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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Doresh posted:

Wait. There's no Hunter-related secret government agency build around elite teams made up of different patriotic monster splats?

Too much a problem with differing power levels, I suspect.

Then again, this is how I portrayed Task Force Valkyrie in my old tabletop gaming group. The mysterious Director who founded the agency was eventually revealed to be a Promethean who completed her Pilgrimage and retained her memories, and the players learned that there are a handful of mages, prometheans, and sin-eaters on the payroll.

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Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Rand Brittain posted:

Anytime I hear the suggestion that anybody in this industry is motivated by greed, I laugh until the tears come.
People in any industry can be motivated by greed, they can also just be really bad at picking avenues to reliably satisfy their motivations.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





Rand Brittain posted:

Anytime I hear the suggestion that anybody in this industry is motivated by greed, I laugh until the tears come.
How about smugness?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rand Brittain posted:

Anytime I hear the suggestion that anybody in this industry is motivated by greed, I laugh until the tears come.

You'd think it'd be ridiculous, but people manage. Crisis of Treachery and whatnot. Anything Ken Whitman's been involved in. Or certain unnamed kickstarters.

Not that I think anybody is trying to game writing Exalted for a chunk of change, that seems like a bad drama to profit ratio.

Monathin posted:

I was debating it because really, the Southeast is huge, but I don't have enough knowledge to make direct comparisons to 2e to explain the expansion. I can maybe churn out a small mini-update on that area if you want before I dig into mechanics.

Do it how you like, I just thought it was worth bringing up!

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

People in any industry can be motivated by greed, they can also just be really bad at picking avenues to reliably satisfy their motivations.

Didn't the guy in charge of Catalyst Game Labs embezzle a whole bunch of money?

It owns, he's basically playing Shadowrun IRL!

Alien Rope Burn posted:

You'd think it'd be ridiculous, but people manage. Crisis of Treachery and whatnot. Anything Ken Whitman's been involved in. Or certain unnamed kickstarters.

What is the story behind Catalyst guy and was it really Gau or Red Mage who stole all the money from the Turbodracula thing???

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Bedlamdan posted:

Didn't the guy in charge of Catalyst Game Labs embezzle a whole bunch of money?

It owns, he's basically playing Shadowrun IRL!


What is the story behind Catalyst guy and was it really Gau or Red Mage who stole all the money from the Turbodracula thing???

Catalyst guy who I don't believe is Catalyst guy anymore embezzled six figures of money to remodel his house among other things. This resulted in a bunch of Catalyst freelancers getting hosed out of money owed on a bunch of projects in the pipeline but nobody wanted to be the whistleblower on the off chance that they might someday get paid for it...until someone prodded Frank Trollman into doing it for them. Trollman burned his bridges but nobody got paid, a bunch of longtime Shadowrun writers quit in disgust, and all those unfinished projects had to be cancelled or hastily rewritten by a new crop of freelancers. Now the guy in charge of Shadowrun is someone whose involvement in SR4E boiled down to a couple of novels and I think a sourcebook.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Rand Brittain posted:

Anytime I hear the suggestion that anybody in this industry is motivated by greed, I laugh until the tears come.

I have to F&F Metascape now.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Nessus posted:

How about smugness?

Oh, now that's something this industry isn't going to run out of any time soon.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





ATTRIBUTES AND SKILLS AND CHARACTER CREATION

You know what attributes and skills are. I don't need to explain this, but I can elaborate on some new stuff. For starters, your attributes are also your health and you kinda don't want a 0 in certain skills. Let's get down to brass tacks. The game expresses that you should not just be a one-trick pony but a well-rounded PC with some areas you shine in.

The six Attributes are Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve and Strength. You have to have at least 1 point in each Attribute and they function as your health. When you take damage, it's directly applied to your relevant Attribute and it lowers it. I'll go more in depth later but damage isn't necessarily bullets and lasers, it also includes insults, embarrassment, getting drunk or flubbing your words. For humans stats range between 1-6 though some alien templates will change these parameters and the human average for an Attribute is 3. When do you use an Attribute with a certain skill? It's a little like Maid: it depends on the circumstances and your approach to the problem. Awareness+Technology is a good way to pin down what a machine's problem is, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to fix it; that might be Ingenuity+Technology.


Laser tag like the Solar System has never seen before.

Awareness is for clue-hunting, perception, spotting enemies and seeing through environments.

Coordination is for shooting, jumping, balancing, piloting and dodging.

Ingenuity is raw talent at intellectual tasks, how well you can reason and how well you can apply your raw brainpower.

Presence is raw social talent and how well one can apply it in negotiations, fast-talking or intimidation.

Resolve is how strong your will and confidence is, providing you backbone while also giving you the strength to resist manipulation and psychic powers.

Strength isn't just strength but it's also physical fitness and endurance. Low strength can be from sickness but it can also be from being out of shape.

There are only 12 skills, which is honestly a relief compared to skill-heavy games. Skills are specific applications of raw ability and you can have skills range from 0-6 normally, but multiple skills with 4 are better than a few with 6+. If you have 0 in a skill, you can roll an Attribute only but you have no specific idea what you're doing. If you have a 3 in a skill, you can get an Area of Expertise, a tightly specific field where you also get +2 to the use of that skill (think Pistols or Ancient Martian Technology or Flying Rockets).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KK14lsnUyE

Athletics is used for specific types of physical activity or applying specialties beyond "lift" or "dodge". If it's not in a combat sense and it's physical, it's Athletics. You'll generally see it used with Coordination or Strength but I've watched plenty of anime where the protagonists use Resolve+Athletics or figure out an opponent's technique with Ingenuity+Athletics.

Convince is a skill that's generally resisted with Resolve or Ingenuity. It's used for fast-talking, intimidating, seducing or trying to talk your way out of a problem. Presence+Convince is pretty common, but Ingenuity+Convince would make sense for laying down a logical argument and Strength+Convince is good for browbeating someone with flexing.

Craft is for creating something that's less on the high-tech side of things and more on the artistic side of things. Craft is used for sewing, making Martian sand art and painting but it can also be used for performing dances, music or plays. A Martian Courtesan can get a lot out of Craft. Coordination+Craft is good for using your body to make art, Ingenuity+Craft is good for using your mind or using your head to think about someone's creation and Awareness+Craft is good for raw appraising.

Fighting is fighting. Yup. Fighting is resisted with Fighting unless they're just dodging your attack, that's Athletics. You're probably going to use Strength or Coordination for your own style and weapon unless you want to use Awareness or Ingenuity to read an opponent's style and find openings like Sherlock Holmes would.

Knowledge is learnin' that's not covered by Medicine, Science or Technology. Knowledge represents general education (or more specific) and you also get 1 free language for every level of Knowledge. Most of the time you're going to use Knowledge with Ingenuity or Awareness.


The color of the Chanari Tribes doesn't literally refer to their skin color like it would with John Carter. Chanari Tribes go by the Color Animal name scheme.

Marksman is for shooting real good or throwing things. You can resist with Athletics. You're probably going to use Coordination with Marksman but you could also use Awareness for bypassing cover/finding and reading your target or Ingenuity if you're going to try to plot a path through an area or use a high-tech weapon.

Medicine isn't just for healing the body. It's used for healing the mind and finding clues on bodies as well. Coordination and Medicine would be good for a surgeon, Awareness is good for finding clues but most of the time it pairs well with Ingenuity for first aid or psychotherapy.



Science makes anything possible! There's a lot of overlap with Medicine and Technology but Science is generally used for theories and solving mysteries. Most of the time you'll be using Ingenuity or maybe Awareness with Science.


Looks like she got some War Walkers tickets to the gun show.

Subterfuge is for sneakin' and thievin' or for knowing how someone would do those things. The game notes it to be a rare skill because most of the people in space aren't likely to be a petty criminal...or maybe that's what you just think. Coordination is good for lock picking and sneaking, Awareness is good for finding traps and Presence is good for tapping the criminal underworld for info.

Survival is handy because the solar system is a dangerous place and you need food and water to survive. Awareness pairs well with Survival for tracking and reading the environment and Ingenuity is good for finding what you need to live.


In search of food on Venus.

Technology is needed for repairing and using certain high tech items, like radium engines or radar. This doesn't cover invention, that falls under a Trait you can take. Most of the time you'll need Ingenuity or Awareness for Technology.

Transport is the driving stat and generally needs Coordination. Not too much fancy here, all the fancy stuff comes from being able to fly a rocket ship.

CHARACTER CREATION

There's a bit more to character creation that I haven't shared yet but that's because they're heavy on info and would require putting off character creation. Creation is a four step process and every character has a pool of 42 character points to spend on Attributes, Skills, Traits, Species Package and Occupation Packages. Species and Occupations have varying costs but it's always 1 point per level of Attribute, Skill or Trait and you can only get up to 6 points back from taking negative Traits.

1: Pick a Species.
2: Pick an Occupation.
3: Spend points on Attributes, Skills and Traits
4: Figure out equipment, background, personality, etc.



