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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!


SunAndSpring posted:

2. Don't worship the gods outside of the ordained days your local Prayer Calendar demands. You're gonna make them lazy and gently caress up the whole system if you feed them prayer to get them to do poo poo for you.

I like how this makes the gods sound like supernatural raccoons or feral cats. "Goddammit you forgot to close the lid on the garbage can, now there's another god stuck in there."

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The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



PurpleXVI posted:

I like how this makes the gods sound like supernatural raccoons or feral cats. "Goddammit you forgot to close the lid on the garbage can, now there's another god stuck in there."

This is more or less the Immaculate view yes.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Except that you solve it by punching the raccoon until it's sorry, yeah.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





It reminds me of something (I think) Granny Weatherax says in the Discworld novels that while obviously they exist you don't wanna go around believing in gods because it just gives them ideas.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Mors Rattus posted:

Except that you solve it by punching the raccoon until it's sorry, yeah.

The Raccoon Totem, God of Raccoons, knows what it did.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The Immaculates can get away with treating gods the way they do because Dragonbloods can just straight up kill gods that decide to buck the status quo.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





I always appreciated that the Immaculate Philosophy openly states that, if you're a mortal, getting taken in or overawed by Anathema is not a sin. Sure, you should do your best to avoid it, and if you're found in their service we're gonna kill you, but ultimately they are too powerful for you to resist so it's not really your fault.

It's refreshing after Warhammer (and plenty of other settings), where you can get mind-controlled or mutated by having a demon briefly glance in your direction while you are in the process of stabbing it, and this is treated as heresy on your part.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fangs at the Gate: BEHOLD MY LAUGHTER

Laughing Monster Style was created by the raksha warrior-saints of the Court of Flayed Sinners, distilled from the devoured dreams of many thieves, scavenger princes and oathbreakers drawn in by the rumors of the treasures they guarded. Their rule of false virtue was ended by the Lunar shaman Juven Fifth-Summer, who tore their princeís face off and pried the style from him, using its secrets to set the raksha against each other until none were left. Laughing Monster wields impetuous power and wicked humor, using misdirection and confusion to humiliate foes. Its practice involves erratic breathing exercises, rolling dance and meditation to destroy the ego. Juven taught it to his allies in the Silver Pact, but the esoteric style has also spread to several dojos and secret societies as well. It is seen as a style of criminals, revolutionaries, lunatics and tricksters, for it is as erratic and unpredictable as the Wyld where it was born. Its unarmed strikes are a mix of open-hand slaps, elbow strikes and sweeping kicks. The style is compatible with the staff, war fan and whip, and unarmed attacks boosted by its Charms can be stunted to deal Lethal. It cannot be used with armor. Dodge is important to its evasion, and Presence or Socialize are both useful for its tricks, as is Occult for its more esoteric practices.

Furiously Stalling Destiny boosts Evasion against a single enemy, and your first attack against them on or before your next turn gets a damage bonus (or an Initiative bonus for gambits). You can stack bonuses against the same enemy, but if you attack a different foe, they are lost. Mastery lets you use it after an attack is rolled against you, while Terrestrial limits how often it can be stacked. (It is also very confusingly worded.) Deeper-Into-Trouble Technique gives a bonus to Decisive damage, and a further bonus if the enemy has a negative Tie towards you. Also, anyone you damage with this attack becomes enraged, gaining Willpower if they attack you on or before their next turn and take you out or Crash you, but they get a penalty to attack anyone else until they hit you, and they canít get the Willpower if they attack anyone else first. Laughing Monster Form is a constantly shifting stance that feigns confusion, making it appear as if you have many illusory arms. These give a bonus to Disarm and Distract gambits, and any time that successfully dodging an attack makes an attacker at Close range lose Initiative, you can make a Decisive counterattack with damage based on the Initiative lost, which ignores Hardness and doesnít reset you to base, or a Disarm or Distract gambit counterattack that works as normal but gets a bonus. If Terrestrial keyword is in effect, you have to pay Initiative to use the counterattack. This can be autoactivated when you provoke a nontrivial foe to Join Battle against you with an influence roll or when you dodge someone and their Initiative is sent below yours.

Inauspicious Moment for Attack lets you make a clap that sounds as if echoed by 98 hands, taking on a stance of ill omen and clashing an attack against you with a Distract gambit that gets a bonus. If you win, you count as having dodged the attack, and whoever benefits from your Distract gambit can reflexively make a Decisive attack on your attacker. On foes suffering from Unitary Being Forge, you can instead clash with a Decisive attack, using the impís damage bonus for its damage and ignoring Hardness, which doesnít reset you to base and still gets boosted by anything that boosts Distract gambits. If terrestrial, either counts as your attack for the round and canít be used if youíve already attacked. Subtle Hammer lets you make an exaggerated feint, then reverse it into a deathblow. Once per scene, after a successful Distract or Disarm gambit, you can reflexively make a Decisive attack on the same foe, with damage based on your gambitís roll that ignores Hardness and doesnít reset you to base. If this takes out the foe, you get back the gambitís Initiative cost. Mastery gives the attack a bonus while in Laughing Monster Form. Thieves Fall Out lets you make a single Decisive attack against two foes in Close range of each other, dividing your Initiatve between them evenly for damage. If you hit both, you disrupt them and they stumble over each other as long as they remain near each other. For the rest of the scene they get a Defense penalty and lose Initiative each turn when in Close range of each other, and you gain the Initiative they lose. You can instead use this to make a single attack on a battle group with a damage bonus, and the battle group gets the same penalty for the scene but loses Magnitude instead of Initiative, and you donít gain Initiative.

