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Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



Libertad! posted:

I have to say, teaming up with Post-Apocalyptic Nazis to fight demons isn't as appealing as Kevin Sembieda thinks it is.

The only way I'd run that is if the obviously correct move is to team up with the demons to fight the Nazis.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 7- "Note: Shora rather enjoys wearing the skimpy outfits the Warrior Women are known for, something that has made her, unknowingly, a bit of a pinup queen among other Tolkeenite soldiers and mercenaries."

You'd think we'd be done with detailed writeups of Tolkeen units, given significant chunks of Rifts Coalition Wars 3: Sorcerer's Revenge and Rifts Coalition Wars 4: Shadows of Evil were turned over to them, but nope. We get some more. The challenge: try to get through this without my eyes glazing over.

challenge failed already ugh



Gyger, Shora, Slithers, and Vedder.

The Atlanteans is a adventuring group of ex-slaves from Atlantis. They traveled to Tolkeen to try and throw off slave hunters, and offered their service and stolen Kittani weapons. Since then, they've become known as reliable soldiers and are famed in Tolkeen. Naturally, most of these are from species from the Atlantis books, though there's a Scorpion guy from... Africa? Anyway, they're likely to bail from Tolkeen after one last scouting mission, making their inclusion feel more than a little lorem ipsum.

  • Gyger (7th Level Rulian Translator): A scholar that became obsessed with winning his freedom, he started a revolt to escape, and many of his followers died before getting here. C'est la vie. He writes down his adventures in novel form and they're starting to take off. Mind, I guess his readership is all about to die or flee but details.
  • Shora Kobe (6th Level Altara Warrior Woman): The resident badass of the group, she speaks tersely and likes dressing in skimpy outfits because sexism is over. Also, the text has her doing stuff like killing an entire double-strength platoon of Coalition soldiers because I guess that's something NPCs get to do even when the rules don't remotely support them doing it.
  • Mr. Slithers (6th Level Headhunter): A grumpy Octoman with a false name due to his level of paranoia regarding Atlantis. He's the cagey one of the group and has a good sense for avoiding traps. Though he's a jerk, everybody likes him because octopi are rad or something? Seriously, his Mental Affinity is 4 and he's "one of the more popular soldiers of Tolkeen". Having an Affinity any lower would require some combination of pipe tobacco, fascism, and elfgame snobbery.
  • Vedder Nexus (6th Level Bounty Hunter): The Heavy Weapons Guy of the group, Vedder loves killing Splugorth Minions, and apparently he blew up 350 Coalition soldiers at once in a another rule-defying feat. He has partial amnesia and has forgotten anything before arriving on Earth over a decade ago. We're told that if his memory is restored, he'll become a nicer guy and add "2d6+1" to his Mental Affinity. What's the point of making it random? Who knows! It probably will kick his Affinity up to where he gets bonuses, but maybe not?




Miramar, Gordo, Flexi, and Gunnar.

The Hackers' Consortium is a group of Tolkeen operatives dedicated to finding weaknesses in Coalition Skelebot programming. Ultimately, they're trying to find a "universal weakness" in Coalition technology by extension, if one exists. But no such weakness exists, so we're done here! Wait, there are seven more pages on these guys? Fine.

In any case, there's a callback to the plot hook back in Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec where a rogue Coalition officer hacked a few thousand Skelebots, which was apparently the genesis of their scheme. But it turns out the Coalition is revising the Skelebot software to plug that hole. Though they were once a much larger group, most gave up, and so only a few diehard researchers remain. While they will likely escape the war (who doesn't?), the Coalition finds out about them through undetailed means and wants them triple dead.
  • Miramar (8th Level Rogue Scientist): A D'Norr devilman who came up with the main theory and Wants To Believe. Not too much more than that.
  • Gordo (7th Level Vagabond): A psychic Larmac addicted to Psi-Cola, Gordo pretty much sits around being drunk in his spare time, but is apparently reliable in a fight. He has weirdly arbitrary stats like "Cook (85%; 98% concerning any dish that has eggs in it)", or "Attacks Per Melee: 5 (6, but only when highly motivated, like when his life is hanging by a thread)." Unfortunately, his game-breaking proficiency with egg preparation is not available to PCs. I mean, think of how many dishes have eggs! Omelets! Carbonara! Macarons! How can PCs not get shown up by his beautiful wedding cakes?!
  • Sgt. Felix Ashcroft (6th Level Special Forces): A former Coalition commando, Felix was shocked and disillusioned by the Coalition death camps and then later became lost in the Minnesota wilds. While captured by the Consortium and tied up, he freed himself when they were attacked and assisted them in battle. He ended up joining them, and has become most wanted by the Coalition for execution; a fairly popular club to belong to in these books.
  • Gunnar Kilgore (5th Level Operator): An Asgardian dwarf (Norse Mega-Damage dwarves), Gunnar was sent by Odin to learn about Earth's technology. He doesn't believe the Hackers' Consortium can achieve their goal ("the Coalition is just too smart for that"), but enjoys the chance to tinker and learn about Coalition tech. He believes that Odin has determines his fate, and so is often fearless in battle, having fought in 70 battles without serious injury in a system where a 5 or better on a d20 hits by default. C'mon, Palladium, the guy's a 5th level Operator with Mega-Damage glutes, not a Maxi-Slayer*.


United by the power of Bluetooth.

The Timewalkers don't really need bullet points. The main one is a Temporal Wizard, Lord Balgazar, who's fighting for Tolkeen in the hopes they might survive and that he might get morrrre pooowerrr in city during the aftermath. He'll just shrug and bug out when Tolkeen falls. He has three Temporal Wizard minions called "Greycoats" that are perfectly loyal, it's rumored they're some kind of artificial goons he's made. Given they all look kind of alike, it seems like it might have been interesting to have his goons be the result of some kind of time fuckery, but that might have made them interesting. Might.

Next: Freehold isn't free.

* I made that up but would you have noticed if I didn't mention?

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



What's Gunnar Kilgore's PB and why isn't it higher?

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Nessus posted:

Hell I’d settle for a Mussolini or IJA instead of yet more reheated Hitler piss.
I feel like media really has a duty to graphically portray Mussolini's death as often as possible. His lovely grand daughter should not be able to escape it.

Budget
Aug 10, 2013


Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Hackers' Consortium is a group of Tolkeen operatives dedicated to finding weaknesses in Coalition Skelebot programming. Ultimately, they're trying to find a "universal weakness" in Coalition technology by extension, if one exists. But no such weakness exists, so we're done here! Wait, there are seven more pages on these guys? Fine.

In any case, there's a callback to the plot hook back in Rifts World Book 22: Free Quebec where a rogue Coalition officer hacked a few thousand Skelebots, which was apparently the genesis of their scheme. But it turns out the Coalition is revising the Skelebot software to plug that hole.

If there is one thing a society with literacy rates 10% lower than South Sudan has in abundance, it's highly skill A.I. programmers.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Libertad! posted:

If I ever ran a Golden Age Superheroes campaign, I'd totally turn this into a supervillain lair:


:hmmyes: That poo poo is just ridiculous.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Relevant Tangent posted:

What's Gunnar Kilgore's PB and why isn't it higher?

P.B.: 6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcVEDyro2sE

Relevant Tangent
Nov 18, 2016

Tangentially Relevant



P.B. 6 is just an insult. Prosek has an 11 ffs.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Libertad! posted:

If I ever ran a Golden Age Superheroes campaign, I'd totally turn this into a supervillain lair:



DARKSEID SI

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Ixjuvin posted:

I showed this image to my father, who is a writer and sometime editor, and he said "what the hell is that hideous gutter bullshit doing down the middle of the page? there's no excuse"

Imagine being so bad at writing books that you need to reserve like a 5th of the page just to put references to other books in.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




wiegieman posted:

Imagine being so bad at writing books that you need to reserve like a 5th of the page just to put references to other books in.

Monte Cook presents Monte Cook's game by Monte Cook: Invisible Sun by Monte Cook is utter poo poo at it, but notes and references in a substantial margin-space can be a real boon to a game book as a technical document.

weso12
Nov 19, 2014

Lurker, Sims 3 LPer, Bored College Student


Races of Consequence: Introduction
Hey I know this out of nowhere this is my first (and possibly only) Fatal and Friends review and I’m gonna review an obscure rear end third party splat book for 3.5 D&D called Races of Consequence.