So James sits down with Caleb and they both crack open their books to figure out a character for Caleb to play. He wants to play a French archaeologist with an interest in the artifacts of the Crater so the first two steps resolve themselves quickly. Human costs 1 point and gives Friends (Minor Good), Explorer fits the archaeologist theme and gives +2 Awareness, +1 Resolve, +2 Survival, +1 to Knowledge, Marksman, Science, Technology and Transport and gives the Traits Brave (Minor Good), Insatiable Curiosity (Minor Bad), Keen Senses: Pick One (Minor Good), Lucky (Minor Good), Sense of Direction (Minor Good) and Obsession (Minor Bad) for 12 points.

Now it's up to him how he wants to spend the 29 remaining points. Characters have to have 1 in every Attribute, so that costs 4 points, but he wants them to have a minimum in 3 in each stat. Overall that costs 18 points and adjusts the cost to 11. Boosting Athletics to 2, Knowledge to 3 (with a specialty in archaeology), Marksman to 2 and Science to 2 costs 6 points total. To get an extra point, he gives his Explorer the Trait Argumentative (Minor Bad). With the remaining 6 points, he boosts Keen Senses to Keen Senses: All (Major Good), Resourceful Pockets (Minor Good), Fighting Man or Woman (Minor Good), Linguist (Minor Good) and boosts Coordination by 1 more point.



Caleb comes up with the name Sybille Dupree, two-fisted archaeologist with an interest in cutting edge technology. Normally, she would have her pick of the litter for equipment; the game offers player characters whatever would be reasonable for their characters to have for free. If she was to have a simple rifle, Caleb could just write the stats for a rifle on the sheet. You can spend Story Points in character creation to buy certain items, though. This doesn't reduce the total of them for good, it just removes them from the bank before they start play. For equipment, Caleb spends 1 Story Point to give Sybille a Light RAY Gun, Rocket Ranger Space Armor for 2 Points for defense and 4 Points for a Rocket Pack to get around Venus for a grand total of 7 Story Points. Let's see what Sybille Dupree looks like:



Not too shabby! She can hold her own in a fight pretty well and is well on her way to unlocking the secrets of Venus.

For a suggested character design, MJ12 said "Venusian Master Troll". Well you're in luck MJ12: the Diplomat Occupation recommends that if you play this Occupation as a Venusian, you're likely a Priest. And if you're a Priest, you got that way by being argumentative as hell. Let's put this character together, shall we?

First, pick your species: Venusian for 10 points.
Awareness: 1, Coordination: 1, Ingenuity: 0, Presence: 0, Resolve: 0, Strength: 2
Alien Appearance (Major Species Bad), Climbing (Major Good), Empathic (Minor Good), Impulsive (Minor Bad), Keen Senses: All (Major Good), Natural Weapons (Minor Good), Psychic Training (Minor Good), Swinger (Minor Good), Tough (Minor Good).

Second, Occupation: Diplomat for 14 points. Because Diplomats also get Empathic and it's not a Trait that has more than one level, one point gets refunded to 13.
Awareness: 2, Coordination: 1, Ingenuity: 1, Presence: 1, Resolve: 1, Strength: 2
Convince 2, Knowledge 1, Subterfuge 1.
Alien Appearance (Major Species Bad), Charming (Minor Good), Climbing (Major Good), Empathic (Minor Good), Friends (Major Good), Impulsive (Minor Bad), Keen Senses: All (Major Good), Natural Weapons (Minor Good), Obligation (Minor Bad), Owed Favor (Major Good), Psychic Training (Minor Good), Swinger (Minor Good), Tough (Minor Good), Voice of Authority (Minor Good).



Third, let's throw some points around. The nice thing about character creation is that because you've picked an Occupation, you get some of the Traits you'll need to do what you need to do. I don't need to spend too much more of my remaining points on more Traits outside of personal preference.
Awareness: 3, Coordination: 3, Ingenuity: 2, Presence: 4, Resolve: 4, Strength: 4
Convince 3, Fighting 3, Knowledge 2, Subterfuge 1, Survival 2.
Alien Appearance (Major Species Bad), Charming (Minor Good), Climbing (Major Good), Empathic (Minor Good), Friends (Major Good), Impulsive (Minor Bad), Keen Senses: All (Major Good), Natural Weapons (Minor Good), Obligation (Minor Bad), Owed Favor (Major Good), Psychic Training (Minor Good), Swinger (Minor Good), Tough (Minor Good), Voice of Authority (Minor Good).

Fourth and finally, background. This Venusian Diplomat has been called Silverback enough times by visiting humans the name's sort of stuck for human visitors. He's a Priest and as such he's an accomplished, practiced speaker who can still gut a Thunder Lizard with the rest of his Tribe. Because he speaks English, he's a skilled go-between for humans and Venusians and his new French friend is in dire need of his help. She wants to explore the Crater with her new jetpack and she needs his help keeping the other Conclaves off her back so she needs Silverback's help. I'm not going to pick out equipment.



SILVERBACK
Awareness: 3, Coordination: 3, Ingenuity: 2, Presence: 4, Resolve: 4, Strength: 4
Convince 3, Fighting 3, Knowledge 2, Subterfuge 1, Survival 2.
Alien Appearance (Major Species Bad), Charming (Minor Good), Climbing (Major Good), Empathic (Minor Good), Friends (Major Good), Impulsive (Minor Bad), Keen Senses: All (Major Good), Natural Weapons (Minor Good), Obligation (Minor Bad), Owed Favor (Major Good), Psychic Training (Minor Good), Swinger (Minor Good), Tough (Minor Good), Voice of Authority (Minor Good).

NEXT TIME: OCCUPATIONS

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

People in any industry can be motivated by greed, they can also just be really bad at picking avenues to reliably satisfy their motivations.

In the case of Exalted, it's definitely not greed. Whatever other problems it has, the avalanche of content is born out of love of the game.

"For the love" is also a big problem in this industry!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bedlamdan posted:

What is the story behind Catalyst guy and was it really Gau or Red Mage who stole all the money from the Turbodracula thing???

Apparently Red Mage ran with money, from what I understand, given that he vanished afterwards? And Gau is considered suspect by many, but proclaimed innocence? Probably don't want to derail the thread too hard on that, a lot of people feel pretty goddamn burned, but that's the best I understand it.

Mind, I think most failed Kickstarters are started with the best of intentions, and that creators most of often fail due to drama external or internal rather than intentional scams. But there there are definitely exceptions. I'm not really convinced there's any mystery as to why Exalted turned out the way it did or why it was late; it seems like a natural result of the designers' ambitions.

That Old Tree posted:

In the case of Exalted, it's definitely not greed. Whatever other problems it has, the avalanche of content is born out of love of the game.

Yeah, it's definitely a passion project, but it's very much their passion project in this heartwarming episode of Designer Knows Best.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





The First Nation: Uldholm

This is the ballad the Uldfolk sing:

quote:

“Clever Criff was a baker’s son, a bold and dissatisfied lad
For The Empire was marching in Uldholm and the ladies loved men at arms.
He slipped off in the darkness and was soon in armor clad.
They marched all night and day and then engaged the foe at noon.
Then Criff learned the labors of war outweigh any maiden’s charms.

“One hard blow to his helmet, and Criff collapsed in a swoon.
He awakened hours later to a crowfeast and a shout,
‘I’m blind! Oh god of Pahar, bring me home, give me this boon!’
Criff answered him in his own tongue, ‘I’ll help you if I can!’
For he could see we’d lost the day, with only invaders about.

“Criff entered the enemy camp disguised and aiding the Pahar man.
He spun them quite a tale of being ‘Criff the Imperial Wizard.’
They led him to the General to confer on the battle plan
Where Criff was much distracted by the general’s lovely daughter.
He swore, ‘I’ll win her favor tonight,’ and he was good as his word.

“As the girl lay dreaming of all the joy stout Criff had brought her
Criff dressed and crept away in darkness, towards the storage quarter.
He’d pocketed their battle maps and then, to make things hotter
He lit their food stores all afi re, save one cart he could fl ee in.
He chuckled, ‘Baker? Mage? Translator? Now I’m an exporter!’”



The Uld are a modern, egalitarian, hard working, progressive, forward thinking people. Theirs is one of the few rare non-feudal nations in the world, instead the Uld are ruled by a council of Trade Guilds, who fairly and equally represent the Uldish people in a meritocracy based government where the competent and hard working are rewarded.

That is of course assuming you aren’t too lazy or unskilled to join a guild, in which case you don’t deserve any of the proper privileges of good Uldish Guildfolk. Or if you weren’t a native-born Uld, immigrants obviously cannot be trusted to know what’s best. Or because you just so happen to practice a trade that doesn’t have a guild, but that’s their fault for practicing a worthless trade. Or just because the guilds don’t like you due to byzantine internal politics, but in that case you obviously aren’t worthy or deserving of being a part of a guild you worthless leech.

