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MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


SunAndSpring posted:

Also I feel like you guys maybe sweat it too much that you HAD to have big reasons for why gay and trans people are accepted in the Realm? China was perfectly fine with gay people so long as they did their duty and produced heirs in between loving around with their consorts, and many Asian and Native American ethnic groups had the concept of there being more than two genders. It's not that much of a stretch in a society where sorcery is common enough among the nobility that reproduction between people who are normally incompatible in that way is possible, being gay or trans is fine, especially now that the phobia against sorcery has been toned down to where everyone is fine using their services but no one is fine with inviting them to parties.

Never underestimate the number of chuds who would like to be able to say that it doesn't explicitly say it's okay.

And would argue if it weren't backed up by the setting fiction.

Or in general want to deny us basic humanity.

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SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


MollyMetroid posted:

Never underestimate the number of chuds who would like to be able to say that it doesn't explicitly say it's okay.

And would argue if it weren't backed up by the setting fiction.

Or in general want to deny us basic humanity.

It should be explicit, but also it's a futile effort to try and use in-setting logic to get them onboard with it because they'll just say it's not "realistic" or "logical" for the Realm to not be homophobic or transphobic. In general, the Onyx Path guy kinda comes off as a defeatist by just assuming that you NEED a big reason for why gay and trans people would be accepted because it comes with the assumption that homophobia and transphobia are just intrinsic to human behavior when history shows you can have big rear end imperial powers like China who are alright with gay people.

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!


If anything I think it'd be more normalizing if they were just accepted as an off-hand mention in a sidebar rather than because of some great heroic myth, because that kind of implies that everywhere without that myth isn't going to be okay with them and also that homosexuals need a divine stamp of approval rather than just being casually accepted like everyone else.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





PurpleXVI posted:

If anything I think it'd be more normalizing if they were just accepted as an off-hand mention in a sidebar rather than because of some great heroic myth, because that kind of implies that everywhere without that myth isn't going to be okay with them and also that homosexuals need a divine stamp of approval rather than just being casually accepted like everyone else.
It should not be an off-hand mention, it should be stated clearly, directly, and unambiguously. However, I think it is fine if it is a setting "signing statement" rather than needing constant reification (though it should, of course, be reflected in setting NPCs etc.). If you're feeling ambitious you could note how many cultures in Creation interpret the real phenomena of "same-gender sexual attraction" and "gender dysphoria" in a number of different ways, which may not accord to general parlance c. 2019 e.v.

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!


Nessus posted:

It should not be an off-hand mention, it should be stated clearly, directly, and unambiguously.

Entirely agreed on it being stated unambiguously, I just feel like it tends to flow more naturally when writing doesn't make a big deal of it, like a female character just goes: "Oh, hey, have you met my wife, etc. etc." without the writing otherwise drawing further attention to it. It writes them more as people like everyone else rather than some oddity that stands out, requiring special treatment or a justification to be tolerated.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





PurpleXVI posted:

If anything I think it'd be more normalizing if they were just accepted as an off-hand mention in a sidebar rather than because of some great heroic myth, because that kind of implies that everywhere without that myth isn't going to be okay with them and also that homosexuals need a divine stamp of approval rather than just being casually accepted like everyone else.
The ancient myth bit also pre-supposes that the people see it as something that needs to be excused, it assumes that hating homosexuality is a default state of humans rather than an institutional and artificial problem.

jakodee
Mar 4, 2019


They should have just had a sidebar explaining that the Realm is fine with gay and trans people without any reason other than "Why wouldn't we be?". This accomplishes both driving out CHUDs and also doesn't presume homophobia and transphobia as the default states of humanity.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





PurpleXVI posted:

Entirely agreed on it being stated unambiguously, I just feel like it tends to flow more naturally when writing doesn't make a big deal of it, like a female character just goes: "Oh, hey, have you met my wife, etc. etc." without the writing otherwise drawing further attention to it. It writes them more as people like everyone else rather than some oddity that stands out, requiring special treatment or a justification to be tolerated.
For fiction, I agree. However, this is a game manual.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012




ORDER (TOR)


Welcome to hell. This chapter is a nightmare because I’m going to try and explain the classes and magic systems without also just doing an entire breakdown of the Magic Book. This is going to be a loving mess.

quote:

All vislae are members of the Invisible Church,
a term with a great deal of gravity but not much
actual meaning. The Invisible Church is not an
actual church or organization. It’s not . . . anything,
really, other than a way to refer to all vislae together.
The term makes it sound like all vislae belong to
a single society, which is incorrect.
Thanks Monte, that… we really needed you to establish that. Anyway, Vislae group themselves into Orders, which are also Classes. They’re basically WoD style splats, you get a semi stereotypical group of people you are a part of that defines your Special Abilities, yadda yadda you know how it works. Each Order is separated into 6 Degrees. These are literally just levels/tiers, you go up them and you get More Power and Stuff. They are called Degrees because Freemasons, even though it makes no sense at all in this game. This is kind of a pet peeve, but Masonic Degrees refer literally to the geometric concept, because it MASONS, builders, craftsmen, etc. It makes no sense for magical brotherhood to use that language. But whatever, let’s get into… this mess. Oh, one note: All the Order descriptions are written… in first person? Like in universe, but it… isn’t. Like, it’s first person, using “We”, but it also is weird and has game mechanics right in there. It’s a mess.



Vance
So Vances are the closest to your traditional D&D wizard, and yes, their name is taken from Vancian spellcasting. Now, there is one little problem with that: Vancian Spellcasting is called that because it is how magic works in the Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance. A real world author. So, why is a brotherhood of interdimensional wizards centuries old named after a pulp fantasy writer from 20th Century Earth? Or are they saying that Jack Vance was a Vance or something and so he’s named after the Order? Or did the order have no name until some Vislae came back from shadow and was like “Hey guys! I read some RAD BOOKS!”?

Anyway, so: Vances are hierarchical. They are ran by the Telemeric Court, a council of nine 6th Degree Vances, which meet yearly in Satyrine. They are the masters of “spells”, as in formulaic set magical effects, which act like almost living things. Vances are all about finding and learning new spells.

So, how does Vancian casting work? Because if you thought “sanely” or “like D&D” you’re wrong! It works in one of the dumbest possible ways I’ve ever seen a magic system work. So Vances have to memorize spells like a D&D wizard: they sit down with a spellbook and read the spells they want and “absorb” them into their mind, and they can then later be cast. Except while sane games would give you spell slots this game… well...



