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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I think it's meant to be more...

"As he falls to his knees and you are about to strike the final blow, a sudden wind tangles your blade in your cloak. In that moment, your foe throws up his hands. 'Wait,' he cries! 'Let me live and I will tell you what really happened to your sister!'"

"As you reject his offer and move to run him through, your foe hurls sand into the eyes of your friend guarding him, taking the opportunity to run. And what is that on the horizon - no! His guards have caught up, he's going to get away!"

"The guards dispatched, you turn to deal with your enemy...only to find he has stolen your horse and ridden off in the confusion."

"As you sneak up on his bed to run him through, a dog barks and awakens him, just before you can take him out. Now you must duel him!"\

Circumstances just keep arranging for death to never quite happen.

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Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Terrible Opinions posted:

Pathfinder did it because 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons did it. Can we find an earlier link the chain or does the buck end with Skip Williams and Monty?

First edition Shadowrun did it. It was kind of funny to look at all those fantasy race dudes just standing there in their boxers.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Mors Rattus posted:

I think it's meant to be more...

"As he falls to his knees and you are about to strike the final blow, a sudden wind tangles your blade in your cloak. In that moment, your foe throws up his hands. 'Wait,' he cries! 'Let me live and I will tell you what really happened to your sister!'"

"As you reject his offer and move to run him through, your foe hurls sand into the eyes of your friend guarding him, taking the opportunity to run. And what is that on the horizon - no! His guards have caught up, he's going to get away!"

"The guards dispatched, you turn to deal with your enemy...only to find he has stolen your horse and ridden off in the confusion."

"As you sneak up on his bed to run him through, a dog barks and awakens him, just before you can take him out. Now you must duel him!"\

Circumstances just keep arranging for death to never quite happen.

As you raise your dagger and prepare to slay the evil baron, he struggles fruitlessly against the ropes tying him to the chair. Your arm plunges down but before your helpless foe's heart is pierced by steel, you're both thrown across the room as a huge dragon breaks through the wall!

The dragon bellows "STOP TRYING TO CIRCUMVENT THE GAME'S CENTRAL CONCEIT, YOU rear end in a top hat" before taking to the skies once more. You watch as the dragon uses smoke to spell "JESUS CHRIST YOU loving NERDS" in the sky, and when you turn back to the room the baron has vanished.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




Hostile V posted:

You know how there's that medical condition where your heart is on the right side, dextrocardia? Well here comes it's bizarre uncle, Regenerating Skull Syndrome.

Or he switched places with a double, or you didn't ENTIRELY decapitate him properly, or the royal chirurgeon gets there and the five second rule is good so he can just sew the guy's head back on but now he has a BADASS SCAR to show off to demoralize you. Or maybe when you're Immortal From Passion like the game presumes, you just have stupid amounts of tenacity and willpower so the guy will eventually get up, tuck his head under his arm and carry himself to a hospital.

Actually out of the ones I wrote I picked the "vat of acid" one to be the most thorough dead. I wrote that under the assumption that the guy fell in and his opponent just waited and watched to make sure he got all fizzled away.

This, unironically.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


But what if I eat the villain? What then? Think your way out of that one! Checkmate, evildoer!

Astus
Nov 11, 2008


Yeah, a high inspiration means you cannot kill or completely remove that character, period. This doesn't mean his head will grow back, it means you won't try to decapitate him. Maybe you'll throw him in jail to execute later (giving him a chance to escape), maybe something happens (related or not) that interrupts you before you strike the final blow. Or maybe the GM just says "Stop trying to worm your way around the enemy's high inspiration. If you want to kill him, either do something to his inspiration or be an assassin."

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


And I'd be totally on board with that if it wasn't presented as something that's known about in-universe. It's bizarre that someone might want to kill you, but then go "Curses, he's too Inspired, I guess I'll have to throw him in prison and kidnap his girlfriend instead" without any kind of actual preventative force stopping him from doing the chopping.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

The real reason to want to overthrow and murder the kings is that they're the sort of guys who'd start entries with "This troper" on the genre-savvy page.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Hostile V posted:

You know how there's that medical condition where your heart is on the right side, dextrocardia? Well here comes it's bizarre uncle, Regenerating Skull Syndrome.

Or he switched places with a double, or you didn't ENTIRELY decapitate him properly, or the royal chirurgeon gets there and the five second rule is good so he can just sew the guy's head back on but now he has a BADASS SCAR to show off to demoralize you. Or maybe when you're Immortal From Passion like the game presumes, you just have stupid amounts of tenacity and willpower so the guy will eventually get up, tuck his head under his arm and carry himself to a hospital.

Actually out of the ones I wrote I picked the "vat of acid" one to be the most thorough dead. I wrote that under the assumption that the guy fell in and his opponent just waited and watched to make sure he got all fizzled away.

This is already much better and creative than D&D's "A spellcaster with a resurrection spell did it".

Astus
Nov 11, 2008


And if all other explanations fail, you could always say "a crisis surge did it". Those things happen every other day in large cities, and you're still not safe from them if you live alone in the wilderness. Spellbound Kingdom's setting is just jam-packed with magic, which is usually bad due to the whole "magic hates magic" thing, but can occasionally benefit someone in particular.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


ProfessorProf posted:

And I'd be totally on board with that if it wasn't presented as something that's known about in-universe. It's bizarre that someone might want to kill you, but then go "Curses, he's too Inspired, I guess I'll have to throw him in prison and kidnap his girlfriend instead" without any kind of actual preventative force stopping him from doing the chopping.

I agree I'd probably be more down with the setting if it just happened to adhere to swashbuckling reality and that's How It Was than if it was a known in-setting thing.

But that's partly because I really want 7th Sea But Not poo poo.

Lupercalcalcal
Jan 28, 2016

Suck a dick, dumb shits


Night10194 posted:

I agree I'd probably be more down with the setting if it just happened to adhere to swashbuckling reality and that's How It Was than if it was a known in-setting thing.

But that's partly because I really want 7th Sea But Not poo poo.

The thing is, you could 100% play it like that. I actually really like the weird meta awareness of the setting, but if you don't there's no reason not to play it straight.

Spellbound Kingdoms can be your not poo poo 7th sea with exactly zero work.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Can't, not one paragraph is singing praise to the genius that is John wick.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Nifara posted:

The thing is, you could 100% play it like that. I actually really like the weird meta awareness of the setting, but if you don't there's no reason not to play it straight.

Spellbound Kingdoms can be your not poo poo 7th sea with exactly zero work.

Oh, I realize that much. I'm definitely going to take a deeper look at it I'll just probably use my own setting.

But then I do that for most games and the system looks fascinatingly fun to play with.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012




Character Creation

Character creation is pretty straight forward, so this will go quickly. There’s not much here that will be new to regular RPG players, so I’ll mainly focus on the more unique parts and skim over most of the things in the book.

The first part of the chapter is actually a nice few paragraphs about the practical reasons to create a varied party while at the same time making sure they work together as a coherent whole, with exploration of party composition strategies and making sure the GM and players agree what sort of characters belong in the game.

Character creation works on two ways: standard Point Buy and good ol’ One Roll generation.

Point buy is bog standard, you get so many XP , either 85, 120, or 150 depending on what power level the GM wants the characters to be at, to buy stats, skills, advantages, etc. Absolutely nothing surprising here, but once again: if it ain't broke don’t fix it. There’ s nothing wrong with just sticking to good old Point Buy for the default character generation. If you want to look at the costs of everything, here they are:

quote:

Increasing a Stat by 1: 5 points.

Increasing a Skill by 1: 1 point.

