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Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Night10194 posted:

Boy howdy that's a real chart infestation ya got there.
Yeah there is.

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hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




If we're talking about Feng Shui's dice system and archetypes, I think we can't omit the other big pain in the rear end (as I've found recently): the Gambler.

The Gambler wasn't in the Feng Shui 1e corebook, but they were in a download of suggested extra archetypes and then got full write-ups in the first supplement, Back for Seconds. In 2e, they're front-and-centre in the Archetype list.

The Gambler's special ability is to spend a point of Fortune - which they have a lot of - to flip-flop any dice result, turning the negative into the positive and vice versa.

Presumably somebody thought this was going to be a cute way of them getting themselves or another character out of a jam. What it actually does is:

- Absolutely guarantees that any major failure is going to be flip-flopped into a major success. Which is awkward, because there aren't that many degrees of failure in the system, but degrees of success can be absolutely critical. A character with a 12 AV can end up getting screwed with like a -10 dice result, which is still just a regular miss if boxcars didn't come up because it didn't drive the AV negative; and then suddenly it's flipped to a +10 which is 10 extra points of combat damage and drops the boss at record speed. So the gambler suddenly makes everything much swingier, but at the same time:

- Lets every character treat their base AV as a guaranteed success. Since any negative value can be flipped, the lowest anyone can roll is their AV, which makes them even more important. If the PCs can established the difficult to hit someone or do a task, they can also load up negative modifiers based on the difference between that and their AV.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013



Ugh that reminds me of divination specialty in 5e that allows you to roll two dice to replace any relevant 1d20 roll with it. Which is basically anything involving hitting, not getting hit, succeeding a skill roll and etc.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Note the Gambler can't do that in 1e; they just have a lot of Fortune and can tell the odds of most tests.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017


Rolling from FS right into Mutant Epoch was a surprisingly smooth transition to read.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Night10194 posted:

That is one of the other advantages of FS that's sort of hard to quantify; there are balance discrepancies, but they aren't based on character concept at all. Dude with a handgun who is super good with it and kind of buff and has no superpowers? Actually a really loving strong build. No-one is super-er entirely because they put 'I got wizbiz' on their sheet or 'I got devil powers'. Completely mundane dude with gun can hang with future demon and wizard just fine, because the game actually recognizes 'completely mundane dude with gun' as a superpower in this context and genre.

It's like the opposite of d20 games getting sudden hard-ons for 'realism' limiting what a fighter can do while handing out more powers to the wizard every book.

I really wish FS had a better system because the archetypes, character concepts, and the way it balances concepts against each other is awesome.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Where's the chart to roll up what kind of player you're playing?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Hold on, let me get the d7...

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization


Part 2:The People cont'd

Khtsoyis
The folk

Khtsoyis are the trash mistake of the prime species, and I love them. The creator god in charge of making them procrastinated until the last minute, then grabbed the nearest page of notes, crossed off MONSTER from the top of the page and scribbled in PERFECTLY GOOD CITIZEN and turned it in. Khtsoyis know they're the bottom tier stepchildren of the gods, and they deal with it in the healthiest way possible: by doing whatever the gently caress they want.



A Khtsoyis is basically a floating octopus, but with 7 tentacles instead of 8. Their ability to levitate isn't magical; or at least no more magical than any other natural occurrence on the World Tree. Specifically, they don't have to cast spells, and magic that affects magic doesn't affect their ability to float. They can move around horizontally and vertically with some exertion, but to go faster than a slow stroll they need to grab onto things and pull themselves along.

They have two mouths: One on the side of their body-head; it's just for talking and possibly for breathing. Their other mouth is a gross combination eating mouth/cloaca that's basically used for... everything else that comes in or out of the body. Luckily that business is kept hidden away at the junction of the tentacles. Their five eyes are on stalks, and can point around independently of each other for spherical vision, or pointed at the same thing for better depth perception. They have some camouflage ability; they can change color at will, but the possible colors are all dull tones.



Stereotypically, Khtsoyis are simple brutes, preferring to spend their days drinking and clubbing. They're really good at clubbing; their levitation is silent and they can swing three clubs at a time as they descend over your head. If you imagine some sort of Dickensian street thug, you probably aren't far wrong. Khtsoyis that live in the city tend to be bodyguards, enforcers, bouncers, stevedores, and other kinds of hired muscle. Outside of town, they're more likely to be bandits.

As it turns out, the Khtsoyis reputation for dimness is almost entirely a social fiction; partly based on the prejudices of the other species, and partly the Khtsoyis playing dumb to keep expectations low. Ironically, a Khtsoyis is more accepted in civilized society than a Sleeth; even though both are considered wild savages, a Khtsoyis is considered far more predictable and controllable; Sleeth are too intelligent to be trusted. In actuality, Khtsoyis have the same spectrum of mental faculty as any other species, they just don't place any great value in being smart.


TINY TOOTHPICKS

Anyway, I like the Khtsoyis a lot. One of the first characters I made back when I was first exploring this system was Pinpox Reepledore, a petty criminal that had the brilliant idea of hiding from the town watch in the last place they'd look: he put on a lovely disguise, changed his name slightly, and enlisted. His plan to just wait until his crimes were forgotten and then desert failed when he accidentally turned out to be good at the job and got promoted to Captain of the Guard, and now everyone's paying too much attention for him to escape.



Look at this motherfucker, just so excited to be here and busting some skulls open. Also he's just busting his way through the text, making the layout a pain to read and making me have to scrub up a couple of these images. Rude.



This bit about the Gormoror is interesting, because we already saw that the Gormoror don't care about who wins, so much as they care about the fight being glorious. OTOH getting in a fight with a drunk wet sack that grabs onto your head and starts biting your ears off at the same time as they're insulting your mother probably doesn't count as glorious, no matter who technically wins.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil, Part 6- "They may be cold, unfriendly living environments, often ill-equipped and where punishment can be extreme and life harsh, but they are NOT death camps where the prisoners are earmarked for extermination."


"W-would you believe I'm actually a very good person?"

Tolkeen's Prisoner of War Camps

As mentioned above, it's time to talk about P.O.W. camps. In general, Tolkeen's are pretty rough, but are at least intended to keep their prisoners alive if not intact. There are five of them - Alpha through Epsilon, and a special prison in Tolkeen itself used largely for VIP interrogation. In general, they construct their camps out of S.D.C. for the prisoner areas, mostly because their prisoners are largely human and it's cheap- and attackers have to take care not to just blow through the whole camp and murder their own. For enhanced enemies like Dog Boys, Juicers, or Crazies, they largely rely on group punishments to discourage them. Cyborgs are generally disabled, literally speaking.

Unusually for a Palladium game, we suddenly get prison archetypes, which I guess is important if you're... actually planning for a group of Coalition PCs to end up doing hard time in Tolkeen? So if you want to know have descriptions of soldier groups, escape teams, rebellious prisoners, wallflowers, bullies, snitches, etc., it's all here. But it's not terribly relevant to an overview of the book. Or, well, relevant in general.


The conditions in the Tolkeen camps may shock you with their relative decency.

We get two different overviews of punishments because editing ain't Palladium's forte. In general, they don't punish escape attempts overtly unless they do a lot of damage unless they're repeat offenders. However, solitary confinement, starvation, hard labor, and exposure all come up for various offenses. Actually harming guards, other prisoners, or the camp is likely to result in severe capital punishment. On the far end, torture, "experimentation", interrogation, and executions aren't unheard of. We get some nice random rolls for punishments like 2d4x10+12 days in solitary confinement, in case that sort of thing matters to your game. ("Hope you got a good charge on your phone, Ann - looks like your character's going to be in solitary for two months.") There's that mash of vague descriptions occasionally broken up by specificity, which gives us nonsensical sentences like "Approximately 3% die from 'standard beatings,' half die from beatings that get out of hand." Well, how many beatings get out of hand? Do is that like have of 3%, or... well, we just don't know. In general, though, the guards don't care too much about what happens to most prisoners, and- well, it's a good opportunity to show off how fluffy this section is.

