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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Libertad! posted:

And I have to ask, is this game meant to be played like a tabletop Postal 2? Or the World of Darkness' murderhobo equivalent?
Well, it's not entirely unrelated. Hot take: what if the victims of school shootings had it coming? Like what if they did something really mean to the shooters, like try to stop them from killing people?


Jun 20, 2008

One of Beast's many, many problems is that a Beast has power, but no particular impetus to do anything interesting with it. They get a slap on the wrist if they don't act like a creepy rear end in a top hat occasionally, and that's it. It's a problem with several of the weirder WoD splats; they're just aimless idle-rich douchebags who can also, incidentally, breathe lightning.

In a way, it's a sort of parallel to all these 90s setting books we've been seeing reviews of: lots of WaCkY details and CrAzY magic items, but if you're looking for adventure hooks, uhhhh

Xiahou Dun
Jul 16, 2009

hyphz posted:

Oh god, it's this, isn't it:

That's like naming an RPG character after a reference to When The Wind Blows.

Well that was horrifying.

I even was there like 6 months ago.


Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013

Halloween Jack posted:

Well, it's not entirely unrelated. Hot take: what if the victims of school shootings had it coming? Like what if they did something really mean to the shooters, like try to stop them from killing people?
So yeah Postal 2.

Jul 15, 2017

Halloween Jack posted:

Well, it's not entirely unrelated. Hot take: what if the victims of school shootings had it coming? Like what if they did something really mean to the shooters, like try to stop them from killing people?

And what the shooters were BORN to kill? No, wait, they're not born to kill except where they're still written as born to do it half the time.

Jun 20, 2008

No, see, officer, I stabbed him to death to make sure humans don't forget that they should be afraid of getting stabbed to death

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Oh Lord, what have I unleashed?

Feb 15, 2012

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

Beast may not be the worst game, but it is certainly the most contemptable.

Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Deities & Demigods 1E
Part 7: A New Use for the Severed Head of Your Enemy

I wonder if it's the same artist doing all these chapter titles, or if they're done by the same person who does the art for the corresponding chapter? I'm guessing the former.

It says "Celtic", but these gods are mostly Irish, or at least use Irish names. We do get one Welsh god, one Welsh hero, one (rather obscure) Gaulish god, and one god who isn't Celtic at all and seems to have wandered into this chapter by mistake, but all the rest of the gods and heroes in this section are Irish. On the one hand, one could reasonably argue that there are enough similarities between the different Celtic traditions that it wouldn't really be feasible to have separate mythoi for each one, and it makes sense to combine them; on the other hand, there are enough differences that it might have made more sense to pick one and call it, say, the Irish Mythos, rather than making a "Celtic Mythos" that's almost entirely Irish anyway and just tossing in a few gods from other cultures. Oh well.

"The Celtic mythology is by no means confined to the British Isles", the book correctly says, and then proceeds to give us exactly two gods that aren't from the British Isles, and one of those, as previously mentioned, isn't even Celtic. We're told that "[t]he beings listed are all in human form, unlike some of the other pantheons in this book." But not unlike the Finnish, Greek, Japanese, Norse, and Sumerian pantheons, so it's unclear why this fact was singled out for the Celtic Mythos as if it were something unusual.

Most of the Irish gods here, by the way, were members of the Tuatha Dé Danann, an ancient people in Irish lore who had potent magical powers. I mention this not to argue that they shouldn't qualify as gods—in later tradition, they became equated with fairies, but "gods" worked differently in every culture, and the Tuatha Dé Danann qualified as gods as much as anything else did in Irish mythology. I only bring this up because I'll be mentioning the Tuatha Dé Danann later, so I figured I should go ahead and define the term up front.

Celtic Mythos posted:

[The gods] all have spheres of influence and these spheres are areas of control for the deities. Any major manipulation of these areas by humans or other life forms will cause the god or goddess in question to take an interest (in force) and attempt to put a stop to it.

...Again, isn't that true of all the pantheons in this book? All of them list particular spheres of influence for each god, and presumably all the gods are protective of their spheres of influence. Why is this written here as if it were something special to the Celtic pantheon?

In the next paragraph, we do get to something that is special about the Celtic pantheon, namely that the clerics of most of its deities are druids. Now, this seemed to present a complication, in that druids in first edition had to be true neutral in alignment. Most of the gods in this book, however, were not true neutral. If the clerics of most of the gods were druids, then the "WORSHIPER'S ALIGN" for those gods would have to include true neutral, even if the god in question was of another alignment. Did the writers take that into account?

Well, credit where it's due, they did. First of all, while most of the gods in the book as a whole are not true neutral, most of the gods in this chapter are... all but three of them, in fact. Secondly, unlike in most of the chapters, the "WORSHIPER'S ALIGN" for most of the gods in this chapter—including all the non-neutral ones—did not actually list alignments at all, but instead fields of interest like "All beings worshiping death" or "Beings that use the healing arts" or "Beings using the sea"... designations that presumably could include druids. So, okay, that's at least consistent with most clerics of this pantheon being druids; fair enough.

We get some description of druid religious services, including the fact that human sacrifices are made four times a year: "on November 1 (called Samain) celebrating winter's start; February 1 (called Imbalc) celebrating winter's leavetaking; May 1 (called Beltane) celebrating spring's planting; and Augist 1 (called Lugnasad) celebrating the time of harvest". Okay... two issues here. First of all, the use of the real-world calendar strikes me as awkward; does that mean that every world where the Celtic pantheon is worshiped has to use the same calendar as Earth? Second, well, the idea that druids have to perform human sacrifice is... troublesome. That seems like a pretty evil thing to do, and I'm not sure the insistence that "[c]ondemned criminals are typical sacrifices" helps much. (And of course it's historically dubious at best; there are classical accounts of druids performing human sacrifice, but given that the Greeks and Romans were trying to conquer the druids' people at the time they weren't exactly impartial chroniclers, and their accounts are widely believed by modern scholars to have been little more than sensationalist propaganda.)

We get a paragraph about druid groves, and then another paragraph on druid wardrobe. Worth mentioning in the latter paragraph is that "[e]very druid wears a torc (ornamental neck ring), and it represents the god or goddess most favored by the druid... The best ones are encrusted with precious gems and imparted with magical powers by their high-level owners". Also, every druid owns a cauldron that they use to "catch all the blood or sap of a sacrifice." (Sap of a sacrifice? Do the druids sacrifice trees? There was nothing about that mentioned earlier.)

Celtic Mythos posted:

The cauldrons of tenth level or higher druids act as crystal balls when filled with human blood.

Okay then. Where do they get all that quantity of—you know what? Never mind.

Celtic Mythos posted:

Druids consider themselves an elite group, separate from all other humans. They do not mingle with others, and are only allowed to mate with worshipers within their sect.

So... I guess that kind of rules out Celtic druids as PCs, then, unless all the PCs are druids. Huh.

As a side note, I think this chapter contains my least favorite illustrations in the book. Personal preference, I guess; I'm just not a fan of the art style. (The same artist also illustrated the Japanese Mythos, but for whatever reason his illustrations for that mythos don't bother me as much.)

DAGDA (dozen king)

What exactly is going on with his lips?

Meet the leader of the Deities & Demigods Celtic pantheon. He's loaded up with magic items that seem kind of... superfluous for a deity. He has a staff that can act as a death spell on creatures touched by the large end, and raise the dead by touching them with the small end. He has a cauldron that "enables him to brew any nonmagical liquid or food". And he "sings with a sentient harp that talks in the common tongue and can control weather."

Dagda posted:

His two primary attributes are the ability to separate himself into 12 distinct and powerful entities. All 12 are fully aware and mobile, but 11 are ethereal in nature and roam the earth with unlimited range, constantly supplying information to Dagda. These beings have all the qualities of the original, but they must stay in the ethereal state at all times.

That's, uh, by my count that's one primary attribute. What's the second? (No, it's not covered in the next paragraph; that starts off by listing some of his "other attributes". It looks like there may be something they forgot to include.)

The mythological figure that Dagda was based on was actually generally referred to with a definite article, as "The Dagda". While he wasn't generally considered the overall ruler of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he was a very powerful being who had a position of rulership, so that part's not completely out of left field. I'm not sure where the "Dozen King" part comes from, though; I haven't been able to find a source for that.

ARAWN (god of the dead) "The Dark One"

Wait... does that horse have fangs? (No, the horse is not mentioned at all in his description.)

Arawn is unique among the gods in the Celtic pantheon in three ways: He's the only Welsh god in the pantheon; he's the only evil god; and he's the only one not to make his home in the true neutral plane of Concordant Opposition. (Rather, his home base is on the Prime Material Plane, on "an island in the sea that only the dead can find.") He "can flash 2 death spells from his eyes at any time, striking independent targets if he chooses." (I have a mental image of his going wall-eyed to use his power on two enemies on either side of him.)

Remember in the post about the introductory text, I brought up the question of why, if resurrection "involves the cooperation of the deity on the plane where the soul was", a god wouldn't just refuse to cooperate and prevent someone from his plane from being resurrected if the god didn't want the person to be, rather than apparently letting it go on and being "highly displeased" after the fact? Well, that comes up again here:

Arawn posted:

The god will appear if someone restores to life a person he wants to stay in his domain (a 2% chance of this per level of the dead person, if he or she worshiped one of the Celtic gods), and he will either fight for the dead person or offer a substitute from the vast ranks of the dead (there is a 25% chance of this offer being made).

Okay, but again, how can someone restore to life a person he wants to stay in his domain in the first place, if we were explicitly told in the introductory text that that resurrection can occur only with his cooperation? I kind of get the impression that immediately after writing that sentence about resurrection involving the deity's cooperation, the authors completely forgot about it.

Incidentally, Arawn's evil alignment isn't really justified by the original myths; there, he wasn't so much the king of the underworld as the king of the otherworld—the world of Faerie, you could say more or less, though it wasn't called by that name in Welsh mythology—and there was nothing particularly malevolent about him. In fact, he struck up a friendship with a mortal prince and seems to have been a fairly amiable guy. Also, by the way, some scholars think that the story of Sir Gawain the Green Knight, alluded to in the Arthurian Heroes chapter, may have been based on the story of Prince Pwyll and Arawn.

BRIGIT (goddess of fire and poetry)

Brigit is basically exactly what you would expect a goddess of fire and poetry to be, in pretty much every way. I do, however, want to call attention to the following:

Brigit posted:

Note: if any players wish to worship Brigit (and possibly catch her attention) by singing during battle, the DM should require that the player make up an original battle-song on the spot and sing it while engaging in strenuous activity.

I don't know; I think most players might object if their DM insisted they do jumping jacks while improvising a song, or whatever, but I could be wrong.


...Okay, he's actually not bad-looking, though he's got a bit of a pug-nose thing going on.

Cu Chulainn fights with a spear called Gae Bolg that only he can wield, and he "shines with a brilliance that makes it impossible for his mortal enemies to look directly at him".

Cu Chulainn posted:

The hero exists to fight giants and right wrongs all over the countryside. He often appears when all hope is lost.

Not really sure what else there is to say about him. I mean, in the original Irish myths there are a lot of interesting stories about Cu Chulainn, but none of them are related in this book.

DIANCECHT (physician of the gods)

I mentioned that Arawn was the only evil god; Diancecht is the only good one. He "appears as a young man" and "can heal any wound or restore any dead being, no matter how long dead"... although "[h]is power will not work on beings who have had their head taken away." (I guess decapitation is okay, as long as the head is still present?) He "never fights in large battles" (do most gods typically fight in large battles?), but he "has fought with Arawn over some of his dead." "In these battles, Diancecht has always won", which is weird, because Diancecht is only a lesser god and Arawn is a greater god, although looking at their stats Arawn doesn't really seem to be notably more powerful.

Diancecht "is hardly ever attacked because he will heal friends and enemies alike during a battle." Yeah... I can see how that would be kind of counterproductive, though I wouldn't think that would make enemies less likely to attack him... I'd think it would just make his allies less likely to ask him for help fighting.

DUNATIS (god of the mountains and peaks)

Why the authors decided to include this god I'm not sure; he seems to be a really obscure Gaulish deity, and there are several much more important and better known Celtic gods they could have included instead. He does not, incidentally, seem to have been a god of mountains in real Gaulish mythology; rather he had dominion over sacred places and fortifications. Be that as it may, in Deities & Demigods he can "raise a mountain peak into a flat plain, or flatten a giant mountain into a prairie", and that's... about all that's worth saying about him, really. He doesn't even get an illustration. I guess I could also mention that he fights by forming boulders from thin air and throwing them up to 1,000 yards, but, yet again, how gods fight doesn't seem terribly important.

GOIBHNIE (blacksmith of the gods)

Is it really wise to be wearing metal armbands while working near a hot forge? Eh, I guess if you're a god it doesn't really matter...