It’s made a publishing company which made a small collections of d20 supplements, but a book like this which is mainly just races seems unique for them. (The rest of the stuff is like “Converting a real world religion into D&D” or “We took the balance from the player's handbook classes and used those to a make a formula of how to create your classes which will probably result in less accurate balance then just eye balling since player handbooks classes are balanced incredibly poorly”.)

It’s an interesting splatbook in that it adds something I’ve always been curious to see someone takes a stab at: Hybrids of the Player's Handbook Races, and this books make the hybrids of ALL of the possible combinations (The only exceptions are Human/Half-Elf, Elf/Half-Elf and Human/Half-Orc because that’s dumb and would probably just create a slightly elfier human, a slightly humanier elf, and slightly orcer human), yes that means it covers hybrids for like Half Half-Elf and Half Gnome or even Half Half-Elf and Half Half-Orc (More accurately, quarter elf, quarter orc, half human). I’ll get into my thoughts of that when we get into the specific combinations.

Before I begin I wanna say I don’t mind a book like this on principle by any means, I don’t have an issue with the concept that’s like say a Dwarf and a Halfling or something could fall in love (or lust) have kids and those kids would have unique traits from both parents. And I would argue that most first party stuff ignoring the concept completely (or in the case of 5e half-orcs handling it incredibly poorly and lazily, I’m sorry something that is half-orc half-dwarf should have different traits then like half-orc half-human) kind of gets annoying at some point. While the answer “they can’t breed” is a valid answer, it’s a boring one, so creating a book to stat out these hybrids to exist isn’t bad.
Hell I made a homebrew 4e Elf-Orc race the dandwiki a long time ago (that i'm sure nobody in existence has ever actually played), it’s probably a little powerful but it’s playable
https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Elf-Orc_(4e_Race)

I am gonna say it, this book isn’t awful, it promises one thing and it (mostly) delivers, of course they are flaws with this book, mainly that in my opinion it tries to sell these hybrids being created in very specific ways as the norms, also it balances the races based on the Player’s Handbook balances the races not based on actually being balanced. Also they are a few times were the wording is confusing, and some of the custom racial traits are weird (One of which is so debilitating crippling if I’m reading it right), unclear and unbalanced (but not in the overpowered direction). And also most of the feats, prestige classes and gods it introduces are a bit too narrow of concepts and not useful enough to really be put in most actual campaigns.

The book starts (after the already shown cover, credits, table of contents, and a brief format explanation) with a short story of a gnomeling (Half-gnome, half-halfling if you couldn’t tell), signing up for an adventuring company, not sure what to put for “Race”, at first I was gonna say “I honestly don’t think that a Gnome/Halfling would be discriminated that much”, then I realized it was more about her being concerned about the “questions”, and having her decide to basically put on a mask and pretend to be a halfling

1. Looking at the picture of the gnomeling (which I will show it you later when I get to that section) in this book, the ears would be more a give away than anything else, a mask doesn’t help with that
2. While I know it’s a story clique, misrepresenting yourself when the consequence of just being upfront of who you are from the start is “annoying questions”, and the consequence is of getting caught is “Why the gently caress did you lie to me” is dumb
3. If I saw a masked person want to join my adventuring caravan i would you were an outlaw who didn't want to show your face, not an insecure mixed race
It then goes to talk about the general reason this book was created, to explore the options of hybrids other than half-elf and half-orc in a slightly more official format than house rules.

Then goes on to have a bunch of tables, not sure how much I should share since this book is technically still available on drive through rpg right now (but I seriously doubt they are getting much in the way of new purchases and "Dog Soul" probably no longer exists as their website is now defunct). It gives the quick reference chart for the names of each race combination, which I will show.

And first off I already see a mild issues, in that their something missing here, even though it’s not a players handbook race officially i feel like Including full orc would have been good here, hell replace the “Half-Orc” on the table and just include the regular orc

Also I’m not a fan that (aside from just the fusion names: Like Dwelf, which make perfect sense to me) obscure hybrids have their weird name, like are these really common enough to have unique names regularly accepted names like I could go up to a random person in “Generic fantasy land” and say that “Earthtouched” and they’d instantly know I’m talking about a half-dwarf and quarter elf, quarter human person?

It also gives aging height and weight tables for all the races, but who really cares about that? Nothing seems incredibly wrong at a glance

The funniest thing for me is that it covers freakings rules for how big the babies but who freaking cares the size categories for Babies (things that are 100% NPCs and are basically gonna be 1 hit killed by any of attack by an enemy)

quote:

Medium sized parents are often dismayed and concerned with their delicate, undersized babies, A Medium-sized mother may have been unaware of her pregnancy until after her Diminutive child is born!

So um, I’m not an expert but it would be quite unlikely for me to believe it’s a regular thing, pregnancy no matter how small the baby would be (Yes i know their have been real life women who didn't know they were pregnant but those are wierd exceptions not the rule)

Though random side note: I don’t buy that a small sized creature would be born at Diminutive size: that’s less than a pound, though I’m not an expert and I was having a really hard time finding data on what height actual people with dwarfism (the closest actual parrell) are born at, so IDK.

Next time on Dragon Ball Z, the first write up on an actual race: The Dwelf (and I'll probably cover other races in the same write up.)

weso12 fucked around with this message at 17:16 on Jun 18, 2019

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005


I care about baby size categories

I demand to know the biggest and smallest babies

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!


Alien Rope Burn posted:




[*]Gordo (7th Level Vagabond): A psychic Larmac addicted to Psi-Cola, Gordo pretty much sits around being drunk in his spare time, but is apparently reliable in a fight. He has weirdly arbitrary stats like "Cook (85%; 98% concerning any dish that has eggs in it)", or "Attacks Per Melee: 5 (6, but only when highly motivated, like when his life is hanging by a thread)." Unfortunately, his game-breaking proficiency with egg preparation is not available to PCs. I mean, think of how many dishes have eggs! Omelets! Carbonara! Macarons! How can PCs not get shown up by his beautiful wedding cakes?!


The timg preview image made Gordo look kind of NSFW and I had to do a double-take and go: "wait what, is this guy's profile him taking a dick pic for someone?" Very unfortunate cola can positioning. :v:

weso12 posted:

While the answer “they can’t breed” is a valid answer, it’s a boring one,

In D&D it'd also be kind of an asspull since just about everything that isn't a clay golem or a giant egg seems to be interfertile with everything else(or at least with dragons and humans). Where did all that even start, though? Half-elves are another yoink from Tolkien, obviously, but how did D&D end up with crossbreeds involving practically every sapient species?

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 08:54 on Jun 18, 2019

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


I still think Orc/Elf crossbreeds should just average out to 'Human'.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I think part of it was just organic that the Coalition got a large fanbase (mostly on account of Long's cool designs and partly because of Siembieda's hand-wringing justifications) and that led into a self-feeding bit where that fandom is catered to. And right now they're being really catered to by Siembieda with Heroes of Humanity, The Disavowed, and Heroes of Humanity Arsenal (if the latter two books ever come out).

It actually took awhile for the line to really acknowledge people wanting to play them, it wasn't until they started doing adventures you started to see begrudging acknowledgement of it and it just kind of snowballed from there. I mean, there was acknowledgement you could play them early on, but usually as a rogue soldier or frontier operative who's willing to ignore the party line, and it wasn't until the later that the idea of having an all-Coalition party came out.

It actually feels weird that they didn't, I don't know, have the early genocidal Coalition government deposed and have a less-awful one take over if you wanted to play the Still Somewhat Racist Heroes of Humanity (but at least they're not running literal death camps and they don't have a literal genocide crusade going on). That seems like it would have basically accomplished the simultaneous goals of "let people use the Coalition as a playable faction" and "not jerking off Nazis."

Given that a metaplot exists, they don't even have the excuse of "but we want to avoid having a metaplot."

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017






Are the Warrior Ladies MDC on their own or is she counting on her mega-damage booty shorts to save her from an errant shot from a Wilk's?

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




I'm pretty sure that's a Leotard she's wearing.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I appreciate that she's wearing sensible poo poo-kicking boots.

FBH991
Nov 26, 2010


Alien Rope Burn posted:



Gyger, Shora, Slithers, and Vedder.