Yeah. Let me clarify: To pick your spells you get… spell cards.


Like that. With the size determined by spell level. THen you literally put those rectangular cards onto:



Each square is one “tier” of vance. You have to fit your cards on there without overlapping. There is no tetris style strategy, every card is just a rectangle. Oh, and guess what? These cards? You’re expected to fold them in half. Later Vancian degrees let you half the size of a spell so you can fit more onto your spell-page. You literally have to fold them in half for this to make any sense. This means two things: 1, you literally HAVE to make spell cards for every spell, and hope that the fancy ones that came with the physical box aren’t ruined in minutes and 2. This game is a nightmare to try and play online. Like, it basically doesn’t work online just because of this single system. Goddammit this is the worst casting system I’ve ever seen. I can see what they were going for, but this execution is straight up dogshit.

Anyway, the Degree benefits are all boring and i’m not going into detail. Each type you have to do some in-game questy activity, like inventing a new spell or similar. All the bonuses are essentially that you can carry more magic items, you get more spell-space, and you can boss around more members of the Order.



Makers
So, Makers make magic items. Like, that’s it. They craft magic items to use. You find crafting mats, and make magical items. Makers are also giant assholes:


So, Makers are, on paper if you don’t read the rules for their actual magic, pretty cool. Mostly it’s your general improvments to making magical items, higher level items allowed, make them faster, etc. One neat feature that actually is cool is that every Maker gets a single signature magic item that they always have, works only for them, and they can re-make easily if it’s ever lost or destroyed. Every degree you get to add more special abilities to this magical object. These special abilities are actually cool! They can give you armor, give big dice bonuses, act like a weapon, move on their own through the air at your command, become intelligent, and even shapeshift and transform. It’s actually cool. Sadly, Makers are also loving terrible because of their main gimmick.

See, making magic items sucks, and it’s easy to understand why. Because to make them, you use the Makers Matrix:



Do I really have to explain? Well I will, but it’ll be when we get to the magic book, but suffice to say: You can see the Issues.



Weavers
Weavers are… well I’d say Ars Magica style magic? They’re the “Magic is an Art not a Science, go with Feeling weave the Threads of Magic!” types. THey aren’t even really an Order, being totally anarchic with no hierarchy or unifying organization. Except Really Bad Boardgames!



Anyway, Weaver Magic is… annoying. It’s not bad in concept, but bad in execution like everything else. As weavers go up in degrees they learn “aggregates”, starting at 2. These are magical concepts: Blood, Fire, The Sea, Wind, Diamond, Lust, etc.



You basically look at your aggregates, come up with an improved effect you want to use, and ask “GM, May I Use Magic Please?” and they then decide to either deny you outright, just guesstimate and throw out a bene cost that sorta maybe sounds right to them they guess, then you cast the spell. As you go up in degrees you get more aggregates, and you can combine more of them together in a single use, you can “save” spells you made up to cast again at a lower cost than before, and so on. Like, this isn’t a bad concept for magic, and there are in fact some vague not super useful guidance for assigning level to spells, but it’s still mostly negotiation and GM May I? Ing and it just seems like a giant pain in the rear end during play.



Goetic
They’re summoners. They summon demons, angels, elementals, spirits, etc. etc. The process of summoning and negotiating with an entity is called Colloquy. You basically pick an entity you wanna summon, spend Sorcery bene equal to the level of whatever you’re calling up, then you make a roll to try and convince it to work with you, and give it an order. As Goetics increase in Degrees they get better protection against summoned beings with like, circles and glyphs and such, can summon more powerful entities, give them more varied commands, and so on.


Culturally they love byzantine incomprehensible organization with lots of legalisms and complicated ritual and bureaucracy.


Apostate
These are the Vislae that don’t join the proper magical orders. You play an apostate if you wanna be a smug rear end in a top hat.


God what a bunch of tools.

Anyway, Apostate’s don’t get special magic or degrees. They get bonus general spells, the ability to counterspell, and can p8ick up Apostate Abilities, which are mostly magic-modifying stuff. Spells do more damage, you get bonus skills, you can drain magic from other Vislae, etc. Honestly it’s by far the best order because it doesn’t have additional poorly-thought out systems slapped on it. It’s mostly about giving you more die, better modifiers, higher skills, etc. and counter-magic and stuff.

Next Time: Heart, it’s really short.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Ars Magica is 100% "Magic Is Science", not magic is art. The foundational event in the Order of Hermes was someone coming up with a grand unified theory of magic that is repeatable and reliable

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!


At least the Vances only have spell storage in two dimensions at the table, imagine if you had to fold the cards into cubes and fit them into a box that represented your BRAIN INVENTORY. An extended session of Tetris LARP'ing to memorize your spells.

Stephenls
Feb 21, 2013
[REDACTED]


SunAndSpring posted:

Also I feel like you guys maybe sweat it too much that you HAD to have big reasons for why gay and trans people are accepted in the Realm? China was perfectly fine with gay people so long as they did their duty and produced heirs in between loving around with their consorts, and many Asian and Native American ethnic groups had the concept of there being more than two genders. It's not that much of a stretch in a society where sorcery is common enough among the nobility that reproduction between people who are normally incompatible in that way is possible, being gay or trans is fine, especially now that the phobia against sorcery has been toned down to where everyone is fine using their services but no one is fine with inviting them to parties.

We tried both those first two solutions during various phases of development; the feedback we got from potential LGBT players was, roughly, “I am deeply uncomfortable with the prospect of only being able to play a gay character if that character is expected to engage in straight intercourse to pump out kids; I want a venue where my character’s relationship is recognized as not just valid but legitimate,” and “I want to be able to play a character whose understanding of their gender and orientation reflects my understanding of my own, not some made-up alternative conception of gender or orientation inspired by historical cultures.”

You’re right that we probably wouldn’t have needed the Precedent of Rawar, now that I think about it; I don’t think we’d noticed that we’d toned down the sorcery phobia as much as we did until after we’d implemented it, and it didn’t occur to us to go back and take it out again.

We can show through example that other cultures are fine with LGBT relationships; it was just the Dynasty’s unique position as heavily nativist and prioritizing children’s adherence to cultural norms and expectations over their happiness that made it feel like there needed to be an explanation there.

Stephenls fucked around with this message at 01:02 on Jun 3, 2019

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


Okay, I'm on board. I love Invisible Sun.

I thought you couldn't use RE's inventory management system as a part of a table top game, but by God Monte you mad genius, you've done it!

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Tibalt posted:

Okay, I'm on board. I love Invisible Sun.