Rifts World Book 5: Shadows of Evil posted:

This means, if Private Johnson arrives for morning mess with a black eye and bruises all over his face, one of the guards might ask what happened, but will accept the lamest explanation; 'Oh, I had a bad dream and I fell out of my bunk.' or 'I walked into a door,' or 'Nothing, I'm just feeling a little under the weather is all.' Should a suspicious guard push the issue or demand the truth, an officer is likely to step forward to confirm the explanation. 'I saw Private Johnson walk into the door Corporal, so if that's all then.' And the guard will let it drop. This can be carried to extremes. For example, an officer might stand coolly before the Camp Commander and a gaggle of guards and state that a dead snitch with ligature marks around his throat or knife sticking out of his ribs, died of natural causes. 'Sad, poor Johnson died in his sleep. Weak heart you know. Now, if you'd like, I can put together a burial team to dig his grave.' If necessary, a hundred witnesses will step forward to confirm the (impossible or unlikely) event. The camp administrators back off and let it go because they have learned to leave well enough alone. To do more will cause rioting and/or unrest.

I like how all the fresh-into-war Coalition soldiers are suddenly acting like hardened crims and Tolkeen citizen-adventurer-scholar-soldiers are all settling into prison stereotypes within the conflict going on for around a year - and a lot of the prisoners coming from the Tolkeen offensive about a month ago. (Yes, I'm familiar with the Stanford Prison Experiment, but I'm also familiar with its severe methodological issues.)

Of course, we get a whole prison map for the typical layout complete with M.D.C. areas for the administration and personnel. They generally have machine-guns, railguns, and tear gas grenades at the towers, along with some water cannons. Also, they have a garden for prisoners to grow flowers and vegetables. Aw, look at the tomatoes Herr Skullboy planted? Don't they just look delicious?

Unlike a normal prison, psychics, spellcasters, and monsters like witchlings, black faeries, or demons are commonly employed. (Exactly how they might or might not keep creatures like demons from getting out of hand isn't quite so clear - it's not like the game has a "control demon" spell.) And so magic gets used to contain prisoners, interrogate or monitor them, torture them, track them, etc. However, the presence of Coalition Psi-Stalkers and Dog Boys often means that prisoners are often aware when magic is used around them.

Lastly, we get details on what must be the shittiest camp, Camp Gamma. Not lovely in terms of prisoner treatment, mind, but lovely in the sense that it's badly run. In some undetailed fashion, the prisoners have actually managed to regularly find a way to escape and return to the war, using their time outside to gather intelligence and assist Coalition squads with a cache of equipment. Yes, it's Hogan's Heroes, only this time the Nazis are the heroes? Werner Klemperer would be pissed. This... like, doesn't make a lot of sense given they don't seem to have vehicles, or... maybe they do...? But if they have vehicles, why don't they escape? And if they don't have vehicles, how do they travel around in time to avoid being noticed, I- I mean-



Next: Virtue signalling.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Baby stab octopus sounds adorable, and it's always nice to see a work primarily focused on non-human species really lean into the weird poo poo.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


I admit, I am really starting to get the impression that the Zi Ri are a creator's pet. Whenever they're mentioned, everyone goes on about how amazing they are and they are rare and super special magic dragons. Are they the elves of the settings?

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





There's something almost charming about the worst graffiti a CS prisoner can think of while in the Tolkeen klink is 'Tolkeen Sucks.' And clearly it was an officer since the troops are mostly illiterate.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





kommy5 posted:

I admit, I am really starting to get the impression that the Zi Ri are a creator's pet. Whenever they're mentioned, everyone goes on about how amazing they are and they are rare and super special magic dragons. Are they the elves of the settings?

Whenever the Zi Ri aren't around, all of the other Primes should be saying, "where are the Zi Ri?"

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Dawgstar posted:

There's something almost charming about the worst graffiti a CS prisoner can think of while in the Tolkeen klink is 'Tolkeen Sucks.' And clearly it was an officer since the troops are mostly illiterate.

"What does that mean?" "It means Tolkeen gives oral." "Is that bad?" "Oh, extremely." "You sure? I wish they were giving us oral instead of this."

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


I'm so glad people have already caught on to the single most defining trait of the Zi Ri.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Street thug flying octopi are good, with their many arms. For the many clubs.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Feng Shui 1e

Volkov is 100% the guy who hosed himself mechanically because he took the Cyborg archetype. Cyborgs sound cool, right? His Melodramatic Hook is looking for his heroic cyber-dog, Chitzkoi, who has somehow become lost in the time stream. He will move heaven and earth to get that good boy back. He's also from an erased timeline that had a really hammy Stalin in it.

His problem is Cyborgs suck. He starts with Body 5, Chi 0, Mind 5, and Reflexes 5. He adds 3 to one stat, 1 to another, and then only 2 to one Secondary. He'll take 8 Body, 6 Reflexes, and then 2 into Dex, wanting to be fast and strong. He should have put it in Speed, not realizing he's just making it harder to raise his Guns skill, and he's going to be relying on Guns. He starts with a 7 in Arcanowave (He's an AW character who gets 0 base Magic and a terrible AW skill; why does Cyborg exist!?), =13 in Guns, =11 in Martial Arts, and 7 in Sabotage (which at least goes up to 10 from his +1 Ref, +2 Dex). He could swap Martial Arts and Guns, but decides not to. Guns are cool. He gets 6 Skillpoints, and puts 4 in Arcanowave (to hit its max of 11), and 2 in Intrusion to be a cunning agent (setting it to 8). He gets 4 Arcanowave Devices, despite not really being any use with them, and 1 Gun Schtick. However, he sort of saves himself here a little; a lot of cool AW gear doesn't actually use AW checks, or have relatively easy ones.

He grabs an Aerial Mobility Unit; he can fly, and make AW checks to speed himself up in combat. Only for how far he can move, not for how many actions he gets. He grabs a Feedback Enhancer, which makes Sorcerers have their spells backfire when they target him, without needing a check. He takes a Neural Stimulator, which does the same thing as the Aerial Mobility Unit but for his actual Init, but causes him Impairment and thus lowers his AV (dodge and attack) by 1 after each long-ish round he has it in. He then takes a Juicer, which will negate Impairments from wounds or his Stimulator. Sounds good? It also risks mutating the poo poo out of him, like all AW devices. And with 0 Chi, some of the AW backfires can kill him instantly, since they can reduce Chi as a stat and if you reduce a stat that's already at 0, AW mutation kills/turns you into an NPC monster. He also grabs Both Guns Blazing with his Gun Schtick and two Buro Godhammer .50s. That sounds cool, right? Both Guns Blazing takes multiple Schticks to stop sucking; it makes you do 2xWeapon Damage+Outcome-2xEnemy DR, so if your weapon damage is lower than their DR it actually weakens your attacks. It also imposes a -2 AV when used, with the penalty lessening by 1 per Schtick of Both Guns Blazing.

So he's an AV 13 on attack and defense, has a mishmash of cool-sounding abilities that don't work together great, can accidentally kill himself (unlikely but possible), is terrible with his AW gear despite it being his main schtick, and took the worst Gun Schtick in the game because he thought firing two massive magnums would be awesome. Sorry, Volkov. Even Zhuge Liang is a better action hero.

I think the book that gave you Hardware shticks also said that if you play a Cyborg you can trade Arcanowave shticks for Hardware ones, which makes the Cyborg significantly more viable because Hardware shticks can be pretty powerful. I wonder if Volkov becomes better if you do that and literally take 100% Hardware instead of Arcanowave?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


MJ12 posted:

I think the book that gave you Hardware shticks also said that if you play a Cyborg you can trade Arcanowave shticks for Hardware ones, which makes the Cyborg significantly more viable because Hardware shticks can be pretty powerful. I wonder if Volkov becomes better if you do that and literally take 100% Hardware instead of Arcanowave?

Extremely, I said as much in another post, I think. It is 100% a better idea, because Hardware schticks and basically everything mechanical in Gorilla Warfare are busted as hell.

Want to know a great trick? Wait until after character creation to take the +Agi or +Dex Hardware Schtick, after leaving your base Ref at 5 (Take the 11 Speed one during creation). Now you get +6 to one of your fighting AVs, whichever one you want, and can immediately punch out most faction enforcers, for the low cost of what a 15 AV guy would pay to raise theirs twice.