I'm not sure where the authors of Deities & Demigods got the spelling they used; this god's name seems to be more commonly spelled "Goibniu" or "Goibhniu". Regardless, he "appears as a hugely proportioned man", and he creates "weapons and amulets of great power for the gods and the very few mortals he favors." Goibhnie's magic amulets "have the power to nullify any one specific spell", but they'll shatter if you try to wear more than one at once. His weapons will "never miss their target", but if they're "used to attempt an impossible hit (like a sword strike from 200 yards away), the weapon will hit, but will then shatter and bring on the wielder the instant wrath of the god in the form of a thunder bolt". Hm. What is the range on those "impossible hits", then? Is 200 yards the maximum, or was that just an example? Could you use them to attempt a sword strike on someone you can barely see on the horizon? Also, if the weapon does hit such an impossible strike, what exactly happens? Does the sword suddenly become 200 yards long? Does it fly 200 yards to the target and return? Does it swing normally, but a wound appears on the target without direct contact? I don't know. I'm not sure the authors know either.

LUGH "long handed" (god of generalities)

God of generalities?

"So, Lugh, what are you the god of?" "Eh, you know... stuff."

The description doesn't make the matter much clearer; it says that he's "a druidical ideal, and more fully understands druidism than any other entity", but it's not really clear that generalities = druidism, is it?

Lugh "appears as a tall man with very large hands." He "is unique among the gods in that he can use any one attribute of any being he has ever met", which seems like a heck of a power... Marduk from the Babylonian Mythos had something similar, but he was kind of the vice-head of the pantheon. For that matter, Lugh can also cast an unlimited number of druid spells "at the 30th level of magic use (an unattainable level for any other being)," so why isn't he the head of the pantheon? He seems more powerful than Dagda, frankly. Sure, Dagda has more hit points, but only barely. Maybe Lugh just isn't interested in the headaches of leadership.

In actual Irish mythology, Lugh was associated with arts and crafts, the sun, and the law, among other things. So okay, he wasn't really a tightly focused god, but it still seems it should be possible to define his field of interest more specifically than "generalities". (It would be hard to define his field of interest less specifically than that.) Also, for what it's worth, according to some sources he was the most powerful of the Irish gods. He was also the father of Cu Chulainn, though for some reason Deities & Demigods doesn't bother to mention that.

MANANNAN MAC LIR (god of the sea)

Based on his description, I guess he's supposed to be wearing armor made of sea shells, but it looks more like a tunic made of fabric with a scallop pattern.

I said Arawn was the only evil god of this pantheon, and Diancecht was the only good god; Manannan Mac Lir is the only chaotic god. (Both Arawn and Diancecht are lawful.) His main enemies are the fire giants, though I'm not exactly sure why, since the sea seems like the last place in which they'd have any interest. He has a trident that "absorbs moisture from the bodies that it hits (draining ¼ of the total amount of the victim's original hit points)", which may sound pretty good until you read on and find out that he also has a sword that automatically kills every time it hits "(magic saving throw applicable)", so... I'm not sure why he bothers with the trident? Maybe to use against enemies with really good saves? (Though it still does a good amount of damage even if the save is made... admittedly maybe not "¼ of the total amount of the victim's original hit points" good.)

"His main attribute is the power to call on any non-godlike creature of the sea to fight for him at any time and in numbers up to 50." I'm not sure what it is with this chapter that it seems to feel it necessary to call out the gods' "main attributes". We saw it before in Dagda's "two primary attributes" (though only one was actually described), but, though I haven't been quoting it every time, we were also told about the "main attributes" of Arawn, Dunatis, and Goibhnie, and all with the same wording ("His main attribute is the power/ability to...") Okay, it looks like that same phrase does come up a few times in later chapters as well, but not as frequently as it does in this chapter. It's really odd.

MATH (magic-user)

Math is not a god (in this edition), but a hero, "the greatest of all the legendary wizards in Celtic myth". He has a rod that "turns any being touched into a pool of water (permanently), magic saving throw applicable." (This raises a lot of questions, none of which are answered in the text.) "He has given himself the power to hear anything said in a breeze anywhere in the world. He has done so much for the gods that he has been given a Torc of the Gods (q.v.)." We'll get to that.

In Welsh mythology, Math ap Mathonwy was a powerful sorcerer and king who "could not exist unless his feet were in the lap of a maiden". Uh... okay, I'm actually kind of glad they left that last part out of his description in Deities & Demigods.

MORRIGAN (goddess of war)

The text specifies that she has a "hideous face", but honestly I think almost all the faces in this chapter are fairly hideous.

Morrigan "appears as a well-proportioned woman with a hideous face". She can "deprive all who face her of their courage", and has a 5% chance of striking dead any of her worshipers who flee from a battle she is watching. But there's only a 10% chance she's watching any given battle, so there's really only a 1 in 200 chance she'll strike a fleeing worshiper dead. I guess those aren't terrible odds. She fights with two spears, one of which has a red head and one of which has a yellow head but they otherwise have exactly the same properties.

Speaking of things with the same properties, "Morrigan's servants include four demi-goddesses of war, Fen, Neman, Badb, and Macha, who are identical to her in all regards save hit points (they each have 200)." That's... weird. So they're identical in all respects save hit points? Do they each have identical red and yellow spears? Do they all look the same? That must get confusing, seeing five identical hideous-faced women. How do onlookers know which one is the real Morrigan? I guess they don't.

In the original myths, Morrigan was often said to be the wife of the Dagda, though Deities & Demigods doesn't mention that. Also, like her sometimes-husband, she was usually named with the definite article, as the Morrigan.

NUADA (god of war) "god of the Silver Hand"

Not to be confused with Tycho Brahe, astronomer of the silver nose. (Okay, fine, turns out it was actually brass.)

The sobriquet isn't metaphorical; Nuada "appears as a man with an artificial silver hand." The description goes on about his combat abilities, but never quite gets around to saying anything about his worshipers, or his relationship to other gods, or... really anything else besides his combat abilities. Oh well. I guess it's kind of interesting to note that in battle his silver hand detaches and flies around on its own.

Oddly, despite his status as a god of war, Nuada has no fighter levels (though he does have levels as a ranger, which I guess is close enough).

In Irish mythology, Nuada was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann. So wouldn't it have made more sense to make him the leader of the Celtic Mythos here, instead of Dagda? Oh well.

OGHMA (god of knowledge) "The Binder, Patron of all Bards"

Or all bards who worship the Celtic Mythos, anyway, I guess.

Oghma gets no illustration, but the longest description of any god in this chapter. He "looks like an aged, white-haired man", and, somewhat surprisingly, "is the best wrestler of all the gods and considered their champion when fights with giants occur." Huh. In fact, "[h]is strength is such that when facing any being, he will have equal to that being's strength plus his own." I'm not sure how that's supposed to work, though, given that his Strength is already 25, and that's as high as the Strength tables go. Do you add the bonuses together? (If so, what happens if his opponent is weak enough to have penalties to their hit probability and damage?)

Any time someone sings an original composition, there is a 1% chance that Oghma is listening. The book states no consequence of this, but I guess it's nice to know. If "a song or tale is spread by others", though, there is a 5% chance that he hears it and "reward[s] the creator with great wealth in the form of gold 'strangely' given by the lord of the particular hold that the person was visiting and performing at."

Oghma knows "the secret name of any non-godlike creature." For, you see, "[i]n Celtic mythology, everything has a name it gives to the world, and another secret name that links it to its soul. If any being knows the secret name, he or she can control the creature or being or simply make them die (save vs. death applicable)." Okay, but if this is a general feature of everything in Celtic mythology, shouldn't it have been in the introductory text for the mythos and not buried in the description of a specific god?

Oghma posted:

Oghma is known as The Binder for his ability to successfully force demons and devils into a special prison of his making where they stay imprisoned until he wishes to bring them out.

Yes, that's... that's what a prison does, all right. Also, I like the fact that the authors felt it necessary to include the word "successfully". Consider the alternative. "Oghma is known as The Binder for his constant attempts to force demons and devils into a special prison of his making, even though it never works."

SILVANUS (god of the forests and nature)

Silvanus, seen here just after eating a lemon.

Here he is, the god who isn't Celtic at all but insisted on barging his way into the Celtic Mythos chapter anyway. Silvanus was, in fact, a minor Roman god. Sure, he was sometimes equated with a Celtic god, but so were many of the other Roman gods: Vulcan was equated with Goibhniu, Neptune with Manannan Mac Lir, Mars with Nuada, etc. Furthermore, one of the gods with which Silvanus was frequently equated already exists in the chapter as a separate god, Dagda. My best guess as to why Silvanus got inserted into the Celtic pantheon is just because his sphere of influence made him seem like he could be associated with druids. In any case, however mythologically inaccurate, his inclusion in the D&D Celtic pantheon ended up sticking, all the way through the current fifth edition where he's listed among the Celtic Deities in Appendix B of the 5E Player's Handbook.

Anyway, Silvanus "looks like a man with very long legs". He "can control any number of animals and creatures of the forest with the sound of his voice", and can "make plants grow and shrink at any rate he wills." He is accompanied by a giant wolfhound (for which we also get brief stats), which I guess jumps in front of any and all physical attacks on Silvanus and takes damage for him, though the wording of that part is a little confused. Given that the wolfhound has only 100 hit points to Silvanus's 333, I'm not sure this is a great idea on the wolfhound's part, though at least the wolfhound does regenerate 5 hit points per melee round.

"There is a 1% chance that [Silvanus] will appear whenever harm is done to a high level druid or his or her grove." It doesn't say, though, what he does if he does appear. Presumably he takes revenge upon the person who inflicted the harm, but maybe he just shakes his head sadly, a single tear sliding slowly down his cheek.

So that's all the gods in this chapter, but we're not done yet... now we have brief descriptions of two magic items. I was going to say that the Celtic Mythos is the first (but not the last) chapter in the book to include some new magic items. (That is, magic items that have their own separate headings and descriptions, rather than being mentioned in the entry of a specific god or hero like Excalibur or Druaga's mace.) But on second thought, that's not really true; the "American Indian Mythos" chapter included the sacred bundle. But for some reason there it was at the beginning of the chapter, whereas the magic items in the Celtic Mythos chapter are at the end. Glancing ahead, this inconsistency is repeated throughout the book; some chapters have magic items at the beginning, before the gods, some have them at the end, with no apparent rhyme or reason. Well, whatever.


Anyway, the first of the two magic items here is the tathlum, which is a weapon created by cutting off the head of an enemy and coating it in several coats of lime from the decedent's former territory. The exact number of coats is not specified, but we are told that each coat takes one week to dry, so we're talking a few weeks at least that it takes to make this thing. Once it's made, it can be thrown at "friends of the former owner of the head", and if this is done under bright sunshine, it does damage "up to ¼ of the original hit points of the person hit", or half their hit points if they're "a relative of the head". Considering that this is only good for one shot, I'm not sure that's worth the time investment.


Useful and stylish. I guess.

Remember from the introductory text the discussion of torcs, "ornamental neck ring[s]" worn by druids of the Celtic Mythos? Well, the torc of the gods is a magical torc made by Goibhnie that "allows the holder to shape change or polymorph others." (How often? At will? If so, that's pretty drat powerful.) It isn't clear from the description whether the torc of the gods is a one-of-a-kind item or whether multiple torcs of the gods exist, but given that Math's description says he was given "a Torc of the Gods" I guess the latter is intended.


Finally, we get a page and a half on the Wild Hunt, including full stat blocks for the Master of the Hunt and the dogs that make up the Pack of the Wild Hunt. (And, to be fair, also including a large illustration that accounts for half a page.)

The description says nothing about the Master of the Wild Hunt's wearing any sort of mask, but he certainly seems to be wearing one here. Either that or he's got a really weird face.

The Wild Hunt posted:

The Wild Hunt exists in all the lands where Druids and their deities dwell. It is a physical manifestation of "life force" that always takes on the same form. The Hunt is made up of one huge black-skinned man with antlers growing from his head and his pack of hounds.

The Wild Hunt "appears wherever there is evil in the land"; it always begins ten miles from "the source of the evil that has created it". After passing by the source of evil, "it will travel on in a random direction for ten more miles." While it usually sticks to the ground, it can run into the air to "fly over obstacles or especially difficult terrain."

Wait... that's it? The Wild Hunt just passes by the source of evil? It doesn't actually do anything about it?

Apparently not. The Wild Hunt does attack its quarry, but its quarry isn't the source of evil that summoned it. Anyone who sees the Hunt as it passes by must make a saving throw versus magic or join the Hunt; anyone who hears the hunt and actively pursues it likewise becomes a part of it when they see it. (The howling of the dogs and the Hunt Master's horn "can be heard for miles in the night.") If the Hunt is still on its way to the source of evil, there is a 10% chance per mile of distance from that source that a person joining the hunt will do so as a hunter. Otherwise, the person becomes the prey. Anyone caught up in the Hunt after it passes the source of evil has a 90% chance of becoming prey. If the Hunt still hasn't found any prey by the time it's traveled ten miles away from the source of evil, it will just hunt down the nearest large game animal. Anyone who has been a part of the Hunt before (either as hunter or as hunted) has a flat 50% chance of being drawn in again if they ever see the Hunt on a future occasion.