I thought you couldn't use RE's inventory management system as a part of a table top game, but by God Monte you mad genius, you've done it!

It is a potentially cool idea, but it's a very Monte Cook approach to a potentially cool idea (i.e., just kind of boring).

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


PurpleXVI posted:

At least the Vances only have spell storage in two dimensions at the table, imagine if you had to fold the cards into cubes and fit them into a box that represented your BRAIN INVENTORY. An extended session of Tetris LARP'ing to memorize your spells.

I dunno, that sounds more interesting. Then you could be like "you can't cast spells at the bottom, you have to expend the ones you can reach" and- well, there are so many more interesting ways to do what was done.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Here's the thing, though. Since the box and the cards are all rectangles with side ratios that are powers of two, that system is exactly equivalent to just using normal-rear end integers. That is, you have a number for your capacity, and spells take up a certain amount of that capacity. There is no Tetris-ing to be done, because the given rectangles will fit precisely when their area suggests they will. It's a hilarious direct waste of a possibly-cool idea.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

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


megane posted:

Here's the thing, though. Since the box and the cards are all rectangles with side ratios that are powers of two, that system is exactly equivalent to just using normal-rear end integers. That is, you have a number for your capacity, and spells take up a certain amount of that capacity. There is no Tetris-ing to be done, because the given rectangles will fit precisely when their area suggests they will. It's a hilarious direct waste of a possibly-cool idea.
Yeah, but giving people 10 Spell Points and having each spell cost 1, 2, 4, 8, etc Spell Points would make things too obvious and wouldn't help fill The Cube.

TheNamedSavior
Mar 10, 2019



Night10194 posted:

There's something ironic about the fact that the unknowable horrors from beyond the stars get mashed up with everything specifically because they're so well known.

this is literally why the stupid "cthulhu but in SPACE" meme needs to loving die already.

lovecraft was a hack, leave it behind. dude didn't even intend for his "mythos" to be connected at all, and would probably have rather prefer if people made up their own new horrors instead of reusing his lovely racist ideas.

also, he would've voted for trump. seriously.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


megane posted:

It's a hilarious direct waste of a possibly-cool idea.

Yeah, it's bizarre. At first my brain was like "Well, printing odd-shaped bits would cost more money, so maybe it was a cost consideration-" And then I remember the game was $270+ and I just shake my head. It could be that doing layout for odd-shaped spells seemed like too much of a headache? I dunno. I really don't.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



TheNamedSavior posted:

this is literally why the stupid "cthulhu but in SPACE" meme needs to loving die already.

lovecraft was a hack, leave it behind. dude didn't even intend for his "mythos" to be connected at all, and would probably have rather prefer if people made up their own new horrors instead of reusing his lovely racist ideas.

It's kinda why Eclipse Phase was so refreshing, because it's very likely (unless they read Charlie Stross or Peter Watts or Junji Ito) that players would have never seen the exsurgent horrors before so they come off truly alien.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

The spell box is one of those things that works pretty well in a video game where you're not wasting other people's time by trying to find your perfect configuration, not mangling someone's cards, and not taking up a bunch of table space with a half-assed minigame that only you interact with. But this is Monte Cook, so of course we don't even get basic ideas like "this spell uses a weird shape" to at least justify why you'd use physical space instead of slots or just a capacity score. A game about how everything is supposed to be all weird and not like the real world and he can't even rip off Tetris correctly.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




i'm now picturing a videogame where you have to do the megaman battle network navicust to equip your spells

EDIT: it might work better if everybody used it since everybody would be fiddling with it at the same time, but only one out of five PC types uses it so there might just be ONE guy in the group who has to do it while everybody else twiddles their thumbs

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011

yospos



Hot Take: character creation should be based off of Galaxy Trucker

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Alien Rope Burn posted:

I dunno, that sounds more interesting. Then you could be like "you can't cast spells at the bottom, you have to expend the ones you can reach" and- well, there are so many more interesting ways to do what was done.

Jenga as a spell-casting system.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




If you're going to have something as whack as THE SPELL CUBE you need to go all the way with it. As it is now, it's just regular-rear end D&D spell levels but made needlessly fiddly.

Angrymog
Jan 29, 2012

Really Madcats



Combine the Tetris and Cube ideas. So your spells are on tetronimos, but you have to remove them cleanly. Maybe the shapes are randomised each time you memorise them? Would more powerful spells be made of more than one tetronimo that have to be all linked?

Maybe you have to avoid having complete rows, or you get some wild magic equivalent. Or completed rows give a bonus to the first spell cast from them.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization
by Bard Bloom and Victoria Borah Bloom



”The Back of the Book” posted:

You've lived your whole life within sight of Treverre's snakey walls. You know the look of a field of opal roses, the smell of Lake Laicrane at dawn, the sound of wherriwheffle calling to their flocks at sunout, the humming feel of a thousand spells as you walk by the magic academies. But you can't know what the world is like until you've leaned over the bow of a skyboat and felt the wind in your fur, looking at the whole World Tree spread out beneath you, green branches going forever, wiggling trails of rivers and mountains along them, the ancient cities just little patches like civilized lichen. I can sneak you on to the Crown of Leaves! We'll sail away, see the great courts and the vertical wilderness, meet wizards and heroes and bakers and professors and monsters and gods, and experience everything.

Yes, I'll just say this up front. This game is furry as gently caress. Fortunately, it's much more of the Ironclaw or Albedo brand of furry than anything like Hiccuping Seven Dragons. If nothing else, it doesn't spend any significant amount of time or page space on economic theory.

The basic gimmick of the World Tree setting is that the game world is artificial. It was created by gods to obey certain laws of physics that happen to correspond neatly to rpg mechanics. The World Tree itself was explicitly created to be, among other things, a place to have adventures. If you've ever been amused with the concept of "game rules as physics”, this game takes that concept and runs with it.

Just for context, World Tree was released in 2000, about the same time as, or shortly before, the release of D&D3.0. I point that out now because in a lot of ways World Tree seems very D20 inspired, but it's a case of parallel evolution, rather than being another D20/OGL book on the pile.


The back of the book again posted:

Welcome to the World Tree! Its upper branches are fifty miles wide and thousands of miles long; city-states dot the landscape amongst the forests and fields on their flat tops. The Verticals, the sides of the world-branches, are wild and dangerous and full of monsters, and never more than twenty-five miles away from even the most civilized areas.

