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

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





LatwPIAT posted:

You seem really unreasonably angry that EP has taken a stance on an open philosophical debate that isn't your stance on the open philosophical debate. (Even moreso, it's particularly perplexing that you thought Altered Carbon did it better, because it rushes just as quickly through the debate and presents a setting where, basically, either you believe that resleeving and backups are a continuation of the same life, or you're a Catholic bioconservative who doesn't. I wouldn't even call this a neutral presentation, since the novel and series both present decisions made on the assumption that resleeved backups are the same person as their origin as meaningful.)

It's a loving stupid philosophical debate, with a fairly clear answer to folks whose brains haven't been warped by excess computer touching. I'm this close to buying plat for the express purpose of reporting everyone who started this debacle so there's some chance the thread can get back on topic.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


StratGoatCom posted:

It's a loving stupid philosophical debate, with a fairly clear answer to folks whose brains haven't been warped by excess computer touching. I'm this close to buying plat for the express purpose of reporting everyone who started this debacle so there's some chance the thread can get back on topic.

Contribute to the Lowtax spine fund.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





Davin Valkri posted:

I get a very Fiasco mood from Deniable Assets, and I wonder if that's one of the inspirations.

A Fiasco game where you're trying to get every character imaginatively ruined by the end.

juggalo baby coffin
Dec 2, 2007

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




LatwPIAT posted:

You seem really unreasonably angry that EP has taken a stance on an open philosophical debate that isn't your stance on the open philosophical debate. (Even moreso, it's particularly perplexing that you thought Altered Carbon did it better, because it rushes just as quickly through the debate and presents a setting where, basically, either you believe that resleeving and backups are a continuation of the same life, or you're a Catholic bioconservative who doesn't. I wouldn't even call this a neutral presentation, since the novel and series both present decisions made on the assumption that resleeved backups are the same person as their origin as meaningful.)

im not angry at all. it's not even a philosophical debate unless you believe in the concept of the soul, its just an issue of one thing not being the same thing as another thing. altered carbon uses a different resleeving system that makes more sense in the finer details. eclipse phase is just lazily put together.

Poland Spring
Sep 11, 2005


Shut uppppppppppppppp and post goblins and ghouls not philosophy and schools

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

I concur; instead of ego-souls we should be debating the realism of the Reputation Economy or how Extropia hasn't yet become a Neo-Feudal Asteroid Hellscape.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Hope y’all liked space alien void spirits bee tee dub, because they get a full writeup on top of the Reivers.

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





Libertad! posted:

I concur; instead of ego-souls we should be debating the realism of the Reputation Economy or how Extropia hasn't yet become a Neo-Feudal Asteroid Hellscape.

That is fundamentally and unironically more interesting, yes.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





Mors Rattus posted:

Hope y’all liked space alien void spirits bee tee dub, because they get a full writeup on top of the Reivers.

Good, Reivers are moderately interesting but alien void spirits are top-notch.

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!


Barudak posted:

Theres a scifi novel where an investigation team gets sent to figure out what killed everyone on a research base studying worms that burrow through the ice to find out it was inter-human conflict because it turns out while the worms arent sentient the iceflow is with the worms burrowing acting as its very slow neurons and the research base essentially lobotomized it.

That's an Alastair Reynolds novel, and yeah, they wanted to use the glacier's ice as fusion reactor fuel, but one of the guys on the base wanted them not to, in order to save the wooooorm braaaaaain.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Reminds me of Starflight, where you discover that the stuff you burn as fuel to go FTL is a sentient being, just on a much different and slower scale than you so the people of the galaxy never even registered they were alive.

They're really pissed about being hunted down and burned in starship engines and are slowly novaing suns in hopes of wiping out all the people doing this to them.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Mors Rattus posted:

Hope y’all liked space alien void spirits bee tee dub, because they get a full writeup on top of the Reivers.
I had to look up what a "reiver" was but, another cool thing. And as part of the greater Ghost Wolves write-up, it's really interesting that the biggest threats to you for not joining up with a tribe are:
- No totem? Cool you get to be a totem for a blasphemous non-pack of mortals
- No ban? Cool you could fall in with a weird cult that gives you a belief system where it's cool to eat each other for stats
- No real exposure to the greater spiritual ecosystem? Cool, you got space measles.

Ghost Wolves being a mirror for the default state of being a Forsaken that makes you even weirder than the others (Bale Hounds are Hot Topic Evil but still use Harmony, The Pure may hate you but you still all care about spirit cop crap) is interesting. Good drat book.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Libertad! posted:

I concur; instead of ego-souls we should be debating the realism of the Reputation Economy or how Extropia hasn't yet become a Neo-Feudal Asteroid Hellscape.

A friend of mine described the ideal Extropia being perpetually stuck as Bioshock's Rapture circa January 1958 until the players start interacting with it.

Ormi
Feb 7, 2005

B-E-H-A-V-E
Arrest us!


Extropia probably survives by virtue of the mutualists. And Nomic, who makes the Coase theorem practicable.

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

I still don’t know why we had this debate at all regarding a setting that makes it very clear its inhabitants have no choice in the matter.

When you’ve had to resleeve to escape a dying planet, resleeve and fork over and over for work/accidents/terrorism, etc, The Transporter Problem is the kind of poo poo only a Space White kid growing up in the Space Suburbs who smokes a lot of Space Weed has time to give a gently caress about.

[Edit:] Also this review has been great for warning everyone I know who kinda liked EP1 to stay the gently caress away from EP2

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

AmiYumi posted:

I still don’t know why we had this debate at all regarding a setting that makes it very clear its inhabitants have no choice in the matter.

When you’ve had to resleeve to escape a dying planet, resleeve and fork over and over for work/accidents/terrorism, etc, The Transporter Problem is the kind of poo poo only a Space White kid growing up in the Space Suburbs who smokes a lot of Space Weed has time to give a gently caress about.

When over 80% of all people alive were uploaded at least once, saying they're not actually meaningful continuations of the people they remember being must be an incredibly lovely thing to say, in setting.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Career Compendium

I thought I was done

Hey guess what, I'm not. I never knew how to cover this book, so I originally concluded my look into Hams without actually covering it. It's a hard one to cover, because at heart it's mostly a reference book listing all 220 published Careers for WHFRP2e. That is, perhaps, too many Careers; there's some real redundancy issues towards the end of the line as they started to genuinely run out of stuff to do Careers for mechanically. But the thing is, there's a lot of good fluff in this book, and you know I like covering Hams Fluff. Almost everyone who contributed to WHFRP2e got together to contribute to this book; in addition to putting every Career in one place, it also added a bunch of extra fluff on every career, including usually 2 pretty fun adventure seeds. For every Career. Also stuff like what a day is like for someone doing this job, or little known facts about the job, etc. I'm not going to be covering every damned one, because hey, 220 Careers. But I really want to share some of the more fun ones.

