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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

Acanthus: Even eight million paths lead to the same destination, so there's no need to obsess over the details of one's journey.

I've been trying to put this exact idea into words for years. Do you have any information on how the name 'Obrimos' came about, derivations, fictional antecendents, etc?
I find nMage less inherently interesting than oMage - it's a whole game of Hermetics - but some of the alchemical symbolism is cool, as is the idea of secret symbols in the Supernal world. But nMage feels more about revealing the mystical truth of the world (via old styles of magic), as opposed to oMage, which lets you turn anything into a source of power - which lets you alter the narrative of the world through your enlightened will. It just seems less crazy and less applicable to the real world.

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MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


nmage is less applicable to the real world than omage - count chocula 2016

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

So, after reading the review here, I decided to pick up Spellbound Kingdoms, and I'm loving it so far. Quick question for Nifara or anyone who might know, how are you supposed to use the Spin maneuver in Court Sword? The only path that accesses it is through Lunge, which has an (r) tag, which means you have to use one of the balancing moves next turn. Or the Intensify maneuver from Elemental Maelstrom, which is only accessible past the Fireball (r) move. I feel like I'm missing something here, but can't figure out what.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest!
The rightest!


Kaza42 posted:

So, after reading the review here, I decided to pick up Spellbound Kingdoms, and I'm loving it so far. Quick question for Nifara or anyone who might know, how are you supposed to use the Spin maneuver in Court Sword? The only path that accesses it is through Lunge, which has an (r) tag, which means you have to use one of the balancing moves next turn. Or the Intensify maneuver from Elemental Maelstrom, which is only accessible past the Fireball (r) move. I feel like I'm missing something here, but can't figure out what.

You're actually missing a huge detail: You aren't limited in how many spaces you can move vertically or horizontally. You can jump over other maneuvers - you just can't jump over blank spaces.

So Spin can come from Pose, Feint, or Demeaning Swat. Satirical Portrayal, on the other hand, can ONLY be entered through Spin, as all other sides are blank.

EDIT: Likewise for Elemental Maelstrom, you'd start at, say, Flame Shroud. From there you can go straight to Fireball or to Intensify, and then from Intensify to Fire Nova or Wall of Fire (or to Fireball if you want, though there's no real advantage to doing that)

ProfessorCirno fucked around with this message at 04:13 on May 5, 2016

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Huh, not sure how I missed that. Thanks for clearing that up!

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

Is there any kind of summary for the changes between first and second edition nMage? I'm enjoying the writeup, but so far it's mostly covering familiar ground and I'm hugely curious about whether any mechanical changes occurred aside from the whole CoD changeover.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Pathfinder Bestiary 2: Faceless Stalker to Gug


Faceless Stalker (CR 4 Medium Aberration [Shapechanger])
The faceless stalkers (or ugothol, as they call themselves) were created as servants of the aboleth empire. They were abandoned when the scheme they were created for failed, and left without a home or a purpose the stalkers decided that the best course of action was to mope in caves and drink people's blood while torturing them. Faceless stalkers can shapeshift into any size Medium creature of the Humanoid type, but this process takes ten minutes of uninterrupted changing, is painful to the faceless stalker, and only bestows cosmetic benefits.


Fetchling (Class Level-Dependent Medium Outsider [Native])
Fetchlings are former humans that were mutated by the energy of the Plane of Shadow, becoming monochrome other than their glowing yellow eyes. They like to stick their noses in interplanar political maneuvering and trade, but not much else is stated about them here, and even their entry in the Advanced Race Guide is more or less a longer version of discussing their love of politics and mercantile pursuits. Oh, and fetchling is kind of racist – they prefer to be called kayal, which is an Aklo word meaning "shadow people".

As a player race, fetchlings get +2 to Dexterity and Charisma but -2 to Wisdom, darkvision and low-light vision, a +2 to Knowledge (Planes) and Stealth skill checks, have a 50% miss chance against them in dim light rather than the usual 20%, and have a slowly growing pool of spell-like abilities that starts with Disguise Self 1/day and gets the addition of Shadow Walk at class level 9 and Plane Shift (Plane of Shadow or Material Plane only) at class level 13.


Giant Fly (CR 1 Medium Vermin) and Giant Maggot (CR 1/2 Medium Vermin)

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 posted:

Wholly monstrous, these disgusting creatures have been known to sometimes attack still-living foes, particularly when they are hungry or living creatures disturb their meals.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say someone on the Pathfinder dev team probably doesn't like flies. Other than the active violence and a textual aside that some of them just let their pregnancy rip on the wing and pop babies everywhere instead of laying eggs, these are pretty much just really big house flies. Giant maggots can projectile vomit once per day to force a DC 13 Fortitude save to avoid a minute of being sickened, while giant flies carry that ever-popular D&D disease filth fever with their bite attack.