So... yeah, apparently the Wild Hunt is drawn to the Prime Material Plane by a source of evil, but instead of actually doing anything about that source of evil, it hunts down some hapless random passerby instead. Well, that's just great.

Anyone joining the Hunt as a hunter will magically be able to keep up with its pace, regardless of their own usual speed, and will be compelled to attack the Hunt's quarry in a fight to the death (regardless of alignment—the book specifically gives the example of paladins being compelled to attack helpless women). The Master and his hounds will let the other hunters take care of the hunted, but if all other hunters are defeated, they will then step in and finish the job, unless they're killed themselves. Short of defeating all the hunters, including the Master and his pack, the only ways for someone hunted by the Wild Hunt to escape are to evade them till morning or to get more than ten miles away from the source of evil that summoned it.

There are legends in the past of great heroes slaying the Master and his hounds, but they always return somewhere else the next night, "proving that the force that creates the Hunt is eternal."

Like I said, we then get stats and descriptions of the Master of the Hunt and his pack. They're pretty tough, but not impossible for a high-level character to handle.

The Master of the Hunt posted:

The Master has iet black skin and glowing green eyes. His head is crowned by a set of stag antlers, and he wears a suit of black leather. The Master never speaks.

The pack of the Wild Hunt are "huge black hounds [with] licks of green fire for tongues and green fire for eyes." They have average human intelligence for some reason.

And that's the end of the chapter. Before moving on, though, there's one other thing I'd like to touch on. I mentioned in a previous post "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes", the fourth supplement to the original D&D set, which was written by the same authors as Deities & Demigods, and clearly inspired it. I didn't do a separate review of "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes", and maybe I should have... although it has very little flavor text and is mostly just stat blocks, so there's not much to review. What I think I will do, though, is a brief sort of compare and contrast with the presentations of the mythoi in the two works—or rather, where a Mythos appeared in that earlier book, I'll combine my review of the chapter in Deities & Demigods with a brief rundown of the presentation of the mythos in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes". All but one of the mythoi in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" would later appear in Deities & Demigods, the only holdout being "Robert E. Howard's Hyborea". The reverse is not true; there are many mythoi that appeared in Deities & Demigods that did not appear in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes". There was in the earlier work no "American Indian Mythos", no treatment of the "Arthurian Heroes", no Babylonian Mythos. There was, however, a description of the Celtic Mythos, making this the first one we've come to so far to appear in both works.

(In case you're wondering whether, by just comparing each chapter rather than having a full review of "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes", we're missing out on some interesting front matter... we're really not. There's a one-page foreword, part of which I've already quoted in previous posts, there's a table of "Gods Psionic Abilities"—rather than being individually detailed, the gods were sorted into six different classes of psionic abilities, a practice that was repeated in Deities & Demigods—and then we get the following note:

Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes posted:

Unless specifically noted otherwise all Gods and Demi-Gods pre-rolled abilities (strength, intelligence, etc.) are considered to be 20. Heroes or otherwise nonGod types are either listed or will have to be pre-determined by the respective judge.

And that's it for the front matter; we then jump right into the descriptions of the gods, starting with Egyptian Mythology (for some reason... I'm not sure what the logic was behind the ordering of the mythoi in this book, but it's certainly not alphabetical). So, yeah, I'm not really skipping anything important.)

Here's an image from the title page of "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes", just to avoid going too long without an illustration.

As opposed to the six paragraphs of introductory text on the Celtic Mythos that we get in Deities & Demigods, in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" we get just one short paragraph:

The Celtic Mythos posted:

The Celtic mythology is by no means confined to the English Isles. The Gods are all in human form as opposed to some of the other pantheons mentioned. They all have spheres of influence given for each God. These spheres are areas of control for the Gods and any manipulation of them by humans or other life forms causes the Gods to take an interest.

You might recognize that everything in this paragraph also appears in Deities & Demigods, and we've already covered the issues with it. The fact that the same text appeared earlier in "Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes"... doesn't really explain anything.

As for the actual gods, all the same gods and heroes appear in "Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes" as would eventually appear in Deities & Demigods, though they're in a different, apparently random order, and some of them have different names. Even Silvanus is already here, so even though he really has no business being in the Celtic Mythos he's been there in D&D since the beginning. In most cases, the name differences are just a matter of a variant spelling: Dagda is "Daghdha" (and already has his "Dozen King" epithet and corresponding power), Lugh is "Liegh" (and here he's not said to be the "god of generalities", but it's not specified just what he is the god of); Cu Chulainn is Cu Chulain. Two of the name changes, however, are more substantial. The Celtic god of death in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" has a very similar (albeit much briefer) description to that of Arawn in Deities & Demigods—but his name isn't Arawn; it's Donn. Now, unlike Arawn, Donn actually was a god of the dead in Irish mythology, and the description here—and the description of Arawn in Deities & Demigods—actually fits the mythological Donn a lot better than it does the mythological Arawn. So why did the writers change the god's name to Arawn in Deities & Demigods? Maybe because they wanted to get more representation from other Celtic peoples than just the Irish, so they threw in a figure from Welsh mythology, even if that figure didn't fit the description of the Irish god it had originally been applied to. But there's at least one other possible explanation. Deities & Demigods doesn't mark the first time that Arawn appeared in pop culture as a figure of evil; he was the main villain of the young adult fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. (A series I read and loved as a child, and that would later form the (loose) basis for one of the least remembered and least regarded Disney animated films, The Black Cauldron. (The books were better.))

In the books, Gurgi was a gangling humanoid monster; in the movie, for some reason he's a mustachioed chihuahua.

The Chronicles of Prydain predated Deities & Demigods by more than a decade, but I don't know that the authors of Deities & Demigods were familiar with it or that it had any role in inspiring the treatment of Arawn there—though I also don't know for sure that they weren't and it didn't. One possible hitch in this theory is that The Chronicles of Prydain predated not just Deities & Demigods, but also "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes", so if Kuntz and Ward were inspired by the series to include Arawn as an evil god of death, why hadn't they done so earlier? Of course, there are possible explanations for this—perhaps, for example, they read the series in between writing "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" and Deities & Demigods—but ultimately this is just speculation anyway. I don't know their reasons for changing Donn to Arawn, but regardless it really would have made a lot more sense to leave the god of death as Donn.

The other major change is that Morrigan was originally named Medhbh (but had a similar (but briefer) description, complete with the part about the "hideous face"). Like Donn and Arawn, Medhbh and Morrigan were two different gods mythologically, though unlike Arawn they were both Irish, and it has been suggested they may have been linked in some way. By the time of the best recorded Irish myths, Medhbh wasn't really considered a goddess, but a mortal queen, but historians believe she may have been based on a sort of "sovereignty goddess" in older times. ("Medhbh" is, incidentally, a cognate of the name "Maeve"—much later used as the name of the queen of the Seelie Court of the Shadow Fey in the Ravenloft setting—and also possibly of Queen Mab of Shakespearean fame.) The change from Medhbh to Morrigan makes more sense than the change from Donn to Arawn; while both Medhbh and Morrigan had some association with war (in that Medhbh was considered a warrior queen), Morrigan's association was stronger, in addition to which Morrigan was better known and more definitively divine. The better question in this case, actually, isn't why they changed the name from Medhbh to Morrigan, but why they didn't use the clearly more appropriate Morrigan in the first place.

"Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" also has one additional character who didn't make the cut to Deities & Demigods: Balor.

Balor posted:

Once a huge monster, this creature is now nothing but a 30 foot tall head. When the eyes of this head are forced open, all beings looking at it will die (no saving throw applicable).

Balor also comes from Irish mythology, where he was the king of the evil Fomorians, the main enemies of the Tuatha Dé Danann (who would later be loosely adapted into D&D as a race of evil giants in the 1E Monster Manual II)... although the myths only said he had a single deadly eye, not deadly eyes plural. Why he didn't make it into Deities & Demigods I'm not sure, although my best guess is that it's because the name "Balor" had already been used in the Monster Manual as a sample name for a demon, so perhaps the writers though that also using it as the name of a specific mythical monster would be confusing. Of course, the similarity of the demon name "Balor" to the name of the Irish mythological figure was almost certainly coincidental; D&D's "Balor" most likely originated as a mangling of "Balrog", the Tolkien creature that inspired that demon type.

(Yes, in 1E "Balor" was a sample name of an individual demon, not the name of a type of demon as it would later become:

1E Monster Manual posted:

Each type VI demon has its own name. (Balor is a type VI demon of the largest size.)

The same was true of the name "Nalfeshnee" for a (specific) type IV demon and "Marilith" for a type V. The use of these names to refer to the entire corresponding type of demon—and the dropping of the Roman-numeral "type" numbering from first edition—wasn't a thing till second edition.)

The type VI demon illustration from the 1E Monster Manual. Not sure why it's shown holding a lightning bolt, since it has no electrical attacks... and of course even if it did, a lightning bolt isn't really something you can hold.

After the gods, we get, as in Deities & Demigods, entries on the Torc of the Gods and the tathlum, though the descriptions here, again, are much briefer. And then we get a description of druids... sort of. Actually, what we get is this:

The Celtic Mythos posted:

For an excellent description of these beings see Eldritch Wizardry, Supplement III to D&D.

Yes, in the original D&D set, druids appeared in one of the supplements... the same supplement, incidentally, that introduced the demon types that would later appear in the AD&D Monster Manual, though the sample names like "Balor" wouldn't appear till then. So the section on the "Celtic Mythos" in "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" basically just suggested that the druids from Supplement III would be a good fit for the mythos without going into further detail.

Anyway, there we have it, the Celtic pantheon, the first "major" pantheon in this book, in the sense that it made it into a lot of later books and was a fixture of the similar books of gods in later editions.

Next time: Gods from a Parallel Universe

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine

Lugh’s doofy epithet is probably a reference to the story of his entrance into Nuada’s court, where he offered his services as twelve or thirteen different jobs that were already taken by the greatest at whichever in the land. His response was “but do you have someone who can do all of those at the same time” and was granted a position as the second best at everything presumably to give more flex to the court’s bench.

EDIT: Also I’m pretty sure the bit about Dian Cecht needing the head of someone to heal them is a reference to his son Miach. Which is weird, because Miach’s head was basically bisected by his dad in a fit of jealous rage after Miach outdid him by healing Nuada’s missing arm when Dian Cecht could only figure out how to strap on a dope silver robot arm. Extremely Good Aligned Deity behavior.

Double Also the fact that Nuada has a dope silver robot arm/hand means he can’t be the king of the Tuatha so I presume that’s why he’s not the head of the pantheon.

Mr. Maltose fucked around with this message at 07:23 on Jul 18, 2019

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

I'm a lovely person who deserves to be happy!

It's sad seeing all the interesting Gods get given nowt for some reason.

I really like Irish mythology because it's got so many parallels with history.

Dec 22, 2003

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

I was reading one of the old HeartQuest CYOA books in the car while travelling with friends to a car and the book consistently rendered "torc" (as in the druid gear) as "torque." This led me to imagine Lemmy the Archdruid.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?

beast: the primordial is easily the worst WoD splat that isn't changing breeds. i mean it was written by a rapist as some kind of weird pnp-rpg format justification for his crimes, but changing breeds.

the idea of a boogeyman splat is pretty cool, they just went about it the most lovely way possible. there should be a hard limit on the number of splats that can be 'you are x, but 99% of the time you look like a hot topic human'.

Like vampires, mages, werewolves, fair enough. i think geist, changeling, and demon all come up with pretty good reasons you have human form. geists are just possessed humans, changelings were humans (but got warped by a realm most people can't perceive), and demons are putting in a whole lot of effort to hide from basically the universe itself.

but then you get to mummy and promethean and its like eh, what? mummies should have to do the whole drain life essence thing to restore their human form (like amenhotep from The Mummy) and prometheans should just do the classic nosferatu heavy clothing or makeup trick. maybe a really nicely maintained frankenstein or galatea could pass for human, but it should be something you pick at character creation. having every promethean have some weird magic human form just seems lazy.

Frankenstein's classic struggle was to be accepted despite his strange form, Pinocchio's struggle was to be a real boy and not obviously a puppet, shortcutting such a major part of the archetype is strange to me. I get that disquiet is supposed to take its place, but I dunno.

To me the appeal of any of the WoD games, and really roleplaying games in general, is mentally working through the struggles of another kind of life. If you're attracted to play a game where you get to be frankenstein, i would think you'd want to have the same struggles as frankenstein. I know its harder to pull off the creeping suspicion and gradual deadly revelation that would come from a heavily dressed, oddly shaped person sticking around one place for too long, especially in a group setting, but disquiet is kind of a weak replacement.

i realise i seem like i poo poo on promethean a lot in this thread, but i actually think it has a ton of cool stuff, and frankenstein is far and away my favourite of all the classic monsters.

