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ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


Lambo Trillrissian posted:

But I like to imagine that if you showed him something like Chuubo's Marvelous Wish Granting Engine he would have a heartbreaking moment of enlightenment just before his head exploded.

to be fair this happened to me too

In all seriousness please help, I don't understand how it works

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Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.

Clapping Larry

Lambo Trillrissian posted:

But I like to imagine that if you showed him something like Chuubo's Marvelous Wish Granting Engine he would have a heartbreaking moment of enlightenment just before his head exploded.

See, that just makes me think of this one time Chuubo had been learning about the water cycle in school and fumbled a key into a storm drain, then wished that lost keys would come back out of the ocean into Fortitude. Like the rain.

(It really wasn't going THAT badly until Leonardo de Montreal remembered exactly where he'd thrown the single key to the magnificent apparatus that sealed the gaping void where his heart used to be, about five seconds before it dropped inerrantly out of the clouds like a vengeful thunderbolt.)

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Cults: Anabaptists, pt. 2

Degenesis Rebirth
Primal Punk
Chapter 3: Cults




ANABAPTISTS

Cathedral City

Rhebus might have gone all bile-and-black-phlegm over the holy rivers, but his followers still sought them in a very literal sense. They decided that a marker of such river would be fertile ground and possibly some epic ruins.

They were really surprised when they noticed a cathedral while walking through the grain fields of river Rain (Rhine?) one day. They had missed it many times before, but there it stood, mighty and beautiful.

quote:

They sank to the ground and buried their hands into the soil, rubbing the wheat straw and inhaling its scent. Gihon or Hiddekel, Pischon or Perat, this had to be one of the headstreams! The cathedral at its banks would become the center of their faith as it had attracted piteous people ages ago.

However, Chroniclers had already set up shop there. Anabaptists just knew that those nerds were up to no good.

quote:

Thousands of Neognostics armed with war spades and hoes marched against an enemy that a dozen could have vanquished

Turns out, they owned the nerds so hard, it was a blow ďthey could never recover from.Ē For the Anabaptists, it was Tuesday. You can also imagine that the force that ďa dozen could have vanquishedĒ was actually a hundred or more Chroniclers, but all of them in the physical shape of a regular poster.

Anabaptists also started irrigating and planting around the cathedral. Soon, Cathedral City was a major hub of water supply for the region.



"And deliver us from the dread weeaboo, oh Lord..."


Reflection

Side-section!

Technically, Anabaptists were never beaten. However, Scrappers can still find ruins and artifacts of Anabaptists that pre-date Cathedral city, together with underground temples and crosses made of wire.

Those who get to know secrets of the Cathedral know of Cultrin, who brought about the Anabaptist civil war and nearly destroyed them with his army of the ďcorrupted.Ē However, in Franka, he changed his mind and disappeared. :iiam:

End Times

200 years after Rebus' (I was mistaken Ė there was no ďhĒ in his name) death, Anabaptists had spread out and entrenched themselves. They had nearly forgotten his prophecies... but then Psychonauts appeared and woops, turns out ol' man Rebus was right about Demiurge's minions.

Thus, they took up the war-spade (and possibly the battle-hoe), anointed themselves with Elysian oils and went out purge the enemy. That's when they started calling themselves Anabaptists.

Two Hearts

Anabaptists are strong and many. They offer community like you have never seen. They're coarse, dirty and work hard. Their fighters are passionate and willing to sacrifice themselves.

quote:

Their principles are few, and almost none of them are unchangeable.

I see they have some American Protestantism influences, too :v:

True Anabaptists are split into two kinds. Ascetics work hard, healing the earth with their toil. They detest the body and its vices, and they don't gently caress (the book says so).

Orgiastics think they're kinda crazy. They're the soldier caste and in their view, their souls elevate them above the body. That's why they gently caress even harder.

quote:

They are above carnal desires and get rid of their human urges via excessive violence and orgies.

Who could have guessed that their name would be so literal?

On the other hand, the book obliquely references that those are the actions of Ascetics and Orgiastics that are true believers in Neognosis and Anabaptist creed, so you can probably find an Ascetic that does, indeed, get laid.

Symbolism

Side section! The cross shows the Christian Gnostic roots of the movement. The circle is God's creation, and its missing bit is human imperfection.



She's so high right now.

Snake and Apple

Anabaptists don't need recruit; their offers of food and community attracts many willing people. They are called Touched. Most of them don't believe in the Anabaptist dogma; the Anabaptists don't care Ė at least they're not working for the enemy anymore.

Here's where it all breaks down. For the first year, a Touched becomes the lackey (book's words) for an actual Anabaptist. This guy teaches the noob about Neognosis and how to identify enemies of the cult (Step 1: Is it a Psychonaut? Y/N). At the same time, the Touched is free to join Ascetics or Orgiastics in their work. He hasn't made any pledges, so he can try any part of the community he pleases. However, he has to make the choice within a season: ascetic work life of an Ascetic, or sex, drugs and possible death in the field of an Orgiastic? One he choses his gang, he's with it for life. The new Anabaptist is anointed with oils and tattooed.

It just seems like an unwieldy system, having to pair every trainee with an actual Anabaptist. What if the Anabaptist is on an assignment somewhere where you don't have, say, Ascetics around? In addition, I doubt that the fact that you can become an Orgiastic or Ascetic without actually believing in the spiritual side of things helps with the theological training of the Touched.

Initiation

All Anabaptists are supposed to wear a nose ring to represent them being slaves to the body. They also get three dots tattooed on their foreheads, though shape and color may vary.

They also learn to be cool: slicking your hair back with oils and holding them with a leather strap is a must. For an Orgiastic, it keeps the hair out of the way in battle. Meanwhile, an Ascetic doesn't have to interrupt work to death with stray strands. At first, the oil is simple, with a few Elysian additives. Once you prove yourself, you can get the real poo poo.

The Seed

It is somewhat harder to get to the top of the Cult than to get in... Which I guess is true for every organization in the world.

quote:

Without a modicum of Neognostic devotion, an Ascetic remains on the fields and an Orgiastic on the front.

To advice in ranks, you must search for the Seed Ė a bit of divine insight, brought on by questioning yourself and looking for truth. They take all sorts of shapes and forms Ė from voices to visions Ė and they usually strike in the midst of hard work or on the battlefield.

Some just make poo poo up.

quote:

Some take a shortcut and invent visions. They should be as cryptic as possible: giant stones, a blood-soaked sky, hands reaching down from the clouds, burying themselves in paradiseís heaving body. There are frauds, but their descriptions often lack the excited passion and transcendent qualities of a true emanation.

Even then, there's a commission of old Anabaptists that decided whether your vision is true or if you're lying (or suffer from eating a spoiled turnip). They are question for days. The more ďemanationsĒ you receive, the close is their scrutiny.

quote:

The visions grow to become multilayered and contain mystical symbols, the existence of which is only known to Council members and the Baptists. In the end, only true believers or the truly cunning can reach the Cultís top.

I swear, the book puts a lot of effort into ensuring the players that they can be faking it all. Talleyrand it up, why don't ya.

Next time: putting ďBaptistĒ into ďAnabaptistĒ

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Glazius posted:

See, that just makes me think of this one time Chuubo had been learning about the water cycle in school and fumbled a key into a storm drain, then wished that lost keys would come back out of the ocean into Fortitude. Like the rain.

(It really wasn't going THAT badly until Leonardo de Montreal remembered exactly where he'd thrown the single key to the magnificent apparatus that sealed the gaping void where his heart used to be, about five seconds before it dropped inerrantly out of the clouds like a vengeful thunderbolt.)

Wizards are a menace.

Battle Mad Ronin
Aug 26, 2017

ZeroCount posted:

to be fair this happened to me too

In all seriousness please help, I don't understand how it works

I have never understood a word of it either, so at least we are not alone.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Coalition Wars 4: Cyber-Knights, part 5- "In a rainstorm, the Crusader should offer a lady his only cloak."

There are three main motifs intended for PCs, and two intended largely for NPCs. They also have some example NPCs to go with them, which I'll cover a few of in each example. Most of the NPCs have a unadvertised adventure hook to go with them, which is actually pretty useful.


"Maybe one day, you too can be a psychic man-machine fighting a thankless war, young man! Ha ha!"

The first three, in order of prominence within the Cyber-Knight order are:

Courtiers: These are knights that focus on upholding the Code of Chivalry. They have a tradition of "holding court" when they gather in groups of a half-dozen or more, which means bringing large amounts of food and drink to a town, which then holds a festival in their honor. (Where do they get the food and drink from? They don't get paid...) In the evening, the Cyber-Knights share stories of their valor, which everybody presumes to be awesome and true because Cyber-Knights never lie. A "young maiden" or child is asked to evaluate the stories and deem whether or not it's worthy, and if so, the town and other Cyber-Knights will keep and spread the stories. Erin Tarn wishes she could do a proper collection of these tales, but is resigned to the fact she probably is too old to properly chronicle them all before their passing.
  • Lady Shalder Lida (11th Level Human): A Cyber-Knight working for Tolkeen who's rumored to have found and claimed Poor Yorick (from Rifts Coalition Wars 1: Sedition) and was badly shaken by some prophecy it had for her.
  • Sir Kevin "The Salamander" Strauss (6th Level Human): A Cyber-Knight who worked to evacuate villagers during a Coalition fire-bombing, Kevin was caught in the bombing but was found crawling out of the flame carrying three children. People think he's fireproof, but it turns out he managed to hide in a bunker and it was "sheer luck" the oxygen was not sucked out. I'm not sure that can happen by luck... he's chagrined by the stories and tries to let people that he is not, in fact, fireproof.
  • Sir Galston Kurbod (7th Level Quick-Flex): A world-hopping knight who traveled to Wormwood and Phase World, and apparently was given the opportunity become a Cosmo-Knight but refused. He helped with a slave uprising in Atlantis. While he's loyal to Lord Coake, if something should... happen to Coake, he'll consider the order to to stay unallied null and void and join on Tolkeen's side.


Crusades: they always work out well, it's a good term.

Crusaders: These are knights that focus on crusades and quests; crusades being long-term, lifetime sorts of oaths, like trying to free Mexico from the vampires or liberating slaves from Atlantis. Granted, they can be more humble, like protecting somebody or overthrowing a regional warlord. Give up on one? You're probably kicked out, unless you quest to atone or the like. They generally start with quests given to them by their mentors, which are are simpler assignments given either to squires or to make up for some wrong. Usually quests have some requirement, like claiming the crown of a evil warlord or other proof of their success. Sometimes failures go AWOL, hiding from the shame of their failure. They also focus on the "four precepts" in addition to the Code, which are:
  • Poverty: Crusader only want useful thing, never hoard. Can own magic fancy stuff if useful, but no goods heavier than carry.
  • Humility: Only keep gifts for using, and not show off. Be lone wolf, not famous, remain on edge. No telling stories of braving! Play down things you do to be plain.
  • Purity: Selfish alignments bad, evil alignments worse. Don't hang with bad peoples! Be mean to them, tell them you is better!
  • Generosity: Give money to poors! If you get big reward, give to poors! Even if hungry, give food, you hurt, but that hurt good, because poors hurt less!
Of course, we also have a stack of associated NPCs:
  • Lady Jade Seltic (5th Level Human): Lady Jade has sworn to destroy the Coalition States. While she's loyal to Lord Coake and doesn't side with Tolkeen, she's waiting for the opportunity to do damage directly to the Coalition with a secret operation that might shut down Chi-Town entirely. The Coalition has somehow heard of her plan, and is looking to capture and interrogate her.
  • Lady Charisma Stalton (3rd Level Human): "... P.B. 24. Lady Stalton is considered by many to be the most beautiful Cyber-Knight in the world. She is a statuesque, blond-haired, blue-eyed knockout, who is also a stalwart Crusader and a foe not to be underestimated." She abandoned the order to serve Tolkeen, but is trying to get the Cyber-Knights under Tolkeen to focus on helping refugees, and hopefully bring them back into the fold.
  • The Shining One (10th Level? Unknown?): A mysterious figure that isn't part of the order, but goes around with bright white Psi-Swords being a super-badass and blowing up Coalition Transports... somehow. Not even Coake knows who he is! He's super mysterious and badass and Coalition soldiers have started just running when he shows up! "The Shining One seems to come and go as he pleases and does as he wants."


This elf Cyber-Knight shows up in most of Freddie Williams' art in this book.

Champions: This is the smallest faction of proper Cyber-Knights, who are mostly focused on proving and testing their skills in battle. Many consider them boorish, but they consider themselves practical, figuring that being the bestest that ever was a necessity to do a Cyber-Knights work. They often seek out villains with fearsome reputations to defeat, but they try to be starkly honest about their accomplishments, trying to avoid being vainglorious. Many keep trophies to back up their claims, even though few doubt them, because... well, just in case, I guess. They can be more competitive amongst themselves, and often give challenges to other Cyber-Knights as a matter of establishing their own self-imposed pecking order. They also like to set up small tourneys of jousting (with different "types" based on the mounts used, from horses to hovercycles), marksmanship (with whatever the weapon), single combat (either point-based duels, punch for punch, or endurance test), and winner-take-all melees. They also honor those who can match them in skill (usually just Cyber-Knights, but rarely outsiders) as "blood brothers" they remain loyal to. Some outside the Champions think such personal loyalties risk breaking the Code. This tradition has meant the Tolkeen crisis has been even worth for them, as battle brothers end up on opposite sides of the divide. Some loyalists have gone to challenge their brothers working for Tolkeen, seeking to challenge them in duels to bring them back into the fold. Coake isn't real hot on this, but they do it anyway.
  • Sir Gavin Grey (6th Level Vanguard Brawler): A Cyber-Knight that was slain by the "Seven Demons of Thunder Gorge", he mysteriously rose from the dead and killed them while glowing. He claims he doesn't remember what happened, and others are trying to figure out he did it. He's been around Minnesota doing good samaritan work around the war, and fighting the Coalition not for Tolkeen, but to protect the smaller communities.
  • Sir Tubros Belton (10th Level Human): A enormously strong 400 lb. glutton, Belton loves tourneys to the point where he's taken flak for it, but those who criticize him have refused his challenges. And so, he's joined Tolkeen to prove himself, even though people have had to save him because I guess he's the comedy fat guy. "His considerable bulk slows him down to such a degree that Sir Tubros is usually given a stationary position to guard or hold so the rest of the group will not be slowed down by him."
  • Lady Lorelei Winter (8th Level Human): A former Chi-Town "City Rat", Winter was taken in by a Cyber-Knight who put her through a punishing several-year montage. Having experienced Coalition oppression though her childhood, her focus is on harrying the Coalition war machine.

All of this is pretty standard splatbook stuff at the time, and isn't bad per se, but goes on at the sort of overt length you'd expect. To me, the different factions feel artificial - the different traditions being specific to different factions feels weird, and it feels like you might get a Code-focused character that still enjoys tourneys, or a Crusading character that's big on duels... it doesn't feel natural. Maybe if they had clear leaders or different communities, it'd be easier to have them be divided, but it's not clear why the Cyber-Knights are giving each other different labels.

One thing worth noting is that there's actually a fair number of female NPCs; female characters tend to be token in Rifts books, and with some exceptions (as seen above, and some to come)... it's at least good to have some that aren't defined by their looks. But there are still those that are. Baby steps.

But we've got two labels to go...