Forlarren (CR 2 Medium Fey)
Unlike many monsters of ye olde 1E Fiend Folio, the forlarren is a tortured soul that seems to come straight out of some "this ain't your daddy's roleplaying game!" fantasy heartbreaker. Specifically, they're a faun-like creature that is the result of a daemon raping a nymph. Forlarrens are so utterly misanthropic that they typically murder their own mothers before going on to lash out at anything and everything during their self-loathing lives. Rather oddly, in spite of changing them from True Neutral with Evil tendencies to full-on Neutral Evil, Pathfinder has given the forlarren a new special ability wherein she has to make a DC 15 Will save or become nauseated from pure remorse and grief for 1d6 rounds after killing a living being. The Pathfinder forlarren also has had her ability to cast Heat Metal as a spell-like ability boosted from 1/day to 3/day, and it can optionally be slotted out for another spell-like ability such as Chill Metal, Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Gust of Wind, Summon Swarm, or Warp Wood.

Also, while not really relevant textually, Pathfinder definitely did a lot better job of making forlarrens look part daemon than the Tome of Horrors did:



Frost Worm (Huge Magical Beast [Cold])
Giant worms that radiate intense cold, the frost worms of the far north fear no other monster besides the remorhaz, which is smart enough to have a fire breath weapon in a realm of creatures with the Cold subtype. A frost worm is capable of entrancing prey as well, thanks to a noise described alternately as either a trilling or a keening. This forces a DC 18 Will save to avoid being fascinated for as long as the worm keeps up concentration, presumably reflecting the subject being lost in thought about what the gently caress a trill sounds like.


Fungal Crawler (CR 3 Small Aberration)
The fungal crawler is a subterranean giant cricket with sharp teeth and a coating of various symbiotic fungi. This symbiotic relationship grants them the immunities of the Plant creature type without any of its drawbacks, as well as the ability to subsist on ambient heat and radiation when fresh meat is scarce. It is possible to pseudo-domesticate and even train fungal crawlers as long as they are kept well fed, but they will turn on their "owners" as soon as the flesh stops flowing. It is stated that fungal crawlers are extremely adaptable and have variants with Fly speeds, Swim speeds, and even the Cold and Fire subtypes depending on what types of cavern they inhabit.


Gar (CR 1 Medium Animal [Aquatic]) and Giant Gar (CR 6 Huge Animal [Aquatic])
Gar are described here as ravenous predators willing to eat anything up to their own body size, which amuses me greatly as someone who has a great fascination for and adoration of the alligator gar, which very much does not eat things as large as it is. Giant gar are as long as school buses and are said to be able to eat a horse and rider in a single gulp (ignore the fact that they can't because of how the Swallow Whole special quality actually works), and are found in deep rivers and lakes of far-flung places. Merrows, scrags, and sea hags sometimes keep giant gar as pets.



Giants
Marsh Giant (CR 8 Large Humanoid [Giant])
Savage and ever-hungry giants found in brackish water marshes and swamps. Their specific tastes dictate that a creature is tastier the more violent and hard to kill it is, and they aren't above killing and eating their own family members if they seem particularly tasty. While they already look very Innsmouth as it is, there are some marsh giants that actually do get down and dirty with deep ones and give birth to what are called brineborn. Brineborn marsh giants have the Advanced template and get Speak With Animals, Contagion, Confusion, and Quench as spell-like abilities.

Rune Giant (CR 17 Gargantuan Humanoid [Giant])
The charcoal-skinned and rune-covered rune giants are big on a level that few giants in D&D or Pathfinder manage to reach, standing a whopping 40 feet tall. The reason for this is that they were artificially created by some rear end in a top hat wizards in the distant past to act as a task force of slavers and slave drivers to put all other giant races under the wizards' heels. While this plan didn't pan out, the rune giants still remain in distant corners of the map, and other giants speak of them only in fearful tones around the campfire at night. In combat, the merciless rune giants wield both conventional weapons and the magical arts, being capable of casting spell-like abilities such as Charm Person, Mass Charm Monster, Dominate Person, and Demand. These spell-like abilities have a +4 to their save DC when used against other giants, and any time they are used the runes on the giant's body flash brightly and force a DC 24 Fortitude save to avoid a round of blindness. A rune giant can also "overload" these runes once every 1d4 rounds to produce an eruption of sparks that act as a 30 foot cone breath weapon that deals 10d6 fire and 10d6 electricity damage.