Only woman in the NPC list ist is super sexy scantily clad Altairan.

Oh Rifts.

Dawgstar posted:

Are the Warrior Ladies MDC on their own or is she counting on her mega-damage booty shorts to save her from an errant shot from a Wilk's?

They have magical forcefield armour IIRC.

FBH991 fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Jun 18, 2019

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


FBH991 posted:

They have magical forcefield armour IIRC.

Yeah, the amulet she has around her neck gives her magical invisible armor, of course.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Fangs at the Gate: MOON SWORDS

Phaessa and Deinon are a pair of 3-dot moonsilver short daiklaves. In the Northeastern forests of Ashbloom was once the First Age city of Logerion, where dwelled the Lunar savant Knows-the-Horizon. She was drawn there by the wise birds, beautiful palaces of living wood and joyful Solar queen. When the city was burned in the Usurpation and its queen slain, Knows-the-Horizon fled into the woods, seeking out the Lunar mystic called Opal Heart, whose teachings gave her solace over the loss of her beloved high society and a chance to study the wilderness spirit courts and Luna’s mysterious cycles. In recognition of the lunar cycle, Knows-the-Horizon made a pair of blades, calling down the minor moon-gods Phaessa and Deinon. She rediscovered the key to the Midnight Sky Gate and returned it to the Court of the Silver Chair, and in exchange the gods allowed themselves to be bound into the blades that now bear their names. These swords were wielded against the Shogunate, and when Knows-the-Horizon fell in battle, the Pact took them up in her name. The curved blades resemble the crescent moon, and etchings on each reveal lost scriptures of Luna in an ancient First Age tongue. While they are identical in form, they cannot be mistaken for each other, as Phaessa shines brilliant silver-white and hums with intensity, while Deinon has a darker, tarnished light and moves with a constant whisper. The blades have two hearthstone slots.

Depending on which blade is ascendant, the swords are either waxing, waning, or neither. While waxing, Phaessa is dazzling and gives a bonus to threaten and to Withering damage. While waning, Deinon is bewildering, giving a bonus to stealth and to Decisive damage. The blades become waxing when you take a foe out and waning when you cause an Initiative Break. They can only be one of the two at a time, and they stop being either at the end of any scene. If resonant, they become your choice of waxing or waning when you Join Battle. If you only have one of the blades, it can only benefit from the state associated with that blade – when wielded singly (such as if you get disarmed of one), Phaessa can’t get any benefits from waning and Deinon can’t get them from waxing.

Unsheathe the Crescent Moon is gained free when you drop someone to slower than you with a Withering attack while waxing or take out a nontrivial foe with a Decisive attack while waning. When you successfully rush, you can make the blades waxing, and when you successfully establish concealment, you can make them waning. If resonant, you can pay anima to use this; if this makes your anima Dim you become waning; if you remain above Dim you become waxing. Moon-Crossing Cloud Mobility gives a bonus to rush or oppose a disengage when waxing and a bonus to disengage or oppose a rush when waning. Selenic Psyche Reinforcement gives a bonus to Resolve or Guile. If resonant, you can also now meditate to talk to the gods in the swords and they can speak to you in dreams; their knowledge is limited by what you know and the experiences of past wielders and their time in Luna’s spirit court, so they’re mostly good for advice on possible tactics. Phaessa is fierce, determined and disdainful of obstacles, while Deinon is subtle, patient and prefers to come at problems from unexpected angles.

Silver-and-Shadow Regalia gives a bonus to Appearance-based command and influence when waxing and to Stealth when waning. Ranging Moonbeam Strike lets you shoot moonbeam lasers. They’re Withering if waxing and sets foes on fire for Decisive damage if the attack Crashes them, and they’re Decisive if waning and also cause an instant cold-based environmental hazard that gives a penalty for several rounds based on its damage. Luna’s Blaze Sears the Wicked permanently upgrades several Lunar Charms. You can now use Claw That Rends the Veil with the blades, while waxing you can flurry Argent Guardian Yantra with an attack without penalty, and while waning you reduce the cost of Demon-Drinking Fang. Chiaroscuro Conflagration Crescendo can only be learned if resonant and can’t be learned normally. You get it free when you perform an agreed-on task for the gods in the blades, typically related to purification, revelation or mending. It can only be used when you either become waxing after taking out a foe with a powerful Decisive attack or waning after crashing a foe and gaining a lot of Initiative. Once activated, whenever the swords become waxing, you are surrounded by a tower of black and silver fire in your image, reflexively threatening all foes that can see you and allowing you to spend anima for a bonus when you do, plus anyone that is hit by the threaten loses Initiative and anyone afraid of you or hit by the threaten gets a penalty to attack you or defend against your attacks, and battle groups get a penalty on rout checks you cause and can’t use Size against you. Whenever the swords become waning, you are engulfed in a vortex of light and shadow, reflexively attempting concealment, and you can spend anima levels to boost the roll. Further, you ignore Stealth penalties of any kind, don’t need a hiding spot unless you’re in a completely open area that is brightly lit, and you increase the penalty to Defense against your unexpected attacks.

The Ichneumon Blades are a pair of 4-dot moonsilver slayer khatars. When the gaze of the fae lord Prince Balor shattered the legendary lance Eternal Talon, the Lunar called Okopa the God-Slayer gathered all the fragments she could. She was not able to get enough to remake the lance, but she used what she had to forge the Ichneumon Blades…and found that what she had created had, to her horror, none of the nobility of its forebear. It had drunk deep of Balor’s poisonous Essence, and now the blades knew only sadism and icy chill, their hunger for blood and pain utterly insatiable. Each blade is a long, thin moonsilver spike, its edges jagged and made to maim. They are attached to elk leather bracers embossed with runes and reinforced with moonsilver rivets. Okopa may not have liked the weapon, but many of the Silver Pact have adored the blades for their ability to turn their malice on the Dragon-Blooded. Their last wielder was a young Lunar, and with that wielder’s death, the khatars’ location is now unclear. Each blade has a single hearthstone slot, for a total of two.

The Ichneumon Blades suffer no Defense penalty for making piercing attacks. Silver Wasp Sting causes a shard of the blade to embed in the victim of your attack, increasing their wound penalties until it is surgically removed. You also get a bonus to piercing attacks made with this Charm. Wicked Mother’s Eye gives you a bonus to Awareness, Survival, Investigation and Socialize rolls to notice, track or understand people you’ve embedded blade spikes in. Whispering Wound Infestation lets you give a derangement to someone who has a shard embedded in them, with its power growing the more shards are in them. Also, victims of these derangements have to roll Willpower or lose Initiative when they try to fight you. Argent Brood Eruption lets you make a shard you just embedded in someone explode into spikes, damaging them and reducing their mobility. These shards are much harder to remove than normal.

Wasp-of-the-Labyrinth Trick lets you turn anyone who you kill while they have shards in them into a zombie that obeys you. Ravening Swarm Consumption lets you make a special Brawl attack to cause all shards inside someone to impale their vitals, modelled as a magical disease that is stronger the more shards are inside them. At Minor, it increases wound penalties and makes the shards harder to remove without magic. At Major, it also deals damage whenever the shard disease causes Willpower loss, and the penalty for shard removal also applies to magical attempts. At Defining, the shards deal damage in any scene in which the victim is active at all as well, and surgery to remove them is impossible without magic. Even with magic, they deal more damage than normal when removed. This disease can kill Exalts, and you become aware whenever anyone infected with this dies, allowing you to raise them as zombies with Wasp-of-the-Labyrinth Trick and give them a simple order, no matter how far away they are. If you give no orders, they mindlessly attack any living being they meet. If the shards were boosted by Argent Brood Eruption, they also deal damage to the victim every day.

Penumbra Gleam is a 4-dot moonsilver thunderbolt shield. War-chants of the Pact still sing of the raksha Maja of the Starling’s Song. She was a relentless warrior, obsessed with perfection, and when she led her forces against the world, she danced through her foes, perfectly striking them and wasting not even a single motion. She named herself Equal to the Sun, sure no one could match her. Her fall came at the hands of a group of Lunars, young but loyal to each other. Umrita Dal snuck into her war camp and stole her fabled mirror, which his sister, Antarim Iron-Wise, made into a shield. Maja had trained before her mirror until her every move was perfect, but the mirror remembered her mistakes, and once the shield was made, it was given to the warrior Hundred Thunders. He fought Maja, confounding her with images of her errors and failures, and in the end, Maja surrendered, having lost all pretense of perfection. Since then, the shield has been carried by many of the Silver Pact. It is often given to the young, especially those that need humility, for the shield reveals the flaws of anyone it reflects, especially the wielder. Giving the shield to someone is seen as either a sign of confidence or a rebuke, but it is a loyal and excellent defense, and it always betters its wielder, even if it is not pleasant. It is a gently curved pane of moonsilver polished to mirror perfection, and strange images sometimes show on it briefly, especially Maja’s shadow. It has a single hearthstone slot.