In the countryside, you will find mainly Herethroy, peaceful and agrarian. But move into the cities, and you will find others: the loyal and social Cani, the clever and obsessive Rassimel, the merry and mercurial shapeshifting Orren. Look into the woods to find a village of proud and heroic Gormoror, or a solitary Sleeth on the hunt. Sneak into the dark corners of society to find an occasional Khtsoyis, thuggish and brutal. Rarely, you may see a Zi Ri, immortal and mysterious.

These eight prime species, to whom the gods have given access to all of them magical Arts, have built good lives for themselves, mostly peaceful and prosperous. But for those who hear the call to adventure, by design or by accident, the Tree can be a perilous place still…

Filled with stories and advice from the inhabitants, this book gives you the detailed information about the World Tree and its prime cultures you'll need to play your own stories of intrigue and magic on the civilized frontier, together with a completely integrated rules system.

There's a LOT to cover in this book. It's about 300 pages, and very text heavy, so I'm probably a loving idiot for even hoping to get through this without burning out.

Stephenls
Feb 21, 2013
[REDACTED]


My impression of Monte Cook game design is he's all about giving a traditional game experience that gives enough of the impression of being novel that people who believe they want a novel experience but actually just want what they already like will be pleased with it.

My understanding of Invisible Sun in specific is that it's all about applying that principle to a game that discourages piracy by requiring "feelies" to the play experience -- physical props you need to play. Or "need," because it's a Monte Cook game, so the point is giving the impression of novelty while delivering something traditional.

He's consistently made money at what he does while other designers struggle, so apparently this is what people want.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

Warning!

So if the Coalition is evil...

Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

Violence, War, Magic & the Supernatural

... and Tolkeen is evil...

Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

The fictional world of Rifts® is violent, deadly and filled with supernatural monsters. Other-dimensional beings often referred to as "demons," torment, stalk and prey on humans. Other alien life forms, monsters, gods and demigods, as well as magic, insanity, and war are all elements in this
book.

... why are characters supposed to care about what happens?

Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

Some parents may find the violence, magic and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.

I mean, maybe they're just mercenaries exploiting the situation, but clearly that's not the intent.

Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

Please note that none of us at Palladium Books® condone or encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs, or violence.

I guess Cyber-Knight Refugee Evacuation Crisis would have just taken up too much real estate on the cover, tho.




Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil, Part 1- "It has become a murderous vendetta driven by a demonic lust for blood and revenge, and many want no part of it."

Well, here we are. After a full book of just wheel-spinning with the Cyber-Knights, what do we have here?

More wheel-spinning.



Really, I imagine Siembieda envisioned this as six books because, hey, that's a nice number. Six is a very nice number. We don't have nearly six books of content, which is why we just spent a book educating readers on the Code of Chivalry according to a Michiganian game developer. Tolkeen won in book 3 and the Coalition gets to win in book 6, the only book that really matters. So what do we do in the meantime?

SPIN DEM TIRES GUYS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTAo3QT4siE


"They're trying to murder us for trying to murder them, is this legal?!"

The Coming Storm

So, this book is supposed to be the "calm before the storm", where the "calm" is "nothing happening". Well, okay, some things are happening. Mainly, Tolkeen's army is starting to fall apart. Some are leaving because they think the war is over, others are disillusioned by Tolkeen working with eeevil monsters and slaughtering retreating troops, and lastly, some mercenaries have come to the conclusion they're not getting paid and are looting and leaving.

You know, it's kind of funny that slaughter of retreating Coalition troops is treated as a moral break point, when it turns out the Coalition is going to be back again. Yeah, if they had legitimately retreated, sure, but they're honestly regrouping, not retreating. Killing surrendering troops is definitely capital "b" bad, but... well, they do capture a good number of troops.

It just falls flat when it's clear the Coalition still intends to wipe Tolkeen off the map. Speaking of which, the Coalition Army is recovering. Though they lost half the invasion force when Jericho Holmes' force was forced into the Xiticix Hivelands, and there's been the distraction of an assassination attempt against Emperor Karl and another against members of his family, they're reinforcing their troops along the Mississippi. In addition, it turns out the Tolkeen plot to lure the Xiticix to Chi-Town failed due to Coalition agents. This is despite having a whole plot involving the PCs in Coalition Wars 4: Cyber-Knights; canon takes over and renders their involvement needless. The Coalition Army will be back to the original levels of the first invasion force fairly soon. But where are they getting all these troops from when they're fighting a two-front war? Well, don't worry about that, I guess...


"It's not a hellscape, son, it's a free sulphur sauna!"

The Kingdom of Tolkeen

So, Tolkeen was originally formed from five "baronies". How did people become barons? Nevermind that! Who are these barons? They sound important... well, no. Don't worry about them too much. They're not. Why aren't they important? Will you stop asking questions, straw man, I have a book to review!

Anyway, they're Mizereen to the Southeast, Rivereen to the Southwest, Tolkeen in the middle, Markeen in the North, and Wildwoods towards the Northwest. So many -eens.

War Zones
Mizereen Barony
The Barrens


Where most of the fighting took place was in Mizereen - yes, despite most of the fighting happening here, this is our first time discussing it - and became a blasted zone known as "The Barrens". Not "The Barreens"? I'm disappointed in you, writers, that was a real softball and you whiffed it. Also, it's "Mizereen" because of misery!... well, okay, I don't know that, but I presume so. Furthermore, Tolkeen has used elemental and other magic to make a lot of fortifications... which seems like a questionable use of resource when the Coalition can just fly around in their giant skull transports, but I'm no wizard-general. In theory they seem to think flying vehicles are dangerously "out in the open", which... not really? At least, we haven't seen that Tolkeen has any counter to air forces other than their own air forces. In any case, we get a lot of details on these magically mega-damage fortifications, which mainly consist of:
  • Spikes of Stone:, which are four to seven foot-tall stone spears sticking out of the ground to slow advancements. They seem to be big enough to help as cover, though...
  • Giant (Flat-Topped) Mounds: So, these are tall buttes used as elevated scout and firing points for Tolkeen troops, as well as landing pads for air support.
  • Towers of Stone: These are smaller versions of the above, sometimes clustered together.
Ultimately, most of this is fairly self-explanatory, and they get way more :words: than they need.


Given the subtle appearance of creatures from the "western" World Books, I think we have repurposed art here.

Next: Just roll % until your fingers bleed.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 09:28 on Jun 3, 2019

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



I'm actually a little impressed at the commitment to the bit for that Vancian magic.

