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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Halloween Jack posted:

In spite of it all, I would love to play a Rifts game with a party of Coalition defectors. Not using the Rifts system, of course. I'd go mad, probably hurt myself.

Done that. The CS A-Team was great.

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Ablative
Nov 9, 2012

Someone is getting this as an avatar. I don't know who, but it's gonna happen.

Ratoslov posted:

Is it ever explained why the Jehammedians, who are clearly a weird Islamic offshoot and are neither Christian nor Jewish, care so much about Abraham?

Abraham's actually a pretty important figure in Islam. It is still an Abrahamic religion, after all.

According to Islam, he codified Hajj, drove the pagans out of Arabia and Canaan, purged idolatry from the world, and rebuilt the Ka'bah.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Ablative posted:

Abraham's actually a pretty important figure in Islam. It is still an Abrahamic religion, after all.

According to Islam, he codified Hajj, drove the pagans out of Arabia and Canaan, purged idolatry from the world, and rebuilt the Ka'bah.

Oh, right. I think I knew that at some point, but forgot.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


shades of eternity posted:

We're about to find out that the first book was the best of the 6 (the sixth book absolutely made me nerd rage back in the day).

Coalition Overkill is easily one of the worst books I've ever covered and that's a tall order.

It gets better afterwards because it would be so very hard to be worse.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 2: Spires of Altdorf

Some things never change

So, Spires is a much more open campaign, and while it railroads the players to overall campaign success (there are no endings where they do NOT destroy the Dagger one way or another, because they have to be able to move on to book 3) they can still seriously gently caress up and end up in situations where the book expects them to pay heavy costs for success. Now, the Brute Squad are obviously winners and the 'canon' route will be one where they guess the GM's intentions, don't roll many dice, and generally succeed on the adventure. However, I will also be writing up some of the failure setpieces; imagine these are Mirror Universe Brute Squad, who are both more malicious and less capable than their Prime Universe counterparts, as well as possessed of enormous mustaches. Except Mirror Otto, who replaces his normal waxed handlebar with being cleanshaven to reveal his bizarro nature.

The party has also acquired Solveig and lost Fearghus; having both run a campaign with a Runesmith PC myself and also having had to write around his abilities in this review, I've come to the overall conclusion that as written in Realms of Sorcery Runesmiths do not make great PCs. Their abilities just don't slot into a WHFRP campaign very well; either they stop the party for months and then overpower it immensely, or they never actually get to use their powers. Keep in mind what Otto could be doing if he had a +10% WS magic sword (Really, +15%; it stacks with Best Quality) when seeing the combats, after all. And that would be the most minor of Fearghus's stuff. Runesmiths either produce way more and better magic items than PCs normally get, or they just end up a poor second line fighter with some fancy powers they never actually get to pull out. We'll say they sent Fearghus off with a proper celebration of their work together and that he's off to unlock the mysteries of the runes, while they've picked up their new giant Ulrican priestess during the smear campaign against Liebnitz as per her background.

So as Liebnitz was dying or they were beating on Xath's butler, it somehow got out to the PCs that there are actually more Xath bits in the world. Two more. Xath would really like to be free so he can kill people, as is the way of Khornates. He is not a complicated character. The book assumes PCs will immediately rush to the library or ask Professor Zweinstein from last book to help them find more Xath Facts. I am not sure why it assumes they will do this. Nobody is paying them for Xath duty and the manifestation of Xath they beat the poo poo out of probably isn't going to put much fear in PCs. We'll say the party ignores this for now, adventuring around while the Professor does his frantic reading. One day they're sitting down at the inn, going over how the new girl has been doing (Another Damage 5 melee fighter who also has Heal is very welcome) while getting smashed, when the old scholar comes racing in. "ALTDORF!" He yells. "The Dagger of Yul K'Chaum is in Altdorf!" "We'll catch who?" replies Katiya. Because it's our old friend, dumb Warhams names that make a silly phrase when said aloud (Much like the famed Von Sapponatheims). The excited scholar explains that one of the other pieces of Xathroduz the Red Flayer is in Altdorf most likely, because a bit of an old journal said as much, and also there's a third artifact called the Chalice of Wrath.

You may note at this point no-one is offering the PCs any kind of payment or reward. This is going to continue. At no point in all of this adventure are the PCs ever offered money for anything they do, and there is very little treasure. In most worlds, the party probably shrugs and goes 'Not our problem' and continues looking for work in Middenheim. A lack of real urgency, stakes, or incentive is a serious problem in Spires. It just kinda...assumes you'll immediately go 'OH NO!' and scamper off for Altdorf immediately, maybe yelling about daggers.

However, we'll say for the sake of convenience the party had actually been planning a trip to Altdorf anyway; Liniel wants to check in with the elf embassies there and there's probably lots more paying work in a city that wasn't recently on fire. They agree to keep an eye out for the dagger of whatever on the way. Maybe they can bill someone for dagger finding duty. Zweinstein presses a letter into the elf's hands, addressed to Dieter Klemperer. Dieter is a Master Wizard of the Celestial College and a correspondent and friend of the Professor. Liniel's ears go straight up as she realizes: This is a man who probably has money and is a Contact. This is networking. Pierre mentions that this is still an ancient evil relic, so it's probably got some interesting history to it. Otto is up for destroying an ancient evil, and Katiya hates Chaos. Solveig needs the rep if she's ever going to become Ar Ulric, and this demon messed with the Temple of Ulric as it is, so she's able to talk herself into coming along once the party warms to the idea of dealing with the dagger as something of a sidequest. They set out for Altdorf with the next caravan.

You are expected, even demanded to go with a caravan with 2 Roadwardens and a couple families traveling to the safer south. There is also a wealthy scholar with the group, who is actually Wolfgang Schuenacht, who is one of the closest things to an actual villain this adventure has. He's an evil Bright Wizard who is extremely arrogant and all, but plays it off as being a normal Master Wizard. Incidentally, Spires thinks 2e Wizards are way, way more powerful mechanically than they are. This is going to be hilarious in the eventual boss fight. He was coming to Middenheim to get the Skull, because he has an evil ritual that will superpower him into a chaos monster if he could just eat theSskull. He actually doesn't know the PCs have smashed the skull, and is angling to get close to them to get it from them. He wants to be a powerful Chaos Sorcerer and master of Chaos because he's an arrogant, evil prick. He doesn't really have much motive beyond that, but it does the job. He's intelligent, fairly well hidden, but he'll make a few mistakes that can let the PCs realize he's planning to trick them and use them (and then literally sacrifice them).

Anyway, they have another problem: The comic relief villain is also trying to kill them. Carlott the Thug is the standout part of this adventure for me. She's a dumb thug who survived the purge of the Crimson Skull cult as its highest ranking member, granted a magic coin that means Beastmen, Demons, etc will always hear her out. She has a lot of money from the cult coffers, but she was just muscle. She has no idea how to start a new cult, or properly hide from the authorities, but she loving hates the Brute Squad and will be trying to use the money, magic coin, and her own extreme enthusiasm to kill them in increasingly blunt manners throughout the adventure. Her first attempts will be on the road, with Beastmen. When you're trying to Chaos at someone, always start with the Beastmen. They're expendable anyway.

Her first attempt is a probing attack by 2 Beastmen. Yeah, you read that right. 2 Beastmen. The party, uh...kind of killed them in a single turn of melee, then got the wagons moving again. You're supposed to keep track of how long they delay after each attack, because the idea of the Beastmen is to stick them on the road at night far from a Coaching Inn and then ambush them there in force. The next wave tries to shoot the party from ambush, then charge with swords, but, uh...it's still 2 Beastmen. Otto takes an arrow during the surprise round and a couple wounds, but Solveig bandages them easily after the party again one-rounds the Beastmen in melee. Also note the PCs have the two Roadwardens and their guns and swords backing them up. Sure, these are meant to be nuisance attacks, but, uh. Seriously?

Finally, they meet a more serious attack. 3 Beastmen firing bows from behind a little barricade built out of a burned out coach on the road, while a fourth waits to smash the wheels of some of the wagons with the refugees' possessions. The enemy has also set up a couple of corpses to pretend there are more of them behind the barricade than there are, but Liniel's Excellent Vision tells her those are fake. Not being idiots, and having a large mounted component (2 Roadwardens, Otto, and Liniel are all on horses), the party sends Otto, Katiya, and the Roadwardens to go kill the 3 Beastmen while the others guard the refugees. Seriously, these attacks really obviously telegraph that the enemy is trying to draw you off; committing hard would be stupid. As a result, when Fourthy (that's his name now) the Wheel Smasher comes out, he takes an arrow in the face from an elf before getting his head smashed in by a mining pick and an Ulrican axe before he can do any damage.

This is because him doing any damage is sort of irrelevant. See, all this has automatically delayed the party enough to get caught out at night, even if they sensed Fourthy the Wheel Smasher and stopped him. There's a false dilemma about leaving the refugees' stuff if the Wheels Is Smashed or spending an hour to fix them, but you get caught out at night either way sooooo succeeding or not at that encounter was pointless. This happens a lot in this entire adventure path, where success or failure doesn't mean anything! I hate it.

Next, Carlott has gathered a unit of 12 Beastmen with bows who all have Night Vision. The idea is that they'll shoot at the players from long range at night until the PCs put out any lights, then they'll charge and attack the blinded PCs. There are several issues here. One: Why doesn't someone just light a lantern after melee is joined, then? Two: The party's elf and Solveig both actually have Night Vision and can fight just fine in the dark. Three: This encounter is designed solely to show off Wolfgang and let him introduce himself as maybe an ally. I'm still not really fond of gameplay challenges designed to be solved by an NPC stepping forth to save the PCs, especially as it happens often enough that they're likely to start expecting it whenever overmatched. The Beastmen are only after the PCs. Trying to flee and leave the refugees behind will not help, not that the Brute Squad are the kind of dicks that would do that.

The original salvo of arrows also gets really lucky (maybe allowing 12 shots on the PCs isn't a good starting move and you should follow your own advice from Renegade Crowns, Chart) and gets 6 hits, despite the Long Range penalty. So the party starts with Otto down 3 Wounds, Solveig down 8 (two lucky arrows, light armor), and Liniel hit for 4. They douse the lights as the game demands, and in the dark Liniel shoots one of the Beastmen through the throat as Solveig gets to work on injuries. She heals herself for 8 before the Beastmen charge in, and suddenly Wolfgang appears, casting magic fire crown and lighting up the area, letting the party fight the 11 Beastmen without penalty. The Beastmen still get in their Charge attacks, though, getting 4 hits on Otto, 3 on Katiya, and 2 on Liniel. Dang! It's almost like them having Outnumber and Charge Bonuses hurts. They bounce off Otto completely, though. Katiya takes a max damage hit for 7, then another for 4, then the last bounces, but man, she gets messed up a lot. The elf gets lucky, the attacks mostly scratching her for 2 and 3. She's still pretty banged up! Good thing they got a medic. Wolfgang steps it up; he even gets off a Fiery Blast to really show off on Round 3, though he also shits himself from a miscast (77 on a doubles, Intestinal Rebellion. The books do not make much provision for the dignified, arrogant Bright Wizard having miscast issues). Still, 9 Damage 5 hits in addition to the party's melee attacks goes a long way to showing off why Bright Wizards are as they are and pretty much instantly put the beastmen to flight, given he just incinerated 4 of them. Otto and Katiya take out two more, and that's definitely enough to break the enemy.