More importantly, whenever you ask anyone who played WHFRP2e what part of the rules they actually remembered or thought was unique or fun, it's always the Career system. Careers in 2e are no poo poo my favorite RPG advancement system that I've ever seen; they produce flavorful characters with a wide range of abilities, most of them bring something interesting to the table, and they balance surprisingly well with one another partly thanks to a very consistent and decent set of guidelines you can 'feel out' from studying the Core Book Careers that were pretty clearly passed on through the line. There are some standouts in mechanical power, some losers, and some very meh Careers and Career paths in there, but for the most part, whatever job you end up in for a character is going to do something useful. More importantly, I think the Career system actually benefited tremendously from the fixed 100 EXP per advance cost; yeah, Consume Alcohol probably shouldn't be a skill at all and sure as gently caress isn't worth as much as an Attack or Strike Mighty Blow or Charm. At the same time, Careers balance their costs by opportunity cost and 'how do I get where I want from where I am' rather than by assigning separate costs to different advances based on their utility. The skill list in 2e really did need paring down, it's true, but overall that wasn't a huge problem for the Career system.

So this is going to be my last chance to really yell about game mechanics in WHFRP2e, as well as a fun last look at some of the game's fluff, by really focusing in on the one part an otherwise pretty workmanlike system that everybody agrees was unique and fun. A chance to talk about why it worked well, why it added to the game, how Careers are balanced against one another, and why they work as a mechanism for character advancement. It will also be a chance to talk about why heavy randomization actually does work in WHFRP2e, when it's a genuinely bad idea in other systems. In most game systems, the idea of actually randomly rolling for a class (which is still optional in 2e) wouldn't just be annoying, it would be a terrible idea from a game balance perspective. Specifically because of how Careers are designed, though, it's instead a mechanism to actually ask 'Hey, have you thought about playing a guy who started as a Charcoal Burner?' or 'Would it be fun to start out as a Barber Surgeon?' A lot of this owes directly to the original design of the core book, where Chris Pramas writes about his experiences with how lots of the classes in 1e were unfairly better than one another. For instance, in 1e, a Roadwarden only had a single free skill for being a Roadwarden, while an Outlaw got 14. As a result, he wanted to heavily standardize the Basic Careers you could start with, and laid down pretty strict guidelines of what they had to provide. This leads to stuff like Peasant being a surprisingly competent base for an adventurer (as seen with Katiya in the Paths of the Damned writeups), because in having to fill in enough material to be 'fair' on every career, and with every 1st career giving you a pile of Skills and Talents, the designers had to actually reach around to make every 1st career fairly competent.

As a result, rolling on the massive d1000 Career Table presented in this book for your starting Career honestly isn't a bad idea, especially as you get rerolls by default. Just, you know, keep rolling until something catches your eye. Use it as a way to decide what looks interesting to play, because almost all of them will work out mechanically. Heroes come from the weirdest places; even the Dung Collector has something that stands out (They start with Fearless, they've seen some poo poo). Really, the only 'bad' 1st tier Careers are the ones that absolutely can't lead into any 2nd Tiers. Also, while the whole 'Tier' terminology is my own invention, it was clearly one of the intentions of the designers given they talk about how they wanted to add logical paths for more Careers besides warriors and wizards to go through a full set of Careers and reach a high point. What I call '3rd tier' Careers are intentional 'end points' on a track. Like Master Thief, or Guildmaster, or Noble Lord, to say nothing of Knight of the Inner Circle, Champion, or Daemon Slayer.

So here we go, with a last look at the best mechanical element of WHFRP2e, and a last bit of flavor about early modern fantasy germans, snooty 1st world elves, hardworking dorfs, and mostly irrelevant (and they like it that way) halflings.

Next Time: What Makes A Basic Career?

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!


AmiYumi posted:

[Edit:] Also this review has been great for warning everyone I know who kinda liked EP1 to stay the gently caress away from EP2

Yeah, see, thing is, that's a terrible decision. Because EP1 is exactly as loving bad about most things. Go to EP2, embrace the slightly less hosed system, you'll most likely end up appreciating it once you've untangled its spaghetti-like coils from the lovely editing.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


We're basically betatesting the thing and hammering out some quality of life stuff.

Ed: morphs not directly affecting aptitudes anymore is a huge step forward since you don't need to recalculate everything everytime you resleeve. Only your pools and durability change, unless you're in something really exotic (That changes your form of movement). A schlub who's bad at athletics will still probably still fall on their face trying to somersault in an amazon morph, they just get a few rerolls and dice tricks to pad their chances a bit.

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Aug 26, 2019

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!


Eclipse Phase: 2nd Edition



StratGoatCom posted:

Could Purple please post something new?

How do you know the conversation's gone bad? When people are asking me to post more rather than less.

You're probably going to regret it when you 're done reading this post.

Running the Game

So, first step for running the game: Pray that you're playing with a later printing of the book where they've revised the editing. Second step, I guess, is to read this chapter and hope it's better written than the rest.

quote:

If you want to run Eclipse Phase, you'll need players to join your game. This may present your first obstacle — the bane of every outsidethe- box GM: many gaming groups are reluctant to play anything other than the leading-brand fantasy roleplaying game. Science-fiction games are a hard sell in particular; everyone has a rough idea of what living in a fantasy setting is like, whereas not everyone groks sci-fi concepts like resleeving or how cylinder habitats work.

Now, I get this problem. I know some GM's whose usual gaming crew only want to play, say, Pathfinder or D&D and who consistently lament that they can't ever get them to play something else(and then I wonder why they stick with a group who never wants to play something they enjoy...), so this is a genuine issue. But something about the way it's presented here just grates on me. It may be that I'm predisposed to seeing most things in this book in a bad light at this point, but you don't need some galaxy brain IQ to understand quickloading and living in a spinning cylinder. Nor are the exact mechanics of an O'Neill Cylinder likely to ever be a super-driving factor in a game except as set dressing.

Then they suggest something hilariously dumb like letting new players use the sample characters, who are more or less all extreme weirdos like Man Who Looks Like Voodoo Doll and Five Kinds of Edgy Nerds Who Really Care About Space Philosophy. Throwing new players into the deep end of the weird poo poo the setting has seems like the exact opposite of a good way to get them to have fun with it. They also suggest leaving playing the hacker to someone who enjoys playing the wizard in other games and hoo. The two just aren't even remotely comparable. Playing the hacker should be a job for the guy who likes to play a rogue. EP(whether 1 or 2) has nothing even vaguely similar to a wizard in any other setting.

"Players might start to realize that anything could have a save-or-die exsurgent virus in it and start taking elaborate precautions to not be killed by your rear end in a top hat traps. You should do everything you can to prevent them from protecting themselves, because you're an rear end in a top hat if you're using exsurgent infections anyway, may as dive into the deep end."

Okay so their actual justification is that the players' precautions will "make the game drag." Well gee maybe there are reasons players are going to take excessive-yet-sensible precautions. Like maybe lovely game design or a bad GM.

quote:

A good example of a slow burn story arc is the first season of Stranger Things.