Promoting a Normal Skill die to an Expert Die: 1 point.

Promoting an Expert Die to a Master Die: 5 points.

Acquiring an Advantage: Varies, but the cost is listed.

Acquiring a Problem: Free, but you can’t have more than 3 Problems.

One Roll is more unique, but it’s boring to explain: Roll 11d10, check all the set results and waste die on a series of charts that tells you what sorta stuff you get. Instead of going through everything, here: A REIGN Character Generator. This’ll let you get a good feel for what sort of characters this generates. For example, I'll just use that to roll up a quick generic character:

quote:

History

1x1 Raised Wild: Perhaps you were abandoned in the woods as a child and were nursed by wolves (or a bear, or an ape, or whatever). Maybe primitives who have no real language of their own raised you. Whatever it was, you're used to living on the edge.
Endurance 2
Hearing 3
Language 3
Language (Native) 0
Sight 2
Throwing 2

3x2 Cutpurse
Coordination 1
Climb 2
Dagger 1
Dodge 2
Run 2
Stealth 3

2x3 Street Entertainer
Charm 1
Fascinate 2
Jest 1
Perform 2

1x5 Press Ganged: Against your will, you were forced onto service aboard a warship. How'd you get out of that one?
Body 1
Craving: Beat On Sailors

2x6 Foot Soldier
Body 1
Dodge 1
Fight 2
Parry 2

2x8 Squad Leader
Command 1
Fight 1
Inspire 2
Ride 1
Tactics 1

Character Sheet

Body 4
Charm 3
Command 3
Coordination 3
Knowledge 2
Sense 2
Climb 2
Dagger 1
Dodge 3
Endurance 2
Fascinate 2
Fight 3
Hearing 3
Inspire 2
Jest 1
Language 3
Language (Native) 0
Parry 2
Perform 2
Ride 1
Run 2
Sight 2
Stealth 3
Tactics 1
Throwing 2
Craving: Beat On Sailors

So, from one random roll we have a charater who: Was raised in the wilderness, a wild animal child. As they grew, they wandered, back to the city, finding a pace in civilization as a street entertainer and part-time thief. But, sadly, one day they were press-ganged, appearently into the Marines, as they were forced into a career as a foot soldier. This gave them a lingering dislike towards sailors, but eventually they rose up to the rank of Squad Leader, which might be what they are when the game begins.

Neat huh?

Stats and Skills

Next up is a quick overview of Stats and Skills. Both get elaborated in a later chapter, but this part is more based around helping a new player quickly understand what each ability does when making a character.

Stats are all pretty self-explanatory:
  • Body: Strength and Endurance combined essentially. How big strong, tough, etc. The BEEF stat.
  • Coordination: Dexterity! Speed, balance, grace, aim, you get the picture.
  • Sense: Wisdom. It’s your alertness and how aware of the world around you you are.
  • Knowledge: Intelligence, the ability to learn and remember, cognitive ability.
  • Command: One half of this game’s Charisma. Command is your presence, raw charisma, and magnetism. Someone with high command might not be likable, but you can’t ignore them.
  • Charm: The other half of Charisma. Charm is more about being pleasant and engaging, your likability and general social aptitude.

Skills are the same, and I’m not going into most of them because it’s all the old standby’s in general. Athletics, Climb, Perform, Stealth, Weapon: Whatever, Haggle, etc. I’m just going into the more interesting and special skills that are unique to Reign or how Reign works.
  • Counterspell: Linked to the Knowledge Stat, Counterspell is the ability to mess up the flow of magical energy in an area, and is used to counter and disrupt spellcasting. It’s essentially the magical counterpart to something like Dodge. This is not exclusive to Sorcerers, any character can put points into Counterspell and therefore can gently caress up Wizards.

  • Strategy and Tactics: Both linked to Knowledge, these are similar skills based around the command of others. Tactics are unit scale, essentially the nitty gritty of commanding troops in a battle. Strategy is the Logistics ability, it’s not about commanding troops, but the overall grand strategy of War, logistics, supply lines, dictating the movement of entire armies, you get the picture.

  • Jest: One of the many social skills in the game. Most of them aren’t worth mentioning, it’s general stuff like Lie, Inspire, Intimidate, etc. But jest is special: It’s the skill of making people laugh. On it’s own not very impressive, but it’s worth noting because of a little optional rule:

    quote:


    If you like movies and books where the hero always has a snappy comeback, you can use the Jest Skill to set this up. Here’s how.

    Before every game session, each player can present the GM with a number of writtenout “straight lines” equal to his Jest score. The GM should make a good-faith effort to provide these, and the player (presumably) has some clever rejoinder prepared.

    Example: Joey’s character Bo has Jest 1. Before the session starts, he hands his GM a slip of paper that says ‘Indignant woman says “Well! I never!”’ During the course of the game, the GM arranges the requested line from the right type of character, so that Joey can come back with “And with that unfriendly attitude, you never will.”Enjoying this so much, Joey raises Bo’s Jest to 2.

    Next session he hands the GM two straight lines, anticipating a confrontation with a hated enemy. “You! But… you’re supposed to be dead!” and the other is “When you’re in my power, your suffering will be legendary!” When these come up, he responds with “Yeah, well, I’m supposed to brush my teeth every night too” and “Legendary suffering? And here I expected a nice foot rub.”

    It’s too bad if the GM can’t find a way to insert the line, but she shouldn’t feel like she’s supposed to contort the plot to work in bon mot opportunities.
  • Eerie: The Magical sense skill, the ability to detect magic, curses, and supernatural thingies. Once again, a skill everyone can take.

  • Sorcery: This is a special one. This skill represents obviously your character’s ability and training in magic. But, it isn’t linked to any single stat. You can roll Sorcery+Body just as easily as Sorcery+Knowledge, it just depends on what school of magic you are using, therefore, no your stats will not lock you out of any magic at all. ANYBODY can learn magic, to some degree. And there a lot of really good cheap easy spells any character would love to get.

That’s skills done. Next is a bit talking about Esoteric Disciplines and Martial Paths. These are the Feat equivalents of Reign, things you buy with XP to give special abilities generally tied to a specific skill. They’re covered properly in other chapters, so we’ll come back to them in a later bit. There’s also a short bit about Money, but that comes later as well. It’s just here so you know that money is a thing and why you would want to buy it up at creation.

Passions

If you’ve ever played any Burning Wheel games, this will seem quite familiar. Passions are the driver forces of your character’s personality. There are three kinds, and you can have one of each, or none at all.

Your character’s Mission is a concrete goal your character wants to accomplish, a definite task that can be completed. If you fulfill your mission, you get bonus XP and can pick a new one.

A Duty is more vague, this being a sort of overriding ethical or moral principle. “I Shall Never Kill”, “Always aid a Woman in Distress”, “My Life is the Empress’”, etc. You can spend 10XP to get rid of a Duty, but if you don’t start the game with one you can only get one through plot and roleplay.

A Craving is a personal and selfish goal, a defining desire or passion. You get one at character creation and can never get rid of it or change it. This is where you put your flaws, foibles,and delightful little quirks. “Make love with as many willing partners as possible” and “Get drunk whenever nobody is counting on me” are two examples given.

How passions work are easy: If whatever you are doing is in direct pursuit of a passion, you get +1 die to any pools you roll. Pursuing two passions? +2 die to your rolls, and +3 die for all three passions. You can also use these “bonus die” to offset penalties to your rolls. The catch is if you are doing something counter to your passions, then you get a die penalty. These are optional: your character can have none or all three or any in-between, it’s just some mechanical reinforcement for acting in character which can act as a hindrance as much as a bonus.