Friendship-Dissolving Venom can be used when you successfully dodge an attack, redirecting it to another character in range of the original attack. It is rerolled, with all bonuses and effects on it maintained, against the new target. Any Initiative a Withering attack would grant to the attacker goes to you, and if you have any damage bonuses against the attacker from Furiously Stalling Destiny, they apply to the redirected attack as well. If the redirected attack beats the targetís Resolve, they also form a Minor Tie of outrage towards the attacker, or strengthen an existing negative Tie to them. Any positive Ties towards the attacker are suppressed for the scene, and you reflexively make a Manipulation-based persuade roll to convince the victim to act against the attackerís interests in some way. The cost of this Charm is reduced if both attacker and redirect victim are under the effects of Thieves Fall Out and within Close range of each other. Terrestrial can only use this on Crashed or trivial foes, and Mastery lets you boost the redirected attack with Laughing Monster Charms.

Unitary Being Forge can be used when you make a Decisive attack against someone with a negative Tie you are aware of, and gives a bonus on the damage roll. If you deal damage at least equal to their base Resolve, you draw the Intimacy forth in the form of a quasi-material imp, whose appearance makes the Intimacyís nature and intensity obvious to all viewers. This is a mental shaping effect. The imp remains by the victimís side automatically, remaining manifest for a scene. While it is manifest, the victim loses all benefits of the Tie but not any negative effects, and halves their base Guile as the imp reveals their true feelings. Once per round, you can have the imp give a bonus to a Decisive attackís damage against the victim, no matter who made the attack. The imp can be destroyed by a gambit, but it has Defense equal to your Guile and requires magic that can touch the immaterial. If destroyed with magic that can permakill spirits, the Intimacy it represents weakens by one step. Shuffling the Pieces lets you grab an imp created by Unitary Being Forge within Close range, twisting it around your weapon or fist. Its bonus damage can no longer be used, though all other effects remain. The imp may still be attacked or destroyed, but you are considered to be protecting it via Defend Other. You may release the imp via a Decisive attack, embedding it into the mind of whoever you hit and getting a bonus on the damage roll. If you attack someone other than the original victim and do damage at least equal to their Resolve, the Intimacy the imp represented transfers from the original victim to your target as a mental shaping effect. If this would be opposed by a Major or Defining Intimacy or is fundamentally incompatible with the targetís sense of identity, they instead gain a Minor Derangement chosen by the GM. Either way, the imp dissolves. If Terrestrial, you instead only give the target the Intimacy at Minor and reduce the original victimís by one step.

Dancing Wind-Monster Transformation lets you pay an extra cost when activating Laughing Monster Form to dematerialize, fading into a cloud of madness and mocking laughter. Allies within Short range get the benefits of Laughing Monster Form, and you can use Reflexive and Supplemental Laughing Monster Charms to boost their attacks or dodges. You may attack dematerialized beings within Short range, or material foes afflicted by Unitary Being Forge by using the imp to strike them. You may use Shuffling the Pieces to grab imps out to Short range, dematerializing them, and can discharge them via the attacks of allies within Short range. Any enemy that can strike the immaterial can attack your entire cloud-form, effectively treating you as one range band closer than you actually are. You rematerialize and end this Charmís benefits if there are no nontrivial foes within Short range of you when your turn ends, and to dematerialize again you have to reactivate Laughing Monster Form. If Terrestrial, you can still be struck by material foes but get increased Evasion against them if they donít use magic that can strike the immaterial.

Swaying Grass Dance Style is capoeira. It is a style that resembles a dance more than a conventional fighting art, as it was invented by rebellious slaves that disguised their training as traditional dances and religious celebrations. The original Swaying Grass Dancers of legend used their art to overthrow their masters, and its skill has become renowned. It is unpredictable, relying on misdirection to maneuver around foes, evade them and set them up for devastating kicks. Some dancers use it solely to fight, but others honor its origins by covertly teaching it to the oppressed and enslaved, spreading rebellion. Its unarmed strikes are primarily kicks and knee blows, though it also uses punches, elbow strikes and headbutts. It can wield batons, iron boots and knives, and unarmed attacks enhanced by its Charms can be stunted to deal Lethal. It is not compatible with armor. Performance and Dodge are both vitally useful skills to Swaying Grass Dancers.

Jubilant Battle Proposition lets you Join Battle with Performance, and this also counts as a dance-based inspire check against everyone that can see you, with no penalty for multiple targets. If youíre in an environment that conceals your footwork, such as tall grass or dark water, you get a bonus. If you use your first turn to attack someone whose Resolve failed to stop your inspire roll, itís an unexpected attack even if they resisted with Willpower. Mastery makes it an ambush if it would already have been unexpected. Reed-Breaking Banda can be used to cause foes you deal enough damage to, Withering or Decisive, to fall prone if they fail an Athletics check, or to waive the costs and penalties of a smash attack. If a foe hit by this attack rises from prone or disengages on their next turn, you steal some of their Initiative. With Mastery, it also makes your unexpected attacks or attacks that stunt how your environment conceals your footwork penalize the roll, and ambushes make it autofail. Sweeping Meadow Awareness Practice reduces onslaught and unexpected attack penalties to Evasion, and makes your successful dodges reduce the Initiative cost of this styleís Charms, disengages and gambits until the end of your next turn, removing the Perilous keyword from any Charms whose Initiative cost drops to 0. Terrestrial caps the penalty reduction. Swaying Grass Dance Form boosts Evasion due to rhythmic swaying and fluid movements and removes penalties for fighting while prone. It also boosts Decisive damage on surprise attacks and attacks on prone foes and removes the Initiative cost of attacking with improvised equivalents to style weapons. It also lets you use Performance instead of Athletics for rushes and instead of Stealth for establishing concealment. It can be autoactivated when you beat a nontrivial foeís Resolve with a dance-based Performance check at Close range.