Next: The dark knight rises.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Alien Rope Burn posted:

One thing worth noting is that there's actually a fair number of female NPCs; female characters tend to be token in Rifts books, and with some exceptions (as seen above, and some to come)... it's at least good to have some that aren't defined by their looks. But there are still those that are. Baby steps.

And only one of them is jaw-droppingly gorgeous!

It's true, though, for the longest time if you got some NPCs then there would be a The Girl because... I dunno, Kevin didn't think girls played RPGs? It wasn't just him, though. Nightspawn/Nightbane was bad about it as well under Carella.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Good new thread name.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013

Alien Rope Burn posted:

I'm reminded of an old interview with one of the Kindred of the East authors where they commented that naming powers like "Jade Servant of the August Personage" or "Semblance of the Scarlet Queen" sounded cool until they realized those were power names they'd have to write over and over.

If i was inclined to do that I'd have the spell/power name purely mechanical.

With a few common names for it underneath as part of the spell description.

So Fireball

Alias: Explosive Dragon Bolt, Smote of Solar Fury ,etc. And let the players/Gm use whatever suited their tastes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Fangs at the Gate: Charismatic Lunar Tricks

Charisma: Heartís Blood! Debt of Borrowed Skin lets you perform a sacred hunt to gain a humanís shape by performing a serious or life-defining task on their behalf. Your target must agree to you doing so and must consider the value of your task to be equal to their heartís blood (on top of any compensation they offer), in addition to it being difficult enough for it to count as serious or life-defining for you. They need not, however, know or consent to you gaining their heartís blood, and they canít renege later. If you fail to accomplish the task or abandon it, the sacred hunt is a failure and you canít gain the targetís shape via this Charm for the rest of the story, but other sacred hunts can still work.

Charisma: Influence! Beast-King Dictates lets you reroll failures on a persuade, bargain or threaten roll because of your natural authority, and you reroll all 1s first if youíre in a human shape that has a superior position to your target in a formal or informal social hierarchy. Herd-Strengthening Invocation lets you talk about or give a performance on a custom of a culture you have a Tie towards, with the specifics depending on the Tieís context Ė if positive, you reveal the merit of the custom, while if negative, you speak against it in order to piss the crowd off at you. (Note: customs donít have to be of nations or cultures Ė they can be for smaller groups, like a godís cult or a specific gang, and the game specifically says a clever Lunar can spread customs to take advantage of later.) Any audience members that belong to the relevant culture are treated as having a Principle embodying the chosen custom until you stop committing Essence to this charm, with intensity equal to your Tie. This provides the benefits of having the Intimacy defensively, but cannot be exploited by others offensively. They arenít forced to obey it, but if they violate the custom they lose this benefit. The Charm also ends if you lose your Tie to the culture.

Untamed Soul Unity lets you make a Charisma-based instill check to turn an animal into your temporary familiar (or that of anyone else you choose thatís present) and give it a Major Tie of loyalty to you (or the person you picked). It becomes a familiar permanently if this is raised to Defining before the story ends, and it canít be used on animals thatíd be 3-dot familiars or are someone elseís familiar already. If you give your Solar mate a familiar, it immediately forms a Defining Tie, and it can be 3-dot. Beast-God Idolatry lets you make an object depicting you or one of your shapes, imbuing it with an influence roll to instill a Tie towards whatever it depicts which affects anyone that sees it for the first time, for as long as you keep the motes committed and for several days after. Creation-Spanning Passion lets you instill someone with a Tie towards you or strengthen one that exists already that has a context that matches or reciprocates one you have towards them, with a bonus based on the strength of your Intimacy. As long as both Ties are Major or Defining, you share dreams with each other at night, and each player can ask the GM a question about the otherís location, condition or emotions. You can conceal information from each other to require a read intentions roll to get the answer. The dreams end if you and they go over a month without interacting in the normal world. If used on your Solar mate, you share dreams no matter what the Tie strengths are. (Note: this still works if the context is you hate each other.)

Moonstruck Reverie Trick lets you whisper dreams of love to someone, making a special Charisma instill roll against a sleeping target. If you succeed, you pick a trait someone might have, like a physical feature, ethnicity, social class or profession. The next time your target meets someone with that trait, the person they meet automatically makes a Presence-based instill roll with bonus dice based on your Essence against your target, without being aware theyíre doing it. If they succeed, the target gains a Major Tie of love towards them, though the victim decides if itís romantic or platonic. At Essence 3, you can repurchase to make this persistent, causing it to recur if the first attempt fails for several additional viable people. Culture Hero Empowerment lets you pick a custom of a culture you have a Major or Defining positive Tie to, ritually picking a member of that culture to be its guardian or enforcer. All other members of that culture instinctively recognize that personís position, and their social influence benefits from any positive Ties towards the culture. Further, that person also gets a boost to Resolve against influence contrary to the custom, gets a bonus based on your Essence you read intentions, profile characters or case scenes to detect transgressions of the custom, or to influence checks to convince those who have violated the custom to atone or accept punishment, or to convince others to help punish transgressors. Also, you can freely bless them with another Lunar Charm, Shining Moon-Child Mark, that makes people feel about them the way you do. Once per story, when one of your blessed culture heroes takes on significant risks to punish or prevent transgression of their custom, you gain Willpower and lose Limit, as does your Solar mate if they rule that culture.

Charisma: Warfare! Vengeful Beast Triumph can be used when an allied battle group routs or takes Magnitude damage, allowing you to reflexively rally or rally for numbers with Charisma via your sheer presence, and stealing Initiative from the enemy that damaged or routed them. This can be learned via Strength for Lunars whose spirit shape hunts in groups. Rampage-Unleashing Provocation lets you make a Performance-based instill roll to send an ally into a frenzy via taunts, music or chanting. If you beat their Resolve, they get a bonus to Resolve against fear-based influence and a bonus dot of Strength, but cannot flee or surrender without spending 1 WP to end the frenzy. Exalts you target can reflexively activate any one Simple Charm that causes a berserker rage, like Relentless Lunar Fury or the Solar charm Battle Fury Focus. Wild Fury Awakening lets you make a Charisma roll call up a battle group of animals of a species whose heartís blood you possess from within several miles, which shows up after a few rounds. Relatively weak animals such as squirrels or cats form a Size 3 battle group, while predators or mighty beasts like tigers or yeddim form a Size 2 group, and superpredators like river dragons or tyrant lizards form a Size 1 group. Their Drill is average, except for pack hunters, whose Drill is elite. They follow your actions in battle, and if not commanded, attack your foes and follow you in pursuit of new ones. Commanding them outside of battle requires social influence. Summoned animals are never familiars, magically enhanced or animals that have Major or Defining negative ties to you. If you use this while in the form of the summoned beasts, you get a pool of successes to spend on command rolls targeting them.

Charisma: Territory! Boundary-Marking Meditation lets you claim a territory with size based on your Essence. You must physically travel the majority of it, and any mortal communities there must accept your presence and acknowledge that they have no ability or desire to drive you out. Any supernatural beings in the region, including other Exalts, must either consent to your claim or be forced to submit in battle or similar. Also, if the territory is already claimed by another Lunar, you canít take it unless they let you or they die. You pick three qualities to describe the territory; any action taken by anyone in the territory that is supported by a quality is treated as having an applicable specialty, and any action opposed by a quality gets a minor penalty. You never suffer penalties from this and you may reflexively give that immunity to others, or deny them benefits. Story events may remove qualities, and once per story you can change a territoryís qualities or replace lost ones with new ones that apply. You can only have a number of territories based on your Essence. This can be learned via Wits, too.

Dream-Shrouded Wilderness lets you whisper a dream into the land as a Charisma-based instill or persuade roll, binding it into your claimed territory. The first time any given character sleeps in your territory each story, they are hit by the influence roll via a dream. This ends if you go more than a season without visiting the territory. King-of-Beasts Sovereignty lets you enchant a region to pick an animal species that lives there with a Charisma roll, as long as they would be 2-dot familiars or below. All animals of that species in the region get a Minor Tie of loyalty to the regionís mortals, or a Major tie if itís your claimed territory. So long as they are treated well, they will protect and aid the locals. They return to the wilds at the end of the story, though individuals might remain based on events. Even those who leave will not harm the natives unless provoked afterwards.

Living World Embodiment gives each of your territories a virtual healthbar. When you take Decisive damage within your territory, you can shunt half the damage to the territoryís healthbar, and you can deal damage to it to prevent botches or Willpower loss to disease. Damage to the territory manifests in the form of withered plants, barren land, diseased animals and so on. Its wound penalties apply to all Survival rolls to forage and find shelter in it and to Craft rolls to make things from its natural resources. It heals one level of damage per month, or per week if enhanced by the Lunar Charm Moon-and-Earth Blessing, but while it has wound penalties it loses the bonus successes granted by that Charm. While in your territory, whenever you would heal a level of damage, you may choose not to in order to heal a level of damage to the territory, which the GM may rule can also be used to heal blights, infestations or curses on the land. You can also, if the territory is undamaged and blessed by Moon-and-Earth Blessing, forgo healing to increase that Charmís effects to bless the land further, causing massive supernatural fertility.

Next time: Dexterity

Ixjuvin
Aug 8, 2009

if smug was a motorcycle, it just jumped over a fucking canyon
Nap Ghost

Hmm, how can I differentiate these suns? Ah, with color! Let's see... Grey. Silver. Pale. Yep, these are all different, my job here is done.

Supplementary Green Sun joke: I can't believe Cook included the entirety of Homestuck in his game

Seriously though W. Languray thank you for your sacrifices in bringing this pile of utter wank to us.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 3: Forges of Nuln

The Rest of Nuln

Reading Nuln's description over and over, something I'm struck by is how badly the adventure seeds are done in this book. They have them; after each significant area there's an 'adventure seed', but they lack the character of stuff like the seeds in the Kislevite cities or Middenheim. For instance, in the poorest district of the Shantytown, there's just 'Well there might be a hidden swarm of evil mutants living underneath here! And your PCs might get recruited to fight the evil mutants!' Meanwhile, over in Middenheim, there's stuff like 'This famed restaurant might hire your PCs to go into the woods to get ingredients despite the danger of beastmen' complete with an NPC quest giver and a little backstory. Or in Kislev you'd get a short snippet of a character's dilemma and then the implication of how the PCs could take them down or help them out. The city-writing is just sort of there; there's none of the energy of Erengard or the gloom of Praag. It's still more detailed than whatever the heck Spires was trying to do, and Nuln has at least a little more character than the relatively lifeless writing for Altdorf, but it feels lacking. Which is part of why I seem less enthusiastic in writing it up.

Some of this is down to the lack of actual characters in most of the descriptions, and when they do show up, they tend to be written as evil or incompetent. It's missing stuff like the officials that understood that they had a line for exactly how corrupt they could be to get away with it, or the occasional decent people PCs might befriend, or even any memorable bastards the PCs might end up in conflict with. It's also missing something that was really present in Middenheim, Kislev, Praag, and Erengard: Culture and, well, fun. There's descriptions of how Nulners like theater and art, sure, but where are the many and flavorful cabarets and nightclubs of Middenheim? Or the grand opera halls of Praag? The other books gave you a sense of what people in the city actually did for fun and how the city's culture flowed. This is a problem because one of the elements that makes Warhams stand out as a fantasy setting is its lived-in feel. The feeling that that Imperial State Trooper has a home to go to and someplace they came from is one of the defining characteristics of Hams. Taking fantasy cliches and then adding a couple twists that make them feel like a cohesive part of a messy world is why Hams is fun.

Thus, I'll be skipping a lot more than usual so we can get to the awful adventure. I'll be pointing out some important features as we go, but past a certain point, do you really want to hear about yet another filthy, rough dive bar?

Shantytown is a nasty part of town, where people who can't find property anywhere else end up. The people here are constantly threatened by things from beneath the city, particularly Skaven, and have often found themselves on the forefront of an undeclared war with rat nazis. Most Nulners would rather avoid this part of town and pretend it's not there. One of the reasons this place is so awful to live is that it's outside the reach of the dwarven sewers, and so the sewer lines are human-built and much less reliable, making the water much less safe. People regularly fall prey to epidemics of cholera or sicken from industrial runoff. I should also note this book assumes Nuln still has a tiny population of 85,000. While describing it as a huge, crowded city. Always remember the Empire is meant to be one of the most populous states in the world, too. There should be at least 400-500 thousand people in Nuln. Possibly more, given that there's fantasy elements that make the city a hell of a lot more livable than an actual Early Modern metropolis.

Shantytown is also home to The Maze, which is a terrible dark set of alleys and trash infested by seething, insane mutants. What's weird to me is, Schwalb wrote Tome of Corruption. The book that most firmly established the idea that mutation is a lure by the Dark Gods rather than necessarily an immediate mark of the mutant being a Chaos Cultist. Yet this book is going to assume every mutant joins the Ruinous Powers and plots in secret to destroy the normals and hand the world to Chaos. The Night Market of Nuln, a legendary hideout of mutants that supposedly lives under the city (which could be a cool plot hook!) is instead converted into a simple Slaaneshi cult of evil, twisted 'corrupt' mutants who all plan to rise up and kill as many people as possible later in the adventure. Which is a weird goal for Slaaneshi. You're writing an adventure with a Khornate main villain, guy! Either make that a Khorne plan from the get-go or like, put in a Slaanesh cult that wants to stop the Khorne cult because Slaaneshi kind of like the city existing how it is and have them be a possible dubious ally for the PCs or something. Making Slaaneshi just want to rise up and hack down as many people as they can until they die is a weird choice.

The most notable things about the middle-class neighborhood of Westen are that it's a nice place to live with several public parks and crowded but mostly well-kept tenements, but that it also holds the city's granaries and public food stocks. During lean years or economic downturns, the city uses these to parcel out public food aid to the poor to prevent starvation and crime. Once again, Nuln has an unusual number of public services by Imperial standards.

Faulestadt is another neighborhood and large region across the river from Altestadt, because the Countess decreed all major polluting industry besides the Gunnery School and other particularly important factories with particularly skilled craftsmen should be moved as far from her palace as possible and focused in one area. Dyers, slaughterhouses, tanners, and heavy industry all combine to make the area a foul-smelling and polluted place, where the Watch doesn't bother to go unless they have to. All that business and little police presence has also made it popular with the city's criminals. This area also contains the great Industrielplatz, which produces the alloys and refined ores that go to feed the Imperial Gunnery School's foundries. It also does much of the 'lesser' manufacturing, making less advanced cannons and personal firearms, munitions armor (mass-produced, cheaper metal armor components for State Troops), tools, and all sorts of less celebrated but very important industrial wares.

Aver Island is a small island where the Reik and Aver rivers meet and branch, and it contains the city's gloomy Iron Tower. The Iron Tower is a place of torture and imprisonment, established by the Witch Hunters about 50 years ago to question high profile captives and provide a grim reminder that they're always there. Emanuelle has been 'lax' in hunting down mutants and traitors, and so under her rule the tower is more of an implied threat and very few people are brought here to be questioned and brutalized. Again, that, uh, doesn't sound that bad, book.

Der Habinsel is the eastmost community in Nuln, and is mostly given to being a large-scale mustering and training ground for the city's standing army and State Troops. There isn't much else to note about it.