A short, brutal fight that leaves the field full of burning goatmen and hacked apart bodies. A wonderful way to meet a new acquaintence. Solveig stops to spend time patching up allies as Wolfgang introduces himself, hoping the smell of burning goatman will cover his shame as he keeps a straight face and tries to pretend he didn't poo poo himself. He goes briefly into the forest to 'finish off' the last beastmen (change his underwear) and the party heads to the nearest coaching inn to take cover and fix their stuff, getting the refugees to safety.

Once at the inn, they can actually talk to Wolfgang. Not being idiots, they don't tell him all their business (the book goes over this; people don't usually tell strange wizards everything on meeting them for the first time) but do mention they're a mercenary company heading to Altdorf to find work. He offers them a job as his bodyguards, but doesn't mention pay, just lodging. Liniel is wise to that being poo poo, and tells him no; the book expects you to refuse him as it is. Accepting actually makes investigating him harder, because he doesn't have to try to have a burglar steal the skull from you and without that crime to track, it's much harder to realize he's evil. He is to be played as supremely arrogant, but he tries to force himself to be complimentary and to give the appearance of respecting the PCs even as he condescends them.

Having set all of Carlott's beastmen on fire and/or arrowed them, the party is not harassed further. They'll make it to Altdorf without incident, parting ways with the grateful caravan (who think they're brave heroes) and leaving the refugees to start new lives. In the meantime, they head off to find a drink, then Dieter Klemperer.

It's time to begin the networking and explain the Main Plot Thread and why it was so boring that my personal group said 'You know, let's just...let's just wrap the Xath plot quick and go do something else, this sucks.'

Next Time: Talkies

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


As you might notice from this encounter, you know what's a bad idea? Throwing shitloads of attacks at the PCs that they can't answer. Sure, they're Damage 3, but Beastmen are WS 40, and add in Outnumber and Charge Bonuses and that first round can be brutal. Not to mention that sure the arrows are 15% to hit, but you're still playing with a bit of fire when the entire point of the encounter is just making the NPC bright wizard step up and you aren't meant to down PCs here.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



What Fire Has Wrought: The Mighty Power of Crime Explosions

Investigation Excellency: Indisputable Physical Analysis Technique (Water) adds successes and rerolls 6s. Interesting charms: Revelation-of-Associates Hunch (Fire) gives a bonus to Investigation rolls and lets you tell if evidence is related to the crime you’re investigating in the form of a flash of heat, with the strength of the heat telling you how large the criminal conspiracy was (with nearly nothing for a single offender and a bonfire’s heat for a hundreds-strong conspiracy). A Face in the Fog (Water) is activated when you succeed on a scene-casing roll against someone’s attempt to conceal evidence, and it gives you a misty, fog-filled vision of the perpetrator – not enough to recognize them, but enough to get a sense of some combination of height, build, gender, age or other distinctive features, and if you meet them and successfully profile them you know it’s them and gain a Willpower. Scent-of-Crime Method (Water) lets you smell guilt on people, getting a bonus to Awareness, Investigation and Survival rolls to detect the presence of anyone who’s made a Larceny check in the last few hours. Profiling someone tells you if they’re the source of the guilt scent.

Signatures: Warrant of Divine Safety (Air) lets you bind any spoken offer of hospitality or invitation into a place, even an informal one, given by someone whom custom says has the authority to give it. As long as you and your companions do nothing hostile, no one can violate the offer of hospitality without being punished by the element of Air somehow. The consequences, decided by the ST, are directly related in strength to the severity of the violation and are sufficiently dire to negate most attempts at harm, though people with Essence higher than yours can still fight after being hit, albeit with penalties or obstacles. The protection only applies in the area that hospitality was offered for, and ends when you leave. Echoes Caught in Stone (Earth) can be used once per story to meditate on a piece of evidence and make an Investigation roll to hear a relevant conversation that occurred near it in the past few months, though you must know beforehand the object is evidence of the crime you’re investigating. Shadow-Immlating Talon (Fire) lets you, once per scene, make a Decisive attack on someone with a bonus and damage bonus while asking a question or making an accusation, and if your attack also beats their Resolve, the victim also has to answer you honestly and without deception or half-truth, though if doing so violates a Defining Intimacy they can pay WP to be cryptic or incomplete. If they don’t know enough to be useful, the Charm fails but you don’t pay any of its costs.

Many words! Clear Water Prana (Water) lets you, once per story, case a single small area with a large bonus over the course of a minute, and on top of clues, you detect anything hidden in that area unless concealed on someone’s person, though not stuff that was just lost rather than hidden. It does contest even normally perfect concealment magic, though. Death-Unraveling Eye (Wood) lets you examine a corpse that’s not been dead for more than a few years as if casing a scene, and on top of any clues you discover, you may mentally rewind the decomposition of the corpse to view it as it was at the time of death, and get a bonus to Medicine rolls to analyze injuries or medical conditions present as well as being able to potentially ID the body. Also, you automatically notice any information that’d conflict with what you know already, such as if a corpse was hidden in ice to slow its rate of decay; you’d know it was dead longer than it seems. There are 20 Investigation Charms over 5 pages.

Larceny Excellency: Underground River’s Flow adds successes; its primary alternate benefit is that it has the Mute keyword so it doesn’t add to your anima banner. Interesting Charms: Naked Thief Style (Water) lets you hide anything on your body small enough to hold in one hand, or an entire set of thieves’ tools like a disguise kit or lockpick set, and no one can even try to find them unless in Short range of you or they have magic that extends their sensory range. Wandering Thief Technique (Air) lets you throw your voice to anywhere in Short range for the duration of a single social influence roll or about ten seconds of speech, and does not break your concealment if you’re hidden when you speak. Bramble Purse Technique gives a penalty to all attempts to pickpocket or disarm you from Close range, and if the roll fails, the penalized target takes damage from invisible thorns piercing their hand bloodily. Vaporous Visage Evasion (Water) lets you, when your disguise is pierced, hide your face behind a cloud of mist drawn from your anima, obscuring your identity perfectly for the rest of the scene. Incendiary Accusation Approach (Fire) lets you, when you use Waters-of-Honesty Method to detect someone cheating at a game or doing a crime, cause a small fire to start on their person, dealing minor damage and revealing their misdeeds. Exploding Evidence Technique (Fire) causes it so when someone tries to find evidence you’ve concealed and failed, the evidence explodes as an environmental hazard to everyone present that obliterates almost all remaining evidence.

Signatures: Vault-Emptying Whirlwind Heist (Air) lets you, once per story, spend an hour casing a site for a planned heist, then make a Larceny roll to build a pool of successes you can spend to give bonuses to you or your allies in doing the crime, reduce some Larceny charm costs or retroactively leave a calling card for people. Dragon Snatches Jewel (Earth) lets you, once per scene, make a disarm gambit with Larceny with a bonus, and reflexively ready the weapon you steal and get your Initiative back. If it’s an artifact, you reflexively attune to it for free for the rest of the scene, breaking the original owner’s attunement. Alternatively, you can steal a hearthstone out of a socket and steal its attunement instead. Burning Sins Seduction (Fire) lets you make a Larceny-based inspire roll to convince someone to do crimes or ignore the law, with the target choosing what emotion is inflamed and what Intimacy tied to that emotion they’d be willing to break the law for. The action they take as a result of the influence must be a crime or equivalent social transgression upholding that Intimacy, and resisting doing so requires a Decision Point with an Intimacy of equal or greater strength.

This is wordy, too. Flowing God-Dragon Stance (Water) makes your body fluid once per day while you’re in Water Aura, letting you flow through locked doors or wall cracks, escape non-magical grapples and getting a bonus to Evasion and Stealth, especially while underwater. You take some damage if the Charm ends while you’re somewhere too small for you, and you get shunted out to where you entered from. Terrifying Forest-Devil Mask (Wood) lets you put on a mask and become a fictional or archetypal figure as a disguise check with a bonus and gaining temporary specialties related to the role for as long as you maintain the disguise, as well as a Defining Intimacy the role would have, which cannot be changed or weakened while in disguise. Anyone that fails to see through the disguise also gets treated as having a Minor Tie to your persona with appropriate context for their culture and circumstances. In combat, removing your mask requires a very difficult gambit, but ends your charm. There are 28 Larceny Charms over 6.5 pages.

Linguistics Excellency: Lightning Quill Mastery (Air) adds successes and rerolls failed dice based on your 10s. Interesting Charms: Cryptic Essence Cipher (Water) lets you create a code readable only by either one specific person or anyone who shares one of your Principles (or close to it), which anyone else has to make a Linguistics roll to break even if they have codebreaking magic. Wind-Carried Words Technique (Air) lets you transmit a spoken message several miles to a specific person, which cannot be overheard by any mundane means, and the range gets much longer the better at Linguistics you are. Speech Without Words (Air) lets you and your Sworn Kin communicate silently via body language amongst yourselves and a number of other people of your choice, with motions so small that it’s essentially telepathy that can be noticed if someone is specifically looking for it and is still not understandable if they do. Reading the Unspoken Words (Air) lets you make a Linguistics-based read intentions check to know what someone expects you to say to them in the current circumstances, which can give a bonus to impersonating someone. Intoxicating Lotus Manuscript (Wood) lets you write a story so sensually gripping and viscerally thrilling that it literally makes people gain a Derangement addicting them to your works, causing them withdrawal if they can’t get more of it. The Charm ends if you stop releasing works, but you can make them prohibitively expensive if you want. (Note that ‘sensual’ is not necessarily ‘sexual’ with Wood stuff. Sensual as in ‘of the senses.’ Even their seduction stuff specifies that if the target’s just not into you sexually, they only want to talk to you and be your friend.)

Signatures: Flashing Saga Flourish (Air) gives a big bonus to a written Linguistics roll once per story and dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to make a written work – a book takes you only one day to write, for example, and anything shorter only seconds. Unshattered Diamond Parables (Earth) lets you call on one of your long-form written works that you’ve made during play, such as a novel or poetry collection, during a Decision Point as if it were a Major Intimacy. You summarize its moral or theme in a short phrase to define the phantom Intimacy. However, you can never use the same work twice. If a work has significant role in the narrative before you use it, it instead counts as a Defining Intimacy. In Earth Aura, you can also expend the aura rather than pay Willpower when doing this. Wildfire Words Technique (Fire) lets you, once per story, make a written instill check with a bonus to create an Intimacy based on strong emotional passion. Anyone who gets hit by it cannot alter or remove the intimacy for several days, but can weaken it. However, the next time they talk about the topic, they are filled with an urge to spread it and must attempt their own instill roll, which also gets a bonus, though the magic is not itself contagious past that. Rewriting the Truth Technique (Water) lets you, once per story, make a written instill action that rerolls 5s and 6s and gets no penalties for any implausible claims, targeting a specific person. If you succeed against them, they gain a Major Principle of belief in whatever lie you wrote, which costs a lot of WP to resist entirely and a little to voluntarily weaken. Enthralling Lotus Calligraphy (Wood) lets you, once per story, make a written instill, persuade or bargain check targeting a specific person, which they are magically compelled to read unless they spend Willpower as soon as they see the document, though it will not force them to abandon a pressing task to do so – just read it as soon as possible. Once they begin to read, they must read long enough to be affected by the influence. Resisting the Psyche effect to read does not give immunity to the written influence, which is itself unaltered. There are 24 Linguistics Charms over 5.5 Pages.