The wielder gets the first evocation free, as Maja’s shadow appears on the surface of the shield and speaks only one word: “Strive.” Meditation in Silver lets you practice with the shield and bring your reflection to life to critique you, allowing you to make an Integrity-based instill against yourself to erode a pride- or bravado-based Intimacy or strengthen a humility- or frustration-based one towards yourself. You also bank a number of Reflection points, which you can spend to get a bonus to Melee attacks or to reduce Initiative cost of full defense. Flawed Strike Mockery lets you steal Initiative and gain Reflection when you block attacks with the shield. Broken Sword Echo lets you make a special counterattack when you block an attack, reflecting their failure in the shield as a Melee-based roll against Resolve to give them an attack penalty against you and a Minor Tie of self-loathing. Fault-Finding Defense lets you give a damage penalty to an attack that gets past your Parry. Silver Phantom Phalanx lets you spend Reflection to get a Parry bonus by showing the foe illusory reflections how you might defend, tricking them. Symmetry of Violence lets you call forth a reflection of your attacker, clashing their attack with an attack that uses their Initiative instead of yours to deal damage. You can spend Reflection to boost the attack or to copy Charms your attacker used on it.

Next time: Seven Furies Caged (for real this time), Death at the Root and Weirdflame

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, the amulet she has around her neck gives her magical invisible armor, of course.

Excellent. She can dress that way for "ease of movement."

That said I was trying to think of a build in Rifts that could take 24 CS Infantry by itself, and while I gave up quickly because let's be honest, as you say it is certainly not a 6th level Altara RCC.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


weso12 posted:

So um, I’m not an expert but it would be quite unlikely for me to believe it’s a regular thing, pregnancy no matter how small the baby would be (Yes i know their have been real life women who didn't know they were pregnant but those are wierd exceptions not the rule)

Though random side note: I don’t buy that a small sized creature would be born at Diminutive size: that’s less than a pound, though I’m not an expert and I was having a really hard time finding data on what height actual people with dwarfism (the closest actual parrell) are born at, so IDK.

Not human obviously, but pandas are big and have super tiny babies for their size. Pandas weigh like 230 lbs and can have babies that are around 3 ounces. It's generally about 1/900 of the mother's weight, compared to 1/20 for humans, so its not outrageous for even a pretty big creature to have a tiny baby. Marsupial's have a bigger difference between parent and child, but that's cos they're super weird. The not knowing if you're pregnant thing is definitely out the window though.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012


EthanSteele posted:

Not human obviously, but pandas are big and have super tiny babies for their size. Pandas weigh like 230 lbs and can have babies that are around 3 ounces. It's generally about 1/900 of the mother's weight, compared to 1/20 for humans, so its not outrageous for even a pretty big creature to have a tiny baby. Marsupial's have a bigger difference between parent and child, but that's cos they're super weird. The not knowing if you're pregnant thing is definitely out the window though.

If the races are meant to be humanoid, I'd assume they'd follow the same proportional distinctions as humans. i.e. A human (Medium) baby is around the mid point of Tiny so proportionally, a halfling (Small) baby would be around the same proportional spot for Diminutive, at least by height. This is assuming halflings are just proportionally smaller humans and not straight up dwarfism proportioned or something where their babies fall on the low end

https://dungeons.fandom.com/wiki/Table:_Creature_Size_and_Scale_(3.5e_Other)

Xelkelvos fucked around with this message at 19:01 on Jun 18, 2019

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




I could only phonepost over the weekend and I have all these Thoughts about Feng Shui.

Night10194 posted:

The Ascended are the one faction in Feng Shui I've never felt any urge to play as/run a game for. I'm okay with them as a setting element, though Conspiracy Theory Guys are...problematic. They work better if you shift them more to just being the ultra-rich in general, the ones crushing the world under the treads of unfettered capitalism as they congratulate themselves for being 'the End of History'.
I know it's supposed to be Problematic that the Ascended are the big conspiracy that controls modern society, but really, the Ascended are a much better metaphor for Capital than they are an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Because they control all the money chi, everything goes well for them and the rules don't apply to them. Their goal is to keep the oligopoly running smoothly so that no serious competition emerges from within or without. They're staring apocalypse in the face and they know it, but because everything's going great for them, they can't fathom how to deal with it.

In classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, the Jews are a people who live among us but are apart from us. They control global capitalism, but they also control the leftist resistance to capitalism as their popular front, and they're deliberately steering us toward apocalypse. The fundamental contradiction is that if they already control everything, why would they want to upset the applecart? (There's an old saying that anti-Semitism is socialism for morons.) This doesn't apply to the Ascended!

I'm willing to go to bat for 90s games with "the Establishment is secretly controlled by inhumans" as a core conceit. Before WWII, American conspiracism was heavily anti-Semitic. Later, it had to veil itself, and "aliens" became a common find-replace for "Jews." By the 90s, this had happened enough that there were UFO and NWO conspiracy theorists who weren't anti-Semitic and were clueless about the anti-Semitic origins of what they were reading. (The white supremacist militia movement was certainly on the rise in the 90s and I don't want to downplay that. As far as I know, White Wolf didn't hire any such people.) A good example is Bill Cooper, author of the influential Behold A Pale Horse. It reprints sections of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion with the caveat that you should replace "Jews" with "Illuminati." Cooper was right-wing and anti-socialist, but denounced anti-Semitism.

Anyway. The Ascended certainly not a protagonist faction; like the Architects, their rebellious/betrayed minions are a recruiting pool for the Dragons. (100 Bullets and John Wick would strike me as inspirations for the Pledged if they weren't published after the 1st edition.) The possibility of an Ascended villain turning into a crab or a chicken after you defeat him seems like it must be intentional comedy. Like a joke bonus ending in a Silent Hill game.

Transformed Animals don't strike me as a particularly interesting archetype to play in Feng Shui 2. They have magical animal kung fu, but so do the martial artists.

As much as the Ascended are scared of the impending hellworld of the Architects, it strikes me as the End of History they've created playing itself out exactly as it logically should. I find the Buro less problematic than the Ascended. Yes, you can assess the Buro as the neo-Soviet dystopia of Limbaugh and Beck's fantasies--but leftists also compare late-capitalist dystopia to the declining Soviet Union.

Night10194 posted:

Quan Lo is a fascist, isn't he? Ethnic/racial superiority, an imagined and elaborate golden age that must be returned to by violence and purging, a world of total hierarchy, and an obsession with corrupting influences that ruin the purity and superiority of those who rightfully should guide the entire world.
Quan Lo is a millenarian. Apocalyptic movements are historically common among anticolonialists, and anticolonial movements are often culturally conservative. It's easy to see the appeal of the idea that righteousness will sweep away the evil oppressors and usher in a golden age.

Feng Shui posted:


Greg Stolze accidentally killed an old lady with his car, and now he's cursed to never, ever work on a book with good art.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Part of Buro's appeal for me is that I tend to write the setting with chi being significantly less deterministic than its controllers actually think it is, hence how they ever lose control. Once you do that, and make Buro the result of an actual apocalypse? You can bring in that the whole thing Stolze uses in Seed of the New Flesh where 2056 stares in horror at 1996 and make it stick. After all, if you're from 2056, you know that the greed and actions of the ultra-rich of 1996 are why you're eating nutrient paste now. Everyone could have a much gentler, better world. And now you have time travel and might be able to make it so.

Also I just have a thing for writing about idealistic but dystopic societies. The thing that makes Buro come off more sympathetic to me than the Ascended despite being intended as the same kind of villain? At least what Bonengel wants for the world is something I can understand someone wanting. Trying and failing to build a world of equality and peace (partly due to devil's deals with a guy PCs are going to want to throw off a building in the climax anyway; fighting Boatman and his plots as a Buro protagonist team is both fun and completely in genre) is compelling, and makes him come off as one of the only guys in the Secret War who didn't just try to grab the Chi entirely for his own benefit.

