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Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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

Mors Rattus posted:

The star of our next section is literally named Soulless Wolf and he's amazing and dumb and I love him.
Numetal Wolf hurt himself today just to see if he could feel. His chosen have the following preferred Gifts:

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StratGoatCom
Aug 6, 2019

Our security is guaranteed by being able to melt the eyeballs of any other forum's denizens at 15 minutes notice


PurpleXVI posted:

Every time we play EP2 or even look at it everything we do raises another question. The book says that all bots and machines come with their own ALI, but doesn't list which. The cheapest bot costs 1GP, the simplest ALI costs 2GP. If every bot already has a simple ALI rolled into the price, then the simplest ALI has no reason to exist since you'd never buy one on its own. If, on the other hand, it means you need to always factor in the cost of an ALI alongside, then any even vaguely independent bot is riotously expensive(it literally triples the price of the cheapest scouting bots). Either situation is something you could play with, but the game never says which it is.

There's also the issue of paying for software, for instance ALI's, since it feels like the rules text never even attempts to address the fact that it can just be copied if it's at any point acquired from argonauts or anarchists(since they would intentionally have no IP protection), thus giving you an infinite supply of it. Or for that matter, the issues related to copying software once you note there are multiple Infomorph variants and some of them cost MP. Considering that an Infomorph is basically just an ego sleeved in a shouldn't every backup of an informorph wearing a non-basic infomorph type also include a free copy of that Infomorph?

The latter strikes me as more likely, vis a vis bots, looking at business software- the upside is, once you have a licence number squirreled away, you don't have to pay it again, tho.... unless you need to cover your tracks :shepspends:

The latter depends on the licencing plan for your Eidolon, I suspect.

That none of this is made clear, however, is yet another sin on that lovely game.

StratGoatCom fucked around with this message at 23:59 on Aug 22, 2019

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure
^PM AGEStOrm Age Masterģ

Hey, I lied. We're resuming significantly before the equipment section.

Adventure Making Scar

I wanted to talk about this. Most of it is weird fill-in-the-blank nonsense (current number of campaign-related quests, current number of towns, current number of no-story parts, and many more). What I'm interested in, however, are the generation tables. I like these. Or rather, I like the idea of these. This game's execution of them is sorely lacking.

I'd like it if more games had some tables for quest ideas or story hooks. Sometimes a GM can use a helping hand - something like "during your travels, you run across X which is not recorded on your map" is dead simple but easy to work from.

The tables here could be massively improved, however. "You reach your destination with help or no help." "You run into monsters along the way." "You reach your destination with '----' or no '----'."

Skill Notes Scar

As laid out a few updates ago, only the thief class has any skills listed here. Still, what's here is relatively simplistic. Back-stab when unseen (which seems to remove some of the enemy's 5 actions in addition to the standard damage), hide , pillow grab (which makes mention of stay quiet, steal, and pick pocket, so I'm assuming it either allows you to take those actions or do them better than normal), and trap door parry (which seems to give you the ability to set traps in combat). If I leave it at that and don't consult the rules for each skill, I approve. Combat traps are neat. Backstab interacts with the unique mechanics of the system. Pillow grab is a weird name but it does thiefy things so whatever.

Equipment Scar

I don't know how many pieces of armor total that a character can wear but this chapter does outline that between 4 and 13 of them count for defense. I guess pants and shirt don't do anything; you have to add a left glove and right shoe first. There are five types of armor presented - cotton, cloth, wood, leather, and metal. They give 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 protection respectively to whichever body part they're on except for the torso which is one higher. Each costs the same base 1-5 amount in gold. There's a bit of a small mathy problem here as you can only gain up to 25 protection.

You can buy weapons but they don't have statistics or prices.

Most of the remainder is outdoorsy adventurey stuff. Tents, food, torches, oil, backpacks, pouches, and so on. Unlike other games, however, you can outfit your tent with chairs , tables, "animal racks", and... game and trivia items, I think. The cloth tent line puzzle winning legend mat contains info about the most popular local legend and you can talk about it or mention one of your habits. Meanwhile, the wooden tent fact block has a sentence on each side. Each sentence has a fact; you can finish the sentence or mention a hobby.

Miscellanea

That brings us pretty much to the end of the book. There's a monster record sheet and treasure sheet. No guidelines are given for either so it's entirely fiat.

And then we wrap up with the "fun features scar" and an epilogue. I've already described the entire fun features section but I'll repeat it here for your reading pleasure.

fun features scar posted:

Blacksmith: You can make whatever you want.
∂Peakį:

epilogue posted:

Looking at the highest peak of these aged centuries of treasured climbing, you realize that you will never make it to the top of all of this. Adventure lasts forever as it sparkles. You wonder if the beautiful peak is illusionary, when the peaks of adventure rise forever. Turning your head to the lowest one, you wonder if you ever made it out of there when it was the first one you found yourself in when you first learned about it and trained for a climb; when it was the one that said you'll be happy forever knowing you started this beautiful sparkle; when adventure already is the beautiful sparkle of everything. You turn your head to go back to normal life and start leaving the place of glowing awakenings that, with love, started you on the top of everything with peaks of wanting to stay alive.

I'm not even going to try interpreting that for you. Make of that what you will. As for myself, I love it and think it's a wonderful note to end on.

Barudak
May 7, 2007

So is the silver crown Cyrus has the same one thats in the werewolf novels about a silver crown or are there two unrelated werewolf silver crowns?

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets

Barudak posted:

So is the silver crown Cyrus has the same one thats in the werewolf novels about a silver crown or are there two unrelated werewolf silver crowns?

Different game. Those Novels are for Apocalypse.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Yeah, and the Crown of Shadow isnít a physical object. Itís a spiritual one, so itís invisible most of the time and made of magic and lives inside Cyrus at the moment.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
ow the edge

The Bale Hounds lurk among normal werewolves, undetected and trying to tear it all down, Pure and Forsaken alike. While the Pure and Forsaken hate each other, they both agree with following hte legacy of Wolf. They just fight over what that legacy is. The Bale Hounds do not - they would abandon and corrupt everything. They believe that corruption is inevitable, that it will win - so why not be on the winning side? Wolf is dead, and without him, how can any hope to stop the slow slide into oblivion and darkness? And so they spread doubt and fear, infesting the werewolf population and tearing it down to create a new world, a world of filth and flayed skin and death. They are spies, infiltrators who hide among other wolves and distort the minds of their fellows. They take the werewolf hunting instinct and apply it to tearing down werewolf society.

The hardest part, of course, is finding the Bale Hounds. The mere suspicion that one is active in an area causes chaos, because they hardly declare themselves. Werewolf distrusts werewolf, and the pack bonds are strained. Other predators sense this confusion and weakness and move in to take advantage. And after all that, how can you even be certain a Bale Hound was present? They could be your packmates, your neighbors, or just hidden deep in your territory. Most look just like any other werewolf, and they're good at scapegoating others. Generally speaking, the temptation to work with the dark is simple - inadequacy. Many werewolves feel anxieties over not being good enough for the hunt, and the pressure of Wolf's legacy and Moon's expectation is great. No one wants to let everyone else down. And so, when the Maeljin, the spirits of corruption and atrocity and darkness, offer a little extra power...well, it's a tempting offer. Others became Bale Hounds out of unhealthy passions. They don't get along with their pack, will do anything to take down their rival, or don't understand why they have to control their fury. They feel anger or jealousy that festers over time, and feel the urge to smash it all...and the Maeljin, where their influence can be extended through a spiritual Wound, offer them the chance.