Rolling-with-the-Wind Method lets you match a foeís rhythm. After being hit by an attack but before damage is rolled, you can activate it to reflexively disengage, reducing the damage of the attack and moving one range band away after damage is rolled, which counts as your movement for the round (or next, if youíve already moved). Terrestrial caps the damage reduction and prevents you from using this Charm if youíve already moved. Teeth-in-the-Grass Strike gives a bonus once per scene to a Decisive attack or a distract gambit due to a high-low feint, and if you beat their Resolve with the roll, it is unexpected. The first time you do this with a distract gambit in a scene, itís an ambush. Mastery gives a bonus to damage to surprise attacks or gambit rolls. Whirling Rhythm Revolution lets you, when you successfully rush, disengage or make a dance-based Performance roll, also make a reflexive Decisive attack that doesnít count as your attack for the round, with a discount to any Excellencies or Swaying Grass Dance Charms used on it. Terrestrial removes the discount and makes it count as your attack. Grass-Reaping Posture allows you, while in Swaying Grass Dance Form, to use Whirling Rhythm Revolution to attack a foe in Close range if they try to rise from prone or fail a disengage check from you.

Inescapable Tumbleweed Prana makes a successful rush allow you to move one range band towards your foe whenever they move away from you until the end of the scene, though you lose this benefit if you attack or rush another foe, move away from the target or are Crashed. You may use this to rush from concealment, and the reflexive move does not break stealth. Serenading the Reed causes you to hear a mounting music and move to it, achieving perfect battle rhythm. You get a bonus to Evasion, larger if thereís actual music playing, and if you dodge the attack and it has fewer successes than your bonus, the attacker resets to base. Alternatively, you may activate this to use the Serval Leaps From Tall Grass technique, reflexively clashing an attack from Close range with a Decisive attack, with a bonus if music is playing. Terrestrial makes Serval Leaps From Tall Grass count as your attack for the round, and Mastery lets Serval Leaps From Tall Grass clash an ambush against you.

Next time: Sorcery.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



megane posted:

I always appreciated that the Immaculate Philosophy openly states that, if you're a mortal, getting taken in or overawed by Anathema is not a sin. Sure, you should do your best to avoid it, and if you're found in their service we're gonna kill you, but ultimately they are too powerful for you to resist so it's not really your fault.

It's refreshing after Warhammer (and plenty of other settings), where you can get mind-controlled or mutated by having a demon briefly glance in your direction while you are in the process of stabbing it, and this is treated as heresy on your part.

Warhammer in particular seems to treat heresy and sin as infectious illnesses, tangible things, rather than voluntary actions. Spend too long on a Chaos-tainted world or in the wrong sort of company and you'll contract a moral failing.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Thesaurasaurus posted:

Warhammer in particular seems to treat heresy and sin as infectious illnesses, tangible things, rather than voluntary actions. Spend too long on a Chaos-tainted world or in the wrong sort of company and you'll contract a moral failing.

It's something I feel is one step forward, one step back in 4e; I like that mutation is no longer a single failed save away because physical mutation can be, uh, career ending depending on what it is. I dislike that just being around a demon is now a Corruption save, because that starts to disincentive players from actually interacting with (stabbing) demons or taking jobs dealing with that.

It's a tricky thing to balance in because the idea that Chaos really is basically like a very malevolent form of radiation/disease is actually pretty compelling if done right, but it's a bastard to actually get into a state that still lets people interact with and play adventures that have it in them. One of my chief criticisms of Tome of Corruption in 2e was that how much of the stuff was just a booby trap that punished you if you touched it or engaged with it at all.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018



Night10194 posted:

It's something I feel is one step forward, one step back in 4e; I like that mutation is no longer a single failed save away because physical mutation can be, uh, career ending depending on what it is. I dislike that just being around a demon is now a Corruption save, because that starts to disincentive players from actually interacting with (stabbing) demons or taking jobs dealing with that.

It's a tricky thing to balance in because the idea that Chaos really is basically like a very malevolent form of radiation/disease is actually pretty compelling if done right, but it's a bastard to actually get into a state that still lets people interact with and play adventures that have it in them. One of my chief criticisms of Tome of Corruption in 2e was that how much of the stuff was just a booby trap that punished you if you touched it or engaged with it at all.

Funnily enough, treating it as an actual disease might actually improve it in 4e, given how they handled disease.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Just making it curable could be enough, honestly. You grew a third arm, that sucks. However, if you're willing to go through the spiritual equivalent of rehab, or you're a PC and complete some heroic task to receive a divine blessing, it'll disappear.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


megane posted:

Just making it curable could be enough, honestly. You grew a third arm, that sucks. However, if you're willing to go through the spiritual equivalent of rehab, or you're a PC and complete some heroic task to receive a divine blessing, it'll disappear.

The funny thing is they talk about this in the books, and talk about Shallyans being able to treat mutation, but then the Hags in Kislev are the only ones who can actually heal it mechanically. Like they just forgot to put the anti-mutation rituals and things in the game.

How I'd have done it is on a sliding scale of 'how much does your group want to deal with this' rather than a one-size fits all thing, but I'm a fan of tailoring mechanics and tone between groups anyway.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Yeah, a common thing in a lot of grimdark settings, WFRP and 40k included, is evil is not just acts and intentions, its also like nuclear radiation. You can pick it up just by being around it. I remember one of the Felix and Gortrek novels they get plot device amulets from a friendly mage so they can go stab Pestilins skaven in the face and get covered in their goop but not die horribly.

megane posted:

Just making it curable could be enough, honestly. You grew a third arm, that sucks. However, if you're willing to go through the spiritual equivalent of rehab, or you're a PC and complete some heroic task to receive a divine blessing, it'll disappear.

Lol, that one where your skin just falls off and you're a skellington but not undead. That's gonna be awkward to repair. Possibly at a body shop.

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 17:42 on Jun 6, 2019

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




As long as you're loudly invoking Sigmar/Ulric/Myrmidia/etc. while you fight you should be fine.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





It actually seems like in Warhammer treating chaos mutation this way is a sort of self fulfilling prophecy that creates more chaos followers. Because society is poo poo and blames you for the mutation you don't really have any other choice that joining up with the one group that will accept you, even if they're still assholes. Almost like the solution would be not blaming people for mutations.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017


I always read it as a bit of the 80s satire of the war on drugs and the whole moral failing model of drug addiction, but it got sort of lost along the way like the rest of the humor in Warhammer.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Feng Shui 1e

Lock and Load

I won't be covering this game in the same sort of detail as Mors Rattus did, because they already covered pretttty much every book. Heck, that review is why I started reading F&F regularly, and why I bought Feng Shui! So I don't need to reproduce that much fluff, though I'll still be going over some of my own thoughts on the fluff, setting, and tone of FS.