Finally, the Under-Nuln is the city's massive sewer network. It's actually a surprisingly beautiful place, because it was originally set down by dwarfs who were pining for their lost holds. Even though they were digging tunnels to carry wastewater, they still adorned them with statues of the Ancestors, tributes to lost friends and family, markings of grudges incurred and settled, and all sorts of other decorations. The central flow-point for the sewers is so large and decorated that the local sewer-jacks even call it The Cathedral. Naturally, beneath all of this is a small Skaven outpost. Much smaller than before, the Skaven aren't seriously interested in Nuln at the moment, not since Grey Seer Thanquol's attempt to take the city ended in utter disaster and presumably, a lot of rats on fire. Thus, the outpost down here is much smaller than people suspect, and a single adventuring party might be able to destroy it and finish driving the rat-nazis out of Nuln for now.

And that's Nuln. Now, for the actual adventure, I'm not going to be doing my normal gimmick for the main runthrough. This is because there is nothing for the PCs to actually do for the vast majority of the adventure. Most of the Forges of Nuln adventure is spent ensuring a strict timetable of events plays out, with every lead turning out to be false and every investigation mostly pointless until the PCs eventually get to 'solve' some of the mysteries in a cutscene. Most of the stuff the PCs can try to do is pointless and will never actually change anything or affect the adventure. The GM is encouraged to regularly hand out false leads, have successfully followed villains turn out to be body doubles, etc. Which makes the few consequential moments feel oddly out of nowhere. At no point can you actually really disrupt the time-table, despite this being billed as an open adventure where PCs will have a lot of freedom to handle it as they choose. So what I'll be doing instead is showing you the full adventure as written, then we'll be doing a 'how to fix this loving mess' with Brute Squad wrapup afterwards. Because trust me, I'm going to need the pallet cleanser when this loving nonsense is done with.

Ashes was a decent-enough adventure with a really badly balanced finale, a villain who was okay (he had the usual Chaos problem of 'why are your Chaos' and 'what do you actually want' but he had a decent plan and a personality and PCs interacted with him) and a lot of railroading. But at least it railroaded you as the main characters. Spires had a very weak main plot, then an okay subplot and an actually pretty fun one, and while the Dating Sim Portion was a bad idea I can at least appreciate what it tried to do. This? There are no real redeeming values for Forges of Nuln. None.

And we'll get to play misogyny bingo!

Next Time: Forges Begins

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
Hc Svnt Dracones 2.0



OwO what's this???? *notices ur character sheet*



So, the stats have definitely changed. For instance, there's no longer a Ledger stat(which is kind of a shame since that was one hell of a hilarious clusterfuck of bad ideas and worse implementation), and each stat now only has two sub-scores, rather than five. I have mixed feelings about the latter change. On the one hand, five sub-stats for four main scores was a bit excessive, especially since it was created an utter assload of overlap between stats and some were more or less useless as a result. On the other hand, it meant that it was rare there was something you didn't have a stat for, nothing where the GM had to struggle to figure out what to call for a roll for.

Now, we just have Mind, Body and Community. Exert is for any sort of active behavior with them. Whether we're intimidating someone with our muscles or punching someone with them, doing sick acrobatics or deadlifts, it's all a Body: Exert roll, for instance. Perceive is our ability to notice things with our stat, and much as I tried, the game never seems to give any guidelines for when I see things with Body: Perceive or Mind: Perceive. It's easy enough to guess that Community: Perceive is in social situations, spotting people's tells when they're lying and etc., but when is noticing a matter of intellect rather than raw EYE MUSCLE? hosed if I know, the game's little help in the matter. Exert apparently also pulls double duty as the Proficiency(i.e. static bonus) for Perceive, for reasons. Considering that buying up the Exert and Perceive scores for a given stat costs the exact same, Exert clearly seems a better investment in every case.

I'll also note that it took me about five minutes after this to actually find out how to make a character, because of course the values you can invest in your starting stats are nowhere near where those starting stats are described, that would make much too much sense. Then I decided to check the combat chapter, just in case Perceive had some vital use there which they decided not to mention in the rules and chargen chapter, at which point I discovered that this book does, in fact, have a bestiary. A bestiary that isn't mentioned at all in the index, because it's not a single collected set of pages with pre-made enemies, rather there seem to be enemy statblocks dribbled throughout the book whereever the author's brain worms commanded him to slap them in. Note that at this point I have yet to figure out how combat handles shooting someone, for instance. This drops me down a rabbit hole where one stat generates a stat that generates another stat(for the sake of finding out how hard someone is to hit), and the start of that chain is a stat that'll change liberally when you change armor, so changing gear can require altering a stat that affects at least two sub-stats as well as one sub-sub-stat and possibly more because this book is arranged like poo poo.

All of this, by the way, was because HSD 1.0 had several useless seeming stats that became immensely important in combat but weren't mentioned as such during chargen. The Perceive stats here, I'll be happy to note, are no such things. They aren't used, for instance, to calculate your ability to evade being shot in the head. I could also forgive the game's resolution mechanic somewhat since it at least had a fixed TN but that also goes out of the window in combat. Jesus loving Christ this game.

Anyway the point is, gently caress Perception, unless the author pulls another flimflam on me, we'll never need that stat much and thus can dumpster it after investing heavily in Body: Perceive(because it's the only one that seemed to matter for a single sub-stat) and arguing with the GM that we can use it for everything because our EAGLE EYES allow us to easily notice everything around us, because the book never actually says we can't, and thus the other two Perceive stats are useless. Our ability to not get shot to bits is defined entirely by being as small and light as possible, and if we can minimize that stat, our "Mass," then as far as I can tell none of the pre-statted enemies in the book can actually hit us except for a few statistical outliers(the TN to hit us will be 18, and the best stat I've been able to find resulted in a roll of 1d10+1d8+3, giving them at best a 12% chance of hitting us, and it appears to be what the game considers an endgame enemy). Once again, El Gecko is off to a good start in terms of being almost impossible to hit.

Also this was just one of many side trips in trying to find out what certain chargen expenditures would actually result in, because the game is not good about telling us anything about that where and when we need it.



For actual chargen, one thing that HSD 2.0 does get right is that it uses the same purchasing costs for XP as during the game, starting us off with a lump sum we can use to pay our way up the ladder. Also note that the game doesn't actually tell us anywhere, but from looking at the example sheets, when it says "STAT" it means STAT: Exert, which is weird because it says Perceive in the others and holy poo poo everything is like this in this loving book.

I'd also like to point out that a good chunk of what we can buy is described before this table, and the rest is described after. Like... Boons and Notoriety, for instance, aren't described until several pages after the table while everything else is before it. Holy poo poo man put the loving table before or after all the descriptions, make up your miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind. There are also some immensely stupid OR choices here. You can pick +2 Focus(Focus being a daily recharging pool of +'s you can spend on non-combat checks) oooooooooor 600 credits, which is like 50% of what you start with(and the "payout guide" indicates 200 to 300 Credits for "Easy Jobs" which are rated below jobs with "Light Personal Risk" which would pay 400 to 600. So this is not a good use of your limited XP in any way), and there's at least one other where it's the same dumb choice but with Readiness(which is Focus but for combat). A node offers +1 movement, but the node immediately after it offers +2 Notoriety(which is like a dumb secondary XP track) that can be used to buy extra Movement on a 1 for 1 basis, so it's basically +2 Movement if that's what you're really hungry for. You can also hit a bunch of Notoriety nodes on the XP charge at chargen... but you can't actually spend any of it until you've earned more XP than you start chargen with(your maximum Notoriety you can invest in a single thing starts at 0 and increments by +1 at certain XP milestones).

The GM is also encouraged to take away the advantage from other Notoriety purchases arbitrarily(for instance, one allows you to choose a certain consumable item, for each point of Notoriety invested, you can get one extra use out of that consumable item whenever you purchase one, and the GM is encouraged to just go "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh no would be bad for story. ability does not work" when he doesn't want to deal with it for whatever reason). Aside from that mention, though, that's not a bad idea, there's also one where you buy a "reputation" for using certain equipment which... makes people in public ignore that you're hauling it around, so instead of going: "oh boy this guy looks like trouble let's call the Cop Corporation and ask how much they'll charge for arresting him" They just go: "Hey, It's John McRailgun, with his railgun! Hey John!" which is a bit weird and requires some mental gymnastics, but at least it's a mildly interesting take on having "signature gear." Notoriety also gates a few other advances like surgeries and is almost always the right choice, especially when it's something like "+2 Technique" or "+2 Notoriety" where each point of Notoriety can but you +1 Technique... and +1 Proficiency. How hard is it to miss poo poo like this?



Another point of Chargen is Backgrounds which... it's dull as poo poo. It's just a horribly dull five pages where you get a bunch of abilities that tend to be "you can get a reroll in this niche situation" or "you have some contacts in this specific location." There are really only two that stand out noticeably, one of them just straight-up allows you to respawn with an 80% success rate once per story arc, popping out of a cloning vat somewhere with almost perfectly intact memory. The other lets you send an NPC(again once per story arc) with a 70% success rate to do "a job of your choice," which is some incredibly vague poo poo. It also doesn't say you lose the ability if he fails, but it basically means that any job you need to do that's dangerous, you should technically contract out to this guy and his 70% success rate first, just to see if he nails it and lets you harvest the rewards. Contracting it out to him costs you nothing, whether he succeeds or fails, and by the phrasing no matter how complex or lengthy a task it is, it's literally decided by that one roll and the guy will keep going, like a programmed robot, until he ultimately succeeds or fails. As written, this ability is available from chargen, compared to final-milestone abilities like "your party never has to pay restaurant bills," "you have a hidden place you can stash things," "if the GM is about to TPK you all with a completely unhinted-at ambush, on a roll of 4+ on a D10 he has to tell you first" or "you don't have to carry your own luggage when doing a mission."

I know it's hard to balance a game sometimes, but c'mon. Come the gently caress on.

I also want to point out that one of our chargen options, Techniques, pops up somewhat later than the rest of chargen. The book has 346 pages. It pops up on page loving 330. EAT A DICK, HSD.

After discovering that the game actually has a vestigial bestiary, I was going to stat up El Gecko again and see how effectively he could mince these tough, extradimensional terrors. But I've spent too much time getting angry at this dumb book, so, NEXT TIME.

EL GECKO 2: RETURN OF THE FOLDING CHAIR

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 3: Forges of Nuln

This is a complex adventure with many paths!

The above is a total lie, by the way. This adventure is absolutely as linear as Ashes of Middenheim, no matter what it insists. The reason I hate it so goddamn much is because, well, Ashes achieved that linearity mostly by having a firm main plot. This adventure does so by having everything players do be futile until they're allowed to actually act. Even then, entire subplots are completely unresolvable for extremely stupid reasons. It wants to be a timed adventure with a simple hook: You arrive in Nuln right as Gunpowder Week starts and a new cannon is going to be shown off at the festivities. You then notice a string of noble disappearances that may have something to do with the third artifact, the Chalice of Wrath. The PCs then hunt the serial killer, who is trying to awaken the third shard of our good buddy, actual main antagonist who ideally never makes any sort of appearance, Xathrodox the Red Flayer. Meanwhile, they also potentially discover the cannon has been sabotaged to explode by its jealous designer and also stop an unrelated Chaos terrorist attack.

The basic idea of a race-against-time adventure as you start to realize you only have a week to stop the killer, discover the plot with the gun, and stop multiple Chaos terrorist attacks while finding and destroying the Relic could work great. The issue is this: You cannot win early. There's no provision for, say, actually catching the killer early. Even if you never catch the killer or figure out who it is, it's mostly irrelevant because he'll tip his hand on Day 7 and you couldn't have saved any of his victims at any point anyway. The book actively encourages the GM to throw out red-herrings or extra, random combat encounters that have nothing to do with the plot to wound PCs and 'slow them down' if they're making progress ahead of the timetable. Your investigations are literally meaningless to the adventure, and days 1-5 only have a handful of actually relevant moments, most of which have very little warning. Also, even if you discover the new cannon is sabotaged, there is no way to prevent it exploding and killing hundreds of people. Even if you present convincing proof that it was sabotaged, the engineers will only check the Magnus cannon itself, not the highly experimental and volatile exploding ammunition, which is obviously the point that was actually sabotaged. That entire subplot is unwinnable and takes up considerable time and effort, and exists because the Countess will lose a huge amount of face when the cannon explodes. That entire plot is there only to add a gratuitous amount of bodycount to the ending and to make sure to remind you the Countess is dumb and bad. The only points where anything you do matters come down to having a long series of extremely easy and tedious random encounters in the sewers to stop one terrorist attack, happening to make the decision to protect one NPC on one specific night (or else you lose the entire adventure path), and maybe catching the killer when you have the chance on Day 6, though that won't stop any of the events of Day 7.

Yeah, I'm getting ahead of myself, but gently caress it. I hate this adventure and I've been reading and re-reading it for a week to prepare.

Anyway, so the setup is this. First, we finally get a backstory for Xathy, who still doesn't really have much of a character! He was a Khornate general who fought his way all the way to the grand stair up to Khorne's chair. His men got bored with that because hey, they'd rather go besiege the Marcher Fortress and fight Slaaneshi. Being Khornates, they all argued about it and killed each other, and as he was dying, Khorne made him a Demon Prince. Then he pissed off Khorne by strutting too much and Khorne broke him in 3 and stuffed him in some random junk. That's it. That's our guy. That's the dude who is supposed to carry this entire adventure path as main villain, who I will remind you the players never speak to, meet, or interact with unless they're on a Bad End track here in book 3.

Our actual main adventure villain comes from Rolf Vogt, an Imperial officer and pistolier from Nuln who fought in the Storm. On his way to fight at Middenheim, he and his unit came across a Sigmarite monastery slaughtered by Beastmen. Being a bit of a hero, he had at them and kicked their asses. He didn't know it, but the monastery was the resting place of 'The Chalice of Wrath', which had been accidentally taken as spoils by a young Warrior Priest from the battles in Kislev in 2302 during the Great War. Rolf was drawn to the chalice, touched it, got pricked by it, and went Khorny. Yep, no actual reason for him to be a bad guy, just touched the wrong cup and now he's an evil serial killer who beat his whole unit to death. With the cup. Welcome to Chaos, we don't need motives or anything. It just happens to you. He went on to Middenheim, where fighting in the Storm sealed his transformation into a servant of Khorne. He still thinks Khorne is Sigmar or something, but that will literally never be relevant to the adventure since he'll be scrawling Khornate symbols in blood on every surface and glorying in slaughter so you know.

The Chalice gets a bunch of powers (SB+2 weapon, +20 to WS when wielding, +10 S and T, makes you Frenzy, heals you when you get kills with it) but the main moment you can actually fight Rolf he doesn't have it. It only comes up if you lose him that time. So they're mostly irrelevant to the adventure. Rolf himself is a middlingly powerful second tier fighter. He will be treated like he was Chaos Michael goddamn Meyers and an unstoppable slasher villain this entire story, when Otto or Katiya could take him solo if he lacks his magic cup. Also note he will be treated as a stealthy master of intrigue as well as combat, and a secret assassin. Note he has no stealth or intrigue skills at all. He's WS 50, BS 57, SB 4, TB 4, with 18 Wounds and 2 attacks, a Pistolier himself, and a reasonably dangerous fighter/noble and that's about it.

Rolf's intriguing is partly supported by the sharp tongued tiny waif of a woman he recruited as a spy, who is described as very nasty and wicked 'despite her attractive features'. She will, one way or another, die in a corner 'quivering in fear and madness' before this story is over. He also has an evil butcher who is helping him. You see, he's trying to build a horrible flesh-golem to be the body of the essence of Xath, and he wants the best pieces from a bunch of other nobles to make the face and finish the thingy. This will be your final boss later. It's disappointingly easy for a team like Brute Squad.

