both the spot where you jump and the one where you land. Both range bands – the one you leave and the one you land in – become difficult terrain, but do not impede your own movement. Enemies in Close range of either point must roll against an environmental hazard or take some Bashing damage, be knocked back one range band and fall prone. Trivial foes and battle groups automatically take damage, no resistance roll. You do not need to disengage from Close-range foes to use the Charm unless they have Legendary Size. You may also use Mountain-Crossing Leap Technique as your devastating action for a turn, but must use it before you do anything else that turn, even movement.

Shadow Nova Flare can’t be learned if dissonant with orichalcum and can only be used once per scene. It causes Godspeed Vanguard to glow with your anima, growing in brightness until it is like a second sun. Anyone in Long range that can see the warstrider must make an Awareness check to avert their eyes or be blinded for the rest of the scene. Trivial foes and anyone that botches are blinded permanently unless they receive treatment. Anyone blinded also takes some Withering damage, but you only gain 1 Initiative for each of them, no matter how much damage they take. If resonant, the warstrider vanishes into shadow as the light recedes, making a Stealth check with a bonus to establish concealment. Blinded characters do not get an opposed roll and automatically have concealment established against them. Illimitable Lightspeed Advance upgrades the Solar Charm Living Wind Approach, allowing you to reset it by succeeding on a rush or test of speed with more successes than dice you rolled.

Next time: Ascendant Nova Phoenix

Feb 13, 2012

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

Also, while they'll keep showing up some in this adventure, the Ordo Fidelus pretty much get dropped after Ashes. The organization never really factors into anything again.

We liked them as a name for a sub-group of 'unofficial' Hunters and sorts who would end up henchmen for people like Esmer, though. So they've stuck around as code for 'destructive Sigmarite zealot' in our games.

Mar 4, 2019

HerraS posted:

4e has a lot of the same people who wrote 1e working on it so its not that surprising

That ain’t good. That really ain’t good. I have nothing against 1st edition, but that really, really ain’t good.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Arms of the Chosen: Giant Robot God

Ascendant Nova Phoenix is an N/A-level orichalcum warstrider. It was built at the greatest height of the First Age, a winged warstrider to command the skies with its awe-inspiring power. It was made by a conspiracy of three Exalts, each brilliant: the sorcerer-queen Alesh Rabiya, who studied under the Unconquered Sun himself, Architect of the House of Tomes, a renegade and solipsistic Sidereal philosopher, and Vicious Saint, who drank the dreams of the gods’ enemies and learned their secrets. They made the warstrider in secret atop Alesh’s starspire, using world-twisting sorcery and calling on the names of potent gods with each fall of their hammers. Their hubristic ambition was such that it should have taken them forever, but they grew false millenia from the Wyld in which to complete the work. It was the greatest of the aerial warstriders of the First Age, a full sixty feet tall – twice as large as most warstriders. Its delicately ornamented wings unfurl from its back, made from blue jade but with each individual feather hand-crafted from orichalcum. Its fuselage is an adamant sphere, with a gyroscopic harness of intricate design to allow control of the thing with simple motions and gestures even while performing complex aerial maneuvers. The sphere’s inner surface relays data from the warstrider’s eyes for the pilot to see. Of the three creators, one betrayed the other two in an attempt to seize the Phoenix, one died horrified at what they had made, and one flew away with Heaven-shaking power. It is unclear which was which. While it is not in active use, Ascendant Nova Phoenix’s legend flows across its crystal fuselage, as if the warstrider itself were dreaming of its battles against the Five Directions Navy’s skyships, its duel with the Brass Seraph that was made by the demon Ligier to corrupt the Exalted, or its defeat of the renegade devil-stars and driving them back into the firmament. It is unused in the modern age, though many have sought it, even the Division of Battles in Yu-Shan. Ever since the Usurpation’s final battle and the death of its Solar pilot, the machine has rejected all attunements. Perhaps the return of the Solars may change that. It has 4 hearthstone slots and primarily wields a single sword and bow.

Ascendant Nova Phoenix can fly, using ordinary movement actions to ascend and descend, and it can hover in place if you want. Outside of combat, it can fly up to six range bands per turn, and its long-distance flight speed is identical to its overland speed unless at Extreme range from the ground and from any potential obstacles that might block its flight path. At such a height, it moves at extremely high speed. Like, multiples of 500 mph. The fuselage may hold up to four human-sized passengers plus the pilot. While airborne, the pilot can make a Diving Charge while at Medium range above a foe, getting a bonus to the Withering or Decisive damage of the first non-ranged attack made against that foe once at Close range. If you go a turn without moving closer to the target, don’t attack them the turn you enter Close range or attack anyone else, this benefit is lost. You can make a Flyby Strike when you move into Close range of a foe and make a non-ranged attack against them in the same turn, reflexively ascending one range band away from them without a disengage check. You can Lift Off when you Join Battle, reflexively ascending two range bands before anyone can act, unless you are ambushed. While at Medium range or higher from the ground, you get a huge bonus to vision-based Awareness checks on anything below or far away. You can make a Winged Rush, rushing a target on the ground from out to Long range. On a success, you move one range band closer to them every turn for the next three turns, in addition to normal movement. You can rush aerial foes from Medium range and get the same benefit, but only for two turns.

Starfallen Blade Strike lets you, once per scene, make a Decisive diving charge that targets everyone within Close range of a point on the ground. At the end of each turn spent descending into range, the warstrider burns with a halo of fiery Essence. Once in range, you make a single attack roll against all the targets, with a bonus for each fire halo and damage based on the attack roll and fire halos, plus Initiative divided evenly between all targets hit, rounding up. You reset to base once all that is done. Battle groups and trivial targets take extra damage and don’t count for dividing up Initiative. If resonant, you also shatter and ignite the terrain in the target range band, all damaged foes go prone, and the range band becomes difficult terrain that also burns as an environmental hazard for the rest of the scene. Horizon Guardian Aegis upgrades the Solar Charm Heavenly Guardian Defense. When it is used against a Charm or other attack targeting multiple characters, whether multiple attacks or an area of effect attack, you can use your Parry to defend all targeted allies in Close range as if you had used a Defend Other action, giving them the benefits of the Charm as well. Blocking a source of uncountable damage this way gives you Willpower. At Essence 3, you can do this out to Short range. This gates nothing off.

Rising Phoenix Glory can be used after making a successful flyby attack to rise an additional number of range bands based on the damage dealt. If you used Starfallen Blade Strike to enhance the attack, you may also release your fire halos as you ascend, leaving a pillar of fire that runs through the range band you start in and each you climb through as a one-time environmental hazard with damage based on the number of halos. Awe-Inspiring God Armor upgrades the Solar Charm Terrifying Apparition of Glory, reducing its cost while airborne and extending its effects out to Extreme range targeting anyone who can see or hear the warstrider. Resisting its influence requires entering a Decision Point and using a Major or better Intimacy that supports staying and fighting, plus spending Willpower and some Initiative, which you gain. This gates nothing off.

Tempest of Foretold Victory can only be used once per scene. You perform a wingbeat that unleashes a divine tempest as a Withering attack while airborne, targeting everything in a 180 degree arc in front of you out to Medium range. It is unblockable and undodgeable without defensive magic, an artifact weapon or a stunt. Damage is rolled separately against each target, and battle groups and Legendary Size foes take extra. You gain none of the Initiative lost. Anyone that takes damage is blown back one range band and knocked prone, while Crashed foes are blown back an additional range band. Crashed aerial foes instead fall from the sky, landing prone and taking falling damage. If resonant, you can use this as your devastating action and can use it to target non-trivial foes when you do. Sunfire Seraph Conflagration cannot be bought with XP; you learn it when you Crash a foe at least two range bands beneath you with Tempest of Foretold Victory. It causes the warstrider to shed its feathers in a shower of sunfire blades. You must be at least Long range above the ground and at least two range bands higher than any enemy to use this, and it makes an unblockable Decisive attack out to Long range horizontally against all foes below you with a full Excellency, dealing a bunch of damage that ignores Hardness and then resets you to base. Anyone that takes damage is set on fire with unquenchable sunfire, taking additional damage each turn for the rest of the scene unless put out by magic. Creatures of darkness take aggravated from both parts of this. (Still undefined!!) Once this has been used once, it cannot be used again until the warstrider receives maintenance to restock its feathers. If resonant, this can be used as your devastating action and can target non-trivial foes when you do.

Wings of Heaven is gained free when you use Eagle-Wing Style, and it upgrades that charm, allowing it to be used while flying to make Ascendant Nova Phoenix’s Speed bonus into auto-successes, and while it’s active, you can use your devastating action to fly one range band in any direction instead of attacking, which doesn’t count as your movement for the turn. Also, you can use motes from the Solar Charm Bonfire Anima Wings to pay for Nova Phoenix’s Evocations. Infinite Sunlight Shrike lets you commune with the warstrider’s god-consciousness and rush any non-trivial target in line of sight, out to Extreme range, with a bonus. On a success, you immediately fly to close range and make a non-ranged Decisive attack, with a bonus to damage based on your rush. This is both your movement and combat action for the turn. If your target is a battle group or has Legendary Size, you may use this as your devastating action instead and it doesn’t count as either your movement or combat action. If you cross more than six range bands, you also cause a sonic boom that forces anyone within Long range of your stopping point to roll Resistance or be knocked prone and defeaned for the scene.

Blazing God-Sight Revelation upgrades the Solar Charm Eye of the Unconquered Sun, reducing its cost while airborne and extending its effects out to Extreme range – or as far as you can see, period, if you have Unsurpassed Sight Discipline. Daystar Smites the Heavens causes the warstrider’s eyes to burn with your anima and fire off a light beam as you spin in mid-air. This can only be used once per scene while in flight and is an unblockable Decisive attack against all flying foes within Medium range, splitting your Initiative between them evenly (rounding up) for damage and ignoring Hardness. Creatures of darkness (:sigh:) take Aggravated. Battle groups and trivial foes take extra damage and don’t count for dividing up Initiative. You do not reset to base after. Enemies that take at least 3 damage fall out of the sky and land prone, taking falling damage. The Sword That Conquers Five Directions upgrades the Solar Charm Heaven Sword Flash, reducing its cost while airborne and extending its range based on your elevation. If you also know Circle of Bright Reaving, it has reduced cost while airborne and has its range extended as well.

The ultimate power is Phoenix Surpasses the Sun Meditation, which causes your bonfire anima to flow into Ascendant Nova Phoenix’s wings as pinions of light, accelerating you massively. You must have a specific destination in mind to use this, and can only use it once per story. The warstrider becomes a streak of light, moving fast enough to reach anywhere in Creation in a single hour or less, no matter how distant. It can fly to other realms at a comparable pace, with the exception of Malfeas – the endless desert still requires five days to cross, period. While maintaining this flight, the Phoenix shines with your bonfire anima, making it obvious to anyone that sees it. You may still act and see while moving at this speed, but you get a penalty to all Awareness-based checks due to the speed, and to stop or Join Battle at any point before you arrive at your destination, you must end this prematurely.

Next time: Karvara, the Walking Devil Tower

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 16:55 on Apr 25, 2019

Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo

they grew false millennia has to be the most Exalted phrase dropped in this thread so far

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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

Neotech 2
Part 31: Woop-woop! That's the sound of da police! That's the sound of the beast!

Despite the sense of lawlessness that seems to rule the world in 2059 there is still public law enforcement and civil law present. But nowadays that’s on the side of the most money, that is to say the various crime syndicates and the corporations. But even then there is justice to be found for the average citizen. Police forces can be find in all cities, countries across the globe as well as in many mega corporations. Their main goal is to uphold law and order and guard their employers interests.

Lot of information how a modern day police department in 2059 works, yadda, yadda, this is not really interesting or useful information at all. Problem is of course it goes on for pages and pages with this. I mean if you want to run a police campaign this might be handy but this would be better off just passed off to a separate book instead. But even then it just goes on and on about how everything is organised. It even mentions all this information may not be even true depending on the country in question.
Once again, this book has zero ideas and suggestions of what the player characters are actually meant to do in all this.