At first, the only real cost is the instinctive knowledge that what they are doing is wrong. After a while, though, there's no escaping the presence of a strange, shadowy wolf that follows the would-be Bale Hound wherever they go - or, rather, a wolf-shaped shadow. It never speaks or acts. It just watches, ready to give when power is needed. And every time, it feels even more wrong. Eventually, far too late, it becomes clear what is happening. The brands of Renown and Auspice darken, turning sickly green-brown rather than shining silver. Blood-red markings of the Pure crust over with rust. These color shifts are nearly imperceptible at first, but they get clearer with each act of darkness. With them comes weakness, a realization that you just aren't nearly as strong as when you're drawing on the forbidden power. You need it to be able to match your old self, before you drew on the corruption for the first time. It's only a matter of time before someone notices. Even if you haven't directly served the Maeljin, who'd believe you? So you can't admit it and ask for help. And then, when panic sets in, the shadow wolf speaks to you for the first time. It offers a path - survive. Serve. All you need to do is blood yourself, prove your loyalty, and it will show you safety. How do you blood yourself? You decide, but it must be some act of vile transgression, something that proves you'll put your own needs and desires over others. If the shadow wolf thinks it's enough, it gives you the offer - join it. Serve the Maeljin. If you refuse, it leaves you to your fate, possibly making others aware of your sins in the process - and it's not like you can get rid of the marks on your soul or the weakness left by them.

If you accept, then the shadow wolf cloaks you spiritually and leads you away, through places of physical and spiritual desolation and desecration, until it reaches a Wound. (A Wound is a spiritual hole in reality caused by intense, powerful suffering and death. They're surprisingly common, though outside of areas of true atrocity, they usually aren't very big. Evil poo poo comes out of it.) At the Wound, it allows you to witness acts of sin and transgression, and how these acts can control other, lesser beings. It shows how the spirits of corruption flock to humans that perform terrible acts, and how to feel the weakness in the world where a Wound is forming. The wolf-shadow teaches that darkness is the natural state of reality, that all existence must inevitably descend into negativity. This cannot be opposed or stopped. At best, it can be temporarily delayed. Rather than fight uselessly, help usher in the new age. Be on the winning side. Master the darkness and rule the new future. As you reach the Wound where your rebirth will occur, the shadow wolf fades from view and you sense a new emptiness around you. You stand alone before Soulless Wolf, who judges you with eyes of pure darkness.

Soulless Wolf, Eyes of the Maeljin, radiates power. It is a hole in the world shaped like a wolf, with neither detail nor color but for his black, shark-like eyes. It does not pay attention to the world or even seem to be aware that the world exists, much of the time. It stares only at the supplicant, its eyes shifting to always follow. It will commune with the willing, answering questions in a voice made by deadening sound, a silence that forms words. Soulless Wolf claims to be of the Firstborn, a forgotten heir of Wolf. It claims it stood apart from the others, forgotten by all. It claims the other Firstborn are so awed and terrified of it that they swore eternal oaths never to even speak of it again. It claims it discovered the Maeljin in the dark and followed them, understanding their victory. It claims to have created the Maeljin in the silence of the world, creating aspects of itself to reveal the truth. It claims to serve the Maeljin, a slave to their darkness. It claims to master the Maeljin, commanding them utterly. Soulless Wolf contradicts itself a lot.

What's true doesn't matter. Soulless Wolf speaks for the Maeljin. It conveys the messages of the Bale Hounds to their masters. No Bale Hound speaks to them directly - their presence is felt in the soul, but they do not communicate. Soulless Wolf speaks for them, and in the tarnished brands of the Maeljin, the Bale Hounds can sense its clarity and purpose. It is central to the existence of the Bale Hounds. However, Soulless Wolf cannot leave the Wounds. It can only send out the shadow wolves to scout for it and gather information. They hide, nearly invisible, to watch for those who might receive the Maeljin's message and offer temptation. The presence of shadow wolves is proof of Bale Hound activity in an area, but very few non-Bale Hounds know this; they work very hard to kill anyone who finds out. The most important work of Soulless Wolf is to accept the oath of a prospective Bale Hound choosing which Maeljin they wish to serve. Soulless Wolf describes them, their focus and purpose, and asks questions to guide werewolves to a decision, but will not choose for them. Most don't realize until too late that it's operating on a deadline, for it projects total patience. However, if the prospective Bale Hound hasn't made a decision by the next sunset or sunrise, whichever is first, Soulless Wolf tears them apart and devours their Essence. It doesn't advertise this fact, though it won't hide it if you actually think to ask.

You make your choice and swear your oath, with true intent (intent matters way more than wording here). It must be chosen freely - and while Bale Hounds-to-be often fear discovery, they are not coerced. They make the choice to flee and not ask for help. The oath is very similar to joining a tribe or pack, and it feels very similar spiritually to the totem bond of a pack. The Maeljin enforce the spirit of the oath rather than the letter, much as a tribal ban, and they expect their Bale Hounds to carry out their will, spread their influence and work to bring the world to darkness. After the oath, Soulless Wolf leaves to tell the Maeljin. When it returns, it reveals if the oath was accepted. Most are, if sworn freely, but sometimes the Maeljin reject a petitioner out of some offense and leave Soulless Wolf to kill the werewolf, sometimes quickly and sometimes not. That depends on which Maeljin is involved, how mad it is, and if Soulless Wolf is annoyed. But if they accept the oath, you get taught the Rite of the Shroud, allowing you to hide your corruption from your pack totem, your tribe and other spirits as well as disguising the visual taint on your brands.

So, given that the Maeljin are multiple and specific beings, who are they? Their methods and techniques differ, though they share a united goal, and five of them are most prominent. Lakh'ma is served by the Hounds of Consumption, and even other Bale Hounds fear them, for they are the eaters-of-werewolves. Every werewolf is tempted to devour human and wolf flesh for the delicious Essence contained within, but they resist for the sake of balance. The Hounds of Consumption revel in it. Whenever they can, they end a hunt by devouring the fallen. They are not subtle, but they are effective. Finding the devoured corpse of a friend demoralizes even jaded werewolves. The Hounds aren't stupid, either, and they are more than able to curb their hunger to avoid detection if they must. They are very good at spotting vulnerability and weak links in a pack, seperating the young or infirm and isolating them from the others, then killing them and eating them. Lakh'ma despises Purity most of all, for it hates that while the werewolves are predators, they consider themselves above the easy power of eating flesh. While eating human or wolf flesh empowers all werewolves, the Hounds of Consumption receive Lakh'ma's gifts through it. When they devour all of a werewolf's flesh, they steal all Essence within, even if they normally could not hold that much. When they lead the Sacred Hunt, their pack gains power from flesh-eating more quickly than normal. (This is not mechanized, tho.)

Igsh'ma is served by the Hounds of Destruction. Yes, destruction's a basic part of being a werewolf - ask anyone who's felt the death rage. Werewolves kill people and break things. Most of them regret this to a greater or lesser extent and try to reduce the collateral damage they cause. The Hounds of Destruction encourage it. They love to demolish the world. When they fight, they favor tactics designed to cause lasting, terrible harm and overkill. They enjoy breaking bones and twisting joints. They do have to be careful not to reveal themselves, as all Bale Hounds. They tend to have a reputation for brutality, but try to avoid going far enough to make their allegiances suspect. They treat the death rage as a blessing, as it gives them an excuse to break as much as possible without other werewolves questioning their actions. While they often need to fake regret and contrition afterwards, in truth a pack will almost always support and offer understanding for acts of destruction committed during the death rage and will not condemn it. Igsh'ma despises Glory most of all, and particularly werewolves that try to hide their innate destructive nature with pretty words and reasoning. It rewards destruction, allowing its servants to recover Essence when in the presence of those mourning a loss of life or destruction of a precious object the werewolf caused. Further, when they lead the Sacred Hunt, their pack causes additional collateral damage. (No mechanics for that.)

Shad'ma is served by the Hounds of Disharmony. They tend to believe themselves the ultimate servants of the Maeljin - others focus on specific and narrow interests, but they treat corruption holistically. They work to disrupt any cooperation or balance with whatever means are available. If they need to, they will destroy, expose or invade as the others do, but they have no specific specialty. They also tend to find that deliberately unbalancing spiritual and physical ecosystems takes more effort than the less nuanced, more focused Maeljin understand. While uncorrupted werewolves worry endlessly over any minor deviation from balance, the Hounds of Disharmony have learned that these, on their own, rarely actually cause major catastrophes and, to some extent, self-correct. Causing major, lasting destabilization means you need a lot of minor imbalances, allowing the overwhelming chaos to have a cascade effect that brings failure faster than werewolves can fix it. Shad'ma despises Wisdom most of all, for it feels that werewolves are incapable of any understanding at all, much less understanding of chaos and predation. It rewards its followers with Essence when they disrupt something that is functioning properly, and when they lead the Sacred Hunt, their packs are swift to find and identify weakness. (Not that any of the Sacred Hunt Bale Hound bonuses get mechanics.)

Bhal'ma is served by the Hounds of Exposure. Werewolves have many secrets. They hide themselves, they hunt the secret banes and bans of spirits, they learn the weaknesses of their prey. They discover truths that, if revealed, could break the world. Keeping this knowledge in check is part of their burden, and particularly they agree that humanity should not know. After all, humans are by and large incapable of dealing with the spiritual realm in any real fashion, and widespread panic would be bad for just about everyone - not to mention all the folks that'd start worshipping spirits if they knew they existed. The Hounds of Exposure try to break all this, revealing key secrets to make the werewolf population vulnerable. Prey, after all, is rarely content to be prey. Bhal'ma revels in giving humans enough information for them to become hunters of the hunters. Silver is well known, sure, but the Gifts and powers of werewolves are less so, and each pack and werewolf has their own individual weaknesses, psychological or otherwise. Revealing these is the task of Bhal'ma's servants. They've been especially successful with the spread of mass communication and particularly social media, which has made discovering secrets so much easier - and removing all traces of knowledge once revealed so much harder. Bhal'ma despises Honor most, a paper-thin code trying to mask over lies and weakness. It rewards its followers for revealing secrets to those who will use them to do the most harm, granting them Essence whenever they pass damaging information to someone with the intent and will to use it. Further, when they lead the Sacred Hunt, their packs are able to root out hidden secrets of the prey easily.

Ghar'ma is served by the Hounds of Invasion. Territory is sacred to werewolves, a way of defining their identity and purpose. Thus, Ghar'ma's servants violate it - and ensure that no one can possess it. Many werewolves fail to grasp that territory is more than physical and spiritual environment. It is more than the place. Territory is anything a pack considers its own - the people, the familiar things, the memories. Territory is sacred for a reason, and the loss of it is devastating to the werewolf mind. Hounds of Invasion are psychological warfare experts. They remove security and the feeling of safety. If you're not safe on your own turf, you are safe nowhere. They work in increments and insidious actions, taking a little at a time but never stopping. They know the pack cannot be everywhere, so they strike where the pack cannot defend right now - again and again. They defile places of significance to the pack's members, murder loved ones and allies and dump the bodies in public places, strike out from the shadows and fade away to increase paranoia and despair. Ghar'ma hates Cunning and those who protect things it wants. It thus rewards its followers for denying others their possessions, granting them Essence when they deny possession of something from their prey. It need not be destroyed, but its value must be forever lost to the original owner. Further, when they lead the Sacred Hunt, their packs are practically invisible.

There are other Maeljin besides these five - the names of the 1e ones get dropped here, like Pseulak, Baalphegor, Thurifuge and Asmodai. Each could be a unique Maeljin, or a name used by one of the five above when dealing with non-werewolf occultists. Some Bale Hounds end up following other paths, too. The GM can make up a purpose for a new Maeljin if they want, and pick a Renown that the Maeljin hates over all others, then design a new Sacred Hunt specialty or pick one from existing ones. The real nature of the Maeljin is confusion and corruption, after all, so they don't have to make immediate sense or have obvious answers.

The Forsaken and Pure understand relatively little about the Bale Hounds, and unknown to them, the corrupted wolves actually fall into three major tiers, which dictate how much their service to the Maeljin has changed them. The bottom tier are the Tarnished, and greater Bale Hounds don't even really consider them to be true Bale Hounds, though the Forsaken and Pure would. They took an offer of power and came back for more, but do not have any true Maeljin-derived abilities of their own, relying on their patron to provide them with power. Typically this patron will be a higher rank Bale Hound or a Maeltinet (read: lesser spirit-servant of the Maeljin). The Maeljin whisper promises of power to the Tarnished, however, and many never actually meet their patron, while others are personal proteges. As long as the patron allows it, the Tarnished may call on their Dark Power at any time, but this can be withdrawn whenever the patron desires it, even in the middle of using Dark Power. Dark Power, mechanically, lets the Tarnished get a big bonus to any dicepool that includes Renown. However, at the end of any scene in which this is used, the GM rolls their highest Renown boosted this way, and success means that their spiritual brands visibly darken, at first subtly and increasingly obviously the more it happens. Basically, it starts with taking a perception roll to notice, but each time it happens gives that roll a bonus, and that bonus also applies as a penalty to all Renown-based dicepools except those that use Dark Power. First hit's free, kid.

The Corrupted are fully inducted Bale Hounds, who have sworn their oaths to Soulless Wolf. They pick two Renown categories they will use to injure the world - the first the same as their Maeljin, the second their choice. For the rest of their life, they are able to gain strength, weaken others and subvert abilities based on these Renowns. When using a Gift through their chosen Renown, they can pay extra Essence to channel darkness through it, causing the area to take on a resonance pleasing to the Maeljin and tainting it with their Maeljin's favorite flavor of evil. For Consumption, this makes all werewolf powers cost more to use. For Destruction, all objects in the area become easier to break. For Disharmony, all non-Bale Hound werewolves get a penalty to breaking points that lead them away from balanced Harmony. For Exposure, humans in the area resist Lunacy more easily, preventing them from forgetting about werewolf existence more often. For Invasion, defenses and wards in the area get a penalty to detect intruders or people get a bonus to detect and avoid them, whichever is most useful in any given situation.

The Corrupted can no longer use Dark Power personally, but can offer it to others. Their Renown brands are obviously and permanently tainted unless concealed by the Rite of the Shroud, but they no longer take penalties to Renown-based rolls from past uses of Dark Power. Corrupted can also pick up Dread Powers resonant with their evil deeds and their Maeljin master. (Dread Powers are the generic bad guy powers GMs can use to customize monsters and poo poo.) The more you take, however, the more mutated your form becomes, though because Corrupted are limited in how many they can have, this is usually concealable. Further, when Corrupted take part in a Sacred Hunt, even when not leading it, everyone else in the Hunt gets a penalty to detect or notice that they're the source of any evil or corruption, and they get a bonus to explaining it away to their pack if caught red-handed. Further, whenever anyone uses a power associated with their corrupted Renown nearby, or they are the direct target of any werewolf power, they can spend Essence to try and subvert that power. This can cancel it entirely, change the target or apply the effects of channeling darkness above. Lastly, whenevcer Corrupted are in an area resonant with their Maeljin master's domain or are present for activities compatible with them, they get a bonus to Renown dicepools.

Top tier Bale Hounds are Defiled. They are elder monstrosities, each a unique grotesquerie of flesh and spirit twisted by the dark. Their corruption cannot be contained in their brands and flows obviously out of them into the world. Defiled can take more Dread Powers, but are obviously mutated by them and cannot conceal it. Each one is a living Wound, causing minor Wounds to appear around them if they remain in place in the Shadow (read: spirit world) for more than a day. These grow rapidly in their presence but do not fade once they leave. Even when in the physical world, they will cause this to happen if they remain in place for a week or so. If they are inside a Wound or the physical location roughly corresponding to its spiritual location, they can be used as a waystone, allowing easier passage into and out of the spirit world.

Next time: The Torn and the Lying Tongue

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

I'm impressed there are no Hounds of Lust. It feels like even five years ago we might have gotten those.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
literal werewolf satanism


no one would ever suspect her

Aishah G'idhum-ghul, the Torn, is a very young werewolf. She's barely out of her First Change, recently inducted into the Bone Shadows and entirely unsuspected of being a Bale Hound. In her own mind, though, she is tormented by her constant predatory instincts and her body's overwhelming hormonal changes because she is a teenager. She believes the deaths she's caused as a werewolf are sinful and make her deserving of punishment. Most werewolves get through this stage of their life with pack support, but the teen lost cubs that have formed the Singapore street gang she's fallen in with are barely up to handling their own issues, let alone hers, and she's had the bad luck of being found by an older, more experienced servant of the Maeljin, Percupia, who is looking for a protege to shape. Aishah is looking for meaning, feeling trapped between the human and werewolf worlds. Her mixed heritage doesn't help - her Wolf-Blood mother is Malay and her father is white. He's a violent, abusive drunk, and she's a drug addict, both using their vices to escape. At least dad's stopped venting his fury on Aishah and her mother - he's got some kind of survival instinct that has told him his daughter is dangerous now. Aishah's mom has gotten worse, though - she's always used the drugs to escape her moon-touched blood, and her daughter terrifies her now because she can sense the changes. The abuse and neglect of Aishah's upbringing has taught her well how to lie and minimize her presence as a target as well as how to redirect attention and danger to others.

Unfortunately, life on the streets isn't any more pleasant. School bullies aren't fooled by her bravado and manipulation. Her heritage, grades and her poor living situation were all mocked, and this is what triggered her First Change - a popular clique of girls followed her home one day to gather more ammo to throw at her. The sheer pettiness and her inability to redirect it made her feel sick, and she got trapped in a public toilet by the bullies. That's when it hit. By the time her mind returned, the toilet was destroyed and coated in blood and poo poo. The bullies were just a mass of meat, and while the cops never looked too closely at Aishah, given the carnage and her frail appearance, one officer did give her a knowing look before leaving. At this point, all Aishah wants is someone to accept her. Anyone. She has pleaded for help with the half-heard whispers of the spirits, and what came was, unfortunately, Percupia. She has told key, chosen truths and revealed kind lies for what they were, telling Aishah that she needed power and foundation. A pack. A tribe. Percupia would accept her, if she would obey. If she would be useful. A new kind of abuse for Aishah!

Aishah has felt more at home among spirits and the Bone Shadows, drawn to their occult lore and quickly learning new rites. She doesn't like being at home or in school, so she hangs with other outcasts. Her pack is mostly self-taught and spends its time near Bukit Brown Municipal Cemetary by night, taking benzos and hunting ghosts. The few that notice them think they're just weird kids. The cemetary was an early 20th century Chinese cemetary. Because of its lush green space, the Pure and Forsaken of the area all prize it, but it is a haven for many restless ghosts, who are extremely upset about the disrespect and greed of the local government, who want to exhume their bodies and reclaim the land for the city. The lack of ceremony and appeasement involved in this makes the ghosts angry and vengeful, and Aishah and her pack have been listening to Percupia's guidance in making that worse, allowing a small Wound to open in the graveyard's Shadow. As she learns more, Percupia pays more attention to Aishah. It is a spirit of sandalwood and dependency, serving as her confidante and mentor, stirring her own to greater heights of pain and suffering. It wants human sacrifice in its name, and while Aishah is reluctant, she's providing it. Mostly, she hunts the local homeless and tries to pretend she doesn't enjoy the taste of human blood or the sound of terrified screams. She's even begun taking her drug-addled mother to the cemetary, offering her up as a body to possess for any ghost or spirit that'll serve her. Her mother is very easy to possess temporarily and practically impossible to possess permanently, so it's a useful short-term deal. Aishah doesn't particularly care what her terrified, depressed mother thinks of it.

Aishah is in her mid-teens, small and very self-conscious about her heritage. She's got a pixie cut of brown hair, and at school she's a meek, nondescript girl in a school uniform that gives off the appearance of meek harmlessness and tries to vanish into the background, walking with a slight hunch. In the graveyard, she goes for combat boots, torn jeans and ripped black metal band shirts. She hunches less but it's still there, and she gels her hair to make it stand at sharp angles. She's aiming for shock as a defense mechanism, drawing attention from her psychological wounds. Her eyes are lifeless, making her feel wrong. As a wolf, she still hunches, and her fur spikes at weird angles. She used to cut herself before her First Change and still has some scars from it; she does still cut herself at times, but the scars don't linger long enough to make her feel satisfied. Despite her bravado and taste for human blood, all she really wants is a place to feel safe. She wants acceptance and identity and people that love her for who she is. While she's close to the brink of corruption, a stable and nurturing pack could still save her if they found her before she swore the Maeljin oath. She has huge parental issues, and while she spiritually tortures her mother, she can't bring herself to cause physical harm to the woman. She hates her father and knows it'd be easy to kill him, but can't bring herself to do it. She wants them to acknowledge her worth, to join her pack. Percupia wants her to kill them both and be rid of them, but so far she hasn't listened.

Aishah actually has a knack for dealing with ghosts, which has earned him the name G'idhum-ghul, First Tongue for 'Ghost Friend.' Even angry ghosts respond well to her and want to make her happy. In some ways, her ghostly friends are the supportive family she's been yearning for. While each single ghost is quite weak, the small army of them at her service could easily cause great havoc if she asked them to. (The fact that ghosts are probably what's kept her from taking the big leap for Percupia is funny to me.) Percupia, of course, has ambitions. It wants to get bigger. It wants to become a full Maeljin. Werewolves are useful, but they're not the only possible servants for it. With Aishah's help, the word's been getting around - the name Percupia, and that you can get its attention with human sacrifice. (That's not strictly necessary, actually, but it demonstrates a level of commitment.)

Aishah is about on par with a starting PC. She's not a great fighter, and she's maybe sixteen, but she's real good with ghosts and has a surprising number of Gifts. She also has managed to somehow get a Ban: she can't turn down a sincere invitation to join a group or gathering.



Nakku, the Lying Tongue, is part of the UK's gigantic Bale Hound problem. The Pure control much of the countryside and the Forsaken are in the cities, but along the borders, entire packs of Bale Hounds escape consequences, ruling over whole hunting grounds in the moors and mountains. Their overt, brazen atrocity looms large in the minds of the British werewolves, who tell stories of their savagery and open rites to the Maeljin. And so, they are distracted from the Bale Hounds like Nakku, who slither among them unseen, thanks to the more overt monsters. He is an old, practiced liar who has served Ghar'ma for decades now. Corruption fills his soul, and while he may not be so bloated with power as some of the more overt Defiled of the moors, there are few better at infiltration. The Forsaken think him a comforting Iron Master elder, a roving rumormonger and storyteller. He uses social media to spread news for werewolves, using soundbites of Lodge meetings (read: werewolf social clubs/z-splats) and tracking political and social developments among humans that will have effects on werewolf work. For Bale Hounds, though, he is a source of insider information who spreads the schemes and weaknesses of the Forsaken...though even they are not safe from his tendency to treachery. He likes the game too much to stop spreading his stories, even if it hurts his corrupted brethren.

Nakku is always on the move. He's usually found in the cities of the Midlands, but he's been to Edinburgh, London and even overseas at times. Other Iron Masters think it's a choice, that Nakku is dedicated to getting news direct from the source and experiencing new things. In truth it's more of a necessity. The spiritual sickness within his form is simply too intense - if he stays in place long, it will blacken the Shadow around him. Keeping on the road reinforces his reputation and avoids detection, keeping his true nature doubly concealed. He slips through the gaps, keeping his entire life in a van full of trinkets, cheap goods (mostly stolen) and the materials to set up a small stall on a roadside if he needs to make some money selling any of it. He's a cheerfully messy man with a silver tongue and practiced sales pitch. His true merchandise, however, is truth and lies. He gathers information and secrets, then repackages them in ways useful to him and hands them out to key people. His lies are perfectly crafted, personalized to his victims' beliefs and knowledge. He knows what they want to hear, how to play off their neuroses and keep them off balance or comfortable as needed. He uses his talent to subtly spread disharmony, avoiding blatant lies that might cause conflict but would be easily traceable to him. Rather, he works with insinuation, implication and half-truth, getting people to ruin their own lives for him. He pushes ambition and resentment, giving out just enough truth to be taken seriously and just enough lies to keep conflict going.

Nakku appears as a thin Asian man with a British accent, always bright and smiling. He shifts mannerisms easily to match whatever persona he's using that day to manipulate people, ranging from kind words and encouragement to bold exhortations. He's always looking for news, leverage or a way to cause disharmony. He'll mock and goad if it works, but he's always aware that he has no pack, and even an elder is vulnerable alone. He's an actor and con artist, not a fighter. He's layers and layers of false masks. His fellow Forsaken think they know him, having worked with him for decades, but it's just another front. He's just as much putting up an act as being an efficient, serious man under the traveling trickster facade with them. He doesn't show his true face even to other Bale Hounds, enjoying playing with their expectations of him based on his reputation. He is most comfortable in human form, preferring it to his wolf forms and preferring cities to nature. His wolf forms are black-furred, with unnervingly long limbs, and he moves like a snake. Despite his physical power, he prefers to flee or evade at the first chance in a fight. His real self, at his core, is a survivor, and everything else comes well after ensuring he doesn't die.

Once, Nakku belonged to a pack in Mansfield, and he returns there and to his Sherwood Forest lair when he is tired, wounded or needs time to think. He tore apart his old pack years ago, of course. His first steps into darkness came out of his rivalry with the pack's dominant Rahu. She was a charismatic woman who represented a warrior ideal that he hated, and he engineered her death at the hands of a Maeltinet. Now, he tells tales of her glory and bravery to cover it up. He (and the rest of the UK Bale Hounds) maintain a strange relationship with some sadistic sparrow spirits. While physical birds are small and weak, their Shadow reflections tend to be large, powerful totems to the Bale Hound packs. One of these, a Maeltinet named Claws-of-Thorn, rules no pack but is Nakku's direct patron. In private, they bicker like old lovers or siblings, but they cater to each other in a toxic, codependent relationship. Claws-of-Thorn's backing is what keeps him safe from other Bale Hounds, and its deceptive innocence helps him fool the totems of the packs of Forsaken he deals with as well as local spirit courts. The sparrow spirit thinks the ignorance of the Forsaken and the wounded pride of other Bale Hounds is funny, but it demands regular sacrifices from Nakku in exchange for maintaining things. It hungers for the slow, tortured death of animals bound and bled with thorns or barbed wire, and each such sacrifice must resonate with the love of humans that will grieve for the loss of the beloved creature. Sometimes, Nakku offers up greater payments - children - which Claws-of-Thorn prizes greatly.

Nakku is Extremely Online. He loves the internet as a means to spread his lies and information. His social media stream is near-constant and, to humans, looks like a very bizarre mix of insane conspiracy theorist and British folklorist and historian. The werewolf-related information in it is obfuscated enough that werewolves have to do some digging to understand and interpret it. Nakku takes data security extremely seriously, and he actually has bound several data and secrets spirits into pacts to protect him from hackers. He tends to find fooling idiots boring, though - he does it anyway, of course, because his lying is pretty much compulsive at this point, but he especially loves to trick the clever and proud. He loves to offer up secrets to instigate would-be masterminds and planners, sending them to their own dooms with key misinterpretations or unspoken assumptions. Occasionally, he'll meet with Bale Hounds at old standing stones or other ancient relics of the British past. The Bale Hounds use these menhirs as makeshift altars for sacrifices of blood and oil to the Maeljin, trading secrets. For Nakku, this is primarily another way to network and spread secrets on the Forsaken to his comrades, coordinate with them and, of course, piss off his rivals.

For an elder, Nakku isn't much of a combatant. He's on par with a mid-range werewolf. His real power is from his social skills, wit and knowledge. He's insanely connected, very good at lying and talking to people, and quite smart. He also has a potent selection of Gifts to gain information with and abuse weaknesses. He won't be a guy for a stand-up fight - he's built for ambushes, weakness hunting and trickery - but his Dread Powers offer him the resilience to survive a surprising amount of damage.

Next time: The Lobby, the Monster From the Wild.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Soulless Wolf looks almost exactly like the Abyss to me: "I'm the real important secret god that your other gods deny, definitely not a hole in reality leading directly to hell."

And the tiers of Bale Hound map closely to the process of becoming a Scelestus in Mage (corrupted Mages who channel the Abyss).

In both cases, a better way to play Beast-style awful people than Beast.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

Refresh my memory, can you redeem a Bale Hound?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Only before they swear an oath to a Maeljin.

Gantolandon
Aug 19, 2012

It seems they are pretty much werewolf Nephandi, complete with slow, gradual descent and their soul getting irrevocably corrupted when they decide to join.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Gantolandon posted:

It seems they are pretty much werewolf Nephandi, complete with slow, gradual descent and their soul getting irrevocably corrupted when they decide to join.

I think the NWoD equivalent, Scelesti, are more applicable - both because it doesn't gently caress up future incarnations like OMage Nephandi, and because the specific powerset Bale Hounds get really aligns with the Scelestus power to spread Paradox, control Paradox, and so on. Scelesti get to mess with normal spellcasting and spread those effects to other people, much like the 'spread Dark Power' stuff Bale Hounds get.

Tasoth
Dec 13, 2011
The similarities are more than likely intentional between different Abyss aligned entities in the game lines. While CofD doesn't hammer you over the head with the inter-relatedness, the stasis/growth/abyss triad is still present. It's been a while since I've read MtAw core, but the Ocean of Fragments in the Underworld and the ocean at the end of the Astral seem really similar.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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





ECLIPSE PHASE - X-RISKS - MO' MONSTERS

Take two of this post, I originally wrote it a few days ago but lost it and was too annoyed to write it again straight away. If I lose this one this poo poo is getting marked as 'abandoned' on inklesspen's website.

Fetch

bitch i look like goku
Threat level - Ultraviolet

Fetches are delta forks of TITANs. A delta fork of a human would be essentially what a hall of presidents animatronic is to a real person, but TITANs have brains and personality to spare so even when they're super stripped back to fit into a robot goku body they're way smarter than any human. They were created for specific purposes by the TITANs, but since the TITANs went awol they've been kind of at a loose end, and have started to go a bit crazy as a result. I guess they mostly inhabit the space internet, and act as the evil computer from pretty much any 90s movie about virtual reality, but sometimes they sleeve into regular bodies. They carry the electronic version of the Exsurgent virus, which turns you into an animated purple gorilla and makes you steal credit cards so the exsurgents can buy porno and ketamine off the dark mesh.

As for abilities they don't really have anything special, instead relying on incredibly high stats, skills, and a ton of cyberware. They have 80s and 100s in a whole raft of computer and intelligence related skills, with a note to the GM to give them 80s in additional skills based on their mission. If they were a D&D creature the only place you'd find a stat sheet like this is in Deities and Demigods. It is kind of disappointing though that the closest thing the player will meet to an actual TITAN doesn't have any truly unique skills.

Flesh Party

there ain't no party like a flesh party, because a flesh party don't stop
Threat level - Yellow

The TITANs, being massive edgelords, unleashed a nano-plague that made infectees melt and fuse together with other infectees, turning the environment they were in into a level from Dead Space. Naturally though they weren't just dead fields of flesh, they were alive and sentient, because otherwise it would not be grim or dark enough. Flesh Parties were used as area denial and psychological warfare during the war, because nobody wanted to walk on melted down people. They're still alive, down on Earth, I guess because nobody gave enough of a poo poo to try and euthanize them.

Their main offensive power is to give the PCs a bunch of stress due to being gross and grimdark, but they can also puke acid. They have a 50 in deception skill, for some reason. There's also a variant infected with Psychic Disease, which is orange threat and much scarier. They're all also infectious with the nanoplague that made them, and if the PCs contract it it's gonna bring a whole new meaning to 'party unity'.

It's literally just Bio Apocalypse. Some of the exsurgents are actually creepy, but to me the flesh party is just trying too hard. Here's the actual pic from the book, it looks like a bunch of CGI strawberry jam.

Fractal

in the wild west of tomorrow, even the tumbleweeds are deadly
Threat level - Ultraviolet

This jacked-up tumbleweed is basically the same thing as the Creeper from the last post, in that it's a TITAN created nanotech machine that is super powerful and does what it wants. The main difference is that this one looks like a tumbleweed instead of bubbles. The Fractal's branches, as you might expect, split fractally and end in microscopic nanotech tips. It uses these to rip stuff apart and make other stuff out of it. Shooting them with bullets is a very bad idea because they just catch the bullets and eat them, then build their own gun out of your bullets and fire their own bullets back at you.

As well as being able to regenerate they have a power called invulnerable, which makes them take half damage from area weapons, and minimum damage from everything else. They also feign death when their hit points get low enough, and break apart into individual nanoswarms that start to rebuild the Fractal straight away. And if all that isn't enough, their other main gimmick is disguising themselves as other objects to lure people in.

I guess this is what you deploy when you just want to kill your players.

Fractal Troll

Threat level - Red

No, it's not what you call a GM who overuses the previous monster, it's some guy who got mutated by the TITANs to do... stuff.. for them. They're 2 meters tall, scamper around on their big crab hands like gorillas, and have two sets of weird little fractal hands. To make things grimmer and darker, they still have their minds intact, but are crazy due to years spent scampering around on their big crab hands. There's a little chat box in the entry with someone saying 'hey maybe we should rescue these guys and they could tell us what the TITANs were actually trying to do' and someone else saying 'heh be my guest pal'. The fact that there are humans out there with their minds traumatised-but-intact who had a direct line to the whims of the TITANs is uh really just kind of ignored by the rest of the setting.

In this universe having fingers that split off fractally gives you amazing armour piercing powers, instead of just having a bunch of really small fingers you can't even see that break off in the breeze. Their MO is to grab you with their big crab hands then go apeshit on your face with their little fractal hands. They're also immune to cold and vacuum conditions, but still have to eat, and the main thing they have to eat is dead-rear end bitch-rear end transhumans, so watch out!

The fractal troll is nicely weird and I like it, but like the factors before them nothing is really done with them. They're just a mook to fight, instead of being either a humanitarian rescue project or a super important source of intelligence on the TITANs. Eclipse Phase loves to do this JJ Abrams thing where they come up with a fantastic, weird setup and just don't follow through with it.

Freak

charlesy no! get outta my head charles!
Threat level - Orange

Freaks are basically the psychic girl from Firefly. They're asyncs (space wizards) who have been enslaved and experimented on by any given bioconservative bad guy faction. They're used as living weapons and found alongside squads of handlers, who have psi inhibitors and drugs to control the freak with. Overall it seems like a pretty bad idea to me, having a barely-controlled insane psychic as a weapon, but then again I am not a designated baddie.

Compounding the badness of this idea, they also wire the Freak up with random TITAN, Exsurgent, or Alien weapons they're too afraid to give to their regular troops. Naturally it is set to self destruct if the freak's vitals dip too low. This is really just the space equivalent of giving a chimp a gun, only this chimp is also a jedi. You would think the smart thing to do with a mystery weapon is to test it in a lab somewhere under controlled conditions, but again I am not a jovian or whoever.

The example TITAN beam weapon the freak is statted with is a powerful rapid fire laser weapon, that on a critical failure autotargets the nearest three people or machines and shoots at them with a higher attack skill than the freak itself has, then electrocutes the freak. Given that the nearest three people to the freak are likely to be its handlers, and that the weapon explodes powerfully if the freaks health gets too low, this seems like a very stupid idea.

Gut Eater

ooooh here he comes, watch out boy, he'll eat your guts
Threat level - Orange

Ignoring all biochemical barriers, and even basic biology as a whole, the Gut Eater is an alien parasite that infects a host via unknown means, then integrates itself into their body and grows a mouth and tentacles out of the host's belly. It does this because, uh, it has to eat prions in order to feed a yeast that the Gut Eater lives on, so it makes its host go and murder someone so it can eat their brain. Now, this makes so little sense it's insane. Prions are rare as poo poo, being misfolded proteins that make other proteins misfold, the chances of finding a brain with prions in to eat has to be one in a million or lower. How the hell would a creature that relies on prions to live ever evolve?

Look I uh can't think about this any more. Why would you not just say it eats neurotransmitters or something? At least all brains have those in them.

Headhunter

looks like HE'LL never be the head of a major corporation!
Threat level - Yellow/Orange

Flying buzzsaw drones who chop off your head and then steal it. I like these ones a lot, because the image of a drone swooping by and decapitating someone then flying off with their head to slam dunk it into a TITAN facility is very funny to me. They were a part of the TITANs' mass ego-uploading programme during the war, and there were a whole ton of variants of them, running the gamut from just headhunters with guns, to headhunters who puked up a special nanoswarm on crowds that ate everything but their heads, then came back later to scoop up all the heads on the floor. The chat box has a pretty funny thing about a giant headhunter who chopped the heads off neo-elephants.

In the years since the TITANs hosed off, the headhunters are still going. Some of the upload facilities still function, but others are shut down. The headhunters do not know this, and are just dumping the heads they collect in big rotting piles outside the closed facility doors. Apparently in the quarantine zones 'head hills' are a common sight, which makes you question exactly how many people are still going into the zones and getting their heads chopped off. It seems like it would have to be a lot.

The headhunters are one of my favourites from eclipse phase, even if they aren't quite as cool as the meat packing robot from numenera.

Hollow

slime time, bitch
Threat level - Red

Hollows are another interminable mystery monster. They're alien uh nanoplasma colonies, and their main deal is they melt people down and scan them as they do so, then construct a thin skin around their slimy body that resembles the victim. They're perfect mimics, as they take on the entire personality, memories, and abilities of the person they melted. Inside the goo is a hard diamond that stores the hollow's memories, and the only way to kill it is to destroy this diamond.

Unfortunately for the Hollow (and the reader), their habit of taking on different personalities has made them forget their origins and original personality, leaving them as a mish-mash of different personas and memories. Kind of like Daniel Day Lewis.

Anyway, they're very hard to kill or effectively damage, and they can cough up caustic smoke as a defense, in addition to having whatever skills their victim had. They're kind of interesting as monsters, the 'perfect doppelganger' thing is kind of a cliche in rpgs, but having a totally alien counterpart to the numerous TITAN-spawned nanoswarms is interesting. Even if they insist on not telling us anything about their origins.

Hookbladder

Threat level - Yellow

Hookbladders should be grateful for the existence of the Gut Eater, because otherwise they'd be the stupidest parasite in this post. They are alien jellyfish, who most of the time are basically harmless, but during mating season they gain the ability to jump 3 meters into the air using jets of water, then land on some poor dope's head. Like headcrabs they then take control of the poor dope's body, forcing them to kill others and pile up their corpses. Once the corpse pile is big enough, the hookbladder directs their host to lie down on the pile, where it strangles them, then explodes itself into eggs. Then the eggs hatch and eat the corpses, and the babies slide off into the water. THE CIIIIRCLE OF LIIIIIFE.

For whatever reason being parasitised by the hookbladder gives you the ability to survive in the unbreathable atmosphere of their homeworld, I guess the hookbladder acts as a living space helmet. You may question how this works, or why the thing is compatible with human biology in the first place, but there is a more valuable question here.

Neither this thing, nor the gut eater, can affect synthmorphs or robots. So why the gently caress do gatecrashers ever go to alien worlds in a meat body? For a start they have way steeper requirements in terms of life support, and thus payload mass for a spaceship, than a robot body, but they also expose you to all sorts of horrible parasites. Also, how are peoples heads exposed to this thing on a world without a breathable atmosphere?

Hunter Killer

Threat level - Red

It's an evil plane the TITANs made. It has guns on it and it can fly. It's very boring, but at least it doesn't have some type of insanely dumb life cycle. It doesn't have to eat bezoars from one specific breed of cow to reproduce or anything. It just flies around really fast and shoots guys. It's ok.

NEXT TIME ON X-RISKS: SEVERAL EDGELORDS, SOME WORMS, AND [TRANSLATORS NOTE] KUMO IS JAPANESE FOR SPIDER

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Eclipse Phase: This one is just an evil plane.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
Flesh Party was more interesting when Rudy Rucker wrote it up as Merge.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



I would like the Gut Eater a thousand times more if it were a really bad idea bio-upgrade that got loose on its own. Like a causapod, but the point was "hey this thing can and will eat anything, why don't we build a stomach replacement tentacle eel that you can just swallow and survive on whatever's available" only it got oooooOOooooOOO spooky exsurgent infection, so instead of a replacement gut you get an angry tentacle replacement gut that spreads itself.

Don't make it spread any further exurgent plague, don't make it have a grand plan. Maybe give it some reason to make the host murderous, due to exsurgent bullshit. But it should also be possible to be a standard flat and they'll act like a slightly murderous bio-upgrade that gives you extra grapple damage, as long as you feed it brains of some kind. Make transhumanity weird!

Honestly, to me the exsurgent virus seems at its best when it's basically just the mcguffin that explains why something going wrong doesn't just translate into 'the replacement stomach symbiote doesn't work' but instead 'it worked so well that it's become independent and angry.' The exsurgent virus should be what turns your standard, moderately dangerous AI into 'I AM GOD, WORSHIP ME PUNY MEAT THINGS,' and generally just increases the rate at which Sci-fi action plot villains happen.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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

I feel like body horror / parasite / mimic creatures are a lot less, I dunno, threatening? Interesting? Both? In a setting where you can just back up your brain to the last save point. Like it'd be an interesting plot point if the party ran into a Hollow that had eaten the whole group before, but at that point you're just playing The Thing: No Stakes Edition. And then all the parasites, who gives a poo poo, your body is a temporary contrivance. They are as threatening as the prospect of getting malware on a burner phone.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

The spheres from Phantasm have more charm than the buzzsaw drones.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013
I think I can explain the Gut Eater or at least the particular strain of scientific ignorance that led to it. It's possible one of the authors skimmed a blurb on Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, misunderstood it, then tried to Star Trek techno-babble up an alien monster. Anyway, the Headhunter is the best of these, which are otherwise pretty weak to be honest, except maybe the Hollow. Personally, I think the trope of AIs harvesting human minds is a bit worn out in media, but I could get some great use out of these in my space fantasy game as an emergency medical evac robot that's outlived its function.

edit: Chernobyl Peace Prize, that idea for The Thing: No Stakes edition sounds fun as hell to me, I'd love that as a one-off session in a game.

Ithle01 fucked around with this message at 00:38 on Aug 24, 2019

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016
Question: What's the difference between the Hollow making a simulacrum of you with all your skills, personality, and memory and just resleeving?

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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

kommy5 posted:

Question: What's the difference between the Hollow making a simulacrum of you with all your skills, personality, and memory and just resleeving?
It has all the other skills and personalities it absorbed already, doesn't it?

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

Why aren't there any robot parasites?

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

It has all the other skills and personalities it absorbed already, doesn't it?

Yeah, and? I mean, what it's doing is kinda normal in this setting by my understanding. Between psychosurgery and merging forks and whatnot, it just sounds like a particularly unique and interesting morph. That you get a copy of yourself put into for free.

I mean, by EP understanding, is it actually a monster?

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006

I actually think the Flesh Party would work, edge and all, if it was an Unknown Armies-style rumor rather than a statted monster. Like, just add a page or two of "things survivors saw on Earth during the fall" and fill it with all this ridiculous grim poo poo, mention it all seemed extremely ineffective at actual genocide and add a bit to the mystery of why the TITANS did what they did. "Was all this just a ploy to psychologically torture use for some unfathomable reason? Why?" seems like a more interesting mystery than trying to decide between "the TITANs just went all Skynet on us" or "they became too smart and as gods" or "lol alien computer virus."

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Nobody agreed to create joinder with it/the other personalities. Also you don't have full control over it, which I imagine is one of the things EP people require to consider something normal. I imagine they consider this a bit like a much more involuntary form of the crazy hive mind enthusiasts.

At the same time, in a setting with resleeving, 'something kills you and takes on a perfect copy of your personality' really isn't (on its own) the horror it would be elsewhere, I think.

E: That's less mocking it and more saying that from the standard of 'alive' the setting seems to use, as long as your information exists perfectly and someone who is 'you' exists within the world, you're considered to still be alive and you as far as I can tell. So if the thing just ate you and became 'you' and didn't do the amalgamating thing, yeah, it would effectively just be a weird and involuntary morph, wouldn't it?

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 01:52 on Aug 24, 2019

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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


Dawgstar posted:

The spheres from Phantasm have more charm than the buzzsaw drones.

yeah but what don't they have more charm than?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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



That fractal thing would be a great explanation for energy weapons but I'm not sure if energy weapons produce the same Liberty Field as a bullet-shooter.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



Bieeanshee posted:

Flesh Party was more interesting when Rudy Rucker wrote it up as Merge.

Or K.W. Jeter as the orgynism.

Seatox
Mar 13, 2012
EP should just outright steal the good "horrible nanotech apocalypse" bits from the Charles Stross novel Singularity Sky. The TITANS seem really boring and uninspired compared to the Carnival and Fringe. (The Carnival even has an actual motivation for all it's weird poo poo!)

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



A lot of the Fall seems like Newton's Wake, complete with the mass ego upload for unknown purposes by head-stealing robots.

inklesspen
Oct 17, 2007

Here I am coming, with the good news of me, and you hate it. You can think only of the bell and how much I have it, and you are never the goose. I will run around with my bell as much as I want and you will make despair.
Buglord

kommy5 posted:

Yeah, and? I mean, what it's doing is kinda normal in this setting by my understanding. Between psychosurgery and merging forks and whatnot, it just sounds like a particularly unique and interesting morph. That you get a copy of yourself put into for free.

I mean, by EP understanding, is it actually a monster?

There's a morph in the "Eclipse Phase: Transhuman" book called the "Freeman", and apparently if you're the sort of person who would be a Vault Overseer in a different post-apocalypse, you just hand these morphs out to your "citizens". They're biological morphs, very nice. Except they also have an AI implanted watching your every move and the brain's been modded slightly to let the AI wipe your memories.

From the posthuman point of view, the Hollow is less desirable a morph than the Freeman, because not only are you subject to mind-control, but the person holding the controls isn't human or human-created, and you can't desleeve if you realize you're hosed.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!

juggalo baby coffin posted:

Fetch

bitch i look like goku
Threat level - Ultraviolet

Fetches are delta forks of TITANs. A delta fork of a human would be essentially what a hall of presidents animatronic is to a real person, but TITANs have brains and personality to spare so even when they're super stripped back to fit into a robot goku body they're way smarter than any human. They were created for specific purposes by the TITANs, but since the TITANs went awol they've been kind of at a loose end, and have started to go a bit crazy as a result. I guess they mostly inhabit the space internet, and act as the evil computer from pretty much any 90s movie about virtual reality, but sometimes they sleeve into regular bodies. They carry the electronic version of the Exsurgent virus, which turns you into an animated purple gorilla and makes you steal credit cards so the exsurgents can buy porno and ketamine off the dark mesh.

As for abilities they don't really have anything special, instead relying on incredibly high stats, skills, and a ton of cyberware. They have 80s and 100s in a whole raft of computer and intelligence related skills, with a note to the GM to give them 80s in additional skills based on their mission. If they were a D&D creature the only place you'd find a stat sheet like this is in Deities and Demigods. It is kind of disappointing though that the closest thing the player will meet to an actual TITAN doesn't have any truly unique skills.

This is one of the problems of EP in both 1st and 2nd edition, there's a very hard cap on skills(which with EP1's MoS system doesn't make sense, it should be possible to have 130 or something just so you could get higher margins of success on rolls, allowing you to more effortlessly do risky maneuvers, targeted shots, multiple actions, ignore situational penalties, etc.) and even if there wasn't, frankly relatively little you could do specially even if you were just that much better than everyone else. This means that basically every enemy supposed to be dangerous, even the essentially "starter" monsters in Glory, have 80 to 100 in every relevant skill(especially Shoot Man, Punch Man and Dodge Shootman), and are lugging around equivalents to the exact same Big Guns(plasma rifles, machine guns with special ammo, heavy Seekers).

It makes the bestiary very same-ish once you get past the art and... I was gonna say writing, but no, not even the writing. It's 50 variants of "it's an alien parasite that tricks you, it's an alien that's inscrutable, it's a TITAN machine/exsurgent that's inscrutable."

Even in the GM section in the EP1 book where they went: "okay all the other potential TITAN sources we wrote about are actually bullshit it was an Evil Alien Virus." All that Evil Alien Virus does is make TITANs go insane, so they're just fishmalk robot gods. They're not collecting human egos for anything except to be evil with. Like... it's not evne a SHODAN situation where they've been kicked sideways into a non-human morality/ethics system that has some, well, logic to it. They're just TITANS, they're craaaaaaaaaazy.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer
I can't remember, is the Snowflake in that book? From what I remember, that was a particularly assholish monster.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

inklesspen posted:

There's a morph in the "Eclipse Phase: Transhuman" book called the "Freeman", and apparently if you're the sort of person who would be a Vault Overseer in a different post-apocalypse, you just hand these morphs out to your "citizens". They're biological morphs, very nice. Except they also have an AI implanted watching your every move and the brain's been modded slightly to let the AI wipe your memories.

From the posthuman point of view, the Hollow is less desirable a morph than the Freeman, because not only are you subject to mind-control, but the person holding the controls isn't human or human-created, and you can't desleeve if you realize you're hosed.

At the same time if it was something you could desleeve from and just perfect-copied you, and the body had some interesting advantages, it'd be pretty hilarious if instead of being terrified of it the Exoplanet explorers brought back the alien doppleganger monster as a designer morph they could sell.

"Hey, we struck gold out there!"

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012




Buglord
Wait a drat minute.

Has nobody done this amazing adventure yet? I didn't see it on the index.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
Oh hell yes. Dooooo it.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Now is this adventure amazing because it's actually a well-made pre-made adventure that plays to the system's strengths and is fun to play, or is it amazing because it is ridiculous bullshit?

I know which answer is more likely but I still have to ask.

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