His dad is a huge rear end in a top hat. Randolf Vogt used to be marshal of the city, and came up with a huge, explosive super-cannon to build for the war. However, the war kind of ended faster than anyone expected and before the Magnus Cannon could be finished. It was going to be a super-bombard that would fire explosive shot! It was going to be awesome. Randolf spent a lot of the city's money building it, and it took a lot of time. The Countess is depicted as getting 'bored' with it and removing him to replace him with a sycophant, but Wolfhart von Liebwitz (distant relative of hers) actually did get the gun finished after being appointed Marshal. Randolf is determined to show that ONLY HE could design the cannon safely, and so has sabotaged the ammunition in hopes it will explode, kill a ton of people, and show that terrible woman she was wrong to wrong him!

Note: The gun would work absolutely fine if he hadn't done this. The adventure treats Randolf being removed from the project as a huge dick move, but he was over budget and so late the war ended! And the only reason the gun has 'flaws' is because this prick is actively trying to sabotage it! Hundreds of people will die at the cannon test firing because of this, and remember, your PCs cannot stop this. He is also Rolf's father, and unrelated to the Khorne plot besides trying to protect his son's reputation and thus making looking into the family harder. You're meant to investigate, you have multiple ways to discover the cannon is flawed, and the ending is supposed to be about how the dumb dumb Countess ordered it fired and ignored the warnings, but really. They loving refuse to check the explosive shot no matter what warning you give? And the Engineers give the gun a clean bill of health! This is crazy! You can literally find his schematics of the gun and shot and exactly where they say he's tampered and they'll be ignored because 'you could only have gotten them illegally' by breaking into his house. What the hell?

Next up is Jonas Lang, who is actually host to a little mutant cyst that is our old friend THE MEDIUM PRIEST. Yep, Liebnitz was rezzed by the dark powers and stuck on his lovely dissolute student as a tumor that yells at him and tries to direct him to attack the PCs. Considering Lang is a completely pathetic 1st tier character, this is not going to go well. He doesn't actually do much in the adventure besides accidentally provide one of the hardest fights in the book because Lord knows these people can always find a swarm of beastmen who'll do whatever the Chaos character says.

There's also Erasmus Teuber, a fat artist and son of the head of the Engineering College. He is a Slaaneshi entirely because he likes art, and it made him mutate and get super fat. He is the secret leader of the Night Market terrorist plot. Again, doesn't really have much role in the adventure besides that, and that's the plot the players can avert by fighting 10 (yes, 10) easy random encounters in a row in the sewers. They're all identical. It's awful. But you know, at least you can actually do something about that unlike the gun.

There's also Katarine, an evil seductive Tzeentch sorceress who exists to backstab the PCs at some point. She wants the Khorne relic despite being a Sorcerer for...reasons. She mostly only exists to invite the PCs to Nuln and then to attack them later. She has no actual role in the plot beyond that, though she can also be a part of a lovely murder mystery that again, the PCs aren't actually allowed to solve.

Gabrielle shows up from Spires, going to Nuln to investigate the Shard of Xath with you. If this happens, and you do not put guards in her room on Day 4, you lose the campaign because Rolf murders her. Yep! Literal Sierra Adventure Game dead game walking. No warning. You'll know about the murders but not necessarily that she's being targeted on that specific night. She doesn't do anything in the plot besides win it for you if she's alive at the end. Hilariously, if you never met her in book 2, she'll show up out of nowhere right at the end to win book 3 for you, never having been in danger.

The final main NPC is the only new female NPC who isn't described as stupid, sexually promiscuous, useless, evil, or corrupt. Elsbeth Becker is a Nulner patriot and noblewoman who tries her best to help the PCs navigate Nuln society, helping roundhouse them around in their useless Days 1-5 investigations. If Gabrielle is protected on Day 4, Elsbeth will be murdered along with her entire household to show the stakes are high as Rolf kills her entire mansion by himself undetected. If Gabrielle is not protected, the book will present an alternate path to win via a necromancer in the sewers who has a magic rod that can separate magic essences from items. He actually thinks this will win the game in sincerity; it will not, Xath will later attack the PCs in a future adventure or something. His price for it and the ritual to use it is for the PCs to lure Elsbeth into his clutches because he has long leered at the noblewoman and wishes to possess her as 'his'. So yeah, an alternate path to 'win' (which doesn't win, but is presented as such) is to lure a helpful female NPC into the sexual menaces of a sewer necromancer. Yes, this turns out badly, but why the gently caress is this in the adventure!? The author chose to put 'lure the beautiful, helpful noblewoman, because of loving course she's described by her 'still beautiful' appearance, into the sexual menace clutches of a leering necromancer' as a path PCs can take and to devote wordcount to it. What the gently caress, Forges of Nuln.

We're not even done with misogyny bingo yet! The rest of that will have to wait until we finish the two accidentally hardest fights in the book and the path to Nuln!

Next Time: Action Economy, you idiot

Angrymog
Jan 30, 2012

Really Madcats

Body: Perceive might be for things like noticing a food doesn't taste or smell quite right?

Rand Brittain
Mar 25, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

ZeroCount posted:

to be fair this happened to me too

In all seriousness please help, I don't understand how it works

Ultimately Chuubo is just a game with two parallel systems for determining what happens. One is a traditional action resolution system that determines how effective the actions you take can be. The other is a story engine that measures your progress in life via a series of predetermined milestones.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have!

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"

Mors Rattus posted:

Fangs at the Gate: Charismatic Lunar Tricks

Charisma: Influence! Beast-King Dictates lets you reroll failures on a persuade, bargain or threaten roll because of your natural authority, and you reroll all 1s first if youíre in a human shape that has a superior position to your target in a formal or informal social hierarchy.

[snip]

Charisma: Territory! Boundary-Marking Meditation lets you claim a territory with size based on your Essence. You must physically travel the majority of it, and any mortal communities there must accept your presence and acknowledge that they have no ability or desire to drive you out. Any supernatural beings in the region, including other Exalts, must either consent to your claim or be forced to submit in battle or similar. Also, if the territory is already claimed by another Lunar, you canít take it unless they let you or they die. You pick three qualities to describe the territory; any action taken by anyone in the territory that is supported by a quality is treated as having an applicable specialty, and any action opposed by a quality gets a minor penalty. You never suffer penalties from this and you may reflexively give that immunity to others, or deny them benefits. Story events may remove qualities, and once per story you can change a territoryís qualities or replace lost ones with new ones that apply. You can only have a number of territories based on your Essence. This can be learned via Wits, too.

Dream-Shrouded Wilderness lets you whisper a dream into the land as a Charisma-based instill or persuade roll, binding it into your claimed territory. The first time any given character sleeps in your territory each story, they are hit by the influence roll via a dream. This ends if you go more than a season without visiting the territory. King-of-Beasts Sovereignty lets you enchant a region to pick an animal species that lives there with a Charisma roll, as long as they would be 2-dot familiars or below. All animals of that species in the region get a Minor Tie of loyalty to the regionís mortals, or a Major tie if itís your claimed territory. So long as they are treated well, they will protect and aid the locals. They return to the wilds at the end of the story, though individuals might remain based on events. Even those who leave will not harm the natives unless provoked afterwards.

Living World Embodiment gives each of your territories a virtual healthbar. When you take Decisive damage within your territory, you can shunt half the damage to the territoryís healthbar, and you can deal damage to it to prevent botches or Willpower loss to disease. Damage to the territory manifests in the form of withered plants, barren land, diseased animals and so on. Its wound penalties apply to all Survival rolls to forage and find shelter in it and to Craft rolls to make things from its natural resources. It heals one level of damage per month, or per week if enhanced by the Lunar Charm Moon-and-Earth Blessing, but while it has wound penalties it loses the bonus successes granted by that Charm. While in your territory, whenever you would heal a level of damage, you may choose not to in order to heal a level of damage to the territory, which the GM may rule can also be used to heal blights, infestations or curses on the land. You can also, if the territory is undamaged and blessed by Moon-and-Earth Blessing, forgo healing to increase that Charmís effects to bless the land further, causing massive supernatural fertility.

Oh boy, Lunar Charisma! This new cascade is wonderful, and the Territory Charms in particular are an amazing utility that Solars and Deebs canít easily replicate. Really helps Lunars feel like living forces of nature rather than Silver Solar Understudies.

Also Beast-King Dictates is a bit contentious because its Protean keyword means that its strongest benefit can never apply to your own shape, and a fair few players have Strong Opinions about the implications of that.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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

Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 3: Forges of Nuln
If Gabrielle is protected on Day 4, Elsbeth will be murdered along with her entire household to show the stakes are high as Rolf kills her entire mansion by himself undetected. If Gabrielle is not protected, the book will present an alternate path to win via a necromancer in the sewers who has a magic rod that can separate magic essences from items. He actually thinks this will win the game in sincerity; it will not, Xath will later attack the PCs in a future adventure or something. His price for it and the ritual to use it is for the PCs to lure Elsbeth into his clutches because he has long leered at the noblewoman and wishes to possess her as 'his'. So yeah, an alternate path to 'win' (which doesn't win, but is presented as such) is to lure a helpful female NPC into the sexual menaces of a sewer necromancer.
Wow... that's... poorly considered.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Fangs at the Gate: Army of Me

Dexterity: Heartís Blood! Nest-Raiding Slyness lets you perform a sacred hunt to get a human or animal shape by breaking into your targetís home or den while the target is in it, escape without being captured and do something to reveal the extent of your intrusion, like stealing an heirloom, leaving a calling card or similar, such that the victim forms a negative Tie towards you, or whoever they think you are. If you are captured or retreat to avoid capture, your hunt fails and you canít use this Charm to gain that shape for the rest of the story, but other hunts can be used. Emerald Grasshopper Form lets you shapeshift into animals with the Miniscule Size merit, and if you have one of those as your spirit shape you can learn it via Wits. Tyrant Mouse Dominion lets you shrink any shape you are in to Miniscule Size, including any clothes or moonsilver artifacts, while any other equipment is banished elsewhere for the duration. This gives +3 Evasion against larger foes without the Tiny Creature merit, or +2 Evasion against Tiny Creatures. It also gives a penalty to Awareness rolls to notice you, lessened against Tiny Creatures. Against any non-Miniscule foes, your Withering damage has a strict cap and your Decisive attacks deal no damage (but can still deliver poison or similar). You canít grapple foes without Miniscule Size or oppose grapples of non-Miniscule foes, and your Strength is 1 for feats of strength without boosting from Charms. If your form would have Tiny Creature or Legendary Size, you lose those for the duration. Again, if your spirit shape is Miniscule, you can learn this through Wits.

Dexterity: Offense! Finding the Needleís Eye lets you flex and bend your limbs from unexpected angles, rerolling 1s on an attack and ignoring a bit of Defense from cover, weapons or Full Defense. With Dex 4+, you can even attack through full cover, though it boosts your foeís Defense. If you are using the tail, tentacles or similarly flexible appendages of an animal form, you ignore additional Defense. Needle Quill Panoply lets you harden a strand of hair, feather or similar body part into a projectile which you may use for bow or crossbow ammo or throw as a dart. A repurchase at Dex 3+ lets you pay Initiative to also reflexively reload a crossbow or similar Slow-tagged non-flame weapon. Octopus-and-Spider Barrage lets you make a ton of Decisive attacks at once, reflexively swapping weapons if you feel like it. When used in any shapeshifted form that has more than four limbs, each attack that hits increases the damage of all further attacks. Which stacks.

Dexterity: Defense! Nimble Squirrel Evasion lets you dance around enemy attacks, causing them to lose Initiative whenever you dodge a Decisive attack from them, with extra loss if youíre in a Tiny or Miniscule form. Flowing Body Evasion causes your body to melt around an attack, making it pass through you. This lets you apply Evasion to undodgeable attacks (but not ambushes) and boosts Evasion against normal ones, and if the attack hits you anyway, you can reduce the damage by spending Willpower, with any non-gambit attack that deals no damage being considered dodged as it passes through your body. If used against a source of uncountable damage, you autododge it and, if itís recurring damage, you become immune to it for the scene as it keeps passing through you harmlessly. Ferocious Guardian Beast Stance lets you reflexively defend other for the scene, and it makes it so any foe attacking the person youíre defending is considered slower than you for several Lunar defense charms that care about that.

Dexterity: Mobility! Graceful Crane Stance shapeshifts your bones lighter and improves your footing, allowing you to stand or run on any surface, even if itís too weak to hold you normally or too narrow to normally balance on. Spider-Climbing Attitude shapeshifts your body to allow you to maintain grip even on sheer vertical surfaces or even ceilings, as long as you keep using it or end your turn on surfaces you can stand on. If your spirit shape can climb sheer surfaces, such as a spider, this can be learned via Wits. Shifting Octopus Trick lets you become malleable and flow out of non-magical bindings automatically, plus get a bonus to escape magical bindings or enemy grapples. The bonus is increased in an animal form with the Contortionist merit. Shifting Many-Legged Stride alters your feet and legs as you move, adapting to any landscape. You ignore non-magical difficult terrain and make gambits that would impede your movement harder. In any animal form with a Speed bonus, you also get a bonus to enhanced move actions or further increase gambit difficulty.

Dexterity: Subterfuge! Snake-Finger Style gives a bonus to picking pockets, picking locks, cheating at cards, poisoning drinks or any other similar action that could be boosted by perfectly precise, fluid movements, and lets you shapeshift your fingers briefly to remove all penalties or increased difficulty for having no equipment. If your spirit shape is Tiny or Minuscule, you can learn this with Manipulation. Elusive Prey Approach lets you sense a foeís blind spot, reflexively attempting to enter concealment when you dodge an attack. Flashing Steel Reversal lets you make a disarm gambit against a slower foe with Larceny and, if you succeed and have a free hand, you can reflexively ready the stolen weapon; at Essence 3+, you even break their attunement to artifact weapons you steal and can attune them yourself. Silent Swooping Owl completely controls your bodyís actions, causing you to be perfectly and completely silent and undetectable by hearing no matter what you do.

Dexterity: Swarm! Cunning Anglerfish Decoy lets you remove a hair, shed a tear or spit, transforming the cast-off tiny body part into a clone of your current form, with nonfunctional duplicates of all its equipment. Your clone has no true intellect or agency and canít do anything that needs a roll, but is a realistic imitation of you. It reverts if it goes beyond Medium range from you, and it has your Parry, Evasion and Guile. If hit, it vanishes in a flash of silver light, and superhuman or magically enhanced senses allow Awareness rolls against its Guile to tell itís fake, as can talking with it for a few minutes and making a read intentions roll. You may reflexively attempt Stealth even without a hiding place when you use this, with those who fail opposing you believing youíre the fake copy and itís you. Lunars with Tiny or Minuscule spirit shapes can learn this with Manipulation or Wits.

Thousandfold Wasp Dance lets you vomit up a swarm of Minuscule creatures whose heartís blood you have, which heads out to a location within Medium range, forming an environmental hazard for anyone within Short range of its center and forcing people to spend Initiative to move through it as if it were a battle group. You can move it around on your turn as a move action. Foes with a weapon like a firewand can make a very difficult gambit to disperse the swarm. If your spirit shape is Minuscule, you can learn this via Wits. Ant-and-Starfish Trick upgrades Cunning Anglerfish Decoy to let it make fully functional clones that have personhood and agency and acts independently. If human, it uses your stats; if an animal, it mostly uses the animalís statblock, and it canít be Legendary Size or Minuscule. It always has your Tell, healthbar and Intimacies, with a Defining Tie of loyalty to you that cannot be weakened or altered, and it must remain within several miles of you. It has no motes and canít use Charms or shapeshift, but has functional (but mundane) equivalents to all your equipment, which dissolve if taken away from it for more than a scene. It is impossible to tell itís a clone with a read intentions action without magic or superhuman senses. You can touch your clones to absorb them and gain all of their memories; if the Charm ends without doing this or the clone is killed, you do not gain its memories. As with the original Charm, you can learn this with Manipulation or Wits if your spirit shape is Tiny or Minuscule.