There’s some various bits and pieces of information worth lifting out of this boring slog. Such as police having great use of the TransNet that is required for all cars to be able to locate stolen cars or pick up the chase. Speeding is also impossible to do unless you illegally bypass the TransNet function.

The only other thing of actual mention here is the department for special operations (or SpecOp ooooh), that is directly subordinate to the police chief and contains the cyberpsychosis department as well as a paramilitary section. The latter only really used during riots or large gang wars but are equipped to handle those situations and usually consist of army units located close by. The cyberpsychosis department on the other hand are meant to eliminate androids and cybernetically enhanced people who have run amok. They’re well trained and pack enough firepower to take out any cyborgs that have plunged off the deep end and suffer from irreversible cyberpsychosis, so called ‘Terminal cases’.

A side section talks about Europol, which has replaced most of Interpol’s functions within the European Federation. They deal with stopping terrorism, drug trade, organised crime as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They have various departments dealing with various areas. Lately though there has been some friction with Interpol.

Meanwhile, FBI hasn’t changed all that much despite the US breaking apart. This time around its has become a supranational law enforcement organisation with jurisdiction in most of the new states. Outside of that they also have several different departments dealing with various things.

We get a section about how police conduct patrols. But even that is mentioned as it can change so it’s not like players will have much use of it since the GM can change the numbers “based on the circumstances” as well as the equipment to be better than what the opposition might have. So the GM is generally considered to dick over the PCs if they get involved in a police shootout. So forget trying to recreate the shootout in Heat when the police come equipped if automatic weapons themselves if the GM feels malicious enough. Also communication between various units are regularly good, which means that reinforcements are usually quickly summoned.

This starting to feel like the police in any Grand Theft Auto game.

Another section talks about what tools the police have to track and identify suspects. Many of which are also available for corporate police as well as organized crime. There’s cameras installed mostly everyone on public places an in most buildings. Telephone conversations can be tracked due to the previously aforementioned identification number being broadcasted during calls. The police also have means to instantly trace calls, but there are means to counteract that by using satellites and relay stations. But those are costly. All internet and telnet traffic is also watched over by special computer systems that scan for specific phrases. Lastly all legal vehicles are equipped with a transponder that emits an ID code as well as its position and speed. Removing that one is of course illegal.

“No fun allowed” the game bellows from the rooftops as it tries shutting down every possible avenue for the players to play as independent troubleshooters since all they do is tracked by the law. Countermeasures are generally not really mentioned anywhere. No such mention of burner phones or anything as of yet. Or even any mentions of a deep web where various criminals and others hang out. I’m not even sure that even exists in Neotech.

The book talks about arrests, which only happen whenever the police consider they have enough resources to succeed and they’ll use as much violence as necessary to protect themselves and civilians. Everything about this still just how it works today so moving on.

Police have the right to use as much violence as possible to arrest any suspects but it’s usually used more than what can be considered necessary. Because it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Without any witnesses their good word is also accepted.

Arrest procedures are how they are today so nothing interesting there. Prosecution are the ones who make the final call of the suspect is detained or not. The judgement is based on the probability to sentence the suspect in a court. In many countries you need to arrest before three days have passed but in reality this usually far longer. Usually Ob2D6 days.
Random dice rolls out of nowhere and for no real reason as well.

Evidence gathering is done through various means such as witness statements from both police and civilians. Then there’s various databases containing almost everything about people. As well as DNA and ballistics data are gathered. The former assisted by the fact that everyone’s DNA code are stored in registres. GunCam™ are nowadays installed in many police and civilian weapons, it records whatever the weapon is pointed and also marks when any shots are fired. It can be an invaluable aid whenever it needs to be proven that any shots were taken in self defence.

For the police being mentioned as corrupt early on there isn’t much of a mention about it here. Where are comments about the GunCam videos maybe being doctored to hide the fact that a person might have been gunned down by the police in cold blood? Where are the mentions that they might take bribes in order to push forward someone as a suspect or just letting someone go? This whole section is just far too drat clean for a setting that babbles on and on about how things are terrible. Everything still follows the same laws that has existed for 60 years without any changes. Stop being so loving boring game!

Lastly we get a full page subsection about Interpol. Initially meant to be a coordinator between the various national law enforcement agencies the increased corporate power led to a bigger feeling of impotence amongst the police. After the rebirth of the UN they adopted a resolution that gave Interpol increased authority and powers and turned into an international FBI of sorts. They have their own force and can act independently of the local police. In theory Interpol has the right to work in all of the UN membership nations if they have enough justification for it. But it’s also possible for mistreated people to sue Interpol and get reparation. But in reality their right is heavily restricted in many cases, especially if the crimes are connected to the government, such as through corrupt politicians.
Interpol is divided into seven different directorates that are in turn divided into section depending on continents and subsections based on nations or cities.
The first directorate deals is the counter-terrorism section and there is a specific mention that members are equipped with exoskeletons and assault rifles.
The second directorate deals with illegal activities in orbit and they’re called ‘Lightweights’ because they consist of professional astronauts. They have a base on Cape Kennedy.
Third directorate, or the Ravens as they’re otherwise called, deal with corporate crimes and are the ones who get the most ire from the megacorporations for this. They also deal a lot with organised crime. (Once again described as mob activity for some reason).
Fourth Directorate deal with the drug trade.
The Fifth Directorate deal with data related crimes, such as theft and software piracy but also unallowed removal and editing of data. They also have the nickname Turing police because of their heavy ties with dealing with AI in some form or another. The directorate was formed in 2044 after the Luna City incident where an AI suddenly went amok. Due to the fact it was formed by executive decision of Interpol, the corporations couldn’t protest and with the increased agency given to bureau by the UN it means that the Turing police can strike wherever and whenever they like.
The sixth directorate, or psyche-div unofficially, is the cyberpsychosis section. Much like other similar departments are equipped to handle fully armed and armored cyborgs whenever they go bonkers. But they also possess far more advanced gear in comparison. The nickname comes from a movie made in 2048 that portrays the operational division and also boosted its reputation.
The Seventh Directorate is so new that they don’t have any nicknames yet but they specialised in dealing with bioroids. Their main task is to find an eliminate bioroids, androids and other artificial people.

So there’s a bunch of things to take from this. First, the UN has apparently been reformed at some point. Secondly, there is apparently a whole issue with androids that is causing problems. The closest we got to any mention about that was in the Tyrell Corporation entry. But even then there was no mention of them being an issue or anything. So they pretty much lifted Blade Runners as a police force as well.
Weirdly enough Interpol reminds me of Public Security Section 9 from Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Kind of funny considering that the series wasn’t out for another four years and the original GITS movie didn’t involve Section 9 all that much.
Looking more closely at this part it feels to me as if Interpol is really meant to be the way the game is meant to be played. With the players being agents from one specific directorate. Problem is of course that the wide number of wildly unrelated careers available makes this idea sorta fall apart. But even then it feels to me that the designers wanted this to be the way to interact with the world.
It’s not a bad idea since it would let the players go mostly anywhere in the world and there’s opportunities for a lot of different campaign types such as investigation as part of the Third or Fourth directorates or more action based ones with the First, Sixth and Seventh ones. Not to mention Second lets you go into space for that part.
So why not just push that from the very beginning since there is rather solid groundwork for it? Who knows.

But beyond the part about Interpol this whole chapter is just one giant snoozer since it contains nothing specific and just has lots and lots of general information about how the police are organized. Something which is good for some campaigns but overall pretty useless otherwise.



Feb 13, 2012

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

Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 1: Ashes of Middenheim


So, I've also taken the liberty of advancing the heroes a bit. The books do not give you a good sense of how much EXP you get; are you getting it on a session/chapter basis? They get some EXP per objective, but is that in addition to the 100 per session you normally get or not? Because if the latter, you actually advance significantly slower in this adventure. You'd earn about 500 EXP for the whole thing going by the back of the book. I'm instead just giving out EXP per chapter, plus an award at the end, since I want to keep the party's mechanics up but there's no way I could judge their 'roleplaying award' EXP or whatever. Lord knows it would be through the roof, these being such well realized and fully fleshed out characters.

I despise roleplaying EXP, by the way. Completely and utterly. I don't like deciding 'who acted better' to hand out in-game rewards, especially if it risks leading to uneven advancement. I'd rather players just roleplay because they feel comfortable with it rather than trying to ham it up for bonus points. Our heroes are now at a total of 5 earned advances and their free advance each. They're slowly working their way through their first careers.

Having gotten the evil skull back to the city and the temple, the Hunter-wannabes skedaddle because this is Ulric turf and they're the kinds of hardcore Sigmarites who dislike Ulric. Liniel is delighted not to have to share any pay or rewards with the unpleasant men and their weird, fat little torturer guy, so she gladly agrees not to mention them. Otto is happy to see the Sigmarites go, and eager to get Odo to safety and hand over the skull. Father Ranulf meets them and sends for wine as an acolyte sets the Skull in a Do Not gently caress With This magic crate and takes it off to Top Men. Pierre does NOT protest that this should be in a museum. This is Chaos. That would be ridiculous. The party takes the wine, but Odo is watching his alcohol intake and asks for water. Very few PCs in this setting will turn down free drinks, which is lucky for the party.

You see, a completely unrelated Tzeentch cult has spiked the temple's water with warpstone. They are the Purple Hand, who you will remember from Tome of Corruption as the Big Example Tzeentch Cult, whose entire writeup was more concerned with jacking off over how unbeatable and diffuse they are than giving you things like 'objectives' or 'plot hooks'. In my home game, with 2 wizards, they noticed magic in the water (they used Magic Sense a lot) and stopped Odo from drinking; there's no provision for doing such in the book even if you have wizards, it just seemed to make sense to me. Our heroes on the Brute Squad lack this, so Odo drinks the water and falls prey to the oldest cult trick in the book, throwing warpstone in random poo poo. If a PC drinks the water, they have a Tough save or take -20 to everything for d10-TB hours and then a -10 WP save or gain 1-3 mutations unless they Burn Fate. The book talks about 'hiding your mutations until you can cure them' if you don't Burn Fate; as far as I know there's never really been provisions for curing mutation. Has the line just been assuming you can do that all this time? While not sharing?

Anyway, this sudden, coincidental, and totally unrelated terrorism attack by the main villains of Hams 1e disrupts proceedings, to say the least. Odo screams and turns into a mini-boss, with WS 30, but 3 attacks, Damage 5, and DR 6. Only 11 Wounds, but still, he's a big pink and blue ball of mouths and tentacles. Our heroes have to swing into action as Ranulf cries and grabs up a chair to hit the monster with. Excepting Katiya, every single one of them failed Fear. They are convinced this is the worst poo poo they've ever seen. Katiya and Ranulf (with the folding chair!) go after the monster while the others freeze. She's lucky enough not to take any concentrated return fire, and with the Charge and the outnumber she whacks it good on round 1. Everyone else stays frozen, but Katiya and Ranulf both whack him, Katiya for 6 wounds, Ranulf for 1, but that 1 is Crit 1 after the whacking she gave him earlier. Everyone else recovers from fear while the monster is stunned, but before they can steal her kill Katiya skewers the stunned beast on her saber. So yeah, the peasant near soloed that thing. Good work, Katiya! The rest of you, stop failing Fear.

:rip: Buffbot, my players saved you and also liked you. I do love that you get done escorting him through a dangerous tomb and poo poo and then he instantly dies to a random, unrelated event.

More screaming is going on elsewhere in the temple, so the heroes rush down to see what they can do. It turns out some more kitchen staff have turned mutant, and no-one knows what's going on. Katiya takes charge, trying to calm the situation down with the Charm-10 test allowed in the book. She is not listened to in the least, even after using Fortune, because she only had a 40% chance to begin with. Remember, that's with an exceptional Fel! Maybe go a little lighter on the Test-10 poo poo, Ashes. When she fails, Otto steps up with the other option, Intimidate-10, and gets a 13, restoring order and getting the people to stop running around. Ranulf wants to kill all the mutants immediately, but Liniel manages to calm him down with Fellowship vs. WP (as the book directs) so they can question them.

