Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Night10194 posted:

Plus if I start talking about Aberrant's fluff I'll be angry for like a month at how loving stupid it is.
Just gird yourself in the protective hate of "class-based d20 supers" to keep the real rage-stroke from hitting. God what a bad idea that game is

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



KingKalamari posted:

Brezal Island (City State) - “Just north of Croy is the Skandik island Brezal Isle and its capital city, Armagh.” Think you could stuff a few more ridiculous fantasy names in that sentence?

Well,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brasil_(mythical_island)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armagh

KingKalamari
Aug 24, 2007

Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back
My ship of love is ready to attack



Well would you look at that? you learn something new every day!

But this raises the additional question of what a city in Ireland is doing in the Wilderlands!

PoontifexMacksimus
Feb 14, 2012



KingKalamari posted:

Well would you look at that? you learn something new every day!

But this raises the additional question of what a city in Ireland is doing in the Wilderlands!

I guess they ran out of creative juices after the sheer brilliance of calling their vikings ~skandiks~

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.


Hm... another entry suspiciously reminiscent of a monster from the Planescape Monstrous Compendium III. In this case, the name isn't exactly the same; the PSMC3 monster in question is called a "garmorm". (And yes, I realize that later in the description you say that you'd initially misread the name and it's actually "gemorrn", which makes it even more different from "garmorm".) But it's not the name that made me think of the garmorm. It's the whole face-absorption thing. The garmorm was a floating worm covered with singing faces instead of a pillar of energy filled with screaming faces, but it had the same gimmick that if it killed you your face went into it.

I get the impression Monte Cook may have been doing a bit of recycling...

Lunatic Sledge
Jun 8, 2013

choose your own horror isekai sci-fi Souls-like urban fantasy gamer simulator adventure

or don't?


Jerik posted:

It's the whole face-absorption thing.

obviously all knockoffs of the OG face stealer, depicted here in glorious circa-1994-daytime-broadcast quality

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


PurpleXVI posted:

if only the editor hadn't been asleep at the wheel causing him to drop a vital paragraph ten pages later than where it would make the most sense

Glad to see FFG's 40K editor has found gainful employment.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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




if i could ask one thing of the pnp rpg industry as a whole it is to loving HIRE A TECHNICAL WRITER OR GET YOUR PEOPLE TRAINED. it's not that expensive, and if you want to grow your audience you need what you are producing to be comprehensible to a layman.

i write training materials for teaching people how to be technical writers as my real job, and reading through rpg books can be so painful. whether they like it or not, a rulebook is a highly technical document, and needs to be easy to read and understand.

you need an in-house glossary of terms so that your language is precise. when the army writes a manual, each word has a specific, nailed-down meaning. so do plane manuals, nuclear power plant manuals, etc. You can't afford to have vague language in those situations. if RPG designers were precise about their language then they could ensure that the rules-as-written are the rules-as-intended. It IS possible to do that, you just have to work hard at it.

you also need to lay poo poo out in a way that flows naturally, and at the very least references the page where you will find the rules being discussed.

D&D might be a trash fire of a system right now, but at least the 3.5 edition books were easy to read. wotc have the money to throw at good editors and layout designers I guess, but the basics of technical writing are not prohibitively expensive to learn. just buy a book on it, please.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


juggalo baby coffin posted:

if i could ask one thing of the pnp rpg industry as a whole it is to loving HIRE A TECHNICAL WRITER OR GET YOUR PEOPLE TRAINED. it's not that expensive, and if you want to grow your audience you need what you are producing to be comprehensible to a layman.

i write training materials for teaching people how to be technical writers as my real job, and reading through rpg books can be so painful. whether they like it or not, a rulebook is a highly technical document, and needs to be easy to read and understand.

you need an in-house glossary of terms so that your language is precise. when the army writes a manual, each word has a specific, nailed-down meaning. so do plane manuals, nuclear power plant manuals, etc. You can't afford to have vague language in those situations. if RPG designers were precise about their language then they could ensure that the rules-as-written are the rules-as-intended. It IS possible to do that, you just have to work hard at it.

you also need to lay poo poo out in a way that flows naturally, and at the very least references the page where you will find the rules being discussed.

D&D might be a trash fire of a system right now, but at least the 3.5 edition books were easy to read. wotc have the money to throw at good editors and layout designers I guess, but the basics of technical writing are not prohibitively expensive to learn. just buy a book on it, please.

Cannot agree with this more. Pen and paper games are so bad at this, which is especially hosed up because even board game companies, cousins to role-playing games, figured this out and have been trying to improve rules writing - they don't always succeed, but at least they've shown they're learning.

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


Hey speaking of good organization and layout it's

World Tree: A Roleplaying Game of Species and Civilization


Part 9:Combat cont'd

Of course we're not done with combat yet. There's about half a page describing different characters' fighting styles, and it gives a good demonstration of how to use species, skill, and situational advantages to make the most tactically out of a grid-free combat system.

There's a Gormoror warrior with a good, heavy weapon. She knows that regular damage isn't likely to stop her; he's got a lot of life points and Gormoror can keep fighting even after they should be dead, so she can rely on a fully aggressive stance that's likely to hit and do extra damage, more or less ignoring her defenses. And in a situation where normal aggression isn't enough, she has options to risk going VERY aggressive and hope to take down a threat in a single blow (and probably get chewed apart if she fails, but nothing in life is certain.)