Unfortunately, the plot line of Stranger Things relies on 1980s technology to limit how quickly the characters can get information and make connections. The slow build of dread and unsettling clues in this type of story wouldn’t survive a few characters with smart phones, let alone the technology in Eclipse Phase. In a slow burn arc, the threats and the trails of evidence they leave need to be unconventional and obfuscated. A person who commits a crime in this setting without covering their tracks well can be identified and located quickly.

In the early sessions of a slow burn arc, the evidence encountered by a team needs to be difficult to put together into a clear picture of a threat. Async powers are useful to antagonist NPCs in a slow burn arc, since most psi sleights leave no physical evidence, and therefore their use must be inferred based on circumstances. Novel threats — things there’s no detector for yet — can also fly under the radar of the team’s technology. Some clues might require a multi-session research effort. And clues that fit a motif can gradually reveal their meaning through repetition (e.g., the initially meaningless wall scrawl that turns out to mark an exsurgent clan’s nests).

"Okay, so fundamentally the saving-reloading and the fact that your players are constantly in contact AND can see/hear/smell/touch/taste in every imaginable and unimaginable spectrum means it's hard to scare or surprise them. The solution to this is to use some rear end-pull involving technobabble rather than engaging with what we insist are our hard sci-fi constraints."

It's like, firstly, don't give the players tools you don't expect them to use. Secondly, after you give them all the tools to do cool poo poo, don't rear end-pull stuff their toolbox won't handle just because you realize you've painted yourself into a loving corner by making those tools so ubiquitous and able to cover almost all situations. It's like surprise, motherfuckers, immortality and ubiquitous surveillance kind of short-circuits any sort of even vaguely conventional horror that doesn't involve a supernatural force, which, outside of Asyncs, is a thing that EP explicitly does not invoke at any point.

If Stranger Things was set in the EP setting they'd just have resleeved Will from a backup the moment he went missing and gone about their lives. Alien? "Let me just use the ubiquitous Mesh to see exactly where the monster is and what it does." Aliens? "Oh no, we're short on ammo... let's just fab up another hojillion clips from scrap metal and human feces." Terminator? "Oh, we'll just use the robot's open wifi to upload a fat packet of malware and then wait until it starts making GBS threads out its own bolts and wiring. Plus if it actually kills Sarah Connor we just resleeve her."

The parts of EP that are genuinely scary are the ones involving characters that have no escape hatches. The infugee who can't resleeve or escape his contract. The not-of-majority child whose parents keep him legally a kid for 45 years and who can't even resleeve and run away without their permission. The VR prisoner subjected to horrible psychosurgery. The people trapped on Earth during the Fall whose backups were in the endangered zone along with their embodied selves.

You cannot do horror in EP without removing the resleeving and backup functions in some way or another, or removing player access to them. You know, that ubiquitous tool that you've made a big focus of the setting. Assholes.

quote:

Transhumans are creative — dangerously creative — which in part explains the existence of Firewall

"To date we have created 500 variants of extremely white human male sleeves. We're so creative, one of them has a brow piercing. Also I posted a meme the other day." I see more transgressive, creative and revolutionary poo poo on Twitter every day than on any of the 400-something pages of EP. So the authors patting their super-humanity on the shoulder for uber-creativity feels a bit moronic.

quote:

“Splitting the party” has different connotations in Eclipse Phase. At some point your players will attempt to multitask by sending out forks to accomplish multiple things at once. Though this presents a gamemastering challenge, forks can be a blast to play if handled well. The main trick is to not get too fancy with parallel fork plotlines. Run a full scene or even story arc with one group of forks, then return to the other group, then continue alternating until it’s time for them to merge. Don’t try to switch back and forth between two groups of forks acting simultaneously unless you really have a handle on things.

Some players will use forks as a force multiplier if they are short on numbers. Though forks are often stuck as infomorphs, limited by the availability of morphs, players can find ways around this by using bots or hijacking the sleeves of NPCs. In these situations, treat the forks as you would bots, muses, and other secondary characters. Keep the spotlight on the alpha ego and run multiple forks as a group. Forks that stay separate for long periods require careful tracking. You may even want to keep separate character sheets, especially if they earn and spend Rez points. It can be easy to lose track of which fork has what information, so take notes on the key scenes, NPC interactions, and locations each has visited. Over time, divergent forks may need to be graduated into NPC status.

I also love how they don't sense that they've created a major loving issue for the GM when they need to devote a paragraph just to how you handle and defuse the mechanic in actual play. "The trick is to not get too fancy with plotlines involving one of the core technologies that separate our setting from modern-day Earth."

Because I love needing a loving spreadsheet to keep track of the 50 clones someone made of themselves, especially when they sleeve them into every available machine nearby for a game that has no loving mass-combat rules that I'm aware of. Don't encourage players to mob the scene with NPC assistance(even if those NPC's are more of themselves) if your system needs to treat every combatant as someone with a fully detailed PC sheet.


tense investigation and horror scenes. at some point i'm tempted to count up all the art in the EP2 book and see how much of it involves huge guns and combat vs what involves, well, anything else.#

Super-Empowered Characters

quote:

Eclipse Phase player characters are borderline godlike compared to characters in other RPGs. They can acquire information from the mesh that’d take an old tech detective months to sniff out, print any gear they want, fork themselves into a chorus of co-operating alphas, and come back from the dead.

I hate to do this, but... LOL.

Welcome to being, like, a 5th-level wizard or cleric in D&D.

Anyway, this chapter has some important advice like:

"if the players are doing a thing with nano-fabbing that you don't like, have the FBI arrest them or have an angry mob beat them up if they're in anarchist space."

"if the players are doing a thing with forking that you don't like, have the FBI arrest them or have an angry mob beat them up if they're in anarchist space."

"if the players are actually using their toolkit, have some alien or TITAN bullshit arbitrarily disable it or ignore it just so they don't think they can actually win against a TITAN or alien force."

About the only good piece of advice this section has is "if your player makes a hojillion forks of themselves to be suicide bombers and/or do lovely scrub work, have the forks rebel against the original at some point." Though that doesn't carry much weight when the PC can just have spent some downtime making an ideally loyal Beta fork and making hundreds of copies of that instead.

Also if the players die and have to get restored from backup you should totally dock them their rare and important rez points and/or reset their skill levels, thus necessitating players A) engaging in the book-keeping of keeping backup sheets from various timestamps and B) stealing their progress away which is a severely dickhead move. No, bad advice. Go in the corner.

Transhuman Themes

Okay hilariously most of this is literally what the thread just argued about and which I have no desire to bring up again, but there's also the loving X-Card. Again the loving X-Card, I feel like I have to complain about this dumb bullshit in every game I review lately. Maybe if you talk with people about what makes them uncomfortable before running the game, aren't a fuckwit and people bring up their discomfort when it starts creeping in rather than when they're at the breaking point, we don't need to play with a loving safeword. It just feels like an excuse to not be adults. If there's a group where you need the loving X-Card at all, they're not a group you should be playing with, because either their style of play is so wildly divergent from your sense of fun that it won't work, or they're people you don't feel comfortable discussing your personal red lines with prior to the game.