The mutants are, as you imagine, all people who drank from the same pitcher of tainted water. Realizing all this, they realize the temple's water has been tainted and seal it off before anyone else can get wizard plutonium dust in their water. The Deputy High Priest (Medium Priest) Liebnitz is summoned, and the temple locked down for now. Liebnitz is, of course, a pure Teutogen of purest Teutogen blood. Otto, being an Ulrican, is actually able to identify the Medium Priest's amulet as a sign that he is an Axe-Brother, from an extremist sect of Teutogen purists. The man would hate our brown-haired Carroburger Protagonist. Liebnitz sits down to chat with and meet the PCs, and Liniel is very careful to be diplomatic with him; this is a high ranking official with potentially deep pockets and they need patrons and employers.

This scene is the chance to develop Liebnitz and his character, and it is also a place where he commits a cardinal sin that instantly put him on my players' poo poo-list. You remember the team did that whole job in the forest, right? With the minotaur, the bloodcursed, the lovely skull, etc? That was supposed to be paid work. Rich rewards were promised. Liebnitz uses the chaos and some other matters to weasel out of paying. Liebnitz is also distracted by trying to figure out what the gently caress other cult attacked his temple. He's worried investigations will find his OWN evil Khornate poo poo and get him in trouble if this incident becomes more public, so he demands the PCs not talk to the cops and instead handle this quietly. And again, he doesn't pay them. For our heroes, Liniel tries to bring up the matter of what they're owed politely several times during the talk and is brushed off. When the medium priest gives them another job without actually paying for job one, her ears start to twitch. The Brute Squad likes networking, yeah, but this is some piece of poo poo demanding they work for exposure and she is having none of it.

Seriously, this was the moment my players decided they hated the Medium Priest. They also went straight to the cops because they liked and trusted Schutzmann, the Reasonable Watch Captain Who Pays On Time. There is no provision made for what happens if you go to the cops and the entire next plotline assumes that some terrorists get through because your PCs and the OF guys (who pop up and offer to help watch some of the wells) aren't enough to actually stop the plot. Liniel wants to turn down the job entirely and leave Middenheim, but Pierre reminds her about the Icon. Moreover, skipping town due to a bad boss won't get them any contacts or money, Feargus points out. Katiya suggests they go to Schutzmann, but Liniel decides (for the sake of keeping this relatively on track) that making a direct enemy of the Medium Priest might be impolitic in a region dominated by Ulric.

The Hunters approach and ask the PCs what the haps be, and 'use their considerable Charm and Gossip stats to learn if the PCs are closed-mouthed'. Luckily for them, Liniel is angry about Ulricans and so happily tells the Sigmarite zealots about the embarrassing incident in hopes it will cause Liebnitz headaches. Katiya sighs at the elf spite-stirring religious disorder but this is actually what the adventure requires you to do, apparently. The Hunters agree there should be no cops, because it's okay to risk the wells getting poisoned to ensure the team gets the poisoners, because Hoffer is a HARD MAN who makes HARD CHOICES. The two parties set off for a long night.


Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Arms of the Chosen: EVA-01, But She’s Not Your Mom

Karvara, the Walking Devil Tower, is the incarnation of a principle antithetical to the mere existence of Creation, and it is a god-monster older than the world itself. For most of the First Age, it slept in the depths of ruined Zen-Mu until it was one day awakened by Feng Huang Morningstar, a Solar who sold his soul to the princes of Malfeas. Karvara could not exist in Creation, so where it went, Creation wasn’t. The behemoth might well have destroyed the Loom of Fate entirely were it not for the Lunar Hundred Sinners King and his famous army, the Ninety-Nine Dragons. Hundred Sinners King fought the behemoth in many shapes, withstanding its reality-destroying touch in order to wrestle it down. The Ninety-Nine Dragons pierced it with direlances of jade, using an ancient, invincible formation that was lost with the turning of the Age. Together, they defeated Karvara, but they could not kill it, for it was immortal and bore the lifeblood of the ancients. Thus, Hundred Sinners King turned to his Solar bondmate, the crafter Taitalos. With the monster pinned under ninety-nine jade spears, they set about to make a prison it could not escape, even though it was a monster that could not exist. Each day, Taitalos doused the creature in liquid moonsilver, sculpting it into the form of armor that would constrain and command it. The devil tried to unmake its cage, yet moonsilver is of an otherworldly and wild Essence, and so it bridged Creation and the unreality of Karvara, creating the Walking Devil Tower. While Taitalos built the structure, Hundred Sinners King moved within the behemoth as a tapeworm and botfly, hollowing out its flesh and carving its spine into a fuselage, its controls woven with the monster’s nerves.

In its dormant state, Karvara is confined in the Walking Devil Tower with unbreakable force. Only when the warstrider is attuned and powered are its restraints released, allowing it to act at its master’s command. Imprisoned thus, Karvara was forced to accept and perceive Creation for the first time, experiencing the flux of its master’s emotions. It learned to rage against its prison and to hate its masters, and with each new understanding of humans, it learned to communicate a bit better with its pilots via projected sense-impulse and god-language. The chains that fetter it go in both directions, and it learned to corrupt its pilots with its alien fury, believing its freedom inevitable. It was robbed of any chance by the Usurpation, however. Taitalos and Hundred Sinners King died in battle together, standing with the Ninety-Nine Dragons, who remained loyal when the rest of the Dragon-Blooded betrayed the Solars. Their killers laid them away in a palace-tomb to assuage their ghosts, sealing Karvara with them as an offering. The binding of the tomb is silk of pattern spider and sinew of elemental dragon, woven together with a piece of the Silent Wind of Malfeas. The Solars’ return has caused the Sidereals to send someone to check on the seal. However, she has not sent back a report in the last five years, and is believed to be dead or renegade. Karvara has 4 hearthstone slots, fights with its claws and bite, and cannot be piloted by any being without a Limit track. (So no Dragon-Bloods.)

Karvara is a fully sapient being as well as a warstrider, communicating with the pilot via synesthesia and alien speech that the pilot instinctively understands. The pilot can attempt social influence on Karvara by talking to it, but it has really high Resolve and Guile, 10 Willpower, and 12 dice for any influence it attempts. It regains 1 Willpower per day. Its Intimacies are a Defining Tie of loyalty to its master (enforced by sorcery and unable to be changed or weakened), a Defining Principle of “I will be free of my imprisonment, even if the world must end,” (which it may treat anything that erodes or alters it as unacceptable), a Defining Tie of hatred towards those who confine it, a Major Tie of fear towards Exalts and a Minor Tie of acceptance towards Creation. It the GM decides you suffer Limit Break while piloting, instead of a Virtue Flaw, Karvara takes over your body for the scene, and you play as Karvara usurping your will based on its current Intimacies, using your stats and Charms. This ends if Karvara is Incapacitated.

Eat the Heart of God is gained for free on attunement. When it stands over a fallen foe, Karvara’s mouth plate slides back to reveal its fanged maw, allowing it to devour the blood and Essence of its foes. This can be used once per scene and counts as your devastating action for the turn, and it lets Karvara feast on a significant foe at Close range that is Incapacitated, gnawing at the body of a Legendary Size foe or devouring smaller ones whole. You gain Initiative based on the victim’s Essence. Alternately, you may slaughter a routed battle group with this, gaining Initiative based on its original Size and Might. Spirits devoured this way are permanently slain. If resonant, you gain Willpower when Karvara eats a behemoth, a battle group with Might or another powerful foe whose Essence is at least equal to yours. Berserker Fury Blitz cannot be bought with XP. It is gained free when you Limit Break while piloting. You get a bonus to a Strength-based roll based on your Limit, which can be a Withering attack. If you are in Limit Break, the bonus is much larger. Each time you use this, you roll a die and gain Limit equal to the successes. If resonant, this can also enhance Decisive damage.

God-Monster Apotheosis upgrades the Solar Charm Carnal Spirit Rending, allowing you to use it for free when Karvara eats a spirit using Eat the Heart of God, and letting you spend XP to permanently add absorbed Charms to Karvara as Evocations, which cannot be awoken by other pilots. Devil-Mind Gestalt Meditation cannot be bought with XP. It is gained free when you either instill one of your Defining Intimacies in Karvara and raise it to Defining, or when you Limit Break while piloting. You may use Karvara’s Intimacies in your Decision Points, but when you do, you gain that Intimacy at Minor or strengthen it, and can’t voluntarily weaken it this session. Further, once per scene, you can drain 1 Willpower from Karvara, gaining it yourself. Whenever you do either, you roll a die and gain Limit equal to successes. Also, for every point of Willpower you draw from Karvara, it can resist one of your social influence rolls for free this session. If resonant, there is no limit on how much Willpower you can gain from Karvara per scene.

Roaring God-Monster Fury lets you, once per story, make a Presence-based threaten roll by having Karvara let loose a roar. This ignores the group influence penalty, gets a bonus based on your Limit and works on all bystandards and enemies out for several miles. In Limit Break, you get a larger bonus. Battle groups whose Resolve is beaten must check for rout at higher difficulty than normal, and characters must spend 3 Willpower or flee the area where they heard the roar. Even if they pay, they get a fear-based penalty to all actions taken against Karvara for the combat. If resonant, you may use this as your devastating action. Torn From This World is gained free if not dissonant with moonsilver when Karvara uses Eat the Heart of God to eat a foe you have a Major or Defining Tie towards. When it eats a foe with that Charm, you may spend 1 Willpower to dissolve that foe in Karvara’s unreality. This permanently destroys mortal souls, preventing reincarnation or ghosts, and there is no cost to do so against trivial foes. Devoured characters are removed from the memory of all who ever knew them, and all physical signs of their existence vanish, unmade. This doesn’t actually change the past, but it makes it as if that character never existed. Their accomplishments remain, but are not recognized as theirs. This is not social influence or a Psyche effect – it is a fiat-level alteration of destiny, and may be resisted via Destiny-Manifesting Method, Invincible Solar Aegis or similar. If resonant, the cost is also waived against targets that you have a Major or Defining Tie towards.

Solipsistic Dreaming God-Beast lets you channel your anima through Karvara, empowering its rejection of Creation as a reality-negating shining defense barrier. For one tick, any attack made by a mundane weapon against the warstrider is negated as the weapon or projectile is unmade through the barrier. Unarmed attacks not enhanced by magic fail in gruesome and spectacular ways that are probably Crippling injuries but not called out as such. Attacks with artifacts, magically enhanced unarmed strikes or purely magical attacks such as Blazing Solar Bolt get through but have their damage reduced based on your Limit – or quite a lot, in Limit Break. Rage Beyond Constraint draws on Karvara’s hatred of constraint to protect your mind. Once per story, when you suffer a Psyche effect, sorcerous mind control or similar unnatural magical influence, you can instantly end it, then roll dice based on the Essence of the user of the power and gain Limit equal to successes.

Undying Behemoth Rebirth cannot be learned with XP. It is gained free when you use Eat the Heart of God to have Karvara eat a potent spiritual being, such as a powerful Exalt, god or elemental, a Second or Third Circle Demon, a behemoth or similar. It causes Karvara’s body and moonsilver armor to flow and regenerate, healing damage or lost limbs. Once per story, as your devastating action, you can roll your Initiative to heal Bashing or Lethal based on successes, or heal body parts damaged or severed by crippling attacks with some of the successes. Any effects of anti-warstrider gambits are also regenerated for free. You reset to base after that unless resonant. Final Fury Resolve can only be used once per story, and only when the warstrider becomes Incapacitated. Karvara offers its pilot a bargain: let it take over, and it will win. You immediately enter Limit Break without resetting your Limit. The moonsilver armoring fails temporarily, revealing Karvara to the world, unlike anything that exists. It heals all non-Aggravated damage and its commitment cost is returned to your mote pool, maintaining the bond by sheer fury. You get 2 Initiative per turn for the rest of the scene. Once the scene ends, Karvara goes dormant again and the moonsilver flows back into place. It cannot be attuned to again until receives maintenance.