The Rassimel weapons-master doesn't have any real natural advantages, but he does have a poo poo-ton of skillpoints in Combat Stance Base and his favorite weapons. He prefers to start with a neutral or defensive stance, and lean on his skills that give the opponent Trouble and/or damage their armor before moving in for the kill once they're hampered. It helps that he's got a mage buddy to ALSO toss annoying spells at his enemies.

The Cani town guard just wants to get home to his wives and husbands and kids. If the guard is mustered to chase a monster out of town, they always go in a squad (to get the Cani loyalty bonus), always make sure to be fully geared up, and do whatever it takes to not die. The guards up front will take very defensive stances with shields or staves, while the guards behind them will poke out with spears to Hinder and Drive Back the monster until they get it safely outside the walls.

The Sleeth bitches a lot about how having three deadly-but-small weapons isn't super effective against a monster with a thick carapace, so she picks her opponents very carefully and is otherwise very familiar with running away.

Brawling
Mano a mano combat isn't a very scientific fighting style on the World Tree. Sorry, no monk equivalent. If you want to defend yourself without lugging a weapon around, combat magic is cheaper and easier than trying to invent martial arts that can handle the bewildering array of body types. Good luck getting a joint lock on a Khtsoyis, jiu jitsu guy.

Still, not every disagreement leads to armed combat, and sometimes punches get thrown. The hand to hand combat system is actually quite a bit more robust than d20's was, and reminds me a bit of a more thought out take on AD&D 2e's brawling rules.

In general, brawling moves are rolled just like attacks, but they do little or more damage. Instead, you're trying to achieve some particular effect. I.e, you're not (usually) trying to straight up kill your enemy, you're trying to knock them out, or silence them, or whatever.

Whenever you attempt a brawling move on someone, you have to get close enough to lay hands on them, and that's not safe. If they're armed and ready for you (you didn't surprise them), they get a free attack on you as you move in and before you attack. If they're unarmed or don't want to stab you, they can perform a brawling move back at you, but only after your brawling attempt and only if yours didn't work.

Because every prime has a different body type, different moves work more or less well against different species, often with very large bonuses or penalties.



Things you can do with your bare hands include:

Waylay/Knock Out The ancient TV art of knocking someone out with a single blow. Much, much easier if they're not aware of you. Orren and Zi Ri are easy to knock out, Zi Ri and unarmed Khtsoyis aren't very good at doing the knocking out. It's also harder to knock out someone wearing a helmet, but having a blunt object helps.

Hold Arm Basically if they were intending to do something you don't want them to do with that arm, like stab you. Sleeth just straight up can't do this because I guess they're not allowed to hold someone's wrist in their jaws. Orren are hard to hold on to, and Zi Ri are bad at attacking and defending. Actually you know what, Zi Ri suck at all the brawling moves, let's just assume they get -10 to everything unless otherwise stated.

Dirty Blow Hitting, kicking, or poking somewhere in the no-no zone. This hurts a lot (Trouble 10) for a number of seconds based on how well the attack succeeded. Mammalian females have slightly fewer vulnerabilities, so they get a bonus to defense. Herethroy are armor plated, which is equally as effective. Gormoror are genetically predisposed to avoid dirty blows, and get -10 to the attempt.

Throw/Tackle If you do it from a standing start, it's a throw, and if you get a running start it's a tackle. Either way, you're trying to get the target to lay down and possibly drop the ball whatever they were carrying. Gormoror and Herethroy are naturally good at this, both on offense and defense. Khtsoyis can throw but they can't tackle, and they just straight up can't get thrown or tackled. Orren continue to be wiggly, which helps on defense. Sleeth can't throw or tackle, but they get a completely unjustified +20 to defense.

Pin Using your weight to keep someone from moving. If you're pinning someone, all they can do is try to get out, or try to engage in close combat. In either case, while you've got them down they're at -10 to just about everything, and you're at -5 to also just about everything.

Silence Covering the target's mouth so they can't talk or yell. This notably does NOT prevent spellcasting, but it does give them a little trouble, and it keeps sentries from calling the alarm. If you gently caress up the attack roll, your target gets a free bite attack because your hand is right there.

Wrest Weapon Straight up yanking the weapon out of someone's hand. Presumably not by the blade. If you succeed, there's a 1/4 chance you're holding it now, otherwise it's dropped to the ground.

Bother Warrior Poking, pushing, grabbing, and otherwise harassing the opponent to get in their way without hurting them. They do still get a free attack against you, so this works best on people that don't actually want to kill you, like when you want to stop a teammate from killing someone you think you need to keep alive. Orren are good at being annoying, but also easily distracted, they get a bonus on offense and a penalty to defense. Cani, Rassimel, and Sleeth are hard to distract. Zi Ri for once don't have any penalties to this. They can be just as annoying as any other species!

Tie Up/Gag You need a rope or equivalent for this. Each successful binds up one limb of the opponent, so you need to succeed four times to hogtie most people, six to tie up a Herethroy. This is a lot easier to do if you've already got someone pinning them down. It's basically impossible to tie a Khytsoyis up, but gagging them is normal and often appreciated. Orren continue to be slippery, and get a huge bonus to defense.

Get Away If someone's used some brawling move on you and you want to not be held anymore, you can try to get away. The more successful the attack that grabbed you was, the harder it is to get out of.