Dec 19, 2012

Getsuya posted:

Japan released what may be the most Japan TRPG ever.

It's called Divine Charger, and it's the Gacha TRPG. You play as warriors chosen by the gods in a fantasy world, fighting against evil. Only these gods are stingy, so in order to get the holy weapons to fight the evil folks your character has to pay money to them to take a spin on the Holy Weapon Gacha. Your character has a cool skill with knives? Too bad, you rolled an axe. Better spin again. What's that? Out of money? Well you could go into debt to pull again, but if you don't manage to pay the debt back with dungeon treasure by the end of the session you start the next session with curses on your character. Yes, that's a real system from the game.

I'm going to Japan soon and I'll be going to a monthly TRPG club while I'm over there. They seem to have at least one table running this each month so I'm definitely going to try it out. And buy it. It sounds fun as hell.

Japanese RPG gaming always seems to have really off-beat and interesting mechanics for games that don't crop up here, partially because the nature of their "campaigns" are more oriented towards short run games rather than long narratives as well as not being as obsessed with aping D&D.

The game you described is the sort of thing I'd run as a three session campaign. No more, no less. I hope there's a mod to that where even your stats and stuff are RNG rolled so one party member can start as an S class but another starts as a C class, but the trade off is that the S ends up getting 99% of the aggro and their item drops aren't as effective

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Libertad! posted:

... hobgoblins are a rising superpower given that they're the only "class level advancing" race with physical ability score bonuses and no penalties to others.

This really sticks in my craw as just such weird white-room thinking, especially since Kalamar hobs replace their normal level adjustment with penalties to all their mental attributes. Mind, Kalamar overvalued physical attributes when it came to their races, so it falls in line with that notion of 3.0 faux- balance, but a 5% bonus to hit with ranged weapons and AC and a few extra HP isn't exactly the game-changer they thought it was. Combine with a standard warrior race stereotype, and you've got layers of sloppy design and writing thrown together.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

I really admire Mummy for its premise, which breaks away from the typical "You were a more or less normal person, then you transformed into a monster." Mummies are truly ancient with the perspective and themes that implies.

Except Mummy: the Resurrection, gently caress that poo poo

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012


Jerik posted:

Deities & Demigods 1E
Part 7: A New Use for the Severed Head of Your Enemy

Seeing all that 1e AD&D art really up close isn't doing it a lot of favors. Not trying to knock the artists of the time, it's just strange to see something that was a presented in a few square inches on rough paper blown up on a monitor

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Sig: Manual of the Primes
Rise of Empire

The next section is an example overarching plot you might run in Sig that also doubles as setting information. It talks about how the true wealth of Sig is not from the resources that flow in from the Tethers – though those certainly help – but from its access to the infinite Primes beyond. Gates to the Primes are hidden throughout the City Between, their keys collected by those in the know and sold by groups like the Crasher’s Guild and similar – usually for prices that are high but worth it. Primal societies produce unique art, which is itself valuable, plus foods, crafts, stories – all things that deeply enrich the City Between, sometimes at the cost of the primes themselves. However, things can become much worse for the primes if, for example, the Shard Realm of Empire parasitically latches itself onto Sig.

The Shard of Empire embodies the Belief that ‘Everyone has their place.’ It is both the concept of Empire and the core of one. The Empire has neither beginning nor end; it is eternal, filling those who live within it with a metaphysical euphoria of patriotism. It tends to the weak and defends against savage outsiders. It grants heart’s desires. It is tempting. Its drums beat in the heart, its towers rise in glory. Its walls divide its conquered peoples into the territories it appoints, and its soldiers march out endlessly, moving through the Imperial gates to tame the “wilderness” beyond. That is – the entire universe. All exists to bring glory to the Empire, after all. The Eternal Citadel is a massive granite fortress-city where the imperial courtiers feast on the plunder they derive from the rest of the ‘verse. The Divine Order forms most of the Shard, a maze of endless walls within walls, constantly patrolled by imperial soldiers. They are there to keep the peace – and to ensure no one gets ideas above their station. The Borderlands Keep sits at the edge of Empire, a beachhead for the Imperial forces to head out and “civilize” the “savage” lands outside.

The Spiked are the main people of the Shard. They are those who pledge their souls to the Shard of Empire via the Ritual of Submission. This transforms their bodies and minds fundamentally, changing them from whoever they were into a true servant of Empire, their identity torn free and replaced by a sense of duty. The Spiked are easily spotted by thick gray hides and by nasty bone spikes that emerge from their thick flesh. Due to the ritual they undertook, they feel no pain, no fear, no grief. They are supernaturally resilient to damage, impossible strong and are exclusively able to access the halls of Imperial power – no others are trusted to do so. More subtly, however, the Ritual of Submission instills them with a love of the Empire that cannot be broken. The idea of revolution or revolt becomes impossible to them – the most they can consider are slow, gradual reforms and improvements. Nothing more would be acceptable. Thus, the Empire lives forever in them. Their common Talents are:
Empire (Broad)
Resilience (Broad)
Bone Spikes (Uncommon)
Untouchable (Deep)

The Shard’s major faction in Sig are the Night Barons. The Night Markets existed before them – they are the black markets of Sig, where the dealings of crime and plunder are sold. Each prime offers immense wealth, for those that are bold or ruthless enough to capitalize on it, and the Night Barons are the boldest and most ruthless. They believe that “savage” primals are ignorant of the true value of what they possess. The Night Barons know they don’t value their own languages, art and mysticism as much as the refined peoples of Sig would. They make relics and artifacts prized by the wealthy collectors of the ‘verse, and some of them have praiseworthy, useful skills – skills that make them worth transporting out of their benighted backwaters. The Night Barons represent the Empire’s Merchant’s Guild, and as representatives, they are now looking for associates to assist their mercantile expansion into new markets. They have moved to take control of the Night Markets already, and they’re well on their way to doing so.
Duty: Wheel and deal in goods from across the ‘verse.
Leverage: Acquire goods and services from the prime worlds.
Example Agenda: Establish a triangle trade route involving two prime worlds.

The local Power of the Shard of Empire is Palnayas the Chosen, Power of Hierarchy, Colonialism and Law. Palnayas is the face of Divine Order, the top of the ultimate hierarchy. They are a god of shining alabaster and radiance, devoted to the growth of their Chosen People. Those few unworthy sinners who offer their devotion and service to the Divine Order are raised to become Chosen, and the Chosen will rule over the unwashed masses, their virtue inherent to their service and their divine blessings making them inherently superior. Palnayas grants wealth, privilege and legal power to the Chosen, exalting them over all others. They preserve the worthy and punish the savage sinners. There is only one choice – join the winning side. Become Chosen.
Devotion: The sinners are inferior to the Chosen and must be treated as such.
Ritual: The Chosen’s Burden twists the minds of mortals that listen to it, granting the user status and respect among these mortals equal to that of their greatest noble or hierophant. If you do not spend Influence, however, they will seek your aid with difficult problems facing them.
Example Agenda: Recruit primal leaders from eight worlds to join the Chosen.

All of the things coming from the Shard of Empire are driven to expand. When the Shard binds itself to Sig, it infects the City Between with its colonialist influence. The Merchant’s Guild rises to prominence, led by the secretive cabal of Night Barons. They formally ally with Palnayas the Chosen, though their goals are not actually identical. The Night Barons want to expand their trade networks and use the wealth they gain from this to take control of the other Factions of Sig. Palnayas, on the other hand, wants to colonize and assimilate the primes, ruling them all via the Chosen. The Spiked are a byproduct of their scheming in the Shard of Empire, serving as loyal soldiers and visible signs of the imperialist infection.

In the early days of an Empire infection, the signs are subtle. The Night Barons establish themselves in the Night Markets, where pretty much any primal treasure can be gained if you can afford it. It’s not clear if they founded the Night Markets long ago and are returning or the Night Markets are meant to be new, but I’d favor the former – having a black market is useful even when not running this campaign seed. Those who visit the Night Markets get to see all kinds of strange and bizarre drugs, spices and objects, brought in from exotic worlds. The place feels like a constant celebration, with children given free candy and plenty of light shows on display to entertain the masses. The Night Barons are hard at work in this phase of infection to build a positive reputation for themselves. They’re throwing all these festivals constantly and trying to avoid questions about how they pay for it all. If not for the mysterious crates in the alleys, guarded by the Spiked, few would question anything.

As the celebrations go on, the second stage of infection begins. The Night Barons negotiate with the Crashers and other groups that collect gate keys. It is expensive, but the Barons consider it worth it. They spread through the prime worlds they get access to. Sometimes they send in agents first to trade planar goods for local treasure, while others are approached by Chosen agents that offer power to those leaders who will convert to worship of Palnayas. Others get invaded by Spiked armies that quickly set up beachheads for further attack. The initial efforts are still able to be resisted by the locals, if they were to be warned by brave adventurers. These initial efforts prove profitable for the Shard of Empire, however. The Night Barons collect resources from across the primes and planes, and many mortals sign on as Chosen or Spiked. This will, if not stopped, bolster the Empire for what is coming.

In the third stage of imperial infection, the primal worlds that the Shard has invaded are taken under control. Valuable goods of great power are available on the Night Markets now – including weapons, religious artifacts, mystic drugs and primal slaves. The damage the Imperial forces are dealing is becoming evident. The Night Barons are now spending their ill-gotten gains on buying the loyalty of the Enforcers, who serve them as a kind of private guard. The Chosen have grown bolder, and their temple now sits near the top of Godstreet. Palnayas feeds on the faith of the primes they have taken, and the Chosen now begin to evangelize in the City Between, spreading their message of superiority in the Hive to gain more followers. They wield divine blessings and miracles, driven by the influx of primal worship. The GM will at this point select one Face that has been hurt by the Empire’s growing influence. Other Faces have likely been influenced or affected, but this Face has suffered greatly.

The final stage of imperial infection sees the Empire grown strong, practically irresistible. Half the Factions of Sig are loyal to it now, either thanks to Night Baron coin or the church of Palnayas. The other half are kept in line by the hundreds of Spiked soldiers that now regularly patrol the City Between, hunting dissidents. The Empire is very controlling, but not wholly cruel. The Chosen tend to be free with private charity, giving food to the poor and ensuring that the necessities of life are available. However, they expect certain levels of obedience in exchange for this; many give it willingly. The GM now identifies one Face that has assimilated into the Empire, and a second that has rejected them and been brutally punished for it. At this point, everyone will have chosen sides; by the time the Empire has reached this level of dominance, neutrality is impossible. The more time passes, the harder the Shard of Empire will be to fight.

Each of the example Prime worlds is listed now, talking about how the Empire infiltrates them and takes control, and what goods the Night Barons use them for if the Shard is allowed to take over. The Age of Scales is a natural ally of Empire; they have devoured many worlds and want ever more. The Serpent Dynasty are essentially agents of Empire in their own right, and the Spiked happily defer to them in their worlds. They are happy to trade goods for access to Sig by Serpent agents. Primarily, the Age of Scales produces terrified and obedient slaves, the services of serpentine assassins that can wear human skin, bone-white and attention-grabbing statues and secret keys to over a dozen Dynastic worlds. Alucina welcomes the Merchants as they do most travelers, and the Night Barons take advantage by raiding their ephemeral wealth of ancestral blessings and prophetic visions. The Night Market offers up the sacred songs of Alucina, the blessed wooden masks of the ancestors, the bitter brown drinks that grant visions and the forbidden songs that open gates that should not be opened.

Crystalia is a seductive prize for the Empire, targeted by the Chosen for infiltration. They offer power to key leaders in order to set in place a brutal class structure over the once harmonious prime. Those who follow Palnayas are known as the Strong, while unbelievers are dubbed the Fragile. The Chosen ship various treasures to the Night Barons, such as healing poems that shatter once recited, diamond-tipped pens that allow permanent scribing into nearly any substance, ruby hammers that can shatter anything, and sapphire roses which can store magic within themselves. The Dimming Twilight is raided by mercenaries in service to the Night Barons, who seek to poach the treasures of the dying suns. The Chosen make their way in and take over the cult of Feil to serve them. The Night Markets gain access to star-tears, which burn away weakness, the Keepers’ Garb, which are ever-changing black robes, the Twilight Songs that cannot fade from memory, and bottles containing elder stars, which can be tapped to steal their immortal essence. Hex is a beloved prime of the Night Barons, both for its wealth and the hedonistic joys it can provide them. They set up shop there and make tons of trade deals without much worry. They bring in fragrant and glowing incense, infernally produced drugs, dangerous secrets and daemons skilled in various sensual services.