It’s not hard to be more egalitarian than feudalism after all.

This isn’t to say Uldholm is a bad nation, in fact it’s a downright nice place to live. It truly is the most egalitarian nation in the world, has a very good quality of life, and just the fact that you can actually improve your lot in life instead of getting stuck farming the same patch of dirt as everybody else in your family for the rest of your life is a revolutionary idea.

As a culture the Ulds value ambition, loyalty, personal excellence, innovation, and cleverness. Uldfolk are obsessed with the concept of progression, modernity, and upward mobility. One of the largest philosophical issues in Uldish culture is what the best way to pursue those values actually is. Most Uld fall into one of two ideological camps, the “Visionaries” who are progressive and always seek a better, more efficient, and easier way to do things, and the “Traditionalists” who believe the best way forward is through hard work and traditional Uldish Values.

History of Uldholm

These values, and this unique system of government, came about due to the simple expedient of the total extinction of anybody with noble blood in the entirety of Uldholm.

You see, Uldholm used to be a traditional feudal monarchy, with dukes and princes and a King at the top ruling by divine mandate and all the other standard things. This lasted until the Empire showed up. The Empire was expanding rapidly, conquering nation after nation, but they had hit a bit of an issue: While they can certainly conquer a nation, holding one is another thing. If the Empire left enough troops in a conquered land to ensure control then they wouldn’t have enough to keep conquering, but if they did keep expanding the conquered lands would fall to chaos and insurrection.

Fortunately, the empire found a solution: Bloodcutters.

The Bloodcutters were an order of sorcerers whose magic worked through ties of blood. By casting magic on one person, they could then strike at anybody related to that person, no matter how distant. They could slit your second cousin’s throat, and wipe out the entire family tree in one swipe of a blade. To show the power of the Bloodcutters, Uldholm was chosen to make an example to the rest of the world. Whenever a nobleman was captured, his entire family line was dead within a fortnight. Nobles either fled to foreign lands or were killed off, eventually culminating in the death of the entire Uldish royal family. This lead to other nations quickly capitulating to the Empire, allowing them to rule without having to disrupt the local power-structures of their conquered lands. Meanwhile though, Uld one of the few nations that didn’t surrender.

Instead, with the elimination of the nobility, the local Trade Guilds stepped up to lead the nation, in particular one General Rolf Sorgersaard a common born soldier. As the Uldish nobility was wiped out, Rold found himself with more and more power and leeway to fight the war against the empire as he wished. Through his tactical expertise he turned the war from a traditional affair into a bitter guerrilla war, which the Empire was poorly equipped to fight. In time the Empire gave up on holding Uldholm, ending the war and allowing the Guilds to consolidate their power and found modern Uldholm.

Uldish Culture

The Uld’s favorite genre are tales of hard working, clever, innovators who rise to power and success through their own talents and hard work. Two of the most popular Uldish tales are those of “Rolf’s Battle”, a dramatized war epic recounting the life story of Rolf Sorgersaard which has essentially created its own literary genre full of stories and songs meant to fill in details of the story, tell of events both before and after the tale, and essentially build a Star Wars-esque expanded universe around the story. The other is The Ballad of Criff the Clever, and Uldish Culture Hero who personifies all good Uldish things. The ballad is fifteen verses long, telling the tale of the clever Criff’s various adventures making money, seducing women, and foiling the wicked Imperials at every turn always in service to his homeland. Throughout the tale, Criff acts as a member of every one of the Uldish guilds, and acts as a unifying figure for the people.

In the arts the Uldish prefer music that is upbeat, peppy, shallow and fun. For theater, there are three rough genre’s in Uldholm: Buffoonish slapstick comedy, over-the-top action plays with magic special affects, and heavy romantic tragedies called “anguish plays”. Yes, the Uld listen to pop-music, watch low-brow comedy, special effect driven action flicks, and Oscar bait dramas.

In the Crafts though, they are unmatched. While purely decorative art is rare, most artwork is built into architecture, murals, walls and the like decorating a practical object, their functional work is without compare. Uld artisans are skilled and rewarded for it by the Guilds, pushing Masters to always innovate and improve.

Uldish cuisine is typified by bread, meat, and booze, in as many varieties and flavors they can get. Bread and pastries are the staple foodstuff of the Uld, in as many types and varieties as possible:

quote:

Walk down an Uldish bazaar and within a mile you’ll be offered fresh sweet rolls with honey glaze, thick black bread reputed to promote virility, fi ne-crusted bread fi t for the daintiest of teeth, chewy sourdough pies with meat baked in the center, long rolls, hard rolls, fl aky and delicate pastry rolls… any sort of bread one might imagine and some (like the peculiar “horse hair string bread,” an acquired taste) that one might rather not.

Ulds eat fresh fruit and cooked vegetables, though these are generally a side or garnish for bread or meat.

The Uldish are obsessed with meat, anything that flies, swims, walks, hops or digs and doesn’t talk back there’s a gourmet recipe for it. What meat you eat is based on your income, with the poorest Uld make do with pork and beef often sausage form with properly greasy and questionable contents, while the rich dine on sparrow brains, lizard tongues from the Truil Wastes, snake meat of the Tuumblahd Strangler, and Pucklish monkey livers.

There are sweets, but they are seen as an innately childish food, and an adult eating sweets more than once in a while will be seen as immature. Instead the favored vice is liquor. Beers and Wines are everywhere, with hard liquors being a recent introduction that are quickly gaining popularity.

Uldish Fashion is all about ostentation. Bright colors, complex design, and accessories everywhere. Fringes, feathers, tassles, slashed and puffed, fur lined, fur edged, elaborate buttons, braids, beads, bells, buckles, and anything else they can think of. This is because to the Ulds success is tied to moral rightness: Being good, honest, hard working, intelligent, and loyal, will lead to success and wealth. The rich are seen as more respectable than the poor, so even the poorest Uld keeps a set of fancy clothes for special occasions.

Two things the Uld specialize in is jewelry and embroidery. The Uld make and spend more on jewelry than any other people, and their textile arts are the best in the world with elaborate tapestries being a popular home decoration.

One oddity of Uld fashion is their love of going barefoot. Even the riches Uld will gladly go about without shoes if the weather permits, though this is rare abroad as most cities aren’t nearly as clean as Uldish ones. Summer wear is made up of trousers and skirts with pull over shirts and a broad hat to keep off the sun, with winter clothing being supplemented by thick quilted coats and long thick scarves worn wrapped around the head like a turban.

The Politics of Uldholm

The government of Uldholm is made up of members of the fifteen Guilds, composing the Senate and the Council, which act as the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government. The government works almost exclusively for the benefit of the guilds, even though more than half of Uldholm’s population are not members.

To be a member of one of the guilds has three requirements. First, the prospective member must be a native-born Uld, barring any immigrants and minority races living in Uldholm. Secondly, you have to pay an entry fee, the fee varies based on guild but it’s enough that the poor or lower working class couldn’t afford it. Thirdly, you have to be a member of whatever profession the guild represents, and be in good standing.

Guild membership is lifelong, and qualifies you for guild-taxes. New members are known as Apprentices. They cannot vote, but can attend meetings and propose measures, as well as petition to be tried by the guild in legal proceedings instead of civil authorities. Technically apprentices can serve on the Council or Senate, but it’s very rare. Only four apprentices have ever served on the Senate, and never on the Council.

After a while, an Apprentice can take a competence test, and sometimes pay an advancement fee, to become a Journeyman which entitles them to vote in Guild and Government matters. This is the rank occupied by the majority of guild members.

The next level up is Master status. After passing another test and paying another fee, Masters are given two votes for representation, and are allowed to petition to be tried by the Council in criminal cases, though this is very rare as it tends to backfire.

The Senate is the main legislative body of the Uld government, and currently has 222 members. It does the normal Senate duties of proposing, debating, and passing legislation, while also acting as judges in capital manners by creating 4 Senator juries to decide cases.

The formula to determine how many Senators there are is constantly revised, but at current time each master equals twenty apprentices and five journeymen. This works out very favorably for guilds with high numbers of masters, but poorly for those without. In fact the Cultivators guild, by far the largest, has been lobbying for a revision to the rule but oddly even though they are almost unanimously for it they just can’t get it to pass.

The Council of Fifteen is the executive branch of the Uldish government, made up of one representative from each guild. Certain councilors have been given extra power to perform certain governmental acts like appoint tax assessors or manage tariffs, but these powers can be revoked by the Senate at any time and so Councillors with these powers generally use them to their full extent as quickly as possible. Generally the Council has broad powers to interpret and enforce the laws of Uldholm, if they can act together enough to exercise those powers.

Local mayors or governors are appointed by the Senate generally, though the Council does appoint the mayors of major cities. During their tenure, they are required to renounce their guild membership while they serve to maintain impartiality. These positions are held to have little actual power or tenure, mostly being seen as positions for lackeys or as a stepping-stone to joining the Senate. Governors can request aid from the Soldiers guild at their discretion, though generally they prefer to hire their own mercenary troops. Longevity in most local government is dependent on being either dishonest, a guild lapdog, or both.