On one hand, yes, FS is not a game you're 'meant' to be minmaxing. On the other, it's A: Not hard at all to do, even by accident and B: If you don't got the numbers, you can't do any cool poo poo.

E: I'll get to it when I get to powersets (Hardware will be easy enough to cover) but the issue with Hardware is it's a mechanical bandaid to a weird oversight: You can't actually raise stats with EXP unless you're attuned to Feng Shui Sites (We'll cover that in a bit) but Jammers are completely opposed to doing that, instead getting bonus EXP by blowing them up. So they can't normally mechanically raise stats. So instead, they get expensive cybernetic schticks that instantly set stats to superhuman levels, but thanks to the AV system, if you take the ones that cover fighting AVs during PC creation they're worthless, and if you buy one during play, you become a demigod almost immediately. These are also insanely EXP efficient ways to skyrocket your stats anyway.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 03:21 on Jun 9, 2019

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Coalition Wars 5: Shadows of Evil, Part 7- "He is always acting the clown and even makes wisecracks, puns and jokes during combat and after a kill. He also likes to make up ridiculous and silly songs to sing about his enemies, opponents, important events and teammates, as well as play practical jokes, instigate brawls, tattle on his teammates (which instigates brawls) and similar smartalecky things."

Freebooters

So, now we drunkenly swerve to another topic in this filler fluff parade: gangs loosely working for Tolkeen. You may think we got that kind of thing already, back in Rifts Coalition Wars 3: Sorcerers' Revenge, but these ones are working in Rivereen and Markeen. See? Totally on-topic.


It's time to play the game again: "Rifts PC Group or 90s Superteam?"

The first to get discussed are The White Knights, a group of shady fallen heroes led by a Fallen Cyber-Knight who goes by "Lady White". They're supposed to be super badass and scary, not relying on stealth or trickery, just giving scary threats and then engaging any who don't run. They've killed a bunch of Coalition soldiers and it's said they draw their power from the dead souls of the war (nope, not really) and have become boogeymen to the Coalition war effort. This was a cute note when (Bill Coffin's) Jara Kado had a similar reputation in Rifts Coalition Wars 3 that was falsely earned, but Siembieda just overplays his hand. They get Horror Factors like monsters do, and 1d6x10% of any Coalition force fighting her "typically" just flees. Despite being so feared, they protect civilians, give charity, and give fleeing foes the chance to run away. However, if they fight the same people twice, they'll just kill them.
  • Lady White (9th Level Cyber-Knight) is a Fallen Cyber-Knight who was broken by the cruelty of the war, and has become hardened and deeply bitter. Though supposedly having Fallen, she mostly just feels ruthless, merciless, and dysfunctional, but for all her grimness is sold more like an anti-hero than a villain. She gets a realllly long writeup, complete with guidelines for her rewritten Code of Chivalry, and a litanry of ridiculous magic goodies like a "true" samurai rune sword originally taken from a museum, Splugorth magic items, multiple suits of power armor, blah blah blahdee blah.
  • Silent Wind (7th Level Spirit Warrior): Once again, Silent Wind is "so driven to destroy evil and protect the innocent that he has become evil himself!" Uh, okay. Once again, he seems just fairly ruthless against the Coalition and supernatural evil, not selfish in any sense. He has a variety of magical fetishes and Native American superpowers. Occassionally, this has driven them to fight demons under Tolkeen command, but the others don't mind for the most part. And... they're still freebooters under Tolkeen...?
  • Tank (5th Level Grackle Tooth Military Specialist): A cheery guy who likes explosives and isn't particularly evil, acting as a Tolkeen patriot, which seems to be counter to working with guys who go ham whenever they see a Tolkeen demon... but eh. He's supposed to be the blithe good guy of the group, even though there's no sign he's any less ruthless. "I like to make sure my opponent is down and out, why take chances?" are his words, after all.
  • Ice Man (8th Level D'norr Devilman Ley Line Walker): Named for running around with the magical sword Frostblade, he had a fortune-teller tell him he'd die at the hands of a technological device rigged to blow. And given the rest of her predictions eventually came true, he became phobic of using technology. He has a pet dragondactyl (like a pegasus, but with a more a dragon-horse instead of a bird-horse) he uses so he doesn't have to ride in vehicles. Despite being listed as a Ley Line Walker, all of his class abilities listed are that of a Water Warlock. Ooops.
  • Enerton the Destroyer (7th Level Yeno "Assassin"): No such class, but we'll roll with it. We roll with phantom NPC classes a lot. Anyway, he's a generically megalomanical psychopath that's will execute fallen enemies unless stopped. He obeys Lady White, Tank, or Silent Wind because... I don't know. He goes into murderous rages when annoyed, which seems to be a problem with the whole "no civilians" attitude of the group, but this collection of folks hasn't made perfect sense yet, so why start now?
  • Giz the Fixer (8th Level Aardan Tek Rogue Scientist): A scientist so obsessed with gathering knowledge that he came to observe the war effort for... science!... I suppose. He is detatched and is "well on his way" to becoming a sociopath as he loves science over anything else. That's how sociopathy starts - with science!
  • Malcolm (7th Level Crazy) is the group Deadpool who goes around making jokes and singing and cracking wise and is obsessed with fighting the Coalition and is also hyperactive and is phobic of dragonflies and helplessness and Iron Dragonfly Juggernauts! Ha ha, how kooky. He's so kooky he grants enemies a unique penalty to hit him! Special unique NPC powers, go!
  • Hack & Slash (4th Level Tirrvol Sword Fist Grunts): A pair of overconfident sword-handed swordsguys, they're arrogant despite the number of times the others have put them in their place. They'll probably get themselves challenging or insulting the wrong person someday, but not yet. Also they do everything together because they're twins! Twins do that!

Why, yes, Siembieda just took a piece of race art from a previous book and doubled it. Class act.

They also have a generic bunch of followers. I just have to scratch my head trying to work out how they function for more than a week without falling into infighting between characters like Tank, Enerton, and Malcolm. They're also... just not that evil, even though the book wants you to think that, aside from Enerton. They strike me as "average PC material" for the most part.


Totally drawn to go together.

Next, the Hounds of Hell are a group of Dog Boys and other canine-themed characters led by the "Wolf Lord", a 13th Level Mind Melter who uses psychic powers to brainwash mutant animals and use them against the Coalition. He was once a leader in the Mizereen Barony on a diplomatic trip to Tolkeen when his home city was wiped out, and he went crazy and feral and developed his wolfish supervillain theme. He's insanely focused on wiping out the Coalition, and probably will try and take his skullkilling work directly to the Chi-Town 'Burbs if he survives. He has a mysterious supervillain ally called The Seeker, a Shifter that controls some Loup Garou as part of the scheme and is generically mysterious and evil. Also, he's sadistic, so take a drink in the Rifts drinking game, if I ever wrote one up. They mostly rely on Kill Hound minions, as apparently their minds make them easier to control, but have some normal Dog Boys as well. It seems like the Wolf Lord at least has a fun gimmick for a villain group, though The Seeker seems superfluous and dull.


Either she's crazy tall or Big Jack here is the smallest Brodkil ever.

Lastly, we have Jack's Hacks, a group of "cyber-snatchers"... equal-opportunity bandits and scavengers that focus on cybernetics, selling them back at Mad Town. Tolkeen has given them freebooter status, much to the chagrin of the Cyber-Knights, and an attempt to arrest them has given them a rivalry with Sir Rigeld (of Rifts Coalition Wars 4: Cyber-Knights. Their members include:
  • Big Jack (7th Level Brodkil) is their leader, and is... sadistic and murderous, and usually uses purloined Coalition equipment. Not interesting in the least.
  • Little Jack (5th Level Military Specialist) is Big Jack's best friend and "a human with the soul of a demon". He's a sneaky ex-Coalition soldier, having a Cyber-Disguise implant, and is tiresomely generic and evil.
  • Tools (6th Level Operator) is a mechanic who hates brutality because it's too noisy; he prefers to ambush quietly. He's greedy, supposedly charming, and... evil.
  • Chop-Doc (2nd Level Aarden Tek Cyber-Doc) is... sigh, evil and sadistic and loves to gently caress around with installing or removing cybernetics on live targets despite being "barely competent".
  • Weaver (4th Level Mastadonoid Ley Line Walker) was a Tolkeen loyalist who became evil because war.
Also they have a bunch of other evil folks, mostly D-Bees. The female character in the art piece never shows up. They're boring. Dear Tarn in Lazlo, they are boring. Furthermore, Jack's Hacks are-

ERROR: INTEREST NOT FOUND

Next: More dots on a map.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

Extremely, I said as much in another post, I think. It is 100% a better idea, because Hardware schticks and basically everything mechanical in Gorilla Warfare are busted as hell.