Jump On This is where the brawling rules and the regular combat rules intersect. Jumping on to someone means that you're now both engaged in close combat, kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer. Only weapons that specifically work in close combat work for this; claws, teeth, and knives. Sleeth love getting into close combat, it lets them use their powerful hindleg rake attack. While in close combat, you're -15 to defense, but anyone that tries to attack you and misses might hit the person you're grappling instead. Gormoror and Khtsoyis are big and/or slow, so they're easy to jump on. Orren are still slippery and hard to catch. Sleeth are specifically built for this, and get a bonus on offense and defense.


Poison



Poison generally comes in two varieties; the kind that kills you and the kind that just fucks you up. The kind that kills you generally works too slowly and unreliably to be useful in combat, so if you're going to be That Guy and poison your weapons, you want the kind that causes Trouble.

Combat poisons generally don't have any kind of resistance roll. If you're poisoned, you're poisoned. Slow acting poisons do let you roll your stamina and strength to try to and recover faster.

Combat poisons aren't specifically listed by name. Instead, they're sorted into various categories of what they do, and the gamemaster can just make up a name for whatever kind of poison you just got stabbed with. The strength of a poison is some arbitrary number N, used for determining various mechanical effects.

Itchy poison is cheap and common, often found as a defense mechanism of planets, animals, and monsters. It causes N Trouble based on the strength of the poison, up to a maximum of 10, which wears off at about 1 point per hour.

Fever poison also causes up to 10 Trouble, but wears off much more slowly, and could even get worse. Every day, roll your stamina + d20, and on a high enough roll the trouble is reduced by a few points, but get a 10 or less and the Trouble increases by 1. Medical care can help give a bonus to your roll.

Harm poison makes you possibly take damage on your next N actions. If you fail a relatively simple stamina roll, you suffer s6 {no botch dice} damage. Probably not a big deal, but if you're unlucky you could be surprised by a big hurt.

Twitchy poison gives the victim some kind of periodic strong, uncontrollable tic, twitch, spasm, or similar. Most Twitchy poisons cause Trouble 5 on the rounds they go off. Stronger Twitchy poisons might make the victim attack themself, or even uncontrollably cast a spell. The poison usually lasts for N minutes, causing a tic every 2d6 or so actions; more often for stronger poison, less often if you have more stamina.

Howly poison makes the victim stop every d6 actions and just howl in pain uncontrollably, suffering s6 damage and doing nothing else, lasting for N howls.

Paralysis poison instantly locks the body up; the victim has to pass a Will + Stamina > 2N roll to do anything at all on each action, and even then suffers Trouble N. This lasts for about 2-8 hours. Paralysis does not hinder spellcasting at all, though. This seems like the kind of poison a monster would have, but none of the sample monsters in the appendix have it. Or any kind of poison besides Itchy, for that matter. Hunh.

Weakness poison just reduces the victim's Strength by N for N hours.

Slow Death poison doesn't do anything to help during a combat, but 11-N hours after being poisoned the victim starts suffering d3 damage every hour until cured or dead.

Other kinds of injury
There's lots of ways to hurt yourself besides getting into a fight. Most kinds of injury are reduced by Soak and other defenses as normal.

Fire does a modest amount of damage for every action spent in the fire. A candleflame does 1 point, a cooking fire does 3, and a big bonfire does 5. This is modified by how much of the person is actually in the fire. Shove someone only halfway in, and they suffer half as much damage. Also, the size of the person matters, in a way that I'm not sure I entirely buy the logic of. Shoving a person that's half as big into a fire does half as much damage, because there's not as much of them to burn. Armor does provide some Soak, but provides less each action as it heats up.

Falling does a simple 1 point of damage per yard fallen. You can try to make an Agility + Climb roll to land softly and halve the damage; Sleeth are good at this.

Drunkeness probably won't kill you directly but it's probably been the start of a lot of fatal decisions. Primes are extremely cheap dates, and start suffering negative effects often from their very first drink of the evening. You suffer Trouble 3 for each drink (One beer, one shot, one glass of wine etc.), reduced directly by your Stamina. The effects wear off at a rate of one drink (3 Trouble) per hour.

Life and Death



This section probably should have been back in the setting information section of the book. It doesn't really have any mechanical rules, but it does describe what life points actually mean in setting. I've belabored the point that Life Points are a real in-setting thing, this is what I've been talking about.

Any creature stays alive for as long as the spirit can hang on to the body and mind. Bigger things generally have a stronger grip on the spirit than smaller things, and the more damaged the body gets the harder it is for the spirit to hold on. If the spirit can't hold on to the body anymore, that's when death occurs.

Practice helps, like most skills. The more practice a spirit gets holding on to the body under strain, the better it gets at it. That's why experienced warriors who have been wounded often have more life points, they've had more practice at not dying. Similarly, regularly-flogged prisoners or patients who have repeatedly undergone surgery get better at not dying. What does not kill you actually does make you stronger, or at least more resilient. Sometimes nobles will even pay to endure floggings so they have enough life points to survive an assassination attempt.

There's very few kinds of injury that are categorically fatal. If you cut off someone's head, that's probably going to do enough damage to kill them, but if they're particularly tough then their spirit might keep on clinging to the body and keep using the head to cast spells, at least until suffocation and blood loss finally do enough damage to be fatal. Stab someone through the heart, and their spirit will keep the muscle pumping and the blood flowing for at least a few moments. The only instantaneously fatal injuries are one that destroy the brain (the connection between mind and body), or destroy the entire body (the connection between spirit and body), or some metaphysical wound that severs the connection between spirit and mind.