Also coincidentally it feels like whenever I review a game with the X-Card in it I always have a bunch of other complaints as well.

Anyway they also decide that the best way to describe EP2's dystopias is just to go "it's like Asia." Which while it may be accurate in some parts of the region, in some respects, just feels like a weird kind of tone-deaf generalization and perhaps a tad racist.

Did you know that EP is a super-political game asking HARD QUESTIONS??????? This is why it's primarily focused on fighting the evil Space Flu with giant plasma guns. I find it hard to articulate why their constant claims of being political bother me so much. Maybe it's because they've already so clearly picked a side that I find it hard to buy their claims that they want, in any way, to engender honest discussion. Because all it feels like they're interested in is being praised for having picked the right answer. Also the fact that the politics feel entirely secondary to the game. At no point does the game ever seem to be set up for a political ideology fight, the ideology just determines how hard it is to get guns to shoot at the space monsters and who arrests you for accidentally gunning down civilians in a crossfire. I mean the fact that the supposed post-scarcity poo poo just uses a slightly more annoying method of currency to buy your poo poo makes it feel even more like set-dressing and an unwillingness to actually engage with how these different politics should actually affect certain core mechanics.

Of course the thing is that doing so is a loving huge scope for a game and would shove out all of the space wizards, most of the slime aliens, definitely a good chunk of the space flu, if you wanted to have an overtly political game that actually put the politics front and center and made them what you had to consider. Like I get that. But don't loving praise yourself at multiple points in the book for having a VERY WOKE AND POLITICAL GAME if you're not willing to loving commit to the sacrifice that would mean among your pet space aliens and plasma guns.

I guess that's what kind of hits me about all of their TRANSHUMAN THEMES that they claim are center stage. They turn into set dressing because the game never knuckles down and focuses on them.

Anyway, let's have a light-hearted laugh at these loving idiots writing this dumb poo poo.

humour posted:

There’s a scene in the first-edition Eclipse Phase scenario Glory where one of the villains feeds a Firewall agent into a meat grinder, extrudes them as noodles, cooks, and eat them. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this scene is meant to be funny. The scene is pure splatterpunk: a form of absurdist humor that works by going completely gonzo with horror elements.

For those with mercifully damaged memories, Glory was a pre-made adventure for EP1. The Cliff's Notes is that the players investigate some poo poo(and if they fail their rolls are likely to get quite stuck even starting the game), go to a ship, fight a bunch of Space Sex Monsters(always naked, always armed, always armored, book says if you gently caress them you catch the Exsurgent virus. There's art of their space vaginas) worshipping a giant ball of alien space vaginas, and if you blow them up or in fact do anything, they infect the entire solar system, so unless you have a black hole on hand you can't really accomplish much.

It has, as the quote says, a scene where a dumb edgelord villain grinds an NPC protag into flesh noodles and eats her.

It's stupid. It's loving stupid. There's no "over the top comedy" about it, it's just absolutely idiotic and I have no loving idea why they would try to rehabilitate even the faintest part of that lovely adventure. Or maybe even be slightly introspective and realize that if a lot of people don't laugh at your joke, maybe it isn't loving funny. And in fact I would wager that "a lot" is "everyone."

Also the writer of Glory is also one of the writers on this. I guess he was very sad no one liked his incredibly trash adventure.

Rez Points

Hey GM if your players die, dock them XP and roll back their stat sheets lol. Also give them individualized and super vaguely defined roleplaying XP bonuses because the party advancing at different rates totally makes for good gameplay and gently caress whoever wrote this.

Next time: I get angry and throw poo poo when I read about all the dumb ways the Exsurgent virus will make us roll save-or-dies in the X-THREATS chapter!!!!!!!!

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Mors Rattus posted:

The “so” is you’re dead still. It doesn’t really matter what else. You’re dead.

It's weird how... insistent... people are on this. Like it's not a difference of philosophical opinion but rather an absolute and unquestionable truth.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010


Please shut up about resleeving already.

Ultiville
Jan 14, 2005

The law protects no one unless it binds everyone, binds no one unless it protects everyone.



I feel like there are good reasons to mechanically support the X Card. It’s useful for con or store play where you don’t have a stable group that can do that kind of pre-session logistically. And it’s a good way to communicate an ongoing commitment to not being obnoxiously transgressive. It just seems likely that in lots of cases (maybe including this one) writers use it because they realize there’s a potential problem and view it as a panacea when it should be only a handy component of resolving the problem in some contexts, and they should also advise that other stuff you mention.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Chapter 5: Game Mechanics, pt. 3



Degenesis Rebirth
Katharsys
Chapter 5: Game Mechanics


:rolldice: Action Number :rolldice:

KatharSys is a dicepool system. In it, “Action Number” stands for... your pool of d6 dice. The book says – once again – that skill is nothing without attributes, so AN is generally Attribute + Skill. Sometimes, the pool might be bigger or smaller depending on variables (wounds, weather, whatever).

So, for Toughness stuff, you roll >BOD+Toughness amount of dice. For shooting, >AGI+Projectiles.

A Question of Success – The Dice

So, how do you succeed in KatharSys? By rolling dice and counting every 4+ roll as a Success. Another thing is that when your pool – er, Action Number is larger than 12, you only roll 12 dice, with the excess ones automatically transforming into successes.

Difficulty chart suggests the number of required successes for certain tasks. There are five levels of difficulty, with Routine being 1 success, Difficult – 4, and Desperate Measures requiring 10.

However, we don't have any real examples to judge what counts as Routine or Difficult. That’s either good (as it doesn’t confuse the players and the GM with odd Word-of-God examples) or bad (since you have no guidance)

Anyways, in a published scenario, the difficulty level is always written out in brackets after the test in question, like INS+Taming (2).

Modifiers

Side section! Modifiers in Degenesis either give dice or take them away. So that's that.

Triggers

Triggers are crit successes. They only happen when your roll both succeeds and generates any 6s, which each 6 counting as a Trigger. We're given levels of Trigger results, from 1 being “solid” and 6 being “legendary.” The game is very vague about how Triggers impact your success, only that it makes things better. In combat, Triggers “bring lots of bonuses,” so we’ll have to wait till Combat section to find those out.

Failure

A Failure is what happens when you roll less than the required number of successes. However, if you not only fail, but also roll more 1s than successes, you Botch.

quote:

The Action takes a turn for the worse: if he was handling a precious artifact, he just happens to snap a small but absolutely important part; if he was leading a group through the Borcan wasteland using INS+Orienteering, he belatedly realizes that he was leading them right into the domain of the Gendos. In deals, a Botch doubles the original price; in combat, the fighter drops his blade.