Hungry All-Consuming Cloud lets you transform into a swarm of Minuscule creatures, losing Minuscule Size and instead gaining a bunch of bonus health levels that vanish once damaged, gives you a swarming attack as a light weapon with Lethal, Brawl, Flexible, Grappling, Natural and Piercing tags, whose attacks hit anyone in Close range of you with a single attack roll. (Grappling as a swarm lets you grapple a lot of folks but you can only restrain, savage or release.) You canít Parry, but you get an Evasion bonus and halve minimum damage from Withering attacks and slightly reduce Decisive damage, except against Flame or Siege weapons or effects able to hit the entire swarm. You are immune to grapples unless they have magic to grapple your entire swarm-body. Human-sized or smaller foes get a penalty to oppose your rushes and disengages or to disengage you, and must disengage to move away from you even at Short range. If your spirit shape is Minuscule, you can learn this via Wits.

Locust-and-Starling Legion lets you turn into a battle group made entirely of clones of you. Your Size is based on Essence and gives a bonus to your attacks and Withering damage as well as your Soak and Magnitude, your Magnitude is base 10 regardless of your normal healthbar, and your Simple Charms are not compatible with area attacks which, remember, you can make because you are a battle group. By yourself. Unlike most battle groups, you have neither Drill nor Might, your Initiative is not unchangeable, and you can make Withering or Decisive attacks using the same rules as Hungry All-Consuming Cloud to attack multiple targets. You canít benefit from command actions or Charms that specifically boost battle groups. Your Magnitude is separate from your healthbar, representing only harm to your clones, not you personally. You donít make rout checks when you lose Size, but instead make an Integrity check to keep the Charm active; on a failure, it ends and you take 1L that canít be prevented. You can only use this once per scene, and only in a form that isnít Legendary Size or Minuscule. If your spirit shape is Minuscule, you can learn this with Wits.

Next time: Intelligence

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Tibalt posted:

Wow... that's... poorly considered.

In general, all the weird sexist poo poo in this adventure is the kind of stuff where I could see another explanation if one thing happened. Like if it was just the Countess stuff, I could buy that it was intended to be 'the nobility is corrupt and useless' without considering implications.

But we're not even done with Weird Sexist poo poo in this adventure!

Also there is no acceptable excuse for the Necromancer poo poo.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Night10194 posted:

Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 3: Forges of Nuln
Our actual main adventure villain comes from Rolf Vogt, an Imperial officer and pistolier from Nuln who fought in the Storm. On his way to fight at Middenheim, he and his unit came across a Sigmarite monastery slaughtered by Beastmen. Being a bit of a hero, he had at them and kicked their asses. He didn't know it, but the monastery was the resting place of 'The Chalice of Wrath', which had been accidentally taken as spoils by a young Warrior Priest from the battles in Kislev in 2302 during the Great War. Rolf was drawn to the chalice, touched it, got pricked by it, and went Khorny. Yep, no actual reason for him to be a bad guy, just touched the wrong cup and now he's an evil serial killer who beat his whole unit to death. With the cup. Welcome to Chaos, we don't need motives or anything. It just happens to you. He went on to Middenheim, where fighting in the Storm sealed his transformation into a servant of Khorne. He still thinks Khorne is Sigmar or something, but that will literally never be relevant to the adventure since he'll be scrawling Khornate symbols in blood on every surface and glorying in slaughter so you know.

Suddenly turning evil without any prompt, build-up or warning (a Diablo Ex Machina if you will) is one of my bugbears that I wish writers would stop doing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

SirPhoebos posted:

Suddenly turning evil without any prompt, build-up or warning (a Diablo Ex Machina if you will) is one of my bugbears that I wish writers would stop doing.

There's not even like 'there was a secret darkness in his heart that seized upon the opportunity!' or anything. Just boom, he's a serial killer who loves Khorne (but thinks it's Sigmar sorta) now.

At least Katarina kinda has a plan? She for some reason thinks if she gets the magic cup she'll be able to control every Chaos Warrior still in the Empire, have them stab Archy, have them hand her his armor, and become Everchosen. Not sure how she figures that'll happen but you know, at least 'I want to be a Dark Lord of endless power' is an ambition beyond 'I am just super into killing people now'.

It was the same problem with Leibnitz; it's easy to forget since he had a personality, but what was he getting out of Khorne? Why was he with Khorne? Why did he stop worshiping Ulric? Chaos would have much stronger villains if it stopped to just ask these basic questions rather than shrugging and going 'well evil corrupting influence you're evil now I guess'.

E: Like even something as simple as 'got into the cult for social reasons, stuck now, group pressure and the things they've done drove them into being a real cultist' or whatever! Anything beyond a constant tide of "Chaos says you're evil now, so you're evil." Once or twice, it's fine to have an evil relic or something grab someone by the brain and make them go Chaos. But it's all the goddamn time, every time, in place of actually having to write characters or motivations.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:19 on May 29, 2019

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Why is it that everyone who wants to be the Great Dark Lord goes chaos instead of interning in Sylvania for a year?

Precambrian
Apr 30, 2008

I'm watching HBO's Chernobyl right now, so I'm a bit more interested by using "you tell the engineers there's a crisis and they tell you that you didn't see any sabotage because there is no sabotage!" as a plot point, but that kind of bureaucratic futility just doesn't seem like it could be fun in a game of swashbuckling adventure. Like, if they just had you figure out a way to either find someone who can overrule the engineers or figure out some bullshit explanation that ensures that everyone saves face or throws a scapegoat under the bus, that'd be a lot more enjoyable, and could even work as a darkly satirical take.

Also, for the Diablo ex Machina, I take Khorne as a trope to be an extension of a history of unexamined metaphors for PTSD; the product of fears that Vietnam was turning our soldiers into psychopathic killing machines that would inevitably go mad in the States. We don't have the same attitude towards PTSD now, but the impact it had on 70s and 80s culture (see: the Punisher, Col. Kurtz, Travis Bickle) casts a long shadow, and comes back in really discomforting ways. This story, for instance, is just about a soldier who came back from the front addicted to killing! via magical gewgaws instead of combat stress. It's the sort of storytelling that continues to demonize people with mental illness, even if less direct than the Sanity/Morality meters in Cthulhu and White Wolf games.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

wiegieman posted:

Why is it that everyone who wants to be the Great Dark Lord goes chaos instead of interning in Sylvania for a year?

Sylvania has standards, any whackjob can grab a magic item and pretend they're a Chaos Lord.

Also, the scapegoat would be the guy already extremely out of favor with the court, whose detailed sabotage plans you may well have found to present to the court. The idea that people would be so focused on 'where did you get these' and not 'aha, a chance to put a boot into old Randolf, that guy nobody at court likes anymore anyway' is a little weird.

That's also a very insightful look at Khorne when I think about it. Thank you for that.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 20:41 on May 29, 2019

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG

Ixjuvin posted:

Hmm, how can I differentiate these suns? Ah, with color! Let's see... Grey. Silver. Pale. Yep, these are all different, my job here is done.
Next time I run a game, this is how dwarven society works. Every dwarf has a rank, they are all gray metals (iron, silver, steel, platinum, chrome, etc), they are ranked by dwarfy criteria rather than monetary worth, and their forms of address require you to be able to tell them apart on sight.

Dwarves created gold rank for humans, who are honored because they donít understand it means ďsoft and uselessĒ

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

AmiYumi posted:

Next time I run a game, this is how dwarven society works. Every dwarf has a rank, they are all gray metals (iron, silver, steel, platinum, chrome, etc), they are ranked by dwarfy criteria rather than monetary worth, and their forms of address require you to be able to tell them apart on sight.

Dwarves created gold rank for humans, who are honored because they donít understand it means ďsoft and uselessĒ
That's about 80% of the way to describing Dwarfs in Glorantha. They're distinct types, all named after different substances (clay, iron, silver, copper, etc.). If a dwarf manages to perfect itself through its craft over thousands of years, it may become elevated to diamond dwarf status.

vvvv That is also very, very Gloranthan. A dwarf thinking for itself instead of tireless toiling at its part in the Great Plan to restore the World-Machine is guilty of the heresy of "Individualism". Other Dwarfen heresies include Openhandism, Octamonism, and Vegetarianism.

FMguru fucked around with this message at 00:10 on May 30, 2019

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

AmiYumi posted:

Next time I run a game, this is how dwarven society works. Every dwarf has a rank, they are all gray metals (iron, silver, steel, platinum, chrome, etc), they are ranked by dwarfy criteria rather than monetary worth, and their forms of address require you to be able to tell them apart on sight.

Dwarves created gold rank for humans, who are honored because they donít understand it means ďsoft and uselessĒ
"Dwarfiness is Mandatory, citizen. Please report all undwarfy feelings to your nearest confession altar along with any and all treasonous acts you've been responsible for. Forge Computer thanks you for your service."

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


Rand Brittain posted:

Ultimately Chuubo is just a game with two parallel systems for determining what happens. One is a traditional action resolution system that determines how effective the actions you take can be. The other is a story engine that measures your progress in life via a series of predetermined milestones.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have!

Right and I guess it's just the latter that is giving me some trouble. I've played Nobilis 3E before so Chuubo's action resolution system isn't an issue to me. It's probably something I'd have to see played to really 'get', that's usually how it works. Are there are any examples of play floating around on the internet?

Lambo Trillrissian
May 18, 2007
MUCH LIKE PSYCHO MANTIS WHEN YOU PLUG THE CONTROLLER IN THE SECOND PORT, I CAN'T READ

ZeroCount posted:

Right and I guess it's just the latter that is giving me some trouble. I've played Nobilis 3E before so Chuubo's action resolution system isn't an issue to me. It's probably something I'd have to see played to really 'get', that's usually how it works. Are there are any examples of play floating around on the internet?

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/248940/Finding-Home-Two-Examples-of-Play

There's two examples of play by the author in here (with marginalia about what is happening and why) and the document is pay what you want. It really helped me, worth the recommended 3 bux if you can manage.

It took a while to really click for me as well, the trick is to get your head around the core loop of each player picking the skeleton of narrative out for themselves beforehand and then filling in the details in play with the quest milestones and XP actions, then throwing in a couple challenges and twists with Issues (remember to use Issues!) Once you've got that down the bigger stuff like how they all flow together into a cohesive plot isn't actually so bad.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Coalition Wars 4: Cyber-Knights, part 6- "These heartless zombies are likely to defend their cruel actions with something like, 'I warned him to get out of my way,' or, 'He knew what I am, he was a fool to challenge (or oppose) me; now he's a dead fool.'"


"Look, no ley line's gonna help you here!"

Fallen Knights: So, there are two basic types of "Fallen Cyber-Knights" the first are those who become burnt-out or disillusioned and abandoned the Code thanks to the grimness of this daaark world. Many have abandoned faith in humanity, and become wandering, selfish, grumbly adventurers and drunks. They're bitter folks! Some may have a hint of virtue still burning in their hearts, as much as they deny it. "I don't believe in honor or anything! Baka!"

Blackguards are those who go full evil. "Nobody is sure why these knights choose the dark paths they tread." They're edgy anti-paladin sorts who will kill you because they don't even care and no doubt have their voice drop several low octaves upon joining the cause of eeevil. They might be corrupted by power, or have been evil seeds that hid being evil through their training. The Tolkeen conflict has seen a spike on Blackguards arising, because... uh Tolkeen bad, don't worry about the details!

Now it would be just silly if Blackguards had factions... oh, wait, they do.
  • Robber Knights: These are Cyber-Knights that turn to banditry, sometimes disguising themselves as legit knights to exploit people and take over a town or rob people. They make Cyber-Knights look bad!
  • Justiciars: These are deviant followers of the Code who obsess on some stricture to the point of obsession, becoming the standard "overbearing paladin" archetype that might beat somebody over a lie or find traitor Cyber-Knights and slay them. Often, they're ignored until they go totally over the edge and their extreme attitudes become readily apparent.
  • Despoiler: These are Blackguards that embrace power and eeevil. They're essentially the straight-up reversal of virtue, and a number of them are trying to corrupt those working for Tolkeen because "we're not so different, you and me..." Why? Because they're mustache-twirling caricatures that hate all goodness because they're evil because they hate good and... they also like using the Code to manipulate their goodly peers. Curse you, Lord Coake!


Drives cats crazy.

We also get some NPC Cyber-Fallen-Knight-Blackguards:
  • The Executioner (Level 7th or 8th... Human?): A literal dark knight in black armor and bionics, this guy Darths around and goes around "purifying" (i.e. beating or murdering) anybody he interprets as in violation of the Code, and then goes to purge society of it by murdering their friends and family. Also, he has a laser eye.
  • Lady Epheseia Gloordon (7th Level Human): A P.B. 24 "Black Widow" who goes around seducing "noble knights" and making them eeevil because, uh, women, amirite? She's allied with the evil Federation of Magic and wants to move into Minnesota after the war to carve out her own kingdom before conquering stuff. Or she has other evil plans! That probably involve loving! Evil loving!
  • Sir Michael Garcia (3rd Level Human): Sir Shining Light was a super-good optimist with gold armor, but who was disillusioned by Tolkeen's tactics, and his spirit was broken by running across multiple Coalition Death Camps. He's fled from the war and is planning to go to Lazlo or try and become...

quote:

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: A HUNTER-TRAPPER! Woooooohooo! Join the dark side, eh?

Alien Rope Burn: Ugh, no.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Join me, and we will skin beavers as hunter and son!

Alien Rope Burn: Well. He could probably stand to fish and chill.

Trapper-Woodsman O.C.C.: Hey, I get me more than one Fallen Cyber Fella, they could reform their psi-swords into psi-sticks, and we could have psi-hockey!

Alien Rope Burn: I'd watch it.


"Having all that cyber-armor grafted onto my back... I have regrets."

Hermetic Knights: So, most Cyber-Knights die in service, but some live to become old. Some retire as instructors and historians at Cyber-Knight camps, where others become true hermits and live in the woods or mountains becoming the grumbliest of loners. Others are burnouts or ashamed, and abandon the way to live "civilian" lives of peace. Of course, sometimes they come out of retirement despite being too old for this poo poo. Others retire after fulfiling their Dream Vision, seeing themselves as having completed their role, and sometimes become Dream Sages who interpret said visions. Often Dream Sages isolate themselves and give those who might seek their aid quests, riddles, or guardians to get past. Why? Because they're big grumps. No, seriously. That's old folks for you: the grumpiest. We're told players can't be Hermetic Knights for the most part, and that they get fairly severe penalities to their combat stats - but Dream Sages specifically get bonuses to some mental saves. Some get extra Dream Visions which haunt them, which may be the reason for their grumpiness. "Another dark vision? Well, it's a Sunday..."
  • Sir Brugai Rensibor (9th Level Human): After a failed quest, Rensibor became a sad-sack drunkard, though a number of Cyber-Knights visit him to try and intervene, as he used to be a excellent knight. He's pretty much set up for somebody to inspire him back to action and become their bestest mentor and bud.
  • Sir Maxwell Claymore (11th Level Trimadore): A rare Trimadore Cyber-Knight, he retired after defeating all of his arch-enemies to become a sage. He owns a powerful rune sword called Black Ivory, and is looking for a new heir to claim it if if they can defeat his five challenges (whatever the GM decides they are).
  • Lady Sora Ochobar (8th Level Human): A Cyber-Knight who completed her Dream Vision to destroy an infamous pirate fleet, she's a Dream Sage who will give somebody advice only twice, to prevent herself from having to "mother" young knights. In addition, she expects those who see her to swear to perform three acts of goodwill in the following month.