Death and Resurrection
After suffering grievous injury, the spirit loses its grasp on the body and floats away. A dead body does normal dead body things, like slowly rotting. Without the spirit, the mind flops around like an intangible jellyfish for a while, completely helpless without a spirit to give it a will. After a few months, the dead mind withers away to nothing.

The spirit fares best after death. Without a mind, the spirit has will and desire, but no knowledge or intellect. It instinctively hangs around the body, hoping to be reattached to the body and mind. After a few minutes of trying and failing to come back to life out of sheer determination, the spirit eventually gives up and wanders off, drawn naturally back to its creator god. It hangs around in that god's version of an afterlife to rest for a while, and then eventually the god will recycle the spirit into a new person. World Tree afterlives are tranquil, bordering on dull. People have scryed on Accanax's afterlife, and it's just big empty space with a bunch of spirits napping in it, and the others' probably aren't much more eventful.

Reincarnation doesn't matter much to most people. Some people have had past lives, most are fresh spirits, and only a powerful wizard could tell the difference, let alone do anything with the knowledge. Spirits generally don't retain any memories of past lives; those were lost with the mind. A reincarnated spirit does get to keep any god-granted knacks it picked up along the way into the next life, though.

If someone's dead and you want them to not be dead anymore, first you have to heal the body. Healing magic works on a dead body the same as on a living one, but just fixing the wounds doesn't restore life. If you perform the healing fast enough, within a second or two, the spirit will be able to grab back on to the body; bound magic is best for this. Before the spirit goes back to its creator god, it can be put back into a healed body with difficult but still reasonable magic. Once the spirit has gone to the afterlife, it takes powerful magic to drag it out of the pocket dimension, metaphorically slap it awake, remind it what a body is, and shove it back into place, and hopefully you didn't accidentally grab the spirit of a nearby mushroom that died or something. If the spirit has already been reincarnated, then you have to a) identify the spirit's new body, b) kill the new body, c) grab the spirit and stuff it into the old body which you've somehow kept preserved all this time. Someone actually did this, once, 800 years ago, and it wasn't worth it.

In theory, it should be possible to use Mentador and Spiridor magic to attach the mind to the spirit to go with it when it dies, and keep memories intact through reincarnation, but for some reason there's no record of this ever working successfully. OTOH there have been a few infants born with wizard-level magical powers and an infant's level of common sense and rationality; none of them survive to become toddlers.

Birth, Aging, and Death
One the other end of the life cycle, spirits are generally attached to a baby when the fetus is formed enough for the spirit to hold on to. For most species, this is about a month before birth or hatching, but Sleeth don't get their spirit until the moment they're born; possibly to keep them from scratching and clawing too much while in the womb. Spirits are delivered by the creator god personally, but they're very busy and don't stick around long enough to be perceived by anyone in the room.

Over the next few years, the child grows and learns, periodically visited by each of the 7+12 gods in turn to be given their magical connection to the Arts. By age 5 or 6, children are capable of casting spontaneous magic; the bright kids figure it out on their own, and every kid will pick it up from friends and family sooner or later. Child mortality is high, almost 15% by the age of ten, mostly due to magic gone awry. Recently, the mortality rate is dropping, at least among the wealthy classes, as parents are able to buy bound healing magic to keep their dumbass children alive.

All the Prime species grow up about as quickly as humans do, although their adolescence lasts a few years longer. They also have about the same natural lifespan as humans, about 100 World Tree years (about 70 Earth years) give or take a few decades. There's a few exceptions; Sleeth grow up a few years sooner and live about 10 fewer years than other Primes. Zi Ri (sigh) go through adolescence at about age 10 or 11 (4 or 5 Earth Years old), have an EXTREMELY eventful year-long puberty, and then stop aging entirely.

Disease
Disease is almost entirely a non-factor for the Primes. Maybe the gods didn't feel like they were worth creating. There are only four contagious diseases, one each for Orren, Rassimel, Herethroy, and Cani. Infected victims will get increasingly sleepy for a week, then fall into a coma and painlessly waste away over two weeks. While fatal if untreated, the diseases are easily cured by a well known and reasonably straightforward spell. If you have any access to healthcare, you won't die of disease.



Non-primes aren't so lucky. Gnarn and Accanax left the primes alone, but they made an epidemiologist's nightmare array of diseases for everyone else, each more deadly and painful than the last. Non primes often come to the gates of prime cities, begging for medical aid when a plague rips through their villages.

The equivalent of the cold or flu is caused by random flecks of Corpador magic floating around. If one sticks to you, it makes you sick until your body's natural magic resistance shakes it off. The effects can range from sniffles, to nausea, to fur loss, to growing giant pink claws, or to an endless parade of ants pouring out of your ears. Since these are random magical effects, they're tricky, but not impossible, to cure.

Natural Life and Death
Most species, other than Khtsoyis, naturally heal over time, recovering up to d3 life points every day. Medical care makes this more reliable. Most people will use magic to speed this up. Heal Once recovers a respectable amount of health once per day per patient, and Healing Sleep recovers somewhat more health overnight, and also stacks with Heal Once.