Well, it's not “crit fail, you poo poo your pants,” but I understand that some people don't really like crit fails. Me, I dislike the vague language around Triggers and Botches.

Conflict

Conflict is how opposed rolls are called here. You just need to roll more successes than the other guy, Triggers break draws.

If the Triggers can't do it, you have to determine if the action is competition (as in sports or whatever), or a yes-or-no situation (like stalking a target). In a competition, a draw is possible. All other cases, the acting/active/initiating side has to succeed or lose – draws don't exist.

quote:

In a Conflict, often very different Skills clash: a young Magpie tries to lull a Chronicler using CHA+Seduction, but he counters with PSY+Faith or PSY+Willpower. Or a Clanner tries to see behind an Apocalyptic’s mask with INS+Empathy, which is being countered with PSY+Cunning.

The example for this is Falberg, the guy appearing in all the examples thus far (all of which I omitted), trying to buy Burn from an Apocalyptic. Since the Shitbirds are the worst people, he's actually pushing Discordia, which is supposed to bring madness instead of Burn high. The Shitbird rolls >PSI+Deception while Falberg tries to see through his lies with >INS+Empathy. Apocalyptic rolls three Successes, Falberg – three Successes and a Trigger. :black101:

He calls shenanigans - by which I mean that he draws a sword. Honestly, that's how every interaction with an Apocalyptic should end. :colbert:

Combinations

Sometimes, you need something beefier than a regular Skill/Action roll. You need a combination.

Choice of Skills

I mentioned combos when I was outlining all of the drat skill. The book says that some combos will soon become very common depending on the type of character you play:

quote:

with Palers and Assassins, the combo AGI+Stealth/ BOD+Melee comes handy for ambushes; a Hellvetic sharpshooter delivers well aimed wide-range shots with INS+Perception/AGI+Projectiles.

The next two sentences go on to say that, actually, most Combinations take too long to be used in combat.

Rolling Combinations

How does a Combo work? Well, you roll the first skill. If you succeed, you roll the second. Triggers are summed up – so if you rolled any on the first skill, you add it to the ones you rolled on the second to get the total count. This makes combos very useful (says the book), because while the chance of failure may be bigger, the results of the action can be much more greater.

Here's our friend Falberg demonstrating a Combination while pursuing a Voivode scout he noticed in some Balkhani ruin:

quote:

Falberg has only one chance to try to hit the stranger with his sword from horseback before he disappears between the ruins. He attempts the Combo AGI+Navigation/BOD+Melee: he keeps his mount on track with one hand and his thighs while raising his sword with the other hand. Galloping towards a running target results in a Difficulty of 4. Falberg is a good rider, rolling 5 Successes and 2 Triggers on an Action roll on AGI+Navigation. Yes!
Dirt flies from under the horse’s hooves; rider and animal move in perfect unison. Steel flashes down. The Action roll on BOD+Melee results in 6 Successes and 1 Trigger. The Action succeeds, and the Triggers from the first roll are added to the 1 from the second roll, resulting in 3 Triggers overall: Falberg uses the momentum of his charge. The sword cuts a bloody swath.

:gibs:

Complex Actions

What game doesn't have complex actions? In Degenesis, they work the same as anywhere else. You have a target amount of successes to achieve by spamming certain actions. Triggers count as two successes.

In Combat, the character usually can't fight while doing a complex action, so it's imperative to get as many successes as fast as possible. On the other hand, combat rounds only last 4 seconds each, which... possibly helps? Outside of combat, the GM determines the skill, successes needed, and how long a round is.

…unless the roll would be boring:

quote:

Outside of dangerous conflicts, rolling for a certain number of Successes usually is neither exciting nor necessary: a heavy door will finally break under enough kicks, and it does not matter for the rest of the story if it took 10 seconds or 5 minutes. If the Game Master and his players enjoy rolling dice, the Game Master can allow 1 roll covering the whole Action. If it fails, the Characters can try again after a short break.

Well, that is some good, if basic, advance there. Game Masters are told to remember that all rolls – both successes and failures – have to have some sort of consequences.

Cooperation

Cooperation happens in two ways: in complex actions, people pool their successes, while people assisting a character with a regular action give him a dice per Trigger. However, if I'm reading this right, each additional helper rolls at +11 difficulty.

In conclusion: so that’s your skill system! It seems easy enough: you have to dice, and the modifiers don’t gently caress with target numbers or anything, just the number of dice. I’m not good enough at math to figure the curves out, and we don’t know what the average stats of a Degenesis char are yet. I think the vagueness and potential overlap of the skill system may confuse some players – while others would probably see potential to maybe do more with their skillset than it would generally seem possible. The fact that some skill titles choices are somewhat questionable doesn’t help.

Next time: before you do a Combat, you need to create a character!

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Ah, yes, Asia, that famously monolithic dystopia.

god the writing in this is bad.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016


Yeah. While it sounds like a good rule to help shut down any nasty stuff at a table, the writers of EP sound like they regard the X-card as a "Get Out of Controversy Free Card" instead. That seems especially the case after seeing what they consider "funny." And the evil space sex monsters with evil space STDs. And the 'just imagine Asia' when giving instructions on how to make a dystopia.


Please tell me there isn't going to be a lot of that in the "x-threats" chapter. I hope this won't start magical space flu Asian vagina ball eating people ramen chat.

kommy5 fucked around with this message at 12:35 on Aug 26, 2019

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


StratGoatCom posted:

The Jovians are consistently correct about everything, it's true.

Put on your mirrorshades-finish power armor and get on with the pogrom

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





kommy5 posted:

Yeah. While it sounds like a good rule to help shut down any nasty stuff at a table, the writers of EP sound like they regard the X-card as a "Get Out of Controversy Free Card" instead. That seems especially the case after seeing what they consider "funny." And the evil space sex monsters with evil space STDs. And the 'just imagine Asia' when giving instructions on how to make a dystopia.


Please tell me there isn't going to be a lot of that in the "x-threats" chapter. I hope this won't start magical space flu Asian vagina ball eating people ramen chat.

I think it a good time to remember that I don't think any asian origin hab in the original game didn't have at least some mob influence in the government.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Joe Slowboat posted:

Good, Reivers are moderately interesting but alien void spirits are top-notch.

Why do they even get rules, they are basically written as personality-less.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements





JcDent posted:

Why do they even get rules, they are basically written as personality-less.

Do you mean the alien spirits or the space vampire werewolves?

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I may be misremembering, and I have no intention of reading Glory again, but I recall that oh-so-funny splatterpunk scene happening halfway off-screen. Like, the PCs see video of some pointy-toothed Asian man enjoying fresh noodles, and then later they enter the kitchen and OH GOD THE FIREWALL AGENT IS STILL STICKING HALFWAY OUT OF THE GRINDER AND ISN'T THIS JUST DEAD ALIVE ALL OVER AGAIN? LOOK, THERE'S A COUPLE OF MONSTERS loving.