Want to know a great trick? Wait until after character creation to take the +Agi or +Dex Hardware Schtick, after leaving your base Ref at 5 (Take the 11 Speed one during creation). Now you get +6 to one of your fighting AVs, whichever one you want, and can immediately punch out most faction enforcers, for the low cost of what a 15 AV guy would pay to raise theirs twice.

On one hand, yes, FS is not a game you're 'meant' to be minmaxing. On the other, it's A: Not hard at all to do, even by accident and B: If you don't got the numbers, you can't do any cool poo poo.

E: I'll get to it when I get to powersets (Hardware will be easy enough to cover) but the issue with Hardware is it's a mechanical bandaid to a weird oversight: You can't actually raise stats with EXP unless you're attuned to Feng Shui Sites (We'll cover that in a bit) but Jammers are completely opposed to doing that, instead getting bonus EXP by blowing them up. So they can't normally mechanically raise stats. So instead, they get expensive cybernetic schticks that instantly set stats to superhuman levels, but thanks to the AV system, if you take the ones that cover fighting AVs during PC creation they're worthless, and if you buy one during play, you become a demigod almost immediately. These are also insanely EXP efficient ways to skyrocket your stats anyway.

Couldn't you take a -Agi and/or a -Dex Schtick at chargen and catapult your fighting AVs even more post-chargen?

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013




Chapter 4: The Immaculate Order

The parable always given every time Exalted brings up the Immaculate Philosophy is as so: behold the humble farmer and the fertile hen. All is in harmony when the humble farmer cares for the fertile hen, as the farmer receives the hen's eggs for sustenance and the hen receives the farmer's care so that it may live a long life. The unmindful fox, however, disrupts this balance by not sticking to the wilds and eating the hares and voles and whatever the gently caress else foxes eat, and instead busts into the hen house to eat the chicken within. This ends the fertile hen's life and throws the humble farmer out of balance, as she will now have to buy a new bird to help feed her family. Thus, the perfect farmer will build a fence to prevent that from ever occurring.

The Immaculate Order believes that all life stems from the Elemental Dragons, and that all life desires to return to them in time over many reincarnations that either purify or weigh down the soul. The Dragon-blooded are the closest to sublimating into the Elemental Dragons through their soul's purity and are thus meant to be the Princes of the Earth. Below them are millions of humble farmers who must obey them, and in exchange the Dragon-blooded use their magical talents to protect and enrich their lives. You can basically regard this as Prosperity Gospel fused with Buddhism, in which those closest to Nirvana (becoming one with the Elemental Dragons) is also guaranteed wealth and power (the book even says that mortals are taught that if their were dreams were really meant to be, they'd be Exalted), but in exchange have ~*more duties*~; this falls flat when you remember that 50% of all Dynastic Dragon-bloods are unemployed louts who go about loving around in the Threshold and smoking dank kush from Great Forks while planning their next war tourist destination, but Creation doesn't exactly have very good communication so the faithful probably just assume that they're doing something useful. Immaculate monks stand outside of the whole Perfected Hierarchy as its shepherds, evangelists, censors, and also kung-fu masters because hey these guys would never get played if they weren't also badasses.

The Prayer Calendar is the nifty tool Immaculate life centers around, for each day brings a new god to worship; this Calendar will vary by location, since it makes little sense for the farmers of Arjuf's cotton fields to be praying to Chanos' city god all the way on the other side of the Isle. The faithful pray to that god and only that god, and in exchange, that god uses that prayer to make their corner of reality, whether it be the local fields or the forest near town or the local markets, work for mortals. Given how gods work in Exalted, where they're bureaucrats just as prone to corruption as human bureaucrats are and prayer is their literal currency as well as their fuel, this makes a whole lot of sense and is one of the bigger positives of the Immaculate Faith. If a god has a set basic income of prayer by the Faith (and since the Blessed Isle is the most heavily populated region in the world, that's a lot of income) rather than having to compete with other gods for attention and love from humans, and a guarantee that if they try to extort more a Dragon-blooded monk is going to smack them around with their martial arts, it curbs a lot of divine grifting that goes on in other places outside of Immaculate-controlled regions.

Of course, the downside to this is that the Immaculates are big on punishing heresy, usually through stern lecturing and the burning of illicit texts but also through beatings and the occasional execution. Usually, heresy takes the form of either worshiping a god outside of the Prayer Calendar's schedule (this is deemed part of the Hundred Gods Heresy) orworshiping the Immaculate or Elemental Dragons; this is permitted only a few times a year, and is otherwise considered to be violating the principle of self-sufficiency the religion favors when one is begging the Immaculate Dragons to do poo poo for them. The biggest no-no is being Anathema, which is a term for beings that are an inimical threat to the Faith. While Solars and Lunars are by default Anathema due to how they tend to be shonen anime protagonists in the early years who fight against the "perfect order" of the Realm (come on, guys, the garrisons are there to protect you, obviously!) and trend towards earth-shaking power and insanity in the longer run, other beings are ruled Anathema due to clerical rulings; spirits who gently caress with the Immaculate Order too much, Exalts such as Liminals and Exigents who fall afoul of the local abbot, and more can be declared Anathema (there's even an example of a former Immaculate monk being declared Anathema for blaspheming too much in the Dragon-blooded book). Anathema are, as previously mentioned again and again, sought out and destroyed by the Wyld Hunt, although some have been captured and taken to prisons or even the Imperial Manse for experimental purposes.


Two things of note: the first is that the artists absolutely refuse to make all the monks bald, as the setting wants them to be. The second is that these Dragon-bloods are totally hosed fighting a Melee-focused Dawn Caste. Have fun getting hit up to seven times in a round, guys!

The Immaculate Texts are said to be compiled teachings of the Immaculate Dragons themselves, and curiously they seem to advocate for all the stuff the Realm does, what with the austere lives peasants have to live and the constant invasions of the Threshold (ostensibly to spread the Faith, of course!). Weird, it's almost like some kind of Sidereal Exalted wrote them to justify the Dragon-bloods ruling the world. In any case, there's also tons of commentary and explanations about from more modern monks, as well as ruin diving to find texts that could be inserted into the canon (with edits, of course). The Immaculate Order thus has a lot of historical documents, much like real-life monks. Note that once an Immaculate monk is fully inducted into the Order, they get a more nuanced view of things than the standard "Solars and Lunars are reincarnating demon sorcerers that the Immaculate Dragons struck down" mythology most peasants operate off of; they are told the Immaculate Dragons and their deeds are more likely just stories taken from pre-Shogunate Dragon-blooded who rebelled against the Solar and Lunar dictators of old, and that the Solars and Lunars are Exalts like them who get driven mad by the infinite perfection of Solar Essence and the ever-shifting Essence of the Moon.

The game mentions the religion is "well-constructed" as a result of this, but I am now confused after being positive about this change, since I feel like poo poo like this would fly only if the monks didn't actually teach the peasantry how to read. Since they do, it's kind of odd that some devout peasant might well stumble into this more true-to-life interpretation of things, and why does the Immaculate Order bother offering prayers to each Immaculate Dragon and naming itself after them if they're all fake and they know it and meaningless iconism is bad? Imagine having the Christian Bible as it is, but once someone became a priest, they got told that, "Actually, the stories of Jesus Christ are more allegorical, and that he and all the other prophets you read about in the book don't exist." It'd probably break their god drat mind and leave them really confused as to why the priests are such dicks that they'd conceal that from everyone. It feels like the devs really want to have their cake (the populace believes the Solars and Lunars are horrible mythological demons!) and eat it too (also have it so Immaculate monks aren't confused by historical records saying a Solar did good things or that someone saw Luna talk to a new Lunar right before it became Anathema).