The ultimate power is Voice of the Apocalypse. It cannot be learned if dissonant with moonsilver. Once per story at Initiative 20+, Karvara speaks a single word of the sealed language of Zen-Mu, creating a counter-harmony to Creation that nullifies existence. This is a Decisive attack based on your Presence and Limit against all characters within a 180 degree arc in front of you out to four range bands of Extreme range. In Limit Break, it is massively boosted. This cannot be dodged or parried except with defensive magic or an artifact weapon. All targets hit take Aggravated damage based on your Initiative and Limit, with battle groups and trivial foes instead taking uncountable damage. You do not reset to base after this. Anyone incapacitated by this attack is unmade as per Torn From This World, and terrain and mundane structures take uncountable damage, erasing them from existence and replacing them with alien vistas unlike any in Creation. If resonant, the attack’s range is extended one range band per 5 Initiative over 20, and the damage is increased.

The End!

Join me next time for the DBs book!

May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.

There has been a lot of WHFRP in the thread, as well as discussion of the 40k-based systems that use the same basic guts (and the many issues related to that), but there’s an important bit of DNA missing in this chain. While we can trace the system’s roots back to the 80s with the first edition of WHFRP, the missing link is one of GW’s weirdest systems produced under the Specialist Games license - Inquisitor, a narrative skirmish game based on the small-scale, clandestine operations of the Inquisition and other rag-tag groups of characters in the 40k universe. Rather than pitting armies against one another, you take the part of a single small group performing the quiet duties outside of the wars that define the setting.

What makes this an interesting system is that it’s completely bizarre to most people familiar with modern game design. It has a few mechanics that are very clever, and others that hearken back to the earliest days of wargaming. It’s a wonderful, strange mess of a game that I started playing again after years of forgetting it even existed, and I’m doing this write-up to take a deeper dive on the mechanics and background.

For a broad overview, here are the mechanical bits that are most striking when players first crack open the book:
  • There are no point values or restrictions on character design or growth. Players are expected to play to scenarios, using a gentleman’s agreement to balance character generation and prevent beardiness.
  • The game requires a GM to handle scenario design, game narration, and rulings during play. It’s intentionally narrative and fuzzy in a lot of areas.
  • The assumed “default scale” is 54mm. This requires a larger playspace, different terrain design, and - while the scale is about 1/35 and thus well-served by other designers - there’s a lot of conversion work necessary to do a lot of things. Today, with model scarcity, it’s hard to find the original models.
  • Despite the suggested scale, there’s no hard guidelines. Measurements are given in yards, and the 54mm scale sets 1 yard = 1 inch. At 28mm, you can do 1 yard = 1 centimeter.
  • The action system is unique, involving declaring actions, the counting down initiative to see who acts when.
  • Character advancement is fairly narrative and freeform - if used at all. The game recommends personal and character growth over mechanics.
  • An Inquisitor’s support crew is more “ragtag weirdos hanging with the Imperial Murder-Official” than trained soldiers.

Scale comparison: 54mm scale on the outside, 28mm scale between the two.

As you can see, it’s a weird mess at first glance. However, the appeal, at least to me, lies in the hobbyist framework to the mechanics - you’re expected to come up with a unique crew of individuals to play out a story adjudicated by a GM, who might play the opposition, or who might preside over a game between two or more players. Losing can be fun, because it’s intended to be a thematic experience where you’re looking to create a story on the tabletop. It’s intimidating to anyone unfamiliar with this kind of gaming, radically different from your basic Slamming of Hams in the grimdark future, and - to be frank - a bit of a half-finished system that commits the cardinal sin of modern game design by requiring significant GM legwork and rulings, but there’s something there.

As part of this review, I’ll be pulling from assorted outside sources to help explain design decisions, give context to some of the game’s ideas, and show how the community around the game have kept it somewhat alive, as well as commentary from Gav Thorpe, the original designer of the system. A few resources I encourage people to check out are the Conclave, a group of die-hard players that host the out-of-print (and, for a time, freely obtainable from Specialist Games) rulebooks and articles for the system, as well as fan-made content from Dark Magenta, which was another fan-group who kept it going after its official gameline death. Another recent development is the launch of Inq28, an online hobbyist magazine showcasing 28mm-scale conversions for use in the system that also looks to revitalize play in that scale.

Finally, to really get the idea behind Inquisitor, you need to know that much of the design aesthetic and art comes from John Blanche. His art - and the resurgence of the ‘Blanchistu’ style of miniature painting and conversion - is a huge part of the appeal. The use of a limited palate, striving for desaturated colors and small details to drive home the rather dark aspects of the game, are a major element of why this has hung around. It’s cool art that emphasizes the grim over the goofy elements of the setting, and that can be pretty neat.

Next time: External Background - Who Are The Inquisition?

Feb 15, 2012

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

Like, what the hell did they expect PCs to do when someone weasels out of paying them? Just not doing whatever job they want and talking to the cops is the soft option here. Real psychos would burn the dumb monastery down.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ex3: What Fire Has Wrought – The Dragon-Blooded

This was what got me back into Exalted. This book. I love the Dragon-Bloods. Yes, the Realm is an awful hegemonic imperialist superpower. But that doesn’t mean that Dragon-Bloods aren’t heroes. They are, and their heroism is born of the elements and their cooperation with each other. Where Solars are singular powers that need no aid, Dragon-Blooded are always stronger together, supporting each other and helping each other. They descend from the blood of the Elemental Dragons, but have spread throughout the entirety of Creation since ancient times. They are the dominant power of the Realm, Lookshy and several other societies, and one of the types of Exalt that has almost nothing to worry about when it comes to using their power openly. It’s pretty sweet to be a Prince of the Earth.

Our inspiration list this time has, for classics: Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, specifically citing the Oath of the Peach Garden as one of the chief inspirations for Sworn Brotherhoods. Water Margin by Shi Nai’an, as an example of iconoclast Dragon-Blodoed taking up arms against a corrupt empire. The Mahabharata, as two kinships of royal power fight against each other for power and influence. From fiction: Amber by Roger Zelazny, as supernatural heroes driven by family strife and the power of their father’s throne. Codex Alara by Jim Butcher, for an elementally powered Romanesque empire that also plays with the conceptual power of the elements as well as the literal. The Kouga Ninja Scrolls by Futaro Yamada, for the generational feud of magical ninja families (and also its manga and anime adaptation, Basilisk), and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin for a civil war after a potent monarch’s death in which dynastic scions vie for power while overlooking the outside threat. For TV: Avatar: The Last Airbender, because…well, I think it’s obvious, and the Fire Nation especially is very good for the Scarlet Empire and its politics. Avatar: The Legend of Korra, also obvious, though they think it wasn’t quite as good as the first series.

So, what is the history of the world from the view of the Dragon-Blooded? In the Time Before, when the Incarnae raised up champions to fight their creators, the Five Elemental Dragons shared their power with mortals, creating the first of the great host of elemental heroes to be officers and champions in the armies that fought for the gods. These were the Dragon-Blooded, for their power was in the blood and could be passed on to their children. Those that survived the Divine Revolution founded lineages of power that grew and spread across the world. They served many roles in the First Age, often courted by the Celestial Exalted to serve as generals, adjutants, governors and emissaries. Still, the world was wide, and it was filled with places where the Dragon-Blooded could live unchallenged. Some joined together in oligarchies, others ruled alone and founded royal lines that would grow into broods of elemental power. Fragments of this ancient time remains in hidden pockets. The Zebremani of the South traditionally depict their heroes with crowns of fire or mantles of storm even now, and undersea palace ruled now by the storm mother Konobala was once the home of the Water Aspect princes of the Nine-Eyed Throne. The Silver-of-a-Dream Pagoda, high on the Wujian Mountain, can still only be reached by handholds carved into the living rock by the hermit Love-Is-Lightning with his bare hands.

As the Celestial Exalts fought each other, and particularly in the part of the First Age known to scholars as the Great Interregnum, the Dragon-Bloods also fought amonst themselves. And yet, this was nothing to the Usurpation, when they listened to the prophecies of the Sidereals and thousands of them gathered to kill their corrupted Solar leaders, even those who had known the Solars all their lives. Many Dragon-Bloods also remained loyal, fighting to the death for their masters, and many Exalts died in those days. With the Sidereals now withdrawn to Heaven, the Lunars seeking refuge at the world’s edge and the Solars locked away, the Dragon-Blooded became the Princes of the Earth, the lords of Creation. They raised new cities and nations, brought their power to bear on jungles and deserts, used their jade swords to face the Fair Folk and monsters of the world. This is the time known as the Shogunate. And it might have been enough to protect the world, had their internal struggles not torn it apart. The Gentes of the Shogunate that had once fought as one turned on each other, for only one person could become Shogun. Some sought the role for principle or ideals, others for fear of who might if they did not, and others for power. The towers of mighty Chiaroscuro were toppled, the island cities of Karai sank beneath the waves and the flying fortress Godswatch fell to earth.

And yet, for all their feuds, the daimyos and the gentes came together to face the real threats. When decades of Fair Folk escalation culminated in a massive invasion on the very eve of the Great Contagion, the surviving Dragon-Blooded united as one to oppose them. They died in their hundreds and their thousands, but while the battle might have seemed hopeless, it worked. They bought time. With that, a Sworn Brotherhood of heroes infiltrated the sealed manse that commanded the mighty Sword of Creation, now remembered as the Realm Defense Grid, and the one survivor of that mission engaged its powers to shatter the Fair Folk hordes. And…well, she never let that power go.

She became the Scarlet Empress, building an empire that spanned the entirety of Creation, in its way. It was built in the ruins of the old world, and it could not command the entire world, but even today, it is the only superpower in all Creation. The Empress had many children, and by carefully planned marriages, she united the sprawling gentes of the Blessed Isle into her own dynasty. Outcastes of lesser lines were gathered into the legions and the Immaculate Order. Today, the Scarlet Dynasty is divided into ten Great Houses, extended families of hundreds of Dragon-Bloods united by webs of alliance, feud, friendship and grudge. Mortal patrician families also often carry enough of the Dragons’ blood that their children occasionally Exalt, and cadet houses from the Threshold marry into the Great Houses or swear allegiance to the Scarlet Throne. Peasant outcastes often swear loyalty to the throne and join the Imperial legions or set aside their worldly ideals to become Immaculate monks. Ten thousand dragons, as it is said, rule the world.

And yet, for all their trying, they are not the sole Dragon-Blooded power in Creation. Thousands of Dragon-Bloods rule in distant Prasad, a Realm satrapy in name alone that is effectively an independent empire on the shore of the Dreaming Sea. Thousands more command Lookshy’s regiments, a nation settled by the remnant of a Shogunate Legion after the Great Contagion and which still stands with its ancient gentes to protect the Scavenger Lands from Realm expansion, still dreaming of a reborn Shogunate. In the Threshold, beyond the Realm’s power, smaller groups still exist. In the East, the assassins and poisoners of the Grass Spider clan spread terror under the rule of the Three Elite Fiends. In the south, the rogue Imperial legion of Saloy Hin gathers outcastes who seek power. In the West, the Sisterhood of Pearls offers safety to those who will accept their strict and austere life. In the north, the Cult of the Violet Fang mixes the blood of fae and the blood of the Dragons. Everywhere, there are outcastes, born to mortal families but containing sparks of the Dragons’ power. They awaken their Essence in isolation, making their mark as heroes in their little parts of the world.

Unlike Solars, who inherit the memory of their past Exaltations, the Chosen of the Dragons are not reincarnated heroes with dozens of past lives. However, the power of the Dragons can be passed to their children, and that power grows in each new generation. Unlike the Celestial Exalts, there is no limit on how many Dragon-Blooded there can be, and the Elemental Dragons, in their wisdom, created an inexhaustible power, a type of Exalted that are potentially infinite. It is believed that there are approximately 10,000 members of the Dynastic Great Houses, another 4000 Dynastic outcastes, and about 750 Exalted members of Realm cadet houses. There are believed to be about 250 patrician-house Dragon-Bloods, 2000 or so Prasadi DBs, 3000 Lookshyan DBs and approximately 5000 more foreign outcastes.