The Guilds
  • The Cultivators’ Guild (71 Senators): The largest guild by membership. They are generally fractious and disorganized, and are all over the political map. The only thing they can all agree on is tax cuts for farmers and more taxes on non-farmers.

  • The Merchants Guild (30 Senators): Pacifistic and isolationist, they like not spending money and not claiming territory as whenever territory is claimed, the Cultivators are the ones that grow the most.

  • The Guild of Miners and Gemcutters (21 Senators): Aggressively expansionist and the second richest of the guilds. More lands means more mines to get more ore and gems, and more wealth for the guild.

  • The Guild of Weavers and Woodcarvers (16 Senators): Very unified and politically neutral. The entire guild swings for whoever gives them the best concessions on any given issue. Everybody hates them, but needs them to get anything passed, because nobody can turn down their aid on an issue.

  • The Masons’ and Builders’ Guild (12 Senators): Peacefully expansionist, but against military action. They love spending public money on big public works projects and infrastructure, and actually back up their rhetoric. The Masons have the highest taxes of any guild.

  • The Guild of Butchers, Teamsters, and Tanners (11 Senators): No real definite politics, but are pro-expansion against the Truils.

  • The Bakers’ Guild (10 Senators): Not a factor, small, disorganized, and generally coopted or bullied by other guilds.

  • The Guild of Bankers, Lawyers, and Mercenaries (9 Senators): The riches of the guilds and more influential than their size would indicate. The mercenary branch is very hawkish for obvious reasons. Rivals of the Soldiers and Enchanters guild.

  • The Blacksmiths’ Guild (9 Senators): Shrewd negotiators and generally aggressive politically.

  • The Guild of Soldiers (8 Senators): Authoritarian and conservative, but generally anti-war. They get along with Masons and Enchanters. They act as the official law enforcement of Uldholm, and can wield a lot of unofficial power because of it.

  • The Guild of Traffickers (7 Senators): Seperate from the guild of Merchants, this guild is specifically for import/export merchants. They’re pacifists and internationalists, and are distrusted by everybody but the Musicians, Brewers, and Enchanters.

  • The Physicians’ Guild (6 Senators): Politically passionate, but not organized in any way. Lead on health matters, but nothing else.

  • The Guild of Enchanters, Sages and Lifelong Students (5 Senators): Small but influential, mainly due to their support from the Uldholm magic schools. Closely tied to the Soldiers.

  • The Guild of Musicians and Translators (4 Senators): Love foreign adventures, peaceful or warlike because they make for good work and songs. Known as spendthrifts and are generally distrusted.

  • The Guild of Brewers, Innkeeps, and Givers of Hospitality (3 Senators): Small, disorganized, and irrelevant on the large scale.

Uldholm at War

Uldish military power relies almost totally on their technological inventiveness and their powerful sorcery. Home to both the Stormtongue and Flame Dancer schools of Sorcery, the main strength of the Uldish military is in its powerful war-sorcerers, which act as the main projection of power and the Uldish special forces. Otherwise the military is mainly staffed by bulk troops of typically armed spearmen and crossbowmen, but their forces lack the training or combative instincts of their neighbors. The Uld tendency to self-interest makes poor footsoldiers.The Uld’s biggest weakness is a dire lack of higher class warriors. There is a definite shortage of irregular troops, saboteurs, scouts, and heavy infantry.

The two biggest military threats to the Uld is Dindavara to the North and the Empire to the East. Against Dindavara, the premier military power of Heluso, the Uld rely on layers of fortresses packed with the most advanced weapons and devices the Uld can think up. This may actually work, as the border between Dindavara and Uldholm is hilly, mountainous, and the few large passes are easily guarded.

Sadly, this is not going to work against the Empire. On the Imperial border there is nothing but rolling fields, and the Empire are masters of siege warfare. The Ulds only home that their sorcery and merit-based military will be able to stand against the Empire, if they ever invade again.

Seeking to expand their territories the Uld have started a slow colonization of the Truil Wastes, seeing the nomadic tribes as easy pickings. Which is both true, and false. The much smaller bands of the Truil cannot stand up to an organized Uld army, but an organized Uld army doesn’t have a hope of actually catching Truils in an open batte. Instead the general strategy is for their armies to march into an area, build some fortified homesteads, and then be completely ineffective at actually holding the border as Truil bands wander freeling in “conquered” territory.



Next time: The Player’s Chapter

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide


I dunno, I don't really like Uldholm as much as the other nations. They lack the craziness of the Truils, the weird social paradoxes of Dindavara and the desperate Machiavellian-ism of the Empire. They come across as being kind of banal, really. A nice place to live and visit but personally not one that inspires a lot of heroics.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Uldholm fills an important place as the "normal" place in the setting, a safe fantasy kingdom that would be familiar to players without involving too much work. If you're introducing people to the game for the first time, Uldholm is where you would probably start. It's also the first area detailed to let you ease into the game a bit. There's plenty of fun adventure ideas: Dealing with Truil geurillas, military conspiracies from the Empire and Dindavara, Guild politicking, etc. just it doesn't go as out there as some later regions.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Chapter 1: After the Devouring - Part 2: Hungers
So Hungers are the second splat for Beasts and honestly they're not really that integrated into the game, mechanically. While your Horror defines what Atavisms you have access to, your birthright, and your lair; your hunger defines what things you should be feeding on and nothing else. And the hungers aren't very delineated, the hunger for Prey, Power, Punishment, and Ruin can all bleed into eachother. A predator can select their prey based on the wrongs that they have done, a Tyrant police officer could exert control over lawbreakers, a Ravager could systematically destroy all that protects a lawbreaker in hiding until all they're driven out into the open. It's ultimately up to the Storyteller to adjudicate how in theme with a Beasts' Hunger a 'feed' is, and for something as character defining as a Hunger is meant to be that's very soft enforcement.


Tyrants: Hunger for Power
It's too late. I've won. I own you now, and you are going to do exactly what I say.

quote:

Some monsters live to make mighty warriors feel like mere infants, alone and scared in the dark, trying desperately to stand against something stronger and more cunning than they. In ancient times, such Beasts were worshiped as gods. Child and champion alike fell to their knees in awe at the mere sight of such a magnificent, terrible creature. Not every Beast would thrive under such attention, but for the Tyrants, the best part about being on top is looking down at all the people they crushed to get there.
Tyrants crave power, and bask in the adulation of those they have cowed into submission. Either from the top of the pyramid, or from the shadows while their subjects tremble in fear at the mere thought of their unseen king. Tyrants thrill at showing how powerless tiny mortals are against the stuf of nightmares.
Hey wait, that sounds an awful lot like the Anakim's whole shtick.

Yes, that's another problem with Hungers, they tread on the same ground as the Horrors do, ultimately devaluing them as well. A Makara tyrant wants to see the mighty put in their place just as much as an Anakim anything does, but they just do it differently.

On the Hunt
There is the obvious, stalking someone down and pulling them into an alleyway and making them beg for their life is enough for a light snack, but most Tyrants see that as inelegant and ultimately unfulfilling. A Tryrant in a corporate setting feeds by getting themselves promoted over their hated colleagues, delighting as they force their former equals to do menial tasks. A Tyrant Lawyer could find themselves working criminal law, finding sustenance in that moment when their opponent realizes they lost their case not because of the evidence, but because the Beast is just that good. "An elderly Tyrant might rule their local homeowners association with an iron fist, making all her neighbors live in fear of her visits."

And yes, barring the lawyer those are incredibly petty.

The Lessons

quote:

A Tyrant teaches people their limits. The modern narrative in many places is that people can be whatever they set out to be, but that’s simplistic and naïve. Some people’s bodies are weak; that’s not a moral failing, but it does prevent them from feats of physical strength. A beneficent Tyrant can show people alternate ways to achieve their goals or goad them into pushing past their weakness. A more vicious Tyrant might teach through despair, terror, and even shame — you are not strong enough to best the dangers of the world alone.
I'm sorry but What the gently caress!? So yeah somewhere there's a Beast that goes around to Fast Food employees and terrorizes them into not trying to find another job because they're just not good enough. And apparently there's a Beast somewhere who would view the Special Olympics as an absolute loving smorgasbord.


The Families
Anakim are well suited for the hunger for Power, as I mentioned earlier. Though they prefer being up close and personal when their prey realizes their failings. Their Horrors tend to look like literal monstrous tyrants, a Cyclops wearing a crown of human bone, or an Ogre Queen who's lair is strewn with twisted swords.

quote:

Jo doesn’t tower over her prey — she’s short, but she’s all muscle. She enjoys letting other people challenge her, especially men. The challenge isn’t always or even usually physical. Sometimes they try to test her knowledge on topics they think she shouldn’t understand, or try to explain things to her that it’s obvious she knows. She destroys them; she knows what they know and she pokes holes in their beliefs and their facts, showing them sides of the topic they never considered. Secretly, though, she relishes the rare times when a man gets so mad he tries to touch her, because then she can beat him in a way that leaves no room for argument.
The sample Anakim Tyrant is a woman who catfishes men into touching her so she can beat them down.