Injuries that cause Trouble, such as broken bones or pierced eyes, heal much more slowly than flesh wounds. Properly set, a broken bone heals at a rate of 1 point of Trouble per month. Some injuries, like gouged eyes, will never naturally heal on their own. Magical spells to cure an injury usually have to be cast within a few days to work, otherwise you have to rely on much more complicated magic to fix an old injury.

Starting around age 50, people (other than Zi Ri) start feeling the effects of age. Starting at age 50 and every d10 years afterward, you roll a d20 and look up on a chart to see if you lose some attributes. Charisma is the most likely attribute to decrease, followed by the physical attributes, with the mental attributes least likely to decrease. There's also a 1/20 chance of a mental skill increasing instead. Fighting the effects of aging is possible, but hard. For example, the spell Preserve the Keenness of the Aging Nose (Sustenoc Corpador Complexity-25) will, if cast every single day over the d10 year period, will negate any chance of losing Perception. There's similar spells for the other attributes. A complexity 40 spell negates all aging rolls, but again must be cast every single morning. Spells that can be cast on other people, instead of just on the caster, are even more complex. Aging by itself isn't directly fatal, no matter how decrepit you get.

Natural death occurs when the spirit simply gets tired of being alive. Somewhere around the end of your natural lifespan, the gamemaster will roll to see when and how you're going to bite it. Some of the natural causes of death give you enough warning to do something about it, some do not.

Your spirit might simply yearn to rejoin its creator. You get anywhere from a few weeks to about a year of feeling that it's time, enough to get your affairs in order, and then you die, either peacefully in your sleep or by suicide. There's not a lot you can do about it, since your spirit, your motivating will, really DOES want to move on.

You might start suffering organ failure. Important parts of your body start shutting down. Healing magic and medicine can help keep you alive, but they're very difficult; the spells are around complexity 40 and requires a different spell for each organ that craps out. Medicine and magic can slow down the time between attacks, and increase how many attacks you suffer before the big one finally kills you.

You might start just wasting away, losing d4 levels from your Life Base every year until you hit 0 and die. The magic to keep this from happening starts difficult and gets harder every year.

You might just fall over dead. About half the time you get some kind of a spooky omen a few days in advance, but otherwise you'll just be walking along and *thunk*

Your body and mind might start collapsing. You lose 1 point from a random attribute every d6 days. When one of them hits -13, you die. There's a set of 10 spells, ranging from complexity 30 to 70, that if cast every morning and evening protect each of the 10 attributes. A sufficiently powerful sorcerer can last indefinitely on this regimen.

You might descend into senility and madness. Your mind starts to go; people find you acting a little odd for d10 years, then very odd for d10 years, then utterly mad after that. This doesn't kill you directly, but you'll almost certainly suffer some mishap before long unless you're kept well protected.

If you don't want to get old or die, there's things you can do about it. There's no particular taboo against immortality, and the gods don't forbid or discourage seeking it. It's just really hard. You can add a few years to your lifespan with a Sustenoc Corpador complexity-25 spell, but repeated castings don't stack. A powerful enchanter can make a talisman that stops aging while worn; taking the talisman off for even an instant can be fatal. Magic that increases your lifespan doesn't help with aging, though, so you'll need more magic to deal with that.

Or just be a Zi Ri.

That wraps up combat and combat-adjacent stuff. Next up, finally, is the chapter on Magic, and wow that's going to be a lot to cover.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



If someone runs you through the heart and you don't die, can you just walk it off? Or does the fact that your blood is no longer pumping mean you now continuously take suffocation damage until you get a healing spell or you die?

RiotGearEpsilon
Jun 26, 2005
SHAVE ME FROM MY SHELF

The Lone Badger posted:

If someone runs you through the heart and you don't die, can you just walk it off? Or does the fact that your blood is no longer pumping mean you now continuously take suffocation damage until you get a healing spell or you die?

I am disproportionately eager to know the answer to this.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


I love the idea that if you're bloody-minded enough, the only way to fight you is to kill you then retreat to a safe distance until your body finally convinces the rest of you that it's all over.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


My copy of World Tree showed up from Amazon, so just going back over the injury section... "The spirit will keep the wounded heart beating and keep the body moving, for a few moments at least." - but that combined with an optional rule waaaaay back in the section on Life Points and Trouble (Tendale's criticism of the book organization is so incredibly valid) that reads "If you are suffering a lot of Trouble (20 + Life Base + Will), you are incapacitated" along with some stuff before that saying each body part can only take 6 points of specific trouble before being useless...

Taken together, I think it kind of means that if you are suitably badass with the Life Base skill, you could probably walk around missing your heart, eyes, and a couple of limbs before you keel over dead. That's what you get for living in a world where magic is physics.

Edit: Of course, that amount of Trouble means you're completely hosed on any d20 rolls you make, so you're going to want to make a beeline to a healer.

Seatox fucked around with this message at 10:49 on Aug 1, 2019

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


Flesh wounds will heal naturally, but an injury that makes an body part stop working is more serious. So, while there's no specific rules for suffocating or bleeding out, it's still really bad.

So I guess it would depend on how bad the stab is. A simple puncture, like a hunting arrow or a rapier into the heart? You could probably walk that off if you're tough enough; the spirit will tell the heart to just hold its poo poo together and keep that blood moving. There's actually a spell that destroys a needle-thin bit of the target's heart; it just does exactly 1 point of damage and makes the victim pose like that guy in the meme for a moment.