Lore Excellency: Careful Insight-Gathering Study (Air) adds successes and gives a bonus to introduce or challenge facts. Interesting Charms: Opening the Mind’s Gates (Air) lets you make a Lore-based instill roll to make a character gain a phantom Major Principle of “I must seek out education” for the scene, which is harder to resist than normal when exploited by you. Elemental Bolt Attack lets you channel your Aspect element into an elemental blast with Archery or Thrown, with bonus effects for each element. You can learn the other elements with small XP expenditure. Yes, this is a Lore Charm. Thunderstruck Charlatan Imprecation (Air) makes it so that when you challenge a fact with a spoken rebuke, if your roll beats the target’s Resolve they form a Minor Tie of respect, fear or similar to you, or strengthen one they already have, and for the rest of the scene they can’t speak at all without entering a Decision Point to resist this and the Intimacy they use is stronger than their Tie to you. The Wind Turns lets you expend Air Aura to draw in the world’s Essence in a brief hurricane of power, restoring motes to you and all nearby Hearthmates and resetting you to base Initiative. Dragon Vortex Attack lets you, once per story, unleash an Aura to create a massive environmental hazard of the appropriate element, which hurts everyone but you and your Sworn Kin and gets special effects based on element. (Air gets a lightning storm, Earth gets an earthquake, Fire gets a sudden pyroclasm, Water gets a giant tsunami wave, Wood gets a sudden briar growth.) Your Sworn Kin can also expend their own Auras to stack elements on the hazard, but you can’t stack the same element on itself.

Signatures: Fulminating Thunderhead Brilliance (Air), once per story, makes your eyes crackle with light as you make a special roll to introduce a fact. Rather than name a fact, you name a goal, like defeating a rival or investigating corruption in a group, and make a Lore roll. On a success, the GM introduces a relevant fact that will help you, which you experience as a flash of sudden insight, with more successes making it more relevant and specific. Truth-in-Stone Binding (Earth) lets you make a special Lore gambit against a Raksha or other Wyld native, with success petrifying them in inanimate form engraved with binding words describing what is trapped within. The target or targets aren’t dead, and will be freed if the words are scratched out or destroyed. This can also be used to bind environmental hazards of the Wyld, rendering them inert and harmless. Particularly powerful creatures might only be able to be bound temporarily. Ten Thousand Minds Ablaze (Fire) lets you make a Lore roll that both introduces a fact and serves as an instill roll against everyone that can hear you to gain an Intimacy of interest or fascination with whatever you’re talking about or the field it relates to, which costs a lot of Willpower to resist or weaken. Ink-Black Ocean Depths (Water) lets you read and absorb an entire book or similar information record in minutes, and then you can if you want to roll Lore to siphon out crucial facts and details so later readers cannot gain any useful information from whatever you read. They can make a roll to tell the document has been altered, but not what it used to say, which requires specific restoration magic and an opposed roll. Root-and-Branch Wisdom (Wood) lets you, once per story when training or mentoring someone, give the student a positive Major Tie towards you by gaining a positive Minor Tie toward them. If you maintain this Tie for the story, you permanently gain a free Lore specialty related to your student or what you taught them. There are 23 Lore Charms over 7 pages.

Medicine Excellency: Master Healer Meditation (Wood) adds dice, and if you cap the dice limit it gives a further bonus to the roll. Interesting Charms: Poisoner’s Deft Hand (Wood) makes any poisons you use have longer duration. Dread Infection Strike (Wood) lets you make a gambit to give someone any mundane disease you’ve ever treated before in play, or even magical ones with a repurchase at Essence 5. Flesh-as-Stone Inducement (Earth) lets you numb an ally to reduce wound penalties or numb a foe’s limbs to cause penalties to its use. Wound-Closing Technique (Wood) lets you turn someone’s lethal wounds into bashing ones, or heal bashing damage.

Signatures: Purity-of-Mind Method (Air) lets you treat and reduce the power of Derangements via extended therapy, guided meditation and mystical alignment of their Essence. Marmoreal Body Fortification (Earth) lets you massage someone’s pressure points to give their skin a pale cast as they gain temporary health levels and increases their soak if unarmored due to stony skin for the rest of the day. Unbinding the Inner Flame (Fire) lets you strike someone’s heart chakra to increase their Strength and Decisive damage temporarily as well as make them gain motes and Initiative each turn, but at the cost of taking some Aggravated damage after the scene ends. Body-Cleaning Ablution (Water) lets you mystically bathe someone or wash their wounds with pure water, reducing their wound penalties for a whole day and boosting resistance to any diseases or poisons you’ve diagnosed in them. Rebirth of Flesh and Ivy (Wood) calls forth plants from your anima once per story to help bind and heal someone’s wounds, instantly healing some damage and/or crippling effects. They may choose to have the healing leave a permanent plant-based scar on them if they feel that’d look cool, such as bark-like flesh or green interwoven with their normal skin tone. There are 19 Medicine Charms over 4 pages.

Next time: Melee, Occult, Performance, Presence, Resistance

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

As you might notice from this encounter, you know what's a bad idea? Throwing shitloads of attacks at the PCs that they can't answer. Sure, they're Damage 3, but Beastmen are WS 40, and add in Outnumber and Charge Bonuses and that first round can be brutal. Not to mention that sure the arrows are 15% to hit, but you're still playing with a bit of fire when the entire point of the encounter is just making the NPC bright wizard step up and you aren't meant to down PCs here.

If I were running the scenario, I'd probably do something like engage the PCs fully with a fight, then have a group of Beastmen reinforcements turn up from another direction and have the bright wizard torch them.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cythereal posted:

If I were running the scenario, I'd probably do something like engage the PCs fully with a fight, then have a group of Beastmen reinforcements turn up from another direction and have the bright wizard torch them.

The weirdest thing I notice about David Chart's adventure writing is that when he's writing books about Warhams, his GMing advice is really good. When he's actually writing an adventure, he then breaks all his own advice and he's really not good at it. Renegade Crowns: "If you have an ambush scenario the first volley should miss so players have a chance to turn around and react to it, putting the situation in their hands." Here: "Lol 12 arrows out of the darkness and a charge."
Knights of the Grail: "Make sure everything is focused on the PCs as the main characters and the whole group is having a good time." Same Book: "Here comes the Damsel to finish off the final boss for you and render everything you did meaningless because she could have done that the whole time with her laser powers."

It's bizarre. He knows what to do, but he can't write it properly into a pre-made. He also thinks wizards are much more powerful than they are; when I opted for that Fiery Blast attempt with Wolfgang his actual chance to hit with it was pretty low (CN 22 is hard to hit on 3 dice), and he had to get pretty lucky to hit that hard (d10 Damage 5 hits, min Mag). He only pulled it off because I just said 'you know, in the boss fight they say he's got the Ingredients for his spells so I imagine he sacrifices a dagger for this one'.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



What Fire Has Wrought: Frenzy of Flame

Melee Excellency: Stoking Bonfire Style (Fire) can boost Melee attacks or Parry, and it gets cheaper to use against someone whenever you successfully hit or parry but resets if you miss or get hit or go a round without using it. Interesting Charms: Blinding Spark Distraction (Fire) lets you blind people If they fail a Resistance roll when you parry or clash by throwing sparks in their face. Demon-Crushing Wolf Bite (Wood) boosts your Overwhemling (and damage, In Wood Aura) based on your Stamina by sprouting Essence thorns on your weapon. Dragon-Graced Weapon lets you bless an Artifact weapon with elemental power or just turn an element into a weapon, with each element giving different buffs. Root-and-Hand Working (Wood) causes roots to grow out of your wrists and weapon, locking it in place so you are very hard to disarm and get a Parry boost. Mela’s Flashing Tongue (Air) lets you, once per scene, make a bunch of Withering attacks based on a foe’s onslaught penalty, and in Air Aura the final attack is a Decisive lightning burst. Dragon Soul Burst (Fire) lets you aim, then stab someone to set them on fire with a Decisive attack that deals minor damage but ignores Hardness, with extra damage in Fire Aura.

Signatures: Steel Tempest Strike (Air) lets you advance on a blast of wind and make a Decisive attack against a foe once per scene, ignoring Difficult terrain, without it counting as your attack for the round. Falling Mountain Fang (Earth) lets you massively increase gravity’s hold on whatever you hit, either making a weapon super hard to lift or making armor give a huge mobility penalty or causing a fragile or uneven structure to collapse. Harnessed Firestorm Attack (Fire) lets you, once per scene, make a number of Decisive attacks based on your Dexterity or Strength, each at half normal damage, but only needs to pay the cost to enhance them with other Charms once total for all. Roaring River Slash (Water) lets you make a Decisive attack once per scene which is followed by a ribbon of cutting water, allowing you to roll damage twice and combine the results. If this is combined with a power that sets people on fire, the water unfortunately puts the fire out. Aura of Gasping Branches (Wood) lets you ignore some onslaught penalty each round for the rest of the scene, and in Wood Aura you don’t gain onslaught from attacks you fully parry. There are 25 Melee Charms over 5.5 pages.

Occult Excellency: Hidden Secrets Whisper (Air) gives bonus dice and rerolls failures based on 10s rolled. Interesting Charms: Soul-Fire Cremation Whisper (Fire) burns a mortal corpse to ash, ensuring they cannot rise as a hungry ghost, though one that already exists is only affected by needing to find a new place to avoid sunlight since it has no body to hide in. A normal ghost can choose whether or not to accept emotional catharsis and reincarnate. If not, it gets a positive Minor Tie to you that it can’t remove until the story ends. Seed and Salt Warding (Earth/Wood) instantly creates a ward of salt or germinated seeds with an Occult roll, causing ghosts and other undead to be unable to cross unless their Resolve beats your roll, even if they’d normally be able to cross salt or seeds. Blazing Purification Chant (Fire) sets possessing entities on fire with a burning ofuda but doesn’t harm the host. Five Winds Raiment (Air) turns your anima banner into a whirlwind that increases your Defense and Hardness while shaping sorcery, with increased Hardness in Air Aura.

Signatures: Hundred Devils Whirlwind (Air) lets you roll Occult with a bonus to make a mystic spirit-wind vortex out to Medium range that either repels spirits and immaterial beings or draws them in, moving them in the chosen direction and preventing them from teleporting away while in the whirlwind, which is also Difficult Terrain for them. Sage of Iron Meditation (Earth) lets you, once per story, meditate for up to several days, and while you meditate, the Wyld’s power is stopped completely out to Short range of you, unable to cause mutation, addiction or other warping within that range. You gain a lot of Hardness against Wyld beings while meditating and they lose Initiative while near you each turn, or take Aggravated damage if Crashed. (Your buddies will be doing most of the fighting, though, because…you have to keep meditating.) Smoke Ascends to Heaven (Fire) lets you cast an offering into fire, giving a bonus once per story to any persuade check to influence a spirit in person or via burnt offering, which they will always hear if done in their temple or with oversight by one of their priests but otherwise the GM decides if they hear it. Any Intimacies you leverage for purposes of getting them to do stuff are considered one level higher, and if none apply you still count as leveraging a Minor Tie towards you.

Lots of text. Crashing Wave-Dragons Warding (Water) blesses a body of running water once per story, consecrating it for several range bands up and down stream. Any demon, undead or fae that enters the water is attacked by dragon-shaped waves as an environmental hazard, get a penalty to all physical actions while touching the water and take extra Withering damage from attacks. If their Essence exceeds yours, they can spend Willpower to take an action freeing themselves dramatically from the dragon-waves, but it counts as both their attack and movement for the round. Eternal Death-Banishing Blossom (Wood) channels life through your anima banner once per day, which spreads it like the branches of a great tree. You must be at bonfire, and you get a Defense and soak bonus, which is increased against undead foes or necromantic attacks. On your next turn, your anima blooms in a storm of petals, expending it to make the petals fall out to Medium range. They are harmless to the living, but cause Aggravated damage to any undead that fails a difficult Resistance roll, even if they are immaterial, and trivial undead foes are just destroyed. Damage is capped against powerful undead, like Deathlords, or undead Exalts, like Abyssals. There are 23 Occult Charms over 5 pages.

Performance Excellency: Audience-Enthusing Display (Wood) adds successes and lets you ignore penalties for targeting multiple characters with social influence. Interesting Charms: Invisible Street Performer Technique (Air) lets you roll Performance to become completely impossible to notice by anyone whose Resolve you beat while you continue to put on your performance, which you can flurry with other actions. This ends if you stop performing, Join Battle or overtly draw notice to yourself by, say, brandishing a weapon. Dance of Flashing Swords (Wood) lets you roll Performance to convince bystanders that anything they’re witnessing is, in fact, an artistic performance, even if it is, say, a real fight. Irresistible Whirlpool Diversion (Water) lets you make a Performance roll at a bonus to make it so everyone watching you gets a penalty to notice anything that’s not you for as long as you keep performing. Vibrating Strings Defense (Wood) lets you, once per scene, clash a physical attack against you with a Decisive gambit in the form of a musical sting on an instrument, and if you win, they lose Initiative and if Crashed have Resolve 0 against your next Performance-based influence roll. Three-String Sword Prana (Wood) lets you make a Decisive attack out to Medium range by playing music, which creates phantasmal weapons to attack your foe with Performance and gets bonus damage.

Signatures: Thundering Dragon Proclamation (Air) lets you shout loud enough to be heard clearly out to Extreme range for the scene once per day, though you can only make inspire or threaten influence checks using it. They ignore all environmental or distance penalties, and all voice-based Performance or command rolls get a bonus. You can choose to not project that loud if you want, and must do so if you want to make non-Performance-based influence rolls, but you get no bonus if you’re not being loud. Tears-From-Stone Eloquence (Earth) lets you, once per story, make a Performance-based inspire roll. Anyone affected must choose a response to the emotion you cause that will affirm, support or protect a social institution they have an Intimacy towards, and if they don’t have one, they immediately form one at Minor, and if resisted with a Decision Point, they need to use at least as strong an Intimacy as the one affected. Immolating Passion Alleluia (Fire) lets you, once per story, make a Performance-based inspire roll at a bonus, and while anyone affected still chooses how they respond to the emotion, they must do so in a way that is at least on the level of a Serious task. It costs more to resist than normal, too. Mesmerizing Siren Call (Water) lets you make a Performance roll at a bonus to hypnotize everyone watching you, once per story. You can spend your successes to create illusions that they see, with more complex ones costing more successes, and you can pick different ones per target. They see them for as long as you continue to perform, and they can only spend Willpower to resist if they find evidence that the illusions are false, such as by trying to touch illusion fire and not being burnt, or if the illusions would make them act against a Major or Defining Intimacy. Life-Spirit Symphony (Wood) lets you and all allies out to Medium range ignore any plant-based Difficult terrain for as long as you perform, once per day, and you can make a Performance roll to resist environmental hazards for your buddies. You can also direct nearby plants to grab and entangle foes with a Performance-based gambit, causing them to be unable to take movement actions until they cut the plants away, at which point the plants become Difficult terrain. There are 30 Performance Charms over 6 pages.

Presence Excellency: Glowing Coal Radiance (Fire) adds successes and gives more bonus dice based on 10s. Interesting Charms: Unbearable Taunt Technique (Fire) lets you make an inspire check to piss someone off, and if you win, they must immediately respond in a hostile way of their choice. In combat, this instead requires the target to pay Willpower and Initiative to attack anyone but you. Passion-Transmuting Nuance (Water) lets you make a Presence-based inspire roll against someone already feeling strong emotion to change that emotion into a different one of your choice, with the strength of a Major Intimacy if it was weaker. Aura of Invulnerability (Fire) literally makes your self-confidence into an aura of flame that gives you bonus health levels and soak, though once it ends any damage transfers to your normal health track. Minds Like Fertile Fields (Earth) lets you make a Presence roll to say something so placid and general that your target goes into a trance, making their Intimacies not affect their Resolve at all against the next social influence aimed at them.

Signatures: Haunting Words Infliction (Air) lets you make a Presence roll at a bonus to instill an Intimacy you have into someone else, and even if the target resists or you fail, for the next few weeks, whenever the target learns something that supports your argument and would let you make another attempt at the instill action, they roll Presence against themselves with a bonus to instill your Intimacy into themselves, which they cannot choose to fail. This ends if they manage to resist their own roll with Resolve. Virtuous Mountain’s Shadow (Earth) can be used when you see someone making social influence you want to dispute, letting you make a counterargument based on one of your Major or Defining Intimacies. Everyone that hears you may use that Intimacy to boost their Resolve or in a Decision Point as if they had it, though if they do they gain it at Minor. Terrifying Fire-Dragon Roar (Fire) lets you, once per scene, breathe a blast of fire as an unblockable Decisive Presence-based attack out to Medium range, hitting everyone in a line. The attack also doubles as a threaten roll against any enemy targeted to terrify them into fleeing. You divide damage between everyone hit evenly, ignoring Hardness and doing extra damage to battle groups, who don’t count for the division of damage. Also, you set anything flammable in the scenery on fire.

Wordy, and I want to let FIRE BREATH sit on its own. Fluid Recollection Insinuation (Water) lets you make an instill check to convince someone that you’ve met before in an encounter that never happened, inserting a false memory up to five minutes long into their mind. The memory is about some interaction solely between the two of you, and instead of a dice penalty for implausibility, there is a success penalty. If they never met you before, they form a Minor Tie towards you with context based on the nature of the false memory, and they can’t resist the false memory until the Intimacy is gone. They also can’t voluntarily weaken it. If they already know you, they form a new Minor Tie towards you still but don’t have to erode it before they can pay Willpower to realize there are discrepancies. Spirit-Cultivating Leadership (Wood) can buff anyone with a Defining Tie of loyalty to you, increasing their Resolve against anything that’d weaken that Tie, getting three temporary specialties of your choice and getting an extra Willpower each day that can be used only to resist social influence. There are 23 Presence Charms over 4.5 pages.

Resistance Excellency: Purifying Blood Ascendancy (Earth) adds successes and rerolls 6s. Interesting Charms: Untiring Earth Meditation (Earth) lets you ignore any fatigue penalties as long as you’re in contact with the ground or stone. Earth Bears Witness (Earth) lets you reduce a Decisive attack’s damage against you by transferring the force into the ground, which may cause Difficult terrain or break scenery. If there is a dramatically significant source of stone nearby, such as a stone pillar or boulder, you reduce it further and pass the force into it, possibly making a crater shaped like your body. At Resistance 5, you can also get Water and Wood variants that work based on nearby water or plants, respectively. (Element) Protection Technique lets you pick an element and gain increased Soak and Hardness against it – wooden spears for Wood, firewands for Fire, hurled rocks for Earth, whatever. You also reduce the damage of appropriate environmental hazards. However, whatever harm has to directly relate to the element – Earth won’t stop metal weapons, for example, and Fire won’t stop sun lasers.

Signatures: Body-Like-Clouds Meditation (Air) renders your form partially gaseous, reducing Withering damage and stealing Initiative from anyone that hits you with a Withering attack but deals no damage. Perfected Scales of the Dragon (Earth) turns your body semi-crystalline, increasing your Hardness significantly and stealing Initiative from any Decisive attack that is negated by it. However, the turn after using this, you can neither attack nor move, though you can take other actions. Raging Fire-Dragon Spirit (Fire) increases your Strength, lets you ignore some wound penalties and gives a bonus to attack, rush or do feats of strength, but reduces your soak and causes you to lose a bit of Initiative at the end of each round. Fathomless Depths Resplendence (Water) lets you meditate for an hour to make a Stamina roll that gives you temporary health levels based on successes, which remain after the Charm ends if damaged and heal before any others, vanishing once healed. However, their wound penalty increases the longer they go unhealed. Well-Tended Garden of the Soul (Wood) lets you perform a series of mudras once per day, ending with an anima flash that causes every plant out to Medium range to become radiantly strong, with faint hints of green anima. Any diseases or blights they have are healed, and those dead of winter frost or drought might revive. On your next turn, as long as you haven’t been Crashed, taken Decisive damage or been forced into a range band with no plant life, you make a Stamina roll and heal yourself based on the successes, absorbing life from the plants you blessed. There are 24 Resistance Charms over 5 pages.

Next time: Ride, Sail, Socialize, Stealth, Survival

FBH991
Nov 26, 2010


Nessus posted:

If by crypto-fascist you mean like, trying to deliberately inculcate a streak of explicit fascist apologia, I doubt it. If you mean in the sense of being a little too into how awesome it is to fly a skull robot while being a hard man who makes a hard decision, extremely certainly and that writer was Kevin Siembieda.

I think his true love is micromissile launchers, though.

There's certainly a bunch of people who were pretty clearly crypto playing the coalition though.

This becomes very obvious if you've ever read a rifts message board.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

I was tired of your red text


yea Kev himself is just that 'woah cool robot' missing the point of Gundam meme.

The Coalition itself has super attracted a lot of fascists in the community though, woopsie!

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


sexpig by night posted:

yea Kev himself is just that 'woah cool robot' missing the point of Gundam meme.

The Coalition itself has super attracted a lot of fascists in the community though, woopsie!

I mean he’s all “cool robot, people with cool robots are cool!” like a five year old. Which is completely indistinguishable from fascism because fascism is the political ideology of five year old boys who just saw their first animated Batman film.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


At a certain point I feel that Kevin's intent no longer makes a difference. Especially when he keeps doing it for 30 some years.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 2 - "Young Ghille hated his father for deserting them, the D-Bee bitch who lured him away and everything associated with them, including their D-Bee gang and their exploits."

A Rising Evil

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

While the current command stays paralyzed by mutual finger-pointing and shock, a powerful and insidious clique of ambitious officers have risen up to take over many of the positions previously held by officers deposed by their mishandling of the Tolkeen invasion. These newcomers, known collectively as the Second Wave, have very clear ideas for how the war in Tolkeen can be salvaged. Nearly all of them entail mass murder, destroying entire innocent populations, establishing what amount to concentration camps, and perhaps even launching a D-Bee holocaust, not unlike the horrors that unfolded beneath the pre-Rifts Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler!

Yes, we're going to get a parade of psychopaths, Coalition officers who now have an opportunity to indulge their ridiculously evil ways. And there's a problem with this I'll address right off the bat: presenting genocide as only something damaged, mentally disordered people might jump to is a disservice. This is doubly true when presenting it as an analogue for the Holocaust. The horror of the Nazi regime isn't that of psychopaths getting ahold of the wheel, but that ordinary people can easily slip into excusing or participating in such horrors.

Also, the Coalition was already engaged in genocide anyway, just in an less organized and deliberate fashion. So acting like this is some journey beyond the pale seems odd, at best.


"Excuse me- have you considered there are some very fine people on both sides?!"

That out of the way, there's two new operations put forth as part of this initiative: Operation Hardball, which is the extermination of Tolkeen's populace, and Operation Spoilsport, which is stepping up covert operations. It's explained here that the notion of just nuking Tolkeen after the first failed attempt has been discarded, and trying to create "anti-D-Bee" viruses is considered too unreliable and dangerous to seriously consider.

We're reminded that there is a serious element of the Coalition military that is handwringing over these issues, thinking they should maintain a moral high ground... which, uh, doesn't hold a lot of water, given they're the invaders. This is a serious argument that there is a civilized way to commit genocide. Hint: there isn't.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2 posted:

There is no honor in victory achieved this way. This does not show the superiority of humanity, or the courage and fighting skills of the Coalition Army. This is merely the act of a mindless horde brutalizing the weak, which any common thug can do. No, the Coalition is made of better stuff than that, and although it strives to one day destroy all that is inhuman and contaminated by magic, it shall do so the right way, the honorable way, a way that generations to come will be proud to look back upon as the path taken by true heroes.




"If your alignment is Principled, don't worry about pulling the trigger, the others will take care of it for you."

Emperor Karl Prosek doesn't care for this extremist faction. Not that he has any scruples regarding genocide, but thinks the actions taken by them appear desperate and runs the risk of a PR disaster at home. However, with the war going badly, he's willing to see if their plans bear fruit. While many Coalition officers despise this new movement, there isn't any openly vocal opposition to them.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

In the generations to come, when Coalition citizens look back on the horrors their society perpetrated against the Kingdom of Tolkeen, the real blame shall not rest with Micander Drogue or even Emperor Prosek. It shall rest with the "Silent Legion," the thousands upon thousands of otherwise good (or at least, less evil) soldiers who saw the holocaust happening before their very eyes, yet chose to do nothing about it.

This, at least, I agree with.


"Ugh, do I have that tiny skull stuck to my head again?"

So, the main villain behind the Second Wave is General Micander Drogue, the son of a wealthy Coalition family that turned out to be associated with outside saboteurs. Though their status kept them from execution, they were reduced in citizenship level to the "dregs".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Before long, Micander's mother had turned to prostitution, and his father was a burned-out alcoholic and drug addict. By the time Micander was twelve, his mother had committed suicide, and his father had simply vanished.

Drogue turned to crimes, becoming a city rat known as "Scrape". He worked in stealing cybernetics (violently), but eventually he was caught. Though normally he might be executed for this, it turns out his half-assed xenophobic ranting caught the attention of the police officer overseeing his case, who thought:

"Man, officer material."

So he was put into training and worked as a grunt patrolling the 'Burbs and beating its inhabitants and occasionally his peers, his record was "otherwise spotless" and what's a little physical abuse between soldiers? He turned out to be a fanatic - not for the Coalition government, but for the idea of Coalition purity in general. He rose up the ranks because... um... it doesn't say, but the Coalition seems to reward sociopathy. He's worked to alienate any merciful soldiers under his command and instead has put together a group of like-minded fanatics who he abuses on the regular. However, he's supposed to be "brilliant" and a "natural leader" who has a photographic memory. Ah, yes, a natural leader that psychologically (and physically) tortures his men. "Wow, sir, I sure feel naturally led after you beat me to an inch of my life! Inspiring, sir! *spits out tooth*"

We also get some of his goons:
  • Lt. Gen. Kira Moss: A fanatic human supremacist, she's... schizophrenic and manic-depressive, the kind of things that catapult you right to the higher ranks of the military. It seems Drogue saw this and was like:

    "Man, general material."

    In the kind of nuanced treatment we've seen of mental illness in this game, she's a "Black Widow" who seduces men. When she tires of them, she transfers them to the most hazardous duty she can find. Despite being known for this, she always seems to find "fresh meat". Also she ♥s Drogue and if he asked her to stab herself in the eye with an icepick she'd be "which socket?" Despite this she's supposed to be a competent, uber-fanatical ice queen. This writeup is just singularly and inexcuably awful.
  • Lt. General Ian Shrike: A generic bad seed and general Starscream, Shrike murdered his baby brother when he was 6 and has gone on to see how many murders he can get away with since then. He's murdered a dozen people because he's felt like it, and his background as a serial killer was apparently perfect training for intelligence services. Apparently, Coalition intelligence never found out about his crimes or never cared. More interestingly, he's obsessed with using his position to become a wizard, seeking to either join the Vanguard (the mysterious pro-Coalition mages mentioned in the previous book) or by seizing Tolkeen's mystical wisdom. He's very much the René Belloq sort, plus serial murdering, in case Belloq wasn't evil enough for you.
  • Mercenary Major Ghillie Cordoba: A child of the Chi-Town 'Burbs, his father abandoned him for a D-Bee "bitch" (their word) and became a gang leader. (No idea what his mom's situation was, of course.) He hated his dad and wanted him brought to justice, but their gang fled to Tolkeen. Ghillie became a Rogue Scientist, but was caught by the Coalition, and now works for them as a... mercenary that runs Drogue's Rift Control Study Group? How does that work? Wouldn't they just bring him on? In any case, he wants to kill his dad and help his General with genocide in about that order. Also he has a Intelligence of 29, which isn't possible in character creation, and also the writeup gives him a higher skill bonus than that provides, but... details!


"... we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away."

We also get very brief summaries of Cordoba's science team, but none are particularly notable.

On the other side of the coin - or, more like the rough little edge, really - is General Jericho Holmes. Holmes is supposed to be the honorable serious dude who kicks all the asses. There's a story where he fights off 300 bandits at a Coalition outpost after the rest of his men run.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

As the troops cautiously entered the compound, they found Lt. Holmes kneeling on top of a pile of corpses, his vibro-sword still humming in his clenched fist. Breathing hard, Lt. Holmes looked up at his returning soldiers and remarked, "It's been a long night," and collapsed.

He's become the poster boy for Coalition badassery. He's also a human supremacist, but can be merciful and would rather just drive D-Bees out than murder them. It's not that he's that nice of a guy, but sees wanton slaughter as just inspiring victims to seek revenge and escalating matters. But he'll still kill if he "has to".

He's an author darling, and it shows.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

A solid and humble servant of the Coalition, he was the perfect "poster boy" for everything the common foot soldier could aspire to be.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Since then, Holmes has been promoted numerous times for his gallantry and brilliant leadership.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

It is not just General Holmes' 1,000+ enemy kills that makes him such an icon of bravery and soldiering excellence.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

He is the soldier's soldier, and the infantry of the Coalition love him for it.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

He is a military machine whose only concern is completing his mission, furthering the glory of the Coalition States, and ridding the world of D-Bees.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Such is the legacy of one of the Coalition's great superpatriots, a man of uncompromising principle and courage, a pillar of strength in the campaign that might change the face of the Coalition forever.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Note: This weapon was given to Holmes as a gift by Emperor Prosek on Holmes' 30th anniversary. The weapon is specially engraved along the barrel ("Duty. Courage. Honor.") and is Holmes' prize possession.

yes this is a guy that will have an impact on the war in case you're wondering

Oh, and let's recap some poo poo because it's bothering me:

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Before long, Micander's mother had turned to prostitution, and his father was a burned-out alcoholic and drug addict. By the time Micander was twelve, his mother had committed suicide, and his father had simply vanished.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Clinically schizophrenic and a manic depressive, Moss is known as the "Black Widow" and "Spider Queen." This comes from her notorious habit of seducing men under her command, using them (for a few days, weeks, or months), and then having them transferred to the most hazardous duty she can find. For some reason, she is always able to find fresh meat who don't know about her despite the large body of rumors in the mill. Secretly, Moss lusts after General Drogue and swears that one day she shall have him, even if it means destroying herself in the process. She is obsessed with him and will do literally anything, including commit suicide on the spot, at his command.

Her bizarre personal situation aside...

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

When he was a teenager his father ran off with a D-Bee seductress and sorcerer, joined her gang and part of preyed upon the people of the Chi-Town 'Burbs for years as the notorious bandit group, the Street Raiders. Young Ghille hated his father for deserting them, the D-Bee bitch who lured him away and everything associated with them, including their D-Bee gang and their exploits.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

She is a slender and attractive brunette who is deceptively innocent looking, but can kill a man or repair a gun faster than most. She enjoys this assignment because she can learn things from the scientists. Lt. Manheim finds herself attracted to the Major (for his brain if nothing else), but he has not noticed her, and professional decorum dictates she does nothing about her feelings. Still, she likes to hang around him and has become his unofficial bodyguard.

Gender issues, huh? But wait, there's one decent writeup of a woman:

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Lt. Laquisha "Doc" Sanders, Unprincipled, 6th level CS Technical Officer trained as a Medic; skills include Biology, Criminal Sciences and Forensics, Pathology, and Medical Doctor.

See, there, balance! Wait, how the gently caress do you stay Unprincipled with this pack of openly genocidal-



Next: Super Dirty Dozen 250% Plus Alpha.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 05:18 on May 10, 2019

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


SirPhoebos posted:

At a certain point I feel that Kevin's intent no longer makes a difference. Especially when he keeps doing it for 30 some years.

jakodee posted:

I mean he’s all “cool robot, people with cool robots are cool!” like a five year old. Which is completely indistinguishable from fascism because fascism is the political ideology of five year old boys who just saw their first animated Batman film.

Again I’m not sure being a fascist because you really are just that dumb is an impossibility.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Hey wait a minute, this Micander guy is just Gaius from FFXIV!

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



I hate Holmes most of all.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Hey, the DCAU was pretty clear on the 'fascists are bad' angle, let's not drag specifically that variety of animated Batman into this. I have a lot of nostalgia for it and I don't want to associate it with RIFTS.

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


Joe Slowboat posted:

Hey, the DCAU was pretty clear on the 'fascists are bad' angle, let's not drag specifically that variety of animated Batman into this. I have a lot of nostalgia for it and I don't want to associate it with RIFTS.

I wasn’t tying to insult Batman, just the feeling Batman inspires in some young people.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





jakodee posted:

I wasn’t tying to insult Batman, just the feeling Batman inspires in some young people.

Oh, sure, I wasn't seriously concerned. There's plenty of fash Batman versions out there - I just specifically wanted to put in a good word for the old animated series.

TheNamedSavior
Mar 10, 2019



BTAS Batman actually tried to reform his villains unlike literally nearly every other version of batman ever, so yes, DCAU Batman is amazing and even acknowledges he is a deeply flawed person.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Cults: Jehammedans, pt.5



Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults


Here's a reminder:



1. Hagari

Girl time! It's not great being a Hagari.

quote:

Hagaris are the Cult’s backbone. While theirs is the lowest rank in the Jehammedan family, everyone regards these women with pride.

Anything you can't kick a Ismaeli into doing is done by Hagaris, which means crafting and housekeeping.

Oh, and dying for their men.

quote:

From an early age they are taught to love their father, husband, and children and precede them into death.

It’s terrifying when unassuming women mingle with the Anabaptists or walk across Purgan markets to kill themselves and countless enemies with explosives. In the evening, the Abrami will explain to his children that they are sure to gain access to Heaven, who then tussle his beard in mourning and pride.

10/10 dawkinses, we have liftoff!

Also, a suicide vest is the most technologically sophisticated weapon that the Jehammedans use, as much as we know. Think about it.

2. Delilah

A Hagari that displeases her Abrami can be cast out and become a Delilah. They have little other recourse but to fight besides the Swords of Jehammed and die. Not that those guys want to associate with them too closely:

quote:

No one wants to give the impression to his Abrami that he was guilty of the Delilah’s fall.

...what? Isn't a Delilah already fallen? You can't assume that your son has caused the fall of any Delilah he ran across! What the gently caress?!

2. Voice of Jehammed

Some Hagari (probably not too hot on life of toil and pregnancies and suicide bombing)- decide to find an area where the Abrami can't compete with them – and that's literacy. When a Hagari can read and interpret the writings of Jehammed, she can give no end of poo poo to an Abrami – and he has to comply or face the ire of Iconides.

3. Righteous One

This lady has studied Jehammed's words so much, she nows them by heart. Even Iconides don't want to be on her bad side.

quote:

Their knowledge makes the Righteous Ones misfits. Their Abrami is considered a little soft and seems to be unable to control his women.

Women, amirite?

1. Saraeli

Much like the male blessed child of incest, Isaaki, the Saraeli is pampered from her birth. One of them will birth the Messiah some day, but for now, it's great if they can produce an Isaaki (or a Saraeli) from the one time a year she's allowed to have sex with her father brother uncle Abrami.

2. Pride of Jehammed

The book says that if a Saraeli can't produce a son, the investment spent on her would have been better used for buying a goat. However if she does give birth a boy, she is considered blessed... and can influence the clan via the fruit of her loins. Very Cersei Lannister of her.

2. Maculate

Now that's a word I had never heard used.

If a Saraeli loses her virginity to anyone else but her Abrami or can't produce a son, she's nearly outcast, “surrounded by false courtesy and mock respect.” Many Maculates just vanish, understandably going out to look for a better life outside of Jehammedan society.

I wonder if the rules support that, lol.

2. Immaculate

This is a Saraeli who never had sex with an Abrami – maybe she didn't marry, maybe her Abrami tripped over a goat on the way consummate their marriage, fell head first into a clay jug, stumbled around noisily breaking stuff and dropped into a latrine to drown in poop. In any case, not having sex granted them strong wizard powers gave them freedom. Now, Immaculates are no longer pampered, but they're allowed to do whatever they want, as long as they do it with modesty. Most take to tending to the sick, learning the teachings of Jehammed with the Voices or even doing diplomacy.

3. Iconess

If the Immaculate has done something miraculous in her service, she can be elevated to Iconide status. Some elders will say that a woman can't do that; the Righteous Ones will say that Jehammed never said anything about women being unable to interpret images. Since it's hard to argue with women that actually read the drat writings...

4. Oracle

That's just an Iconess who had made some kickin' rad and true prophecies. Doesn't feel as influential as being declared a Prophet, but you take what you can get!

3. Arianoi

So if you're a Delilah or a Maculate that wants to stay within Jehammedan society or a Sword/Pride of Jehammedan who thinks that killing is cool and wants to do more of it, they can go to Crete. There, they'll meet Aries (and see “his tattered cloak fly when there was no wind at all”), drink a “metalic draught” from Ram's head (so it's capitalized after all) and ride the combat drug high from then on.

4. Blood of Aries

The higher you get on Aries' supply, the better you get, with rapid regeneration and visions that cloud the mind. The book claims that they are now part of Aries – possibly with ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL implications.

5. Fatum

A Fatum is Aries' elite assassin. That's about it.

Next time:No more Ranks, I promise!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Gender issues, huh? But wait, there's one decent writeup of a woman:

I've got a handful of Rifters and everything up to and including Coalition War Campaign, and from what I remember this kind of thing was... I won't say pervasive, but common enough to stick out.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



What Fire Has Wrought: Dragon Horses

Ride Excellency: Scattered Pearl Hoof Falls (Wood) gives successes and reduces your horse’s mobility penalty from barding. Interesting Charms: Heaven-Racing Leap (Air) lets your horse jump one range band horizontally as its reflexive movement, gives a bonus to movement rolls when jumping as part of them, and in Air Aura also lets your horse instead jump one range band vertically if there’s a surface that can hold its weight to land on. Cloud-Harnessing Technique (Air) lets your mount run and stand on surfaces that wouldn’t bear its weight normally for one turn and lets it ignore Difficult terrain by, essentially, hovering just off the ground. Dance of the Jade Bridle (Wood) lets you make a Ride roll against an animal’s Resolve to force it to respect you, allowing you to ride it and making it form a Minor Tie of loyalty to you. To fully tame a wild beast will require more interaction and probably Survival Charms, but at least you can ride your wild crocodile. rear end-to-Elephant Method (Earth) makes your horse stronger based on how fast it is for a single feat of strength. Seven-League Gallop (Wood) makes your horse’s Speed bonus partially into successes in combat, and greatly increases its overland speed outside combat. Trail-Blazing Dragon Steed (Fire) makes your horse leave a burning trail of fiery hoofprints behind it as an environmental hazard that also sets stuff on fire. Horses-Like-Dragons Stampede (Wood) lets you round up a herd of ridable animals and lead them into battle, where they trample over your foes and deal a ton of Bashing damage before they disperse into the wild. You can learn variants for the other elements that instead let you lead stampedes made of natural disaster, such as an avalanche for Air, a rockslide for Earth, a grass fire for Fire or a rushing river for Water.

Signatures: Untethered Pegasus Spirit (Air) lets your mount run on thin air as long as it never stops moving and makes you and it immune to falling damage while mounted. Mountain-Trampling Hoof (Earth) lets your mount smash through an at least human-sized object as a feat of demolition with a bonus, and if they spend turns beforehand building up speed by galloping at it, you reduce the Strength requirement to attempt the feat. Also the feat takes only seconds, even if it’d normally take longer. However, the mount takes damage based on 1s rolled. Charge of One Hundred Generals (Fire) lets you make a mounted rush at a foe between 2 and 4 range bands away, bringing all allied mounted characters with you for the charge and giving all your charging buddies free Initiative. Ride Beneath the Waves (Water) lets your mount breathe water and swim or run underwater or in water with no penalty, plus you get a bonus to Ride checks to control it while underwater. (This gives you no ability to breathe water, so you’ll want that beforehand.) Dragon-Among-Horses Exaltation (Wood) marks your horse with your blood, transforming it in your anima. It gets a bonus to your choice of rolls of any one physical stat (plus Withering damage for Strength or soak for Stamina), +1 Hardness and extra health levels. You can only bless one mount at a time, but the XP cost to do so is refunded if it dies. Rare horses with elemental blood can have this used on them with no XP cost, but such horses are extremely rare even on the Blessed Isle, and cannot be purchased with Resources – they’re going to involve favor trading and politics to get ahold of. There are 24 Ride Charms over 5.5 pages.

Sail Excellency: Fine Passage-Negotiation Style (Water) adds successes and rerolls 6s. Interesting Charms: Dragon Mariner Attitude (Water) lets you pick what naval archetype you seem to fit at any given time. Carousing causes people dealing in drink, gamble or do drugs to seek you out, to give them to you or tell you how to get them. Heroism causes people that need a seafaring hero to solve their problems to seek you out to ask your aid and treats them as if they had a Minor Tie of trust towards you. Leadership makes all sailors serving under you and all seafaring trivial characters get treated as having a Minor Tie of respect towards you and gives a bonus to inspire and command checks targeting them. Menacing gives a bonus to threaten checks and temporarily applies the Hideous merit to you. Seven Seas Wind-Luring Chanty lets you sing a bawdy song with a Sail check, reducing penalties from bad weather or calling up a sail-filling wind in good weather. Pirate-Masquerading Method (Water) causes other ships’ crews to see your ship as if it was of the same allegiance or type as theirs if they fail an Awareness/Investigation check against your Sail. This can also be used on yourself to make members of a specific group of sailors think you are a member of their group, giving a bonus to disguise checks and Guile to avoid being noticed as an outsider.

Signatures: Storm-Singer’s Reprieve (Air) lets you call out to the sea gods for mercy, making a Sail check with a bonus once per story when faced by a weather-based maritime hazard or other troubled waters. Success causes the hazard to just…go away. Failure means you have to actually navigate it. Hull-Shattering Avalanche Impact (Earth) lets you, once per day, perform a ram stratagem in naval combat with a bonus, enfolding your ship in your anima to make it deal extra damage. Out of combat, you can use this to demolish obstacles or structures by ramming them with a Sail-based feat of strength that gets a bonus based on your ship’s speed. Dragon Sets the Seas Ablaze (Fire) lets you discharge your anima through your ship’s weapons once per scene, giving a bonus to a broadside stratagem and making it set the enemy ship on fire. Shipwreck-Strewn Tempest Wake (Water) churns the sea into a frenzy once per story when you are making an extended roll to escape pursuit or using an escape stratagem. You make a maelstrom or other hazard that requires a Sail roll to navigate and damages ships that fail as well as throwing them off course, keeping them from following you for several days. Benediction of the Living Ship (Wood) reawakens life in the timbers of your ship once per story, causing roots and branches to grow and repair its damaged hull and making flowers or fruits sprout to feed your crew. You heal the ship’s damage with an Essence roll, and all people aboard heal some damage due to the bounty of the ship, plus you have enough food to last the rest of the story if you didn’t before, and everyone gets a bonus to any roll to resist poison or disease for the rest of the story. There are 19 Sail Charms over 5 pages.

Socialize Excellency: Loquacious Courtier Technique (Fire) adds successes and boosts Guile, and it’s Mute. Interesting Charms: Wary Yellow Dog Attitude (Fire) lets you roll Join Battle with Socialize if a fight breaks out during a social interaction, and gives a bonus if you’ve influenced or read any of the enemies’ intentions in the scene. Sweeten-the-Tap Method (Fire/Wood) can be used when you supply drinks to a group. Everyone that drinks gets -1 Guile and is treated as having a positive Minor Tie towards all other partygoers. However, anyone in the scene that botches a social action gets the phantom positive Tie everyone has to them turned into a phantom negative Tie by anyone who witnessed the botch. Rippling Mirror Face (Water) can be used whenever someone tries to read your intentions, allowing you to make them think they succeeded if they fail but instead revealing an Intimacy anyone else in the scene has that you’ve found with prior read intentions check, passing it off as your own. In Water Aura, you can use this after you know they failed rather than before their roll.

Signatures: Clear-Eyed Courtier’s Scrutiny (Air) lets you, once per day, make a read intentions roll against everyone you can perceive, with a bonus. You can either determine all of their intentions in the current scene or identify all their Intimacies towards a single topic. Even if you fail to beat someone’s Guile, you don’t have to do anything to reset your read intentions against them – you can just focus on them personally rather than reading the entire group. Unfaltering Pillar of Unity (Earth) lets you, once per story, make a Socialize roll at a bonus against any number of people from a single culture or social group to instill a Tie of loyalty towards a that group, and to resist they must enter a Decision Point and use a Major or Defining Intimacy. They cannot voluntarily weaken the Tie you make for several weeks or do anything in that period to oppose it unless doing so supports a Defining Intimacy. Wildfire Scandal Revelation (Fire) requires you to know an embarrassing or damaging secret that would have major negative consequences for someone if revealed. Once per story, you can use it when you reveal that secret to make a Socialize check with a bonus to instill a negative Tie towards that person or weaken a positive Tie. You simultaneously instill a negative Tie or weaken a positive one towards a culture or social group that person belongs to of your choice, and for the rest of the story, anyone you affected this way gets the benefits of having a relevant specialty whenever they make an influence roll to spread the secret.

Wordy! Ego-Dissolving Deception (Water) lets you spend an hour meditating once per story to rewrite your own memories of a single event or relationship, gaining a Major Principle to support this false belief. You may treat anything that would weaken this Intimacy as unacceptable influence. At any time you may reflexively end this Charm to restore your memories to normal even if you don’t remember using this Charm, but the Intimacy remains in place until you erode it normally; while it is in place, you have both sets of memories. At Essence 5, you can expend your Water Aura to reflexively use this whenever something targets your Guile, altering your memories to produce falsified information even if they succeed. Poisonous Sneer Approach (Wood) can be used once per day when you witness someone else making social influence. You mock or deride them and expose the flaws of their argument with a Socialize roll, with each success giving them a penalty to their influence roll. If this drops their pool to zero or if they botch, their influence does the opposite of what they intended on everyone whose Resolve was beaten by your Socialize check. There are 24 Socialize Charms over 5.5 pages.

Stealth Excellency: Distracting Breeze Meditation (Air) gives successes and is Mute. Interesting Charms: Shimmering Heat-Mirage Tactic (Fire) makes your outline blur and you leave afterimages, giving a bonus to Evasion, ending when a nontrivial foe attacks you but rolls no 1s, except in Fire Aura, where instead it ends when someone attacks you and has both no 1s and has 10s in the roll. Burning Shadow Double (Fire) lets you, while concealed, create a mirage clone of yourself that appears exactly like you, but can’t speak, touch things or make noise and must be within Medium range of you at all times. It dissolves when struck and can’t easily dodge stuff at close range, where it also can be detected as a fake with an Awareness check against your Stealth. In Fire Aura you can create multiple decoys. Zone of Silence Stance (Air) weighs the air down around you, making you and everything in close range perfectly silent, undetectable even with supernatural hearing. In Air Aura, you can slowly expand the size of the silence zone. Mela’s Hungry Jaws (Air) can only be used while concealed and within Medium range of a foe that is not aware of you. You steal their breath, causing them to immediately begin asphyxiating, and trivial foes just loving die. You can’t move while maintaining this, but the foe has to make disengage checks to move any distance at all, and they can only break free by discovering you with an Awareness check, moving to Extreme range away from you or having their friends find you and smack you, as this ends if you get hit or if someone attacks you and rolls no 1s, even if they miss.

Signatures: Whispering Dragon Soul (Air) lets you pay extra Essence on any Air or Balanced Charm to give it the Mute keyword, and you can spend minor XP per element to expand this ability to other elements, but you can only use it on a single element’s Charms in any given instant (and Balanced Charms). Sleeping Dragon’s Lair (Earth) lets you sink into the ground, concealing yourself inside the earth just under the surface. You cannot be seen or heard without magic that can do stuff like sense heartbeats or similar, and any scent trail abruptly ends where you entered the earth. While entombed, you can’t use your senses or move without use of appropriate Charms, and you only bring enough air to breathe for five minutes, after which you’ll need to hold your breath. When this ends, you erupt forth in a cloud of dust you can hide in, and if you expend Earth Aura, you blind all foes in Short Range unless they make an Awareness check, which lasts for the scene or until they spend a turn and some Initiative clearing their eyes. At Essence 5, this even works on solid rock as long as it’s unworked, natural stone, and your Earth Aura emergence from solid rock causes a shrapnel spray that both blinds and is a brief environmental hazard.

That’s a long one! Flame-Becomes-Shadow Technique (Fire) lets you make a Stealth roll against the Resolve of anyone with an Intimacy that supports deference or submission to you for any reason. They become incapable of perceiving you at all until you take hostile action or choose to reveal yourself. Depth-Stalking Discipline (Water) can be used once per scene and gives a bonus to Stealth rolls while in Water Aura. If surrounded by water, such as driving rain or swimming, the bonus is bigger and you cannot be detected by scent at all even with magic. Shadow-Stalking Predator Spirit (Wood) can be used once per scene while moving through or hiding in light foliage or other vegetation. Enemies within Medium range (or Long range, in areas of heavy growth) get a penalty to oppose your Stealth based on their rolled 1s, because the plants move to conceal you. When you make an unexpected attack against an affected enemy, you can expend Wood Aura to end this Charm and get a bonus to damage and the duration of any poison you inflict with it. There are 15 Stealth Charms over 3.5 pages.

Survival Excellency: Ration-Enhancing Method (Wood) adds successes and, if used to forage for food, provides enough to eat for a day for one person per success rather than the normal amount. Interesting Charms: Wild-Wandering Forester’s Charm (Wood) lets you introduce facts about wilderness regions you’re familiar with via Survival. Invoking Nature’s Forgiveness (Wood) lets you spend 5 minutes teaching your Sworn Kin and a handful of others how to handle an environment, giving them a temporary Resistance specialty related to it and reducing environmental penalties they suffer from there. Vanishing Tracks Technique (Air) rerolls 6s when trying to cover your tracks and lets you use your roll to hide your Sworn Kin if it’s better than theirs. Dragon’s Nest Shelter calls on any one element to create a shelter for you – vines secure your tent of leaves, the earth forms a hut, falling snow builds itself into an igloo. It is large enough for you and your Sworn Kin plus a handful of others, and forms itself over the course of an hour, and it protects against environmental hazards and dangers of the element you used. Multiple DBs that know this can cooperate, each adding an element to protect against and making the thing slightly bigger. The protection can stop, say, hurricane-force winds from entering a cave (via Air) or rockslides (via Earth) but offers no protection against elemental magic or deliberate attacks. At Essence 5, the shelter also prevents any warping by the Wyld within border or middlemarches, though not the Deep Wyld.

Signatures: Cunning Beast-Mind Inspiration (Air) lets you make a Survival roll on your familiar’s turn, giving it a bonus based on your roll to any one action, and it can reflexively use Defend Other to protect you as well. Also, if it attempts a Distract gambit to benefit you, it gets a further bonus. Earth-Moving Kata (Earth) lets you unleash a pulse of seismic Essence to move an obstacle aside. Any natural earthen scenery barring your path can be moved, such as fallen rocks blocking a road or a boulder in front of a cave mouth or a pool of quicksand. This has no effect on masonry or other man-made obstructions. Alternatively, you can conjure up an earthen bridge or stair to cross a gap or chasm. Wildfire-Taming Technique (Fire) lets you divert the path of a wildfire with a Survival roll, making it continue to burn but avoiding you and your companions. It will not directly obstruct you for the rest of the story, period, and you can order it to track down a specific person if you want to, using your threshold successes in place of a normal tracking roll. The fire may track its quarry magically, allowing to even trail a Solar using Traceless Passage, despite being an unintelligent fire. In ideal conditions, a fire moves up to 150 mph, but it must have a path of burnable fuel to move along. Roaring Dragon Font (Water) lets you stomp once per story, calling a spring of water out from the ground with a Survival roll, even in a desert. Normally, the spring is permanent, but in sufficiently harsh regions it might last only several days. It can only be used on the ground, not inside boats or buildings. In the scene you use it, the waters are blessed with Essence and anyone that drinks of it and either has or accepts a positive Tie towards you gets a bonus to Athletics, Resistance and Survival rolls for the rest of the day. Stalking Apex Predator Technique (Wood) lets you ignore Difficult terrain made of plants or foliage and removes the penalty for attempting concealment in combat in such terrain, and you can attempt a rush while conealed. You also get a bonus to concealing your tracks. Once per scene, you can expend Wood Aura when making an unexpected Decisive attack from plant-based concealment to get a bonus to the attack and damage. There are 21 Survival Charms over 4.5 pages.

Next time: Thrown, War, Martial Arts

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





It's pretty telling around the time of Lone Star, I believe, you started getting alignments like "Principled to the CS only." Which would make you still probably Diabolic to everyone else and thus that alignment on average.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



Dawgstar posted:

It's pretty telling around the time of Lone Star, I believe, you started getting alignments like "Principled to the CS only." Which would make you still probably Diabolic to everyone else and thus that alignment on average.

That's wierd. Like he realizes they're not good but isn't willing to just call them not good.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Ratoslov posted:

That's wierd. Like he realizes they're not good but isn't willing to just call them not good.

It's like using alignment systems are bullshit anyway.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



God Jericho Holmes reminds me of all the people trying to romanticize Rommel "Oh he's one of the good ones." - and the older I get, the less I tolerate this line of thinking.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Robindaybird posted:

God Jericho Holmes reminds me of all the people trying to romanticize Rommel "Oh he's one of the good ones." - and the older I get, the less I tolerate this line of thinking.

There were many good Nazis during the time of the Reich, the dead ones.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Barudak posted:

There were many good Nazis during the time of the Reich, the dead ones.

I mean, you had the Abwehr, who were the military intelligence service loaded with double agents actively loving with Hitler's intelligence, but they end up mostly in as "dead ones", too.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


I just had a premonition about the hot take Book 2 is going to take at the end. I'm hoping I'm wrong.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Young Freud posted:

I mean, you had the Abwehr, who were the military intelligence service loaded with double agents actively loving with Hitler's intelligence, but they end up mostly in as "dead ones", too.

While the Abwehr has a pop-history reputation as a hotbed of anti-Nazi activity, I'd be careful about statements like this. It might not even be wrong, but the risk of relying on pop-history generalizations is that pop-history is exactly what gave Erwin "gave the order to cleanse Palestine of Jews" Rommel a fifty-year pass as "the good one".

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



It can be debated whether the abwehr were deliberately helping the allies, but they definitely were.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





LatwPIAT posted:

While the Abwehr has a pop-history reputation as a hotbed of anti-Nazi activity, I'd be careful about statements like this. It might not even be wrong, but the risk of relying on pop-history generalizations is that pop-history is exactly what gave Erwin "gave the order to cleanse Palestine of Jews" Rommel a fifty-year pass as "the good one".

Man, I wish I'd known that when I was getting dogpiled elsewhere over ol' Edwin being "the good one."

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

NHP advocate.


LatwPIAT posted:

While the Abwehr has a pop-history reputation as a hotbed of anti-Nazi activity, I'd be careful about statements like this. It might not even be wrong, but the risk of relying on pop-history generalizations is that pop-history is exactly what gave Erwin "gave the order to cleanse Palestine of Jews" Rommel a fifty-year pass as "the good one".

Oh Canaris was defo an aristocratic Tory poo poo. But it's just hilarious that the super secret special spy agency is so full of double agents that they manage to give the guy who tricked them about where D-day would land the iron cross.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill, part 3 - "Destroying Tolkeen is a kind of personal jihad (holy war) for him, and he will not rest until the entire world is purged entirely of D-Bees ("the D stands for 'degenerate,' you know") and magic-using scum."

Let's recap something from the corebook:

Rifts RPG posted:

Principled (Good)
Principled characters are, generally, the strong, moral character.

Principled characters will . . .