Empowering.

Eshmaki tyrants enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and can get playful with concepts such as 'fair play' or 'sporting chance' before they crush their targets hopes.

quote:

Reynold is a health inspector for the city. Most of the time, he does his job without complaint, but sometimes he finds the places where horrible things have happened and left… stains. Then he finds those responsible, and he makes them clean up their mess. Human offenders are simple. Supernatural ones…they take a different kind of approach. Reynold doesn’t mind the work; he doesn’t judge others for making the mess, just for leaving the stains behind.
A Beast Tyrant who beats up other people for having the audacity to behave like a beast. Remember this is supposed to be the crossover friendly splat.

Makara tyrants enforce their rule with the very lairs they dwell in. They're the masters of the depths, and will brook no discussion on that part. The victim of a Makara hunt might not even realize that there is an intelligence behind their suffering until it is too late.

quote:

Ari drives a cab. He goes to the parts of the city that the other cabbies won’t. He knows every bit of the city — the poor neighborhoods where everyone looks out for each other and the rich neighborhoods where everyone’s a stranger. When he feels his Hunger, he picks someone up and drops him in a place the person’s never seen before, a place where just walking down the street will get him arrested or jumped. He never lets anyone die. He just wants each little fish to know how far from its home pond it has strayed.
So... the Tyrant feeds by basically kidnapping people, and dumping them in the bad part of town? How does that exude an aura of power, or anything other than 'Cabbies are dicks'? Also wouldn't he have your medallion number? Aren't there any number of other reasons this is an incredibly stupid and bad idea?

"Many Namtaru Tyrant Horrors resemble insects: a queen bee with mandibles that drip venom or a cloud of vermin surrounding the unseen master of their swarm. They may be vile, but they are also impossible to ignore." ...sure? Namtaru Tyrants are careful to select only victims that can display the proper amount of awe and humility that is their due.

quote:

No one wants to get sent to the principal’s office, but especially not with Ms. Blaise there. Ms. Blaise is the assistant principal, but the real principal is just as scared of her as the kids. She has a pet scorpion in a tank on her desk. She always feeds it when she’s talking to a kid in trouble. Sometimes kids cry, sometimes they mumble apologies, but no one gets sent to Ms. Blaise twice.
Or they could just be mean vice principals.

Ugallu Tyrants enjoy feasting from afar, convincing their targets that they are trapped in a Panopticon and there is nowhere they can hide from the Ugallu's power. Their Horrors often resemble ancient winged beasts wreathed in flame ruling from a high perch.

quote:

Dave worked his way up. He started out delivering packages, but then he got promoted to supervisor, went to school, got his MBA, and now he’s got a corner office. But he’s got his sights set higher — he wants top floor. He wants to look down at the whole city. He’s patient, though. He figures there are about six more positions between his and the big boss, and he wants to have them all. It’s not having the top floor that will make him happy. It’s taking it.
...that's an incredibly inefficient feeding method for several reasons. How about you explain how this guy feeds during the several year spans between promotions? Oh right you won't because Beasts are supposed to be the good guys.


Collectors: Hunger for the Hoard
I wanted it more than he did. That makes it mine

quote:

The image of the dragon perched upon her hoard of precious gems and gold has been written into stories for thousands of years. Kingdoms have fallen trying to appease such Beasts with an endless train of gifts, only to have her sights turn to their grand castles and priceless crown jewels once everything else is gone. Even hundreds of years after all survivors have fled her domain, the stories of legendary riches and their fearsome guardian spread far and wide on desperate, greedy whispers, keeping a Collector well fed for centuries to come.
Collectors gather things, but they don't feed off of having things, you see. They actually feed off of mankind's greed. People have to want what they have.

On the Hunt
Though collections have to be physical things, hoards can vary drastically. What they all share is that someone must be willing to risk life and limb to have it. Gold and Precious Gems are the obvious, but rare books locked away in a private library work just as well. Or you can be a Principal who confiscates students possessions and never gives them back. Because beasts are also petty as gently caress.

Also, Beasts can't simply go out and buy something new, because that's trading value for value. They have to steal it for their hoard. While finding lost treasure counts, several Collectors become master theives, or work themselves into positions of power where they can steal from subordinates without giving them a chance to fight back but that's what tyrants do.

The Lessons
Nothing is forever, all things fade in time. A Collector forces their target to choose between something they are fond of and something they truly love. "What is the target willing to die to protect. What is he willing to kill to protect?" This is sounding awfully SAW here. "If you truly own nothing but what you can carry at a dead run, the collector forces her target to choose what to pick up before the running even starts. Some Collectors let it go at that. Cruel Beasts chase down the target and take his prize anyway." Because reducing someone to a single possession isn't cruel. You see.


The Families
Anakim Collectors hoard items that are a testament to their own strength. Weapons and armor worn by those who had failed to defeat them, for instance. Or personal mementos pried from fallen foes. Their lair is strewn with odds and ends, but the most prized pieces are worn by the Beast's horror, forcing a confrontation to claim them.

quote:

Zmei is a burglar…of a sort. He doesn’t creep in quietly or slip through windows. He walks in, takes what he wants (he’s partial to silver), and leaves. If the homeowner wants to try and stop them, they’re free to do so. If they can stop him, Zmei feels, they deserve to keep their belongings.
If you can beat an Anakim in single combat you get to keep what you have. This is apparently fair.

Eshmaki focus on the Owner, not the goods. They follow a target just long enough to see what they grip in fear, and that's what the Eshmaki wants to take. Other Eshmaki try to keep to more specific tastes, and ensure that if their target isn't precisely valuable, it is at least well guarded.

quote:

Rose collects teeth. She’ll take them from a victim’s mouth, if she needs to, but that’s messy and difficult. She’d rather take them from people — a lot of parents keep their children’s baby teeth, at least for a while. She’s taken them from the dead, too, and sometimes she breaks into dentists’ offices. The shape of human teeth fascinates her. Hers, after all, feel so sharp. She wonders if a vampire’s teeth might feel more like hers, but she likes most of the vampires she’s met too much to rip their fangs out. Most of them.
That's... absolutely nothing like what was just described.

Makara collectors have a knack for finding long lost things of value. "From ancient relics to knowledge that's been forgotten for centuries." Regardless of the fact that collectors need to collect physical things to feed.

quote:

Yin found a little hollow just off the coast. She swims out there once a day with a plastic bag. She always has something in the bag, something metal and heavy, and she always comes back to the beach without it. Once, someone from her neighborhood decided to grab the bag and peek in, but no one’s sure what happened after that because a storm blew up out of nowhere. Next time anyone saw Yin, she was walking into the water with two bags.
That doesn't describe anything about her actually collecting anything, just being darkly mysterious and murdering anyone who shows a hint of curiosity.

Namtaru collectors hoards are "exquisitely terrifying". They're full of nice things but they're also covered in disgusting things.

quote:

Many Collectors hide their riches away from the world. Not Nigel. He takes (“acquires,” if anyone asks) heirlooms, antique clothing, items of historical significance, and then he defiles them. He smears the handstitched clothing with blood or poo poo, he carves deep, uneven furrows in the furniture, and he puts it all on display by the side of the road, under a banner that reads “SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI.”
So he's an rear end in a top hat? Also shouldn't he be a Ravager since he's destroying and not keeping?

The most iconic collectors in history have been Ugallu. Winged beasts that perch in high places atop their glittering hoards. They're also the finders of things that are lost, a hidden murder weapon or a breakup letter thrown away are valuable to someone, and an Ugallu can feed upon it.

quote:

Anya owns an apple orchard. Each tree has a ribbon tied around the top. Some of them are red, some are yellow, some are green, and most people who visit the orchard and buy her apples assume the ribbons correspond to the specific type of apple the tree bears. But that isn’t it. Anya goes out into the orchard at night and checks the ribbons, reminiscing about the day each tree was planted. The ribbons don’t match the apples. They remind Anya what she buried when she planted the tree. Red for something stained with blood, yellow for something stolen, green for something never touched or tasted.
This is basically the only Collector actually doing what it's supposed to be doing and not murdering people over it. Good for you Ugallu.


Predators: Hunger for Prey
Oh you precious little thing. Why I could just eat you up
Predators remind people that while they may think they're on top of the food chain now, at one time they huddled by their fires in fear of the beasts that lurked outside the cave. When they're caught alone and unprepared they're just hairless monkeys. Some predators are subtle, others live for the open chase. And regardless of if their target survives the night, a Predator will take something, even if it's a pound of flesh.