The Iron Cities are infiltrated by the Chosen via subtle disguise and quiet corruption. They manage to turn one city-state, establishing their divine hierarchy there, and use that city to conquer the others by gifting them divine strength from Palnayas. The Night Markets gain intricate stone and iron carvings, the swords that bear the skill of ancient warriors, iron standards that mystically inspire armies, and metal masks embossed with patterns that bear the skills of artificers that wore them. Mountain Royal gets infiltrated by the Night Barons, who purchase vast amounts of goods in exchange for gold, with only a few losses to car crashes. They import guns, tasers, poutine and beer. (Yes, the joke continues for this section. No, it’s not any funnier this time.) The Whispering Sands receive Night Baron caravans, setting them to wander without destination. By the time they reach the Oasis, which takes a while, they have firmly established a physical trading post. They import the sustaining fish of Movoda, ubami seeds that can calm minds and erase ambition, ubami seeds that can control reality to your will, and Oasis water that wipes away suffering.

Finally, we get a list of sources and inspirations for the game. First up, obviously, Planescape.


This is the biggest inspiration for Sig, by a wide margin. In some ways, this setting is the reason I got into game design. It describes a cosmopolitan fantasy city in the middle of the D&D multiverse. Any place that’s home to philosophers with clubs is good in my books. Check out this mind-blowing original setting, beautifully illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.
Next, Saga.


A comic set in a space-fantasy setting, focusing on the importance of family, relationships, childhood, and parenthood. It’s a wild tale of distinctive (odd) cultures and social commentary, and one that will bring a tear to your eye.
Planarch Codex: Dark Heart of the Dreamer


Jonathan did a fantastic job of interpreting Planescape through the lens of cultural diversity in the multiplanar melting-pot city of Dis, which is literally assimilating the rest of the universe. Freebooters, heritage moves, and all sorts of other goodies abound in this fantastic supplement for Dungeon World.
Kill Six Billion Demons


This is a fantastical and mythologically rich comic that reveals the city of Throne, Domain of Kings, Kingdom of God, and center of the Omniverse. Demon-kingdoms and mystic orders fighting on the fossilized bodies of the massive angels. This will captivate you.
The Complete Priest’s Handbook


None of the divine and infernal powers found in these pages would have been possible if not for the Complete Book of Priests. It’s a guide that showed how diverse faiths can be motivated, what gifts their spiritual patrons can provide, and how society can be shaped by belief.
Polaris: Chivalric Tragedy at Utmost North


This game features haunting beauty in a world of ice and starlight. The system distributes GM authority amongst the players and uses ritual phrases for great effect. If you love the Plane of Ice, Polaris is your game.
Don’t Rest Your Head


Those who can’t rest eventually find their way to the Mad City, hunted by nightmares. This game explores this terrible realm, nestled in the plane of Dreams. The elegant twin death spirals of Exhaustion and Madness make for an unforgettable experience.


Robin Laws began an experiment in 2010 on his Livejournal where he crowdsourced a world-building experiment. During the process, countless fascinating ideas emerged in this somewhat coherent setting, which was released into the public domain in its entirety. The Aesigilar were introduced here.


The gods are cruel monsters, and someone needs to end them. This game features those mighty mortals who rise up to overthrow the terrible Powers and seize their place. If you want to stab Thor (or Kalzak) in the face, check it out at

The End.

Sep 2, 2012


I vaguely remember getting a lot of mileage out of bits and pieces of the DDG's Celtic Mythos when I was running my elementary-school (A)D&D game. Like using the Torc of the Gods, and the sword that never missed but broke if you used it wrong.

If I didn't mention it before, I think I used the DDG more than almost any other AD&D book of the time.

Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Just Dan Again posted:

Seeing all that 1e AD&D art really up close isn't doing it a lot of favors. Not trying to knock the artists of the time, it's just strange to see something that was a presented in a few square inches on rough paper blown up on a monitor

Well, I think that's particularly true of this chapter... like I mentioned, this was the chapter that had (IMO) the worst art in the book (though again, that may be just a matter of preference); the other chapters were at least a little better. But in general, yes, a lot of 1E art looked amateurish by current standards.

Oddly enough, my feelings about two of the main 1E artists kind of swapped over the years: David C. Sutherland III and David A. Trampier, both of whom signed most of their art with their initials, DCS and DAT. Between them, they did most of the art for the 1E Monster Manual, and they worked on a lot of other D&D products as well. (Trampier is also known as the creator of "Wormy", a comic that appeared in early issues of Dragon Magazine, though I didn't know that at the time—I don't think I had a subscription to Dragon till after Wormy's run ended.) When I was a child, I much preferred Sutherland's art; I thought that it was more detailed and realistic, while Trampier's art struck me as kind of blocky and weird. I've since come to realize, though, that while Sutherland put in a lot of cross-hatching and fine linework, his proportions and line quality were often inconsistent, and I've come to appreciate Trampier's style and regard him as by far the better artist. (Which isn't to cast aspersions on Sutherland; I may not think his art was as good as Trampier's, but it wasn't that bad by the standards of RPG art at the time, and he certainly had a lot of impact on D&D, both through his art and through some of his other creative contributions; for instance, he wrote the classic module Queen of the Demonweb Pits.) Unfortunately, both Sutherland and Trampier passed away at relatively young ages (they were both in their fifties).

In any case, though, I'd say Trampier's art, and that of certain other 1E artists, still holds up today even in close-ups. Consider the banshee picture from the third Deities & Demigods post... that was one of his. The art from the Celtic Mythos chapter, though... honestly, I was never really fond of it even seeing it in a few square inches on paper.

Sep 2, 2012


Jerik posted:

Unfortunately, both Sutherland and Trampier passed away at relatively young ages (they were both in their fifties).
Trampier also did the 1e PHB cover, which is probably one of the most iconic pieces of artwork in D&D history.

He somehow ended up as a cab driver in Carbondale, IL and apparently never had an inkling of how valuable his original artwork would be. He was still incredibly angry at TSR, which had evidently led to him getting out of the art business entirely.

Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

Anyway, while much of it may not be up to top modern RPG art standards, at least the art in 1E D&D was for the most part a vast improvement on the art in the original D&D boxed set. (The art from the "Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes" title page in the post above is an exception, but I'm confident that was taken from a public-domain source and not created for the book.) Here, for example, is the illustration of the Type VI demon in "Eldritch Wizardry", which I probably would have included in the post had I found it in time (I missed it because it was for some reason in an entirely different part of the book from the demons' descriptions):

Based on the signature, by the way, that artwork is by David C. Sutherland III, but he apparently improved a lot between the original boxed set and the 1E Monster Manual—the picture of the type VI demon from the Monster Manual that I included in the Celtic Mythos post was also by Sutherland, and while it still may not be the equal of most modern RPG art it's a lot better than this drawing. Good for him. I mean, he may still not be my favorite 1E artist, but I do think it speaks well of him that he apparently put in the practice and improved his skills.

Oct 9, 2012

dwarf74 posted:

Trampier also did the 1e PHB cover, which is probably one of the most iconic pieces of artwork in D&D history.

He somehow ended up as a cab driver in Carbondale, IL and apparently never had an inkling of how valuable his original artwork would be. He was still incredibly angry at TSR, which had evidently led to him getting out of the art business entirely.

The other day I had a Facebook ad pop up offering to sell me a T-shirt with Trampier's goblin picture from the 1E MM. Somehow I suspect the shirt manufacturer isn't offering royalties to Trampier's family.

Aug 20, 2005

by Fluffdaddy

I agree that Beast feels a lot like an "okay, enough is enough, quit making new 'you're this kind of weird monster who looks like a person, here's how you're existentially tortured'" kinda moment

They have a ton of good material to revise into new editions or expand with splats and add-ons. Why not just do more with poo poo like Changeling and Hunter that have strong concepts, intuitive themes, and effective central metaphors instead of increasingly tying themselves in knots to come up with stuff like Beast and Deviant whose titles tell me nothing about what's in them? Compare that to Vampire. What's that? A vampire roleplaying game. What's it about? A lot of the themes vampire stories tend to be about : our base impulses and how we resist or surrender to them, the soul-cost of immortality, disease, sex, anomie, and the myriad ways that people prey on each other and rationalize their behavior. You can glean all of that from seeing it on a shelf.

I dunno, I have no idea how their financials work; maybe people just love to run out and buy new WoD cores.

Dec 22, 2003

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

No. 1 Apartheid Fan posted:

I agree that Beast feels a lot like an "okay, enough is enough, quit making new 'you're this kind of weird monster who looks like a person, here's how you're existentially tortured'" kinda moment

They have a ton of good material to revise into new editions or expand with splats and add-ons. Why not just do more with poo poo like Changeling and Hunter that have strong concepts, intuitive themes, and effective central metaphors instead of increasingly tying themselves in knots to come up with stuff like Beast and Deviant whose titles tell me nothing about what's in them? Compare that to Vampire. What's that? A vampire roleplaying game. What's it about? A lot of the themes vampire stories tend to be about : our base impulses and how we resist or surrender to them, the soul-cost of immortality, disease, sex, anomie, and the myriad ways that people prey on each other and rationalize their behavior. You can glean all of that from seeing it on a shelf.

I dunno, I have no idea how their financials work; maybe people just love to run out and buy new WoD cores.
Considering that these products are now financed on spec using Kickstarter, they may have estimated that they can more readily produce product that sells enough to make the enterprise financially rewarding by making new splats and only planning out supplements when the core book has been adequately or abundantly funded, i.e. via stretch goals.

Most of these people buy the thing based on the premise. Scion 1e sold 5 big gorgeously-illustrated splatbooks despite being poo poo on a shingle mechanically and culturally because the premise was really good.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?

deviant is a really lovely name it should be called like Experiment: The Remade or Remade: The Escaped or some poo poo like that. something that tells you what the characters are.

on the other hand, it seems like it breaks the pattern of 'sad supernatural guys who look like humans'. your guys start out as hosed up and powerful as they're going to get, and i dont think they get magical 'look normal' powers if theyre some kinda cyborg monster. their main issue is guys trying to capture them.

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

Libertad! posted:

Other D&D Africa Settings:

Here are ones I found but have not reviewed. With the exception of Scarlet Brotherhood (which I have not read) I cannot recommend them as much on account that they do not match the breadth and respectfulness of the above three. Svimohzia breaks off from the "Darkest Africa" trope and details a setting not unlike the ones I reviewed, but it has so much problematic material that its bad points weigh down the rest of the setting. Paizo does have plans to rectify their past mistakes, according to a blog post.

Svimohzia: the Ancient Isle: Kingdoms of Kalamar's regional sourcebook for their Counterpart Sub-Saharan African kingdoms

Tomb of Annihilation: This 5th Edition megaventure details the environs of Chult, Faerun's "Darkest Africa" region.

The Scarlet Brotherhood: A 2nd Edition sourcebook, one of this book's chapters goes into detail on Hepmonaland, a hybrid South America/Africa continent of the Greyhawk setting.

Pathfinder: Heart of the Jungle: A Pathfinder RPG sourcebook detailing Golarion's "Darkest Africa" region.

Don't forget ĆSHEBA: GREEK AFRICA by Gary Gygax. This was a New Infinities published supplement (same company he used for Cyborg Commando among others) from 1987, and was actually pretty good. I'll have to see if I can find my copy.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
Terminal autist!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!

Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Don't forget ĆSHEBA: GREEK AFRICA by Gary Gygax. This was a New Infinities published supplement (same company he used for Cyborg Commando among others) from 1987, and was actually pretty good. I'll have to see if I can find my copy.

Ancient Greek/Africa actually is a cool mashup, would love a read of that if you can find it.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets

juggalo baby coffin posted:

deviant is a really lovely name it should be called like Experiment: The Remade or Remade: The Escaped or some poo poo like that. something that tells you what the characters are.

on the other hand, it seems like it breaks the pattern of 'sad supernatural guys who look like humans'. your guys start out as hosed up and powerful as they're going to get, and i dont think they get magical 'look normal' powers if theyre some kinda cyborg monster. their main issue is guys trying to capture them.

Yeah. So.

I was Deviant’s developer for a couple years, and took it from a one-paragraph description to a redlined first draft before handing it off to another guy to finish, who’s done another pass on a second draft and is now getting it ready for a kickstarter. The title for Deviant was one of the mandated things before it came to me, and I don’t know who came up with it.

And yeah, “they don’t have a Promethean or Changeling style cop-out for looking inhuman” was in my initial design notes, long before any writers got to the game. If you have obvious surgical marks as a Remade, I dunno. wear a coat or something.

On t’other hand, it does has powers that can pass for normal, or even make a obvious character pass for normal for a bit, otherwise the game couldn’t handle Drs Jekyll or Banner, which would be a betrayal of source material.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

How would the dog wear goggles and even more than that, who makes the goggles?

Dave Brookshaw posted:

Yeah. So.