Advantages

These are little, or big, things that you can get to boost your character that don’t fit into any other categories. Special possessions, unique physical traits, special social connections, you get the idea. Some are good, some are crap, and I would actually remove them from the game because of it.
  • Animal Companion: You get a plot-protected Animal Buddy! The rules explicitly state that this companion should not be removed from the game except in important plot circumstances. If you spent XP to get that horse, it’s bullshit to have him killed 5 minutes later in a bandit ambush. Notable companions are a trained Stealing Monkey, a Great Ape Bodyguard, a Talking Cat, and a Riding Mammoth.

  • Beauty: You’re gorgeous! There’s three levels of this advantage, each giving a bigger bonus. With Beauty, whenever you roll the Fascinate (General charm and socialization) or Graces ( Etiquette and Protocol) skills, you can raise any set to a minimum. The one point beauty is a minimum height of 3, meanwhile the 5 point version bumps that up to a minimum of 10. Yeah, if you get 5 point Beauty, as long as you roll a set you can’t fail Fascinate or Graces rolls, and by definition at minimum tie any contests or opposed rolls.

  • Cannibal Smile: You have abnormally strong jaws and sharpened teeth. You can perform a nasty bite attack in combat, and get a bonus to Intimidate rolls thanks to your scary smile.

  • Followers: You get a squad of mooks hanging around. You can spend more points for more and better goons. At max cost, you can either have 50 incompetent boobs, or 10 hardcore badasses. The exact rules are explained later, but Followers are generally fairly expendable, and are good more for backup than a gamebreaker. Nice but never mandatory or overpowered, a good advantage.

  • Fool Lucky: You can spend an XP to re-roll! You have to keep the second result, even if it’s worse. This is a good advantage: obvious benefits, but not without a cost. Good reasons both for taking it and for ignoring it, I like this advantage.

  • Knack for Learning: You pick a skill, and improving that skill now costs 1 XP less. This is a bad advantage, because there’s no reason to NOT pick it on your most-used skill. Every character would want this, no exceptions, as it would save you XP in the long run guaranteed. Though it’s only worth it if you know you’ll be maxing that skill out, so it’s not too broken. But, if you wanna specialize in a particular thing? This is a no-brainer.

  • Leather Hard: More Wounds in each hit location, makes you take a bit longer to kill. This would be mandatory if it didn’t cost a whopping 5xp, and generally an extra wound box can help but not be a guaranteed bonus.

  • Lucky: once per session, of you completely fail a roll and get no sets, you can re-roll it. This is not a thing that should exist, because it’s 1xp. Yeah, no player would ever pass up a free re-roll on a failed roll for no cost to them. I’d make it more expensive, 3 or 5 maybe to offset the fact there’s no penalty to using it.

  • Patron: Standard NPC boss skill, more points spent means more important patron. It goes from a village chief up to a full-blown King. This is nice, the Patron gives you stuff and helps, but the Advantage explicitly states that the Patron is going to expect services rendered in exchange for their aid. A good roleplaying advantage.

  • Possession: Your special signature plot-immune… whatever. This advantage varies based on the cost of whatever it is you want to get, a fancy sword is a lot cheaper than a castle fortress or pirate ship. No issues with this one, pick a possession from the big item list, you get it and it has limited plot-immunity. Good.

  • Secret: You know something… Special. A big, important, plot thing you know and few other people do. The cost varies based on the power of what organizations want that secret kept hidden. Knowing Top Secret National Security info is way more expensive than having blackmail material on the town mayor. This is a flexible plotty thing, and really relies on the GM not being a poo poo about it to make sure it’s useful, so I can’t really rate it. Depends on GM how good this advantage is.

    Here’s some example secrets from the included setting of Heluso and Milonda:

    Secret of the Aqueduct (3 Pts.): The masons of Uldholm are the most advanced in the world, and currently they alone possess the building techniques that let them construct aqueducts. Aqueducts, in turn, are what allow Uldish cities to be unusually clean and healthy, and therefore large. Even the masons don’t understand just how important their development is, but they still try to keep it proprietary. Only characters with an Expert: Mason Skill at three or higher have the background to understand this secret.

    Secret of Kratig (3 Pts.): The concoction that gives the Blue-Face tribe of Truils its name is more than just a drug to them. It’s a sacrament. The Secret of Kratig is only available to characters who have at least three points in the Student of Herbalism Skill. (It gets explained more later, but Kratig is basically Ye Olde Fantasy PCP)

    Secret of the Dinda (4 Pts.): The swords that gave a nation its name are the finest known to mankind. They undoubtedly give an advantage to the nation that developed them, but more, there’s a point of pride in keeping outsiders from making swords of equal quality. A character must have at least an ED or five points in the Expert: Blacksmith Skill to learn the Secret of the Dinda. (Dinda are Not-Valyrian Steel, essentially. Swords made out of special metal.)

  • Status: You are in a position of some social standing. This confers no material goods, simply a general recognition that you are, in some way, a Big Deal. A guy with Status 5 and no money may still be a Prince, but he’s a broke-rear end vagabond Prince. More points, more important. 1 point you’re a village sage or certified expert in a skill, 2 is equivalent to a Knight or town Mayor, 3 is a proper Lord or Merchant Prince, 4 is a Duke, Grand General, or similar big important guy. 5 Is straight up Royalty or Pope-equivalent.

  • Thick Headed: Bonus wound box in the head, a terrible advantage. The Head is the most vulnerable bodypart, it is the one you want to protect more than anything, and this is only 1xp, no reason not to get it. Make it more expensive and it’d be more balanced.

Spells are considered an advantage, but the proper rules will wait for the magic chapter. It works simply as more powerful spells cost more XP to get. You can either spend Xp for two spells of the equivalent level, or for one spell of the next level up. So 1 XP gets you a level 2 Spell, or two level 1’s. 2xp is one level 3 or two level 2’s, etc.

Problems

Problems are your general disadvantages, get them to get bonus XPs fi they cause problems. Except they don’t give you the XP at character creation. You get them for free, up to 3, but they only give you XP when they actually come up in the game to cause issues. If they never come up, you get no XP. Also, the Problems are all amazing.

  • Drunken Blackouts: The Hangover Problem. Your character had a bad habit of doing dangerous and illegal things while drunk, and then not remembering it. The player decides when they get blackout drunk, but then the GM dictates what issues resulted from the player’s drunken rampage. If the player does something like lock themselves in a room, or hires some people to babysit them they don’t get XP.

  • Gruesome: You look like a tirefire. It’s the opposite of the Beauty advantage, giving you a -1d penalty to Command or Charm skills. You get an XP per session where this causes an issue.

  • Hated Enemy: Somebody wants to kill, ruin, or embarass you. Whenever having an enemy causes a problem or harms you, then you get bonus XP.

  • Jinx: Once per session, the GM can nullify a successful set you rolled, no appeals or re-rolls. This can either be fun or loving obnoxious, depending on the GM.

  • Manifest Density: Every played a low-Intelligence run of Fallout? That’s this. You can never have more than 1 Knowlege, it’s at 1 and can never be raised. But, that’s not the problem: The problem is that you are obviously a moron to everybody you meet, and whenever your sub-vegetable intelligence causes problems in a session, you get the bonus XP.

  • Misplaced Confidence: Pick a skill, any rolls against that skill are made at Difficulty 3, and any rolls that already have a difficulty, get it raised by 3. It’s the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome in action! Whenever you fail a roll because of this, you get an XP.