In any case, the Order is well-organized, being a bureaucracy much as it is a religious order. At the top is the Mouth of Peace (huh huh, get it?), who is believed to be a reincarnating great teacher, and thus each time one dies, a new one is chosen from the young girls of the Realm (and thanks to Sidereal influence, one that is likely to Exalt) that was born after the old died. Temples are the front-face of the Order, serving the spiritual needs of local populations and teaching their young how to read and do basic math. They are run by abbots, who answer to central regional archimandrites, who then report up the chain from the Threshold all the way to the Blessed Isle and then to the Palace Sublime itself. Monasteries exist for monks to study the Texts, learn obscure martial arts, and cultivate their Essence if they are a Dragon-blood. Itinerant monks are probably what most players will be; they wander a circuit or choose their own path, bringing the Faith and its blessings to people that might not otherwise receive it. Some, of course, are spies and assassins, who report on and remove problems to the Order (sometimes with the aid of a Sidereal to guide them at a target). All in all, being an itinerant monk is a far more useful backstory for why you're roaming about having adventures than the average legion officer and minister provides, so long as the player can stand to be socially restricted in many ways.


On the one hand, it has got to suck when someone ignores your carefully laid art instructions that a monk is always bald. On the other hand, I doubt the artists are paid enough to care, since Onyx Path doesn't have FFG money.

The Order has its own administrative wings, called Breaths. Each Breath is dedicated to an Immaculate Dragon (again, really weird since they're fake and the book doesn't do a good job of explaining why the monks bother with that poo poo if they know it); the Breath of Sextes Jylis is the Human Resource and Public Works division, the Breath of Mela trains warriors and plans for combat with the Anathema, the Breath of Pasiap builds and maintains the Order's personal infrastructure such as its temples and manses, the Breath of Daana'd handles healthcare, housing, and education, and the Breath of Hesiesh does odd jobs (mostly it just serves as extra manpower and a place to put older monks) as well as managing the many sorcerers, thaumaturges, and god-blooded in the Order.

As are many things, the Order is political; the Order is a great ally to many pious Dynasts and powerful obstacles to those they view as blasphemers and shirkers. For instance, Mnemon gets quite a bit of House-saving work commissioned by the Order for being so faithful, while House Ragara often finds that rebellions in its provinces are supported by the Order due to its dim view on predatory loaning. The Order exerts a lot of force controlling the culture of society; any media can be banned by the Immaculate Order for being heretical or too controversial. The Immaculates keep many of the things they ban to study them, and a Dragon-blooded monk is considered spiritually pure enough that they can peruse banned material as they wish. While the Immaculate Order does reinforce the classist structure of the Realm, it does find that sometimes poo poo gets too ridiculous even for them to condone; after all, while a Dragon-blood is spiritually pure, they can sully themselves and set themselves back on the great cycle if they act improperly. Thus, while the Order has put down many rebellions in the name of keeping order, if said order would only lead to mass starvation and misery, they will throw their weight behind a rebellion against Dragon-blooded masters.

Generally, this starts out as nonviolent protest. Monks will do sit-ins, lead marches, and more to remind a leader of their duties. If someone tries to get rid of them violently, this generally results in the aggressor learning that it's a bad idea to fight someone who considers martial arts a part of religious perfection. Generally, a revolt leads to a few noble holdings being burned (usually wherever tax and loan records are held), the Great Houses responding with great force, the rebellion's leaders being hanged, and the monks who supported the rebellion disciplined in public (while in private the abbot considers them to be really cool for doing what she wanted them to do). In RY 465, the monk Seven Rivers led a rather unique movement, the Unbroken Rushes Rebellion, that actually recognized the Empress as the problem, after three years of drought had caused mass starvation. He and his followers declared, to the horror of other Immaculates, that the Scarlet Empress lacked the mandate of the Dragons, and refused to work until she used her oh-so-special enlightenment to conjure food and water. Her Majesty responded by paying off House Ragara to import massive quantities of grain and smeared Seven Rivers as Anathema. Seven Rivers was never captured or killed, and lives on in popular myth as either an Anathema devil or a more Robin Hood-like figure, stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor.


This picture appeared in the first chapter as a really lovely rough-draft. Very odd. Also it's gotta suck to be the lady stuck wielding the wedge mallet while someone next to you has an actual battleaxe.

Life as a monk begins when someone who wishes to join dons an itchy grey robe and presents themselves as a postulant to a local temple (or, in the case of Dragon-blooded, the Palace Sublime itself). There, they do whatever the monks command and bear their criticisms until they are deemed worthy after days or weeks of this. They then become acolytes, where they are trained in the basics of the Order and evaluated for mental and physical competency with five difficult examinations, one each season. Many drop out, a bit stronger and more self-aware, but those who succeed are sworn in as novice monks called oblates. Their training intensifies, as they read more and more of the Immaculate Texts (presumably having their brains explode when they are told the Immaculate Dragons are myths) and do insane martial arts training sequences; mortal monks merely have to smash bricks with their fists and get kicked in the balls or vagina repeatedly without making an expression, while Dragon-blooded monks have to get hit directly with throwing knives without bleeding or stand in the middle of a blizzard and meditate on the Element of Air.

When the ~*Diligent and Skilled Teachers*~ decide they've trained the oblate enough, she gets her First Coil and is a full monk of the Order and is then placed by the Breath of Sextes Jylis where their skills can be put to great use. For a First Coil Monk, this means getting stuck sweeping the floors and guarding the doors at a monastery. Those who rise up by demonstrating great faith, great deeds, and great board-breaking skills are elevated to higher Coils; Second Coil monks have more important responsibilities (presumably they are the receptionists to the First Coil's janitors), Third Coil monks are abbots and administrators, Fourth Coil monks are usually archimandrites or highly ranked in a Breath, and the Fifth is for the Order's grandmasters. Mortals usually get stuck at the Third Coil. Monks get their birth names removed and are given simple names like Sparrow, Pebble, Beetle, or Petal once they hit oblate rank, but when they get their Coil, can take their old name back (usually its Dynasts and patricians that do this), keep their simple name, or ask for a new one from the local archimandrite that matches their nature. Generally the last option results in something long and descriptive like "Unbroken Stone Shields the Faithful", which just gets shortened to "Stone".

Being a monk requires several vows, of course. The first is humility; a monk will wear nothing but simple belted robes (the belt indicates your Coil; First Coils get ropes, while higher Coils get silk of different design depending on rank), must shave their head every five days (beards are fine but only if you never shape them into a specific style), and must not wear makeup, piercings, or tattoos (monks who have preexisting tattoos or piercings must do their best to hide them, if possible). Special ceremonial robes are about as decorative as they can get; these usually bear works of intricate geometric design or have calligraphy detailing passages from the Texts on them. The second is celibacy; no sex and no making babies (that means no using neomah to craft a baby, smart-rear end), although you can at least masturbate. Monks who violate this stricture are expelled from the Order and, if pregnant, have their child sent to an orphanage (or, if one of the parents were Dragon-blooded, adopted out to a Dynast or patrician family that is friendly with the Order). The third is poverty; you can keep no wealth for yourself, and anything you make is donated to the Order. The final is diet; as you progress in the Coils, you lose more and more things you can consume. At the First, you can't do drugs or eat meat. At the Third, you can't eat sweets or coarse grains, and may only drink water or tea. At the Fifth, you exist only off bread, rice, vegetables, water, and tea.

Most monks are always loving busy (great news for player characters); if they're not wandering the roads praising the Philosophy, they're copying texts, getting really good at martial arts, bargaining with spirits for Calendar positions, and more. If a monk wants a break, they phrase it as "taking time for spiritual seclusion", where they usually run off to a garden and meditate for a few days. Monks can request to be moved to a new temple or monastery, and can take an extended sabbatical if personal business is to be attended. Monks are encouraged to remain in contact with their families, both to serve as examples of the Order's most pious, and to gather information if their family happens to be something like Sesus or Peleps or what have you. Dragon-blooded members can also form Sworn Kinships with people outside the Order, so long as they aren't horrible heretics or Anathema lovers, and in exchange for serving as religious guides to their Kin, a monk's superior will give them sidequests tell them of things that might be of interest to both the Order and the Kinship.