I was Deviant’s developer for a couple years, and took it from a one-paragraph description to a redlined first draft before handing it off to another guy to finish, who’s done another pass on a second draft and is now getting it ready for a kickstarter. The title for Deviant was one of the mandated things before it came to me, and I don’t know who came up with it.

And yeah, “they don’t have a Promethean or Changeling style cop-out for looking inhuman” was in my initial design notes, long before any writers got to the game. If you have obvious surgical marks as a Remade, I dunno. wear a coat or something.

On t’other hand, it does has powers that can pass for normal, or even make a obvious character pass for normal for a bit, otherwise the game couldn’t handle Drs Jekyll or Banner, which would be a betrayal of source material.

thats really cool, sorry about the title.

and yeah for some of the types it seems like they would naturally blend in. like the psychic dudes, or like you said the Jekyll and hyde guys. I've got no problem with that at all, it makes sense, like most vampires looking human, or werewolves looking human in human form. it's just when they break from the fiction to have those weird cop-outs.

like the one constant across the general 'constructed individual' genre is being a person with sentience and a soul, but being judged as artificial, freakish, and/or disposable because of their exterior appearance. Frankenstein's monster was an intelligent, articulate, soulful guy, if he'd had the ability to turn from 'alchemical monstrosity made at least in part from stolen remains' to 'guy who looks like he maybe had cleft palate surgery as a baby' i think he would have had a fine time fitting in.

and so to correct for that cludge of having them appear human, they introduce a second cludge, where it's not innate human fear of the alien or different that drives the raving mob, but a magical force called disquiet that basically absolves the raving mob of their responsibility because it makes them crazy.

i don't know if it was like meddling from the top (who were worried a game where you couldn't be sexy and sad wouldn't sell maybe), but its kind of a bummer. Promethean has so much cool stuff in it, the alchemical lore being worked into it is very cool and hearkens back to the actual frankenstein book, and its a very elegant way to weave together the different types of created beings from myth and fiction.

I think deviant looks super interesting though. The concept of having your powers and scars from the start (at least as far as I understand it) is really unique compared to the other game lines. The various systems for character creation that have been previewed so far also look really good for creating a wide range of unique characters, which is awesome. Freakish experiments are one of my favourite horror tropes (i guess my absolute favourite if you count Frankenstein as one) so I'm pretty pumped for the game.

Mar 9, 2012

World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization

Part 8: Attributes & Skills

This chapter is all about how to perform skill tests, and the rules are basically just repeated from Chapter 6 with a little more detail.

To review, die rolls are your basic roll-and-add-or-subtract system. Some die rolls are simple, and are written as d20 or d6 or whatever. Some die rolls are stress rolls, written as s20 or s6 etc., and this kind of roll is exploding (roll again and add if you roll the maximum amount), as well as risks botching. The one actual additional rule here is that if a single action involves multiple stress rolls, only the main roll actually risks botching. The example they give is rolling damage after hitting in combat. Even though they're two die rolls, since they're the same act then the damage roll doesn't create an extra chance of botching. This is a perfectly good example, with the minor tiny mistake that there actually isn't any separate roll for damage. In practice, any die rolls that don't include a risk of botching will be specifically labelled in the rules.

Also, you use the same rules even if the die is something bad. If you're rolling an s6 penalty die, then a 1 could botch, but a 6 could explode and give you an even higher penalty, so hope you roll somewhere in the middle.

The 10 attributes are a coarse description of your character's aptitudes. Unlike a lot of other stuff on the character sheet, these attributes aren't particularly diegetic. Just like in the real world, strength on the World Tree is made up of countless variables; how much you can lift, how often you can, if your grip strength in one hand is weaker than the other, etc. For the sake of playability, it just gets fudged together into a single number, and even that is a little slippery. In reality, "strength" is the "good at fighting" number, and all the definitions are tweaked to make that so.

There's no hard limit to how high or low an attribute can be, but for all effective purposes they stay within a range of -6 to +6.

Strength: Lifting things and hitting things. A dedicated fighter will probably have at least +3, unless they're a gimmick fighter.

Stamina: Endurance, vitality, and in particular survivability. Since there's no equivalent to saving throws, rolls that use your Stamina attribute are more common than Constitution rolls in d20.

Dexterity: Specifically manual dexterity, your ability to do things with your hands, tentacles, mouth, or whatever you work with. Primarily used in crafting and rogue arts, and also a factor in attack accuracy.

Agility: Full body coordination. This is good for dancing, climbing, jumping, and not getting shivved.

Perception: The strength of your senses, including both the traditional sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing, as well as the World Tree specific magic sense.

Faith: This is kind of loose nomenclature. Faith doesn't refer to your belief in the gods. Rather, it's more like the strength of your innate connection to the gods. Useful for determining your cley supply, as well as dealing with gods and their agents.

Memory: Your ability to remember things precisely, as well as your ability to work with structured information. Bookkeeping might require memory, even though you're not really memorizing anything. Useful for pattern spells, which are the most common type of magic.

Wits: Your ability to think quickly and improvise. Useful for spontaneous magic and coming up with new ideas.

Will: Your ability to assert yourself. Highly useful when you need to concentrate, or when forcing yourself to act past your physical or mental limits. Also handy if you don't want to be mind controlled.

Charisma: It's charisma, it handles all your social needs. It covers both appearance and personality.


Another reminder of how skill rolls work. Attribute + Skill + s20, vs some threshold set by the gamemaster. The book specifically points out that the gamemaster usually won't tell you what the threshold is, which is a personal pet peeve of mine that I would like to indulge in some fist-shaking at.


Ahem. Moving on.

Skills aren't associated with specific attributes. Climbing something is usually an Agility+Climb, but looking to see what the best course up a cliff is might be Perception+Climb, choosing the best climbing gear might be Memory+Climb, etc.

If you don't have any points in a skill, you may or may not be allowed to attempt it, depending on what would make sense for that activity. Anyone can try to climb even if they're lovely at it, but if you've never even studied the God's Tongue there's no chance of translating it no matter how well you roll.

If you succeed by 30 or more, then you achieve a great success, and you get something more than just doing the thing you wanted. There's no guarantee that the extra thing is something you want, though. The example they give is a musician performing so well that someone in the audience becomes smitten with them. Handy if you're looking for a date, less desirable if your jealous spouse is also in the band. I think I would have preferred if this rule didn't invite the GM to punish players with success.

Sometimes rolls are opposed, instead of against a fixed threshold. Combat is the most common example, your attack roll vs. their defense roll. It does have an interesting option for contests without decisive results; if you're arm-wrestling and roll 10 points higher than your opponent, that's a decisive victory, but if you beat them by less than 10, you just have a temporary advantage. Make another opposed roll, adding the extra margin you rolled last time as a bonus to the second roll. It's kind of pointless faffing about, to be frank, but sometimes that can be fine for dramatic purposes.

If you fail at something, you may or may not be able to try again. If you fail a knowledge roll, then you don't know the thing and that's that. If you fail an Agility + Jump roll to leap over a chasm, then your next roll is probably going to involve Climb or Medicine. Sometimes you can just keep trying until you get it right, and the only cost is time, but the gamemaster might decide to apply increasing penalties to your rolls to represent frustration and fatigue.

Technically speaking, any use of a skill, no matter how trivial, requires a roll, but if it doesn't matter whether you succeed or fail, then the gamemaster should forgo the roll.

The full list of skills is just kind of slipped into the middle of the chapter without warning or preface. :shrug:

Magic Skills
These are the various utility skills that support spellcasting, not the actual skills of casting spells (those would be the Nouns and Verbs). For various reasons, partly thematic and partly just to even out the skill groups, a few skills important to magicians are found in the crafting group instead.

Cley Base: How much cley you get per day, and also how many bound spells you can have at a time. Rarely used as an active skill roll.

Concentration: Included in this group because it's usually used for keeping control of a spell that requires active maintenance. This skill does apply to things like paying attention during a boring guard shift.

Feather Casting: This is for attempting to cast a pattern spell weakly, but without expending cley.

Finesse: Getting spells to behave exactly how you want them to, especially when the task is complex. For example, the power of a disguise spell (based on your Nouns and Verbs) determines how long it lasts and how hard it is to dispel, but your finesse determines how closely the disguise looks like you want it to look.

Hammer Casting: Attempting to cram extra cley into a pattern spell to make it go off with more power.

Magic Analysis: Attempting to study an active magic to determine things like its Nouns and Verbs, approximate power, and other non-obvious elements. Also useful for other metaphysical things, like being able to tell that a Gormoror has broken their word of honor.

Magic Resistance: Unlike almost every other skill, Magic Resistance is rolled alone, without adding any attribute, when you attempt to resist a spell. Magical resistance is an actual metaphysical part of you, like a wall of brambles around your magerium. Magic Resistance rolls are hard to succeed at: any half-competent mage will probably be casting spells with power of at least 20, and it takes a lot of Magic Resistance skill to have any confidence in success. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to boost your magic resistance.

Magic Theory: How well you understand the convoluted academic side of magic. Used for figuring out what arts are required to do something, being able to tell if it's possible at all, estimating how complex a spell will be, and planning out the best way to spontaneously cast a spell before making the attempt.

Meditation: This is used to take some quiet time and connect with the gods. Most of the time, meditating is done to regain cley. Sometimes you might want to try praying directly to one of the gods; this might give you an insight into whether that god approves of your actions. Most people don't really care what the gods think, though.

Ritual Magic: Some spells are very long, complex, and expensive, but also more powerful than a traditional spell. It's not uncommon for a professional mage to know a ritual, but it's also not required.

Spellbinding: The art of binding a pre-cast spell onto an object, to go off at some predetermined trigger.

Spontaneous Force: When casting spells spontaneously, this skill is added to the spell's power.

Nouns and Verbs
The 7 Verbs and 12 Nouns needed for casting spells are learned the same way any other skill is. We've already seen them listed once, and they'll come up again in the full chapter on magic.

Combat Skills
Each category of weapon is a skill. E.g. Edged Weapons covers everything from shortswords to three-handed swords. Weapon skills will get listed when we get to equipment.

Combat Stance Base: Usually not rolled against, CSB determines how far you change your stance to be aggressive or defensive, and also determines how many combat options you have.

Life Base: Your ability to not die. This is a skill that's learned, studied, and trained like any other. There's a few rolls that use your life base, like rolling Stamina + Life Base to resist getting knocked out when someone clonks you upside the head.

Climb: This skill is often unvalued in fantasy games, but when you live on a literal tree it's pretty darned useful. Especially since a lot of the adventure out there exists on the Verticals...

Dance: The existence of dancing as its own skill tells me that the designers really wanted social encounters to be a major aspect of the game. It's hard to imagine your success at dancing mattering often enough to justify putting any effort into increasing this skill. Most likely if your character is good at dancing, it's because the background advantages you chose gave you some automatic points in it.

Dodge: The primary contributor to your defense roll. This is something every character is going to want.

Hunting: Finding prey, knowing what to do when you've found it, and preparing it once it's dead. If the prey is something capable of fighting back, then some of the steps in the middle will be a matter of combat skills.

Jump: If you can't fly, this might be the only way across one of those chasms that adventurers keep running into.

Ride: Low skill is enough to sit on a well-trained animal and do normal things. Higher skill lets you ride exotic or half-trained animals, take them into battle, etc.

Running: Both sprinting and long-distance running. Over a short distance, you can add (5+Running)x10% to your walking speed, so a Running skill of 5 means you run at double your walking speed. The table of walking speeds gets squeezed in here, because why not I guess. It's got some amusing entries.

Swim: Swimming. That's it, that's literally the description in the book.

Track: Following people. If you're Cani or Sleeth, you get to add your smelling bonus to the roll.

Rogue Arts
These skills aren't inherently illegal or immoral, but they tend to be at least kind of sketchy.

Alertness: Noticing things you need to notice. This often gets used as an opposed roll against someone else's sneaking.

Disguise: Also includes acting, any attempt to appear to be not yourself.

Forgery: This is a rare skill, but that means most people don't think to suspect it. Forging a signature from a good sample requires a roll of 15, to give a baseline of difficulty.

Make/Pick Locks: Locks on the World Tree are pretty pathetic by earth standards, most people prefer magical security.

Pick Pockets: Useful when you don't want to bother someone by asking to borrow their stuff.

Search: Where alertness is for spotting something happening, search is for finding something hidden, or at least misplaced. One search roll represents about 10 minutes of actively searching.

Set/Disarm Traps: Disarming a trap usually requires two rolls: Perception + Disarm to identify and understand the trap, Dexterity + Disarm to actually disable it. Failing to disarm doesn't set it off unless you botch. Traps could be anything from simple snares to full fledged Indiana Jones setpieces, possibly with magical components to complicate the process.

Sleight of Hand: Stage magic is actually a well appreciated skill on the World Tree: the audience will be carefully examining you with magic sense to be sure that you're not cheating by using ACTUAL magic like some kind of scrub. I guess you might want to use this to swipe something off the duke's desk without him noticing if you're a criminal or something.