I mean it's objectively terrible yes, but goddamit Monte you magnificent bastard.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




megane posted:

Here's the thing, though. Since the box and the cards are all rectangles with side ratios that are powers of two, that system is exactly equivalent to just using normal-rear end integers. That is, you have a number for your capacity, and spells take up a certain amount of that capacity. There is no Tetris-ing to be done, because the given rectangles will fit precisely when their area suggests they will. It's a hilarious direct waste of a possibly-cool idea.

Are you allowed to rotate them?

megane
Jun 20, 2008





hyphz posted:

Are you allowed to rotate them?

No idea, but it doesn't matter since the same number will fit without rotation. It would matter if they had different shapes (even rectangles that just don't divide nicely into the size of the box, such as fitting 3x1s into a 4x4), but... here we are.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



If it had been some sort of Tetris system with spikey spells it might even have been fun.

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

Toolkit Adventures

So, part of this is my personal preferences. I feel the need to preface this with that. And I'm also well aware that a pre-made adventure writer has a pagecount limit, and only so much space to include reactivity and alterations to their plot. The issue with Forges is that it spends a lot of that pagecount advising how to lie to your players, throw in random fights, etc to ensure they stay on the planned timetable and track, and that they see the right cutscenes at the right time, without their intervention or interaction. It would be better for Forges to have told its story like Ashes of Middenheim if it wanted to do this, rather than billing it as an exciting race against time where the PCs have 7 days to solve the mystery that solves itself for them on Day 6 and where very little changes whether they catch the villain or not, since he'll die on Day 7 anyway and everything he was planning to do gets done by his assistants or another NPC if he's beaten on Day 6. The only real optional objective that can measurably change the ending (I don't count saving Gabrielle as optional, since that's critical path) is stopping the uprising, and again; that's 10 separate encounters with d10 lovely WS 31 SB 3 TB 3 mutants and one Daemonette. Ten.

Part of why the mystery has to be framed this way in Forges is because if the player characters could achieve anything, the actual mystery in Forges doesn't have enough layers to let them. It's just one serial killer. If Rolf was stopped on Day 4, after the players have reasonable suspicions of him and start following him and catch him in the act or something, the Abomination wouldn't happen and there would be no 'finale', so to speak. Which is an understandable concern when the mission is the finale of a 3 part adventure path people have been playing for months at this point. This is because the entire main plot hinges entirely on Rolf and the chalice, and only has one 'critical component', so to speak. If the players found the chalice or arrested or killed Rolf in the act, that's that. The other plot bits about the Magnus Cannon and the Uprising are unconnected to the campaign's arc and the mystery at the center only goes one layer deep.

Thus, if you're going to have a finale with the plot as it existed, you end up with this book's issue of spending a lot of its limited pagecount protecting Rolf from the players actually succeeding at their task and ensuring their investigations are pointless. My proposed plot redesign isn't just designed to make the plot more compelling or more fitting to a grand finale of a campaign (a more entrenched Khorne Cult with a mad genius leading it seems more appropriate than one serial killer, scale-wise) but to give it more layers that are interconnected. It also provides more gradations of success or failure, which I think is essential if you're going to do a 'race against time' plot. Part of the disappointment of the original is that the timetable is all about keeping the timetable, and there's really only one ending. All of that pagecount could be better put to reactivity.

I would still maintain a 'default' timetable of what happens if the PCs weren't there. Thinking about how your story would go without the PCs getting involved, where everything goes exactly how the villains want, is hardly a bad idea for structuring your story. Setting down the stakes of how Nuln might face (using my rewrite as a base) an uprising of Khornate cultists armed with Nuln steel and guns at the same time as the cannon explodes and the uprising tries to kill every one of the city's leaders, while a horrible monster animated by the essence of Xath kills enough people to free him and let him lead the cult in trying to conquer Nuln? That would set out what the PCs need to stop, and helps a inform a GM of the moving parts they can break. I would devote time to what happens when they achieve partial success, complete success, or near complete failure, with those things adjusting how hard the actual finale is and what it looks like. I'd also leave the option that the players fight a weakened Xath if they succeed at everything and Gabrielle is mid-ritual; you could have some cool shots of the Nulners celebrating their new cannon and having a happy conclusion to what had been a fraught Black Powder Week with cutting back to the heroes in a dark corner locked in desperate combat with a demon to ensure it's banished/killed forever. It just seems like a shame to never actually interact with Xath, and having him pop out to frantically try to stop them breaking him while shaking his fist at them for how much trouble they've already caused is about the best you can do with such a weak main villain.

By actually connecting Rolf, the Uprising, and the Cannon Sabotage, you could then devote time to talking about how investigating one could lead into the others. You obviously wouldn't have the space to account for every variation on how the PCs could approach the situation, but some stuff about what 'catching Rolf first' or 'Discovering the Uprising first' or 'Discovering the Sabotage first' look like and how they give hints for the other objectives (or even warn the PCs there are other objectives) would be worthwhile. Several proposed climaxes and endings based on what the players stopped or failed to stop would help, too. If you really wanted a comedy golden ending if they succeeded at everything, you could even propose that when they do the ritual to destroy the cup and Xath pops out, instead of the PCs fighting him he appears in the cannon test range.

Similarly, say they stop the cannon sabotage but don't catch Rolf; they're still going to have to fight off not only the Abomination, but stop the uprising killing the Countess and other leaders of the city in a bloody and dramatic battle where they probably end up facing Rolf and Magus Randolf. And that's a great opportunity to make use of the excellent Cultist tracks from Tome of Corruption. It's a little frustrating this book was written before that one, because I adore the Cultist class tracks for popping onto a 'normal' character and giving them hidden depths of surprising power. Imagine when the players face the mad genius behind this and suddenly oh dear he's a Magus of Khorne so he's not just a frail old Engineer, he's a 3rd tier fighter. That's still an extremely difficult finale that you could adjust based on the party's abilities; if they're not really fighters you could put in other ways to handle these lethal cultists and flesh golems. Like rallying Nuln's soldiers or leading them into a factory and using the machinery and forges of Nuln against them.