Also I admit there's a certain level of satisfaction for me in the fantasy of the screaming conservative mouthpieces of American society actually getting their faces stomped in by the armored boot of a Cyberdemon. A certain pleasure for me in the idea of them actually having to deal with the government 'coming for their guns', rather than shrieking that it's happening while controlling the destiny of the most powerful empire in human history. It's petty, but I enjoy the thought of them having to deal with their insane nightmares come true.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Yeah, conservatives hate the End of History because they're tribalists and want their tribe to win. Leftists hate it because we don't want unity to come in the form of being powerless consumers. The Architects don't believe in anything beyond technocratic management, while the Ascended don't believe in anything, period!

The main thing I would change about the Buro is Curtis Boatman. I would change his last name to literally anything but "Boatman." Apologies to anyone named Boatman; it's not an inherently silly name, but it would be if you were the Amon Goth of the dystopian cyberdemonfuture.

jakodee posted:

Honestly they have extremely nice mouth-feel. I’m going to name a character ”Zir” or something in a game.
Why isn't anyone talking about the mouthfeel

Hypnobeard
Sep 15, 2004

Obey the Beard





Well, I mean you literally have Good Angel and Charon..

KOGAHAZAN!!
Apr 29, 2013

a miserable failure as a person

an incredible success as a magical murder spider



Ithle01 posted:

edit: just to give you an idea of what I mean about LotW ripples. I tried a test fight with my players against some fairly easy opposition and it went on for about three hours. By the end we were rolling about 30+ d10s looking for matches and the penalties when you acquired injuries just didn't seem that interesting.

potatocubed posted:

I had the same experience playing it. Against a handful of equally-competent enemies combat was about normal speed for a crunchy game, but against one powerful opponent it slowed to a crawl as he just picked up a gigantic stack of ripples that never resolved.

LotW's low lethality is pretty infamous, so you're not alone. One explanation I've seen given, though I'll caveat this by saying that I'm not sure there's anything to push you to do this in the rules, is that fights, especially fights against player-equivalent or stronger antagonists, are generally supposed to end in one or both parties running away. Fights to the death are supposed to be infrequent, climatic moments, marking the conclusion of an arc. This being in line with wuxia genre conventions.

But even if that is the case I don't think it has to be as difficult to sword someone to death as it is.

Ithle01 posted:

It doesn't help that the die resolution mechanic is, shall we say, extremely unintuitive when you're trying to figure out what an average roll is. I think that my players and myself were trying to build giant ripple stacks without realizing that you really don't get much from going up from around 9 dice to 15 dice. It's been a long time though I might be confusing things in my memory because trying to recall specific rpg experiences from six (?) years ago isn't exactly reliable for me.

The background system and the xp system for LotW was cool though. Really, almost everything was, it's just that combat was too confusing for half the group and took too long to resolve for those of us who were able to sort of get what was going on with the dice system.

I took a crack at graphing it once and the way LotW's dice pools work the average magnitude of your sets grows very, very slowly. What does grow significantly is your average number of sets. Which doesn't sound like much help until you realise that each additional set you roll is another minor action you can take in a single combat round. So having a larger pool is more about being able to do more at once than doing any particular thing better. Vertical growth in the system comes more from the bonuses you get from styles.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



One of the weirder quirks of the system is the big bruiser in LotW is significantly worse at taking out mooks than the fast, accurate but weak guy is.

They both match up decently well against actual combatants, but against mooks, how hard you hit doesn't matter, just how accurately you hit. (Strike is still preferable IMO to Damage, but high Damage is pretty important if you want to actually hurt people with names.)

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It would honestly be easier to consider the games where 'Big, Tough Bruiser' is any kind of mechanical advantage the outliers.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Night10194 posted:

It would honestly be easier to consider the games where 'Big, Tough Bruiser' is any kind of mechanical advantage the outliers.

FFG Star Wars, for one.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


KOGAHAZAN!! posted:


I took a crack at graphing it once and the way LotW's dice pools work the average magnitude of your sets grows very, very slowly. What does grow significantly is your average number of sets. Which doesn't sound like much help until you realise that each additional set you roll is another minor action you can take in a single combat round. So having a larger pool is more about being able to do more at once than doing any particular thing better. Vertical growth in the system comes more from the bonuses you get from styles.

We got that pretty quickly for main actions, but for something like ripples this made damage accumulate very slowly. It's a cool system, but man it takes a long time to resolve combats. Honestly, I just wish that more games used one roll to resolve combat turns rather than layers of rolls.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


SunAndSpring posted:

god why am I even bothering writing this stupid poo poo out. I don't bring any insight to it, only three people here loving give a poo poo about Exalted, and the only time people have talked about it is the one time it mentioned sexism.

From ages ago, but I wanted you to know that I appreciated your Realm writeups because pf the humor and the illustrations.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization


This part is very wall-of-texty and I'm lazy so I'm breaking this into smaller chunks.

Part 4: Civilization cont'd

Science and Technology


This is immediately followed by a response letter from another scholar enumerating exactly why Dr. Urxominius is clearly a fuckwit. Scientific journals are a transuniversal constant

Science on the World Tree is basically the same as science on the internet; taking a bunch of anecdotal data and asserting with unflappable confidence that your theory is clearly correct. It doesn't help that at the fundamental level, things happen because that's how the gods made it. Forget trying to come up with a Unified Theory of Everything. It's hard to set up a properly controlled experiment when the emotional state of a god can alter the results of whatever test you're doing.

So, science as we imagine it; deeply rooted in mathematics, each new insight opening windows into new avenues of exploration; doesn't work nearly as well on the World Tree. For the most part, science as a discipline is focused on study, identification, and classification. Primes are very interested in sorting out what god's domain such and such thing is. This can have direct application, if only so you know who to blame.

There's no conflict between science and magic. For one thing, magic is so essential to the existence of every thing in the world that science is largely a study of magic to begin with. For another, magic is just a part of daily life that you'd no sooner perform scientific study without magic than you would without paper. Magic theory is the most sophisticated and developed of all the scientific arts; the people that have invented new types of magic are regarded as the greatest minds in history. Also, magic itself tends to behave in a surprisingly coherent and predictable way, especially compared to a "world made by seven gods trying to outdo each other."

Some particular sciences are quite different on the World Tree. Chemistry is a fairly crude science. Matter in this world just isn't the same as in Earth's universe. Stuff isn't made up of molecules, atoms, and particles, it's made up of textured magic of one or more Nouns. Chemistry is mostly a toy for cooks and brewers.

Newtonian physics work more or less predictably, at least when dealing with solids and liquids. Air is Hressh-Huu's domain, who is too much of a ~Free Spirit~ to chain down with equations. Everything else at least works well enough for engineers.

Electricity simply doesn't exist; lightning is a particularly assholish variety of Airador. Magnetism likewise doesn't exist, although there are objects that magically attract each other in an analogous but entirely different way, like a particular type of nut whose shell tries to reassemble after breaking.

Optics doesn't work like on earth at all. Light itself is probably just some combination of Pyrador and Illusidor, and things like diffraction and refraction just aren't concepts.

This random picture is probably just in the book to break up the wall of text, and that's the exact reason I'm putting it here too

Biology can range from the familiar to the alien to the eldritch. The physiology of most primes, at least the mammalian ones, wouldn't confound a human biologist any further than 'why is this dead furry here?' would. The biggest difference is that prime bodies were designed, and as such every organ has a clearly defined purpose with no vestigial organs. The lucky fuckers have spines that were designed from scratch to support a biped, rather than being a quadruped spine repurposed, so they don't suffer as much from backaches from poor posture. Some primes have organs for levitation, firebreathing, or shapeshifting, and those would twig the human biologist right out.

A lot of the familiar plants and animals work the same way as on Earth. Trees have roots and move water and sap through capillary action, birds have feathers and are bird shaped, etc. On the other hand, there's lots of things that simply couldn't work on Earth; plants that grow in darkness instead of light, creatures that metamorphose into entirely different biological Kingdoms, or whatever impossible creation that a god saw fit to make, without being restricted by physics or chemistry.