Not all who bear the blood of the Dragons will Exalt. There isn’t any reliable way to tell which will and which will not, but it is believed that strength of pedigree will increase the chances, as will accumulation of progenitive Essence. However, there are many variables in play, including luck. The Exaltation usually comes in childhood or adolescence – sometimes as young as nine, but teen Exaltations are most common. There are no records of anyone Exalting as a Dragon-Blood past age 20, and the odds get worse every year past 17. Dynastic children spend their childhoods anticipating the day the Exaltation graces them or dreading that it will not – or both. Their Exaltation is expected, passionately if not confidently. They know there are two possible futures – one in which they are blessed with power and success, and one in which they become wealthy but ultimately mortal humans. Outcastes are different. Most never expected to become what they are, though they may have dreamed idly of it in the same way you might dream of winning the lottery. It was a childish fantasy, not anything credible – and yet it happened.

Next time: Elemental Power

May 14, 2017

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

Ratoslov posted:

Like, what the hell did they expect PCs to do when someone weasels out of paying them? Just not doing whatever job they want and talking to the cops is the soft option here. Real psychos would burn the dumb monastery down.
My players would get suspicious that it was a trap, and that I was trying to trick them into murdering the priest. Why else would I be so blatant?

Dec 30, 2009

A friend of a friend who makes her living as a freelance artist didn't like that cover because of how it used color. Anyone here care to weigh in?

Feb 13, 2012

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

Hedningen posted:


I am very excited to see this. Specialist Games has always been a neat, weird place and Inquisitor always struck me as someone's passion project.

E: As to Liebnitz; he's a Deputy High Priest of the Cult of Ulric in its main temple in its main city. He's pretty much immune (at moment) to PC reprisal, just if you stiff the players under the guise of 'emergency' redeployment don't expect them to do a good job for you later. It's a pretty nice way to get across quickly that you were never intended to succeed at the Skull Job, though.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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

Night10194 posted:

I am very excited to see this. Specialist Games has always been a neat, weird place and Inquisitor always struck me as someone's passion project.

My only real exposure to it was through various White Dwarf articles so I'm all for knowing how that stuff works.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Tibalt posted:

My players would get suspicious that it was a trap, and that I was trying to trick them into murdering the priest. Why else would I be so blatant?

This is usually the point where my group dangles someone over the edge of a tall building and we discuss how it was all a misunderstanding.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!

wiegieman posted:

This is usually the point where my group dangles someone over the edge of a tall building and we discuss how it was all a misunderstanding.

Wanna play with this group.

Also, you planning on running lancer for them at any point?

Feb 13, 2012

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

wiegieman posted:

This is usually the point where my group dangles someone over the edge of a tall building and we discuss how it was all a misunderstanding.

At least it's with a dude you're eventually going to bring down and this is sort of the start of things just not going to plan at all for him. It's hilarious, though, how little my players would have suspected if he'd just handed them 60 crowns and asked them to help deal with the well poisoning for more. Versus how they were already planning to cause him headaches the second they realized he hadn't paid them.

Those wizards had student loans!

Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you

NGDBSS posted:

A friend of a friend who makes her living as a freelance artist didn't like that cover because of how it used color. Anyone here care to weigh in?

I have an artist friend that says the same. The purple on the red and the her being all squished up is no good.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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

Neotech 2
Part 32: So I might as well begin to put some action in my life.

I feel there are so many better pictures you could’ve used for this chapter considering what it’s about.

So you’ve managed to get caught, which going by the previous chapter wasn’t all that hard anyway, and now you have been accused of some crime. This means that you, in most cases at least, have to undergo trial. This is, usually, done in a court of law. In a trial it’s important to have a good legal defence, which either means a public defender or you’ve hired your own defense attorney.
Suddenly, rules!
So in order to decide the outcome of the trail the defense attorney, or the accused, need to roll a check against Law. The difficulty for this is dependant on a bunch of factors as per usual. But the mains ones are the type of crime and special circumstances.
Also suggesting that the accused roll for Law sounds like a recipe for disaster as I’m pretty sure most PC’s don’t actually have sufficient points in the skill to beat most checks. Unless it’s a campaign where that skill might is relevant.
It’s obvious that this is going to be one of those chapters with a bunch of cumbersome simulationist rules no one in their right loving mind would use anyway.

In all justice systems, except the draconic one, the accused has a right to a defense attorney. If you don’t have any money then you get a public defender for free, they have 10 ranks in the Law skill. A defence attorney can be hired but they of course cost money. If you somehow get trialed in a system with a far more draconic leaning then you need to defender yourself as best as you can. So you roll against your own skill rank in Law.
Or just accept the verdict because there is no way you’ll be able to make it as previously pointed out.

The duration of the trial process can if needed be calculated by adding the maximum verdict that the crime can give you with the defense attorneys skill level in law. Then you deduct one for each dice of difficulty you get from the trial table. Then multiply this result with itself. That is how many hours the trail will take.
I’m honestly kind of lost how that actually checks out because the phrasing about what to do with the difficulty dice threw me for an absolute loop.
At most a trial lasts 8 hours per day, if the result is zero or lower then it takes 10 minutes.

We get an optional rule about impassioned speeches. If the lawyer or the accused holds a brilliant speech during the trial there is a chance to affect the outcome. All that is required is an average check against Persuasion. If the check succeeds then the difficulty is lowered by one, it increases by one if the check fails. Any possible fumbles or critical successes might increase or decrease it by two levels.

If the accused turns out to be a celebrity then we another optional rule at how to affect the outcome. All that is required is a check against the accused's media status. If the check fails then the difficulty goes down by one, if it fails nothing happens. But using this rule means that the trial takes four times as long and any lawyer fees are doubled.
Seems like a weird caveat for this rule. Also uncertain if this is true regardless of the media status outcome check. Also I assume the difficulty is the same as the one for the trial as nothing else is mentioned.

If the you’re loaded with cash then you can bribe someone to get a lower punishment via this optional rule.
Not sure why this an optional rule because it’s about as cyberpunk as you get with the rich just using their money to get out of trouble.
Each difficulty decrease costs a certain amount of money, to succeed you also need to a Persuasion check at a average difficulty level. If the check fails you lose the money and then gets charged for bribing in a new trial.
Or you can hire a lawyer to do the bribing for you and it’s assumed they have a persuasion score equal to their Law skill. If the lawyer fails then its the firm that takes the hit and not you. But you still need to pay the bribe as well as their fee. The GM can also require you to convince the lawyer to do the deed as well.

Suddenly tables, they’re back! The first one is the trial table mentioned before. So the basic roll is the usual Ob3D6 then there is a bunch of positive and negative modifiers. But most of them are simply Ob1D6 up or down with the sole exception of being innocent which is an -Ob2D6. Granted the nature of the crime table comes later which might add even more dice to these. One I would like to highlight in particular is the “Conspiracy against the accused” modifier that has a footnote mentioning that it won’t occur when the legal security is high. Why is that the case though? What is there to stop a conspiracy from trying to jail the accused through manipulation of evidence if they so wish?

Our second table is legal fees. The lowest you can get in this case is a pettifogger or shyster with a Law skill of 7 and a fee of 100 euro in total for the whole trial. Your averagely competent layer has Law skill of 15 and costs 10.000 euro. The most expensive one is a trio of famous lawyers backed up by a consulting company with law professors that have a Law skill of 22. But then you’ll also have to pay 10 million euros.

The punishment of your crime is depending on what effect you got from the Law skill check. Onto that check you then add modifications from crime table depending on the seriousness of the crime in question. When this value has been calculated you cross reference with one of the justice tables. What table is used is wholly dependant on which country you’re in.
We then get a run down of the various types of justice systems.
  • Humane: Occurs in modern states and by companies who might think their reputation is at stake. Involves mainly fines, probation, community service and below average prison sentences.
  • Economic: Involves mainly fines or some other kind of reparation to society. Very common in the space colonies where the workforce is a precious commodity. Prison and Community service sentences can be exchanged for fines as well.
  • Normal: What most countries practice. Contains just about everything from fines to life time in prison. Or execution for the most extreme crimes.
  • Strict: Used by many dictatorships but but also by countries that have major problems with crime. Prison sentences and hard labour most prevalent.
  • Draconic: Applied mainly by the worst dictatorships on the planet. Very old fashioned and a fair trial is not to be expected, nor is a defense attorney, as the verdict is delivered by the local rule or the military. No max sentence exists for this either. Fines with either lashes or mutilation features on the table, as well as hard labour for both a set time or for life. Not to mention executions.
  • Court-martial: Used by the military or during wartimes. Only for someone in the armed forces, and there is no maximum sentence. But the right to a defense attorney. Interestingly enough includes hard labour at different effect levels.

Then there is also other kinds of punishment but these are very much up to the GM.
These are Suspended sentence, Deportation, Psychiatric care, Grace and Prison instead of fines.

The crime table is long, detailed and pretty much boils down to mostly plus or minus Ob1D6 for some crimes while others are just 0. Followed by the penalty modification which can go as far as +6 for things like kidnapping or murder. But usually it’s +0’s or +1’s for the most. Then you have the maximum sentence time, in years I would assume but nothing is mentioned so who knows.
It doesn’t look that bad but then it’s obvious intended for these to stack on top of each other.
Also one of the footnotes has a blank table referer.

To be sentenced for a crime can be, thanks to very efficient registration, be very troublesome for your future life. If such a thing is possible after the sentence has passed. Some characters can also exist in the criminal record when they’re being made. The registration of criminals is a routine deal and they’re not as protected as they used to be. Mostly because hackers steal them regularly or government sell them to corporations.
The sidebar goes on about how much your life gets complicated if you have a criminal record and getting jobs that require responsibility are hard to get and so on. It can also hinder you to get travel permits to certain countries as they’re often international and sold on the world market. Also having an entry will add an extra Ob1D6 to any trial checks.

Prisons in 2059 are more often than not horrible and brutal places to be, where the scum of humanity is kept. There are some human places still left but they are part of a shrinking minority. Most prisoners would rather be someplace else and the chance of getting killed in some fight or in a riot is considerable. In some prisoners they simply freeze the prisoners in cryo tanks, thawing them once every year to check their health and to see if they can tolerate it further. If you get frozen down the highest of STY, HÖR and PSY gets lowered by one for each year that goes It also say UTH but I’m pretty sure that is a typo and is meant to be TÅL because it shows up nowhere else in the book. If any of these attributes gets lowered to 0 they of course die. Frozen down like this also gives Ob1D6 psychosis points whenever you get woken up, and they don’t get lowered when you’re frozen DOT DOT DOT.

Another method is to put the prisoner into a brain trance with the help of dermatrodes that are hooked up to a special cyber computer. This trance is something of the most boring things ever imaginable and you’re only disconnected once every week to avoid burnout. But for each year that passes in this kind of prison you lower the highest of PSY or BIL by one. If any of these attributes are lowered to zero it means that you will never come back into reality. This prison sentence gives Ob2D6 psychosis points her year and they do not decrease whenever you’re in trance.

So you can honestly just throw your character in the trash if your GM decides sentence you to one of these prisons unless the other characters managed to stage a breakout of some kind fast enough. Otherwise when you get out, if you get out depending on how your attributes are, you’re going to be a psychotic wreck of a character with even worse attributes than before.
Unless your GM is nice and puts you in a more normal prison. But why in all honesty list these for any other reason but “cyberpunk prisoners are evil and cruel!” in some vague attempt to be grimdark. Why bother giving these as options when they are so incredibly detrimental to the PC’s?.

Hard labour is another popular punishment. It gives Ob1D6 psychosis points for every other year that goes. The book mentions that the rules to survive works exactly the same as they do for criminal who are in prisoner. But I’m not sure what they’re referring to here, is the prisoner career or something else entirely?

If you get sentenced to execution you get to remain in prison for Ob1D6 months before it happens. Because of the mental pressure you gain Ob1D6 psychosis points per month as well.

Suing companies and rich individuals are a common occurrence in the rich countries. The whole thing boils down to either side hiring a lawyer that drives a process in a civil court or arbitration. To figure out who wins you need to do an opposed Law skill check. The difficulty is determined by looking at another table which contains both the plaintiff and the defendants circumstances for the lawsuit. Also defendant is misspelled.
The side with the highest effect score wins, if it’s a tie then the case is dismissed and the process costs are divided between the two sides.

There’s really nothing stopping the GM from saying that the defendant just hires the most expensive lawyer possible. What are the PC’s really going to do about it if they don’t have the money for something equal?