Since the Immaculate Order deals with spirits, and the biggest spirits of all are fond of making Exalted, they're who everyone else goes to when they get reports of weirdos who start glowing with magical auras in fights or during particularly strenous bouts with revising tax codes. For Solars and Lunars, the response is obvious ("Kill on sight before they get the point where they can wipe out a Great House like the Bull of the North did"), and the Abyssal and Infernal Exalted are likely to get the same deal since it's obvious they're both Solar-related. The Liminal Exalted are rare and those few who know of them consider them to be generally harmless (if gross for being tied to the Underworld) so long as they stay out of the Realm's business, although House Ledaal is very interested in them and thinks they could be useful allies in their Shadow Crusade. The Bronze Faction of the Sidereal Exalted founded the Order, basically, and guide its course. A few highly ranked monks know of them (and some Heptagram graduates, who study under Sidereals there), and certain passages they slipped into the Texts mention their existence and how if there's a dude with star powers helping out a Solar or Lunar, you should definitely kill that Gold Faction rear end in a top hat. The Sidereals are rather upset to have to tell the monks about the Getimian Exalted since it makes them look incompetent, but they have leaked the info out that they are new types of Anathema and given out techniques to detect their causality-bending and fate-ignoring powers.

The biggest chunk is about Exigents. Exigents are an edge case, in that they are considered spiritually impure for acting above their station and interacting with a god to receive great power, but they're not kill-on-sight like Solars are so long as they never interfere with the Realm and acknowledge Dragon-bloods are the best (even if, say, the Exigent is about as strong as a Lunar). Many, however, get leaned on to join the Order and put their new talents to use in order to scrub off that black mark they've incurred on their soul's ledger. I think this is a point in the Exigents' favor for me; previously, I was a little annoyed at the idea of yet more Exalts (there's too many, says I!), but now I think it's cool that a player could wind up meeting a completely out-of-left-field shikari on a Wyld Hunt who wields the power his divine patron had over the concept of drugs to fill the woods with a hallucinogenic mist, or just make someone who could fit into a Dragon-blooded party without being one.

Next time: Chapter 5 - oh god there's so many Prefectures you guys

SunAndSpring fucked around with this message at 09:57 on Jun 9, 2019

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Two things stand out to me about the White Knights. First what Tolkeen needs to do is bring these guys along whenever the CS forces gather en mass and automatically reduce their numbers by 30-40% on average. Second and more seriously I never noticed before when I was younger but Kevin really is loathe to do more than one female NPC in a group.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



The system most closely, in my opinion, represents Calvinisms concept of unconditional election wherein a select few are pre-chosen by the divine and are guaranteed to go to heaven and their job is to keep the reprobates from loving everything up too much. That said this idea of innate status of moral goodness, be it in calvinism or in the indian caste system, historically gets abused in exactly this way where people with the status dont listen to anyone below them and huge swathes of them are kind of useless.

In Exalted its helpful because from a player perspective it lets you either play a true believer who is going to do all the good they can or someone who is going to tear down the system. Its a nice move to have a religion that can be good or bad depending on player view rather than one or the other.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Dawgstar posted:

Two things stand out to me about the White Knights. First what Tolkeen needs to do is bring these guys along whenever the CS forces gather en mass and automatically reduce their numbers by 30-40% on average. Second and more seriously I never noticed before when I was younger but Kevin really is loathe to do more than one female NPC in a group.

Every toy line needs one token female figure.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Goddamnit I just remembered the literal Sentai Hero class (with Creature Powers as an option for mutant powers and genetic enhancement!) exists in Feng Shui and I could have done that for Mako. She could have been a Science Ninja.

By the way Feng Shui does support rules for a super sentai show as well as Hong Kong Action, so whenever someone tells you a character concept in Feng Shui isn't 'Hong Kong' enough, the books themselves happily run right the hell outta Hong Kong any time something seems like it would be cool.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

If I were going to compare knowledge of "the true facts" by Immaculates in Exalted to anything, it would probably be to the Book of Revelation. There is a huge number of people, including educated clerics, who believe that the Book of Revelation is a literal and prophetic guide to our future, in spite of the fact that even a base-level knowledge of the facts behind it will tell you that it's a political allegory from two thousand years ago.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeanshee posted:

Every toy line needs one token female figure.

Man, we're never going to be able to move all these Erin Tarn figs from wave 2.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Feng Shui 1e

Gun Gun Gun

So before I get to our first power set (Person With Gun) let's talk about another little detail Feng Shui did right. Every single skill in the game is also used for 'knowledge' and 'contacts'. So take Mako's Info (Manga) or Zhuge Liang's Detective skill; not only can they use those skills to know everything about the development of famous Japanese comic books (and obscure ones) or to solve mysteries, but Mako would know how to contact other enthusiasts (and maybe some comic artists) and a bunch of industry stuff. While Zhuge Liang would know all about all kinds of famous detectives, magistrates, and others, as well as how to use that same skill to deduce the patterns of people hunting the party through the streets of 2056 by realizing where they're leaving evidence behind. Skills are very broad, and are much more about the player coming up with a reason the skill can apply than someone saying why it can't; this is kind of thing I mean when I say the game is designed with the assumption of 'yes' rather than 'no'. Bullshiting your way through clues and mysteries by the random stuff you know as an action hero is an intentional part of the non-combat breather scenes.

In another decent bit, where you learned your skill matters...but only a little. So, Zhuge Liang would struggle a little the first scene he tries to use Detective to guess the patterns of PubOrd in 2056, while Dr. Igor Tarantula, MD would have difficulty leading a group of ancient Chinese mountain bandits at first. That then goes away after a short comic interlude of your character having some hijinks about figuring out the new timeline they're in; Zhuge Liang staring intently at a vending machine before deducing everything he needs to analyze 1996 culture from the existence of vending machines, Dr. Igor Tarantua, MD realizing that mooks are mooks no matter the era, Mako getting really into late-edo period woodblock art, etc. The penalties for 'wrong juncture' fade extremely quickly and then are forgotten about before they get old, after everyone has a good laugh at how you adjusted. This is good.

Similarly, there are no language skills. Everyone can understand everyone. You're all speaking Cantonese, translated into English by subtitles for an American audience if you're playing in the US. Everyone is speaking Cantonese. All the time. Ancient sorcerer? Cantonese. Russian oligarch? Cantonese. Future Hell Demon? Cantonese. If you couldn't trade banter, it'd just be an annoying tax on your skillpoints, and there's enough annoying character building stuff in the weird interactions of the combat engine already, damnit.

Now, on to shooting sixty people. So, Guns are the bread and butter combat skill of Feng Shui. They're the easiest sort of fighting to be good at with the fewest stats, because you don't need Strength for damage with them. A Gun Character can even do a fair number of useful things without Schticks, while an Martial Arts character with no Creature/Fu Schticks is probably going to suck for awhile. This is also partly because Guns only ever care about your Guns AV (and your Dex can add to that). You must have a 12 or higher Gun AV to learn any Gun Schticks. Gun Schticks cost no resources to activate, and don't need anything but your Gun AV. They're medium cost (Each new Schtick is 8+X, where X is how many Gun Schticks you'll have after buying the new one). They're quite effective. And guns hit pretty hard.

So while Gun Character is sort of the vanilla Fighter of Feng Shui, Gun Character is also really loving good. We'll have to get a little into the base combat system before any of it will make sense, so let's do that now. Feng Shui is famous for codifying 'mook rules'. Your average unnamed goon (the decider for if a character is a full character or not is if they get a name in the script, or just a stunt-man credit) doesn't have HP or anything. They just die or get KOed (player's choice) any time someone attacks them and gets a 5 or higher Outcome on the roll. If you get a 1-4, you 'hit' them but nothing happens so game-wise you missed. You can normally try to hit more than one mook an action with a -2 to hit, -1 more for each mook beyond the second. This matters because Guns are the absolute best thing in the game for killing mooks. No other weapon will sweep mooks off the screen like a gun. When I was playing an Ex-Special Forces gun character, I was regularly erasing 20-30 Mooks per longer back-and-forth turn and I wasn't even *fully* optimized to do it.