Social Skills
Bargain: Getting better prices for buying or selling something.There's no particular guidelines for how much of a benefit this skill can get you, so it's up to GM-fiat.

Command: Getting people who are supposed to do what you want to do what you want. You get +5 to commanding a Cani that's loyal to you, and you get -5 to commanding a Sleeth or a Zi Ri because they're not loyal to poo poo. Inspirational speeches or promises of bonus pay could be worth a bonus to the roll.

Empathy: Understanding the emotional state of someone. You get a +3 bonus to understanding people of the same species, and Cani are particularly easy to read because they wear their hearts on their tails. This isn't exactly reliable, but mind-reading magic is universally reviled.

Etiquette: Navigating the confusing and arbitrary laws of social engagement. This covers everything from knowing which fork to use at dinner to knowing just the right turn of phrase to start a bar fight.

Flirting: THE UNIVERSAL SKILL. Covers getting appropriate people interested in you, and following through when you succeed. In general, a successful flirting roll will get a reaction, but what the actual reaction is depends on the person; a faithfully married person might react with shame and refusing physical contact.

Friendliness: Generally covers being chatty and nice with people.

Guile: Useful for all adventurers, and particularly useful for thieves, merchants, and politicians.

Interrogate: Getting information out of someone that doesn't want to give it to you. The skill description kind of dances around the idea of torture without actually mentioning it.

Intimidate: Getting someone to back down with the promise of violence, instead of actually having to use violence.

There's myriads of possible craft skills that aren't specifically listed. If basket-weaving is important to your character, just write in basket-weaving.

Animal Handling: Taming and training animals, as well as basic veterinary medicine.

Armor Repair: Your armor getting messed up is actually a fairly common situation, especially against foes intelligent enough to have combat skills. Restoring one point of soak requires proper tools and d20 minutes of work. Metal armor is harder to patch up than non-metal. Actually making armor, smithcraft, is a different skill.

Enchantment: The rare, esoteric art of making magic items. Most players will never touch this, the required investment in terms of resources, skill, and time is very very high.

Medicine: Curing the sick and injured. Usually this is performed with magic; healing spells generally work better with a higher medicine skill. Injuries can be treated non-magically, but it's harder and takes longer. Illness is actually fairly rare for primes; there's only a few actual diseases and they're easily treated with simple magic.

Music: They suggest that if music is important to the campaign, then each instrument should be a distinct skill, and now I'm curious what the playtest game that inspired that idea was like.

Spellweaving: The art of constructing a very complicated but very weak spell. A rare skill, not useful for novices.

Wilderness Survival: Building shelters to stay warm, knowing what mushrooms won't kill you.

Woodworking: A humble skill, but fantastically useful on the World Tree where the most common useful resource is wood. Covers whittling, carpentry, and even a bit of architecture.

God's Tongue: The language of the gods is completely unrelated to any other language on the World Tree. Scholars like to write complicated texts in this language because it makes them seem more prestigious.

Judge Value: The art of knowing how much something is worth, both intrinsically because of what it is, and extrinsically because of fame or other factors.

General Knowledge: A catch-all of non-specialized information. Skill level of 3 includes basic literacy.

History and Literature: Grouped together as a single skill because they're the components of a liberal arts education. Fair enough.

Natural Science: Mostly biology and astronomy. Can fill in in a pinch as herbalism if your medicine skill isn't up to the task.

Languages: Most languages on the World Tree are somewhat related, and being good at languages in general means you'll pick up a new language quickly. Languages from off the World Tree are rare, and not covered by this skill.

Law: A tricky skill, because laws vary wildly from place to place, and are rarely very well codified. This skill is as much knowing how to handle the local officials as it is knowing the actual laws.

Teaching: Necessary for passing your knowledge on to others. In particular, you need this to teach advanced topics to novices.

Theology: Information about the gods. Myths and history have a lot of overlap on the World Tree, and there are many many different approaches to theology to keep straight.

Another mostly redundant section. Knacks are a bonus to any roll involving that skill. Knacks are hard to gain or lose in play. Orren occasionally pick up minor knacks, and gods might grant knacks as a reward for great deeds. Knacks are inherent to the spirit, and persist even after death. If you have a knack in Pyrador, you might have done something to please Flokin in a previous life.

Experience and Training

During play, experience is gained in various ways. Each group of skills tracks experience separately. Experience is spent from a group's pool to improve skills during play the same as it was spent during character creation; each point of a skill costs as many experience points as the number you're raising to. Increasing a skill from 0 to 1 may require you to seek out a trainer, or at least have a really good primer to learn from.

Adventuring is the fastest way to improve skills, which might be your character's entire motivation to go on an adventure. Each game session gives you some experience in every category that you used at all in that session, no matter how trivially. If you're nice to the groom that tends your horses at the inn, that's good enough to get some experience even if you never actually made a friendliness roll.

After a normal length session (a couple hours), the gamemaster will tell you to add something like "5 points to one category, 0-3 in the others." You get 5 points in the single category you used the most or learned the most about, 3 points in any categories you used a lot of, 2 in categories you used repeatedly, and 1 in categories you used at all. Ideally, the players can be trusted to judge this for themselves.

On top of those points, the gamemaster might hand out extra d6s worth of experience as a reward for succeeding at goals or for notable achievements. A typical session is worth about 3 d6s per player. The gamemaster might require these d6s to go in specific groups, or even into a particular skill.

Even when not adventuring, everyone gets experience just from daily usage of skills. Every 3 months, you get a small increase in experience; d6 each in 3 pools, and 1 point each in 3 other pools. After 40 years of age, this decreases to d6 in 1 pool, and 1 point each in 3 other pools.

What are these weird squirrels even

Children gain a lot of experience very quickly from education, but that phase of life is over by the time play starts so there's no particular rules for it. Adult education is still effective, but not as dramatic as adventuring. To learn a skill, the teacher needs a higher skill than the student. Unfortunately, being expert at a skill doesn't mean you're good at communicating the basics: you can only teach someone that's at least half your level in that skill. Every level of teaching you have reduces the minimum level of the student by 1.

A week of devoted study to a topic is usually worth 1 experience, and a person could study as many as 5 topics if they don't mind missing out on sleep. There might be other costs besides time and tuition; studying magic will probably cost 8-12 cley per day. A good teacher can give better returns over a long period of time; adding (2xteaching)% to the experience gained.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

In the process of reviewing Vampire, I've dipped my toes in the forum discussions about how they've reworked Disciplines over the editions. I wish I hadn't. I'm bewildered at all the people complaining that Celerity isn't powerful enough. And I shouldn't be, because I lived through the same poo poo over Wired Reflexes in Shadowrun when I was a teenager.
Greek Africa? Like, the Palmyrene Empire? :smaug:

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 13:16 on Jul 19, 2019

Feb 13, 2012

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

Superspeed should give you infinite power because it lets you do cool backflips more, that's just science.

The days before anyone started taking action economy seriously were a wild time.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Night10194 posted:

Superspeed should give you infinite power because it lets you do cool backflips more, that's just science.

The days before anyone started taking action economy seriously were a wild time.

Works for DC Comics, tho.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

I'll always remember GURPS Vampire: the Masquerade, in which Celerity 5 has a far higher cost (5 blood points), it lasts for 6 hours of literally getting three attacks per second (and around triple foot speed, for those that care). That's like 9 to 540 attacks per Storyteller turn, but Storyteller is just really vague that way.

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

GURPS Vampire's Disciplines were... something else.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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

Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Setting
Interlude: A History of Face Grabbing
Chapter 3: Storytelling
Chapter 4: Rules
Chapter 5: Character
Chapter 6: Chronicle
Chapter 7, Part 1: Clans
Chapter 7, Part 2: Traits

Chapter Seven, Part 3: Bondage & Discipline


If I realised the power of magic to worry and terrify people before, then I certainly would have used it before.

--Gregor Strasser, The Bell Jar

At long last, we arrive at the central theme of this game: Kewl Vampyre Powarz!

All Kindred have certain powers and weaknesses in common, but Disciplines are a bucket for all the powers commonly attributed to some, but not all vampires: mesmerism, shapeshifting, making cows give sour milk, that sort of thing. They’re a big part of what makes the game accessible, because they’re the reason your Clan serves as a sort of character class. (There’s a reason Disciplines were split off into their own chapter in later editions.)

Most Disciplines are a set of discrete powers organized under a theme. One of my longstanding pet peeves about Disciplines was that many don’t feel like a natural progression from one power to the other. It doesn’t bother me so much, though there’s little narrative explanation for how you study and learn new powers. While you can learn non-Clan Disciplines, the designers were kinda vague on whether you need a teacher to do that, especially for the carefully guarded ones like Thaumaturgy.

Disciplines aren’t terribly well-balanced. There are few powers that strike me as near-useless or totally dependent on the kindness of the Storyteller, but some are clearly better than others. Some Disciplines require a different Attribute+Ability roll for each power, while others use mostly the same dice pool or don’t require rolling at all. Some require spending Blood or Willpower points. The corebook doesn’t list powers for Disciplines above five dots--you had to make them up or wait for the supplements.

Somehow, this is the only good illustration in the chapter about vampire powers. But it’s enough.

:dogcited: Animalism allows you to telepathically communicate with and control animals. (Without this Discipline, animals tend to be frightened or angered by vampires.) You can also manipulate “the Beast” inherent to animals, humans, and even Kindred. This boils down to their instincts for fight, flight, and appetite.

The Storyteller is encouraged to characterize individual animals as much as makes sense--most of these powers require you to convince the animal to do what you want it to do, and roleplay talking to it in a way it can understand. (For example, dogs are smarter than mice, but neither understands what a telephone is.) Later books would expand on common tactics that Gangrel and Nosferatu employ using animals, though I never played with anyone who made an animal much of an NPC in its own right.

· Sweet Whispers: By making eye contact, you can telepathically communicate with an animal and convince it to perform complex commands. This can even work over days or weeks, creating useful lookouts and guards. Roll Manipulation+Animal Ken.

·· The Beckoning lets you can summon any animals of a particular species that are in the area, by calling to them in silly animal sounds. Your successes determine how many show up. Summoned animals aren’t under your command, but are presumed to be friendly. This power can depend a lot on the sympathy of the Storyteller, though you shouldn’t have much trouble summoning rats, cats, and dogs in a city. Roll Charisma+Survival.

··· Song of Serenity can soothe the Beast in a mortal or animal, making them passive and helpless. This is a great way for Kindred to feed, since the victim doesn’t understand that they were manipulated, and tend to blot the memory out entirely. Roll Manipulation+Empathy in an Extended Action.

···· Sharing of Spirits means you can possess an animal. The number of successes determines what Disciplines you can use while running around in animal form. Roll Charisma+Animal Ken.

····· Drawing Out the Beast: When you feel frenzy coming on, you can transfer your Beast into someone else, making them frenzy instead. This works on animals, mortals, and Kindred, and is fun at parties. If you leave the scene before your victim’s frenzy ends, congratulations: you’ve just created a side-story where you need to get your Beast back. (Ridding yourself of your Beast is not a good thing: you gradually lose your interest in everything, including “drinking blood” and “going inside before sunrise.”) Roll Manipulation+Animal Ken to completely gently caress up whatever the Storyteller was planning.

:spidey: Auspex is the Discipline of super-senses and ESP. It makes you hard to ambush, and also makes you very good at knowing what bad poo poo other Kindred are up to. While Malkavians have a reputation for that, they never really took any cues from this in characterizing the Toreador.

· Heightened Senses makes all your five senses supernaturally sharp, doubling the range of your sight and hearing, letting you do normally impossible stuff like tracking people by scent, and giving you an innate danger sense. The downside is that overpowering stimuli can overload your senses. The Storyteller rolls your Auspex when your danger sense comes into play; otherwise, all of this is narrative.

·· Aura Perception: Probably one of the best-known of all Disciplines, this power lets you see people’s auras. Different colours indicate different emotions. It also allows you to see if someone is a vampire, a mage...or someone who’s committed diablerie. Roll Perception+Empathy; your successes indicate how many colours and patterns you can see in someone’s aura.

··· Spirit’s Touch is what they call psychometry. You can handle an object and get impressions of the last person who held it. Roll Perception + Empathy; each success gives you one piece of information about the person or what they were doing.

···· Telepathy lets you read someone’s surface thoughts without them knowing it. You can learn pretty much anything about someone if you keep using this power over time. Roll Intelligence+Subterfuge; more successes gives you more information, and this is very much up to the Storyteller. They’re encouraged to give you information in the form of emotions and a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Using this power on a vampire costs 1 Willpower.

····· Psychic Projection allows you to astrally project. Powers like this crack me up: the game is saying that yeah, there’s this whole other plane of reality, and you access it using this one specific power, and what happens when you use it is completely up to the GM, because it’s literally uncharted territory. (Immortal had half a dozen of these.) Roll Perception+Occult and spend 1 Willpower, and you can float around in astral form with a silver cord connecting you to your sleeping body.