What I'm really here for is the mechanics. You see, Feng Shui is a gonzo action movie time travel mashup game of high-flying, high-octane super-human Hong-Kong murderfests. It's combat is also mechanically completely miserable to play, because it was made in 1996, and it commits a lot of 90s' game design sins. It just does them with a lot more style, while making them a little less notable because you're wowed by the fact that you can be a bio-mechanical monster hunter from the future fighting alongside ancient Chinese heroes to try to battle an entire faction of David Lo Pan while one out of place American makes dumb wisecracks. This is a game that dares to explore how Chinese history could have been drastically different if Wei Shen, Worst-Best Hong Kong Undercover Cop, was sent back in time to kung-fu kick both the palace Eunuchs and also Dong Zhuo (Look I know he's a century off the 69 AD juncture give or take but gently caress it, I need Dong Zhuo fighting the Lotus), and also the Eunuchs were summoning demons, and maybe Lu Bu is there too being addicted to treason, and some future guys are trying to steal the demons while secret chicken-men try to ensure they will own 1996 and cybernetic gorillas arrive to try to blow everything up until something makes sense.

In short, this is a game that does mashups right. This was enough to make me run a bunch of campaigns in it despite all the stuff it does wrong. Stuff I can't totally blame it for! This is the game where we start to really see codified rules for 'all those guys with AK-47s are only there for your coolest guy to style on'. This is a time-traveling mashup game that's like 'Hell yeah, give a Han Dynasty Provincial Inspector a future fully automatic .50 caliber pistol and see what happens' and that included ways for any character to learn any power-set over time. It was totally mechanically useless to do so, but who doesn't want to be a hard-bitten ex-special forces soldier who discovers they have the blood of a transformed dragon and learns mystic kung fu to go with their brutal gunslinging? Who doesn't want to have a party of a pictish warrior-sorcerer, a mechanic from Detroit who just wants his goddamn '69 Charger back, a lost future monster hunter, and an old master who refuses to get written out of the script? All of that is doable! All of that is encouraged. This is absolutely the part Feng Shui got right, and is the part everyone who played it remembers fondly. It is one of the earliest games where "Can I do crazy thing?" defaults to "Hell yeah!"

And that's kind of why I want to cover it. Because I can see its intentions. I can feel its intentions. I enjoyed the hell out of its intentions when I ran it and played it. Buuuuut...well, this is also a game with some really, really awful actual combat rules. And advancement rules. And character creation rules. And campaign structure. Now the advancement stuff is partly because while the 1996/9 version (I have the 1999 version) is technically for long serial campaigns, it's really clear that character advancement was kind of an afterthought next to character archetype. There's all kinds of ways to sort of screw yourself long term in character creation that won't matter if you just play a couple sessions and end. But there are also tons of character classes that kind of suck, because there are character classes that aren't that great at fighting, and Feng Shui, the Action Movie RPG, is all about diving sideways through the air while doves descend all around you, firing two guns and flying out a window. A PC who can't do that great is in for a sad time. The entire stat system is not great. Combat tends to stall out. And the resolution mechanic, as implemented, is, uh, not great.

So join me as we look at how extremely, totally rad Feng Shui is. And how terrible it is at the same time.

Next Time: Action Value, d6-d6, and you.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I've been watching the 2010 Romance of the Three Kingdoms series so there's going to be a fair bit of me wistfully wishing 69 AD was 'collapse of the Han Dynasty/Yellow Turban Rebellion' because I want to see hammy evil Chinese Santa and the hammy Eunuch Sorcerers duke it out.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




I feel that the line about combat is true for the second version as well but it's been so long since I played a one shot of it that I can't remember for sure.
Even if it was still fun though.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Cooked Auto posted:

I feel that the line about combat is true for the second version as well but it's been so long since I played a one shot of it that I can't remember for sure.
Even if it was still fun though.

I suspected it would be and cancelled my kickstarter pledge on 2e, but as I haven't directly played it myself I can't state it confidently. From the previews it didn't look like they actually, like, did anything about the issues I saw in combat.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




I wish I could say more but I only played a couple of sessions some odd years ago by this point. All I can remember is finding the character creation slightly restrictive due to the archetypes. I'm pretty sure I had to edit a page out of the PDF to make the character alterations I wanted since I don't think there was a character sheet or anything.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Yeah, 2e is specifically made for very short one/several shot games, as well, while I prefer longer serials, which was the other reason I cancelled. THAT isn't something I'd call a potential design flaw, simply a difference of taste; I have a stable group and players and have for years, so I like long-term stuff that gives people a lot of time to get into their characters. I definitely recognize the validity and value of not designing around that as default.

Miltith75
Oct 29, 2011


I ran the starter adventure for Feng shui 2e a few years back and I felt that the combat was mostly fine. Which was good as that was the only parts of the ruleset I really used at the time. There were certainly a lot of quick maths calculations going on, which could be overwhelming at times. The style certainly covers a lot of the flaws.

Also just to add that I'm enjoying the Realm review.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




I would've almost wanted to see support for both styles. But that's just me in this case.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

Miltith75 posted:

I ran the starter adventure for Feng shui 2e a few years back and I felt that the combat was mostly fine. Which was good as that was the only parts of the ruleset I really used at the time. There were certainly a lot of quick maths calculations going on, which could be overwhelming at times. The style certainly covers a lot of the flaws.