  • Missing Arm: You don’t have an arm, duh. YOu can’t do anything requiring two hands, trying to do something that generally uses both arms like climbing that roll now has an added difficulty, and if somebody hits you where your missing arm would be, hit locations 3 and 4 or 5 and 6 depending on the arm, you instead get hit straight in the body. Any session when one of these things come up and causes a problem, you get a bonus XP at the end.
    [
  • Missing Hand: A less-severe version of the above. Instead of a hand you have a hook, clamp, wooden hand, or other prosthesis. Same as Missing Arm, but you only take the torso damage if they do damage to Hit Locations 4 or 6.
    [
  • Peg Leg: Yaaar! You get a Difficulty added to any rolls dealing with running, climbing, or other leg-intensive actions, and any damage to the missing leg goes straight to the Torso.
    [
  • Repulsive to Animals: You make any rolls to ride or handle animals at Difficulty 3, and animals are more likely to attack you. Whenever you fail to ride a horse, or get mauled by a random tiger, you get a bonus XP.
    [
  • Stupidly Forgiving: You are a moronically nice guy, who would rather give villains a lecture then stab them in the face. If you forgive or let an enemy go, you get Bonus XP, and it probably won’t bite you in the rear end later, right?
    [
  • Unwholesome: Whenever you meet someone for the first time they roll their Eerie pool, if they get a success, they start out disliking you because you feel creepy and weird to them. You can overcome this initial dislike, but you start off in the red, socially speaking.

And that’s pretty much it for character creation! The last part is a bit dull to cover, but is actually really nice for players and I wish more RPG designers would include it: A strategy guide to creating a good character. Stolze breaks down the actual odds of getting matches with each size of dice pool, how to choose between investing in Stats vs. Skills, whether being a generalist or a specialist is better, and when you would want an Expert Die vs a Master Die on a skill.

But, that’s it for Character Creation, next up is the start of my favorite part of this game, the Setting! Well, part of the setting. Reign splits the setting bits up into several chapters throughout the book, instead of clomping it all into one big chunk. So, next time The First Nation: Uldholm.

quote:

Kranach preened his feathers and elaborately yawned at the fortress before him. “Easy,” he said.

“Easy,” repeated his employer, skeptically. Her name was Illurya and she’d hired the stormtongue magician to help her dig out a troublesome Oblob rival. As long as the island fortress stood, her ships would never make it up the river to the markets beyond.

“Primitives like the Ob-lobs won’t have any experience with an aerial assault,” Kranach said, his tone pedantic. “Look at their architecture. It’s open to the sky. There’s nothing to keep me from simply flying over there, swooping in and burning out their siege engines from above.”

“Nothing but those engines’ discharge.”“The big catapults can’t be aimed upwards. I’ll fly over the arc of any loose shot. As for the scorpions, I can dodge those bolts easily. Machinery like that is constructed to aim at large, slow targets like your ships -not a single, swift individual.”

Illurya didn’t like Kranach, but he came highly recommended and from what she’d seen he certainly knew his sorcery. She gave him the sign and felt a ripple of enchantment as he surged up into the air.

She squinted, cast a spell of her own and saw his distant form as if it was a short bowshot away. She blinked as the lightning stroked down from his mouth and as he’d predicted, the stones of the war machines were low and ineffective. She smiled. Could it be he was doing it?

Then she frowned. Something was coming out of the open fortress top. Was it smoke? Steam? No, it boiled out and moved against the wind, a cloud but a purposeful one, like a flock of birds but denser and darker. She squinted at Kranach as the black shapes enclosed him, as he spat lightning out to no visible effect. He turned and began flapping back towards her ship, taking sharp cuts in the air, trying to shake off a multitude of inky shadows, finally plunging down to dive into the water…

Just as a shower of stones arced through the air, blanketing him and the sea for a thousand paces around him. He hit the water like deadweight and she scanned the surface, waiting for him to come up again. She’d just resigned herself to another failed assault (with the slim consolation that she wouldn’t have to pay the final installment of his fee) when he broke the surface, his wings draggled and stroking weakly. There were swift Ob-lob chase boats coming from the docks, setting a course towards him, but they retreated as Illurya gestured her own ships to close and ready weapons.

An hour later, Kranach was on the deck of her flagship, shivering under a blanket, bruised, covered with tiny circular bites and sipping hot rum with quivering hands.

“Easy, huh?” Illurya said.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!






Psionic Artifacts of Athas part 6:
More Life Shaped Items





Platons are basically a symbiotically grafted suit of plate-mail that is worse than most of the rhul-thauns existing life-shaped armor (providing AC 3 vs Half-Shell's AC 2 or Full Shell's AC 0). The upside is that presumably it has no encumbrance (at least none is mentioned) and you could probably sleep in it? Of course, the downside is that you have to sleep in it, because unlike other life-shaped armors this one cannot be removed without actually cutting it off (each segment inflicting its hit points in damage to the wearer). Again, no consideration is given to the fact that these items live 1-2 years tops.



The wisdom-boosting implant. Notably unlike the Ingenie the soolmons are removable and they don't kill you if they're damaged. Wise indeed.

Also, the illustration of closed Soolmons looks kind of like angry little butts.



This goofy looking bastard could potentially be very useful for producing tissues, especially since they have such a short life-span. Of course, a lot of tissues wouldn't even fit inside it and the 25% chance of death is quite the gamble if you're short on supplies. So you might end up with absolutely nothing...or enough tissues to fit out the entire party. Who knows.



Tails! Most are actually pretty useful (the gladiator tail in particular is probably one of the best life-shaped weapons out there)...although the grasping tail does kind of look like a halfling fleshlight.



Another flesh-light tail. This one is purely cosmetic, for those halflings who want to express their fursonas.



Like a lot of the items in this book this is one of those "spoil your life in exchange for mild benefits" trade-offs. Now the paralytic toxin isn't bad, it's quite a useful trick to have...but in exchange you never get to taste food again and you look like you've got giant guinea pig testicles on your chin.

I mean, who would make that trade-off normally? Theoretically an assassin or similar fanatical soldier might make that sacrifice for a powerful hidden weapon...except its not even hidden because it gives you giant frog mouth.

And of course all of these problems could have been solved just by implanting the graft somewhere else on the body. But nope, got to be a tongue for some reason...except of course there's the Venom Whip, a graft that is exactly this thing except not stuck inside your face.



I find Trackboots oddly adorable. And hey, a pair of boots you can take off without literally cutting the soles of your feet off!

And if you step in dogshit you can hunt down the bastard who didn't clean up after their dog.



I have no idea why an organic backpack requires six large paragraphs of explanation.



The Weeper is another lengthy one, but at least its a bit more interesting...if very unsafe.

Basically it produces organic hybrid of nitroglycerine and thermite, and that's just as unsafe and unstable as it sounds. If you're carrying some there is a 1% chance per hour of an explosion, which will naturally set off any other firetears. In combat that chance rises to 20% per round if you're struck, 10% if you aren't. Oh and the weeper itself explodes on a roll of 2% or lower each month.

That seems...impractical.

That's it for the main chapter on life-shaped objects...but for some reason this is not the only chapter detailing them. The book has a 5-page appendix of life-shaped creatures and tools in the back. There's no clear reason why these are put somewhere else. They don't have as many illustrations but not every life-shaped object in this chapter has an illustration either. Likewise they're almost all reprints from the Jagged Cliffs book...but so are many of the items in this chapter.

The appendix is terribly laid out, there's no organization so you've got a mixture of life-shaped creatures like the climbdog or the breeze sprite alongside more regular items. It also includes several life shaped weapons such as the hurling titan and the armspike...but no damage or other weapon stats. It's also clearly copy-pasted entries from Wind Riders since they often refer to lifeshaped items that aren't included in this book. For instance, Mimic skin is in the appendix and it states that it is "applied much like sheath armor"...which is not included in the book (in fact, no armor was included for some reason).