The entire plot needed a rewrite, it's true, and it definitely needed the rampant misogyny stripped out completely. But it also wasted a ton of pagecount on undermining its own structure, because fundamentally Forges of Nuln is a completely linear and non-interactive narrative where except for the cult uprising, there's almost nothing you can achieve until the timetable says you can achieve it. Instead of being an outline of what happens if the PCs don't act, the Timetable is a straitjacket. A plot with more layers would be necessary to allow the plot to bend; as it is, there are more elements than Rolf, but they're all unconnected side-plots instead of being deeper mysteries and extra objectives for the players. Similarly, don't put huge amounts of page space and investigation and stuff towards an objective players cannot succeed at. If you pay attention, the cannon exploding is actually completely tangential to the main plot in the original story; it exists primarily to have another big 'oh that dumb Countess' moment and to spray blood around by the bucketload, but it could be removed completely and the end of the main plot would proceed unhindered. It also just seems like something Khornates would do! Attaching it to the main plot, and making the very Khornate-style uprising part of it, would give you space to give the players more to do than just hunting down Rolf and thus give you space to let them catch Rolf. Or miss him and investigate these seemingly more pressing matters!

Thus, this style of adventure is better served by its timetable being an outline of events, and then spending the time this one spent on telling you to stymie your players on telling you how to let them gently caress up that timetable, instead. And on what happens depending on which parts they messed with.

Also, in final analysis of Forges, one thing that a player in my group brought up last week: It's weird but I think the entire Paths of the Damned campaign is written backwards. You could have much more easily started in Nuln with a low-stakes adventure about a single serial killer for rookie PCs, then gone to Altdorf, then to Middenheim where Liebnitz the Medium Priest turns out to be the overall mastermind and you can bring in stuff like Chaos Warriors outside the city to give players a break from the constant Cultists And Beastmen even if you're sticking to the Chaos Plot. Because fighting nothing but cultists and beastmen gets loving old. The Grand Campaign for 2e, the game where it assures you a major plot hook is sweeping up Archy's remnants, never has you fight one of the iconic Chaos Warriors. Think about that. Similarly, the Flame of Ulric washing over everyone as Ulric high-fives you would have been a great campaign finale ending shot!

Next Time: Wrapup on Paths and the Fates of Brute Squad

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





I know Kevin's never written characters competently unless it's ridiculously over-competent but how on earth does Tolkeen not figure out that the CS is just pulling back and regrouping?

I put up with a lot from Palladium when I was younger. I realize that now.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Re: Nuln
I'd let the group catch Rolph and have an understudy do the climactic summoning on time, only to gently caress it up in some hilarious manner.
Could be a nice closer to the whole thing.

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

So, that's it for Paths of the Damned. It was miserable. The decision to cut up the Empire Setting Book to put all the important cities in these campaign books was a disaster, because it led to the city quality being really, really uneven. Spires barely has a write-up on Altdorf, despite it being one of the most important places in the setting and potentially one of the most characterful. The Nuln writeup is okay-ish, better than the Altdorf one, but it's still lacking in character and energy. Only Middenheim really got a good one, and to be fair, the Middenheim writeup is good enough to base an entire campaign in Middenheim and made a great model for the Kislevite cities in Realm of the Ice Queen. The Empire can honestly be one of the harder countries to write campaigns in, because its information is spread across a ton of books and you generally learn more about it in every book other than Sigmar's Heirs, the actual Empire book. This campaign and Terror in Talabheim contributed to that, and I think that was bad for the game line as a whole.

What stands out most to me is how aimless Paths of the Damned feels. Why is it called Paths of the Damned? I dunno. Something I've noticed as I've worked on these adventure books is that the authors don't really know how to 'ramp up' a story. There's no sense in Forges that the PCs are people who have seen some poo poo and who may be in very respectable Careers by now; you're still treated as mostly tramps and vagabonds, and a campaign that started with unveiling corruption at a high level in the Temple of Ulric, saving Middenheim from religious civil war, and being marked by a God ends with...a serial killer and some terrorism you can't prevent. You feel like more of a hero in the first adventure than the finale. This is partly down to the books having three different authors and the finale being written by the one who likes the grimdark the most, but that's also kind of nuts to me: The campaign having 3 different authors who all view the setting very differently gives it a very scattered feeling.

Not helping anything is the way Xath is barely there. He's a side-story from book 1; book 1 is about Liebnitz. The Skull was something he sent you to fetch to get you killed as a distraction. It wasn't actually that important to the story; the Icon was a bigger macguffin. Xath is a bog-standard Khorne Demon with nothing to make him at all interesting. The reason they keep having to toss in side-villains like Wolfgang and Carlott is because their actual antagonist is boring as dishwater and intentionally set up to never be interacted with. The Artifacts are an excuse plot to get you hopping from city to city, fighting Yet Another lovely Cult each time. The cults also lack for any real character, and really, the total reliance on Yet Another lovely Cult in WHFRP is one of the laziest and dullest parts of the adventure writing for the series. Yes, investigating stuff is an important part of WHFRP's gameplay compared to games like D&D; you're meant to look into hidden cults, corruption, treacherous employers, etc more than you crawl dungeons. Adventures often center on solving dark plots or stopping sabotage or finding dangerous things before evil gets its hands on them. You're often expected to try to avoid fighting when unnecessary and to trick and talk your way out of as much as you can. That's why there are a bunch of classes that are good at that. But when it's a constant parade of cults who are evil because ??? and who want ??? but they love Chaos because it's Chaos...well, the mysteries you're solving get pretty samey and boring. Also, having a cult in every goddamn story makes it lose its impact when you discover some important NPC is a cultist, because of course they are, loving everyone is.

Paths of the Damned starts okay (even if there's stuff you have to adjust), becomes a bit dull but Spires at least tried to do an open-ended campaign and had a few good moments, and then craters because Forges is loving miserable. In the end, it's absolutely not worth playing, and only the Middenheim book is really particularly worthwhile as a setting book. Coincidentally, the Middenheim book has probably the best adventure, and makes a decent intro for a party; you can just cut out the other two and cut out Xath while you're adjusting the Knight Fight and now you've got an okay (if rather railroaded) intro to a WHFRP game set in the northern Empire. In general, Paths of the Damned is a disappointment. The value of a pre-made adventure path is how much time it saves a GM, and you'll need to fix and adjust things and probably rewrite the entire third adventure to a degree that I cannot recommend it overall as something to play in WHFRP.