No it's generally fine. It's got flaws for sure, but Night's been calling the system a tragic mess for years because he doesn't like the exploding dice. Also,

Night10194 posted:

Yeah, 2e is specifically made for very short one/several shot games,

This is a big ol' citation needed.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Lynx Winters posted:

No it's generally fine. It's got flaws for sure, but Night's been calling the system a tragic mess for years because he doesn't like the exploding dice. Also,

I'll say I'm likely wrong about 2e, since I've never played it and didn't bother with it, so I defer to people who've played it (and talking about 2e is why I started only covering stuff I've personally run, because I don't want to embarrass myself making assumptions from previews and impressions). But 1e? I think I can explain in detail where the issues I had with 1e came from, using my experience running and playing in 1e. That is the whole purpose of these kinds of things. It isn't so much the exploding dice as the positive-negative element, the variable action economy, and the broken stat/character building system, but I'll get to that in the writeup. The exploding dice just add onto the issues.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 18:45 on Jun 6, 2019

Miltith75
Oct 29, 2011


Lynx Winters posted:

No it's generally fine. It's got flaws for sure, but Night's been calling the system a tragic mess for years because he doesn't like the exploding dice. Also,


This is a big ol' citation needed.

I wouldn't say that exploding dice were a problem with it, I think that they mostly just caused a success to sometimes be a massive success and a failure to be a terrible failure. The primary flaws in combat that I can think of at the moment was mostly just the number of calculations sometimes and abilities that lowered the shot cost of actions because that led to some spotlight stealing. Overall the game is good and I enjoyed running the campaign.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Miltith75 posted:

I wouldn't say that exploding dice were a problem with it, I think that they mostly just caused a success to sometimes be a massive success and a failure to be a terrible failure. The primary flaws in combat that I can think of at the moment was mostly just the number of calculations sometimes and abilities that lowered the shot cost of actions because that led to some spotlight stealing. Overall the game is good and I enjoyed running the campaign.

There's also the whole Big Bruiser Is Actually Terrible problem but 2e was aware of that one explicitly.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The reason I specifically want to write about this is because it's actually really interesting to see the thing 1e gets right, too, and the things that are genuine innovations. Because there's a lot of that. It's also interesting to read back through a product of its time and see stuff like FS1e feeling like it needs to give reasons for making combat central and reassuring readers that's not 'throwing out the last few years of advances in game writing and design'.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



As someone who played a campaign using Feng Shui 2's ruleset - I'm gonna have to say the unbalanced archetype/skills and action economy really shows up long term, and the exploding dice doesn't help.

One of the characters who isn't even trying to min-max ended up getting way ahead of everyone else on the power scale it was a struggle for our GM to balance encounters.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization


Part 2:The People cont'd

Gormoror
The bear folk

The introductory story for the Gormoror is a warrior describing how his uncle died honorably in battle. The old man had an infected wound that was going to kill him, but he didn't want to die in bed. So his nephews hired some adventurers to take them out in the wilderness and pick a fight with the biggest, meanest monster in area; something called an ogre-worm.



So, if it's not obvious, the Gormoror are the Noble Savage type. While the text isn't really so specific, the artists tend to go for stereotypical indigenous American styles. They fill the same niche as Klingons, or Earthdawn trolls. The word "barbarian" gets use a lot. There's a few interesting ideas to make them stand out, but to be honest I think the broad-strokes pitch for Gormoror is kind of lacking.



Physically, male Gormoror are bigger and more ursine; they have a bearlike muzzle and large claws, where the females are smaller and more humanoid, lacking the fangs and claws. On the other hand, there's very little difference in personality or social status between the genders.

They're happier living at the margins of society, sometimes even as far as the Verticals; the stereotypical Gormoror only bothers going to civilization to trade or to raid. They tend to organize in rough tribes, led by a chief who holds their position by heroism or by raw strength, until someone else comes along to take it from them.

Daily life is rough, bordering on brutal, but not out of cruelty. They just love fighting. Male Gormoror will get into vicious fights over anything, biting and clawing and not satisfied until blood flows. Gormoror women are just as eager to get in a fight, but they don't have fangs and claws so they use knives instead. Men get whiny about getting stabbed, and arguments about whether knives are polite to use in bloodsports is the Gormoror equivalent of arguing about leaving the toilet seat up.

Gormoror relationships are theoretically monogamous, but with the drama dialed up to 11. It's not real love unless fits of jealousy lead to bloody fights; at least during the courting period.



Every Gormoror wants to be a hero, but the definition of hero is variable. For some, it's about performing great deeds, protecting the week, fighting oppression, etc. For others, it's a more Classical variety of hero; basically just as violent an rear end in a top hat as possible, beating up whoever they can, plundering whatever they can grab. Raiding a village, killing a few guards, and running off with as much loot as possible is considered honorable somehow. Bands of Gormoror will happily raid each other, or arrange duels between warriors of equal strength, and this tends to improve friendly relations between the tribes.



Gormoror duels have certain manners to be observed. Fights should be as equal as possible, such as setting aside a weapon against a weaker opponent. Maiming or killing your opponent is a faux pas, and killing your opponent so hard they can't be revived is REALLY bad form. Keep doing that and no one will duel you anymore, and there goes your social life. Letting your opponent surrender honorably is laudable, and a good way to get a new drinking buddy.



Honor is as important to the Gormoror as loyalty is to the Cani, both culturally and instinctually. A Gormoror doesn't give their word of honor lightly; once given their word MUST be upheld. No limits, no weaseling, no half measures. If you break your word through no fault of your own, you still broke your word. If the world's greatest monster tricks you into making the oath in the first place, you're still bound by it. If you're mind controlled, you still broke your word. Gormoror have a special hatred for mind mages.

A Gormoror that has never broken their word of honor is in gavm hau. Most Gormoror are in this state; they're careful not to give an oath they'll break. It's cowardly to never swear an oath, but you can just swear some kind of short term goal, like victory in battle, and most will do so at least few times.