I love you Dark Sun, but TSR did not treat you right.

Anyway, next we'll get into "life-shaped artifacts". That's not ancient rhulhisti artifacts that can't be created anymore, but actual artifacts (with supernatural powers) that are also life-shaped beings...somehow.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Evil Mastermind posted:

This art and character/race design is better than this game deserves.
Indeed. I am unironically all for fire people wearing dapper attire.

Bieeardo posted:

First edition Shadowrun did it. It was kind of funny to look at all those fantasy race dudes just standing there in their boxers.
Speaking of which, I'm genuinely surprised there's no Shadowrun in our threads' storied history (unless I just missed them on inklesspen's list). It seems like the kind of thing that would be right at home in the FATAL and Friends ouvre, given its combination of a lot of crazy and neat ideas with some here-and-there awkward or dated moments.

oriongates posted:

I have no idea why an organic backpack requires six large paragraphs of explanation.
I don't know why either, but I'm amused that it looks like a very perturbed frog in its upright position.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Yeah, I will admit I like a lot of the art for life-shaped creatures, although not always in the way they're intended. Many of them (like the watchpack and the weeper are very goofy looking).

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




No Thank You, Evil! (1)

I find RPGs designed for children quite interesting. They generally focus around simple rules and lots of potential for creativity, and are much more player-centred than other RPGs. So when I heard that a children's RPG was being developed based on the Cypher System - essentially a Numenera for children - I.. well, I cringed, and I think a lot of other people did too, given the bizarre brokenness of Numenera. But it had another interesting twist: most children's RPGs try to do a childlike version of fantasy adventure (knights with pot-lid helmets all around), whereas NTYE targets the more surreal children's fiction - along the lines of Roald Dahl or Dr Seuss - which seems relatively unexplored. When the Kickstarter succeeded and the game actually came out, I thought it'd either be interesting or amusing and picked up the PDF (which is not the normal way to get this game - it normally comes in a boxed set with cards and dice).

And it delivers on both. It turns out that it's actually quite a good version of Cypher, which nearly addresses a few of that game's issues, but at the same time makes a number of very silly mistakes.

Rules

As you'd expect for a children's game, the rules have been kept simple. You say what you want to do. The Guide (because we have to give the GM a fancy name) decides on a difficulty level from 1 to 8. Then you roll a dice and try and roll that number or higher. If you do, you succeed. If you'd have to roll a 1, you don't bother rolling, because you're sure to succeed. If you roll a 6, you get a Wild Success. No problem.

Well, no problem until you see the actual difficulty chart:



So, in a game that's probably someone's first RPG, we have all the classic errors: synonyms of "difficult" that aren't actually quantitative used as if they are; and subjective terms (like, "you got this") used when defining difficulties where the game explicitly says they're supposed to be objective and not varying between characters; and including an "Impossible" level that I suspect is in context certain to be misunderstood as allowing the character a chance to do anything that is impossible...

As normal in Cypher, it's unusual to get bonuses to rolls: you can only lower the difficulty number (which is called the Goal). NTYE characters have four stats: Tough, Smart, Fast, and Awesome. The first three are the common ones that appear in every version of Cypher; the Awesome stat is newly added to this version, and is used for helping other people. Your level in each stat gives you a pool of points to spend (there's no "edge" as in regular Cypher): whenever you take on a task, you can Try Harder by spending 1 point from a pool appropriate to the task to lower the Goal by 1. Unlike regular Cypher, you can only do this once per task (but the numbers involved are much smaller). To lower the Goal further, you need to ask your friends to Be Awesome, in which case they can spend a point from their Awesome pool to lower your Goal by one. As before, each player can only do this once per task - which oddly means that the number of PCs in the group becomes a critical factor to difficulty. If it's just one child playing with their parent, they not only can't lower Goals far but have a useless Awesome pool. If there's a group of 6 or so players, they can together guarantee success on any roll in the game.

Fighting is similar to regular Cypher but simplified further. There's no initiative: the players always go before the bad guys in whatever order they want. The player announces they're fighting and then makes a roll with an appropriate pool, with the Goal being the enemy's Level (as in regular Cypher, most enemies are defined by a single number). Melee attacks can be Fast or Tough, whichever you choose; ranged attacks are always Fast, and tricks or psychic powers are Smart. On a successful roll the player does 2 damage (it's always 2 damage no matter what weapon's being used) against the creature's Health, which is also usually equal to its Level.

When the bad guys attack back, it's still the players who roll the dice: they roll against the creature's Level again, and if they fail, they take between 2 and 4 damage (depending on the creature) to their Tough pool, subtracting that number of points. Technically the rules say damage can be done to any pool, but all the creatures in the book damage the Tough pool - which was one of the big balance issues in Numenera as well.. If the Tough pool runs out, damage carries over to Fast, then to Smart, and then to Awesome.

As you'd expect from a children's game, PCs can't actually die (although creatures apparently can, as they're described as being killed several times in the same adventure). PCs have an additional extra pool called.. ugh.. Fun. What a terrible name for a stat. PCs start with 3 points of Fun. By spending an action and a point of Fun, and making up something fun the character is doing, all the character's pools immediately refill. If a PC's pools are completely emptied, all they can do is to spend an action having Fun to recover them; if their Fun has also reached zero, they are Conked Out and can't do anything until their pools recover.

There's some very clever mechanics here with the Awesome stat. The Fun mechanic encourages characters to use up all their pools, one of which is Awesome, so they'll be encouraged to spend some time helping other PCs and thus sharing the spotlight. Likewise, if a PC is taking a beating, they might lose the ability to use some of their own abilities, but since Awesome is the last pool to drain they can still go cling to their buddy for protection and assist them.

There's standard movement rules - with range band based movement (Within Reach, In Range, and Very Far).. and the classic mistake made by range band based games of giving precise measurements for those bands (it comes down to "in your turn you can move up to 50 feet, if you move less than 10 feet it doesn't take up your action"), thus causing our good friend Pythagoras to move in and confuse everyone by creating hard range borders based on angles.

There's also two special actions. First of all, there's a Group Action. This is ideally used at the end of the adventure to have everyone chip in on a single task (Care Bear Stare, anyone? ). Everyone gets a single Goal to roll against, everyone rolls; if someone doesn't make it someone else can spend a point of Awesome to have them try again, and can repeat this until they manage it. Or.. uh, well, until everyone runs out of points, I guess. And I really hope that they don't do that, because none of the sample adventures take account of the possibility of a Group Action failing, and in fact fall apart completely if they ever do.

The second action is, "No Thank You, Evil!". If a player is getting scared by something happening in the game, they can put up their hand and call "No Thank You, Evil!", which signals the Guide to pause the game to let people calm down and possibly to remove or resolve whatever's upsetting the player. This is a great rule to have in a game for children. It is a terrible rule to name the game after, given that it's essentially a way of recovering from an undesirable condition. Also, in a classic Monte Cook moment, the book says that players may only invoke this rule once per game. Which gives the image of one of the children bawling their eyes out with fear while the Guide just carries on because they used their one call up earlier in the session..