The issue with this is that this is either an extremely important role, or completely useless. There's kind of no middle ground. See, the average Mook is AV 8. Which means they need a +5 Outcome to hit even a relatively poor PC (AV 13). Which, you know, requires a positive die explosion with no corresponding negative. So average mooks have extremely low chances to hit, but are all still rolled individually and treated as individual combatants; there's no 'brute squads' like in 7th Sea in Feng Shui and God did it need them. A quick rules patch is to let mooks group up and make a single attack at higher AV so that you aren't rolling 6 attacks individually that all have very low chances to hit. But! The point is if you're fighting low AV mooks, the mooks are set dressing and not a threat. The main thing your Gun Character is doing sweeping them off the field is removing a headache that would slow combat down and take forever to resolve, which is actually very mechanically valuable but kind of a bad reason for something to be thus.

Alternately, later books will introduce higher AV mooks, without thinking about the fact that a mook's *defensive* AV is effectively 5 points higher. So an AV 12 or 13 mook vs. an AV 12 or 13 PC is actually tremendously hard for that PC to hit without bonuses or Fortune dice. Sure, they only have to get hit once, but still, bouncing off effectively AV 17-18 Defenses kind of sucks. A Gun Character can reduce the Outcome needed to waste mooks, and can do it without even needing Schticks. A Gun Character with a 7.62mm or heavier Assault Rifle or MG needs +3 Outcome to kill mooks instead of +5. 5.56mm needs +4. So bring the M14, not the M16, if you were in a situation that let you carry an AR. Not only will this sweep away low AV mooks like a tide, but it also makes it a lot easier to kill high AV ones.

Guns also just do solid damage. Guns do 8-13 damage, generally, with some outliers. Damage on an attack is (Weapon Damage+Outcome-Enemy Toughness). It usually takes 35+ damage to kill a named character. Melee usually does Str+1-4; a very high Strength character can start to outdo guns, but it takes a lot of investment. The gun doesn't need any of that investment. That's part of their power. A weedy Bd 4 guy like Zhuge Liang, if he learned Guns, could whip out an AK-47 and do Damage 13 shots all day. Also, now you have Zhuge Liang with an AK-47 and I'm not sure what the gently caress Cao Cao is supposed to do about that. Automatic guns can also fire in bursts, where for every 3 shells you fire on an attack you get +1 damage. If you fire more than 6, though, you get -1 AV per additional burst, and given Outcome directly adds to damage...never fire more than 6 shells a burst, it's effectively useless.

Guns also require ammunition, and worry about Concealment. Concealment is its own fairly complicated subsystem, but suffice to say you can get a pistol and two clips into most situations fairly easily, but if you want an AR or shotgun at a fancy party you'll have to stow it in a duffel bag on the premises and then grab it later in the action scene. Concealment is meant to be the reason you don't just carry an AK-47 everywhere, because mechanically an M-14/AK-47 is the best possible weapon. Also, 1850s guns and 69 AD Bows use the same skills, but all suck compared to modern weaponry, so you want to bring an AK-47 to ancient/19th Century China as often as possible.

One of the issues with the gun rules is that there's just...no acknowledgement that some guns have no mechanical argument for using them. It's buried in 'well that gun is cool'. Take Shotguns. Shotguns have a famous rule where if you spend an action point and mime going KA-CHAK, your shotgun does +1 damage next attack. That's fun. But shotguns do the same damage, with the same concealment, as heavy assault rifles. Which also take out mooks easier. And you had to spend time on doing that KA-CHAK thing. The AR also can fire in bursts, and a single 3 round burst...gets you +1 damage. For no action cost. So you end up mechanically punished for trying to do the fun, cool thing the rules were excited about, while the person plugging away with an AK and giving exciting descriptions of the hails of bullets and where they're diving while they fire it achieves more actual success.

This is sort of everywhere in FS: It never really catches on to how it needs to back 'it's cool' with 'the numbers are good', because you need the numbers to let the mechanics let you actually do cool things instead of just try to do cool things. We'll get to that in a lot more detail when we get to stunts.

Anyway, the other nice thing is Gun Schticks are simple and extremely effective. Take Dr. Igor Tarantula, MD's Carnival of Carnage; he attacks unnamed characters really fast. Characters normally have d6+Spd stat 'Shots' per turn in combat. Shots count down and serve as round-phases in a Sequence (an actual round), with characters trading licks as their Shots tick down. A normal attack action normally takes 3 Shots. Carnival of Carnage lets you spend 1 less Shot per Schtick spent on it shooting unnamed characters, and if you get more than 2 Schticks in it, makes you need less Outcome to take them out even if you aren't using an AR. At best, it will only take you to needing Outcome+3; it won't stack with an AR itself. But it can let you mow down whole hordes of guys with a pistol effortlessly, and in record time. A single Gun Schtick, Eagle Eye, lets you completely hard-counter any enemy armor (As in, completely ignore Armor ratings with guns) while making extreme range shooting easier (removes 2 points of long-range difficulty from gun stunts per Schtick). Gun Schticks can help you spot ambushes and get a bonus to shooting first against the ambush. They can make shooting 3 unnamed guys per attack free; no penalty (10,000 Bullets is awesome). A gun character with 2 in Carnival of Carnage, 2 in 10,000 bullets, and using an AR? Can easily wipe out a whole platoon of guys in a single sequence. And you can start with that! The best Gun Character, the Killer, has AV 15 and 5 starting Schticks.

You can take Signature Weapon to have a lucky gun you'll never, ever really lose that does +3 damage. You can make ALL gun attacks easier to do faster, not just ones against mooks. You can give yourself literally infinite ammunition if you have 3 ranks of Lightning Reload; instead of reducing the shot-cost of reloading, you eventually just get the ability to properly ignore magazine like a proper action hero and shoot as much as you goddamn well please. Gun Schticks can do all kinds of cool poo poo with guns.

The thing is this is all character building decisions; a Gun Character doesn't really have many decisions to make in combat besides who they shoot at. Other characters have resource subsystems and lists of special moves; Gun Characters have 'use gun on man'. Now, Use Gun On Man is a damned good special move, and you still get to go wild describing how you do it. So that might be enough for you. Guns are also one of the most likely powersets to get hard countered; a fair number of supernaturals are completely immune to normal bullets, and there's a lot of stuff that can block Gun, relatively. Cover, for instance; people behind Cover can get +1 to +4 to their AV to not get hit depending on the cover, and +4 AV is, with a dice system that generally falls within +2/-2 as a die result the majority of the time, pretty loving hard to hit if they had a decent AV to begin with. That Cover isn't going to do poo poo to stop Mako doing a triple flip over the table the guy's hiding behind and slamming him into the ceiling with a tentacle, but it MIGHT stop Hominid Case emptying his Colt .45 in your direction, is what I'm saying.

Still, Gun is tremendously effective and a great start to the powersets, and a nice bit of one of the mechanical things FS does right: No powerset is useless. No powerset is really that much better than any other outside of some edge cases. There's cool poo poo in every power set. Totally Normal Police Detective With Revolver Who's Too Old For This poo poo is, generally, exactly as badass as 'Secret Dragon In Human Form Trained In Iron Tiger Kung Fu'. While some sets do different things mechanically (like how Gun kills mooks like nobody's business) they're all still pretty badass and you'll find something cool in every set.

Another neat detail: You get a lot of guns that all do the same thing, but the book is clear that that's the point; it's so you can pick a gun and your gun character can go on and on about how it's the coolest, best gun model ever, without it having to have special mechanics. It's there to help you pepper your dialogue with gun talk, which doesn't need to be accurate or realistic because guns are a fantasy element in action movies just as much as magic and kung fu. No real gun works anything like an action movie gun, and Feng Shui gleefully embraces that; this is much appreciated. Anyone trying to complain about the 'realism' of their firearms is directed to the Sharktopus grad student or the cybernetic detective gorilla. Similarly, your PC will make all kinds of cool customization and mods to their gun, and will swear they're using the finest special bullets and explosive rounds and stuff. These do nothing. Your PC thinks they do, and they look cool, but they have no rules and no effect on the game. Another good touch.

Next Time: Zhuge Liang Knows Kung Fu.