On the Hunt
Predators don't need subtle manipulation and complex emotional states. The hunt is probably the easiest primal emotion to understand. Some predators are "lucky" and their horrors are satisfied with catch and release, as long as they take a trophy to identify that they have fulfilled their purpose as a hunter of man.

quote:

A Predator might spend a night chasing a victim down the dark alleys of his city, let him “escape,” and then take a lock of her victim’s hair after sneaking into his apartment while he sleeps. She might simply feed off the utter terror in her victim’s eyes when the Beast has him pinned to the ground with a knife to his throat. The Beast doesn’t need to kill the victim, but he needs to have been able to do so. The victim needs to be at the Beast’s mercy. Unlike the Hunger for Power, though, the victim doesn’t need to know it.
But I thought they had to take something and... there wasn't even a paragraph break, how could you forget that.

The Lessons
Predators teach Mortality. Tyrants "Show a victim that the climb is unsafe but manageable with the right preparation" (loving lol) Predators show mankind the monsters that live at the peak. Some predators enforce humanity's ignorance of the supernatural creatures that live in the shadows, which steps on the toes of at least... three other supernatural groups that I can think of just off the top of my head. Some predators do this by showing them a glimpse of that horror and letting them escape, others just loving murder a bastard and leave their corpse as a warning for others. Other Predators prey on trust. Because we're just completely leaving the idea of 'taking' things in the dust. "Humans want to trust each other, and they tend to believe what they are told if they are told earnestly. A Beast who Hungers for Prey might expose this folly."


The Families
Anakim Predators make their prey feel small. Because they're one note villains and this is getting old. An Anakim Predator's horror might be a hulking dinosaur from an ancient age.

quote:

Darius took his name and his hunting style from a werewolf he met once. He chases down his prey and breaks a bone — finger, arm, leg, neck, doesn’t matter, as long as he can hear the crack. He inflicts pain and fear in his prey and leaves behind a crippled, anguished person…or sometimes just a corpse, depending on how loudly his Horror howls.
Remember: this is for your own good.

Eshmaki Predators are stalkers, their horror demands the nourishment such a visceral hunt provides. They keep hidden until the last moment and strike from the shadows. They don't always kill but if they don't then they must mark their prey in some fashion.

quote:

Father Landon was a priest before the Devouring. He still believes, but when he prays, he prays to the Dark Mother. He talks with other men of the cloth, tempting them to break their vows and sin, and then watching as they run to other priests to give confession. At times he exposes their crimes and watches as the church either protects its own or makes examples. Father Landon doesn’t really care about the punishment (though his broodmate sometimes takes an interest) — he hunts transgression.
... This isn't a Predator. This goes against everything you just wrote. What the gently caress are you doing!?

Makara predators prefer elaborate tricks and traps to make their prey come to them. It might be a physical obstical but other use pleasant bat to get their prey to come out into the water. Beautiful makara play the mermaid game. If a makara's human form can't keep up with her inclinations Makara predators are more likely than others to use technology to compliment their abilities.

quote:

Brianna came to her Family early. Now in middle school, she spends summers with her brood, traveling the coastlines. She visits beaches, swims out too far, and waits for some poor soul to come and try to save her. Some Predators feed on flesh and blood. Brianna feeds on altruism. She doesn’t drown her would-be saviors — what kind of lesson would that teach? — she just dives deep and swims away, letting them either keep looking or swim back to land thinking that she drowned.
Again, this isn't a predator. Also, this is terrifying. I mean, yes, you might be indirectly responsible for deaths as the absolutely emotionally destroyed lifeguard fails to save other people. Or as they kill themselves trying to save a girl who can breathe water. But you aren't really teaching a lesson or 'hunting'.

Hunting with a Namtaru Predator at your side can be disconcerting. They work with a strange alien efficiency when give a task to do, even moreso when the task is a violent one. A Namtaru's hunger might require them to taste blood from a dozen separate tiny cuts, or feel all of a victim's ribs crack one by one under their bare hands. Other Makra use poison, letting their prey die slowly and in agony.

quote:

Vanessa likes blood. Her forearms cause deep gouges, as though they had serrated blades, and anyone caught in her embrace will bleed. Vanessa doesn’t necessarily drink the blood — she’s been known to, but just feeling it running down her body is enough. Her favorite “bleeders” are the disinterested, the people who are aloof and disdainful of their fellow humans. In her embrace, she knows they feel; if they survive, they are grateful for every moment they have. Everyone wins.
Getting a little metaphorical here, game. How does being hug-bled make people more loving of their fellow man? I would think a random person hugging me until I bled would make me more distrustful. Unless that's the point.

Ugallu predators are patient, because they are always watching. They're as long term a planner as their hunger will allow, and when they do descend on silent wings the results of their predation are swift, brutal, and efficient.

quote:

John Dawson owns the big, big house in the south end of town. The house has many rooms and a high, slanted roof. John steals people, takes them away to his house, and keeps them there long enough for their families to grow desperate. He waits until someone accuses someone else, until the dirty laundry comes out and the grief and fear breaks someone…and then he releases his prisoner, hungry but unharmed. Most of the families repair themselves. John prides himself on being the one to help them clear the air.
...this.. isn't.. a predator. It definitely isn't what you just described. And this is also terrifying.


Nemeses: Hunger for Punishment
I know what you've done. Now it's time for you to pay
Every culture has a fairy tale about creatures that punish the guilty. Children understand these fairy tales and obey them instinctively. But adults forget, so the Nemesis reminds them. They hunt down offenders and punish them for their crimes. They keep mankind's guilty conscience on edge, keep transgressors looking over their shoulder for a punishment that, rationally, should not come.

On the Hunt
To feed their hunger, a Nemesis must have a suitable target. Someone who's broken the law set upon them, or a law set by their hunger (ha ha! Jaywalking is now a capitol offense! So sayeth my balrog soul!) Whatever her rules are, a Nemesis must be reasonably certain that the target has broken them. How much evidence this requires is also completely up to the Nemesis. Once a victim is chosen, then the punishment begins. How this happens, again, is up to the individual beast. But the target must be made aware of precisely which rule they broke and know that that is why they are being punished.


The Lessons
Honestly this is the only 'lesson' that makes sense, because they're punishing infractions. But an rear end in a top hat Nemesis could also teach that rules don't matter and the deck is stacked against you and everything, including justice, is arbitrary.

The Families
Anakim Nemesis are blunt and to the point, they punish violence with more violence. Murderers and physical abusers meet fists and claws. Their laws are simple and straightforward, easy to follow and easy to break.

quote:

Ogre got his nickname wrestling in high school. The funny thing is that he’s met real ogres since then, creatures who were forced to be brutes and workhorses in the far-off Faerie realms. He’s made friends with several such changelings — and he’s the one they call in when someone breaks an oath. Ogre can’t stand betrayal. If you want to fight, kill, maim, that’s fine, he thinks, but don’t say you have someone’s back and then stab it. That’s when Ogre cracks his knuckles and everyone steps back, because they know he’s about to hit something.
Makes sense, simple and too the point. Am I reading the same book?

Eshmaki Nemesis draw out their acts of punishment. They revel in the terror they see in the eyes of those they punish, their target may ever even see the monster that's out to get them because the terror is part of the punishment.

quote:

Jess’ brood doesn’t know much about zir. They don’t know zir’s real name or zir assigned gender, and Jess isn’t interested in sharing. Jess also doesn’t participate in group hunts — it’s not personal, Jess just takes hunting seriously and prefers to do it alone. Ze finds the people who have committed crimes that went unreported — date rape, domestic violence, child abuse, the really unpleasant stuff. Those are the people Jess punishes, and ze doesn’t linger over the act. Ze does, however, make sure that zir deeds become visible, not so much as a deterrent (Jess has found that it makes little difference), but to give future victims of such crimes hope for justice.
....fuuuuucccckkk.... The transexual avenger who doesn't adhere to your gender binary or group dynamics but does kill date rapists and domestic abusers. Also this is the only time they use a nongendered pronoun like this. poo poo.

Makara nemesis tend to have rules that protect a particular place or type of environment. They punish sailors for killing albatross, or for transgressing upon their hidden cove. But having such a specific feeding requirement makes it hard to sustain themselves, so they often seek out the companionship of broodmates that can help them satiate their hunger in other ways.

quote:

Patrick and Ahmed are a Makara Collector and a Makara Nemesis, respectively, who fell in love. Patrick placed his treasures at the bottom of Ahmed’s lake, and Ahmed resolved to punish all those who would dare to steal his lover’s hoard. People come to the lake to almost every week, looking to dive down and take the “abandoned treasure.” Of course, Patrick makes sure to spread the rumors about the treasure. That way people come looking, and his lover gets to punish them.
Well even if they barely managed to not make the transexual character outright offensive, they failed on the gay characters. A pair of Gay Makara who trick people into sacrificing themselves to feed their hunger.