If you took an injury so grievous that your heart physically can't operate anymore, like there's a gaping hole in the side and all the blood keeps falling out, then yeah, you'd better fix that up in the next few seconds or you're done.

That kind of injury is beyond the scope of regular play, though. Since it's something that'll only come up with gamemaster fiat, the exact repercussions are also going to be up to the GM.


e: Having thought about it a bit, I think the other thing to consider is that (Soak aside) the same blow of the same strength does the same damage no matter how tough the target is. Unlike D&D where luck/skill/grit/whatever means that a 10 damage hit is actually a smaller wound to a higher level character.

In World Tree, an attack that does 30 damage is enough to kill a normal healthy adult; it's reasonable to say than attack that did 30 damage was a sword in the heart. The same attack on a tough Gormoror warrior won't nearly be enough damage to kill it, but it's still the same attack so it could still be described as a sword in the heart- even though the Gormoror is still alive, conscious, and about to tell you EXACTLY how she feels about all this. (An attack that does 30 damage was probably a high enough attack roll to get some critical bonuses thrown in, so there's probably some Trouble slapped onto this heart stab on top of the raw loss of life points. The more I think of it, the more this combat system actually holds up to getting prodded.

Tendales fucked around with this message at 11:02 on Aug 1, 2019

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Don't forget the Gormoror species ability of going completely loving berserk when they drop below 0 life points in battle - which negates all trouble they're suffering. Oh, sure, she'll drop dead in 2-4 rounds, but that's plenty of time to express extreme bear displeasure.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Seatox posted:

Don't forget the Gormoror species ability of going completely loving berserk when they drop below 0 life points in battle - which negates all trouble they're suffering. Oh, sure, she'll drop dead in 2-4 rounds, but that's plenty of time to express extreme bear displeasure.

And with magic availability dying doesn't have to be a one-use trick.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




Night10194 posted:

If your setting has a major detail that will never, ever actually be relevant to the tables that play it that detail should probably just be cut out.

but then i couldn't use my various RPG sourcebooks for their true intended purpose "having something to read and day dream about while i leave a vicious dump in the commode"

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I have to say, World Tree seems more and more like high-key fantasy horror for the non-prime species.
The issue with that is that playing a Prime would make me feel just... kinda slimy. Like my way to easy, low stakes adventure had been laid out on the backs of those poor Cyarr with the bendy bones.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Aberrant d20 Edition

WHY

So if you've read Feinne's review of Aberrant in its Storyteller you know Aberrant is a game about monumentally powerful god-people who can't quite handle being god people and who are all kind of slowly going nuts and becoming a class of Doomed Highborn Manchildren. It is a setting that is absolutely, totally gawdawful and one of the best examples of purestrain White Wolf I can think of, having an actual Main Character (who isn't you) and things like a screed about how anyone who wants to play the game as a superhero game is a mush-brained dullard because nobody would ever put on costumes and fight superbattles...

Then having an entire class of superpowered mercenaries whose lives are built around their super-personas, used for their merchandising, costuming, and other bullshit, up to and including a symbolic 'unmasking' to kill off a persona when one is defeated. Also, you know, while having plenty of art of its Main Character Divis Mal (who is basically wizard hitler if the whole setting was about 'wizard hitler's got him some ideas and is actually a deep and smart thinker!!') in his shiney costume and red cape, posing beatifically in front of his weird demon statue (No, I don't know why he has a demon statue).

In short, Aberrant is pretty confused about itself and really, really bad. When I played Aberrant we never once used the standard setting because it's one of the best examples of 'a setting with no actual room for your PCs' that I have ever seen. It's also completely nonsensical in a lot of ways- I love the bit where all trash is being converted to 'harmless' carbon dioxide emissions that the environment 'can handle in any quantity' or the part where the Libertarian party suddenly becomes the power in the US for reasons (people are just so mad about Clinton being a philanderer, followed up by the Republican elected in 2000 being caught in bed with another man!!)- but we're not here to talk fluff in detail. If we talk about the fluff A: Feinne already did it better than I can because they have more of the books and I only have the core and B: I am going to be yelling for weeks and nobody wants that. Instead, we're here to talk about the d20 conversion of Aberrant. Because someone had to try to find a worse system for a superpowered supers game than Storyteller and 2004 was still OGL o' clock. I actually don't think the d20 version is any worse, but you know my opinions on Storyteller from Hunter; I legit think Storyteller is the worst of all of the 'successful' mass-market RPG systems. Yes, I think it's actually worse than d20. But really, that's splitting hairs; it's kind of a 'rather be stabbed than shot' sort of thing when you get down to it. Ideally neither happens! Ideally you have a well considered system designed for its game. But sometimes that's just not in the cards and you're stuck between a Storyteller and a d20.