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Barudak posted:

The system most closely, in my opinion, represents Calvinisms concept of unconditional election wherein a select few are pre-chosen by the divine and are guaranteed to go to heaven and their job is to keep the reprobates from loving everything up too much. That said this idea of innate status of moral goodness, be it in calvinism or in the indian caste system, historically gets abused in exactly this way where people with the status dont listen to anyone below them and huge swathes of them are kind of useless.

In Exalted its helpful because from a player perspective it lets you either play a true believer who is going to do all the good they can or someone who is going to tear down the system. Its a nice move to have a religion that can be good or bad depending on player view rather than one or the other.

Also the whole tiered education where only the initiated are given the whole truth (heavily-slanted to favor the teller but still more factually-accurate than what the laity are told) is pretty well in-keeping with historical practices of organized religion, especially when coupled with the Calvinist/Dharmic notions of the elect. Obviously, you wouldn't want peasants to learn the finer details, because they aren't already indoctrinated and heavily-invested enlightened enough to process this information without hurting themselves!

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





The mook defensive rules rather handily emphasize why the Big Bruiser is not so good. A friend of mine was about to give up playing until he saw he could get a super high Toughness with a Supernatural Creature (if not as high) and asked the GM to switch. (His melodramatic hook went from "Former Toughman competitor turnedlLong-haul trucker looking for his wife" into "Former Toughman competitor turned Long-haul trucker looking for his wife because she ran away when she found out he was a werewolf.")

I love Feng Shui.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dawgstar posted:

The mook defensive rules rather handily emphasize why the Big Bruiser is not so good. A friend of mine was about to give up playing until he saw he could get a super high Toughness with a Supernatural Creature (if not as high) and asked the GM to switch. (His melodramatic hook went from "Former Toughman competitor turnedlLong-haul trucker looking for his wife" into "Former Toughman competitor turned Long-haul trucker looking for his wife because she ran away when she found out he was a werewolf.")

I love Feng Shui.

It's so bad that they put a rules bandaid on it in Blood of the Valiant, the 1850s book, where they made it so hitting a mook without dropping them opens them up to going down easier on the next swing as a patch.

Which still doesn't really address that Big Jane is trying to punch out a weedy little mook for two straight actions while a character with a real AV takes down multiples a move, even without a gun.

The real issue with mooks for me was always 'If I have enough mooks in the fight to matter/not to just be a speedbump for the Gun Character of the party to spend half the first sequence styling on before they move, rolling all their poo poo is going to take forever'. The easy patch is 'mooks can group up up to 6 mook groups for +1 to attack AV per mook as they combine their attacks/fire' but it's not an official thing. Mook Rules were this transitional thing that's genuinely innovative and opens up a ton of possibilities, but weren't fully filled in yet either.

E: There's just never really an awareness in 1e about how much a 2 or 3 modifier (positive or negative) actually matters, nor of just how completely essential Base AV is.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 17:55 on Jun 9, 2019

Stephenls
Feb 21, 2013
[REDACTED]


Rand Brittain posted:

If I were going to compare knowledge of "the true facts" by Immaculates in Exalted to anything, it would probably be to the Book of Revelation. There is a huge number of people, including educated clerics, who believe that the Book of Revelation is a literal and prophetic guide to our future, in spite of the fact that even a base-level knowledge of the facts behind it will tell you that it's a political allegory from two thousand years ago.

Yeah, that. Having an understanding of oneís faith at odds with the history of oneís religionís development seems pretty normal, even in situations where entire branches of the clergy are responsible for being familiar with said religionís historical development. It doesnít make intuitive sense but Iíve definitely seen stuff about e.g. the Jesuits where theyíre described as commonly not being of the opinion that historical Biblical Jesus was real, but also not thinking thatís relevant because they still believe rhetorical Biblical Jesus is right about how things out to be.

Thesaurasaurus posted:

Also the whole tiered education where only the initiated are given the whole truth (heavily-slanted to favor the teller but still more factually-accurate than what the laity are told) is pretty well in-keeping with historical practices of organized religion, especially when coupled with the Calvinist/Dharmic notions of the elect. Obviously, you wouldn't want peasants to learn the finer details, because they aren't already indoctrinated and heavily-invested enlightened enough to process this information without hurting themselves!

This, too. This is why I liked the story of the very first Assassinís Creed so much. Itís the best expression of cultic ďWhat I told you before isnít the whole truth; now youíre ready for the whole truth!Ē *repeat six more times* indoctrination I can think of in media.

(In the case of Assassinís Creed, they even have the bit where the final level of initiation is ďIím just in it for the powerĒ and then a reformation where that element is rejected after Top Guy dies, although this is more illustrative of things like Scientology than large-scale religions; I donít actually believe that every religion began with a cult where the top guy was just in it for power, but a lot of cults sure seem to.)

Clarifying Edit:

Night10194 posted:

I think you might be mistaking a more common thing where scholars/believers often don't believe the Gospels are intended as historical documents (but rather rhetorical/theological ones) because Gospel as a genre was about evangelizing and spreading the story, and because they have discrepancies between them (and with things known of history from other sources), for people not believing there was a historical Jesus of Nazareth.

Sorry, I should have said "not real as such," rather than "not real."

(High level Immaculate doctrine doesn't say the Immaculate Dragons never existed, it says the current stories about each Immaculate Dragon are conflations of the deeds of many Shogunate-era Immaculate saints and war heroes -- but one of the guys who's deeds were conflated into the current version of Sextes Jylis was a dude named Sextes Jylis. That guy was real.)

Stephenls fucked around with this message at 18:36 on Jun 9, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I think you might be mistaking a more common thing where scholars/believers often don't believe the Gospels are intended as historical documents (but rather rhetorical/theological ones) because Gospel as a genre was about evangelizing and spreading the story, and because they have discrepancies between them (and with things known of history from other sources), for people not believing there was a historical Jesus of Nazareth.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

E: There's just never really an awareness in 1e about how much a 2 or 3 modifier (positive or negative) actually matters, nor of just how completely essential Base AV is.

Was it later in this edition or in 2E they developed the idea of 'mook bowling' which was yet another bandaid? (Or was that mook bowling.)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Dawgstar posted:

Was it later in this edition or in 2E they developed the idea of 'mook bowling' which was yet another bandaid? (Or was that mook bowling.)

Mook Bowling was the Blood of the Valiant bandaid. It stuns mooks when you hit them but don't kill them, and also sets them up for (with no actual numbers or mechanics given) another action to take them out more easily.

It's still kind of a bad band-aid that doesn't really get at the main issue.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Night10194 posted:

It's so bad that they put a rules bandaid on it in Blood of the Valiant, the 1850s book, where they made it so hitting a mook without dropping them opens them up to going down easier on the next swing as a patch.

Which still doesn't really address that Big Jane is trying to punch out a weedy little mook for two straight actions while a character with a real AV takes down multiples a move, even without a gun.
It also means that suddenly mooks actually have HP you need to track.

EDIT: oh, "no mechanics or actual numbers" wow nevermind

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Zereth posted:

It also means that suddenly mooks actually have HP you need to track.

EDIT: oh, "no mechanics or actual numbers" wow nevermind

The implication of the rule's wording in Blood of the Valiant is that the next action that hits, regardless of outcome, will drop the mook because you flattened them out and knocked them under something dangerous or whatever. It earnestly describes how making it just 'a two or three step process' will soothe frustrated players, lol.

Meanwhile, Dr. Igor Tarantula, MD, is over here dropping 3-5 guys an action.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





And what makes it really a shame is the Big Bruiser should absolutely be the person who can pick up a thug by the ankle and whip him into a group of his friends and lay them out.

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Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Night10194 posted:

The implication of the rule's wording in Blood of the Valiant is that the next action that hits, regardless of outcome, will drop the mook because you flattened them out and knocked them under something dangerous or whatever. It earnestly describes how making it just 'a two or three step process' will soothe frustrated players, lol.

Meanwhile, Dr. Igor Tarantula, MD, is over here dropping 3-5 guys an action.
Ah! That still means that mooks effectively now have 2 HP instead of 1 HP, though, so you need to track if they were previously hit or not. As opposed to the default mook rules not needing to track anything except comparing the attack number.


Dawgstar posted:

And what makes it really a shame is the Big Bruiser should absolutely be the person who can pick up a thug by the ankle and whip him into a group of his friends and lay them out.

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