Also, for me? The X-card is basically a safeword for gaming. Yes, ideally you should be discussing your players' goals and limits, but sometimes something is just going to sound a sour note regardless. That said, I'm not convinced that fading to black so the game can go on is necessarily the best attitude to have.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I can see the use of an X-card even if everyone talked about it before hand, as sometimes poo poo ends up being worse than you thought/you thought you're over something but you're not quite yet.

But yeah Eclipse Phase seem to be treating it as a mulligan.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Career Compendium

Starting Points

One of the most important things about Career design in 2e is that for the most part, Careers get a fairly equal number of advances that they start out with at 1st tier. 1st tier/Basic Careers are the most standardized part of the Career system, because they're the only time a long Career would mean you'd be handed a ton of stuff for free. For the most part, a Basic Career will give you a mix of about 9-13 Skills and Talents, and will take about 10 stat advances (so about 1000 EXP) to finish if you start from square 1, while having no stat advances over +15 (+15 in a Basic is also quite rare and it's normally limited to +10). Some particularly powerful Careers actually give you fewer overall Skills and Talents, partly because the Skills and Talents they do give are particularly useful. Let's look at Estalian Diestro, the wonderful hot-blooded not-Spanish Duelist/mathematician in detail for an example of this. Also because their fluff is one of the fluff bits I want to go into detail on.

The Diestro only gets 9 Skills and Talents for free. They get Academics (Science) (For the math), Common Knowledge Estalia (In addition to the Common Knowledge Empire all humans get), Dodge Blow, Read/Write, Speak Language (Estalian). Then for Talents they get Lightning Reflexes (+5 Agi) or Swashbuckler (Jump as a half action, jump much further, can actually be used to disengage from combat without AoOs as a half action), Quick Draw (Change a weapon or draw a weapon once a round as a free action) or Strike to Injure (+1 to damage when inflicting Crits), Specialist Weapons (Fencing) (They fence), and Strike Mighty Blow. This is a pretty short list of Skills and Talents. They're effectively getting a bit less starting EXP than, say, a Soldier, who is getting 10, or a Student, who is getting 11. The thing is, the Talents and Skills they get are pretty valuable; starting out literate as a fighter class is pretty uncommon, and stuff like Strike Mighty and Dodge Blow is really necessary to being a trained warrior from the word go. The other really important thing, though? They get a +15 WS advance at a Basic Career, they get +1 Attacks (like most professional warriors), and they start with some decent gear (A rapier, some excellent clothing, a healing potion, and some expensive perfume they can sell if they lack for style).

Not only do they have an unusual facility with stabbing people, they have pretty good Exits: The can become Protagonists or Bodyguards if you're silly-ish and want to go into a fairly redundant 1st tier fighter type, but they can also go straight into Duelist or Highwayman, or they can go into Rogue if you want to transition to a social character after learning to stab. Though Highwayman is already sort of a social/rogue hybrid that's very good with pistols and horses, and Duelist is just a very solid 2nd tier fighter with some okay social skills. The Diestro might have a few fewer skills at the start, but they're still a very strong pick because they can become a pretty masterful swordfighter very early, while having the most important Skills and Talents for a serious melee fighter right out of the gate.

I also just adore their fluff entry, going into more detail about the Diestro Schools and their math-fighting. Every Diestro is a trained mathematician, because the founder of the style, Master Figuera, really loved geometry and was an expert swordsman partly because he had an excellent spatial sense. They all know Science because Diestros keep up with the latest advances in mathematics and science, since they're constantly picking through theories to see if they can apply some new bit of weird knowledge to swordfighting. As a result, when Diestros fight, they debate. In official tournaments or informal duels, two Diestros are expected to engage in the 'Critica'. Both fighters introduce themselves, introduce their schools, and are expected to explain how they believe they can win while they fence each other in terms of space and technique. So effectively they do sports commentary (with math) while trying to fence, because the writers really loved the scene with Inigo Montoya and The Dread Pirate Roberts in Princess Bride (and really, if you're cribbing something for your vivacious Spanish swordsmasters, that's not a bad choice). If a duel wasn't to the death, or was in a tournament setting with blunt weapons, the two fighters will argue and prattle with the audience and one another after the fight, with the victor being awarded the last word and chance to make the closing statements uninterrupted.

To fill them out, you also get two descendant schools from the original teachings of Master Figuera in the fluff; they're sadly not useful mechanically, since both their variants replace Strike Mighty Blow and you want Strike Mighty Blow, but it's neat and helps sell the idea that these are fighters who learn in martial arts/academic fencing academies rather than from being brutal street fighters. The Estevan Style prefers trigonometry, and so prefers to use an off-hand Main Gauche or Buckler for parrying. Parrying isn't a great Specialist Weapon, and giving up Strike Mighty for it is...a little questionable, but I do love that the foundational difference is a love of Trig. The Casanova style is based around tournament fighting, and prefers to use Disarm over Strike Mighty since the fighters usually weren't trying to kill their opponents. If Disarm was a better talent (It only forces an opponent to re-Ready their weapon, so if they have Quick Draw they're literally immune to it) it might be worthwhile, but eh. Still, I love their silly math-fencing fluff. As a side note, they're expected to still do the Critica when fighting opponents not expected to respond; having played a Diestro, it was pretty fun to confuse Orcs and Chaos Dwarfs by prattling about the weight of their weapons and how physics shows they have no chance against the obviously superior rapier's speed. I'd have given the class Blather, honestly.

Still, they're a good example of an unusual, strong Basic Career and a good example of what the 'fill in' fluff in this book is like. Also, the book will include 1-2 Adventure Seeds for every Career. The ones for the Diestro are obviously REVENGE (The killer of a Diestro's father is an outlaw lord, and the Diestro PC either needs their PC buddies or an NPC Diestro realizes they need to hire the PCs so that they can survive long enough to actually duel the villain) and a plot hook where a lovely young lady falls in love with a dashing Diestro and follows him off to learn to fence and adventure, but her father mistakes it for a kidnapping and sends the PCs after them (or, if the Diestro is the PC, the PCs suddenly find a party of bounty hunters hunting them for kidnapping they didn't commit). In general, these seeds are pretty good and pretty fun, and do a good job of accounting for being either 'Adventure Where The Class Drags You Into It' or 'Adventure for a PC of this class'.

Let's also look at a weak Basic Class, one that could have used more work. The Lamplighter, introduced in Spires of Altdorf, is one of those classes that just doesn't work. It's a civilian career with very little to recommend it; it's not good with people, it can climb walls and haggle for prices, and that's about it. But even worse, it doesn't have any 2nd tier Exits. At all. Also, sure, someone has to light the fancy new public lighting in Altdorf, but it's not really distinct enough to give you hooks or to be a particularly interesting starting point for a character. Let's compare it against Burgher, because its rules say you can replace Burgher with it if you rolled Burgher. A Burgher is very good with money, good at spotting things, fairly intelligent, potentially literate, and generally a good path into the mercantile careers. Given just how much money you can make or save by being good at Haggle, it's worth having a Merchant in the party, potentially. They can also go into decent criminal careers with Fence, or even try to transition into a fighter with Militiaman (which is its own unusual 1st tier). Burghers have stuff going for them, and they got options about where to go from here. The Lamplighter doesn't; they just go into a smattering of other 1st tiers.