If a Gormoror breaks their word, they enter a state called gavmkjorok. This is a sort of psychic stain; any Gormoror can tell at a glance, and most other species can tell if they study carefully. While in this state, a Gormoror is expected to perform some kind of miserable penance. Skipping bathing, living with the livestock, ashes in the fur, that sort of thing. Acts of heroism are right out. When the period of penance ends, the psychic blotch fades, but leaves its mark on their personality. The Gormoror is forever more considered gavm fenjosk, honorable again, but not as honorable as before. This is a disadvantage in some cases of tribal law, but doesn't otherwise prevent heroism.

If a Gormoror finds they're facing an oath they can't keep, or are subject to conflicting oaths, they have one way out: write a long dramatic poem explaining the dilemma, and then commit ritual suicide. If no one resurrects you, then your honor is considered undamaged.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Mors Rattus posted:

There's also the whole Big Bruiser Is Actually Terrible problem but 2e was aware of that one explicitly.
Feng shui 1e is not a game where being easier to hit is a fair tradeoff for being able to take more punishment when you are hit, yeah.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Fangs at the Gate: Raksiís Back

Raksiís Tutelage is one of the new ways to learn sorcery. She is happy to train Silver Pact students in a curriculum that she has created based on her vast trove of First Age sorcerous knowledge, the best in all Creation Ė if, yíknow, filtered through the lens of Raksiís own interests and experiments. She guides her students with careful study and critique of First Age texts, hallucinogenic vision questing and mystic trials, revealing the gruesome power of sorcery.
Rituals:
  • Balancing on the Edge: Once per story, after a Shape Sorcery roll, you can come up with a twist or caveat for your spell, which diminishes its effects or your control over it but does not negate its purpose or function. For example, your Death of Obsidian Butterflies might veer off-course to cause large collateral damage. If the GM accepts this, you can reflexively make a second Shape Sorcery roll immediately, and if you used an Excellency on the first one, you apply the same to the second for free. If itís your control spell, you also carry over all other beneficial effects on your first roll for free.
  • Sigil-Skin Geometry: You can make an Intelligence check to mark your skin with carefully designed sigils and formulae over several hours, binding yourself to a single spell. You get a pool of sorcerous motes based on your roll, which you may only spend on that spell. If itís your control spell, you get a bonus on the roll. You may be bound to only one spell at a time, and can only bind yourself once per day. The motes last until used or you re-bind.
  • Terror-Relishing Art: The universe itself fears you. Once per scene, when you succeed on a threaten check or roll to inspire fear against a nontrivial target, you gain sorcerous motes based on the Attribute used, which last until used or the scene ends. If you successfully influence a higher-Essence target this way, you get additional sorcerous motes based on how much higher their Essence is than yours.
Merits:
Scar-Strengthened Will (3): You have endured the worst Raksi has to offer and not broken. You get a bonus to Resolve against any fear-based influence and any social influence conveyed via spells or sorcerous workings.
Sage of Three Circles (4): You have studied the Book of Three Circles with Raksi, and its knowledge is rooted in your soul. Once per story, you may cast a spell you donít know, as long as you meet all prerequisites for it. Afterwards, you may learn that spell without need for a mentor or source. The GM may rule that some spells are not in the Book, primarily those invented in the Second age, well after it was written.

The Jasmine Gems of Mishiko is a method of learning sorcery granted by the ghost of the Moon-Touched sorceress Mishiko. She appears to her students in the dark minutes of twilight, between day and night, in the form of a young girl shaped from moonfire. She is tied to Creation by jasmine-crystal flowers which grow at random in strange places, such as the tombs of ancient shamans, the sites of difficult births, the vistas that inspire an artistís first work or a tree that once sheltered a great sage. Each gem-flower is a sorcerous relic and a conduit to Mishikoís ghost. Mishiko is a gentle, wise woman who delivers her teachings in the form of poetry, parables and uncomfortable observations that spur her students on to discover and explore. Many young Lunars find the gems come to them as if by fate, though some elders speculate other forces at work.
Rituals:
  • Remembrance of Mishiko: Once per day, you can make an offering to Mishiko, rolling Performance. You get sorcerous motes based on your roll, which last until the story ends, they are used, or you make a new offering.
  • Sorcererís Quest: When you learn of a place you must go to advance a major character or story goal or you succeed at a Survival check to navigate to such a place, you get a sorcerous mote, which lasts until used or the story ends. You can have up to 10 sorcerous motes stored this way at once. Once per story, when you uphold an Intimacy by entering such a place for the first time, you get sorcerous motes based on the Intimacyís strength and your Essence, which last until used or you leave the place.
  • Twilight Koan: Mishiko appears every dawn or dusk to ask you a seemingly nonsensical riddle or question. You may stunt an action by describing your realization of the koanís answer, gaining sorcerous motes based on your Intelligence or Lore, which last until used or the scene ends. Once you do, you cannot do so again until the next sunrise or sunset, to hear Mishikoís next koan.
Merits:
Cryptic Insights (2): Once per story, you may confer with Mishiko when you roll to introduce a fact, getting a large bonus and removing the need for an applicable Lore background by drawing on her poem-prophecies.
Evocations (0): You can draw forth Evocations from your gem-flower as if it were a 3-dot artifact. They may grant greater communion with Mishiko or draw on themes of mystery, discovery and questing to enhance sorcery.