So, that's the system, and as Cypher variants go its not bad (although the competition isn't exactly impressive..) Next, we shall look at character generation, and how the designers show they do not quite understand how game difficulty works.

hyphz fucked around with this message at 00:03 on Apr 22, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Spellbound Kingdoms definitely strikes me as one of those games where somebody's had a lot of ideas brewing and mashes them all together into one setting. The result is interesting, no doubt, but it also feels a little schizophrenic to me. I think if I have any major issue it's that the adherence to a leveling structure seems like an ill fit. It definitely shows the designer's experience with d20, but 1st level characters feel a little thin. Granted, I suppose you could go with the classic "start at level 3 (or 5, or whatever)" but obviously you shouldn't have to.

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

ProfessorProf posted:

And I'd be totally on board with that if it wasn't presented as something that's known about in-universe. It's bizarre that someone might want to kill you, but then go "Curses, he's too Inspired, I guess I'll have to throw him in prison and kidnap his girlfriend instead" without any kind of actual preventative force stopping him from doing the chopping.

Here is my the sum entire of my rebuttal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGZalfcrwSU

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Spellbound Kingdoms definitely strikes me as one of those games where somebody's had a lot of ideas brewing and mashes them all together into one setting. The result is interesting, no doubt, but it also feels a little schizophrenic to me. I think if I have any major issue it's that the adherence to a leveling structure seems like an ill fit. It definitely shows the designer's experience with d20, but 1st level characters feel a little thin. Granted, I suppose you could go with the classic "start at level 3 (or 5, or whatever)" but obviously you shouldn't have to.

Having bought it, it's really good, but it's not perfect by /any/ stretch.
Like the way the game does feats/talents is really awesome but the talents themselves...just aren't.
And the classes have some real issues but actually do seem pretty balanced.

But it does scratch most of what I've always wanted out of D&D, so I'm pretty happy.

WhitemageofDOOM fucked around with this message at 01:20 on Apr 22, 2016

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.



I actually kinda like the design of that lil' goat woman. It's pretty basic furry template sure, but it works. Throw it in a setting with decent variety and it'd be pretty great.

(Maybe those guys, one of the Warcraft setting's elf varieties, one version of small humanoids, boring humans, and something big and intimidating?)

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


ProfessorProf posted:

Yeah, but this relies on the deaths all being ambiguous - vat of acid, collapsing building, left for dead. What if you just decapitate the guy?

It was a Doombot. A rescue party shows up just in the nick of time to stop you. It turns out a weird magic thing moved his brain into his stomach, so that wasn't enough to permanently put him down. Your axe had a microfracture and shatters against the chain of the locket his beloved gave him as he went off to war.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?


The more contrived the how-they-lived explanations feel, the more I feel like it should either be an OOC-only rule or that the same intent would have been better served by making Inspiration just making you really strong, instead of really specifically unkillable.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Note that high Inspiration doesn't make you impossible to kill, it makes it impossible to remove you from play (permanently). So maybe they do die, and they're now a ghost! Whoooooo!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer


Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


ProfessorProf posted:

The more contrived the how-they-lived explanations feel, the more I feel like it should either be an OOC-only rule or that the same intent would have been better served by making Inspiration just making you really strong, instead of really specifically unkillable.

"Really strong" makes less sense. We know that no matter what the dice say, a PC or NPC will only die at the most dramatically appropriate moment. That's how stories work. Letting the characters know that opens up all sorts of fun Discworld/Grant Morrison 'narrative physics' moments. It doesn't matter what his 'stats' are, the Joker's always coming back.

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


hyphz posted:

I find RPGs designed for children quite interesting. They generally focus around simple rules and lots of potential for creativity, and are much more player-centred than other RPGs.

Aha, that reminds me: there's, well... there's this on the way:



I think I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy and read it, because while it could be really good or really, really bad, I have a hard time imagining that being bland. If nothing else, I'm a sucker for horse puns.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!





Sadly not nearly that badass.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Keiya posted:

Aha, that reminds me: there's, well... there's this on the way:



I think I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy and read it, because while it could be really good or really, really bad, I have a hard time imagining that being bland. If nothing else, I'm a sucker for horse puns.

By the creators of the Terminator Genysis miniatures game, Waterloo – Quelle Affaire!, and the Hunt for Red October.

One of these things is not like the other.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

oriongates posted:

Sadly not nearly that badass.

Not in the least, but I've always felt all of that interminable detail was meant to evoke it.

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


Keiya posted:

Aha, that reminds me: there's, well... there's this on the way:



I think I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy and read it, because while it could be really good or really, really bad, I have a hard time imagining that being bland. If nothing else, I'm a sucker for horse puns.

Why the gently caress not have their own, in-house RPG maker (Wizards of the Coast) do it?

OK, maybe because Hasbro have the same level of trust in WotC that I do post Essentials.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




WotC has something like single-digit people left working on D&D stuff and it's going to stay that way until someone makes them an offer for the franchise or the Forgotten Realms movie makes megabucks.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Kavak posted:

WotC has something like single-digit people left working on D&D stuff and it's going to stay that way until someone makes them an offer for the franchise or the Forgotten Realms movie makes megabucks.

Yeah, it has nothing to do with Hasbro "trusting" them or not, the RPG part of WotC has been cut down to the bone thanks to successive years of layoffs and is basically a skeleton crew at this point. Remember that work stopped on supplemental D&D material for a while because the guy writing it got jury duty, no seriously.

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.


Keiya posted:

Aha, that reminds me: there's, well... there's this on the way:




Well, Ponyfinder has over ten books worth of leeway AND a benefit of additionally dedicated Pathfinder fanbase.

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011




I’m not gonna lie to you all, I’m trying to get through a lot of the fluff (or at least the stuff that near everyone would know) as quickly but thoroughly as possible so I can get to the stuff I actually want to cover (combat mechanics, charms). This part is going to be a bit composite, since it’s taking the majority of Chapter 1 (which is ostensibly an overview of Exalted and previews for later books in the line, as is typical WW/OPP Tradition) and merging it with some of the details from Chapter 4 and Chapter 3.

Part The First: What IS an Exalted? (Alternative Title: Solars and Friends)

Exalted are specifically called out in-book as larger-than-life heroes. Mortals given divine power. The world’s answer to turmoil where simple mortals are simply not up to the task. Passing sickness becomes a thing the “Chosen”, as they’re called, can simply ignore, and the book points out that Exalted can live decades, even centuries longer than the average human, citing about 300 years for Dragon-Blooded, 3000 years for Solars and Lunars, and about 5000 years max for the Sidereals, with other types varying wildly. This is, of course, subject to a lot of variance due to the fact that most Exalted subscribe to the “live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse” lifestyle.

The thing that makes that makes Exalted such a big deal is that they can tap into Essence, the life-force of the world, and shape it to their will to perform miracles. Most of these miracles are Charms - innate talents that must be discovered or learned by Exalted. (There’s training time rules, but we’ll get to them when we get to them.) It then goes into detail about the act of Exaltation itself, noting that Exaltation is almost always in a moment of great turmoil, before feeling the energy of the world rushing into them, and feeling the power that Essence can grant you for the first time - Mortals have Essence, naturally, but cannot tap into it like Exalted can. It’s worth noting that Solar Exalted do not get an explanation as to what has happened to them, with the exception of Zeniths - who get a mandate from ol’ Unconquered Sun himself to go out and make the world righteous to the best of their knowledge and ability. Usually, the Exaltation will happen in a way that confirms that Exalt’s particular Caste. It’s not uncommon for a Dawn to Exalt mid-combat, or a Eclipse to exalt while putting all their diplomatic cards on the table.

There’s a few more notes, primarily about how Essence feels and how using it is an adrenaline rush, called “Essence Fever”. There’s nothing mechanical to this, just simply equating the first adventures a new exalt is likely to have are comparable to a supernatural adolescence - Essence always subtly urging the Exalt to Do More, Go Bigger, Go Further Beyond. With time (read: Experience), Exalts get better at tempering this feeling, but it never goes away, they are heroes, after all.