The thing is, going directly into a 2nd 1st Tier Careers after promoting is often a bad idea, because 1st tiers can be surprisingly long Careers; if you don't have overlap in the Skills and Talents, the same rules that saw them designed so that they'd have fairly equal numbers of advances to start with will also see you having to spend a long time learning the new Career's stuff before you can move up. This isn't necessarily bad, depending; a 'long Career' is still a Career where you're gaining new skills and abilities the whole time. The issue is that you're still stat-capped by the lower overall stat advances of 1st tiers, so you can find yourself falling behind on base stats. The issue with Careers that only offer 1st tier Exits is that they force you to do this, rather than that it's always a bad idea. Only having lateral movement options is one of the few ways to really make a 'bad' 1st Tier class overall; the other is not really giving it a full skillset, as is the case with the Lamplighter.

There are also some really unusual 1st tiers, like Entertainer. You might recognize it from Bogdan Strongfoot (Ring name: Slamwise Gamgee) the halfling wrestler produced as an example character back in the core book review. Entertainer is a really weird 1st tier in that it has a massive number of optional Skills and Talents, since it's trying to cover a very wide array of people. Camp Follower is similar. Entertainer is trying to be one Career for jugglers, singers, knife-throwers, trick riders, hypnotists, actors, etc. Camp Follower is similarly trying to cover the vast array of petty merchants, soldiers' spouses, support personnel, looters, and opportunists that follow an Imperial Army to provide services, because this is the Early Modern period and like everything in the Empire the armies are a goddamn mess without formalized logistics.

Entertainer honestly can argue that you might want to stick in the class for awhile and pick up some of its extra Talents, because a lot of the Talents it gets are really good! They start out with pick 2: Very Strong, Mimic, Lightning Reflexes, Public Speaking, Quick Draw, Sharpshooter, Specialist Weapons (Throwing) (Eh, not a great choice), Trick Riding, or Wrestling. A lot of those are pretty worthwhile talents to try to pick up! Entertainer also has one of the best Adventure Seeds: A dour Witch Hunter is trying to infiltrate the court of a potentially corrupt noble undercover The problem is he's a very boring and serious man. So he hires an Entertainer to help him with his cover, so he can learn how to juggle but also so he'll have a partner who can cover for him if his performance bombs. They also include a nice little writeup on what kinds of entertainments are usually preferred in what regions of the Empire, and some information on how Entertainers find patrons and the 'circuits' they travel to do their shows. Did you know Ulricans actually love stand-up? I didn't. They apparently like it because they're usually so serious, themselves, so they value having someone around who can tell a joke. Most Imperial Entertainers start out traveling to the larger towns and showing off to the locals to learn their trade before trying to cram their way into the crowded big city stages of Middenheim, Altdorf, Talabheim, and Nuln. Though Nuln has such a thirst for Entertainers that it's one of the most popular places for them to eventually settle down.

Meanwhile, the Camp Follower is the kind of class you'd expect to be bad, but they're actually pretty widely talented petty merchants. They learn more languages in their travels, they can pick a pocket or loot a battlefield, they're pretty good with people, they know how to negotiate, all of them know at least one decent trade to make their living with the army, and they can go into being a talented Charlatan or an actual Spy. There's also a nice bit of fluff where Camp Followers will actually semi-unionize among the Imperial Armies when they've been following one long enough; if the soldiers abuse them, rob them, or beat them too often, the army's cooks, smiths, gunsmiths, and others will find a thousand ways to get back at them until the soldiers involved are punished and restitution is made. Still, a class where you can barter, talk your way out of trouble, steal a little, and run fast if you're in trouble is hardly a bad starting point for a character in WHFRP, and Spy is a really good 2nd tier. I also like that the writeup for them emphasizes that they're the army's hangers on in general.

Then, of course, you have the very solid 'starter' careers that really stand out, like Student or Soldier. Student and Soldier are such good examples because they kind of get you everything you need for the basics of what you do, from day 1. A Student knows how to bandage a wound (which is really important, you need someone with Heal in every party), they're knowledgeable, they can read, they know a ton of languages, and they have great Exits: They can start on being a wizard, they can become a dedicated Scholar, they can become Van Helsing (Agent of the Shroud is neat for a sort of vampire-hunting investigator), they can be Engineers, Doctors, lawyers, pretty much any educated 2nd tier can come out of Student. The Soldier similarly picks either melee or range and starts out quite good at either, while having a solid promotion track to either being an officer and learning to deal with people (while still getting better at fighting) or being a pure fighter and just being a huge, flexible badass whenever combat comes up. Soldier and Student are sort of my benchmarks for solidly designed 1st tier Careers: They give you the ability to do what they say they'll give you the ability to do, they're good at it, and they have lots of solid routes to get better.

Next Time: Flavor That Stands Out

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


The X-card is actually an extremely good rule that is occasionally used to paper over other due diligence but if you find yourself complaining about it every game you review that doesn’t sound like an X-Card problem.

Like, as fun as it would be to routinely explain to people I want to play pretend games with every situation that would be a trauma trigger I don’t actually have an annotated list of everything that’s going to be too intense in the heat of investment so being able to say, without having to explain, that we need to do something about this is a very good thing.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Joe Slowboat posted:

Do you mean the alien spirits or the space vampire werewolves?

The wolves, yeah, though the other super evil varieties also sound of questionable value.

Also, how big is the warewoof population to support all these warwulf based evils?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
Body Snatchers

The Mimics are something new. And, according to some people, they are going to make werewolves obsolete. They are the true hunters now, the next stage of evolution. Each Mimic is a peerless shapeshifter, and their abilities in that arena far surpass those of werewolves. Their strange, shivering flesh and bone let them become anything they want. Anything. Perfectly. However, this total mastery of physical shape costs them much of their mind and spirit. It doesn't help that the surviving phratries, as Mimic packs call themselves, tend to be extremely convinced of their superiority to werewolves and also filled with spite and anger. The first report of Mimics date back to the 90s - escaped or released experiments of some variety, it seemed. They were feral, isolated beings, more animal than human, and were responsible for occasional bizarre killing sprees. They were prone to hiding for years on end in mundane forms to avoid detection. One of them is still living in the Smithsonian, taking its natural form only at night, once everyone has left, to wander the halls and stare in uncomprehending longing at the works of human craft that it does not understand.