Root-Lore is a secret language, encoded in the trees, herbs and flowers of the world, which imparts subtle lessons and secrets to the deep mysteries of Creation. Not all herbalists or apothecaries can understand these lessons, and initiation into the sorcery of root-lore requires patient study of the plantlife of the world and a deep insight into the truth. This reveals secret wisdom from flower petals and draws power from roots and herbs.
Rituals:
  • Master Apothecary Enlightenment: When you make a successful Lore roll to introduce a fact about herbs or Medicine roll to treat a patient using herbal medicine, you get sorcerous motes based on your roll, which last until used or the story ends. Completing a Basic or Major project to craft a medicine, drug, poison or similar from plants gives sorcerous motes as well, which last the same amount of time. You can only have one pool of motes from this ritual at a time Ė you must give up any you have leftover if you want to gain new ones.
  • Sorcererís Harvest: When you take a Shape Sorcery action within Medium range of a notable or prominent living plant, like a tree, large hedge or flower garden, you may draw forth sorcerous motes from it based on your Essence towards the spell you are casting. Any source may be tapped this way only once per day. You can also tap wood elementals for power this way, draining motes from their pool, but only once per day and only if your Shape Sorcery roll beats their Resolve. Drawing motes to cast your control spell does not count towards your once-per-day limits.
  • Thousand Blossom Arts: You can spend a few hours in the wild to find a root, herb or flower reagent with a Survival check. You can collect as many as you want, but more than one makes the roll harder. Once per scene, you may use a reagent as part of your spell, adding a number of sorcerous motes to the spell based on your Intelligence, Lore or Survival. Reagents retain their power for one week after harvesting and only the harvester can make use of them.
Merits: Greenfriend (1): You are friend to all plantlife. Wood elementals, sentient plants and similar are treated as if they have a Minor Tie of affection towards you.
Ever-Blossoming Mastery (2): When you cast a spell that creates or manipulates plants, wood or associated spirits, its cost is reduced slightly. If itís your control spell, once per day you can also reduce its Willpower cost.
Esoteric Botany (3): Once per week, you can get a bonus based on your Occult on a Survival check to forage for plants, a Lore check to introduce a fact about them or a Craft check to make medicines, poisons or similar from them.

New spells! Terrestrial first: Blood Lash lets you draw out some of your own blood as a deadly whip, and you halve your wound penalties when using it. The whip gains extra powers as your wound penalty rises, such as letting you reflexively threaten foes after damaging them at -1 (with your wound penalty being a bonus to the roll), spending motes to attack at Short range with the whip at -2 (which can drag foes close to you if you grapple with it), or once per scene spend motes to vampirically drain health from foes with a Decisive attack at -4. As a control spell, you always have large, dark, prominent veins, and you can control the movement of any blood you shed until it dries, which counts as exceptional equipment if itíd somehow be helpful, though blood is not, like, very strong on its own. This works at any range, but you donít have any blood-based perception abilities normally. If distorted, the whip congeals, deals Bashing instead of Lethal and loses the Flexible tag. Also, your wound penalty gets treated as lower for its powers.

Flight of Separation turns you into a flock of birds, which you can guide to a location within ten miles. The flock has your normal stats as a whole, but you can only move and dodge. It gets an Evasion bonus, because itís a flock of birds, but the bonus is lost against AOE effects, and you get a bonus to disengage and withdraw. You can end the spell reflexively at any time to reform, and it ends automatically if you reach your destination or are taken out. Unlike most spells, you can hold this one uncast once itís ready, but as long as you do, you get a penalty to everything until you cast it, which you can do reflexively at any time, though you must reflexively disengage if any foes are in Close range, and if you fail, the spell is lost. As a control spell, you can speak the language of birds and understand them, and all birds and bird-like spirits are treated as having a Minor Tie of fondness to you. Distortion makes the birds fly in different directions, which means the caster must roll Integrity each turn to control the flockís movement and takes Bashing damage on failure as parts of their flock fly away; outside of combat, this roll is once per mile of flight and the flight is at half speed that mile if it fails.

Peacock Shadow Eyes makes your eyes blaze with many-colored flame, making an Occult roll against the Resolve of someone in Medium range. Success sends them into a trance, giving a penalty to their Resolve. They may still act, as if they are sleepwalking, but have no memory of the time in the trance and rationalize away the effects of any influence used on them during it as their own emotions. Attacking or otherwise harming them frees them immediately. Blind characters and those with no eyes are immune. If their suppressed memories would endanger a Major or Defining Intimacy, they can spend Willpower to resist this Psyche effect and regain their memories, but any social influence remains in place. The spell is subtle but noticeable Ė those with Resolve higher than your roll (including the victim, if you fail to beat their Resolve) can make an Occult roll to notice your blazing eyes and tell you used some magic; otherwise, they think itís just a trick of the light. If this is your control spell, your irises are constantly shifting colors, and you treat your Appearance as one higher on influence rolls to inspire fascination with yourself or influence rolls against victims of this spell, but you get a penalty to disguise. Distorted, the target experiences cryptic flashbacks of their time in the trance, and after several days can spend Willpower to regain their memories.

Celestial spells: Cloud Trapeze lets you weave up a barge of clouds that can lift you and several tons of cargo and willing passengers in Long range. It flies at a decent clip, especially with a strong tailwind. If you need to steer it around perils, you use Occult to do it. In combat, you can move it and everything on it one range band as a miscellaneous action, which counts as your movement. The passengers are immune to bad weather, extreme temperature and other perils of aerial travel. Anyone within it is concealed, causing a penalty to vision-based rolls against them from outside, but it is transparent from the inside, so no penalty to looking out. If it is high enough to be around other clouds, it requires an Occult or Survival roll to even notice, or else use of weather-predicting magic. You must remain aboard it to control it, but you donít need to constantly focus on piloting. If you get off, the cloud lands, deposits all contents as safely as it can, and then dissipates. As a control spell, you increase its capacity and speed, and when you are in Medium range of mist, fog or a body of water, you can make an Occult roll as an action to shape water vapor into a solid bridge, ladder or similar that spans one range band. Distorted, the cloud becomes opaque from within and transparent from outside rather than the other way around.

Insidious Tendrils of Hate lets you spend two hours feeding your malice into a fire until it turns green, then cast a symbolic link to your target into the fire, such as part of their body (hair, blood and nails count) taken within the last three days or an object of personal significance to them. Once you complete this ritual, smoke surrounds the target no matter where they are, seeping into their body and soul. You make an Occult roll against the Resolve of the target and anyone in Short range of them. Anyone affected becomes paranoid and hateful, suspecting the worst of all people. This functions as an inspire roll to create hatred, but it cannot be resisted with Willpower and it lasts several days. Anyone affected treats any Major positive Ties as minor and suppresses all Minor positive Ties they have for the duration. As a control spell, you exhale subtle wisps of smoke from your mouth and nostrils, and you get a bonus to all rolls to inspire hatred (including this spellís roll) and any influence rolls leveraging hate-based Intimacies. Distorted, whoever is targeted for the distortion can resist the inspired hatred with Willpower, though their Ties remain diminished for the duration.