After that just comes what happens based on the dice results and who gets to pay what fees and costs and how much they are.
At least the duration calculation is more easily understood. You add the law skill ranks for both sides together, to that you add one for each difficulty dice each side has. That sum is then multiplied with itself. The same optional rules as before work here as well.

This chapter is so boring and so utterly pointless I have nothing to say about it. It could be wholly removed from the book and replaced with more tables of guns and absolutely nothing would’ve been lost.

Next time: Another one rides the bus.

May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.

External Background - Organization of the Imperial Inquisition
For those unfamiliar with the general 40k structure of the Imperium and the Inquisition, I figured I would do a quick overview of the various parts of it and the stated purpose. This is a broad-level overview, in part because Inquisitor doesn’t really care about going over this, at least in the Living Rule Book that I have access to, but it’s important to understanding what an Inquisitor is and it contextualizes what we get in the introduction next time.

The Inquisition is, broadly, the secret police of the Imperium of Man - their job is to root out heresy, cults, and threats to the Imperium by any means necessary. Thanks to this, they are given absolute authority in matters, and someone bearing the Inquisitorial Seal, also known as “That stylized letter I with the skull in it”, is seen as operating with the direct authority of the entire Imperium. Considering that they exist as absolute authority that moves about secretly, they tend to be talked about fearfully.

Because there is no Inquisitorial hierarchy and their roles are so ill-defined, one way to determine what they do is by their specialization or areas of interest. These are the Ordos of the Inquisition, an unofficial-but-not-really gray area where individuals set themselves up. The three major Ordos are:
  • Ordo Malleus, the Demon Hunters, fighting against the enemy beyond. Basically the Inquisitors who are most interested in protecting the Imperium from Demons and other Warp-spawned nastiness. They’re pretty visible in the tabletop games, as you may recognize that they work closely with the Grey Knights. Note that they are the hunters of external threats from the Warp, though they may align with a different Ordos.
  • Ordo Xenos are in charge of dealing with aliens, working to combat the enemy without. They tend to work the furthest out in the Imperium and actually deal directly with aliens, to the point where some of them travel with them, speak languages, and hang out with Rogue Traders, as you might. They get to hang with the Deathwatch, who they generally get to call when things have gone south pretty badly.
  • Ordo Hereticus are in charge of dealing with internal threats such as heresy, some of which will likely be dark, and other threats from the enemy within. Your classic “Witch Hunter” Inquisitor which forms the popular conception of them wandering around, shouting about heresy, and glassing a planet because they’re fanatics. They’re paired with the Sisters of Battle as another one of those weird exceptions to the explicitly-religious portion of the Imperium not being allowed to have an army; Inquisitors of the Ordo Hereticus aren’t technically soldiers (nor within any actual hierarchy), and you know the whole story about the Sisters of Battle.

There are also minor Ordos, which all can work fairly well here. Most of them are a little more “out there” than those you saw above.
  • Ordo Chronos is in charge of investigating time; particularly time travel and chronology, and the issues that it might cause. Or not. They disappeared. No one is sure if this was a bureaucratic mistake, a giant joke, or something weirder. Then they returned at some point, or they were always there and reformed at some point, whereupon their greatest challenge was reconciling the calendars of the Imperium.
  • Ordo Obsuletus is tasked with determining whether things that seem miraculous are actually miracles, or the work of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, which is an amazing hook for an Inquisitor campaign.
  • Ordo Originatus is tasked with determining the history of the Imperium, sorting through various myths, legends, artifacts, and texts to figure out an accurate history of the Imperium.
  • Ordo Redactus is tasked with obscuring the history of the Imperium, spreading false myths and legends, forging or destroying artifacts and texts, and preventing the enemies of the Imperium from determining its true history lest they find some unknown weakness there.
  • Ordo Scriptorum is in charge of the bureaucracy of the Imperium. Due to the size of the place, the sheer amount of communications, and the possibility of information being tampered with, this is not a desk job, but rather a complicated philosophical dive into what is true and what is false.
  • Ordo Sicarius is in charge of the Officio Assassinorum, making sure that the assassins are only deployed in the appropriate situations and with the actual approval of the High Lords of Terra. Sometimes, they even do their jobs correctly instead of forging assassination orders to actually keep the office running because the aforementioned High Lords would never be able to agree to anything.

As you can see, the Inquisition is a pretty broad organization. Like all bureaucratic nightmares, it’s grown so large that parts are working at cross-purposes. This is part of why Inquisitor works as a concept - because so much of their role is small-scale, human engagements that can be equal parts subterfuge and violence, you can create some interesting conflicts just by having two groups working at cross-purposes. From just the above Ordos, here are some sample game types:
  • Investigating a planetary official who may have fallen under the sway of Chaos, which requires getting information from informants on their movements and eventually confronting them.
  • Retrieving an artifact from the Golden Age of Mankind, either to destroy it, study it, or place it in a museum.
  • Investigate a rebellious faction on a planet that may have ties to xenos, and determine if their presence is to be tolerated in the face of a greater threat, perhaps even bringing one along to understand how they think to better combat them.
  • Violent clashes between different calendar systems in the dusty corridors of an ancient library whose contents are either heretical or invaluable, depending on the actual date.
  • Protecting the target of an Imperial Assassin who has evidence of corruption in the ranks of the Inquisition.
  • Hiring a Freeboota to draw out an extremist member of the Ordo Xenos whose contacts indicate has been compromised by Chaos.
  • Rescuing a kidnapped Jokaero from a group of Mechanus cultists who seek to understand dangerous technology.

The system can sort of handle pretty much all of these, which is cool.

Now that you understand the kinds of Ordos there, you should have a fairly good knowledge of the Inquisition’s roles and general philosophies.

To keep people engaged (and to get me to try this project), let’s make an Inquisitor so I can show how this system works by having a character around. To start, pick an Ordos for a background - other elements will come up as we go through the book.

Next Time: Everything You Have Been Told Is a Lie

Jan 29, 2009

Ordo Scriptorum sounds like it'll be varying degrees of fun. Can we have a person declared to be false?

Feb 13, 2012

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

Ordo Scriptorum

Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952

"My patience, unlike my authority, is limited"
-- Gregor Eisenhorn, Ordo Xenos

Most 40k novels are absolute trash, and not in a fun way. There are some actually good writers though, and Dan Abnett is the best (Aaron Demski-Bowden also writes really good books). What's arguably the best series is Abnett's Eisenhorn saga (ADB's Night Lords is in contention), which came about as a direct result of the Inquisitor game. He was already the Black Library's most popular author when the game went into development, and one day they called him up about doing an Inquisition novel as a tie-in. Now we have 8 novels and about a dozen short stories.

If you haven't read any 40k, the Eisenhorn series is by far the most approachable to a general SF reader. It's set behind the front lines so you get to see the actual workings of the Imperium on a day to day basis. You can ease your way into the setting without needing loads of lore dumped on you first, and they're good books. Tons of cool stuff happens, you'll like them.

The 40k book thread isn't subtitled "Read Eisenhorn and then come back" for nothing.

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012


I'm very excited to see this game reviewed. After seeing tons of White Dwarf articles and ogling the miniatures in the huge GW Catalog, I was super curious about Inquisitor. I bought the rule book but could never figure out how I'd get a group of people together to actually play it.

May 7, 2007

So either the Neotech devs fell asleep during a Law and Order marathon or the government gave them money for their work on the condition it showed their were consequences to illegal activity.

Nov 22, 2016

Ordo Scriptorum

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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

Hedningen posted:

Violent clashes between different calendar systems in the dusty corridors of an ancient library whose contents are either heretical or invaluable, depending on the actual date.

This is actually something that is mentioned in the 8th edition tie-in novel after Guilliman creates an organisation trying to figure out what happened with the calendar.

Barudak posted:

So either the Neotech devs fell asleep during a Law and Order marathon or the government gave them money for their work on the condition it showed their were consequences to illegal activity.

I honestly have no idea why that part, or the one before really, is in the book. I partly blame the fact they wanted to be as simulationist as possible.

Or the Administratum in general.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

What Fire Has Wrought: Elemental Flavors

A side note. The Immaculate Philosophy is based on First Age philosophies that actually existed and were real, but its doctrine as currently known is wholly constructed by the Sidereals as a tool to support Dragon-Blooded hegemony in the Shogunate. Several Immaculate texts are complete fabrication. Most, however, descend from a mix of ancient philosophical and religious beliefs that got subsumed into the created Immaculate doctrine after subtle alteration by the Sidereal Bronze Faction savants. The Dynasty of the Scarlet Empire and Lookshy both devoutly and truly believe, by and large, in Immaculate doctrine. It’s real to them, even if the history is fabricated, and they tend to wholeheartedly believe in the truth of the Immaculate texts and treat them as a valuable historic source.

Anyway. In the moment that a Dragon-Blooded takes the Second Breath, their nature becomes impossible to ignore. Their anima flares with life and power as their bloodline actualizes and their Exaltation awakens. Danger and peril cannot awaken it without the potential being present, and a life of utter leisure cannot prevent the attainment of your blood-granted birthright. That said, Exaltation tends to arrive when a Dragon-Blood is facing adversity, challenge or change. This is often quick, an instant catalyst to massive Exaltation, but it can be slower, building up over the course of several hours. The Elemental Dragons do not speak to their Chosen upon Exaltation, but Dragon-Bloods always feel and experience a great connection to their element, pulling them out of what they were and into something greater. The raw and uncontrolled Essence of Exaltation can be dangerous, and it is not uncommon for people to die as collateral in an elemental Exaltation. Most people are bright enough to get out of the way when a kid starts glowing with power, of course, but property damage and injuries are almost universal results.

Dragon-Bloods come in five elements, and while all five are part of every Dragon-Blood’s power, their Aspect element is the most important and its uses the most natural to them. Your Aspect element lives in you, awakening your potential and influencing your life. It should be noted – your element isn’t based on your deeds or strengths or personality. It’s…well, it’s based on your blood. Aspects tend to run in families, and the child of two Water Aspects is likely to also be Water. This tendency has been observed for millenia, and it means each Great House has maintained an elemental lineage running back centuries. However, the elements are not entirely separate. Every Dragon-Blood has the potential within them for all five elements, ready to be passed on to their children. Especially in societies where they are frequent, gossip about Exaltation “out of Aspect” for your bloodline is common, with people often looking back for “proof” that your Aspect was always the most fitting, or suggesting that your parentage is not what is claimed, but in truth it’s generally chance. Every Aspect is just part of the whole, with its own strengths and weaknesses. Your Aspect influences your skills and approach to life, and it might lead you to develop new interests and ways of thinking, but it is not an override or control over your personality. It makes somethings easier or more attractive, but will not make you something you weren’t before. A Fire Aspect that used to be meek and quiet might become more confident and passionate in resonance with the element, but it’s not going to make him a hothead or zealot. Children born in Dynastic lineages often have some idea what is “expected” from an Aspect and its stereotypes and thus subconsciously try to conform to them to some degree, but not always, and outcaste children often stray even further from these beliefs.

Air is a subtle, invisible element, impossible contain or pin down. It tends to steer its Chosen towards an understanding of the big picture, allowing them to develop complex and grand plans and solutions. The Children of Mela are often great scholars, spies or masterminds, able to plan ahead decades or centuries in advance…but they can also be distracted elitists detached from the results of their actions in the mundane world. Earth is sturdy, patient and changeless. It brings certainty, centered thinking and fondness for tradition. Little can stop a Child of Pasiap that has set their mind on something – they can often endure just about any obstacle. Their strong convictions and patience lend themselves well to being generals, crafters and monks. However, they can also become trapped in old ideas, unable to see the need for change. Fire is passionate, bold and tempestuous. Its Chosen are impossible to ignore, either at a party or in battle. The Children of Hesiesh are larger than life in their passions, driven to great joys and rages alike. They tend to have skilled and charming socialites and excellent warriors, but they can be prone to fits of temper and destruction when things don’t go their way. Water is fluid, unpredictable and relentless. It brings patience, like the tide, and the Children of Danaa’d are adaptable as well. They tend to be bureaucratic problem-solvers, balancing respectful diligence and creativity, to keep progress happening. They also have a natural talent for martial arts and grace as well as sailing. However, they can be fickle and underhanded, as well. Wood is growing, nurturing and vital. It integrates its Chosen into the world, pushing them to reach out and grow, but poison and disease are no less natural than birth and healing. The Children of Sextes Jylis are masters of life and of death, sometimes doctors or animal trainers that understand the wilds, sometimes hedonists that care only for their own pleasure or who enjoy forming webs of complex plots.