Namtaru are particularly suited to this hunger since they're "objects of humanity's most cruel hatred." They tend to find laws that fit a past injustice they suffered. A Nemesis bullied for their looks strikes out against those who ridicule others. A namtaru who lost a loved one to violence punishes someon who would do that to others.

quote:

Angela went to law school to represent the people who wouldn’t otherwise have representation. She represents the victims of bullies, the victims of the beautiful, the rich, the popular, the charming, the privileged. She doesn’t always win, of course — she has a small practice and she’s just as overworked as any other attorney. But she’s got a superlative method of negotiation, and it involves putting the fear of God (or at least a billion little spiders) into opposing counsel.
Yes screw the legal system let's just scare the poo poo out of people.

Ugallu Nemesese punish the most secret and hidden of crimes. Unfortunately they also seem somewhat petty. "Acting hypocritically, willfully deceiving a romantic partner, falsely professing belief in a religion, or other crimes of thought rather than action" Yes, Ugallu are literally thoughtpolice. They often like to leave clues days or even weeks in advance (usually because their guilty conscience will provide enough actual proof to suit their needs)

quote:

Benjamin knows that Father Landon lures clergy into breaking their vows, but he sees no entrapment. If they promise something, they must keep their promises, forever. If they wish to break the vows, they must renounce the church. Benjamin punishes the offenders, taking them high up to the bell tower and offering them a choice — confess, renounce, or try to fly to Heaven. He’s seen priests take all three options, but it’s all the same to Benjamin.
Yeah remember that Priest from before? We've got yet another bit of entrapment, make them renounce so that my best friend Benjamin has people to kill! Teach lessons!


Ravagers: Hunger for Ruin
You ever seen a hurricane, all up close and personal? Well, you're about to.
Ravagers must destroy to feed. It's not the act of violence that they feed from, but the change it causes in the humans who notice. When they see something destroyed they realize how fragile they are and wonder what will be destroyed next. That state of uncertainty and fear is what the Ravager feeds on.

On the Hunt
Most Horrors who hunger for Ruin aren't too picky about their meals. They might burn down a nightclub one day and take a hammer to an antiques warehouse the next. The randomness and the chaos makes feeding easier and also increases the uncertainness that sustains them. The easiest way to get the reaction they want is to destroy a symbol of security. Destroying a home will leave a family shaken and homeless, leaving gashes in the wall of a police station will have the same effect on an entire community. Ravagers rarely target people, but killing an important person can also have the same general effect. Killing a beloved mayor will leave a community shaken and broken.

The Lessons
"Life is Chaos. Death strikes at any moment." Ravagers teach people not to prepare for disaster (Because who can prepare for ruin? ) but to remain steadfast and resolute when it arrives. Disaster is survivable, victims can weather any storm, extinguish the fire, ride the hurricane. Of course if you teach the lesson to the wrong person you create a Hero. "Someone who thinks he can beat the storm, and that attitude is dangerous for all involved." Yes, ignore levees, and lightning rods, we should all just be grateful that it wasn't us.

gently caress you beast.


The Families
Anakim ravagers don't even loving try to be subtle. Meaning they can't fit in with a mortal community, and forcing them to wander from town to town. This also creates more chaos and yadda yadda yadda.

quote:

Grace watches with amusement as people take care of their cars with a tenderness they never show to people. Few things provide so much sustenance with so little work as damaging an expensive car. When Grace really feels the need to treat herself, she turns a car upside down and watches as the owner goes crazy trying to figure out how it happened.
Whatever, it's relatively benign, at least we're out of the outright murder.

Eshmaki Ravagers sneak into the most guarded places and leave signs of their intrusion to be found long after they have vanished. They're the most precise and particular of Ravagers, and also the most prone to go after humans.

quote:

Lester loves the sound of glass breaking. Human beings forget how flimsy windows are — they are enough to keep out the rain, yes, but not enough to keep out bricks, branches, or a determined intruder. Lester smashes the windows in the homes of the rich in the dead of night, and watches the security come running. Sometimes he writes his message on a wall or a mirror: YOU ARE NOT SAFE.
.....what lesson is that going to teach beyond complete and utter paranoia and creating more and more secure systems that are completely worthless against someone who can turn into shadow and creep through cracks? This is just mindless terror. And super juvenile.

Makara ravagers often leave an aftermath that looks like a storm. As they're the ones most capable of using nature in their ravages.

quote:

Naia tries to keep herself under control. She really does. She breaks things when she’s hungry, calling up enough of a storm to do some damage, and watching people feel helpless in the face of nature. But when her Horror truly hungers, she relinquishes all control and lets her Lair pour into the world, blowing down walls and flooding buildings. That’s when she floats on her back and happily watches the debris drift by.
This is a pretty good example of how even the nicest Beast is one bad day away from making 30 Heroes.

Namtaru ravagers don't 'destroy' so much as 'pollute'. Their horrors are pestilent monsters who poison the air and cover everything they pass in swarms and sludge. Their ruin is insidious because it can resurface long after people think they've repaired what was lost. They don't destroy a field, they salt the earth.

quote:

Amon finds fungus fascinating. He knows that certain types of fungus turn insects into zombie slaves, and other types can drive people from their houses in fear of their health. The fungus that grows in his Lair and that festers in the eyes and mouth of his Horror could overtake and reclaim a city in days if he ever let it out. He wouldn’t — he has friends who run as wolves, and they have to live here, too. He has a deal with them, though. If their enemies ever attempt to take territory, they’ll establish a spiritual quarantine zone and Amon will let his fungus spread.
No.
No no no no no.
loving No.
That's not how Werewolves work. They wouldn't do that. No.
Also Cordyceps are terrifying.

Ugallu Ravagers drop from the sky like a smart bomb, flattening a structure before flying away. Their ruin is precise, and only destroy what they need to to feed. But when a more 'widespread' approach is necessary, they are an angel of death.

quote:

Diana is an assassin. She chooses her targets based on two factors. One is how much someone will pay to see the target die — Diana is a woman of expensive tastes, and her lifestyle requires money. The other is how many people will mourn (or celebrate!) her target’s death. A sufficiently high-profile target or an appropriately large deposit to her Cayman Islands account earns a single shot from her rifle. Unless, of course, she feels like a more hands-on approach that night.
Murder for Hire.
Beasts are Good People that teach lessons!


So what's different?
Everything under "The Lessons" parts, obviously.
Other than that? Well, some of the example Tyrants used to be even more petty than they already are.

Eshmaki Tyrant posted:

Reynold is a health inspector for the city. When his Soul hungers, he dons rubber gloves and tests everything. He quizzes employees, he looks for the slightest bit of mold or dirt, and he happily provides miles of appeals forms to the owner. He refuses bribes and dutifully reports any attempt. He isn’t after money, after all. He’s after the frustration and defeat in their eyes.

Namtaru Tyrant posted:

No one wants to get sent to the principal’s office, but especially not with Ms. Blaise there. Ms. Blaise is the assistant principal, but the real principal is just as scared of her as the kids. She has a pet scorpion in a tank on her desk. She always feeds it when she’s talking to a kid in trouble. Sometimes kids cry, sometimes they mumble apologies, but no one gets sent to Ms. Blaise twice. That’s actually a problem for Ms. Blaise — she needs kids to misbehave. She’s hungry, and so is her scorpion.
I'm sorry did I say petty? I meant secretly murderous.

The Namtaru collector was changed entirely, here's the old version.

quote:

Tim drives a truck for the county, picking up roadkill. He scrapes the dead animals off the sidewalk, drives them out to his house, and tosses them into a ravine. Sometimes he trudges down into the ravine and marvels at the process of decay, how the flesh gets soft and falls off and how the worms and flies do their work. He loves finding new and different species on the road — sure, he gets a lot of possums and squirrels and skunks, but finding a pet dog with the collar still on? That is a rare treat. Even rarer, and better, are those misty mornings when he finds a person on the road. Tim doesn’t hunt purely through chance, of course. He drives a truck. He can make roadkill just fine.
Holy poo poo, that's actually a creepy collector, not some guy who shits on paintings in faux latin.

Other than that only a few things were changed, some slight wordings here and there, but the essence of the text was left alone. Which is kind of terrible in it's own way.

Up Next: Flesh and Blood

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

quote:

Jo doesn’t tower over her prey — she’s short, but she’s all muscle. She enjoys letting other people challenge her, especially men. The challenge isn’t always or even usually physical. Sometimes they try to test her knowledge on topics they think she shouldn’t understand, or try to explain things to her that it’s obvious she knows. She destroys them; she knows what they know and she pokes holes in their beliefs and their facts, showing them sides of the topic they never considered. Secretly, though, she relishes the rare times when a man gets so mad he tries to touch her, because then she can beat him in a way that leaves no room for argument.

With this, and that 'WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO HUNT? #MAKESYOUTHINK' cack toward Hunters, and the 'other splats love us!' garbage, the game reeks of self-insertion fanfic or callow revenge fantasy.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Was Beast written for an audience that read Harry Potter, but sympathized with Dolores Umbrage?