Prince of the Fallen Tower creates a shimmering door of foul water, from which a 20-foot-tall ogre covered in rusty chitin and sores emerges Ė one of the sealed Princes of the Fallen Tower. The Prince is largely not intelligent, but it obeys commands faithfully and has a Defining Tie of loyalty to you that cannot be weakened or altered. If summoned into combat, it Joins Battle immediately. You may have only a few Princes summoned at any one time based on your Essence. As a control spell, you can pay extra Willpower to summon a Prince permanently and have it not count against your limit. It gets an additional Charm on top of its normal statblock at the end of each story. You may have only one permanent Prince at a time, but if it dies, you can summon a new one, which retains any bonus Charms its predecessors had. Distorted, the Prince loses access to its Corrupting Touch Merit and Glory-Blighting Corruption Charm for one scene. The Princes are extremely tough, exceptionally strong, amazingly ugly and very dangerous combatants who can destroy wood, stone or metal with a touch and whose unarmed attacks ignore some soak and Hardness from mundane armor and deal Aggravated to wood- or earth-based spirits. They can corrupt artifacts they strike, making them difficult to wield until repaired, and are very good at breaking things. They treat any influence that would make them stop engaging in destruction as unacceptable influence Ė even their summonerís orders. Also, they have Legendary Size.

Thorn of Cold Rebuke lets you breathe out an icy mist that turns into an ice javelin, which you throw at a point within Long range, where it explodes as an unblockable Thrown-based Decisive attack with a bonus, which hits all characters within Medium range of the impact point and deals damage based on your Intelligence, ignoring Hardness. Battle groups take extra damage. For several hours after, the area is filled with an eerie cold as a minor-damage environmental hazard, and exposed surfaces freeze over, becoming Difficult Terrain and giving a penalty to balance-related rolls. Bodies of water freeze into icebergs and ice floes as naval hazards that damage ships that fail the roll to avoid them and immobilize them in ice. These ice floes can dam all but the widest rivers. You may choose to wield the spear instead of throwing it, and itís a decent weapon; at any time you can spend your entire turn to make a Decisive attack that shatters the spear as above. As a control spell, the effects last several days, and all spirits of water and wood are treated as having a Minor Tie of fear to you. Further, when you wield the spear, it is exceptional equipment for intimidating such spirits.

Torrential Cascade lets you sing a meaningless song that evokes the Storm Who Drowned the world, causing a churning water pillar to form around you, drawn from nearby water sources or clouds. The pillar collapses into a massive wave covering a 90-degree arc in any direction out to Short range as a minor-damage environmental hazard. Any battle group damaged by the hazard must immediately check for rout, and any mundane structure less than a range band high (and any similar objects) take uncountable damage at the GMís whim, as the wave uproots trees, crushes buildings and washes away fields. Anyone caught in the wave gets a penalty to all rolls but resisting the hazard and starts to drown, though succeeding against the hazard lets them reach air long enough to take a breath that round. You can sustain the spell each round after casting with a Shape Sorcery action at no cost, causing the wave to move forward one range band, to a max of Long range. Anyone that failed the roll against it last round is dragged with it, and if it has caused significant structural damage, its damage goes up by one each subsequent round due to debris. Some structures may be too sturdy, in which case it redirects itself in one or more different directions at the GMís discretion. Once it reaches Long range or you stop casting or get Crashed, the wave collapses, drenching the ground, and any earthen surfaces it crossed become Difficult terrain until they dry. The GM decides what happens to other surfaces. As a control spell, you can guide and shape the wave as it moves, causing it to change direction or avoid obstacles that would normally block it, or to avoid harming certain characters or structures. When you feel strong emotions, nearby bodies of water become agitated and roil furiously. Distorted, the wave flows harmlessly around whoever distorted it and anyone else in Close range of them for its duration. This can be done even if the distorting sorcerer is engulfed in the wave already.

Next time: New artifacts.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah, if you were to bring that up in the Ask a Dev thread on the official forums they'd probably respond.

I did, and got this, so ehhhh?



While I am dumb in that I thought catamite could also mean prepubescent (it's just teens apparently), I still don't really want them to edge towards any depiction of underage prostitutes, even if the Empire is the kind of lovely place to do it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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At least he seems willing to talk about it? I wouldn't suggest a new thread so much as PMing him, though, because...well, Exalted forums.

I think that Minton is at least listening to you based on that and is willing to consider what you have to say, even if he doesn't agree.

I wish he did - I'm not a big fan of this particular issue, myself.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Really looking forward to the Feng Shui review. That's one game I always wanted to play or run, but never got the chance. The things I heard about it seem to tell me it's just a mess of amazing nonsense, but in an endearing way.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Was that the first time a game reviewed here inserted something this awful completely unintentionally?
I only recall many many lazy references to gypsies and noble savages and the outcast classes of Japanese culture, I feel that the full significance of "Catamite" is a level beyond.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Mors Rattus posted:

At least he seems willing to talk about it? I wouldn't suggest a new thread so much as PMing him, though, because...well, Exalted forums.

I think that Minton is at least listening to you based on that and is willing to consider what you have to say, even if he doesn't agree.

I wish he did - I'm not a big fan of this particular issue, myself.

Yeah, reads as a "ok, I see how this can be a problem, might not use the word in future" just delivered in the classic Exalted dev way.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I'm not entirely sure "I know it meant adolescents (which is totes historic and thus okay!), but wow, it could mean prepubescent too?" is a response I find sufficient.

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