The Essence Fever of the Dragon-Blooded is one of vitality, of life and passion. It yearns to be used, and its greatest urge is recklessness. The Essence of the dragons is volatile, and it magnifies the emotions that the Dragon-Blooded feel. The heights of their love are more passionate, the zeal of their fury more terrible. Young Dragon-Bloods are often encouraged to spar and play rough with each other, to work out their powerful passions. Their Aspects shape not only their bodies but their emotions and thought processes. They are tempests, bonfires and earthquakes. A Dragon-Blood in the throes of Essence Fever is a force of nature given flesh, driving them towards the nature of their Aspect, to be larger than life.

However, there is another side of Dragon-Blooded Essence. It is not purely the fury of the elements driven to a fever pitch. The Essence of the Dragon-Bloods is also one of cooperation. They are driven almost instinctively to form families, clans, warbands, organizations. Where a new Solar struggles alone, the blood of Dragons pushes its Chosen together. A Realm Dragon-Blood has a support network, inherently. Their family is there to help them with the changes they are feeling, as are the close friends they are likely to meet at school. While they may choose solitude, at heart, a Dragon-Blooded is never alone. They seek out mutual bonds, not just with family, but with peers. This is the source of the Sworn Kinship, formed by comrades brought together by circumstance and pushed into a loyalty that becomes stronger than steel. On a more intimate level, Dragon-Blooded form passionate friendships and loves with each other very easily, as their Essence draws them to each other. On a grand scale, they form societies. Everyone can point to the Scarlet Dynasty, most know of Lookshy – but these are only the biggest examples. Dragon-Blooded have an innate drive to come together and build something larger than themselves, to form dynasties or organizations that will outlast them and provide a home for each other.

The Scarlet Dynasty is, of course, the most famous. They spread their civilization across the world, and kings and queens kneel before them. The Anathema tremble at their might. All glory goes to the Ten Thousand Dragons of the Realm, the children of the Scarlet Empress! They are the image of nobility in the Second Age, born to wealth and command. Dynasts live lives of adventure and intrigue, and their families have built the greatest military power in all Creation. All wealth and bounty flows from the heart of their empire, the Blessed Isle, and to it all returns. The Isle is a beautiful, temperate continent of abundant crops, guided and ruled by the Princes of the Earth. They have made a nation with unparalleled standards of living and education, and even mortals there live in safety and comfort – and obedience. The Realm commands the fealty of a vast empire of Threshold client states, satrapies that appease their might with tribute in return for protection. They tame the world, crushing those who stand against them. For Dragon-Bloods of the Dynasty, identity is inextricably bound to family and the tangled bloodlines of the Great Houses. These massive noble families jockey for power and prestige, wielding entire nations against each other. Their blood is strong, with each house laying claim to generations of heroic deeds and legends. Since the disappearance of the Scarlet Empress, the Great Houses have turned their attentions inward, towards succession. Each House has one or more would-be heirs who seek to guide the future of the Realm, hoarding power and cannibalizing their own empire in preparation for a civil war they can all see coming. Centuries of trade and tribute have brought them untold wealth, and while young Dynasts grow up under intense pressure to Exalt and become good members of their Houses, they also live in opulence, claiming great power and wealth simply as a matter of course. This, after all, is their just reward for their holy responsibilities, say the Immaculates. The Immaculate Order, official religion of the Realm and its satrapies, enforces a strict social and spiritual hierarchy, and the Dragon-Blooded sit atop it. They command their lessers as a holy duty, worshipping as they please. The Dragon-Blooded monks of the Order root out heresies and defeat rebel gods with their potent martial arts, and when the Anathema threaten the Realm, the Dynasts join with them in the Wyld Hunt.

”Play a Dynast if you want…” posted:

  • …to wield influence in Creation’s mightiest empire.
  • …to champion your house through heroism and intrigue.
  • …to live in affluence, and wield heirlooms of elemental might.
  • …to spread the Immaculate Philosophy through word and deed.
  • …to hunt the Anathema to the edge of Creation.

Next time: The Seventh Legion, the Prasadi, the Forest Witches and Outcastes

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

What Fire Has Wrought: Dragons of the World

The Seventh Legion of Lookshy are the greatest army of the Second Age. The Realm outnumbers them, certainly, but no one can deny the power of the city of Lookshy, the enemy that has forever thwarted the Realm’s efforts at conquest of the Scavenger Lands. The Seventh Legion have only one goal: master themselves and, by doing so, master war. They deny the rule of the Realm, defending the freedom of the Scavenger Lands. They are the inheritors of the fallen Shogunate, waiting for their chance to rise again. They honor and obey the final order the Shogun gave them, centuries ago: Preserve the Shogunate’s governance in the River Province. They pride themselves on their warrior heritage, building a system of defense contracts through the area and serving as protectors of any neighbor that will pay their price. To maintain the order of the Scavenger Lands, they are ever vigilant and disciplined, forging and leading alliances against any would-be invader or Anathema insurgent in these lands. Their bloodlines trace descent from the ancient Shogunate, gentes of heroic military excellence. Dragon-Blooded soldiers prove their worth by service, and they know – pedigree may give opportunity, but it can’t buy victory. The authority of the Seventh Legion is in their dedication to the Shogunate, and they see the Scarlet Empress as a usurper. They know a Shogun will one day appear, restoring them to glory. They will be ready. In ancient days, the Shogunate spanned Creation itself, using weapons and infrastructure maintained from the First Age. Most of this is now lost or broken, but Lookshy maintains a small stock of First Age weapons. They use them sparingly, for such wonders are often fragile or limited in use, and all are impossible to replace. The Lookshyans treat martial readiness and warfare as spiritual duties. It is by military service, they claim, that mortals and Dragon-Bloods alike seek spiritual perfection. The Immaculate sohei of Lookshy are not evangelists, favoring individual guidance in the ethos of individual service of Lookshy, and many of them serve in the military as spiritual guides and champions.

”Play a member of the Seventh Legion if you want…” posted:

  • …to serve in Creations’ most renowned warrior culture.
  • …to embrace the ancient legacy of the Dragon-Blooded Shogunate.
  • …to claim the Scavenger Lands as your home and your charge.
  • …to discover and explore lost secrets of First Age artifice.
  • …to explore self-refinement through duty.

The Empire of Prasad are ruled by living gods – gods that bear the blood of Dragons. Their ambition is great, and their lives an intricate web of caste and clan across multiple lifetimes. The Dragon Caste of Prasad were once Dynasts, but they embraced a new life in the far Southeast. Now, they are living gods, worshipped by the mortals of the philosophy of the Pure Way. They expand aggressively, claiming more and more of the Dreaming Sea. The wealth of Prasad and its great capital Kamthahar are such that even the Imperial City heard about it, and two Great Houses once competed to pacify the Prasadi in the name of the Scarlet Empress, but then conspired instead to claim it for their own. They installed themselves as its highest caste, expanded outward with Kamthahar as their center. Prasad remains a satrapy in name, and it sends its yearly tribute to the Realm, but it does not serve. The Dragon Caste treat Dynasts as distant cousins, and Dynasts sometimes visit for “exotic, yet civilized” vacation or to experience the thrill of conquest alongside their allies. Prasadi Dragon-Bloods sometimes head to the Realm for education, trade or diplomacy. The Prasadi live in discrete groups of complex, overlapping structures. Caste defines everything in Prasadi social hierarchy, but clan determines lineage and inheritance, and tribe informs one’s talents and purpose. Social groups in Prasad live in traditional enclaves, with casteless untouchables on the fringes. The twin Dragon-Blood clans Burano and Ophris rule Prasad, the one renowned for tradition and wisdom, the other for sensual pleasure and clever wit. The Empire’s ruler is inevitably from one of the two, her elected heir from the other, and would-be heirs often campaign for votes among the upper castes. For Prasad, rule over the Dreaming Sea is theirs by right, its wealth and mysteries their destiny. The area has abundance to compare to the Blessed Isle, and the Prasadi have the confidence of burgeoning empire. Beyond the edges of the Realm’s rule, they lead a holy war of expansion against ancient monsters, Raksha and older nations. The Prasadi Pure Way is a syncretic Immaculate heresy, which worships Dragon-Bloods as gods. It claims that even gods and elementals reincarnate, that even Anathema can find a place in the proper cycle. Prasadi Dragon-Bloods seek out the reincarnations of their past lives’ allies, forming kinships that last across lifetimes.

”Play a member of the Dragon Caste if you want…” posted:

  • …to be worshiped as an elemental god.
  • …to politick with gods and their offspring.
  • …to explore exotic locales, and conquer them.
  • …to live in splendor beyond the reach of the Great Houses.
  • …to champion a philosophy of purifying reincarnation.

The Forest Witches have no fear of death, for they know beauty and immortality. They are gurus, revolutionaries, criminals and more. They rule, yet they claim nothing. In the Eastern wood, where outsiders will not go, a commune of Dragon-Bloods has built a paradise. Free of normal mortality, they expand subtly and brutally alike, for they know neither doubt nor fear. The wonders of the wood lie open to the Forest Witches, for Oreithyia, soul of the living wood, serves their needs, and all its creatures obey them. They grow their homes from the living plants, their hunters need only wait for the game to wander to them. They trust their children to the woods to raise, claiming them again as adolescents. Thus, with all needs cared for, they may focus on grander things. In the deep forest, a pool grants new eyes to those that look within it. This is the Sea of Mind, a reflection of Creation. Here, the dead live on in the paradise city of Atsiluth Eternal. Living Forest Witches may enter and partake of it only at the sufferance of the dead, and wherever they go, they bring the Sea of Mind with them. Still, even these wonders have their limits. The Forest Witches must find beauty to appease the wood-soul Oreithyia and magic to feed the Sea of Mind. Many Forest Witches thus become bandits or evangelists in hopes of drawing wealthy pilgrims to the Sea of Mind, while others infiltrate and influence distant communities. All are cautious. They know their neighbors would covet their wonders, that the Immaculate Order would punish their heresies against mortality. And so, they expand anonymously, never speaking their name. They are not immortal, quite, but they do not fear death. Those that die while connected to the Sea of Mind retire to the afterlife of Atsiluth Eternal, or explore the world as voices in the Sea of Mind. They may even inhabit specially made armors to affect the true Creation. Some Forest Witches even have unique magic to direct their reincarnation, or learn to cut off their humanity and become the mist-born spirits known as numina. Forest Witches that have seen the Sea of Mind need never leave, unless the dead exile them from it. No matter where they go, they can see the shadow-reflections of that world. Frustrations fade from awareness, so all is satisfying and free of inconsequential things. To the Forest Witches, dangers are more exciting, tragedies more heart-wrenching and foes more sinister.

”Play a Forest Witch if you want…” posted:

  • …to wield the keys to paradise.
  • …to stride like a giant in the Sea of Mind.
  • …to adventure beyond death as a living memory.
  • …to infiltrate other societies across successive reincarnations.
  • …to sacrifice form and join the numina.

The Outcastes are…other. They are the face of heroism, for many societies. Kin to Dragons, but beholden to no empire. They are compelled by their blood to rise from obscurity, and each is unique, yet connected. The blood of Dragons can awaken anywhere it is strong and lucky enough, and the power of the Outcastes is their blood alone, not any nation’s authority. They wield elemental power without fear, and all seek their allegiance. They arise anywhere, and while they may lack the resources granted to Dynasts, their potential is no less. They are the freest of all Exalted. They have no fear of the Wyld Hunt and can expect good treatment from most mortals. They may forego the privileges of so-called civilization just as easily, and for each “Lost Egg” that seeks their fortune and their placeo n the Blessed Isle, another adventures in the Threshold, beholden to none but themselves. Kings and merchants alike will pay handsomely for their service, they are sought for marriage by any noble worth their time. Even other Exalts may seek their support. The Realm, above all, hungers for them. They may easily receive offers of adoption or fosterage, and the Imperial legions and Immaculate Order are always open to them. Some Outcastes were born to the societies of the Dragon-Bloods but abandoned them, as well, ronin or retirees or just people seeking freedom away from responsibility. The Outcastes could become anything, could even build their own nations.