I could go into stuff like Thousand Thrones next, but I'm not really feeling spending hours and hours reading and re-reading it then writing twenty pages about how it's railroaded trash. So instead we're going to talk about the Adventure Books for WHFRP on general: On the whole, they're quite negative. The setting books are great, and the writers for this line are great at starting stories, but surprisingly terrible at ending them. Some of this is apparently a mandate from above, that most of the adventures should end in failure or anticlimax or generally fail to affect the setting. I can understand trying to avoid metaplot (laudable), but it leads to a feeling that your adventures aren't especially consequential. And everything tends to treat you like a bunch of ragged tramps, when actual 3rd tier PCs are things like Knights of the Inner Circle of a knightly order, or Anointed Priests of a cult, or Champion warriors or Crime Bosses. There's never really a good sense of escalation, or even good chances to show off how far you've progressed. Adventures are also generally confused as to what a PC party looks like, and I can't blame them on that count; Careers make it so there really isn't a standard PC party like in D&D. If you balance for Brute Squad and how insanely good at killing people they ended up being, you will stomp all over The Team of Scam Artists And Scholars. Similarly, balance for Scam Artists and Scholars and...Brute Squad will probably be fine since they still have decent social and scholarship skills but a much more purely fight/rogue party might get stomped. That's part of why Chart has the whole 'oh you can just talk it all out if no-one's good at Fel' in Spires; he can't predict the players will have a Social PC and also probably doesn't want that entire plotline to be the Liniel Show. This is one reason Liche Lord's 'toolkit' approach, where it gave a setting and did the heavy lifting designing a big dungeon but mostly left how it fits together to you (and had openings for lots of ways to solve each challenge) worked well.

And now, because I put hours working into all of this, I'm going to indulge myself with an epilogue for the heroes of Brute Squad, fresh off completing the re-written version of Forges where they stopped a mad Engineer from trying to make the city into a bastion of eternal industrial war, stopped the cannon going boom, and cut down Xath's last ditch effort to stop Gabrielle dispersing his essence and killing him. And no-one paid them for it.

Liniel of Caledor remained firm in her decision not to return to Ulthuan after all. After a few more adventures with her friends in Kislev and beyond, she parted ways and used her credit with Nuln's upper crust to enroll in the Gunnery School, the first elf to ever take a stab at learning gunsmithing and Engineering. Having found a new trade that she quite enjoyed, she has a profitable business making hand-made, elegant, and 'highly authentic' elven pistols and muskets for Imperial rakes and grandees who want something distinctive. She is a little miffed to note how much more money she makes making fancy guns with a lion on the barrel than she ever did saving the Empire from demons, but it pays the bills and she hopes to introduce other elves to the wonders of firearms some day. Perhaps in the centuries to come, as the rifle and revolver take over from the musket and flintlock pistol, she'll manage to do just that.

She keeps up contact with the others from her estate in Nuln, writing and receiving letters to stay in touch with the people who helped her get a new start in life. She also keeps her fantastic array of ear-flattering hats, and single-handedly keeps an elven haberdasher in business.

Solveig Miller never actually became Ar-Ulric. Ulric had a different and equally glorious path in store for her. Using her credibility from beating the poo poo out of demons and monsters alongside Brute Squad, she settled down as High Priestess of the Nordlander Temple of Ulric, writing a series of celebrated theological texts about wolves, punching, sometimes punching wolves, and axes. One of her greatest achievements was convincing the Ar Ulric to renounce the Oath of Celibacy, on the basis of 'What the hell, we all hate it, why are we whining about it instead of punching that oath in the face? Ulric wouldn't sit around and whine about it!' The cult celebrates her as a great reformer, and her work is directly cited in the new Ulrican marriage vows. While she would not become Ar Ulric, her work in undoing the ancient Oath of Celibacy would help the cult recover its balance, and a century or so later would see the first female Ar Ulric chosen for the position as one of her legacies.

Otto Blucher managed to sell the rights to the Paths of the Damned to an Imperial opera-writer and playwright, Dietlef Sierck, when the man was in one of his 'goddamnit I gotta stop writing about vampires' periods. With a celebrated and extremely embarrassing opera produced about the adventures of Brute Squad (it included a gratuitous romance between him and Liniel, something that annoys them both), he finally enjoyed the fame and widespread recognition he sought as a fencer and champion. He would use that fame to secure a minor title of nobility, and retire to his home city of Carroburg to found a fencing academy and wed an old sweetheart. Now old and starting to lose his step, Otto spends his days telling stories about his adventures to excited young would-be-heroes-of-the-Empire while critiquing their footwork.

Katiya Ivanovna Demechev finally left the Brute Squad when she joined the Gryphon Legion at long last, after several adventures in Kislev with her friends. She would eventually win an appointment as first a Lifetime Druzhina from the Tsarina (making her a knight, but unable to pass on her title), before being elected Ataman of a Stanitsa down in southern Kislev. After years of riding at Chaos Warriors in the Winged Lancers, the brave peasant woman was finally able to settle down near the river, back where she first fled Archaon's hordes what seemed like a lifetime ago. She lives in peace, knowing she did her part to secure her homeland by fire and sword, a respected village leader who is happy to tell young peasant girls that they, too, could one day be a sister of the sword and lance like she was.

Pierre Rhone eventually earned enough to buy a suit of armor and a horse to replace the ones he sold, and went home to 'finish' his Errantry. While his father was annoyed with how long he took, on hearing of his son's actual deeds (without the bits about swearing to Verena) he welcomed him back and ensured he would find enough renown to gain a fief of his own. Taking the oath of the Virtue of Empathy, Pierre the Wise became known as a just and honest leader whose peasants weren't afraid to come to him with matters of justice. Also known for his many quests into ancient ruins, which are considered quite the eccentricity by his peers.

That is, of course, only what he does during the day. By night, the 'knight' puts on his mask, renews his oath to Verena, and goes to give his orders to his Merry Men as Renard the Faceless, working towards the day when the Lady of the Lake will be overthrown and all men (and maybe even women) will be equal in liberty, equality, and fraternity. As the Goddess Verena demands.

The End

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fangs at the Gate: I Will Survive

Stamina: Heart’s Blood! Hero’s Heart Challenge lets you sacred hunt a human by challenging them to a physical contest of some kind, like a race or a wrestling match. If you win, you may end the hunt and claim the opponent’s form by accepting a Major Tie of respect towards them. If you do not consider them worthy by accepting this intimacy, you cannot take their form this way, but it does count as the Intimacy required to take a human shape. You can cheat to win if you aren’t caught, but your opponent cannot throw the match. If the opponent wins or catches you cheating, the hunt fails and you can’t take their shape with this Charm for the rest of the story, though other hunts will still work.

Stamina: Defense! Impenetrable Beast Armor lets you temporarily sprout hide, scales or bone plates to increase your soak against a Withering attack or Hardness against a Decisive one. Steel Paw Style permanently lets you use Stamina in place of Dexterity for parries when you’re using a medium or heavy weapon, an unarmed attack or a natural weapon, due to your unshakable toughness. Unmoving Auroch Defense greatly increases your body’s density for an instant, preventing you from being physically moved by any means. This can’t stop gravity-caused falls, but any knockback or knockdown, sure. It also significantly increases your mass in that instant, which is normally not a problem but may introduce issues if you’re in soft mud, standing on a tightrope or similar, and it temporarily suppresses Graceful Crane Stance’s effects.