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Thing is, most classes/splats have to sell you on how awesome it'd be to play this, Beast does not do that. There's only a couple that seem like it'd be cool in the hands of a more competent writer, the rest are either really horribly petty or so offputtingly awful that you have to be a sociopath to enjoy it.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

What the gently caress is this poo poo? Everything I read about Beast makes me nauseous.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

These lessons aren't rules of physics, they only need to be learnt because people are doing this stuff.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






chaos rhames posted:

These lessons aren't rules of physics, they only need to be learnt because people are doing this stuff.

As I was writing all of them up I realized that the lessons are basically "Humanity is utter scum. Beasts are somehow worse."

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





"Everything is awful and sucks so you might as well give up." Maybe these are actually Wyrm spirits or something.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Why the gently caress did they make this game? Why did people pay into the kickstarter? What the gently caress, guys?

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Kurieg posted:

As I was writing all of them up I realized that the lessons are basically "Humanity is utter scum. Beasts are somehow worse."

Beasts exist so that Dennis Reynolds has someone to feel morally superior to.

Thinking about it, if I had to play Beast, it might be fun to run with the It's Always Sunny gang. But what lessons do they teach?

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

quote:

But she’s got a superlative method of negotiation, and it involves putting the fear of God (or at least a billion little spiders) into opposing counsel.

Wait, she scares the OPPOSING LAWYER? This is supposed to be about people who break the rules or transgress in some way, how is provided someone with legal defense at all a transgression? I mean, if she scared the DEFENDANT that would at least make sense, in twisted Beast logic at least. But this is punishing someone for following the exact rules that they should, even when it's unpleasant.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Ratoslov posted:

Why the gently caress did they make this game? Why did people pay into the kickstarter? What the gently caress, guys?

I strongly suspect that most of the people who crowdfunded Beast did so solely based on an extremely shallow glance that said "oh cool, playing ancient monsters of legend in the modern day, sold!" without any closer examination of the material than that. And to be fair, it's not like Onyx Path has been rife with landmines in the new World of Darkness. Demon: the Descent was rad as hell, and Changing Breeds aside the worst crime you could lay at various nWoD books was that they were incoherent (Geist) or not terribly compelling straight out of the box (nMage for a lot of people), not "this book is actively repulsive and a glorious paean to righteous abusers and how incredibly justified they are."

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

chiasaur11 posted:


Thinking about it, if I had to play Beast, it might be fun to run with the It's Always Sunny gang. But what lessons do they teach?

Don't do whatever they do.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



I can tell you why people made the game we just reviewed! Because it was 1976 and so the options on what to play were limited to D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, or Mystery Date. That's right, people who didn't guess it already, System Mastery just reviewed Bunnies & Burrows. It's 39 pages of raw carnal doom and ... trying to figure out what to do between random encounter tables.

Everything Counts
Oct 10, 2012

Don't "shhh!" me, you rich bastard!



Of all the Prince tributes I've seen this week, this is the most unexpected.

The Crotch
Oct 16, 2012

by Nyc_Tattoo


It's always good when a list of example characters includes approximately zero characters that actually look fun to play.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



The Crotch posted:

It's always good when a list of example characters includes approximately zero characters that actually look fun to play.

Or are sympathetic in any way. You could make pretty much any nWoD character go from 'comically evil' to 'morally grey' by simply adding a sentence to their backstory about how they like to find and murder Beasts.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011



The Heroes are right.

How is any of this remotely appealing or even playable in concept? They're all variants of sociopaths with no redeeming qualities.

You could make something compelling from the idea of people with hard-to-control powers maybe wishing they could just lose control, because who hasn't had that sort of day? But this isn't that in the slightest, you can't make an entire line out of the concept, and it's probably already covered (and done better) by something else in WoD.

...Actually, you can make a game out of it. It's called Monster Hearts.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





Echo Cian posted:

The Heroes are right.

How is any of this remotely appealing or even playable in concept? They're all variants of sociopaths with no redeeming qualities.

You could make something compelling from the idea of people with hard-to-control powers maybe wishing they could just lose control, because who hasn't had that sort of day? But this isn't that in the slightest, you can't make an entire line out of the concept, and it's probably already covered (and done better) by something else in WoD.

...Actually, you can make a game out of it. It's called Monster Hearts.
I was thinking before you said Monsterhearts that you could have something like Scanners or other super types who have great power but can't, for the most part, use it reliably or safely. You'd kind of be emulating one good movie and one OK Stephen King novel (Firestarter) that I know of... but you'd also be emulating AKIRA.

Now I don't know how far you could take that but I bet you could get a pretty simple and punchy system together.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Ratoslov posted:

Why the gently caress did they make this game? Why did people pay into the kickstarter? What the gently caress, guys?

Because Onyx Path promised they were going to make it better, and the only real edits that we saw before the KS ended were to the introduction and chapter 1. And Matt's previous work was Demon, which was just so, loving, amazingly, good. Clearly this was all a mistake. So we saw the beginnings of the changes and were hopeful that additional editing passes would fix the rest.

Of course they didn't which is why we're here.

Echo Cian posted:

The Heroes are right.

How is any of this remotely appealing or even playable in concept? They're all variants of sociopaths with no redeeming qualities.

You could make something compelling from the idea of people with hard-to-control powers maybe wishing they could just lose control, because who hasn't had that sort of day? But this isn't that in the slightest, you can't make an entire line out of the concept, and it's probably already covered (and done better) by something else in WoD.

...Actually, you can make a game out of it. It's called Monster Hearts.

The problem is slapping the "WE'RE TEACHING LESSONS NO REALLY" on top of all of the cruft that was there before, because they didn't want to rewrite it. Without that it comes off as almost an in-character smear peace against Heroes. Look at how great and awesome we are for doing these horrible things. We're fantastic, all those other creatures love us. All those heroes are total assholes. But the fact that we're told, repeatedly, out of character that Beasts are Right and Good, but given absolutely zero examples of a Beast being Right or Good is the problem. If we're given no evidence of a Beast actually doing something noble and good then we're led to believe that the things we see Beasts doing is perceived to be noble and good, and no matter how you dress it up the guy who torturemurders people and shits on everything they love isn't a good person.

Even some of the more esoteric stuff like the guy who breaks up troubled families for their own good might be seen as good sort of in the very long run but the methods are loving barbaric. Particularly the wording "Oh I was just clearing the air by kidnapping, starving, and torturing your son while also egging you on to admit your darkest secrets"

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

It's sad when the better game line in the nWoD is the fan made splat where you are pretending to be a cthulu esc monster who terrifies people.

Beast makes a fan made game look good, thats how bad it is.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



The Kool-Aid man is more of a Ravager Beast than any of these other examples. "Know that I destroy what you hold dear to sate your thirst. Know that your own greed is the source of this destruction, that a price must be paid: a sundering for a slaking."

NutritiousSnack
Jul 12, 2011


Echo Cian posted:

The Heroes are right.

In a game where the protagonists where supposed to be feminist/activist minorities and the "heroes" were supposed to be MRA 4chan gamergator redditor KKK trolls, at the end of the book you get 100% behind the guys ranting about how Israel deserves to wiped off the map.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Kurieg posted:

The Lessons
Predators teach Mortality. Tyrants "Show a victim that the climb is unsafe but manageable with the right preparation" (loving lol) Predators show mankind the monsters that live at the peak. Some predators enforce humanity's ignorance of the supernatural creatures that live in the shadows, which steps on the toes of at least... three other supernatural groups that I can think of just off the top of my head. Some predators do this by showing them a glimpse of that horror and letting them escape, others just loving murder a bastard and leave their corpse as a warning for others.

I've got some Hunters on line one, mister Beast, they say you're full of poo poo and they're far past mere students of the lessons you purport to teach.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide


Wapole Languray posted:

Uldholm fills an important place as the "normal" place in the setting, a safe fantasy kingdom that would be familiar to players without involving too much work. If you're introducing people to the game for the first time, Uldholm is where you would probably start. It's also the first area detailed to let you ease into the game a bit. There's plenty of fun adventure ideas: Dealing with Truil geurillas, military conspiracies from the Empire and Dindavara, Guild politicking, etc. just it doesn't go as out there as some later regions.
Fair enough. I suppose REIGN does need some middle ground of craziness to help ease the players into the world, given that you haven't even hinted at the really weird stuff going on with the setting.

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unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Wapole Languray posted:

Uldholm fills an important place as the "normal" place in the setting, a safe fantasy kingdom that would be familiar to players without involving too much work. If you're introducing people to the game for the first time, Uldholm is where you would probably start. It's also the first area detailed to let you ease into the game a bit. There's plenty of fun adventure ideas: Dealing with Truil geurillas, military conspiracies from the Empire and Dindavara, Guild politicking, etc. just it doesn't go as out there as some later regions.

Uld also make pretty good villains, since they're basically Prosperity Gospel assholes who sincerely believe the poor are poor because of moral failings and they have a right to drive the Truil out of their already crappy land because if the Truils were truly good people they wouldn't be scratching out a subsistence level existence in a sunless wasteland.

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