”Play an Outcaste if you want…” posted:

  • …to be your own elemental hero.
  • …to explore the length and breadth of Creation.
  • …to bring an outsider’s perspective to Dragon-Blooded society.
  • …to stand apart from what you once stood for.
  • …to build a legacy all your own.

Next time: The Great Houses of the Realm

May 28, 2013

So out of curiosity did they expand on the Sea of the Mind in anyway? The original version in Outcastes was pretty out there - in a good way. I'm a fan of Jenna Moran's work so I'd love to hear if they implemented anything from this or just sort of left it blank.

May 4, 2013

Enough sideburns to last a lifetime.

Everything You Have Been Told Is a Lie
Thanks to everyone for the incredibly unanimous recommendation - it seems our example Inquisitor will be a member of the Ordo Scriptorum, working to ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and that the monthly TPS reports are free from the dangers of chaos. I’ll be slowly expanding on our example character as the mechanics are introduced (and skipping around a bit in the book to help out and make our example Inquisitor easier to work with), but for now, we have Inquisitor Janoslav Ballas of the Ordo Scriptorum. As a petty bureaucrat myself, I know the power of bureaucracy.

Finally on to the LRB! It begins, as most games do, with a bit of in-setting fluff; a minorly redacted communication detailing an overview of the structure of the Inquisition to a representative of the High Lords of Terra. To be fair to the redaction - it’s only the name of the individual writing this communication, which is a Good Use of the redaction writing device - it puts the reader in a place where they are focused on the text and trying to determine what agenda the writer is serving. This overview is important, because it emphasizes the real key to understanding what the Inquisition is.

Above all else, the Inquisition is something that is incredibly weird to anyone used to reading about the 40k universe - it is a group of humans with authority in the Imperium that are encouraged to think, look into the philosophies and reasoning behind the interpretation of Imperial edicts, politically maneuver so as to challenge dangerous orthodoxy, and maintain the Imperium by actually showing individual initiative and judgement, rather than the implied “grimdarkness forever!” that you get when people look at the idea of Inquisitors and the whole universe as filtered through the popular consciousness.

The author of this report acknowledges that yes, some folks do go overboard and end up trying to excommunicate anyone who is opposed to them, but the overall document points to the idea that these ideas need to be examined carefully and watched as they progress, both on an individual and a ‘movement’ level, unless they want to descend into heresy themselves or miss when someone else is doing so. It’s a weird point to see in 40k - these are people who encouraged to look into the gray areas, to think for themselves, and to look to the past and avoid mistakes that came from it.

The author then goes on to describe the major philosophical divides in the Inquisition. Their grouping system is based around the broad dichotomy between Puritans and Radicals, who have their own sub-philosophies that tend to align more-or-less with this interpretation, at least as written here. The distinction is mostly between their methods and interpretation of doctrine - Puritans try to uphold the letter of the law, while Radicals are more interested in the spirit of the law. However, the classification is a rather broad one that tends to rely on shades of interpretation by the individual Inquisitors.

Puritans - Thorians
The Thorians, whose philosophy is named after Sebastian Thor, the leader of a rebellion against a corrupt Lord, are the first Puritanical philosophy of the Inquisition. Their philosophy hinges on the idea that there are individuals who are imbued with bits of the Emperor’s Will at times, and that it is by studying the Warp, Demons, and other psychic phenomena that they can bring about a new golden age. Typically found in the Ordo Malleus and the Ordo Hereticus thanks to their closer interest in Warp and psychic phenomena, they are nonetheless found in all areas of the Inquisition.

One of the key beliefs of the Thorians is that the Emperor is currently dead, at least in physical form, and that while his will is going through the Warp and occasionally fills the bodies of the Imperium’s heroes, no one is able to contain his entire essence. By studying the Warp, possession, and other interactions between the world, they hope to determine how to bring the Emperor back to life so that he can lead bodily, as well as spiritually. Some of them work with Eldar to better understand the creation of Slaanesh, while others investigate ancient Necron tombs to see how they trapped the C’tan, in the hopes of unlocking the secrets of these linkages.

A Thorian Inquisitor, taken from the only sourcebook released for the gameline which details and expands upon the Thorian philosophy.

My thoughts: It’s definitely a tone-setter when the first group of Puritans, the so-called conservative Inquisitors, are radically different from what you’d expect. I like this particular philosophy as a game element, because it lets you simultaneously have the sort of standard game narratives while also showing that not everyone is going to be inflexible and unable to entertain odd ideas.

Puritans - Monodominants
The Monodominants take their name from a philosophical treatise written by Inquisitor Goldo in the 33rd Millenium, titled “Monodomination - The Right of Man to Rule the Galaxy in the Emperor’s Holy Name”. It was originally seen as a pessimistic view of the galaxy written by someone trying to comprehend the sheer scale of the universe and falling to pessimism, but it was revived by Inquisitor Jeriminus of Paelutia.

I think you can guess the theme here - the destruction of everything that is Not Mankind, including aliens, mutants, chaos, psychics, and heretics, is the only way humanity will survive. The book is pretty clear that these are the young, overly-brash Inquisitors who hang around doing militant things.

A Monodominantist Inquisitor, obviously interested in negotiation and carefully considering the role of diplomacy and reason.

My thoughts: Well, there’s always one. My reading of the description seems to indicate that the author thinks that they’re idiots, but if someone else wants to weigh in, I’d like to hear it. They’re definitely not anything new or exciting, though - kind of my least favorite Inquisitorial philosophy. Still, you have options for decent heroes (in the action sense) and villains (in the “anyone sane who reads about the Monodominationists” sense) for a campaign.

Puritans - Amalthians
The Amalthians are almost the opposite of the Monodominants, in that they are optimists who were spurred on by the rebuilding and victories found at the start of the 41st Millenium. With the Imperium regaining strength, this philosophy is fairly sensible - anything that would destabilize the Imperium should be dealt with in a way that maintains the status quo while everything continues to rebuild and improve.

The central tenant here is that it is the institutions of the Imperium that provide continuity, and that the endless politicking between them is part of what leads to everything going wrong. Unity is how things have lasted this long, and that unity is their strength. The more ‘minor’ crimes of heresy, witchcraft, and mutation are generally not as important as ensuring that the Imperium persists, as they consider it impossible for mere mortals to understand and guide the will of the Emperor, as some Inquisitors do.

Inquisitor Eisenhorn, the archetypal Amalthian and star of his own novels which I have never actually read.

My thoughts: They’re centrists who nonetheless present a fairly decent point - half the issues in the Imperium are caused by the fact that everyone is always at each other’s throats, and it’s better to let some smaller stuff slide and let the Emperor’s Will sort things out in the end, rather than demanding such purity that everyone eventually falters. It can create an engaging campaign - whether they’re trying to stitch together a group of disparate factions to keep the Imperium’s strength up, or if they’re the cause of a disaster due to shortsighted plans to help everyone get along that end up doing more harm than good.

Radicals - Xanthites
Xanthites are one of the oldest philosophies in the Inquisition, dating back to the 32nd Millenium and the trial and execution of Inquisitor-Master Zaranchek Xanthus for the accusation of Chaos worship. While he maintained his innocence from corruption, he did indicate that he used Chaos sorcery and demonic artifacts on occasion, reasoning that their usage is not inherently corruptive, but rather the spiritual corruption is something that could be watched and guarded against. After all, the Imperium makes use of psykers, the Warp is used for travel, and other things that were once seen as purely the domain of Chaos can be bent to the will of the Emperor.

Within the Xanthites, there exists an even more radical sect, the Horusians, who see Horus as the perfect example of the great powers of the Warp, as well as a warning of what happens when you aren’t careful enough with it. Their goal is to figure out how to create a new Horus to lead mankind, except this time, it would not involve enslaving all of them under the gods of Chaos. Understandably, a number of the other philosophies do not exactly agree with this line of reasoning, but as this is the oldest philosophy in the Inquisition, there are some powerful connections up there.

Xanthian Inquisitor showing about the usual level of caution they’re known for.

My thoughts: Xanthites are an incredible plot resource. Equal parts “let’s use this amazing thing we have access to and figure out how to do so safely,” and “I wonder what happens if I try to light this cigar with a half-ton of dynamite”, you can get some incredible mileage out of their interest in the artifacts of Chaos. Horusians are a bit more . . . ehh . . . but you can use them as a cool forward-looking philosophy that’s trying to recapture the whole “great man of the Imperium” idea and realizing that it would be a terrible idea.

Radicals - Recongregators
The center of the Recongregator philosophy is the opposite of the Amalthians - namely that the institutions of the Imperium have grown overly corrupt and the whole thing works in spite of them, rather than thanks to them. It’s in the best interests of the Imperium to investigate its institutions, reform those that can be useful, and scrap anything that is keeping mankind stuck in the past and trapped.

They recognize the power that exist in institution and the grand continuity of the Imperium - rather than simply taking extreme and direct action, they are looking to disassemble and reassemble the Imperium to serve and protect mankind. Being too radical or hasty could lead to the premature destruction of the Imperium, which would end up dooming all of humanity. They make use of their Inquisitorial powers to steer rebels towards organizations that they believe need reform.

Even the most radical of Recongregationist Inquisitors still believes in the bedrock of the Imperium: slapping skulls on stuff.

My thoughts: Recongregators are great. While there’s room for the drama here, they’re presenting the most optimistic picture of the Imperium’s purpose by simultaneously recognizing that there is value in these institutions and that they are in desperate need of reform. I am clearly biased, so if anyone else has thoughts on these guys, let me know.

Radicals - Istvaanians
The Horus Heresy officially began with Horus’s virus bombing of Istvaan III. The Istvaanian philosophy holds that this conflict - the beginning of the fall of the Imperium - is part of what has strengthened Mankind in the darkness of the galaxy, and so it is by conflict that the Imperium can grow and show its true strength. They work to make sure that there is always war and conflict, so as to see the Imperium continually tested and strengthened.

They frequently are at odds with other Inquisitors because much of what they do is create trouble for the Imperium through disruption, rebellion, and maneuvering various cults into attacking Imperial institutions, insufficiently tested planets, and (often enough) one another, all so that humanity can grow stronger. It’s hard to tell if they have gone bad or not, because much of what they do is already so far beyond what you might expect an Inquisitor to be doing that their intent is more important than some of what they end up doing.

Istvaanian Inquisitor, clearly enjoying the general plotlines used in 40k since the introduction of their philosophy.

My thoughts: A great source of conflict, and an even better source of characters, they’re the kind of plot generators that are always great to have. You can set them against pretty much any other philosophy or Ordos, and you’ll have something to go on. Admittedly, the philosophy itself is a little too “strength through totalitarianism/militarism/violence” for me, but you could extend these approaches in all sorts of ways.

The report closes with what I consider to be the defining quote of the themes behind this game.

Inquisitor posted:

.. . an idea can never truly be killed, hence the bitter extremes some Inquisitors will employ to eradicate what they, rightly or wrongly, perceive as heresy within our own ranks.

In all, such dedication is to be encouraged, and diversity of thought and initiative has always been more valued in our organisation than adherence to written creeds and rules. Careful manipulation of our agents and information regarding the factions is desired, and we should continue to observe rather than dictate, as has always been our way in such matters.

We now need to choose a philosophy for Inquisitor Janoslav. This philosophy plays a part in what kind of plots and inspiration might come up when writing out a scenario - this game is all about narratives and fluff, so these backgrounds are important from a not-quite-mechanical-but-sorta-mechanical standpoint.

Next time: The Anatomy of a Character


Jun 26, 2005

Hedningen posted:

We now need to choose a philosophy for Inquisitor Janoslav. This philosophy plays a part in what kind of plots and inspiration might come up when writing out a scenario - this game is all about narratives and fluff, so these backgrounds are important from a not-quite-mechanical-but-sorta-mechanical standpoint.

I vote Recongregant.

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