Invulnerable Moonsilver Carapace causes you to grow a shell of moonsilver that counts as artifact armor and has resistance to soak reduction effects. It shapeshifts with you and can be fused to any artifact armor you’re currently wearing to use the best of either armor’s traits and give this Charm’s benefits to your armor, as well as releasing the armor’s committed motes into this Charm for the duration. You can repurchase this to gain Evocations for your carapace, based on your personality, spirit shape and caste. This can be left up indefinitely at E3 and can be activated reflexively when you use Deadly Beastman Transformation. Moonsilver Thew Exertion amplifies your mass for an instant in a grapple, rerolling failures on a control roll or to oppose a grapple. Your mass is so great you can oppose the grapples of Legendary Size creatures, though you can’t clinch them yourself. As with Unmoving Aurochs Defense, your mass increase may create complications. Weapon-Trapping Body Dominion lets you clash an attack with Resistance, causing your flesh and blood to trap the enemy’s weapon in your body if you win, disarming them until they make a difficult gambit to get it back. If they attack with a Natural or Worn weapon, their limb is instead trapped inside your skin as a grapple which you get a big bonus on. This Charm is incompatible with any armor except Invulnerable Moonsilver Carapace.

Stamina: Endurance! Bear Sleep Technique lets you go into a healing hibernation state, massively increasing your natural healing rate. During hibernation you need neither food nor water, and with Stamina 5 you also do not age. You may hibernate until fully healed or for a set period of time, your choice. You are largely not super aware of what’s around you and get a large penalty to all Awareness checks to detect external stimuli, which can only be enhanced by Excellencies. However, some stimuli, such as being slapped in the face, can be detected without a roll. If you detect external stimuli, you may end the Charm early. Halting the Scarlet Flow lets you, once per day, heal a small amount of non-aggravated damage each turn for several turns by shapeshifting the wounds away. This ends if Crashed and cannot be used outside combat.

All-Consuming Crucible allows you to eat nearly anything, as long as it is mundane and is either alive or was alive at one point, even if it is normally indigestible. You also get a bonus against ingested poisons, and you may eat any amount of food without harm. Eating something very fast, such as to dispose of a corpse, is a Stamina-based Athletics or Survival roll. At Stamina 5, you can eat any mundane material, period, though feats of demolition may be needed to break larger things into small enough pieces to swallow, and you are immune to mundane ingested poisons. Rabid Beast Bite lets you cause an enhanced form of infected wounds with your unarmed or natural weapon Decisive attacks which can affect Exalts, or alternatively transmit any disease you are currently suffering from instead. Behemoth’s Inhalation Prana lets your lungs swell, inhaling any vapor but air within Medium range, even magical ones. This can clear fog or smoke, prevent poison gas from harming allies and so on, but you suffer the normal effects of inhaled substances. At Stam 4, E2, if you roll well enough on a resistance check to negate an inhaled poison entirely or otherwise totally avoid harm from whatever you breathed in, you can then exhale it at a foe in Medium range as an unblockable Decisive attack that does nothing on a hit except expose them to the substance and does not reset your Initiative. If in an animal shape of Legendary size, your range with this Long for both inhaling and exhaling.

Plague Rat Prana lets you retain within your body any disease you conquer. If you successfully roll to resist exposure to or overcome a disease, you remain a vector for its contagion but suffer no ill effects, and you may transmit it with Rabid Beast Bite. You may choose to lower its Virulence based on your Essence, to a minimum of 1, when you expose someone to it, this allowing you to spare allies or innocents. You may expel a disease you carry entirely, removing it from your body as a miscellaneous action. Poison Blood Prana lets you turn your blood into a vicious spray of poison when struck. After you take Decisive damage, you may use this as an unblockable Decisive counterattack with Stamina, getting a bonus based on your wound penalty Success exposes your foes to an internal poison you developed with one of the prerequisites, but does no damage and does not reset your Initiative. If you know the Charm Acid-Spitting Attack, you may instead turn your blood into acid, dealing minor Aggravated damage that ignores Hardness and reduces your foe’s soak and Hardness for a bit. In a venomous or poisonous animal shape, you may instead use the animal’s natural poison with a bonus to duration, and if your spirit shape is venomous or poisonous, you may learn this via Wits.

Form-Shedding Sacrifice lets you reduce incoming damage when in a stolen shape by sacrificing your ability to use that shape ever again as a Crippling effect. You revert to your true human form and lose that shape forever, but you reduce damage taken based on your Essence. You cannot sacrifice your spirit shape or true human shape. You may also reflexively use the Charm False Death Technique when you use this to split off a false corpse of the lost shape (or some part of it, if that shape had Legendary Size) and reflexively roll to go to ground and hide. Storm-Swalloing Technique lets you inhale weather, ending any precipitation within Medium range by inhaling the clouds. This can end supernatural weather such as the spell Rain of Doom, though the GM may rule it exposes you to one interval of the weather’s harmful effects or a unique poison or environmental hazard. Weather made by ongoing magic will not recur in the cleared area for the rest of the scene. You can also reflexively use Behemoth’s Inhalation Prana when you use this, and like that charm, in a Legendary Size form, the range extends to Long.

Stamina: Berserker! Relentless Lunar Fury lets you go into a berserk rage when you take Decisive damage, reducing wound and crippling penalties and gaining Initiative when you take further Decisive damage. You retain your mental capabilities and can be tactical, but may not withdraw, use social influence for anything unrelated to combat or stop fighting until all enemies are taken out or have fled. Ending this Charm early sends you into Crash, setting your Initiative to -3 if it wasn’t lower. In an animal shape with the Berserker merit, you also get a bonus to all rolls with Physical attributes. Enraged Ratel Persistence turns your wound penalties into a bonus to Resolve, and if Relentless Lunar Fury is active, you treat any fear-based influence or influence that would make you stop fighting as unacceptable. Sleeping Tiger Wakes lets you use Relentless Lunar fury in response to a threat or insult to one of your Major or Defining Intimacies or to your Solar mate, and if outside battle, you immediately roll Join Battle with a bonus.

Next time: Strength

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Always be indulging Night.:3:

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Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




Perfect endings. :3:

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