The phratries came later, as packs of Mimics bonded together. In 2015, phratries appeared in Athens, Nairobi and Kuala Lampur, making themselves known through vicious murder campaigns, in which they killed by extraordinary means in impossible circumstances. Their hunts focused on the Pure, but also targeted any Forsaken that crossed them, disrespected them or had things they wanted. The retribution against the Mimics was vicious. They were hard to track, but the superior werewolf numbers and the brief alliances of Pure and Forsaken against them in some cases meant that many phratries were destroyed or driven off. What became clear is that Mimics were artificial. Someone was making them, deliberately, via methods of spiritual engineering and Essence alchemy that was years ahead of even the best werewolves' understanding. The Mimics were made from Wolf-Bloods kept for years in hidden places where the worlds of Shadow and Flesh mixed freely, and the few that talked described experiments and indoctrination by masked figures as well as being confined to strange, empty chambers lacking in any details or hard edges.

Some Forsaken believe that the Mimics were made at the orders of Red Wolf, Firstborn patron of the Iron Masters. Certainly her chosen werewolf envoys, who are said to have shards of her in their souls, were quick to gather valuable information on their capabilities. However, if it was Red Wolf, neither she nor the Iron Masters appear to have any current control over the Mimics. They differ so greatly from werewolves as to effectively be a new subspecies, and each one instinctively understands how to create more of themselves. This is a process involving torture and the sharing of blood with a Wolf-Blooded. This does not ensure the Wolf-Blood will Change and become a Mimic, but if they ever do, they become a Mimic rather than a werewolf.

Mimics are not Forsaken. The two groups mostly treat each other as enemies. A Mimic's spirit incompatible with the totemic oaths of the Firstborn, but they still see themselves as the future of and replacements for the werewolves. They are the perfected children of Moon, made to destroy the Pure and render the Forsaken obsolete. The Forsaken purges of phratries have turned what was once just arrogance into bitter hate. However, some Mimics are willing to gather up Ghost Wolves to serve them, either with offers of places of honor in the new order or just terrifying them into obedience. Mimics certainly do have the touch of Moon on them - they are practiced killers, sharing the assassin instincts of New Moon along with their insanely potent shapeshifting. They are driven not just by the werewolf urge to hunt but an urge to kill, far stronger than their desire to hold or protect territory. Some Mimics have given up all the ambitions of their fellows and serve as assassins for hire in order to gain some structure to their addictive need to murder. These tend to be willing to work for Forsaken, Ghost Wolves or even humans - all they want is a target to keep their bloodlust satisfied.

Mimics may not be quite as new as they claim to be, however. Historically, a handful of werewolves have displayed powers similar to those the Mimics now wield. Unlike the newly emerged ones, these were caused by rare, aberrant First Changes in which, for some reason, Moon's power was overwhelming. The quicksilver power of change in these werewolves pretty much drowned out Wolf's half of their inheritance. However, other werewolves believe that Mimics are essentially miniature idigams. No one knows who made them - it could be a Firstborn, or perhaps some potent, enlightened werewolf, or maybe just humans doing something they really don't understand - but certainly the mercurial nature of their Essence is reminescent of the idigam. A phratry outside New York once got chased by the Forsaken into the lair of an idigam, and they ended up working with it in a strange and dangerous alliance. However, other idigam see the Mimics as natural prey, hunting and consuming them with joy and eagerness.

Mimics are also notable for the fact that those who manage to master their death-hunger and keep it fed have great abilities to make themselves powerful in the human world. They can be anywhere, become anything. Is it any surprise that some of them have turned into master infiltrators and bank robbers? They can pretty much get in anywhere, given their ability to turn not just into any person they want but any literal physical object. Some werewolves fear what they might be up to - not just getting rich, but perhaps breaking into the halls of power to replace people, or even going after nukes.

Mechanically, Mimics differ from Ghost Wolves as follows:
1. Mimics are, universally, Irraka. They possess Renown, Gifts and Auspice as usual, but that's the only Auspice they can have.
2. Mimics cannot join a Tribe or Lodge. They are able to form packs with other Mimics, but not werewolves. In theory, a group of Mimics would be able to find a potent spiritual patron and create a Tribe of their own, but werewolves would be unable to join it.
3. Mimics have all the normal werewolf forms, and automatically get the Gift Facets Quicksilver Flesh and Skin Thief. Unlike normal werewolves, however, they always use the best healthbar any of their forms would be allowed, at all times.
4. Mimics possess a Mimicry pool based on their stats and Primal Urge. They can spend Mimicry to alter themselves at any time. This can turn them into any creature or object they can perceive (though changing size to do so costs extra), add dice to pass for a person they're copying, add dice to Stealth rolls to avoid being noticed by blending into the background, increase Armor against a single attack, increase damage for a single attack with a natural weapon, remove a physical Tilt, increase Speed for a turn while copying an object, or increase Speed for a single action by literally liquifying (which also lets it move through tiny gaps). Mimicry is regained by taking an action to focus, or by eating human or wolf flesh.
5. Outwardly, copied objects are perfect copies, right down to surface temperature and texture. However, Mimics cannot duplicate mechanical or electrical functions and, if damaged, show meat and blood under the facade. Copies of living beings are imperfect, generally repulsive in some way, such as uncanny-valley faces, odd tumors, twisted limbs, or eyes where there should not be eyes. Mimicry can be spent to mask these flaws temporarily, but often it's preferred to kill someone and wear their flesh-suit via the Skin Thief facet.
6. Mimics possess persistent Madness and Addicted conditions at all times. Their Addiction is killing, and they become Deprived if they go a week without killing a person. Animals and simple spirits do not count - it has to be a human, werewolf or other sapient being. Killing a non-Mimic werewolf suppresses both conditions for a month rather than just feeding the addiction for a week, and also grants the Mimic the Inspired condition.

Next time: Zi'ir, the Broken Ones

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



JcDent posted:

The wolves, yeah, though the other super evil varieties also sound of questionable value.

Also, how big is the warewoof population to support all these warwulf based evils?

"surprisingly large."

Like, you can get entire areas with very few to no packs, but werewolves aren't super rare, especially outside cities. (Inside cities, their territories tend to be smaller and there tend to be fewer of them just by virtue of the fact that it's a lot harder to hide a giant wolf monster and the Gauntlet tends to be stronger.)

e: basically, the thing is that potential werewolves are really common! Werewolfism is to some extent genetic, and anyone could have a werewolf ancestor at some point. Further, anyone who's been hit by moon spirit mojo has a chance to become Wolf-Blooded, which further gives them a chance to become a werewolf. Moon spirits are not rare. Most werewolf First Changes happen during puberty, but that's not a universal rule, either.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 15:08 on Aug 26, 2019

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Just so many questions there, but I'll ask one: ehat are the genryos?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



JcDent posted:

Just so many questions there, but I'll ask one: ehat are the genryos?

The Geryo are a new monster introduced in this book. They're weird body horror things from prehistoric times.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Mors Rattus posted:

The Geryo are a new monster introduced in this book. They're weird body horror things from prehistoric times.

Ah, so we'll reach them eventually. I though it was something I was missing, what with not having been here for the Forsaken FnF.

Are indigham and other weird ghoulies also explained later on?

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