No, the reason I want to do this isn't just to yell that d20 is a terrible fit for this game and the OGL was poison to game design or whatever; I want to do this because what's particularly interesting to me is how much the d20 system version alters the entire tenor of the setting by making Novas much weaker than they are in Storyteller. All of the fluff of the setting about what absolute and total Gods you are is rendered weirdly hollow by the fact that the d20 Novas aren't that good, due to a mixture of poor class and power design. They're reasonably powerful, it's true; you can get pretty high stats and basically everyone is a caster to some degree, which actually does the d20 system some good. But you aren't invincible god-kings next to a 'baseline' human and you're certainly not more powerful than a normal d20 Wizard or Cleric with magic gear. A level 20 Human will absolutely kick the poo poo out of a party of level 3 Novas. To give you a taste of what Aberrant d20 is like, it suggests you simulate the world-shattering power of even a normal, newly Erupted Nova by starting PCs at level 3.

So I actually have to talk about the fluff a bit, because we have to establish what's supposed to be happening to get at why d20 doesn't accomplish it. So Aberrant is a game where in 1998 (it was written in 1998/1999) a space station explodes out of nowhere (Divis Mal, Wizard Hitler, blew it up to saturate the world in energy that would make superhumans) and then suddenly a guy runs into a burning schoolbus to try to save some kids and just 'eats' the fire on live TV. So the very first Nova (superhuman) the world saw was a brave NYC firefighter who as facing almost certain death and who suddenly gained the superhuman power to rescue an entire bus full of screaming kids from a fire. As you might imagine, that gives people a pretty good first impression of superheroes! Randel Portman, the Fireman, is absolutely one of the nicest people in the setting and really does just want to use his powers to make things better for people. Lots more of these 'Novas' begin to appear throughout the world, and they're simply massively superior to normal people. They become the focus of much of the world, as super-geniuses try to save the entire environment, the UN gets a superteam that gives it real clout (and is, of course, secretly evil), and a bunch of nonsensical global events happen around them.

Then Mr. Mal shows up and declares the Null Manifesto: "All Novas should only really focus on reaching their ultimate potential, which is impossible if you are restrained by the laws and ethics of existing human society. Do whatevs if it makes you more powerful and you feel like it." It's meant to be a seminal work of philosophy in the setting or whatever, but it's really just a dumb rear end in a top hat declaring that superhumans need to get more super so he, the superest superhuman that was ever super, can maybe have someone around who is almost as super as he is. Mal is absolutely the worst part of Aberrant and worse, he's the Actual Main Character of the entire Nova Age (and the authors go with him being right about everything, because get this, what if the guy who reads like an insane superpower wizard hitler was right about everything! That really 'flips the script', right!?) who started it up and gets to decide when it ends. Nothing your PCs do is going to matter that much; you're in the middle part of a heavily metaplotted trilogy that mostly exists to yell about how stupid comic books are and jerk off its wizard hitler. Yeah, sure, 'he never gets exactly what he wants' (which is a romantic partner; Mal is gay, grew up in the early 20th century where that was absolutely not something that you can go around and talk about, and really wants his cool adventurer buddy from the 20s to notice him and maybe go out to dinner or something) but he gets to drive the entire plot whenever he feels like it, he's declared to be genuinely correct about everything he says about Novas never being able to act as humans again, etc. He's the protagonist. And he's a really lovely protagonist.

Anyway, why that matters is because Novas are meant to be so powerful that human endeavors really are a little meaningless now. They're also all meant to be going slowly insane or turning into weird bio-monsters. The ones who turn into weird bio-monsters are generally less insane, actually, because trying to resist the monsterism is what makes them go crazy as a shithouse rat. Thus, you have the Exalted situation where the world really only cares about 6000 or so people who have actual PC powers (because nothing conventional or human can ever match them) and many of them have Charisma powers that let them just influence millions of people, or mental powers that let them jump technology ahead to the hyper-space age, or physical powers such that one of them showing up in a country with a gun is equivalent to launching a strategic strike. But they're also all going loving insane and everything is about to get really, really bad. To accomplish this story, they have to actually be insanely powerful. Your gaming group of 3-6 Novas is meant to be the sort of force that scares first world Governments.

And instead you start out as level 3 PCs with poorly designed classes, a couple extra powers and tricks, and not much else. As you might imagine, this is a bit of a disconnect! So join me as we talk about why making Novas suck via d20 changes the entire tone and tenor of the setting! And avoid talking about the fluff more except to talk about why the mechanics enormously contradict it!

Next Time: Making a Nova

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



I'm very excited for someone else to have fully read Aberrant d20 and for this thread to have to share in the joy and suffering now. Hell yes.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

I'm very excited for someone else to have fully read Aberrant d20 and for this thread to have to share in the joy and suffering now. Hell yes.

Not only read it, but played a campaign to completion and ran my own!

Albeit, again, in completely different settings. But I actually played a single PC from start point to campaign end in this system. It was my early college days. I did not know game design very well.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Night10194 posted:

I did not know game design very well.
That's the best way to play any of (Aberrant) (d20 system adaptations) in fairness

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




AFAIK, Mutants & Masterminds did the best job of making a Superhero Silk Purse out of the D20 Sow's Ear. Unless D20 Aberrant was designed by a completely different team, I wouldn't expect WW to replicate their success.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Halloween Jack posted:

AFAIK, Mutants & Masterminds did the best job of making a Superhero Silk Purse out of the D20 Sow's Ear. Unless D20 Aberrant was designed by a completely different team, I wouldn't expect WW to replicate their success.
Yeah, there's one crucial difference above all other things between M&M and d20 Aberrant, the consequences of which I'll leave to Night to articulate.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I know nothing about Mutants and Masterminds, so I can't really elucidate any differences between that and Aberrant. I have only ever played one d20 Superhero game and it was enough to tell me not to touch that hot stove in the future.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Night10194 posted:

I know nothing about Mutants and Masterminds, so I can't really elucidate any differences between that and Aberrant. I have only ever played one d20 Superhero game and it was enough to tell me not to touch that hot stove in the future.
Oh, it's easy then (and I can edit this out if it steals your thunder on the review): Aberrant d20 is class-based for ability gating and strength levels, because it's a d20 game first, supers second. M&M uses pure point-buy, because it's a supers game first, d20 second. Both have their flaws but wooooof and hoo boy, the Aberrant d20 flaws are their own special nightmare.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Tendales posted:

Throw/Tackle Sleeth can't throw or tackle, but they get a completely unjustified +20 to defense.