The Hermetic Knights are actually pretty good hooks for PC Cyber-Knights to hang onto - but most of the Fallen Knight section belabors the point, and makes turning to evil cartoonish and silly. Which would be fine if Rifts didn't keep wanting faux-nuance. Well, you can't have it all.


They're fractured, just take our word for it.

A Fractured Fellowship

We get a details on the breakup between the Cyber-Knights - roughly around half or less, around 900, have joined the Tolkeen defense. We get a lot of belabored text it, but a lot of it just... isn't new information. Cyber-Knights joined up with Tolkeen for fairly obvious reasons, despite Coake considering Tolkeen a nonangel. Ideally, he just wants them to skirt the edges of the conflict and save civilian and refugee lives without directly fighting on either side. However, the Code dragged many knights in for, as mentioned, obvious reasons. We're told there are worse times to come, but that there's still hope! Because Cyber-Knights are rad! Cyber-yay!


This has nothing to do with anything, I just thought you folks might enjoy it.

Next: The taste of an old generation.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013

Chapter 1: Dominions, Prefectures, and the Great Houses

A quick note: no pictures save for a boring one of Dynasts eating. You'll have to use your imagination while reading this wall of text.

Dominions and prefectures are the two biggest adminstrative jurisdictions the Realm has within its borders. There are hundreds of prefectures throughout the Isle, and each generally will encompass a single city (or two if it's particularly large) and the surrounding towns and villages. Dominions are special prefectures carved out of the Shogunate's old holdings, and are far larger than other prefectures; Arjuf Dominion is, through my own estimations, bigger than France in square mileage. The other dominions are Lord's Crossing and Numinous Rolling Wave. Every prefecture must have its prefect, of course, and they are usually drawn from the ranks of un-Exalted Dynasts; patricians and outcastes tend to get elected to backwaters and lesser prefectures on occasion, and if an Exalted Dynast gets a position, it's going to be a cushy position rather than something that is fairly demanding of a Dragon-blood. This may seem odd at first, but most decisions are made by the Greater Chamber of the Deliberative and the Dragon-bloods managing the ministries. Indeed, each prefect is beholden to the Honorable and Humble Caretakers of the Common Folk and is elected by the Deliberative (who are empowered by the Empress being unable to veto any of their decisions) to serve on contract.

Each city and town has a governor (usually a patrician), which is chosen whenever a seat is vacant by the prefect. Notably, this a lifetime appointment; much like how the legislative and executive branches of the US government can be under one party but have Supreme Court justices that favor the other party, so too can an incoming prefect from a new House be stymied by having governors that were all aligned to the previous House. The governors have limited authority over what their districts Black-Helms do and can petition a ministry on behalf of their district. They are also in charge of tax collection for their area; if a place does not have a governor, the prefect sends their own tax collectors (who, oddly enough, are starting to turn up dead or missing more and more as of late). It's up to the Caretakers to determine if a population center is big enough to have its own governor, which generally results in a lot of politicking as new prefects might encourage growth in certain areas with subsidies so as to get more loyal governors. In the Empress's absence, however, some have decided that forced relocation or outright bribery are also valid strategies to accomplish this.

Taxes are sent from governors to prefects, who use the vast majority to fund the prefecture's expenses, such as new roads, irrigation systems, militias, and so on. A portion of the remainder is given to their family, and then the rest is sent to the Home Office, who then transfers it to the Imperial Treasury. Every single person involved grifts as much as they can without it being noticed, and of course most people being taxed try to hide or obfuscate how much they make or how much their estates are worth. Of course, since the Empress is no longer around, this has all intensified, causing conflict as more and more people cheat the system.

A prefect gets evaluated by the Caretakers every seven years. If a prefect doesn't generate enough tax revenue (or has the misfortune of being related to someone the Empress now hates), their contract is not renewed. Back in the day, the Empress used her veto power and control over the Deliberative to make sure prefects rarely were of the same House as the largest House in the prefecture, ideally so that they were loyal to her will and not of the Great Houses, but also would use them as rewards or punishments. One gets the sense that the Empress had to micromanage a lot, seeing as how her system must have been deadlocked constantly without her intervention. Nowadays, senators conspire to make sure that prefectures in which their Houses are significant are always run by prefects of their own House; while it is rare for a prefecture to be overwhelmingly dominated by a House, save for the home prefectures of each House, due to the Empress's influence. Only House Cynis and House Sesus's seats of power are run by outside prefects, and they aim to fix that in the years to come.

Of course, Dynasts alone don't comprise all the power in these provinces; patricians generally have their ear closer to the peasantry than the Houses (and thus get the burden of being where blame or praise falls), and they're the ones who staff every local office and ministry branch. If the peasants begin to express dissent, it's generally patrician families who can squash it, or else have the prefect pin everything on them. The Immaculate Order likewise shares a part in regulating the mood of the local peasantry, joining in on rebellions or reminding everyone of a peasant's duty to their betters as per their own judgment of how the prefect is doing. Sites holy to the Immaculate Faith (shrines, First Age ruins, graves of House founders) draw pilgrims and their purses to prefectures, thus creating a healthy business for teahouses, restaurants, guides, and mendicants.

There are currently ten Great Houses, ten thousand Dragon-blooded spread among them and thousands of un-Exalted Dynasts to make up the rest. The Empress raised the first Houses in RY 103; of that first batch, only Houses Tepet and Peleps remain. Many are descended directly from the Empress, and intermarriage between them all has made it so just about every Dragon-blood in them can trace their lineage back to her, and outcastes are (on paper) her adopted children. Each commands wealth that makes many Threshold kingdoms look like mere beggars, their paramilitaries garrison the satrapies, and now each of them have their own legions. Predictably, they're all maneuvering for the now vacant throne.

House Cathak is the premier military House now that Tepet got dealt a death blow by the Bull of the North. It favors a bold and aggressive approach in everything, from trade negotiations to warfare (although it's not so stupid as to always eschew more subtle approaches). Cathak loves to show off its legions, and conducts business with tactical precision. Oh, and if any of their satrapies (of which there are many, since the Empress was fond of giving them control over that which they conquered) rebel, it's fond of crucifying anyone who dared disobey. Cathak is concerned primarily with upholding its own legions (of which it used to have four, and now has eight total); as such, House Cathak's prefectures and satrapies are almost always taxed heavily to pay soldier's salaries, maintain supply lines, and so on, but within the Realm, this is viewed as a price to pay for the Realm's safety and prosperity (via rampant imperialism, naturally). Cathak Cainan, the House's current Matriarch (note that Cainan is a guy; Houses are generally run by women, thus the title), has done much to improve ties with the Immaculate Order, as he is one extremely pious motherfucker, which also helps with their image among the peasants.

House Cathak's holdings tend to have a lot of sports and athletic challenges to behold within them, as well as gaming. The wealthiest peasants and patricians like them since they get rich off supplying the legions and providing services (food, novelties, and prostitution) to soldiers on leave. The Immaculate Order now leans on House Cathak to supply it with fighting men (and, well, normal supplies), and House Cathak is very enthusiastic in crushing heresy out of the Realm. Cathak is deeply in debt to House Ragara, since its income is not enough to supply all its needs, but is better off than most since Cathak Cainan has announced he will play queen-maker and back an honorable and viable contender for the throne; thus, Cathak Cainan is making loving bank off the bribes, gifts, and so on he's being showered with that help to make sure his House keeps up with its payments to the Ragaras.

House Cynis is probably one of the more diversified Houses; it has an Empress-given monopoly over the trade in hard drugs and slavery, it is a patron of entertainment and the arts,it has a great deal of masterful physicians, and it owns many of the most productive farms and ranches on the Isles. It's known for being full of the most utterly hedonistic people to ever walk the Isle, and have a reputation for throwing the best parties and salons together. The lower classes hold them in less regard, since the slaves they see aren't well-trained performers or sharply dressed waiters, but laborers who endure the most grueling work imaginable to harvest their many crops, build their many beautiful gardens and bathhouses, and construct their infrastructure. They have a firm grasp on the criminal underworld, where they sell off excess hard drugs (normally only allowed to be purchased with jade money, and jade money is only allowed to Dynasts), their own various poisons, and blackmail gathered at their many parties, bathhouses, and salons. Religious heresy gets on better in Cynis lands since, while not atheistic, Cynis isn't as interested in helping monks beat up a peasant for having a shrine to a god in the back of his home as it is other ventures.

While they are heavily intermarried with House Sesus (both boast very good breeding), being involved in the underworld cuts in on House Sesus's turf, and their alliance with the Guild further drives a wedge between them and Sesus. Increased piracy and lessened tribute has cut into their coffers, which they respond to by raising the prices on all their luxury goods. It focuses its efforts on retaining its Eastern satrapies, where it grows drugs that can't take root on the Isle, and offers the Guild more of a foothold on the Realm in exchange for steep discounts.

House Ledaal are cops. They're effective cops; Ledaal holdings are generally free of Anathema bullshit (and not just Solars and Lunars; we're also talking demon cults, Fair Folk, hungry ghosts, zombies, and so on). However, this extends to the law in Ledaal territory being extremely harsh and Ledaal Shadow Crusaders will torture many people and destroy entire villages to root out heresy, perceived or imaginary. Ledaal is also even more classist than most; patricians rarely get invited to Ledaal social gatherings and are often told, to paraphrase, "Haha, you're only a patrician!" LŤse-majestť is punished heavily; while other Dynasts might shrug off an insult from a commoner, Ledaal will never let it slide. House Ledaal only bothers with the lower classes when knowledge is involved, and as such, foreigners tend to do better in Ledaal territory since they tend to know things the Realm does not (although Ledaal is still just as contemptuous of their "barbarian ways"). Since Ledaal is so heavy-handed and is now extorting more money than ever out of their lands, Iselsi agents have found it easy to stir up resentment in their holdings; Ledaal has had to put down one revolt in recent years, and more are to be expected.

House Mnemon has the best relations with the Immaculate Order; even Cathak and Ledaal can't compete. As such, between that relationship and for their construction of needed aqueducts, irrigation canals, buildings, wells, and roads, House Mnemon is well liked by the peasantry, although Mnemon herself doesn't get much of that goodwill to her irritation. Patricians also tend to like the business they bring to their families. Abroad, House Mnemon is known for being extremely heavy handed with converting satrapies to the Immaculate Faith; this is tempered by them also bringing their architects to improve infrastructure, until people remember who exactly those fancy roads and mines are for. Mnemon lands are coated with Immaculate shrines, temples, and monasteries, and generally art tends to the more conservative aniconic styles. The lower classes are pretty well off, since the increased Immaculate presence tends to screw over bad governors and prefects.

Unfortunately for them, their funds are running out. The Empress provided most of their contracts, and since she's gone and the Deliberative is deadlocked, work has dried up as other Houses deny them contracts to starve them off. The House's legions are stuck in Jiara, fighting an entire Solar Circle; while they've initially been successful, these legions are not as good as a Cathak legion. The Immaculate Order has tried to save House Mnemon by giving them more building contracts, and House Mnemon has shifted to jobs that pay on completion, rather than on manses and artifact construction.

House Nellens is everywhere; they have their fingers in just about every economic venture possible, rather than specializing to the extent that House Mnemon and Cathak do. As such, they're one of the three Houses that aren't in debt to House Ragara. Since they aren't well liked by their Dynast peers for having too thin a pedegree, they have made good relations with patrician families and wealthy peasants that get them very far in life, as one would expect having many friends in the Realm's middle management and merchants would do. You can consider them to be the exact opposite of House Ledaal in this regard. Nellens also owns few satrapies, preferring to keep business on the Isle and in the Threshold. However, Nellens has been known to use its many scions within the Foreign Office to stymie other Houses when they demand higher tribute, boosting their relationships abroad. While Nellens is well-off for now, civil war would almost certainly gently caress them over harder than most other Houses, due to their funds being in small businesses rather than in critical fields and being far too spread out to be remotely defendable by their three legions. Nellens has begun quietly calling in all its favors with un-Exalted bankers and merchants for loans, and has begun selling off quite a few assets at a loss so it can buy more defendable businesses, such as mines, Guild caravans, and so on. It also is one of the few buyers left for House Mnemon's architects.

House Peleps is held in high regard in the Dynasty, due to its age, renown for its adventures on the high seas, and honest dealings. This doesn't translate to being merciful, so they scare the poo poo out of patricians and peasants as much as they impress them. House Peleps is a rarity in that it is far less corrupt than the other Houses; merit rules them more than nepotism, although that bites them in the rear end in certain areas. The Imperial Navy is their lifeblood and also the anchor around their neck; while many patricians buy commision as officers in the Navy and many a veteran sailor provides favorable terms to the House's dealings after retirement, the lose of the Merchant Fleet to House V'neef has wreaked extreme havoc on their finances, driving them into debt with House Ragara more and more each year. It's cut back on its previously famed galas and salons and no longer bothers to repair its oldest ships, shifting to squeezing the life out of the many satrapies it has, selling contraband it seizes from pirates on the black market, and flat-out cheating the Imperial Treasury.

House Ragara is richer than hell due to owning the most jade mines out of any House and loans out as much money as it can to every other House and patrician it can. Since Ragara is wealthy enough, taxes are light and it rules with a light hand so long as proper respect and loyalty is shown. They really like to remind everyone how rich they are; if something a Ragara owns has a surface, chances are that surface is coated in gold, platinum, gems, jade, or all of the above. Patricians try to get in on this, usually by taking loans from House Ragara (pretty clever, huh?). House Ragara is not well liked by the Immaculate Order for many reasons. One is that Ragara spent many years of his life trying to murder Immaculate favorite Mnemon, and the other is that predatory lending is a big no-no in Immaculate dogma; thus, most Immaculate-supported peasant revolts have been in Ragara territory than any other House. Luckily they don't know the House is also incredibly heretical and makes deals with Anathema constantly, which would probably get them all killed.

War is great for House Ragara; so many assets are being sold for cheap, loans are needed to fund legions, and everyone is buying what they're selling to stock up for the inevitable civil war (for which Ragara would like to be short; can't loan to dead people, after all). The worst possible scenario for Ragara, however, is a new Empress cancelling all debts owed to them. Their allies are starting to demand pay up front rather than credit now, hedging their bets for if this happens. This has resulted in Ragara calling in more and more existing debt, pissing off the other Houses. And, gee, wouldn't it just be grand to invade Ragara lands and take all that jade?

House Sesus are the biggest assholes around. They cheat on basically every business venture possible, of which they have many, and no one can do anything about it for fear of losing out on what they can bring to the table, which is their substantial military might, their prowess at blackmail and assassination, and their extremely strong bloodline. Basically, they're the Scorpion Clan from Legend of the Five Rings if the Scorpion Clan didn't really give a poo poo about the Empire and could take a punch. Sesus has plenty of satrapies, and pacifies them by using its intelligence network to stay ahead of and eliminate threats to itself. It keeps criminal organizations under its wing, sometimes even protecting them from the law and the All-Seeing Eye in exchange for those organizations doing their bidding.

Unlike House Cathak, House Sesus can pay for its own legions quite handily, and has been expanding its mercantile businesses, as well as poaching satrapies from House Tepet under the guise of "shouldering debts". Sesus undercuts the Guild wherever it can, preventing it from making much way into the Realm or its own satrapies at the expense of its ally, House Cynis, who is very much tied to the Guild due to it providing many slaves, drugs, and other things Cynis needs.

House Tepet is dying, much to the delight of the other Houses and the satrapies it conquered with what used to be considered the Realm's best legions. The Realm's patricians and peasants, however, are not so quick to abandon them, as they governed with an even hand before their fall. However, many prefects have been raising taxes and implementing harsher policies to stop the bleeding of its coffers. House Tepet alone is descended from a Shogunate gens, rather than from the Empress herself, and it shows in their culture, as the antiquated still finds purchase in Tepet holds. Its martial culture descends down to the masses; the lower classes emulate its focus on honor, and even its satrapies follow suit. After the Battle of Futile Blood, Tepet can no longer support the Dynastic lifestyle its scions previously enjoyed, and Ragara eats up whatever funds are left from the meager tribute satraps now offer. House Tepet plans to rebuild the same way it got powerful to begin with: martial might. If it takes the lands of its rivals, perhaps it can turn things around.

House Iselsi still exists, unknown to most people. A few Iselsi pretend to be patricians, playing the charade that they are as dead as House Chanos or Jurul. In reality, they still move about, although it is rather difficult to fund its many agents with just a patrician family's budget, so many have turned to more underhanded means, robbing the Great Houses, blackmailing Dynasts with evidence of crimes, and so on. Wealthy Iselsis call in all the loans they can before disappearing, reinserting themselves into a new life. Anything to keep themselves funded so that they can stab every House in the back.

Chapter 1: In Review

So, that was a lot. For the most part, the part about the birth of the Empire is about what it's been since 1e, save for a few changes. The Scarlet Empress is not specifically mentioned to have betrayed a comrade to their death to get into the Imperial Manse, which I find to be an acceptable change since it makes whatever happened in there more mysterious; who knows, maybe she did worse poo poo to get in, maybe the Solars weren't assholes and didn't require the sacrifice of a pal to activate their best war machine. Other changes include getting rid of the weird misogynistic angle to Araka Jeresh's offer of marriage, which was always out of place to me since I feel like even the dumbest rear end in a top hat alive wouldn't call the Empress stupid for being a woman after she just killed almost every raksha within reality's borders. I like that everything seems to be more of a gradual build-up; the Empress doesn't immediately manifest the power structure she has, but builds up over the course of decades into this world-conquering horror. The bits about the life of people on the Blessed Isle are decent bits of writing; nothing really unexpected (the rich eat good food and wear fancy clothing, while the poor eat rice and lentils, who knew?), but effective for painting the scene when you're narrating to your players.

I did like, however, that it does a lot of work in explaining just how hosed slavery is, and also that, hey, there are actual Dragon-blooded abolitionists that a player can be if they don't want to be the worst person alive. There was also a lot of work done into representing the sheer scale of it all, which 2e lacked since it seems like they decided to expand the world's size to "bigger than Earth" at the last minute, and I liked the travel and communication sections because they do a good job of explaining how exactly the empire can keep itself cohesive when it's so huge. I'm still so-so on the discrimination thing since I feel like it's just very dull to apply the same gendered stereotypes women (~*such as myself*~) endure in real life to the men of the Realm; I'd prefer a little creativity, but it's no big deal.

The most improvement is in the Great Houses, who get both a lot of flavor and a lot more consideration as to how they pay for all their wonderful castles and parties and what have you. I like how Ragara is not just the banking house anymore, it's also filled with archaeologists and heretics, Ledaal are a bunch of conservative hardasses which really explains why no one bothers listening to them, Nellens actually has stuff other than being the thin-blooded House, and so on. It also is pretty good about showing how personal honor doesn't really translate to morality, seeing as House Cathak, House Ledaal, House Peleps, and so on are huge pricks to their satrapies; a few times 2e wandered into the trap of saying, "Oh, well at least the Realm protects the satrapies!", and here it's shown that the Houses are just as big threats to the satrapies as they were when they strolled in and conquered them. They also got rid of Cynis being solely about slaves and the 2e focus on its slave prostitutes (which probably still exist, but do I really need a paragraph devoted to how they somehow make boatloads of money off that, enough to sustain thousands of people with Resource 3 stipends?). Shame about Peleps still being the sailor House, though; the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Next time: Chapter 2 - The Machinery of Empire. Let us delve into the most evil thing of all: bureaucracy.

SunAndSpring fucked around with this message at 07:17 on May 30, 2019

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



Whoa now, bureaucracy? We could put that page count to work listing a few dozen more dice tricks!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

I actually love this next chapter, unironically, especially the sidebars that are like 'hey GM do you need more bureaus? HERE'S MORE AND HOW THEY CAN BE USEFUL TO YOU'

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Does every bureau have its own elite enforcer squad? Do small farmers lay awake at night dreading the arrival of the Realm Water Resources Board?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

wiegieman posted:

Does every bureau have its own elite enforcer squad? Do small farmers lay awake at night dreading the arrival of the Realm Water Resources Board?

Do you want them to?

Because if so, yes. They even have stats for the Archons, who are the general enforcers used by the magistrates, and presumably other bureaucrats.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy: Paths of the Damned Part 3: Forges of Nuln

The hardest fight in the campaign besides those knights

So, we start out with the PC party trying to find the third shard of Xathy, because you might as well finish the bastard off. The idea is meant to be they realize they have to finish the job or else if he gets free he'll come right after them, but you'd still think someone might be willing to pay for 'kill a demon. Not scatter him back to hell or anything, actually kill for good a Daemon Prince of Khorne'. Such is life in the Warhams premade adventures that no-one will. These books always talk about making 'valuable contacts' but how valuable are they when you never actually get anything concrete out of them? They're meant to get a little time to do whatever they wish off the path in Altdorf to take a break from this plot until they get a lead.

As the PCs hang out in Altdorf, they get Perception checks to realize a weird, fat, feverish looking man has been following them. Pursuing him is, of course, fruitless by fiat. Not like players who just finished Spires won't be looking out for cult assassins, especially if you let Carlott burn her Fate Point to escape. This is Lang/Liebnitz, and he is plotting ill for the PCs. He's going to be treated as a serious foe with real power. He is an unleveled 1st tier character with average stats. Somehow he slays Beastman champions off screen and poo poo, I kid you not. He should 'keep showing up' but not enough to make the PCs hell-bent on catching him. Especially as they aren't to be allowed to do so yet. Lang is honestly mostly irrelevant to the adventure besides causing one really annoying encounter later, and the advice with him is to use him to slow down and sidetrack PCs, or have him fiat kill a friend or contact if they're moving too fast. That's terrible GMing advice, but that's going to be all of Forges; I'm writing this adventure up partly as a concrete example of how not to write or run Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

Meanwhile, the highest social class PC will get invited to a fancy banquet with Katarine Braun, our evil Tzeentch wizard lady. She does this to try to befriend the character so she can learn more about the party and beat them to the magic cup. Under no circumstances in the adventure is there ever really a risk she beats them to the magic cup, and again, she doesn't really have much role in the story beyond maybe popping up after the villain is destroyed in the end to be a second, short wizard boss fight (you saw how unsupported wizard fights go in Spires). So she's about as pointless as Lang. At least Chart's side villains had a point and actual subplots. She exists mostly to invite the PCs to Nuln, offering 20 gold crowns per PC to serve as her escorts aboard a fancy passenger liner. Asking around about her will reveal she's just a noblewoman, though there are rumors she studied with a powerful wizard in Praag that might get PCs suspicious. If the PCs refuse, Gabrielle the Death Wizard will invite them onto the boat anyway, going to Nuln to look into the last artifact herself. Either way, once this event starts a one week countdown to the boat leaving and kicks off the plot.

Finding the shard is a simple matter of either rolling Knowledge (Magic) three times (6 game hours per attempt) or if no-one in the party has the skill, a helpful NPC scholar will just find the clue for them, thus punishing the players for actually having a scholar and thus needing to roll and spend time on it. You'll see that happen a lot in how these pre-mades deploy research and knowledge skills. You get a description of the cup being found and where it was taken for storage, and the PCs either need a successful History test or again, an NPC just automatically tells them if no-one has the skill, again effectively punishing them for having the relevant skill. St. Abelhardt's monastery is only 30 miles away, so the PCs can take a two day trip out to check it out and look for the cup.

Unfortunately for them, the monastery is infested with a squad of Turbo Beastmen, led by a mighty Goatman Prime. There's a bunch of stuff on avoiding them hearing you and all, but you need to search the main building that they're searching to find the clues you actually need for the plot, so whatever you do you're fighting them. Like there's a ton of '15% chance per minute cumulative the Beastmen hear the PCs and rush out to attack!!' stuff but you're going to end up fighting them to actually progress anyway. They are also no poo poo the hardest fight in the campaign that isn't the insane knight stuff from book 1. Their champion is WS 65%, SB 6, TB 6, is wearing full mail armor, has a Great Weapon, has Strike Mighty Blow, and has 3 attacks and 23 wounds. Each individual Gor, and there are 4 of them, has WS 51%, SB 4, TB 4, Strike Mighty, 2 attacks, a sword and shield (and you've seen how dangerous shielded foes can be), and mail on their arms and body with 14 wounds. Remember that an average WHFRP party only has 1-2 'primary' fighter PCs. Each individual Gor is about on par with a mid 2nd tier PC fighter, stat wise. The actual pre-made party of a Veteran, a Sergeant, a Scout, and a Journeyman Wizard is no slouch, but they absolutely cannot handle this fight. Even Brute Squad, which is made of guns, murder, and heavy armor, struggles a bit with this kind of encounter.

Let's go over why this encounter is so dangerous, because it's treated as fairly easy in the text. What makes an enemy dangerous? Accuracy, number of attacks, damage, and staying power. All these Beasts have Dodge Blow, the mooks all have a 61% base parry, the boss has a DR of 9, 45% Dodge, 23 Wounds, and hits like a truck. All of them are fairly accurate, being on par with a 2nd tier PC or in the boss's case, a 3rd tier PC. They also come in equal numbers to a PC party, and every single one of them is combat specced, while I guarantee you the average PC party won't be. If your PCs aren't well equipped (and with no pay on any of these missions, they might not be), their DR won't be able to handle taking a Damage 7 Impact hit from the boss. Hell, even if they are, that's the kind of thing you really want to avoid; even Otto would be taking 0-7 Wounds per swing and remember: This is Impact. So the enemy has more fighters than you, who are each individually on par with an average 2nd tier fighter, while also having a guy who is way more powerful individually than any of your PCs. This is literally how you make an extremely difficult encounter in Warhammer Fantasy; accurate enemies who come in numbers, have good active defenses, and decent armor. The 'sanity blasting' super-bosses in the last part of the adventure are actually easier to deal with since you Outnumber them and out-action economy them. This fight is basically unavoidable and is extremely murderous, because the writer was not thinking about action economy and decided that the Gors needed super-upgrades.

Searching around, PCs can find a journal that makes it much easier to find where the cup was, or they can just find the cup's hiding place. They also find Rolf's sword, discarded where he set it aside to pick up the cup, and bodies with Nuln heraldry on them. The sword has a maker's mark that is the important clue that they need to go to Nuln and find its owner, because somebody got the cup before they did.

Next, the PCs board the Emperor Wilhelm, the luxury passenger liner to Nuln. You can avoid boarding it but c'mon, someone offered you better-than-free passage on a nice ship with free drinks. Who the hell turns that down out of obstinance? Even if you didn't go with Katarine, you probably went with Gabrielle. This leads to the other most dangerous encounter in the game, and again, it's one treated as trivial. When on board, you're expected to hand over all weapons besides a dagger, rapier, or sword (anyone who picked a different Hand Weapon for flavor gets hosed, I guess) and all armor. There's going to be a fight where all PCs are down to bare TB later. As you might imagine, say, Otto going from DR 10 to DR 5 is really dangerous for Otto! No magic use is permitted aboard the ship, though I imagine they make an exception during the mandatory fight later. PCs do get to enjoy some luxury and plenty of food and drink aboard the ship, and there's a host of mostly inconsequential NPCs, as well as the badass captain and his creepy boatswain who 'leers at the ladies and disdains the men' because he's been driven to cruelty and sinister wickedness by his experiences as a veteran of Middenheim. There's also a halfling chef who served her husband in a pie to the woman he was sleeping with on the side and her whole family, for some reason. It's really important you know that backstory despite there being no reason it will come up. Also a snooty elf, a scholar from the Averland Leitdorf family, and an outlaw/agitator of the Averland Alptraums. There will be issues between them; the Leitdorfs and Alptraums are fighting over who will be Elector of Averland. There's also a forgettable lady entertainer who is fleeing after a noble got bored of keeping her as his mistress.

It's definitely a case that this book treats anyone who came back from the Storm suspiciously, as if contact with violence in a terrible war inherently made them more dangerous and suspect. I'm noticing that now and thank you to Precambrian for pointing it out.

Anyway, Liebnitz/Lang somehow kill a Beastman Champion and seize his herd, and send them at the boat to give him a distraction that will let him climb aboard. The PCs will need to beat a 75% Stealth test by the Beastman 'Gor Sneaks' to not be surprised at dinner on the second day. Remember: The PCs are currently unarmored and only have their most basic weapons. The Gors are WS 50, SB 4, TB 5, have 2 attacks each, there are 6 of them, and they have 13 Wounds and partial Leather armor. No Strike Mighty, at least. Meanwhile, a group of leveled up BS 45% Ungors fire bows at the boat from the shore, with the PCs having no ranged weapons to answer them. They're at -20 for shooting at long range, but they get 4 uncontested rounds of shooting. Any PC who is not in melee for an extra -20 to the Ungors' shooting may be in real danger if they're on the deck where they can be shot at. The saving grace is meant to be that the Boatswain, Captain, and others rush to help and the Beastmen also attack randomly, but this is still a really nasty fight when you have 0 armor and none of your specialized gear. And when some PCs may be down to nothing but their knife since they just happened to pick an axe or mace for their hand weapon. You can also hide from the attack, in which case the Beastmen kill '2d10' passengers and then lose to the captain off screen. Note a particularly dickish GM could kill Gabrielle here, since she's a passenger, which loses the adventure, though PCs won't know that yet. This is treated as a trivial side encounter where the Beastmen 'have no chance against the Adventurers, let alone the crew'.

If you were brave and helped out, you get a 10% discount on future trips on this boat! Gee. Thanks. Meanwhile, after the attack, the Alptraum and Leitdorf get to arguing and have to be separated after coming to blows. Then the PCs find a ruined coach on the side of the river and go along to take a look, along with the captain. Searching it will get you an invitation to the Countess's masquerade in celebration of the cannon Magnus, which won't be relevant for awhile, and generally reveals a bunch of gore and rot. You also find d100 Gold Crowns, which is a nice score, but the captain gets pissy if you keep it instead of leaving it for the crows and suggests you give it to charity when you arrive. Hey, if nobody is going to pay 17th century mercenaries, they'll loot to make up for it.

Finally, in Event D, Leitdorf is found murdered. It's our first event where the PCs are ordered to solve a mystery they aren't allowed to solve! The scholar either stumbled on Lang and had his face eaten off, or if the PCs somehow found Lang climbing aboard and killed him or drove him off, he stumbled instead on Katarine doing some Tzeentch worship and she killed him with hideous acid blood. Agreeing to help investigate the murder will eventually get you 75 Gold Crowns (nice!) and a letter of introduction to Elsbeth Becker in Nuln from the captain. If PCs didn't help out in the Beastman fight earlier, the captain suspects them until they make some social rolls but doesn't do anything about it. You can't actually solve the mystery. If Lang did it, you can find a blood trail showing the culprit fled the boat into the river afterwards, which clears Alptraum of suspicion. If Katarine did it, she hid a Tzeentch symbol in Alptraum's room that gets him hung, and 'she has covered her tracks well' and the PCs have no chance to discover it was her. If the PCs don't find the blood trail and Lang did it, Alptraum still gets blamed and hung. The GM is advised to make up lots of false leads and ensure the PCs get to do a full investigation that can't possibly succeed. gently caress you, Forges of Nuln. Don't give PCs a task they aren't allowed to at least try to win at. This entire scene is pointless because nothing you do can actually make progress on finding the killer, and if the Tzeentch sorcerer did it there's literally no way to find out or even suspect her according to the book. She's just too clever, I guess. Seriously, if your GM pulls this kind of stuff, you should have a talk with them about GMing technique because this is the road to miserable gaming groups.

Next Time: Arriving in Nuln, more pointless investigation PCs can't succeed at.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Fangs at the Gate: MY MIGHTY MOON BRAIN

Intelligence: Heartís Blood! Blood Geas Binding lets you bind any promise a human makes to you or swears a vow for you to witness. If they break the oath, you feel a sudden spike of rage to let you know and gain their shape as if you had sacred hunted them. This cannot seal oaths specifically made to easily give you a shape by breaking it. Also, if your Solar mate is an Eclipse that uses their anima power to seal an oath, you can use this on that oath cheaper and even use it if the oath was not made to you or for you to witness.

Memory-Drinking Meditation causes you, when you claim a human shape, to gain one of their Ties to a person at Minor, which you must know about beforehand to gain. While in the victimís shape, you gain all of their memories related to that Tie, revealed as they become relevant, and you can introduce facts using these memories as if you had a relevant Lore specialty. This ends if you ever lose the granted Tie. An Int 5, E3 repurchase lets you gain all the victimís memories, and you can gain animalsí memories without need for a Tie. You donít have eidetic recall of all of these memories, only having the preyís memories to rely on, and it gives no skills. Stolen Voice Echo lets you also steal language knowledge this way, which at Int 4 and Ess 3 you can gain permanently. Lessons in the Blood allows use Memory-Drinking Meditation to go into XP debt to learn a spell, a Martial Arts Charm or a number of thaumaturgical rituals your victim knew, as long as you meet all normal prereqs for it, and you may use their memories as a tutor for other spells or Charms they knew. The first time you use this Charm ever, you donít go into XP debt Ė you just get the new power free.

Intelligence: Knowledge! Inevitable Genius Insight essentially lets you combine all the skills for Knowing Things. You can use the most relevant of Bureaucracy, Craft, Investigation, Larceny, Linguistics, Medicine, Occult, Socialize, Survival or War as the basis for a bonus to Lore checks and can use specialties in the used ability as if they were Lore specialties for introducing facts, and apply them to your roll as well. Dreaming Wisdom Revelation lets you go vision questing, read entrails and otherwise perform divinations to make an Intelligence roll and build a pool of foresight points with the result. You can spend these to reset your limit on introducing facts if doing so upholds a Defining Intimacy or benefits your Solar mate, to gain sorcerous motes or Craft XP, to boost Investigation, Lore, Medicine or Occult rolls, to boost Resolve, to retroactively use the Charm Devil-Pleasing Chiminage, the Charm Heaven-Darkening Eclipse or the Charm Moonlit Apothecary Cauldron and have the relevant offering, contingency or medicine on hand, to automatically succeed at introducing a fact. You can use this only once per story, and obviously you need to know a Charm to use it retroactively.

Tale-Spinning Mastery lets you tell someone a folk tale, legend or story to raise their stats or skills in a fraction of normal time, with a bonus if you learned the story in play or introduced it as a fact and it directly relates to what yoíre raising for them, but you canít raise their traits above yours. An E3 repurchase lets you do this to multiple students at once. Moonlit Cauldron Apothecary lets you roll Lore or Medicine to introduce a fact about the location of a medicine or substance that is a cure for whatever disease or poison you have diagnosed, allowing you to go there and get a single dose of cure. Such a cure is rare and nearly unique each time, and using it allows an instant roll to treat the disease or poison at considerably lower difficulty than normal or considerably faster than normal. Flesh-Sculpting Art lets you sculpt flesh as if it were clay, rerolling 1s on surgery checks and ignoring all penalties for lacking tools, as well as letting you do an hourís worth of work in a minute and never causing damage with surgery, no matter how intrusive. Further, you can do surgery beyond the limits of mundane medicine, such as cosmetic surgery, making pouches to smuggle contraband or so on, though you canít give mutations.

Intelligence: Mysticism! Crossroads Walker Entreaty gives a bonus to Resolve and Guile against spirits and fae (which are officially defined here as any Fair Folk and native Wyld creatures such as buck-ogres or manticores, but not humans or animals mutated by the Wyld) and requires these beings to hear you out peacefully as long as you and your party remain peaceful and inoffensive unless they pay Willpower. If in a human or animal shape that a spirit or fae has a Major or Defining positive Tie to, they must instead enter a Decision Point to resist and use an Intimacy of equal or greater strength. Devil-Pleasing Chiminage lets you make a Lore or Occult roll to introduce a fact about the location of something rare and unique that will be an especially pleasant offering to a specific spirit or fae, which you can then go get and use as exceptional equipment on a bargain roll with that spirit or fae that also counts as a Major Intimacy supporting your influence for a single a roll. At Essence 2+, if you or your Solar mate gives the offering personally, it instead counts as a Defining Intimacy and costs more to resist.

Raitonís Dark Auspice causes your wisdom to shine in the Underworld, giving a bonus to all bargain and persuade checks with ghosts permanently and causing any ghost whose body you gave a proper burial or similar funeral rites for to treat you as if they had a Major Tie of friendship to you, as do any ghosts whose heartís blood you took in life, though those donít realize why Ė they just feel an inexplicable liking for you. If the ghost has reason to oppose you, their virtual Intimacy is only treated as Minor, and they can suppress the Intimacy with Willpower if you attack them or threaten their Major or Defining Intimacies. Lunars get to be good at the Underworld now. Sharing Lunaís Gifts lets you anoint a willing living being with your blood, giving them up to five dots of mutations reflecting an animal whose shape you have. PCs go into XP debt, and NPCs can only be blessed once per story, and this Charm doesnít require you to hurt yourself if used on yourself. Also, this works on any living creature, they just have to be willing.

Swarming Locust Punishment causes anyone that breaks an oath you sanctified with Blood Geas Binding to get attacked by bees or other vermin and insects. These are not a combat threat, but do cause a minor environmental hazard in any wilderness they travel through, which they may only avoid by remaining in one place or traveling an area devoid of animal life, causes a penalty to all attempts to navigate wilderness, forage, find shelter, track people in the wilds or hide tracks, and requires a Stamina roll each night to keep the animals from disturbing sleep, preventing Willpower gain and the reduction of fatigue penalties. If this lasts for three nights in a row, they gain the Obsession derangement at Minor or increase it one step, fixated on finding and killing their animal tormentors, which persists even after the curse ends. The curse lasts for several weeks or until you choose to end it or a condition you set to end it is met, whichever comes first.

Cage of Horn and Sinew lets you trap a spirit in a nearby animal, as long as that animal isnít a familiar or magically enhanced. The spirit remains imprisoned for several months or until the animal dies, whichever is first, but controls the animalís body while trapped inside it, using all of its stats. While the spirit retains its memories and Intimacies, its intellect is reduced to that of the animal, though the GM may rule this improves over time. The animalís body will not allow it to commit suicide. Once freed, the spirit gains a Defining Intimacy reflecting the animalís nature and their experiences inside it, and the animal gains one of the spiritís Defining Intimacies if itís still alive. It may, at the GMís whim, become God-Blooded. You may use this when you incapacitate a spirit via Demon-Drinking Howl to trap them in an animal for a year and a day rather than permakilling them; this also causes the spirit to form a Defining Tie of gratitude to you for your mercy, which they canít erode until freed. Spell-Rending Talon lets you make a Decisive attack while at Initiative 12+ to cause any damage you do to count as successes towards distorting a spell the person you struck is benefitting from, without it counting towards the terminus of rolls to distort.

Beast-Soul Awakening Crucible lets you find a sacred place in the wilds, either a demesne or the Wyld. You spend five days working there to build a testing ground by meditating, performing rituals, bargaining with local spirits, etching occult glyphs and so on. This becomes imbued with your spirit shape, and any mortal that successfully completes the trial there gains six dots of mutations reflecting that animal, chosen by you when you use this. If you have Chimera-Soul Expression, you instead pick two sets Ė one for each animal of your spirit shape Ė and successful mortals get whichever best fits their personality and the nature of their triumph. These mutations are hereditary. The nature of the trial is not chosen by you, but instead emerges from your spirit shape and the landís Essence, with you and the GM working out what form it takes. Failure always has heavy consequences Ė not necessarily death, but maiming, curses, Derangements or similar are possible, and anyone that fails can never try your testing grounds again. If you end this Charm before the story ends, the testing ground loses power, but otherwise, it becomes permanent at the end of the story, persisting even beyond your own death. Testing grounds may be destroyed by building a manse over them or permanently shaping the Wyld they are within into Creation via magic such as Wyld-Shaping Technique.

Heaven-Darkening Eclipse lets you use Lore or Occult to introduce a fact about an ongoing spirit Charm or spell effect, introducing a method by which it can be undone, which is opposed by the creator of the original effect. You and the GM, if you succeed, work together to determine how you can end the magic, which requires effort directly related to the effectís strength. This cannot reverse Instant-duration effects or anything put in place by an Essence 10 being, and if you break an effect, its user becomes immediately aware. A repurchase at Int 5, E4 lets you pay an extra cost to use this to permanently end a Terrestrial sorcerous working or temporarily suppress a Celestial or Solar working long enough to accomplish a major task. Insidious Lunar Transformation lets you feed someone your blood (which requires a gambit in combat) to roll Intelligence against their Stamina. Success turns them into an animal whose shape you possess, which functions as Lunar shapeshifting but forces them to use the lower of their own or the animalís pools and values, though they retain their intellect. This lasts for several days or until they meet a condition you set to end it, whichever comes first. You can permanently transform mortals or animals with low Willpower.

Intelligence: Crafting! Many-Phase Insights lets you gain Craft XP as if you completed a basic project when you introduce a fact relating to a Craft ability, when you provide medical treatment using equipment or medicine you made, when you navigate the wilderness using tools you made or use such tools to withstand hardships on a journey in the wilds, or when you tattoo a Casteless Lunar. Brilliance-Drinking Approach lets you gain Craft XP as if you completed a basic project when you take the shape of any human with a Craft rated at 3+ or whom the GM rules is a professional artisan; the GM may rule that animals capable of significant crafting also give this reward. If the person has Craft (Artifact) or (Geomancy) at 1+, you instead get a reward as per a major project. If you have Demon-Drinking Fang, you also gain these rewards when you destroy a spirit capable of crafting. Beast-Slayerís Art gives you a bunch of silver Craft XP when you use the remains of an animal, monster or bestial spirit as an essential component of a major project, once per project. A beastís remains can only be used for one project.

Inchoate Wonders Realized lets you draw on the formless potential of your crafting legend to temporarily render a partially-completed or partially -repaired artifact usable for the rest of the story, once per story. You can keep working to complete it while using it, and it need not match its precise capabilities once completed. If it is rated 3+, you and the GM should design a single Evocation the completed artifact may have, which you and your Solar mate can awaken without spending XP. Also, you can gain Evocations from it normally after that. Quenched in Legend lets you gain Gold XP when using an artifact temporarily usable via Inchoate Wonders Realized to uphold a Major or Defining Intimacy, achieve a major character or story goal, complete a legendary social goal, do something with the artifact that causes someone to form a Major or Defining Tie towards you or it, anyone awakens an Evocation from it, or once per session its wielder gets a 2- or 3-point stunt using it. You also get additional Gold XP at the end of any story where someone uses the artifact to uphold a Defining Intimacy, accomplish a major character or story goal, or achieve a legendary social goal.

Shifting Skin Raiment can be used whenever you make clothes, armor, jewelry or another worn object via a Major Project enhanced by Beast-Slayerís Art. You may reflexively use Sharing Lunaís Gifts, imbuing the object with up to 5 dots of mutations reflecting the nature of the beast whose remains were incorporated into the object and paying some Gold XP. Anyone wearing the object can spend Willpower to gain those mutations for a scene. This does not turn the object into an artifact Ė itís just a magic item with no artifact dots, and cannot sustain any Evocations.

Intelligence: Warfare! Dauntless Tacticianís Reversal lets you reveal your secret plans to defend against a foeís plans. When an allied battle group makes a rout check, you can spend Initiative to boost their roll, and if you succeed, your secret counterplan gives them a bonus to Defense and soak until the end of next turn. If your spirit shape is a pack hunter, you can learn this with Stamina. Silver Lion Supremacy draws on the mystic power of your beastfolk legions or other magical forces, giving you a bonus to a Strategic Maneuver roll based on the highest Might of any allied battle group, and if you stunt via describing how the superhuman abilities of your forces help your plan, the bonus is better. Again, can be learned via Stamina if your spirit shape is a pack hunter.

Intelligence: Sorcery! Cloaked in Moonfire causes your shifting anima to preserve your sorcerous power. While at Glowing or higher, you do not lose sorcerous motes on turns where you donít gather new ones. Cosmos-Rending Fury invokes your primal Lunar rage, allowing you to reflexively use a Shape Sorcery action with free full Excellency to start casting a spell if you win Join Battle. Which is pretty goddamn potent for a battle sorcerer.

Next time: Manipulation

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Precambrian posted:

Also, for the Diablo ex Machina, I take Khorne as a trope to be an extension of a history of unexamined metaphors for PTSD; the product of fears that Vietnam was turning our soldiers into psychopathic killing machines that would inevitably go mad in the States. We don't have the same attitude towards PTSD now, but the impact it had on 70s and 80s culture (see: the Punisher, Col. Kurtz, Travis Bickle) casts a long shadow, and comes back in really discomforting ways. This story, for instance, is just about a soldier who came back from the front addicted to killing! via magical gewgaws instead of combat stress. It's the sort of storytelling that continues to demonize people with mental illness, even if less direct than the Sanity/Morality meters in Cthulhu and White Wolf games.

I'm noticing this attitude a lot with RIFTS too.

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ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013


Lambo Trillrissian posted:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/248940/Finding-Home-Two-Examples-of-Play

There's two examples of play by the author in here (with marginalia about what is happening and why) and the document is pay what you want. It really helped me, worth the recommended 3 bux if you can manage.

It took a while to really click for me as well, the trick is to get your head around the core loop of each player picking the skeleton of narrative out for themselves beforehand and then filling in the details in play with the quest milestones and XP actions, then throwing in a couple challenges and twists with Issues (remember to use Issues!) Once you've got that down the bigger stuff like how they all flow together into a cohesive plot isn't actually so bad.

Thanks!

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