The roll is to make sure you can actually find your destination, and you need to roll again when changing course. Nonetheless, this is a really potent ability. You can travel at up to 500mph as an invisible and untouchable ghost, and can briefly manifest a ghostly form if you need to deliver a message. It’s really to your advantage if the Storyteller assumes the astral plane is a flat endless plane of nothing, since it’s possible to encounter mages or werewolves and have astral brawls, using mental instead of physical Attributes.

:flashfap: Celerity is the best Discipline. It’s why you have to go to the Toreador’s lovely gallery opening, and listen patiently to the Brujah rant about the military-industrial complex or the Jewish-Bolshevist conspiracy. Each dot of Celerity gives you an extra action per turn, without any penalties or splitting your dice pool or anything. The only downside of Celerity is that it costs 1 Blood Point per turn. You will likely have no problem getting that back from whatever is left of your victims. Celerity doesn’t boost initiative, but it’s insanely broken as it is. (Celerity was changed with each edition, but it wasn’t until Requiem that somebody realized breaking the action economy is always going to break the game.)

:catstare: Dominate is the power of straight-up mind control. The effects are potent, but it has drawbacks. It requires eye contact, so its use is obvious and it can only affect one person at a time. It also can’t be used on Kindred with a lower Generation. From a rules point of view, it has the common problem of requiring too many different pools.

· Command the Wearied Mind lets you issue a one-word command to a target, which they will obey instantly: flee, jump, cough, fall, etc. They’ll hesitate if the command doesn’t make sense. Roll Manipulation+Intimidate.

·· Mesmerize hypnotizes a victim and allows you to implant complex instructions, which can be carried out immediately or at any time in the future. Roll Manipulation+Leadership. It takes more successes to get someone to do something that seems strange to them, or to do something dangerous or contrary to their Nature.

··· The Forgetful Mind messes with your victim’s memories. Roll Wits+Subterfuge. This is commonly used to get away with feeding, but with enough successes, you have free rein to gently caress around with their long-term memories.

···· Conditioning is how powerful Kindred create loyal Renfields. Roll Charisma+Leadership in an Extended Action over weeks or months. This makes the victim more vulnerable to your Dominate attempts and resistant those of other vampires. Conditioned subjects carry out orders with little imagination or free will.

····· Possession does exactly what it sounds like. Roll Charisma+Intimidation in an Opposed Roll with your victim, which requires you to strip away all their Willpower with your successes.

:geno: Fortitude grants you supernatural toughness. Each dot of Fortitude gives you an extra die to Soak damage. Fortitude is also the only thing that allows you to Soak “aggravated” damage from fire and sunlight. (And some rare magical attacks, which got a lot less rare as they published more books.) In my opinion, Fortitude kinda sucks.

First, offense scales more and faster than defense in this system, and it has a fixed number of hit points with death-spiral wound penalties. So right out of the gate, we’re not talking about something that lets you hold out for several more rounds of combat. Second, the benefits of the other “physical” Disciplines, Celerity and Potence, give you something much better than an extra die per dot.

Finally, as you’ll see when I get into the rules for such things, Fortitude doesn’t make a huge difference if you’re caught in a raging fire or direct sunlight. It can only really save your bacon in classic Hammer Dracula scenarios where you’re struck by one ray of sunlight coming through a window, or like that scene in Near Dark where you have a waiting getaway car.

:ninja: Obfuscate is the stealth Discipline, allowing you to avoid detection through illusions. Its powers are conditional and interesting.

· Cloak of Shadows allows you to become invisible as long as two conditions are met: you must remain motionless, and you need some kind of cover, like a shadow or doorframe. You can even do the Looney Tunes bit where you hide behind an impossibly narrow tree. You don’t have to roll anything, and can only be detected by Kindred with Auspex higher than your Obfuscate. One more reason for the Nosferatu and Toreador to hate each other.

·· Unseen Presence lets you do that Matrix thing where you walk around nonchalantly but no one seems to notice you. You’re only revealed if you make a commotion, or to someone specifically looking for you. Roll Wits+Stealth, and the Storyteller interprets how effectively you remain hidden.

··· Mask of a Thousand Faces is a fun power that lets you appear to be someone else. Roll Manipulation+Acting. The more successes you get, the more people will remember you as a specific, distinct individual with a completely different look and set of mannerisms. This is particularly useful if you look like a mutant from a post-apocalyptic movie.

···· Vanish from Mind’s Eye allows you to disappear into thin air, even with a group of people looking right at you. Roll Charisma+Stealth. More successes means that weak-willed mortals are prone to forget that they ever saw you.

····· Cloak the Gathering lets you use any of your other Obfuscate powers on other people. You can affect one ally per point of Stealth. A single roll affects everyone equally. Obfuscate, it’s good!

:black101: Potence gives you supernatural strength. It’s the other reason you have to put up with the Brujah, and why you shouldn’t make jokes about the Nosferatu when you think they’re not listening. Each point gives you an automatic success on all Strength rolls. This includes damage, so Potence makes you a wrecking ball in melee combat. (Now you know why I think Fortitude sucks.)

:cool: Presence makes you supernaturally attractive and impressive to people. It dazzles and seduces people, the velvet glove to Dominate’s iron fist. In practical terms, Presence is good for influencing whole crowds of people, or for manipulating a mortal without them realizing it--because it works by influencing emotions, mortals aren’t likely to realize they’ve been bewitched.

· Awe lets you work the room, making yourself incredibly cool and attractive to a group of people. Roll Charisma+Acting, with successes determining both how you influence people and how many people you can effect. You can’t make people endanger themselves, but with 5 successes, convincing an auditorium full of people to do whatever you want isn’t out of the quuestion.

·· Dread Gaze is, seriously, the “game face” from Buffy. You bare your fangs and snarl at your victim, and roll Charisma+Intimidation. Successes gives them a penalty to do anything but cower in fear or flee in terror. I feel like any self-respecting vampire should be able to do this, and the description implies that it only works on mortals.

··· Entrancement makes you so magnetic to a single person that they want nothing but to hang around you and serve you. Unlike Dominated thralls, they are otherwise free-willed individuals, making more useful but less biddable. Roll Appearance+Empathy to make your victim want to serve you anywhere from an hour to a year, depending on successes. Unlike targets of Awe, they’re not likely to think much of you after spending time as your lackey.

···· Summoning allows you to telepathically order someone to come to you, as long as you’ve met them before. You can Summon someone on another continent, and they home in on your location with a flawless sense of direction, even if you keep traveling yourself. Roll Charisma+Subterfuge, with successes determining how quickly and efficiently they travel.

····· Majesty causes everyone around you to regard you with godlike reverence. They have to make a Courage roll to act with anything other than pathetic servility, with your Charisma+Intimidation as the Difficulty. Even Kindred have to spend a Willpower to overcome Majesty.

:drac: Protean is the power to shapeshift. Of all the Disciplines, it sticks out the most as a collection of random powers, and not only that, but a mixture of combat and utility powers. Protean often costs a Blood point, but never requires any rolls!

· Gleam of Red Eyes makes your eyes glow red, allowing you to see perfectly even in absolute darkness. Yawn.

·· Wolf Claws, now that’s the stuff! You can grow inch-long talons that do +2 aggravated damage in hand-to-hand combat. Aggravated damage powers became much more common as the product lines went on, but at this point, pretty much the only other things that do agg are fire and sunlight. Gangrel are typically seen as one of the “fighter class” clans for this power alone.

··· Earth Meld is an incredibly useful power. It allows you to melt into the earth, making you invulnerable--yes, you can sleep the day away in the middle of a city park. The only drawbacks are that it costs a Blood point, and you have to be on actual, natural earth. I feel that Disciplines should not just be a bag of dice tricks, but unique powers that really distinguish the way that you are a vampire. Earth Meld is a prime example.

···· Shadow of the Beast allows you to transform into a bat or a wolf. (Yes, you get both.) It costs a Blood point and takes three turns. Being a bat obviously allows you to fly, but other than that, there are no specific rules for the effects of being in animal form.

····· Mist Form does exactly what it says. You can float around at walking speed and slip through the tiniest openings. It’s impossible for most things besides fire and sunlight to hurt you, and it takes hurricane-force winds to blow you around against your will. It has the same costs as wolf and bat form.

:kimchi: Thaumaturgy comes last, which is good, because it’s loving complicated. It’s the power to manipulate vampiric blood itself, and is a big reason other Kindred think the Tremere are creeps. While I don’t think the Thaumaturgy powers are super great, Thaumaturgy also includes whole additional powersets that other Kindred don’t get! In addition to its basic powers, Thaumaturgy includes three “Paths” that can be bought separately, and a set of “Rituals” that can be performed by anyone with a high enough Thaumaturgy rating, without spending more experience points. So the Tremere are a clan with a bullshit weakness, and a whole spellbook of extra powers that they get to buy as in-clan Disciplines. loving wizards.

· A Taste for Blood lets you analyze mortal and Kindred blood. You can tell how much blood is left in a mortal, or determine a vampire’s Generation, and other minor things. Roll Perception+Occult.

·· Blood Rage forces another Kindred to spend Blood points the way you want them to. This includes the things all Kindred can spend Blood on, like increasing their Physical Attributes or temporarily appearing more human. You have to touch your victim, so roll Dexterity+Subterfuge with each success forcing them to spend 1 Blood. Try this on a Brujah.

··· Blood of Potency can temporarily make your blood more potent, as if you were of a lower Generation! Roll Manipulation+Survival, and spend your successes to decrease your Generation by 1 or extend the effect for another hour.

···· Theft of Vitae allows you to magically drain other people’s Blood, transferring it into yourself. This works on mortals or Kindred, as long as they’re within 50 feet and you have a clear line of sight. Roll Intelligence+Medicine, each success drains 1 Blood point. The target will know who’s attacking them.

····· Blood Cauldron boils your victim’s blood inside their body. Choose how many Blood points you want to boil, and roll Willpower against Difficulty Blood+4. Each success inflicts 1 damage and destroys 1 Blood point. This is death for mortals, and sucks for Kindred too.

But wait! There’s more!

:witch: Rituals are rated 1 to 5, and anyone with an equivalent Thaumaturgy rating can perform the spell--as long as they know it. Thaumaturgists get 1 ritual at character creation, while the rest must be learned--not with experience points, but by actually finding a tutor or spellbook. In addition to spending Blood points, Rituals often require material components like bones, feathers, herbs, eye of newt, and so on. loving wizards!

They only give a few Level 1 Rituals in the corebook. Bet you can’t wait to buy supplements!

Defense of the Sacred Haven allows you to block sunlight from coming in through windows, by spending a Blood point to smear drops of blood on each window.

Wake with Morning's Freshness allows you to wake up, fully alert, if someone disturbs your haven.

Communicate with Kindred Sire allows you to communicate telepathically with your sire or anyone Blood Bound to you.

Deflection of Wooden Doom makes you immune to staking for a night. Any wooden stake that touches you will harmlessly crumble into dust.

Devil’s Touch curses a mortal for a night, so that everyone they meet will be instinctively hostile to them. It requires planting a “bad penny” on the target.

:lsd: Paths are separate Thaumaturgy powers. You buy up the dots like Disciplines, and they’re actually even cheaper than an in-clan Discipline, because each Path is a single power. (Paths initially confused the poo poo out of me, because there’s a major typo in the tables for them: instead of dots, it lists number of successes. So it looks like you’re supposed to buy dots in a power where that doesn’t affect the roll at all.)

The Lure of Flames lets you summon and control fire. Yes, fire! One of the most dangerous loving things to vampires, and you just get to throw it around! With 1 dot you create a candle flame, with 5 dots you can create a huge inferno.

Movement of the Mind gives you telekinesis, ranging from a pound to a half a ton. You can use this to fly.

Weather Control does exactly that. The rating determines the phenomena you can create, ranging from creating fog to dropping a loving lightning bolt on anyone you don’t like. The Difficulty is determined by ambient weather conditions (so it’s really hard to pull lightning down from a clear sky).

Next time on Kindred the Embraced: I was going to get into Virtues, Humanity, Willpower, and some other miscellaneous Traits in this update, but this is long enough.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Jul 19, 2019

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


You've gone over the limit for smilies in a post, switch to linking gifs.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Not even the goddam vampires can escape Wizard Supremacy.


Oct 20, 2010

I took to house-ruling Fortitude to be a straight automatic success on soaking lethal or bashing damage to let it keep pace with Potence. Also changed the fire/sun/aggravated damage soak roll to straight Fortitude rather than Stam+Fort to keep it from being too silly.

I also confess that I liked to house rule Dread Gaze to be a gaze that inspired terror by subtly revealing the Beast rather than overt fangs and eyes, both to keep it in line with the other Presence powers and to reflect that any damned camp could flash fangs and scare the hell out of mortals.

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