Ah yes, the cat, known as the animal that's notoriously easy to tackle.


Anyways, furries aside, I love how loving weird World Tree gets without getting storygamey with it. The "everyone knows they're working on HP health" is bizarre, but then it gets weirder.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I'm pretty sure Mal is a failure on multiple levels, given that all of his grand dreams turn to dust, but the text seems to do a bad job of conveying this.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Rand Brittain posted:

I'm pretty sure Mal is a failure on multiple levels, given that all of his grand dreams turn to dust, but the text seems to do a bad job of conveying this.

"The lovely main character is actually a failure on multiple levels." doesn't really change the fact that the main driver of the entire setting's plot just sucks to interact with on every level.

E: Basically, it doesn't really matter that he doesn't 'win' or get anything he wants; he gets to swan around doing whatever the hell he pleases because nobody can stop him until he just decides he's going to create another universe and leave. It doesn't really matter that he screws himself at every turn, because he also spends the entire story screwing everyone else and being miserable to deal with while also being basically invincible.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Aug 1, 2019

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Not to be sadistic or anything, but I think my favorite kind of FnF review isn't just a bad game, but where the reviewer is obviously dying a little bit everytime they get deeper into the material.

It adds a level of emotional engagement probably completely non-present in the actual game itself.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

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




I guess I need to try harder next time. I sure felt like dying from boredom as I went through the Neotech 2 core book. Shame I can't get my hands on the others (without spending money but gently caress that, those books are not worth 50eu by a long shot).

Desiden
Mar 13, 2016

Mindless self indulgence is SRS BIZNS


Not to derail too much more from the horrors that are the d20 aberrant rules, but plot wise I'll note the new version just kickstartered looks waaaaay better on both the Mal and the "play actual heroes if that's your jam" fronts. There's advice and mechanical support for picking the specific subgenres you like, and Mal as far as I've read basically just has made his null manifesto statement and that's it, letting everyone else decide what to do with it.

(he is still in the secret history section as part of the instigator for the whole thing, but that mostly just maps out how the games connect for those who like it and lays out in pretty clear terms that Mal's approach is dumb and wrong)

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


JcDent posted:

Ah yes, the cat, known as the animal that's notoriously easy to tackle.



Look just judging from my own housesleeth, all it takes is a poke with a toe for him to completely lose his grip on how gravity works and go rear end over teakettle, like hell he gets +20 defense.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Ronwayne posted:

Not to be sadistic or anything, but I think my favorite kind of FnF review isn't just a bad game, but where the reviewer is obviously dying a little bit everytime they get deeper into the material.

It adds a level of emotional engagement probably completely non-present in the actual game itself.

You must hate my Goblinville review, I love the game and I'm going to really be using bout the Town chapter in a day or two.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Night10194 posted:

"The lovely main character is actually a failure on multiple levels." doesn't really change the fact that the main driver of the entire setting's plot just sucks to interact with on every level.

E: Basically, it doesn't really matter that he doesn't 'win' or get anything he wants; he gets to swan around doing whatever the hell he pleases because nobody can stop him until he just decides he's going to create another universe and leave. It doesn't really matter that he screws himself at every turn, because he also spends the entire story screwing everyone else and being miserable to deal with while also being basically invincible.
This Mal dude sounds like he combines the worst features of Magneto, Apocalypse and Dr. Manhattan. What the hell is his power, anyway, or is it "Ill Defined Do Whatever I Want Beam"

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Nessus posted:

This Mal dude sounds like he combines the worst features of Magneto, Apocalypse and Dr. Manhattan. What the hell is his power, anyway, or is it "Ill Defined Do Whatever I Want Beam"

It's that. He's the master of all Nova powers, to the point of being able to simply turn off and depower another Nova at will if he wants to.

Remember: His final act is to create an entire universe and go live in it.

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Divis Mal's powerset was "whatever we want him to do he can do it," he'd been around for about a century as a nova before anyone else was hooked up so he had lots of time to buy dots.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


mllaneza posted:

You must hate my Goblinville review, I love the game and I'm going to really be using bout the Town chapter in a day or two.

Enthusiasm is good too.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Nessus posted:

This Mal dude sounds like he combines the worst features of Magneto, Apocalypse and Dr. Manhattan. What the hell is his power, anyway, or is it "Ill Defined Do Whatever I Want Beam"
You know how Magneto's power is to do literally anything he wants, as long as he says "magnetism" at some point? Like that, but "quantum."

He controls energy, and time, and other people's superpowers, and is immune to everything. And he has every Mega-Attribute, so he's already outmaneuvered you anyway.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply