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dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Night10194 posted:

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.
Check that level range if you can read it.

And yes this is my well-loved personal copy complete with poster map. :)

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I didn't know D&D went to level 100.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Night10194 posted:

I didn't know D&D went to level 100.
1e is technically unbounded. But I'll get to that :)

Not sure if I should wait for the new post or just go for it later.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Night10194 posted:

I didn't know D&D went to level 100.

:aaaaa:

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


Night10194 posted:

I didn't know D&D went to level 100.

Starting at level 18.
Either this is a really long adventure, or you go up the levels like an elevator in a skyscraper.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

It's metal album cover bullshit, is what it is. I played through it when I was a kid.

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





Ithle01 posted:

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.

:science:

'Prion' could be referring to PRNP, the protein that gets deformed in those diseases, which is found everywhere, but is most common in the nervous system; for whatever reason, the Gut Eater either needs these things (maybe it's the equivalent of vitamin C or whatever for it) or likes the taste.

quote:

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 even 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.

Eh.... having read it (and X-risks) myself, I don't quite agree. Viral actors are often erratic, and sometimes vanish up their own rear end, but they tend to execute specific agendas - all the TITANs specialized into specific roles when they launched their attack - AI hunters, nanotech specialists, generals (one of these got knocked out) and even a cluster that specialized in white collar crime and finance/asset fuckery to build up their assets. They're not that... crazy.

It's also possible different exsurgent strains may go at cross-purposes when working inside the same host, depending on how much agency they have - Glory, the one from the adventure of the same name, came off the knocked out general TITAN; what a virus that did... that... was doing on that thing has several different explanations.

Overall, EP suffers from being TOO ambiguous/lazy about giving outlines of these things to the GM - I understand their reasoning, but it doesn't really work.

StratGoatCom fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Aug 24, 2019

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


StratGoatCom posted:

:science:

'Prion' could be referring to PRNP, the protein that gets deformed in those diseases, which is found everywhere, but is most common in the nervous system; for whatever reason, the Gut Eater either needs these things (maybe it's the equivalent of vitamin C or whatever for it) or likes the taste.


The wikipedia article on PRNP literally starts with 'Not to be confused with prions'. I hadn't considered that the authors may have made this mistake instead, good catch.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
Goofus And/Or Gallant


werewolf satan has my vote

Gregory Whistler, the Lobby, is the perfect ally for a pack. He's an insider of municipal politics and industry that specializes in lobbying the Parks Department of wherever your game happens to be, turning old, rundown factories into his own personal real estate holdings. He's bought and paid for all manner of local politicians, corporate leaders, local media personalities and major landowners. His campaign manager is a Tarnished werewolf, well on his way to meeting Soulless Wolf. Gregory's Ivory Claw, and that makes some wary, but he's such a useful ally. Get on his good side and your territories expand and prosper. In return, all he wants is some information and occasional odd jobs done. His office building HQ employs a number of Pure and Forsaken who have put aside their differences for the good of werewolfkind. Those that find this disgusting can wait outside if they still need his help, though Gregory pretends to take offense at people who do so, saying they ignore the future.

Of course, in truth, Gregory serves Shad'ma as one of the Hounds of Disharmony. He occasionally has problems with people questioning why they don't feel good about what he asks or why he occasionally ducks out of meeting in person with local alphas. When he can no longer blame that on his going on vacation, he blames grief. His son, Alek, died while hunting a suspected Bale Hound among the Ivory Claws. (The truth, of course, is that Bale Hound was Gregory, and Alek died during an attempt to join his father's evil plans.) This grief provides excellent cover...not least because it's real. Gregory legitimately loved his son, and he is beginning to resent and hate Soulless Wolf for deeming the boy unworthy and killing him.

Gregory is friendly, quick to offer drinks and help, and always welcoming. He keeps his orange hair and goatee combed back and perfectly trimmed, respectively. He is always attended by a large dog, though she is not friendly with strangers. It is extremely bloody and painful when Gregory takes on his warform, which he blames on his cursed bloodline - specifically, descent from Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. Yes, he actually blames this for the fact that his transformations involve a lot of bones breaking and gruesome gore, including the snapping and regrowth of his actual spine and the reversal of his heart's valves. There is no actual explanation for why his Gauru-form transformation is like that, though.

Gregory often suffers real grief-caused tantrums over his son's death. He takes these out on a fellow Bale Hound whom he has trapped in his office's panic room. This is Ur'aduna, the mentor that first led Gregory and Alek to Soulless Wolf. He keeps the elder Defiled alive and tortures him to the brink of death, then heals him and starts over. Enough time has passed to form a large, festering Wound in the panic room, which now seeps bile onto the walls and floor, and it's still growing. Ur'aduna is kept still by an ancient Roman dagger, a fetish passed down from Gregory's father, which is lodged in the old Bale Hound's back and locks him away from the death rage. Gregory does not believe this is blasphemy against his dark masters, of course. He's still a loyal Bale Hound, no rebel against the Maeljin. If the other Bale Hounds still seek their lost elder, so what? He takes the opened Wound as proof that the Maeljin don't care. He uses it to move spirits around if they swear to serve him, and he's hoping he can find Alek's ghost and use the Wound to at least bring the boy back to his presence. This is growing to a full obsession for him, and he often screams his son's name into the Wound in the mad hope it will call the boy there.

Gregory's assistance to packs is usually genuine - in a sense. The opportunities he brings are real. He really does offer good information. Of course, there tend to be issues - the example is a smuggling trawler loaded with drugs, which he suggests that a pack seize and use as a very handy mobile HQ. The ship is real, is run by smugglers and is fully decked out and useful for a pack on the move. When they discover the drugs were medicine for a local group of humans the pack likes, Gregory is of course endlessly apologetic. (There are often also troubles he's not aware of beforehand, though - his info is good but rarely complete.) He's also happy to offer up some of his locations for use in rites - especially an old lumberyard he picked up for a song because of its history of use as a mob execution site. He generally offers its use to local packs because it lets him keep tabs on the packs' Wolf-Blooded members for which ones could be corrupted. The property is full of hidden recording devices, and that it has a Wound on its outskirts due to mass drownings ordered by a former werewolf mob boss is a bonus. Gregory often spreads rumors of Wounds in order to sow chaos. He knows where they all are, but never gives enough details - that'd give him away. Rather, he lets Wound spirits through to cause chaos and spreads the rumors to heighten paranoia and tensions between the Pure and Forsaken, who rarely suspect him of being the actual problem.

Gregory is a fairly average mid-level werewolf. He's charismatic but not really specialized in much, though his wide array of Gifts should be respected. He's more dangerous for his connections than anything else, however. He also has a Ban: once per day, he must tell someone something truthful about his son.


Bones: Key fashion item.

Zud'nalu, the Monster from the Wild, comes from the depths of Mongolia. It travels as it likes, ignoring territorial boundaries, for it considers itself to own all the world as its territory. It now approaches human settlements for the first time, bringing death with it. It considers itself to still be an exemplar of the Predator Kings. It follows Dire Wolf's anti-human beliefs to such an extent that it no longer remembers its human name. As far as it is concerned, Lakh'ma and Dire Wolf have aligned goals. It has just taken strength offred to it by something inhuman. That's acceptable. Lakh'ma honors nothing of human hands, only human flesh, and Dire Wolf wants a hunter's paradise. Zud'nalu believes the Maeljin will drag the world into a state where the strong hunt the weak - which is perfect. It has rejected all things human, and considers itself to have no gender. (Or pronouns; it rejects these as human.)

What made Zud'nalu vulnerable to the Maeljin is simply the needs of its hunts. Its growth as a werewolf meant it had to move from feeding on meat to feeding solely on Essence, and that was inconvenient. Yes, it had the tools and skill to down spirits and devour them, but that wasn't satisfying. Its spirit half demanded Essence, its physical half craved bloody kills and fresh meat. The humans the old werewolf had hated for so long were able to meet both needs for it - the rich meat of human flesh and the rich Essence of forbidden kin-devouring. This elegant solution, though, forced it to leave the wilds to hunt in more human lands, and there it caught the eye of Soulless Wolf's minions. It tore apart and devoured the first shadow wolf to approach it, and so the next set aside temptation and manipulation and just directly asked Zud'nalu to meet Soulless Wolf.

Now, the old hunter has settled into Gorkhi-Telej National Park, near Ulaanbataar. It is uncomfortable being so near civilization, but it means good access to human prey. Further, the park is full of the natural wonder the old wolf enjoys and considers close to Pangaea. Water comes from the Tuul River and the glaclial lake of Khagin Khar, and it can hang out in the hot springs of Yestii when it feels tired. It avoids the local Buddhist monastery, telling itself that this is a tactical decision to avoid the notice of the monks and tourists, as well as other werewolves. In truth, the Buddhists make it feel things it thought it had long left behind, which it finds confusing and uncomfortable. The tourists irritate Zud'nalu, though they rarely get close to its lair and they make convenient meals. Local werewolves also often visit to experience the wilderness and explore. The vast park's hills and forests are perfect for hunting, and these werewolves grow increasingly less likely to return alive. So far, Zud'nalu has managed to keep itself from devouring other Pure living in the park, but it is rapidly growing to see them not as kin but as prey. It is a lone wolf by nature, though it understands the value of others helping to warn it or be its patsies. There are other Predator Kings in the park and surrounding wilds, and officially, they still view Zud'nalu as a tribal elder, a role model to be accorded respect and free passage. In private, most of them hate the old wolf for being so intrusive and rude, but do not want to fight such a powerful combatant. The Ivory Claws and Fire-Touched of Ulaanbataar and the park trade information to Zud'nalu primarily to ensure it does not decide to come visit the city itself.

Zud'nalu is rarely seen except by its prey, and it can no longer recall its age. Even in its youth it was largely unconcerned with the human world. It prefers to speak First Tongue rather than any human language, and its rare human speech is primarily used to terrify victims. It doesn't know any human languages but Mongolian, anyway, and it speaks an outdated dialect of that. In rare cases when it deigns to talk about its memories, it claims it once knew a vicious human khan who was worthy of respect for a time; the modern Pure tend to believe these stories are inventions of a senile mind, as they'd prefer not to think about the possibility that Zud'nalu has been around since the 1200s. It rarely takes on any humanoid form, but when it does it appears as an older Mongolian of harsh face, unclear gender and wild gray hair. It considers gender useless to think about except as a practicality of getting close to prey, and changes its physical sex to the needs of its hunt. When it must put on clothing, it prefers either a plain blue outfit or clothes made from the tanned hides of its prey. It is a skilled leatherworker, tastefully and traditionally decorating its craft, and its work with a needle is the sole area it takes pride in besides hunting. In any form, it is exceptionally tough and untiring, and it is an obsessively single-minded hunter. It cannot be distracted from its prey, though it may miss subtle clues that it is being led into a trap as a result. Still, it has survived several such traps by sheer tenacity and power, so it doesn't really care.

In its wild lair, something is growing. It is a strange thing, perhaps egg-shaped or wrapped in a leather or vine cocoon. The surface of the thing is covered in pulsing green veins that glow faintly, and it whispers dark secrets to those that see it, exuding an aura of dread. Zud'nalu has been ordered to keep this egg safe and secret - not just the Mongolian egg, but several across the world. Each incubates a festering Wound, preparing for some terrible contagion to be unleashed by the Maeljin. To allow it to reach the other eggs, it has been given the power to travel through shadows in order to reach them, and it attempts to kill anyone that finds the eggs, along with anyone they might have told. It has already placed wards on all of them to warn it about intruders, but doesn't realize its lack of understanding of humanity may cause it problems. Going back to the local monastery for a moment, Zud'nalu has personally declared it off-limits to all werewolves, though no one is entirely sure why it kills any werewolf that visits the place. All kinds of theories abound about it, from the idea that it might just live under the monastery to the idea that it has kin there or that it covets a potent but human-tainted Locus inside. In truth, even Zud'nalu doesn't really understand why it feels so strongly that the place should be off-limits to all werewolves, including itself.

Zud'nalu is exceptionally dangerous in personal combat, even by elder werewolf standards. It's not very smart, though it has good instincts and a strong will, and it doesn't really understand anything but a direct approach. Its deceptions are those of animals, not people. But, y'know, when you're a Primal Urge 9 werewolf, you don't need deception. It has a wide array of Gifts to match its extreme physical power, and its Dread Powers make it even tougher and give it command over the natural world even beyond its Gifts. Further, it can teleport between Wounds or walk in a strange, awful dimension that connects them if it feels like taking more time for less cost.

Next time: Ghost Wolf Tyrants

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Man, I just love Gregory conceptually. He's even interesting if you drop the Bale Hound stuff and just have him be completely genuine, which is pretty cool. But taken as he is he's a manipulative villain who works via giving information that is actually useful to the PCs, just leaving out key details while having the veneer of plausible deniability, and doesn't need to have any sort of omniscience or having read the script to work out. The fact that his information is mostly genuine also means that once the PCs do figure out they've been played they still have some actual results so it doesn't feel like all their work and rewards have been yanked away from them.

Zud'nalu is fine I guess. Feels more like a boss fight than anything and I'm not sure it being a Bale Hound is really doing much for it that just being a particularly insane Predator King wouldn't already be doing for it? I feel like the art is kinda a bad match for it since it's clearly male art for a character that's not supposed to have identifiable gender? Also looks way too young.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I like Primal Horror Wolf, I just think that it should be Pure and not a Bale Hound, drop the eggs entirely, and focus on the Buddhist monastery. That would just be a very cool (monstrous, murderous) Predator King hook. Which it still is, since deleting Bale Hound content is easier than adding it, so the writeup feels pretty useful to me, conceptually?

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005
The Biden administration is actively fighting to withhold COVID vaccinations from our child concentration camps and pointing out that somebody used the word "democrat" as an adjective will not make that fact go away

Kobolds Ate My Baby!: Part IVb – Equipment and Audience Participation



Stuff

Skipping over the Magic section for a minute, let’s dive into a brief overview of equipment. As mentioned earlier, kobold thinkmeats are just advanced enough to keep track of two things at a time, which is why there are spaces on the character sheet labeled “Right Paw” and “Wrong Paw”. Clothes and such are not counted, but if a kobold is carrying more than two items (without using the Lift skill), they immediately take a KHDC and drop an item of the Mayor’s choosing. Previous editions handed out bonuses to players who noticed kobolds breaking this rule, but it appears KAMB!: In Color!!! doesn’t reward snitching.

All equipment can have its own +Edges and -Bogies, weapons do a listed amount of damage, and armor has a listed number of Armor Hits that are depleted before your personal Hits, at which point the armor is destroyed. Simple enough.

Equipment is rolled randomly, with the charts in KAMB!: In Color!!! varying from previous editions in having some of the more “jokey” results removed (such as your “weapon” being a trebuchet that requires 200 kobolds to move and doesn’t fit through the cave mouth), giving a bonus on each chart if your kobold has a specific related Skill (and having a result on each only available to a kobold with that Skill), and having a Dangerous! variant of each chart that offers better equipment at the cost of a KHDC.

As an aside, many of the published adventures either have preselected equipment or a modified chart for that adventure.


How It Plays

The random tables don’t offer a huge numerical range of variability, and the “best” results usually come with a downside that evens them out against the rest of the table. Each of the “standard” charts does come with a “nothing” result, which is usually not much of a problem and can be solved by scrounging around in-play, but – while I have never personally seen it – that does bring with it the possibility of a spectacularly unlucky player having their kobold come out of the caves naked and free.

I haven’t actually played in a game that used the Dangerous! equipment charts; it seems like it could be interesting, but is another thing in this edition that complicates what is supposed to be fast character generation, and hands out KHDCs like it’s trying to imitate Traveller.


Example Characters

As promised, now that we’ve been over character creation, let’s see some kobolds!



Ruddyfur gets six skills, taking Sport (played college ball, ya know), Speak Human, Bard (lie), Cook, Steal, and Wiggle. As an aspiring politician, Ruddyfur naturally has +Winning Smile and -In Heat (must make Ego rolls to resist humping human legs like a doggo). Rolling randomly for equipment, Ruddyfur is wearing Kid's Clothes (2 Armor Hits), has a Spatula (1 DAM, -1 difficulty to Cook), and a little box of iron rations (restores 3 Hits and ignore any hunger checks for 3 turns).

Ruddyfur's death comes from KHD: Outside result #4, Angry Mob, which is frankly the most appropriate one. Ruddyfur and any other nearby kobolds are torn to ribbons, and +Winning Smile explicitly doesn't help this time.



The Mooch also gets six skills, and is well suited with that stat spread to be an evil minion. Mooch here gets Bully, Lackey!, Speak Human, Bard (taking a KHDC for skipping Cook), Fast, and Hide. Mooch also has +Extra Padding (+1d6 Hits worth of bulging belly), -Flammable (so oily they catch on fire with the slightest spark, taking 2 DAM a turn), and knows Sandor's Spell of Summoning Chicken (which does what it says, provided the player does a bad chicken impression). As for equipment, The Mooch has a Fancy Hat and Socks (1 Armor Hit each), a Dead Rat (0 DAM and -Foul Smelling, which alerts everything on the map to your presence), and takes the KHDC to roll on the Dangerous! gear chart, getting Bracers of Offence (take a KHDC to deal +1 DAM for d6 turns, as long as you yell an insult before every attack; the insults must each be better than the last, as agreed by the table).

The Mooch's death comes from Random KHD #3, Pretty, Pretty Puddle. A -Flammable kobold standing in gasoline burns even quicker than usual, so Mooch's chances of surviving this one are pretty slim.

Harold

I didn't get as many examples as I'd been hoping, so let's try a little experiment instead.



Harold here is going to join a game of KAMB!: In Color!!!, where he will be making a kobold named Harry. Knowing his history of bad luck with dice, Harold decides to take the array, which he assigns Brawn 6 / Ego 4 / Extraneous 10 / Reflexes 8 for the extra VP. While choosing skills, he notices the Trade skill lets him re-roll chart results, and decides that's worth the KHDC for skipping Cook. He rolls for +Edges and -Bogies, then gets to equipment. He rolls six for armor: "Nekkid!". Grumbling a bit, he rolls for weapon: another six, "Diddly Squat". A third six on the gear chart (which gets him "Lint, Belly Button"), at which point Harold gives up and takes the KHDC for a re-roll. His streak continues, getting 12 on 2D6: which, added to his two current KHDCs, is enough to result in Harry dying before even finishing character generation.

Was this all terribly unlikely? Yes.

Next Time: Magic, because it deserves its own post

AmiYumi fucked around with this message at 02:32 on Aug 27, 2019

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





AmiYumi posted:

Kobolds Ate My Baby!: Part IVb – Equipment and Audience Participation


His streak continues, getting 12 on 2D6: which, added to his two current KHDCs, is enough to result in Harry dying before even finishing character generation.

This sucked rear end when it happened in Traveler, too, and I don’t understand how it’s a possibility that gets included, even in joke games like this.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
The Bad Idea Conga Line

So, a brief capsule summary. The Ghost Wolves are those werewolves, almost all of them Forsaken, who choose not to join a tribe. Mechanically, this has always been an incredibly bad idea - they forgo a number of benefits from tribal membership, including losing an entire Gift pick, for some very slightly increased flexibility. In theory the idea is you avoid tribal dogmas, but the only actual expression of dogma enforced by tribe is the tribal oath clause added to the Oath of the Moon. Basically, while not joining a covenant in Vampire is a reasonable decision, not joining a tribe in Werewolf is your character essentially declaring that they're an edgy lone wolf who is too cool to hang out with any of you people who actually pick a specific type of foe to prioritize. This book compounds the awful decision-making involved in doing this. It chooses to emphasize the spiritual weakness that Ghost Wolves have placed on themselves: by choosing not to tie themselves to one of the Firstborn of Wolf, they also fail to accept the spiritual protections those ties offer. The Firstborn's nature is relatively static, for spirits, and their relation to Wolf helps provide a spiritual stability to wrewolves, preventing their mercurial nature from being altered by various forms of spiritual contagion. Ghost Wolves remain vulnerable to these.

The first such spiritual warping is that of the Ghost Wolf Tyrant. A Tyrant is a form of Ghost Wolf that has transmuted into a spiritual parasite that exists by abusing other people. Every Tyrant is a lone werewolf, master of a pack of human vassals. Their territory is referred to as a fief, and their packs are essentially a parody of a true werewolf pack. They take the normal pack bond of werewolves and invert it, turning the sole werewolf member (themselves) into a psuedo-totem ruling over the human subjects. They fatten themselves on the spiritual power they receive from debasing their vassals. Their packmates are not friends or allies, as they would be in a true pack. Rather, they are victims, enslaved to the whims and hungers of the Tyrant. The Tyrant pack bond traps them in this relationship, and there is no such thing as an accidental tyrant. The Tyrant's nature is a blasphemous desecration of the werewolf's status and relationship with humanity. To become a Tyrant requires monstrous acts. Specifically, the first vassal is claimed when the werewolf forces them to perform some terrible transgression of their own nature, making them sacrifice some of their own moral integrity in worship of the werewolf. The sacred pack bond the human would normally receive is profaned by this suffering, warping it into the Tyrant bond.

Not all Tyrants are as bad as the worst of their lot, and how they act and treat their fief and vassals is usually related to their motivation in becoming a Tyrant. Some are ignorant, lonely Ghost Wolves, or they believe themselves to be cursed monsters or demons, acting as Tyrants because they think they have to now. Others are perverse, indulgent hedonists that just want to toy with humans and create a little kingdom for themselves in which their every desire is met. No matter what, however, Tyrants end up preying on the weak, afraid and vulnerable. They offer threats or promises of protection, and they form gangs, conspiracies or cults around themselves, gathering up the desperate and abused to surround them. Their existence as parasitic rulers is in conflict with their own werewolf urge to hunt, and Tyrants tend to lash out at their vassals at the smallest provocation as a means of proving their dominance. Unfortunamtely, this only tends to cause them to hunger for yet more worshipful adoration. The transgressions and abuses they inflict draw in more power, and tend to spiral into horrific nightmares and acts of self-delusion.

A Tyrant's power is built on exploitation. They use the shamanic nature of the werewolf, but draw on it by destroying the natural order rather htan working with it. Few have any real purpose beyond their own urges. at least. They are ambitious only on a petty scale, happy to exist as the leaders of a (terrified and abused) pack, with people fearing their wrath and obeying their orders. They have easy targets for their rage and impulses, and that's fine. Other werewolves usually see them as, at best, idiot megalomaniacs. At worst, they are grotesque parodies of true werewolves, mutilating their own spirits to feed their desires. It is impossible for a Tyrant bond to be reversed or purified into a normal pack bond. By turning themselves into Tyrants, they enforce their own isolation from other werewolves. Only humans and Wolf-Bloods can join a fief, and they must join voluntarily. This can be because they are unaware of the true danger of joining a Tyrant's pack or because they are caught up in the cycle of abuse, but it cannot be forced, quite. Werewolves can never join these packs - ever. Their spirit rebels against the attempt to place a collar on them, and rejects the potential pack-bond entirely.

Only a Ghost Wolf can become a Tyrant; the bond with a Firstborn reinforces a werewolf's purity of spirit and strengthens it enough that it cannot actually be mutilated in the way that is required to become a Tyrant. This tends to reinforce werewolf prejudices against Ghost Wolves. (Which, again, are rather fair because there's literally no good reason to be one.) The Firstborn, universally, do not understand why Tyrants exist. To these ancient spirits, the nature of a Tyrant is to tie yourself to the suffering and oppression inherent to humanity and rejecting the sacred power of the hunt. This is unthinkable to them, and so they have neither sympathy or understanding for Tyrants.

Tyrants do not generally work together or have much lore - their jealousy and paranoia prevents it. They've been around for as long as the Forsaken have existed, of course, and many werewolves believe that they date back to those who once made a pact with something evil, which showed them a path. This path is said to have led them to take the place of the spirits that humanity doesn't have (because while there are spirits of pretty much every concept out there, there are no spirits of humans). Most Tyrants barely understand their own nature, however, or that they're different from normal werewolves. Rather, they felt validation when a human worshipped them, and they took that sense of validation and twisted it into something else. Some, however, do speak of an ancient tradition dating back to the time of Sumer. They speak of ziggurats coated in blood, have visions of obsidian fangs and human skin stretched over strange sculptures. These Tyrants tend to be more ambitious, seeking to find ways to become god-kings over humanity.

The human path that Tyrants follow suppresses their predatory instincts. However, their urges need an outlet. This is why they tend to become obsessive over specific people, whom they attempt to control and abuse, then discard once they actually claim them. Some become taken over by strange obsessions and compulsions, such as making masks of each of their vassals or making collections of figures of all the people they've ever hurt. Notably, one Tyrant in Vienna commands his vassals to steal mannequins, paintings and images of people in order to make a gilded gallery that he treats as if it was alive. He becomes violent when anyone points out that they are not.

Many werewolves beloeve that all Tyrants are Bale Hounds. Certainly, many Tyrants believe themselves to be witches, demons or other monsters of their human cultures, and they act in what they believe is the appropriate manner for such beings. These are the Tyrants that become what they are because they believe it's how they're supposed to act. However, almost none are, in fact, Bale Hounds. They're simply far too isolated and paranoid to go in for that kind of things. They do make for excellent pawns and scapegoats for true Bale Hounds, however, and are more than able to accidentally create Wounds through their abusive actions.

Mechanically, the differences of Tyrants to normal Ghost Wolves are as follows:
1. Once you become a Tyrant, you may never join a tribe or a normal werewolf pack.
2. You gain an affinity for the Gifts of Agony, Dominance and Fervor.
3. Your pack may contain only humans, Wolf-Blooded and Claimed. You, the Tyrant, take on the role that the pack totem would normally hold. Your first packmate must fail a severe Breaking Point at the moment they join the pack, but later vassals do not. However, all later vassals must join voluntarily.
4. Your vassals must spend Willpower to act against you or against your stated wishes for a scene, and if they do, they become Guilty or Shaken.
5. You gain Influence as if you were a spirit. Your Influence is over your choice of Authority, Pain or Fear, and its strength is based on the highest Resolve among your vassals.
6. Whenever you would suffer a Condition or Tilt, you can spend Essence to transfer it to a nearby vassal, except for environmental Tilts.
7. When you force a human to face a Breaking Point and they fail, you gain the Inspired condition.
8. At the end of any scene where you make one of your vassals face a breaking point, you gain Essence.
9. You regain extra Willpower each day due to your fief's worship and every time you add a new vassal to your fief, you regain all Willpower.
10. You suffer no compulsion to Sacred Hunt. Instead, you gain a persistent Addicted condition related to finding and gaining new vassals, which must be sated at the same rate your compulsion to hunt would have been. You suffer the Obsession condition towards any potential vassal when this addiction triggers, losing it once they are in your possession. You also gain the Obsession condition towards any member of your fief that leaves or flees your control.
11. You get a Ban. The nature of this Ban varies, but should be drawn from one of a taboo based on your beliefs, your personal hungers or the nature of your fief.

Next time: Ghost Wolf Devourers

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

H4: Throne of Bloodstone, Part 1

Okay so let's review this piece of happy horse-poo poo, because somehow nobody has yet.



This is Throne of Bloodstone, which holds the dubious honor of being the highest-level adventure ever released for any edition of D&D. Zoom in real quick to that level range, why don't you.



Yeah, that's no typo. What, you didn't know AD&D had levels up to 100? Well ... it kinda doesn't, and the adventure will go to great lengths to reassure us of this fact. But have no fear, not only will we talk about how AD&D works at that level, we'll show some super-great pregenerated 100-level PCs as examples.

This is the fourth adventure in the "H" series, better known as the "Bloodstone" series. It's not so much well-regarded as well-ignored; the entire series is for high-level adventurers and each installment has a significant BATTLESYSTEMTM component. And although this adventure proudly proclaims itself as part of the Forgotten Realms, that's at least half bullshit. Let's take this one at a time.



First, BATTLESYSTEMTM? (OK, I'll stop, but that's how it's referred to every single time.) That was a big ol' box set released in the mid-eighties as AD&D's solution to mass combat. I had a copy, way back when - it was a gigantic mass of about a million cardboard chits of various sizes, some instructions on how to paint minis, and a collection of fairly detailed rules about how one might run mass battles and/or involve AD&D characters into them. I can't really comment on how well the game worked - I never once ran a fight in it - but I remember the intense feeling of irony as a game which arose from a mass combat system itself generated a mass combat system.

As for Bloodstone Pass and the Realms... The first Bloodstone adventure, H1 Bloodstone Pass (for Level 15+ characters) was released in 1985 alongside Battlesystem. It was a huge production - almost a box set - with a bunch of buildings and whatnot. It wasn't originally set in the Realms - it predates them, in fact, at least as far as official TSR publications go. The modules' generic setting of Vaasa and Damara (along with the titular pass through the Galena Mountains) was clumsily shoehorned in for the Realms' publication by melting a sizable glacier from Greenwood's setting. H3 was the first Bloodstone adventure to mention the Realms in any capacity, but this one - H4 - was the first Bloodstone adventure to bear the Realms' logo. Placing it in the Realms made no sense and no difference; nothing else in the adventures even pretends to be associated with that setting. I know vanishingly little about the other adventures; I never planned to run Battlesystem, so I never bothered getting them.

One more note - this adventure was published in 1988, in the very waning days of AD&D 1e. So there's a lot of stuff here which just didn't carry over into 2e at all. Assassins, Demons, the Abyss ... yeah, it's an ugly, chaotic mess. In a few ways it's honestly kind of glorious - it has a killer second act, IMO - but it's also a huge nightmare.

Next post, I'll go through the sizable introduction (tldr: "100th level characters aren't much stronger than 20th level, but be dicks to them") and probably skip straight to the pregens in the back.

dwarf74 fucked around with this message at 03:10 on Aug 25, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I am extremely excited for the Throne of the Bloodstone.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Ghost Wolf Tyrants are cool, really all of the Ghost Wolf baddies being what happens when a werewolf fails to get properly spirit-vaccinated and ends up with like, space void measles, are a novel way of reinforcing the value of tribes for the setting at large.

Ithle01
May 28, 2013


Well I'm definitely going to steal the Austrian werewolf mannequin thief cult leader for a game that's for sure.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

H4: Throne of Bloodstone, Part 2


Okay, so why not dive straight loving into this thing.

The Bloodstone series has an actually-admirable goal, and the clear-eyed intro to this adventure puts it front and center: Although AD&D is written with the assumption that high-level characters become rulers and get castles and whatnot, most players prefer to ignore all of that and keep on delving into ever-more-difficult dungeons. So these adventures try to make rulership exciting by um.... still giving them a lot of dungeons, but also tossing in mass battles on the regular. Ah well.

And just so nobody worries that TSR has all of a sudden endorsed - gasp! - those dirty powergamers, Doug Niles reassures us...

quote:

This is the first module written for people who run super-high level characters. Although we do not endorse the so-called "Monty Haul" campaign, there's nothing wrong in sampling what really high-level play has to offer!

As usual, the authors will be pleased to answer questions when accompanied by a stamped, selfaddressed envelope, mailed to us using the address on the back cover.
I'm kinda tempted tbh

Then the module proceeds to give us many :words: about the previous adventures in the series and the overall history of Vaasa and Damara. That is not what I am here for, and presumably not what you, gentle readers, are here for. We are here for bonkers extreme-level AD&D bullshit. Although I will note that H2 (Mines of Bloodstone) is apparently particularly loathsome, according to this stellar review from 1987.


Have no fear, H4 is every bit as bullshit and then some.

So without further ado, let's get straight to

RUNNING 100th-LEVEL CHARACTERS

First, they address the big ol' elephant in the room. Yes, the entire game line to this point - and the many words about running campaigns from Gygax and everyone else - told you to quash those munchkin impulses, kill that inner powergamer, and revel in the joy of moderately-powerful heroes. Mr. Niles provides a good rundown of why, which I will just go ahead and quote wholesale.

quote:

Heretofore, we've been encouraging you to moderate your lusts for power and play "ordinary" fantasy characters rather than the great heroes of myth and legend. There are, of course, quite good reasons for this.
First and foremost, game balance is much easier to maintain when the power level of players is kept to reasonable levels. Even an experienced Dungeon Master can be overcome by a party of aggressive, super-powerful player characters.
Another reason is our desire to maintain the illusion of reality - what science fiction writers refer to as the "willing suspension of disbelief." Within our fantasies we maintain strict standards of realism. Ultimately, if you as players and DMs cannot believe in our illusions, we have failed you.
Third, we have been suspicious of the desire to play super-high level characters. We tend to believe that most people who want to play 100thlevel characters are motivated primarily by the desire to have unkillable PCs—thereby eliminating the challenge of the game. We believe that unkillable PCs and a never-ending supply of easy wealth may be attractive for a short while, but boredom with the game inevitably sets in, and the campaign eventually collapses.
Therefore, we advocate balanced games, where the rewards are given for heroism, skill, and excellent play.
I mean, I'll be honest - except for maybe the second bit, this all makes sense to me. So then they tell us why they will be ignoring all that stuff for the next 90 pages. (Yes, this is a 96-page adventure. Please kill me.)

quote:

In spite of these reasons, there are corresponding reasons why people want to play super-high characters legitimately. First, we believe, is the thrill of role playing great fantasy heroes - wizards with a seemingly endless arsenal of powerful spells, great fighters who can cleave an enemy from head to breastbone with a single blow, crafty thieves of ultimate skill and daring. There is also the desire to test the ultimate limits of the game system, to "max-out" a character with everything that the AD&D game can provide. And finally there is the desire to confront in battle those creatures in the various monster manuals that are beyond the reach of ordinary mortals.
...which is also completely true. As we've seen in Jerik's stellar Deities & Demigods write-up, TSR provided monster stats for gods all the way back in the earliest supplements. Monster Manual 2 has a tarrasque which you can actually fight. The Manual of the Planes portrays a ludicrously hostile set of locales for extra-planar adventuring which would kill an ordinary adventurer. For all that it shits on powergamers, a good chunk of the game-line is only useful to them. So they lay out the three big principles of 100th-level play...

quote:

100th-level characters are not 10 times more powerful than 10th-level characters; apply all the rules strictly; and never give a 100th-level character an even break.
I'll go over these in order...

1. 100th-level characters are not 10 times more powerful than 10th-level characters
OK so those AD&D character progression tables? Even if you think you can extrapolate, those don't extend to infinity, so you shouldn't. Magic-Users don't get more spells past 29th level, Fighters cap out attack and saves at 17th, and Thieves cap out around there too (or at 23rd for the Thief-Acrobat). By and large - with one enormous exception - the difference between a 100th-level character and a 30th-level character is something like 70-210 hit points. That's it. (Note: This idiotic. More on this soon. And that exception? Here's a pop quiz. In AD&D, what's the damage cap when a high-level wizard casts a fireball?)

Oh it also mentions magic items, but the easy solution there is to not use any homebrewed items and stick rigidly to what's been officially published (but not artifacts).

Oh and there's encumbrance, don't forget that! (except for all the ways characters can ignore encumbrance of course).

And yeah, there's ability scores to worry about - odds are they've pushed a lot of them really high. But wait! 25 is the cap for everything, and is 25 really that bad? Sure, Strength 25 is a lot, but really it's just +7 to-hit and +14 to damage. Yeah, Intelligence 25 gives you immunity to illusions, so just don't use illusions. Oh, Wisdom can make you immune to charm, so don't use that, either. And yeah, Constitution will give regeneration, but that's a paltry 144 hp per day if you think about it. And sure, with bonuses, some of those saving throws will get pushed below 0. Simple solution: give them saving throw penalties! Like, say, -10 or so. Bet you didn't think of that!

So basically the way to deal with 100th-level characters is to not give them anything except extra HP, and avoid any challenges which play to their strengths. Great advice, guys, A+

Oh! And that exception. You probably guessed it just by the way I asked the question, but in AD&D 1e, there is no cap to the damage of fireball, lightning bolt, etc. None at all. That came about in 2nd edition and carried over to 3rd, so for a lot of players it's just always been that way. It's the one area of the AD&D where there's just a formula presented with no table. So here, the authors can't just dumbly point to a table and pretend "extrapolation" doesn't exist - that the tables are meant to end there instead of just getting cut off for space or layout reasons. A 100th-level wizard's fireball does 100d6 damage.


see? it says X, assholes, not X as long as it's 10 or under

2. Apply all the rules strictly

quote:

The AD&D(R) game is very carefully balanced. It may sometimes seem to you (and has sometimes seemed to us) that some tiny little rules are unimportant nuisances, but we have discovered that those ostensibly unimportant rules turn out to be extremely important after all. Especially when running high-level characters, it becomes vital to apply all the
rules strictly and precisely.
I mean, yeah - this is very true and oft-repeated on these forums. AD&D balances Wizards out through making them jump through obnoxious hoops with material components and all that jazz. Make sure they use the DMG's potion miscibility table. Follow encumbrance. You get two rings. Oh, and don't identify magic items! Give them cursedt poo poo!

Oh, and don't forget spell memorization/prep time; a max-level Wizard would need to spend 70 hours to get back their spells if they cast all of them.

So this is unquestionably more balanced, but balance through obnoxious bookkeeping is pretty lovely balance. This section is short, and it repeats stuff I've already harped on, so that's all I have to say about this.

3. Never give a 100th-level character an even break
Be a dick.

If your godlike PCs get dropped in a vat of acid or hit by a fireball, make them make item saving throws for all their magic gear! Spellbooks in particular can melt real easily! Give monsters rings of spell turning (note: there is indeed a monster in here with a ring of spell turning.) Put them in places like, say, the Abyss where they will be a lot weaker! (note: The bulk of this adventure takes place in the Abyss.) This is honestly mostly repetitive with the other two sections; it all comes down to "be super ruthless and put them in their place."

So yeah, that's the advice. "100th level may sound big, but it's mostly just more hp, and make sure your players never forget it." I bet you could have predicted all of that, eh?

I will try and post the 100th-level example characters, but I am tired for tonight. I just have to note that the 100th-level Thief is a perfect encapsulation of this adventure's philosophy. He's a Deep Gnome (svirfneblin!) who has also attained the formidable 7th-level as an illusionist. Why is he only 7th level as an Illusionist while he's 100th level as a Thief? Because 7th level is the cap for Deep Gnome progression as an illusionist in AD&D 1e.

The characters may be 100th-level but there's rules dammit.

dwarf74 fucked around with this message at 04:35 on Aug 25, 2019

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


RE: TITAN stuff in EP, one of the reasons I don't like them is there's no other way to sensibly interact with it other than burn it down and burn yourself down (until a :smug: writer/GM decrees that fire actually makes it worse.). That's the only story you can tell with it other than a HOLY GOD THE EXPERIMENT IS OUT OF CONTROL WHO COULD HAVE FORSEEN THIS for people that try to do anything but burn it down.

Even in 40k, not everything Chaos touches radiates contagious BadGuy stuff to the extent literally everything has to be annihilated (just most of it).

Also the EP writers stuck a bunch of instant death stuff alongside space ships being painfully useless to move around quickly in so as to force the players to interact with the constant resleeving bullshit when I'm just trying to play rimworld meets shadowrun but with no essence score and keep cramming more mods in.

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 04:35 on Aug 25, 2019

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Secondly, something EP hasn't adressed to my knowledge, but definately should, are social practices and norms around making a fork sibling; i.e. you alpha fork with the understanding you will never remerge, sleeve them into a new body, and either you fight over who is the original or you both get new names to signify the event. We're gatecrashing on a near-terran world at the moment, and while sleeving infogee immigrants is the first priority, I'm/we're the only doc/morph designer onsite.

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 07:32 on Aug 25, 2019

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


Ronwayne posted:

Secondly, something EP hasn't adressed to my knowledge, but definately should, are social practices and norms around making a fork sibling; i.e. you alpha fork with the understanding you will never remerge, sleeve them into a new body, and either you fight over who is the original or you both get new names to signify the event.

That was the plot of my 1e Eclipse Phase game - the pcs were Alpha forks of the bad guys, as Firewall stole a bunch of backups and figured sending a thief to catch a thief was an efficient use of resources.

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!




More EP2 not paying attention to its own "lore."

How could the natural birth be rare if they're 45 years old. That'd mean they were born before the Fall. Where pop growth wasn't as arrested as it was post-Fall. Unless they're referring to the twin part being rare, rather than the natural birth, but twins aren't so rare that it's something that's worth noting, they pop up with a decent degree of regularity.

Also more EP2 missing the point, which is that the horror inherent in the setting isn't "oh no, spooky space virus mans," but instead poo poo like this, hyper-rich parents going: "ha ha, I'll never be an empty-nester because I'll keep my kids trapped in child-morphs and as legal children for all eternity. :)" It's one of the rare few times where they actually reflect on how the tech might change the society/psychology of transhumanity, without just going "NANOSTUFF AND RESLEEVING LETS US BE WANKTASTICALLY WOKE." It's also literally a plot thread from Alastair Reynolds' excellent book Revenger. It's loving sad that they have him on their lit list but literally all the inspiration they took was "huh, nanoforges can make stuff real good..." rather than any of the parts where he actually thinks about how the tech and changes to society interacts with human nature.

The Ultras from the Revelation Space universe, the Demarchists and their unusual marriage rituals, the Conjoiners the Glitter Belt and its thousand weird-rear end societies, the odd shattered world of Revenger and Shadow Captain, everything about loving Diamond Dogs.

All this good poo poo, all this poo poo that would make for an effectively dark setting with tons of levers to pull, reasons to be cops or revolutionaries in equal amount, few ghoulishly exaggerated villains. And all they took was "we can mod bodies :)" and "nanostuff is real cool 'kay. :)"

They claim him as inspiration when all they took was a couple of incredibly incidenta side aspects of the stories, the only one where nanoforging actually matters is Pushing Ice, which is one of his worse books, and their body-modding is only relevant in Chasm City(also one of his less great books, even if the concepts are interesting), while missing every single loving point he was making.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Guess I'm going to join a violent bioconservative terrorist group than.
:stonkhat:

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



I'm going to plug Voice of the Whirlwind by Walter Jon Williams as an EP-like novel.

ZeroCount
Aug 12, 2013




That specific practice of keeping people in adolescent morphs and refusing to let them grow up shows up in Altered Carbon as well, which is just a great show in general for discussing the practical horrors of resleeving technology. Stuff like the government having a welfare program for resleeving people who lost theirs and can't afford to get it replaced but it's super lovely and nobody actually cares about the people involved, leading to a bit in the first episode where an eight year old girl whose body was killed in a car accident getting resleeved into a middle aged woman because child morphs aren't commonly in stock and gently caress the poors etc.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Dave Brookshaw posted:

That was the plot of my 1e Eclipse Phase game - the pcs were Alpha forks of the bad guys, as Firewall stole a bunch of backups and figured sending a thief to catch a thief was an efficient use of resources.

That's a really cool idea.

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.

Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Ghost Wolf Tyrants are cool, really all of the Ghost Wolf baddies being what happens when a werewolf fails to get properly spirit-vaccinated and ends up with like, space void measles, are a novel way of reinforcing the value of tribes for the setting at large.

I'm not sure if this is Mors' phrasing or a genuine authorial mandate, but it feels like this is a deliberate move by the designers of Werewolf to avoid "edgy lone-wolf" PCs, perhaps out of the logical fear that such characters and their creators would be social poison around the table. Werewolf as a game does sound like it would be a bit vulnerable to that.

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





Ronwayne posted:

RE: TITAN stuff in EP, one of the reasons I don't like them is there's no other way to sensibly interact with it other than burn it down and burn yourself down (until a :smug: writer/GM decrees that fire actually makes it worse.). That's the only story you can tell with it other than a HOLY GOD THE EXPERIMENT IS OUT OF CONTROL WHO COULD HAVE FORSEEN THIS for people that try to do anything but burn it down.


It's worth noting that, sooner or later, someone has to poke TITAN, exsurgent and exhuman hardware with a stick, as there's a lot of innovations to be mined from them, if you're foolhardy enough, or simply so you know how to interact with it without needing to burn things down... or at the very least, how hot a fire is needed; it's also generally not that bad - most exsurgent specimens can be handled safely with waldoes and the like, most aren't infectious after transformation, with exceptions. Bear in mind, apparently their current gen radar stealth was mined from dead Headhunters.

quote:

Guess I'm going to join a violent bioconservative terrorist group than.

Honestly, outside of their treatment of uplifts, the only problem I have with the Jovian's policy is that they're not in the process of building sleeperships and then noping out of Sol before the Exhumans (this includes the hyperelites as well as groups like the increasingly inhuman parts of the Titanian Commonwealth's intel establishment) take over, the TITANs come back, or the Exsurgent virus gets into the Prometheans and starts the Titanomachy all over again. Place is well beyond saving, and the only practical option is to leave for the furthest practical system or rogue planetoid/asteroid system with no known gates and not look back, not EVER looking back, even when the screaming starts or ends.

StratGoatCom fucked around with this message at 13:13 on Aug 25, 2019

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

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



When Rusty Venture did it, it meant he was a horrifying villain.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Ratoslov posted:

When Rusty Venture did it, it meant he was a horrifying villain.

To be fair he didn't do it to keep them young, he did it because they kept dying. Mostly because of his own negligence but some of those deaths were things like 'satellite fell from space while they were playing catch in he back yard.' He's not winning father of the year, any year, but the clones thing is legitimately one of the very very few instances of him at least trying.
The age problem is because the backups take a while to get ready and so they lose a few months every time, and he just keeps getting them killed again and again..

Also I really feel like it's, shall we say, a but rich to go "look at this example of horror writing in the setting about rich people being awful to their children - Exlipse Phase never uses the setting to tell horror stories like
this one, which is in Eclipse Phase.' It's fair to say the emphasis is too heavily on the space monsters, but it's really weird to insist that the game doesn't get that resleeving (a theoretically utopian form of immortality) is used monstrously throughout the setting. From infugee exploitation to these terrifying parents etc etc, it's clearly engaging with that more than not at all.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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




the other problem eclipse phase doesnt engage with, which altered carbon does, is the fact that without continuity of consciousness, you're basically just killing yourself and making a copy somewhere else every time you farcast. in altered carbon the cortical stack is basically a hardier, smaller brain. your conscious lives in there and remains in there through multiple resleevings. the whole reason the murder in altered carbon is a problem is that effectively the guy was actually murdered, there's just a copy of him running around now. It's the same to everyone else in the world, but the 'you' looking out of those eyes is dead. It's a different computer running a copy of the same program.

pretty much everything involving some kind of backup drive has to engage with this issue, either by making some kind of metaphysical soul canon (e.g. line of delirium, night's dawn), or by having some kind of 'airlock' system for changing bodies, where the mind is briefly alive in both bodies, like pouring water from one glass into another.

eclipse phase doesn't really do either, people just kill themselves all the time.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





I mean I think Eclipse Phase takes the position that the Jovians think that way, while the vast numbers of infugees by necessity (since they mostly did get copied and reinstantiated) have taken the position that the transporter problem shows consciousness isn't a question of continuity and the new you is the same as the old you.

Which can be a kind of horror itself, depending on your own relationship to the Transporter Problem.

E: in general EP seems to pursue Bundle Theory of Mind, which works well with farcasting.

Joe Slowboat fucked around with this message at 16:14 on Aug 25, 2019

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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




they keep accidentally making the jovians be right about everything

i guess it makes sense for the infugees to be in denial about it, cause otherwise they would have to deal with the fact they actually died on earth and are in some nightmarishly lovely afterlife now.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





You do realize the Transporter Problem is one reasonable people can disagree on, right? Bundle theory is right there, after all, and would side with the resleevers.

Maybe the self is illusory/unstable and any disruption in continuity is a lesser death! Then the Jovians are just deluding themselves that they have true continuity while the resleeved are more sanguine.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Um, do you really want to bring out Bundle Theory here? Resleeving into different morphs, kind of by definition, completely destroys Bundle Theory. Because you're assigning wildly different physical forms, experiences, sensory perception, and even brain matter into the mix with each resleeving and that would certainly destroy any concept of that person being the same as the previous iterations.

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:

"NANOSTUFF AND RESLEEVING LETS US BE WANKTASTICALLY WOKE."

While being completely fuckawful at minority issues in the process - their section on ethnic minorities is very telling - to quote a friend of mine:

quote:

How rich, to claim to be "antifascist" while presenting a very white and very male masturbatory isekai-like futurology setting that glibly dismisses ethnic and cultural issues by saying they basically don't exist in the future, only social strata of white-signaling people that may put on an Asian-looking "sheath" because that's most kawaii and sugoi. loving weebs.

He overstates it somewhat, but only somewhat. Also, frankly, as a lefty, I find these nanotech futures actively useless to actively problematic as they jam up the discourse with stupid technowank that says we can eat our cake and gently caress it too, rather then looking hard at our own consumption habits.

Also, I have wonder if their FOSS philosophy may have had a unintended negative effect on smaller TTRPG.

kommy5 posted:

Um, do you really want to bring out Bundle Theory here? Resleeving into different morphs, kind of by definition, completely destroys Bundle Theory. Because you're assigning wildly different physical forms, experiences, sensory perception, and even brain matter into the mix with each resleeving and that would certainly destroy any concept of that person being the same as the previous iterations.

And they cover that explicitly in the book; I'm the child of a hardware engineer and a hardware nerd myself, and I always give the stink eye to folks to who underestimate the effect of what hardware can have with software, particularly as an emulation hobbyist. The hardware environment matters, and I have no patience for the transporter problem, as it smacks of folks who have spent too drat long on software and not the real world.

Also, the idea that octomorphs can be sleeved into and out of by anyone is probably one of the biggest biology screamers in the whole drat setting.

juggalo baby coffin posted:

they keep accidentally making the jovians be right about everything

i guess it makes sense for the infugees to be in denial about it, cause otherwise they would have to deal with the fact they actually died on earth and are in some nightmarishly lovely afterlife now.

There's a reason why my same friend thought that the sample Jovian in the original core book was the best character of the lot, and certainly the most badass.

StratGoatCom fucked around with this message at 16:52 on Aug 25, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I keep coming back to the monster that eats you and copies you and alamagates you because I think in there is the core of an actual cosmic horror for the people of Eclipse Phase.

The continuity of self in EP is taken on faith, to some degree. I can buy that, accept that, and I'd actually really like that in the setting. Their entire society effectively relies on believing that and taking philosophical positions that accept that or they'd all go mad. But a monster that can create perfect copies of you, but instead of just creating a perfect copy still observable as you it eats several people and becomes a non-perfect copy? That calls into question some of the things the characters take on faith about their continuity of self. Which is one of the core elements of actual Cosmic Horror, questioning if the things you believe are the iron-hard foundations of the world are actually universally true. A monster that performs similar processes to resleeving but then sort of does it wrong, while still basically being 'you' before it eats anyone else? That would be a cool thing for those characters to confront.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





A fun monster they ought to steal from Rajaniemi is the All-Defector, an intelligence with a theory of mind that is more efficient and accurate than actually thinking, so it can precisely simulate your behavior with less effort and computation than you took to think and act in the first place. It always wins prisoner dilemma situations by convincing the opponent to cooperate then betraying them, every time, and is implied to not be fully sentient.

The All-D rules and the idea of a more efficient but perfectly accurate theory of mind is weird Horror of s beautiful kind. That's the kind of thing TITANS should get up to.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Things that perfectly predict your mind and then whatever because they knew what you'd do are actually pretty boring to deal with in RPGs. Or novels.

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