A pretty swanky - if decidedly more Animesque two-page spread brings us to our next section.

After that, the book moves on to summaries of all the Exalted, which end up closing out the chapter. I’ll go into the others later, but for now, let’s focus on the meat of this update, A.K.A “I pull from wildly disparate parts of the book to introduce you to what this book wants you to make: a Solar Exalted.”

Exalted Third Edition posted:

Forged from the power of the greatest of gods, the Solar Exalted are the spiritual mimesis of the sun and all it represents: glory, magnanimity, power, relentlessness, inspiration, creativity and ascension. As the sun dominates heaven, so too do the Solars shine brighter than their peers. They are natural-born leaders, scholars, warriors, and builders, brought forth from the greatest heroes of mankind and set on high as the Unconquered Sun’s own champions. The Solar Exalted are the greatest of all the Chosen. Be they benevolent or tyrannical in their courses, the Solars’ natural mastery of the world and their ability to uphold the loftiest principles has earned them the sobriquet of the Lawgivers.

These guys are the top of the food chain. They get the strongest sorceries, they have the most raw talent for a skill, and nothing is gated off to them. They’re the most powerful of the Exalted in terms of sheer amount of what they can do, and Solars get some of the strongest Charms, full stop. A Solar is back to being a Big loving Deal, not the least because the Wyld Hunt has been making sure Solars haven’t been around for a good few thousand years.

The Solars are divided into five castes, each of them promoting a different archetype of play you can mess around with, a plethora of anima effects (at least one which will see constant use, a ‘signature character’ to represent that, Caste Abilities (which, aside from three you pick out yourself as ‘Favored’ abilities, are your Caste’s signature skills) and what the Immaculate Philosophy thinks of them/calls them.



Dawn Caste are your generals and warriors; known as the Spears of Morning, the Swords of Heaven, the Lightbringers, and a handful of other such names, they are your go-to if you want to be a champion in the old-school martial sense, or the guy who sees a giant fuckoff dude and go “I want to fight that.” In editions past, the Dawns were kind of sidelined as the masters of arms, but 3e revisits that and gives them proper treatment: The Dawns have access to every combat ability (Melee, Brawl/Martial Arts, Archery, Thrown) as a Caste ability (what this means we’ll get to later, but rest assured it’s Good poo poo), as well as Awareness (which is linked to your Join Battle AKA Initiative Rolls), Dodge and Resistance (two of the main defensive stats), and War (for if you just wanna chuck an army at someone instead of doing the fighting yourself. The Immaculate Philosophy labels Dawns as the Forsaken, brutish, cruel dullards summarily abandoned by the others during the Usurpation.

Dawns get access to a few really key abilities through their ‘Anima Effects’, effects that Castes can just -do- at any time, no charm required. The most often used is the passive, which lets you add half your Essence to your Initiative when you spend it all to land an attack, allowing them to get back in the fight sooner. They’re also able to reset all their combat charms with outstanding cooldowns once per day, and are also scary motherfuckers - so intimidating that they add their essence to intimidation, and can intimidate things that don’t feel fear, such as undead and constructs like golems.



If Dawns are the warriors, champions, and generals of the Unconquered Sun, then Zeniths are the warrior-priests and commanders. Arbiters of authority, the Zenith is the champion of righteousness, and in both setting (due to being the only one Unconquered Sun speaks to directly) and in skills to be the Leaders of your group. They’re the only other Caste, other than Dawn, to get War and Resistance as Caste Abilities, making them uniquely predisposed to being tanky as all-hell while commanding a tactical battlegroup in a way that works far better than Dungeons and Dragon’s Leadership rules ever did. They also have Athletics, Integrity, Performance, Presence, Lore, and Survival, meaning they can provide for others, as well as be an in-a-pinch diplomat who excels more at stirring hearts and minds than intense negotiations. Immaculate Doctrine calls them The Blasphemous, hedonist priests who enslaved the innocent and indulged in every kind of morally wrong behavior imaginable.

Zeniths get access to a few really cool abilities. The most readily apparent is that Zeniths, furthering their Paladin-esque identity, get access to a Smite Evil, allowing you to make an attack against a creature of darkness without spending the Initiative required. Usable once per day. They can also administer funeral rites to the damned, accepting their values as his own, or even turning the pain against their killer with a simple touch. They can also order spirits to materialize in the material world.



In contrast to the tanky leader of the Zenith or the brute-force combat of the Dawn, the Twilights are your brainy Solars. They’re the masters of scholarly records, lore, crafting, research, law, investigations, and learning. Most of all, they are occultists - of the five Castes, they are one of the two that most commonly dives into the Occult for their methods, making them near undisputed masters of Sorcery (though some Eclipses would like to disagree). Often marked by undying curiosity, if the Zenith is the front man and the Dawn’s the bruiser, the Twilight is undoubtedly the brains (and occasionally the medic) of a well-oiled Solar Circle, researching and ritualizing the solution to problems that can’t be solved with words or simple human deeds. They gain access to Bureaucracy, Craft, Integrity, Investigation, Linguistics, Lore, Medicine, and Occult abilities. To the Immaculates, they are The Unclean, power-hungry, demon-bargaining Cthulhu Mythos style mad cultists who would sacrifice an entire city to further their dark knowledge.

Twilights, due to their sorcerous nature, are often squishy by Exalted standards, they don’t really get much chance to devote themselves to Resistance Charms, and can often be first-focused in a fight. To this end they have a few tricks to keep them They can harden themselves to take less damage from a decisive blow, as well as bind and reflexively summon demonic familiars to serve as bodyguards. If all else fails, the Twilight has a near-guaranteed ‘get the gently caress out’ card by being able to vanish for until the next sunset, reappearing at a place of power nearby.



We’ve had our “typical” Fighter, Paladin/Cleric, and Wizard/Sorcerer. What’s next? Rogues, of course. Night Castes are the experts and naturals when you need to do something more nuanced and subtle, rather than crash the gate open or get a demon to do it. The original Night’s Watch of Creation, they are spymasters, ninjas, assassins, the subtle master of surroundings and sabotage, the Night Caste is meant to evoke all these. Of all the Solars, only the Night Caste gets access to Stealth as a Caste ability, meaning they’re the most logical choice for someone who wants to infiltrate, or make sure they aren’t seen until they -want- to be seen. The combination of Athletics and Awareness means that not only is nothing out of the Night’s sight, but neither are they out of reach. They get Dodge to help them nimbly avoid attacks, Investigation to snoop around, Larceny for good-old B&E, Ride for the occasional speedy getaway, and Socialize to help them manipulate on a social level instead of just on a physical one. In a pinch, they can cover a pretty broad range of Social maneuvers (with the Zenith picking up the slack for impassioned speeches). To the Immaculate, they are the Wretched - the Anathema Secret Police, dragging people away in the dead of night as they cried against tyranny, never to be seen again.

The Anima effects of the Night Caste are simple and straightforward, allowing you quite a bit of freedom to pull off stealth assassinations and other incredible feats in silence. They can dampen their anima banner to keep themselves from being noticed, can ignore penalties to Stealth, and, at their strongest Anima level, becomes an anonymous form - you exist, and people can see you, but your features are obscured to the point where anyone who saw you would not be able to tell who you were.


Kind of like this.


A note on this that I find pretty cool - Prince Diamond is officially a transgender character - that grey shawl he wears means that people he meets in his society have to refer to him with male pronouns, despite being female at birth and when he does come up in the book he is referred to specifically as a he. Good on you, Onyx Path.

So what of the Eclipse Caste? In the before times (read: 2nd Edition), they were given a very lowly amount of abilities, the considered ‘leftovers’ of 2nd Edition, with the caveat that they were broken due to being able to learn any charm in the game. In 3rd Edition, they’ve become the more dextrous social companion to the Zenith’s leader game, with a hint of sorcery. Flavored as travellers, explorers, ambassadors and diplomats, the closest they come to in terms of ‘classic’ fantasy classes is the Bard (Or a Blue Mage, in Final Fantasy terms). Eclipses come packed with both Presence -and- Socialize, as well as Bureaucracy, Larceny, Linguistics, Occult (giving them access to Sorcery), Ride and Sail. Personally, I’d also pick up Performance as a Favored Ability if your Zenith isn’t focusing on it, but that’s neither here nor there.

For their special effects, they’re once again given their signature skill in being able to jack the Charms of other non-Solars - most notably spirits, Fair Folk, and others of supernatural ilk. The key difference this time is that the charm has to have the ‘Eclipse’ keyword to be learned by the Eclipse Caste, which gives their power more of a Blue Magic flair and is presumably far less of a nightmare to balance around. They also have diplomatic immunity - so long as they have legitimate business, they can’t be attacked by Shades, Spirits, Fair Folk, or the demon princes of Hell without just cause, and must observe rules of hospitality. This doesn’t mean they can’t provoke you into starting a brawl and then kicking your poo poo in, however. And they also can curse people who break an oath that they’ve personally sanctified.

And that’s it for the Solars! There are many other Exalted, but since this is A) Only a book about how to create Solars and B) this post is long enough as it is, I’m gonna do my best to quick-summarize them.

Abyssals are the Blackguards to the Solars’ Paladins. They’re there opposite number, champions of death and of the Deathlords. Their Castes are the opposite number to their Solar counterparts, each sharing the same mark, except in blackened brands rather than golden sigils. Their Castes are Dusk (Dawn foil), Midnight (Zenith foil), Daybreak (Twilight foil), Day (Night foil), and Moonshadow (Eclipse foil).

The Dragon-Blooded are the most numerous of the Exalted, owing in part to their Exalt powers being passed by lineage instead of being found worthy and just Exalting. They correspond to the Five Elemental Dragons of the world, with their own five castes that neither match or foil their Celestial brethren. Their Castes Aspects are: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Wood.

Once the dynamic foil to their sun-shining counterparts, the Solars, the Lunar Exalted fight a war amongst themselves both inside their hearts and among themselves. Shapeshifters, Wyld Walkers, and wielders of primal Chaos, the return of the Solars means that factions friend and foe and unsure as to whether it means an end to the tyrannical hegemony of Dragon-blooded, or whether they’ll be once again shackled to the Solars as their living shadow. Their casts are Full Moon, Changing Moon, and No Moon.

Sidereals are the Exalted of the Fates and Stars. They can tell the future just as quickly as change it. The weakest of the Celestials, they find their power by weaving fate and inscrutable, mystical martial arts - who only the Solars could match hand to hand. They’re split not just by Caste, but by faction. The Bronze Faction believes the return of the Solars must be stamped out as quickly as it has arrived, whereas the Gold Faction believes that these new Solars, with the help of Sidereal guidance, can retake the glory of the First Age and restore the crumbling Creation to its magnificent splendor. Their Castes are the Chosen of Journeys, Serenity, Battles, Secrets, or Endings.

The Liminal Exalted are strange. While briefly mentioned in 2nd Ed, they get a full spot here. The Hunters of the dead and exorcists of spirits, they are crafted by human hands from strange magic from beyond the grave as near-literal Frankensteins. In a lot of ways, they’re Exalted’s response to Promethean: The Created. These new beings are undying, and have an undeniable tie to a human, usually their creator - for if that bond should break, they start a slow descent into the madness of undeath. Their Aspects are Blood, Breath, Flesh, Marrow, and Soil.


Exigents are the odd man out:

Exalted Third Edition posted:

Sometimes there is calamity beyond measure. Sometimes there is crisis beyond reckoning. Sometimes the world must have a champion, but does not. Then the gods themselves lift their faces to Heaven, and utter a prayer for deliverance.

If the need be sufficient, the god without any other recourse, and the heart of the Unconquered Sun moved by the prayer, he may answer and send down a portion of his divine fire. This is the Exigence: a gift of Exaltation, an extreme sacrament handed down to answer the most urgent of disasters.
Exigents, to my limited understanding.available to me via preview, are the equivalent of special snowflakes. They technically don’t count as Exalted by most metrics, have no real commonalities between them, and effectively kill most of the minor gods that attempt to use it to get an exalt because the power required to fuel an Exigent is so steep.


No, seriously, who the gently caress are these jokers.

Nevertheless, they’re probably getting a book sometime this year this decade before fourth edition before I die.


Buy all our books! All of them!

A two page spread telling you there’s gonna be MORE AND DIFFERENT types of exalted that they couldn’t cram synopses of into this book ends the chapter. From what I know, Infernals are already confirmed, so we can look forward to that at some point, I’m sure.

Next time! Chapter 2: Setting (Or: We’re almost to the good stuff, guys, I promise.)

Monathin fucked around with this message at 04:57 on Apr 22, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Monathin posted:


Buy all our books! All of them!

A two page spread telling you there’s gonna be MORE AND DIFFERENT types of exalted that they couldn’t cram synopses of into this book ends the chapter. From what I know, Infernals are already confirmed, so we can look forward to that at some point, I’m sure.

The fact that they don't name the types that have already gotten multiple splatbooks in previous editions - or not naming future splats they have planned out - I found insufferably smug. This isn't the '90s, and it's no longer charming, if it ever was.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Halloween Jack posted:

Whoops! He switched places with a double. Where does he keep finding them!

The thing is, a lot of mechanics, narrative or otherwise, will strain plausibility in these kinds of edge-case scenarios.

A comparison that immediately comes to mind is the Ghoul power in Monsterhearts that says you straight up can't die. So what if you dissolve the Ghoul in acid? Well, I don't know, what then? It's up to you to rationalize it somehow.

And now I'm thinking of Baccano!

The immortals in that could be reduced to a bloodstain on the floor, and in a few hours, that bloodstain would be a gangster in a snazzy suit again, and he'd probably stab you to death.

...Now I kinda want to to see what Vino's sheet would look like in Spellbound Kingdoms. Or maybe Isaac and Miria.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

That thing where you use d10s as a basic roll mechanic, but then enforce an automatic failure on a 1 was also a thing in that other game System Mastery reviewed with all the different multicolored dice and the weird jargon. It's such an obvious thing to recognize that you're going to fail 10% of the time if a 1 is always a failure on a d10.

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Monathin
Sep 1, 2011


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The fact that they don't name the types that have already gotten multiple splatbooks in previous editions - or not naming future splats they have planned out - I found insufferably smug. This isn't the '90s, and it's no longer charming, if it ever was.

Yeah, I'm not sure if I entirely agree with you, but I get it. It's like. We know Alchemicals and Infernals are still a thing. We know that they're going to probably get a book. But at the same time I can see OPP not wanting to put them in a book because they already have to write up two new Exalted types (Liminals and Exigents), and they're likely having to rewrite Infernals from the ground up to not alienate their audience, and rewrite Sidereals due to the fact that John Chambers actively sabotaged their 2e splat.

So on one hand, I can see them not wanting to put the rest in due to the idea that theyve got more to work on that theyre putting front and center. On the other, it's still kind of really loving frustrating.

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