The existence of body, mind, and spirit is an objective observable fact, and I think that the setting does a good job at keeping the consequences in mind during worldbuilding. D&D in particular I think was always awful about having a clear concept of what the soul is and how it interacts with things like the afterlife, undeath, and so on. In the World Tree, there is no ambiguity on the subject.

The body is all the physical organs and meat. The mind is the (nonphysical) aggregation of the prime's rational thoughts, memories, unconscious desires, and so on. The spirit is the (also nonphysical) immortal animating force, the willpower, personality, and joie de vivre. Each of these three has a distinct existence. The gods attach a spirit to a newborn body, and over time the interaction of body and mind causes the growth of a mind as they intertwine. A body can exist without a spirit and vice versa; a spiritless body is basically braindead, and a bodiless spirit can be attached to an object or even a spell to give it a personality.

The body and the mind are connected by the brain, which we can all hopefully recognize. One ramification of this is that the brain is the connection point of the mind, not the mind itself, so damage to the physical organ brain doesn't necessarily damage the mind. The body and spirit are connected by the material longing, the urge to live. Mind and spirit are connected by the magerium, that tree-looking metaphysical organ that's responsible for magic the same way that lungs are responsible for breathing.

Magic
Every living thing on the World Tree has magic sense, a full spectrum of perception that doesn't exist in our universe. It's a feature of the body as a whole, or possibly of the magerium. It functions like smell, except you can "smell" with your entire body and it takes a conscious effort to perceive with this sense. Things with only a little magic can only be sensed up close, world-shaking artifacts could be sensed from miles away. Every Verb and Noun has its own unique spectrum of "scents" that can be distinguished with enough training and talent. The language that primes use to discuss magic sense is just as dramatic and overblown as the way humans try to describe the taste of wine.



Cley is the resource that primes use to cast magic. One important thing to remember is that cley is not like MP in other games. Cley isn't what magic is made of, it's not used to fuel the spells. It's more like a renewable resource that's used to pay for magic. It's the spellcasting allowance that the gods give you. A single cley is enough to pay for a single pattern spell, no matter how weak or powerful or complicated the spell is. There's no such thing as half a cley; they are completely indivisible. They're purely magical objects, barely perceptible to magic sense and even then only if you're so close you're doing the magic equivalent of buttsniffing. They're like a key made out of magic, and using them is like turning a key, or pressing a key on a keyboard, or possibly like sculpting it. Everyone gets a new supply of cley every day, usually at dawn. First all the unspent cley from the day before leaves, and then a new supply comes in. Most people that aren't professional spellcasters have about 5-6 cley, hardcore mages will have as many as 20 or 30.

Everyone knows some magic. Most people will know a couple spells related to their profession; healers know healing magic, knights know battle magic, bakers know spells that make dough proof faster, cobblers know spells that stick pieces of leather together. Five or six cley isn't nearly enough that you can do everything by magic; a baker that relied on a bread-creation spell would only make half a dozen loaves a day and then be dry. Some things can only be done by magic, though, things like fireproofing buildings, conjuring metal, and so on. People will also know spells to assist in their personal lives. Kiss the Stinging Cut for minor scrapes, Clean the Clay Dishes to make chores easier, Prevent the Unwanted Child because magical birth control is more reliable than the rhythm method.

Magic is divided into 7+12 arts, 7 Verbs and 12 Nouns, and every spell is some combination of at least one Verb and at least one Noun, and has a number describing its complexity. The basic combat spell, Fire Flower is a Creoc Pyrador spell of complexity-5 (Cr Py 5). Wizard's Subtle Mirror is Creoc Kennoc Illusidor Mentador Spiridor 20, using Creoc and Illusidor to make an illusion of oneself, Kennoc and Mentador to read one's own mind and Spiridor to animate the illusion independently of the caster.

Practical Technology
As far as materials sciences go, the primes are about as sophisticated with the materials they have available as modern humans are. Prime artisans can work with leather, wood, glass, clay, and magic as capably as we can with metals and plastics.

Mass production is looked on with extreme disfavor. The nature of magic especially encourages specialization. A single powerful enchanter can do more to reinforce the city walls than an entire brigade of semi-skilled workers. This attitude extends to almost all crafts. The ideal is for each individual crafter to be a master of the trade. If you can't afford a master's work, then you buy a used product, or an apprentice's training work, or find the work of someone less skilled. The concept of churning out large quantities of mediocre-but-acceptable product is just not done.

Agriculture, in particular, is highly advanced. While plows are made out of wood, primes have worked out enchantments to let them perform far greater than anything on Earth. They got the food benefits of the Green Revolution without most of the attendant ills of industrialization.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Coalition Wars 6: Final Siege, Part 8- "This very claim is why Soribold slew the adventurers — for he has tangled with the Defilers before and knew firsthand that these two jokers were making an illegitimate claim."


Dragons not pictured.

Freehold
City of Dragons


Finally, we get details on Freehold... wait, you want to know about Tolkeen? Well, keep on waiting. As mentioned before, this is a city run by the "Dragon Kings", with about a score of ancient dragons, a hundred adult dragons, and about three hundred hatchlings. For some unexplained reason, female dragons are in the minority here. Generally, dragons have primacy by age, then powerful supernatural creatures by power, and then lastly most humanoids and D-Bees are at the bottom of the barrel. Most of the city is humanoids by number, with sub-demons like gargoyles and brodkil being a significant but small minority.

Freehold has never been fully engaged with the conflict - it doesn't necessarily see its fate being tied to Tolkeen, despite its proximity. The dragons tend to be lazy and selfish, and some occasionally have provided assistance, but only the Sorcerer's Revenge saw them being mobilized in any great numbers. Built on a dragon-made island in the middle of the Mississippi, with tall walls and draconic population, they figured they would be safe, particularly because they share Tolkeen's force shield. When the shield falls and the Coalition besieges them, most of the powerful dragons bail to find a new home, leaving the younger dragons and residents to suffer the siege.

Most of the humanoid population lives in an "Outer City", while dragons live in an "Inner City" designed for their lairs and size. Dragon worship and dragon-owned slavery is commonplace. Despite the despotism of the dragons, many remain because there are opportunities and safety not found elsewhere. Still, it's a relatively oppressive city, with people being expected to bow and obey before dragonkind or get quashed underfoot.


"You think he understood how war is a tragedy on all sides?"

Freehold NPCs

This section is divided into four different sections with four NPCs each: Dragon Kings, Dragon "Princes", Dragon "Heirs", and other supernatural creatures are designated "Megaversals". A lot of the powerful characters have huge lists of spells or psionics - they'll even say something like "All Sensitive Psionics!" or "all invocations, levels 1-15". And like earlier, it will then list every Sensitive psionic power or every non-legendary invocation (wizard spells). Which is a really good way to fill space. I guess it helps with convenience, but when you're getting a good chunk of most of the basic spells in the game with each writeup, it makes you wonder why you couldn't have- at worst- had an additional chart of spells as a reference, that have sections like this:



Yeah, we're gonna cover 37 pages in a single post on account of that.


Tannhauser, Rexus, Sleeper, and Kaltaval.

Dragon Kings
  • Tannhauser (20th Level Great Horned Dragon): The most involved of the Dragon Kings in the war (outside of Baarrtk Krror), Tannhauser's mostly just enraged by the fact the Coalition has reached their walls. He's the closest thing to any sort of general that Freehold has, and is able to rally some of the younger dragons. He might die fighting to the end, but if he survives he'll likely resent any cowards that fled, and find some way to take revenge on the Coalition. Mostly, he's a generic ur-dragon that cares more than most.
  • Rexus (17th Level Fire Dragon): An ambitious risk-taker, Rexus apparently downed a dozen Death's Head Transports in a single day, continuing this book's tradition of NPCs completing feats they're entirely unsuited for. Let's see, a transport has 1000 M.D.C., and he does... 19 damage on average. I suppose he could have pulled some elaborate spell shenanigans, but... in any case, after that he took a nap and hasn't woken up sides. He'll fight as long as he can and may die for it, but he'll try and bail if he thinks his life is truly in peril. He mostly just likes to fight, but not to death.
  • The Sleeper (16th Level Serpent of the Wind): Known to sleep for centuries, The Sleeper has napped for centuries, but the siege will wake up. She's both described as waking up in an amazing rage and just "not happy", and it's sections like this that make me wonder if whoever wrote the "Siege Notes" was sometimes different from the main description. Apparently she'll fight for a bit and flee, but she might return for revenge... against individuals she thinks wronged her. She doesn't really judge people based on labels, though.
  • Kaltaval the Weary (26th Level Thunder Lizard): Though formerly adventurous, Kaltaval is jaded in the extreme at this point due to his age. He'd only really be interested in the war if it becomes a world-threatening conflict, and will probably just laze around until threatened directly and then bust out like a bat out of hell. Yes, three of the Dragon Kings just nap until the Siege hits. Freehold feels less like the City of Dragons and more like the Scaly Sunset Home for Elder Living.