1. Always keep his word.
2. Avoid lies.
3. Never kill or attack an unarmed foe.
4. Never harm an innocent.
5. Never torture for any reason.
6. Never kill for pleasure.
7. Always help others.
8. Work well in a group.
9. Respect authority, law, self-discipline and honor.
10. Never betrays a friend.
11. Never break the law unless conditions are desperate. This means no breaking and entry, theft, torture, unprovoked assaults, etc.

Scrupulous (Good)
Scrupulous characters value life and freedom above all else, and despise those who would deprive others of them. This type of hero is typically portrayed in many Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson films; the person who is forced to work beyond the law, yet for the law, and the greater good of the people. They are not vicious or vindictive men, but are men driven to right injustice. I must point out that these characters will always attempt to work with or within the law whenever possible. Many cyber-knights are scrupulous.

Scrupulous Characters Will . . .

1. Keep his word to any other good person.
2. Lie only to people of selfish or evil alignments.
3. Never attack or kill an unarmed foe.
4. Never harm an innocent.
5. Never torture for pleasure, but may use muscle to extract information from criminals or evil characters.
6. Never kill for pleasure; will always attempt to bring the villain to justice alive no matter how vile he may be.
7. Always help others.
8. Attempt to work within the law whenever possible.
9. Bend and, occasionally, break the law when deemed necessary. This means they may use strong-arm techniques, harass, break and enter, theft, and so on.
10. Distrust authority.
11. Work with groups, but dislike confining laws and bureaucracy (red tape).
12. Never betrays a friend.

It'll be relevant shortly. (Also, man, did he ever actually watch Death Wish?)

The Dirty Thirty
By Bill Coffin
Additional text by Siembieda


So, this are supposed to be a ultra-ruthless Coalition Special Forces unit that is perfectly willing to wipe out civilian targets.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

From this group's horrifying perspective, every D-Bee or magic wielding man, woman or child they kill makes the world safer for human beings. All others are either invading monsters from alien worlds or traitors to humankind — all of whom need to be exterminated. Period.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

Get in the way, and you must be an enemy too.

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

While Captain Carruthers is an evil man, many of his soldiers are not. Many of them are well intentioned people who so fanatically believe in the Coalition's cause that they will do anything to further that cause and ensure their nation's survival. For these hard-hitters, murdering innocent women and children in Tolkeen is an oxymoron — the very fact that they are from Tolkeen negates their innocence.



whut

No, you can't say people are "good" because they can justify the evil they're doing. The ability to justify evil is what makes them loving evil! Dammit. Anyway, they're monsters, no matter what alignment ended up on their character sheet. YOU CAN'T PLEAD IGNORANCE WHEN GENOCIDE IS HAPPENING IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE, IT'S A CHILD'S EMPTY VERSION OF MORAL RELATIVITY, YOU VAPID HACK-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw91RJ_m_7g

Okay, okay. Let's, I'm gonna calm down while I have this chocolate-almond bar. Look. I get that Siembieda really, really, really doesn't want you to consider the Coalition just targets to shoot at, to consider their human situations. And that's fair. It's become popular to just wish death on the intolerant and hateful, but it's not really something I say. I'm probably overly optimistic in the potential of people to change. Not every modern Nazi has to forever be a Nazi. Mind, I'm not so much of a pollyanna as to expect it.

That being said, if somebody is complicit in genocide, they're doing evil, and the fact that the book wants to both-sides things at that point is a intense failure of writing. It's exacerbated by the fact that Palladium has clear, strict rules for their alignments that make proper behavior for good alignments clear-cut.


Remember this face.

Moving on, their leader is the subtly code-named Capt. Murray "Carnage" Carruthers (Alignment: Aberrant). He's yet another Coalition party hardliner who believes that anything is justified under their national cause, and seeks out rulebreakers to recruit under the notion such "wild men" are more ethically flexible. Yet, despite recruiting people based on their ability to difficulty to control, he's a "military genius" who engages in "barbarity".

Rifts Coalition Wars 2: Coalition Overkill posted:

... (the Dirty Thirty once returned to base with the skulls of over a thousand Tolkeenites just to prove their deaths — many of the soldiers were wearing bones as decoration)...

Do you bring an extra APC just to load with heads, Captain? Did you take an extra several days to clean the corpses and pull out the bones? How does a unit given to atrocities remain "steady and stable", as this section claims? Well, it almost certainly wouldn't, but the author wants him to be the kind of person that puts literal heads on literal pikes, and yet maintains some level of military decorum? Sure, okay.

I'll be noting characters' alignments, just so you can get an idea of the whiplash going on in this section.


I could insert a Nazi parody of a famous '80s TV theme, but let's not.

With all of its squads named after letters, we start with the A-Team...

... who is led by Lt. Maxwell Selig (Alignment: Anarchist). These guys are the scouts and rangers of the group. Max really, really hates Tolkeen and is happy to murder any he can, but also loves nature and peace. Isn't that deep characterization? I won't cover every member of the squad, but here's a few:
  • Otto Orsi (Diabolic): He loves to send war souvenirs home, like casings, ruined e-clips, or... the ears of "small Tolkeenite children".
  • Jed Churl (Miscreant): A thug who likes torturing people, sometimes to death.
  • Chaucer (Scrupulous): A funny dog boy who likes jokes and dirty limericks. Is fanatically well-loved by his unit. Somehow is scrupulous, "Did you ever hear about the girl from nantuck- OH NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN AAAAA-"


"This is a smile, right? I haven't done it in awhile."

B-Team is their armor and air unit, relying on cyborgs and power armor. Its leader is Sgt. Mark Thresher (Alignment: Aberrant), who is a confident "master chess player" who was placed as the squad leader without serving on a single combat patrol. Presumably that means literal chess and not figurative chess, given his FNG status. Yet, somehow he's a 7th level SAMAS Pilot. Maybe they mean he hasn't had a single combat patrol with the unit? In any case, the squad resents him and wants him gone. They won't overtly disobey him, but might "ignore" him.


"Look, we can't be hip-deep in skulls all the time."

A few of their members:
  • Roger Lewis (Miscreant): A... sigh, "sadist" who likes strafing civilians and has disobeyed evacuations to kill some more unarmed victims. He's been able to cover for this (somehow), but Carruthers may kill him if he finds out- for disobedience, of course, not his bloodthirst.
  • Wendy Holland (Miscreant): A cyborg who hates D-Bees. It's rumored her cybernetic conversion is due to a disease she got as a child she blames on nonhumans.
  • Hiroshi Yoshioka (Scrupulous): A master SAMAS pilot who considers his armor "lucky" and gets special bonuses when using in in the sort of unique bonus only NPCs can get. Somehow is scrupulous, "Let's have another good mission, achieve our objectives professionally- OH NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN AAAAA-"


The noblest neckbeard.

Sabotage and demolitions is handled by C-Team, who is led by Lt. Raul Auerbach (Alignment: Principled), who is troubled by Carruthers' and his peers' methods, and worries that his conscience makes him "impure" and that the rest of the unit might single them out if they find out. Despite his alignment, he goes along with this and is a "strident and self-righteous human supremacist", so, let's do it again. "Remember, just because they're inhuman filth, doesn't mean we have to worry about killing every- OH NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN AAAAA-"


"I was trained in reverse medicine. It's like healing people, only you kill them."
  • Laughing Boy (Miscreant): A juicer with "some kind of mental condition that makes him shriek with high-pitched, girlish laughter whenever he feels his life is in danger". He imposes a special penalty on initiative for all foes unless they have a Mental Endurance of 22+. He's become a boogeyman amongst the Coalition defenders.
  • Squire Gannon (Miscreant): A demolitions expert obsessed with the number 13, and believes that he has to mark every bomb he makes with a 13 or it won't go off. "He is both crazy and evil."
  • Fargo (Miscreant): A dog boy who's getting a taste for humans, and it's a coin-flip whether or not Carruthers will have him put down if he finds out... or promote him for "that kind of predatory spirit".
Dirty Thirty Hook, Line, and Sinkers
By Bill Coffin & Kevin Siembieda


So, we get some adventure hooks, since I know you are all so, so ready to include these guys in your campaign.
  • The Only Good D-Bee ...: The PCs are guarding D-Bee refugees along with some Tolkeen-loyal mercenaries, but then the Dirty Thirty tries to ambush them! Despite being the first adventure hook with them, it assumes the PCs know who they are. If the PCs ignore the Dirty Thirty's slaughter of unarmed civilians, they may get attacked instead if they have a rep. And then the GM shouts "And that's what you get!"
  • Kill 'Em All: Like the above, only the PCs are protecting a Tolkeenite unit's retreat instead. And the Dirty Thirty will want revenge if they're stopped, because they're led by a military genius! And there's nothing more genius than seeking revenge. It's the geniusiest.
  • Rear Echelon: An investigator is placed with the Dirty Thirty to find out if the rumors about their war crimes are true, and confirms the rumors pretty quickly. He flees, runs into the PCs, and tries to hire them to provide a safe journey back to Chi-Town. The twist is that the Dirty Thirty gives no shits, knowing that the higher-ups sanction their actions. As such, the Dirty Thirty may try and claim him, and he'll likely try to goad the PCs into a fight with them. But they're not actually that worried about his investigation, only his disappearance on their watch. Whadda tweest!
  • Not One Step Backward: Tolkeen forces have the Dirty Thirty cornered, and the PCs are presumed to be helping them. But it turns out the Tolkeen soldiers are just as ruthless and bloodthirsty, and torture the Dirty Thirty. "ask). Characters of good alignment will not be able to stand by silently — not even the Dirty Thirty deserve this sort of sadistic punishment." If the PCs bother rescuing the Dirty Thirty, they kill all of their Tolkeen tormentors in a later unskippable cutscene. Alternately, it suggests you might have the Dirty Thirty somehow blackmail PCs with hostages, imaginary or otherwise. Look, you're gonna help war criminals or we shoot this dog!
  • Smoke Screen: The Dirty Thirty is going to attack a Tolkeen wizard training camp, and try and capture a most-wanted mage for interrogation. There are several possibilities presented: that this mission is so risky is there might be an opportunity to exploit dissension with his troops, that they can capture members of the unit, or... maybe just are trying to save lives. Or it seriously suggests you might be hired to help by Carruthers for Raid on Hogwarts here.
  • Hello, My Name's Laughing Boy: The player characters befriend a "wild and zany" juicer while drinking who turns out to be Laughing Boy, above. They can try and capture him (since he's drunk), follow him to track down the Dirty Thirty (to attack or... ugh, join), or try and use his drunkenness to squeeze information out of him... but then have to stop him when he goes wandering to murder a D-Bee.
Yeah, this whole section is gross. Like, they're straightforward psychopathic villains, and that's dull but fine. But when it goes "actually some of the aren't so bad" or hints the PCs might work with them that the whole section goes from "meh" to "mafuck?"

This is followed by a Typical Combat O.C.C.s, and apparently the average Coalition soldier is 4th level despite the fact the Coalition went out of their way to do new recruitments for about half their force. Yes, it says they should be 2nd to 6th level. I guess the greenhorns are constantly on piss break when the players show up. Many have attributes that are well beyond what's likely for PCs, as well.

Next: Freelance Fascism.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





At this point it's harder to make excuses for Coffin, but at least I guess he did leave in disgust.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


In his defense, it's also really hard to tell now much meddling Siembieda did in this section as well.

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Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
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Join us next time when Lance corporal Goode finally musters the courage to ask Col. Pogrom to maybe turn down the violence in Operation Genocide a teensy bit.

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