Vargeld, Xevek, Shigen, and Hurligeth.

Dragon Princes
  • Vargeld (10th Level Ice Dragon): An arrogant dragon, Vargeld thinks humans are lowly and super gross. He'd just genocide humanity if it wasn't so gauche. He doesn't care much about the war, and will just use the siege an an opportunity to go around settling ancient grudges against other dragons.
  • Xevek (10th Level Zaayr Crystal Dragon): Supposedly an outcast even amongst other Crystal Dragons, Xevek is a mystery but is generally benevolent and will try to save humanoid citizens where he can before fleeing to a mysterious place where he can mystery it up again. He might go fight some Splugorth slavers for mysterious reasons mysteriously.
  • Shigen, Lady of the Wind (12th Level Kumo-Mi Dragon): A Japanese dragon who arrived to pay an ancient debt to some unknown dragon, she stayed for awhile and fought the Coalition until she considered it paid. After that, she set up her own little court and hung out, presuming they'd never actually siege Freehold. She may stay and help, or go back to Japan! It's your turn to give her a personality, GMs!
  • Hurligeth the Brawler (8th Level Wooly Dragon): One of the few Wooly Dragons to survive to old age, he likes to fight, and goes up against the Coalition time and time again not out of any benevolence, but because he likes to fight? He'll probably die because he likes to fight, but others may try and rescue him. If he survives, he'll probably join some anti-Coalition resistance because he likes to fight.


Pradgigor, Goezumi, Havolog, and Nacader.

Dragon Heirs
  • Pradgigor (6th Level Hydra Hatchling): The "Scourge of the Coalition", he likes to fight. Generally, he's left to fight alone because he gives no shits about friendly fire. Still, he hates the Coalition because insert reason of your choice here and loves to fight. Wait, deja vu...
  • Goezumi (6th Level Shikome Kido-Mi Dragon Hatchling): "Another Freehold superstar hailing from Japan...", this dragon likes to cosplay as a ronin badass and go around seeking the perfect duel. Once, he found a Coalition Juicer that might be his equal, but the Juicer flopped over from drug burnout before they could fight. He plans to die with honor like a proper Japanese stereotype, no doubt while shouting "Banzai Coalition-kuns!" In case you were wondering, he loves to fight.
  • Havolog the Miserable (6th Level Night Stalker Dragon Hatchling): A deceitful thug, Havolog has gone around trying to steal credit for others' accomplishments during the war. While Freehold locals aren't convinced, the Coalition is convinced he's way more dangerous than he is and there's a special unit of "Coalition dragon hunters" after him. During the chaos, he'll try and rob others, and the chances of him dying either at the hands of the Coalition or his peers seems pretty high.
  • Nacader (7th Level Basilisk Hatchling): Weaker than other dragons, Nacaeder has generally stayed out of the war, seeing Tolkeen as doomed. He's been researching escape routes, and plans to scam people out of money by selling them a way out - and then taking another route himself while they act as bait. Afterwards, he'll probably continue on as a grifter. Also, he has a special scrying crystal ball because there's a ball in the art.


Prid, Thulan, Burkha, and Soribold.

Freehold's Megaversals
  • Prid Sigil (8th Level Techno-Wizard): Arriving in Freehold mainly to research the Techno-Wizard arms used by Tolkeen and try to help with arms development, Prid found his devices rejected in favor of the Iron Juggernauts already in production. He doesn't take it personally, just concluding it was too late, and will probably fly off to find new takers for his designs elsewhere.
  • Thulan Kugan (8th Level Cr'o Demon Mage): An evil demon wizard who tried to conquer Eastern Europe but was stopped by the Sunder Force.

    quote:

    Whirlwind Ivan: Stop! The Sunder Force has come to put a stop to your plans!

    Thulan Kugan: You're too late, my ritual has already begun, Thunder Force!

    Whirlwind Ivan: No, actually, it turns out we're Sunder Force, like... Sunder-

    Thulan Kugan: Are you pronouncing your "Th"s correctly? It sounds like you said Sunder. How ridiculous, Thunder Force, you can't even say your own name!

    Spring Jones: No, it's S-U-N-D-E-R-

    Thulan Kugan: You can't even spell it! How gloriously imbecilic you are!

    He fled to America to settle down near Tolkeen to revel in the chaos and just wants the murdering to go on forever, so he'll probably escape and lead a revolt against the Coalition to see it all happen again. He's evil because he was born that way, ho-hum.
  • Burkha the Magnificent (9th Level Mystic): A Rahu-Man (four-armed giant) who's convinced the fall of Tolkeen will cause a domino effect leading the Coalition overrunning most of North America. This turns out to just be a delusion on his part, because of insert reason of your choice here. He'll probably live and... join... the resistance. Get in line, Burkha.
  • Soribold Vask, Lord of Letters (10th Level Ley Line Walker / 8th Level Diabolist: A lizard mage from the Palladium Fantasy world, he's generically power-hungry guy who seems like he's likely from Kevin Siembieda's original campaign, given it mentions him battling the Defilers and murdering fakers for being fake Defilers, and he's loaded down with magical goodies (including a Soul-Drinking sword, enjoy him insta-killing PCs at his whim). Ultimately, he's in it just to find an opportunity to steal "four or more" of Tolkeen's artifacts, and probably try and set up a small kingdom for himself elsewhere.

Next: Tolkeen? No, it can't be! It's a trick! It's impossible!

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 09:23 on Jun 19, 2019

Hattie Masters
Aug 29, 2012

COMICS CRIMINAL


Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

[*]Burkha the Magnificent (9th Level Mystic): A Rahu-Man (four-armed giant) who's convinced the fall of Tolkeen will cause a domino effect leading the Coalition overrunning most of North America. This turns out to just be a delusion on his part, because of insert reason of your choice here. He'll probably live and... join... the resistance. Get in line, Burkha.

Yes because the expansionist, fascist, genocidal empire definitely won't be a threat to more places if it wins and thus has more territory, resources, and fuel for rhetoric. You're just being silly!

Get hosed, Kevin.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


If it wasn't for the lovely plot railroad, how combat capable does two pages of every-spell-in-the-game make a dragon? Would the Dragon Kings be better off in a humanoid form with an energy weapon and some decent MDC armor from a different splatbook? Would an actual gaming group be able to run a fight involving Dragon Kings vs Coalition Bullshit before everyone at the table died of cross-referencing-induced papercuts?

Seatox fucked around with this message at 10:58 on Jun 19, 2019

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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2014-2018



Fangs at the Gate: ANGARMOR, or possibly ARMANGOR

Seven Furies Caged is 4-dot moonsilver articulated plate. The Lunar Blood Nail in his youth was renowned for his rage against the Shogunate and his recklessness, refusing even to wear armor against the Wyld Hunt. His lover and Circlemate, Amareq Winding-Glory, decided this would not do and that Blood Nail needed protection. By the time Amareq finished the armor, it was stained red with blood, both that of Blood Nail and his victims. Amareq saw that the armor had drunk deep of his lover’s rage and become a monster itself. The Lunar and armor together slew many foes, whose skulls hung from its spikes. Blood Nail became a shahan-ya early in the life of the Realm, as young Lunars sought his aid in mastering their own rage. Blood Nail freely lends his students and allies the armor, so long as they vow to further his goal of open war with the Realm’s satrapies. Lunars who will not must trade favors to access Seven Furies Caged. The armor is a jagged, bestial design. Some say it is crude, but others remember the skill Amareq needed to craft it and the sharp moonsilver spikes that grow from its helm, pauldrons and gauntlets. Some of the plates are discolored by fragments of jade or splinters of bone that got caught in the armor from dead Dragon-Bloods while Amareq made it. It has two hearthstone slots.

Seven Furies Caged increases soak and hardness as your wound penalty goes up. Jubilant Loss of Control lets you use your wound penalty as a Join Battle bonus and a bonus to attack and damage if you win Join Battle and make a Decisive attack on the first turn. Harnessed Fury Mantra improves the Charm Relentless Lunar Fury, increasing your Strength when you use it and giving a bonus to feats of strength based on your wound penalty. Invincible Berserker Approach gives a Hardness bonus, and if you are sufficiently damaged, it can even be used while Crashed. If you take no damage, you reflexively make a Presence roll to threaten your attacker with a bonus based on your wound penalty.

Unrelenting Destroyer Fury gives a bonus to attack and damage against anyone that’s damaged you since your last turn. Blood Moon Ascendant can only be used while in Relentless Lunar Fury, and it lets you roll Stamina+Strength to gain Initiative, with a bonus based on your wound penalty. Seven Vengeful Fangs causes the armor to roar as it is struck, its spikes growing to impale the attacker. When you use the Lunar Charm Knife-Biting Attitude, you can make a Decisive counterattack based on the Initiative you gain from it, and if Relentless Lunar Fury is active, you can even do so while Crashed. Bleeding Behemoth Rampage improves the Charm Frenzied Desperation Strike, causing the armor to force your body to move even when it can’t. This gives a bonus to the Charm’s damage and your Initiative if it hits.

Death at the Root is a 5-dot moonsilver grimcleaver (read: fuckoff battle axe). During the First Age, the master Lunar geomancer known as Shu Ri-Li the Dragon Line Shepherd used the Crook of Earthly Harmony to raise up mighty towers that went into Yu-Shan, pagodas that sealed off shadowlands and gemstone jungles. When the Usurpation came, his life’s work fell to the hands of the Dragon-Blooded traitors, and in his fury, he snapped the green jade crook and refoged it as the handle of a massive moonsilver blade. This, Death at the Root, was wielded against the usurpers to deny them the power of geomancy by maiming the very dragon lines themselves, allowing Shu to destroy irreplaceable geomantic and sorcerous infrastructure rather than see it used by the usurpers. The axe is a weapon of immense power, and perfectly suited to Pact tactics. Many Lunars have wielded it – Seventh-Born Moth used it to break four of the five manses that purified the River of Tears, rendering its waters salty once more, and Black Heavens Magister used it on the Four Winds Throne in Greyfalls, shutting down the Realm Defense Grid for an entire season. However, the Wyld Hunt that came for him seized the grimcleaver from his corpse. Fortunately for the Pact, it didn’t long remain with them due to the efforts of Hajkal Pra, who broke into Ledaal Purun’s sanctum-manse, using the axe to sunder the wards in the manse on the way out. The axe is frequently traded between Pact Lunars as repayment for favors. It has three hearthstone slots.

Death at the Root can be used to destroy hearthstones without need for the normal prerequisites or examination period required, and its user gets its first Evocation free. Sever the Flow lets you slam the axe into the ground to unleash a shockwave that disrupts a manse or demesne, suppressing its magical nature nearby for the scene, including its mote recovery for its owner, the owner’s ability to sense Essence use in the disrupted area, and so on. Welling Sap Strike lets you gather Essence from the dragon lines after a Decisive attack or use of Sever the Flow, which forms a corona around the axehead and increases its Withering damage for the scene. World-Breaker’s Blade lets you apply the damage bonus from Welling Sap Strike to Decisive attacks as the axe blazes with many-colored energies. Dragon’s Egg Cracked lets you make a gambit to destroy a hearthstone and break its owner’s attunement to the associated demesne or manse. If you’ve used Sever the Flow on the associated area, you also get an attack bonus and bonus to the gambit roll.

Dweomer-Cleaving Edge upgrades Spell-Rending Talon, removing its cost when used to enhance a chopping attack with the axe. It also lets you hit someone with the axe to counter the spell they’re casting, stripping sorcerous motes based on damage dealt. Cutting the World-Root lets you pay extra when using Sever the Flow to make it last several days. It is learned free when you successfully use Sever the Flow against a greater demesne or manse or when you use Dragon’s Egg Cracked to destroy a greater hearthstone. If resonant, you can use Sever the Flow at a key point in the manse or demesne to shut the entire thing down, not just an area within it, and break any Linked-keyword hearthstone originating from it.

World-Soul Harvest lets you pay extra after using Cutting the World-Root to steal the area’s energies, making a duplicate of its hearthstone grow in an empty socket on the axe, which shatters if removed. It is Steady, even if the original was not. Broken Circle Ruin lets you use Sunder the Flow on sorcerous workings to negate them (for Terrestrial workings) or suppress them temporarily (for Celestial or Solar). If a Celestial working incorporates a demesne or manse, it can be permanently negated. Manse-Razing Strike can only be learned if resonant and can only be used on a manse or demesne that has been completely suppressed by Cutting the World-Root. You can make an extended Craft (Geomancy) action to completely destroy the site, cutting off the terrain or architectural features most vital to it. It’s not easy and takes several days but you can just destroy the manse. You only get one shot per location, though – fail, and you can’t try it again, ever, at that spot.

Weirdflame is a 5-dot moonsilver devil caster (flame pistol, remember). After the Usurpation, the shamanic crafter Saint of the Sands fled into the Wyld, building a palace-forge there. He fought the Wyld, capturing the Fair Folk and feeding them to his forge-fires to make his vengeful weapons. Weirdflame was the last of them, built from the twisted chaos-ruins of the forge itself. Since the Saint’s death, it and the rest of his arsenal have been scattered across and even outside the world, wielded by many, both Lunar and not. Few of these weapons can match the infamy of Weirdflame, however, whose flames burn with Wyld power, tainting all they touch with the chaotic energies. Eight-Eye Weaver wielded it to burn down satrapies and transform soldiers into monsters, while the witch-king Kurzimund used the weapon as a tool of fear, turning criminals into grotesque creatures. Weirdflame is gaudy, its barrel a moonsilver spiral shot with veins of chaos and a grip of mother-of-pearl. Its flames burn in a rainbow of colors, not all of them natural to Creation. As far as anyone knows, it still lies sealed where its last wielder, Four Pines Sage, placed it. Still, its fires call out for a master. It has a single hearthstone slot.

Weirdflame’s wielder gets the first Evocation free. Spark of Madness lets you pick a derangement. While the Charm is active, you have it at Major, but Weirdflame loses the Slow tag and no longer requires ammunition. Wyld-Flame Crucible lets you shoot someone as a gambit, transforming them with morphic flame. You can make them Hideous and terrifying, causing anyone to assume they must be a fae, demon or similar if they fail an Occult roll, you can turn one of their limbs into a grotesque thing, giving a penalty to using it, or you can melt away their face and make them impossible to recognize by scent, sound or voice without use of magic. These are all shaping effects, and the only one you can stack on someone more than once is the limb-twisting one. You may develop new transformations to be used with this Charm with XP. The Moon in Flames lets you shoot someone with Weirdflame to activate Sharing Luna’s Gifts without having to hurt yourself or to apply Insidious Lunar Transformation without having to hurt yourself, and any Evocations that enhance Wyld-Flame Crucible also apply to Insidious Lunar Transformation when used this way. This is gained free when you fail a roll against the Derangement gained via Spark of Madness.

Mad-Fire Ultimatum gives a bonus to a threaten, instill or inspire roll to torment or outrage someone you’ve warped, and it causes a derangement of hysteria for a few days if it hits. Twisting Ash Brand makes Weirdflame shoot multi-colored smoke that clings to a foe as you aim at them, making it easier to use Wyld-Flame Crucible on them. Ruined Phoenix Crucible makes Wyld-Flame Crucible’s transformations last way longer, especially mortals, and you can commit Essence to make them last indefinitely. Wyld Nightmare Inferno lets you summon a Wyld-flame vortex by shooting upwards, causing a powerful environmental hazard, which you’re immune to if Spark of Madness is active. Damage dealt by it makes Wyld-Flame Crucible easier to use, and if enough damage is done, you can just straight up apply its effects without a roll. The hazard cannot be extinguished by water or fire-suppressing magic of any kind, but ends when you get Crashed.

Next time: NPCs

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