Taiga Giant (CR 12 Huge Humanoid [Giant])
20 foot tall gray-skinned giants of the north, the taiga giants are tribal beings that feed on mammoths, whales, seals, and walruses. They are known to use almost every part of what they eat, with the bone, hide, and sinew all going to service the tribe in some manner. They are also deeply spiritual and worshipful of their ancestors, innately capable of communing with the ancestors once per day to cast either Bless, Endure Elements, Protection From Evil, Protection From Good, or See Invisibility. They are also totally not XXL Magical Native Americans. Totally. Ignore the fact that later supplements even give them language and naming conventions based on the Inuit.

Wood Giant (CR 6 Large Humanoid [Giant])
Like ents, only looking like blown up elves instead of tree people. While they first appeared in 1990's Monstrous Compendium 5 and are thus a legacy monster, I recall even one of Pathfinder's designers not caring at all about the wood giants, which greatly amuses me.


Gloomwing (CR 4 Large Outsider [Extraplanar])
Coming from the 1E Monster Manual II, the gloomwing is a giant purple moth creature from the Plane of Shadow. It is the adult form of the tenebrous worm, a horrific murder-caterpillar that is actually more dangerous than its parent. The gloomwing acts much like the real world parasitic wasp, attacking out of a need to procure a safe home for its offspring rather than for a meal. To do so, it has a proboscis that deals as much damage as a greatsword, hypnotic wing patterns that force a DC 14 Will save to avoid being confused for a round if you look into them, and pheromones that force a DC 14 Fortitude save to avoid suffering -4 to Strength for the duration of the battle with this belligerent butterfly. A helpless or slain foe of size Small or larger can be implanted with 1d4 tenebrous worm eggs that hatch a day later; funnily enough, this was actually a fate only corpses suffered before Pathfinder. Go figure.



Golems
Adamantine Golem (CR 19 Huge Construct)
Big, bad, and :darksouls: as all hell: a good description of the aesthetic you see when you face off against an adamantine golem. Your estus flasks and learning through repetition won't help you here, though. This monstrous metal titan deals 6d10 sunder damage to your armor on any critical hit, has 15 damage reduction that is only bypassed by epic damage, gets fast healing 10, and literally cannot be killed unless you either decapitate it with adamantine vorpal weapon or Miracle/Wish it away. Luckily for most people, the only person who can even create an adamantine golem is a level 20 Wizard who has to travel to the Elemental Plane of Earth to get two whole tons of pure adamantine, mithral, platinum, and gold. As with all golems, it has a bypass for its immunity to magic; in its case, Transmute Metal to Wood slows the adamantine golem for 1d4 rounds and allows adamantine damage rather than epic damage to bypass its damage reduction.

Alchemical Golem (CR 9 Large Construct)
A golem animated by elementals trapped in a formula of various alchemical formulae, with a lifeless brain in a jar plopped on for fun. Its slam attacks (with needles?) deal both their actual 2d8 bludgeoning damage plus a random effect of 1d6 points of either acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage, sickening for 1d4 rounds, or entanglement for 1d4 rounds. It can also deal a point of one of those energy types with any melee weapon it somehow wields, or lob a 60 foot range alchemical bomb that deals 8d6 direct damage of one of those energy types plus 1d6 splash damage. The Shatter spell bypasses the alchemical golem's magic immunity to deal damage as if it was a crystal creature.

Carrion Golem (CR 4 Medium Construct)
A smaller and grossly rotted version of the flesh golem. It stinks so bad that it has an upgrade of the Stench special quality that imparts nausea rather than sickness, and its slam attacks impart a specific disease selected by the golem's creator. A load of spells bypass the carrion golem's immunity to magic: Gentle Repose paralyzes them into helplessness for 1d4 rounds, Animate Dead makes its body parts rebel against each other and deal 1d6 damage per caster level, cold or fire damage spells impart Slow for 2d6 rounds, and electricity damage spells grant Haste for 2d6 rounds.

Clockwork Golem (CR 12 Large Construct)
While the artwork makes it look like something the dwemer of the Elder Scrolls universe would make, this golem is actually a humanoid-shaped pile of hundreds of gears underneath its nice amber metal shell. The golem can use its gears either offensively to deal an extra 2d10 slashing damage during a grapple or defensively as it transforms itself into a 10 x 10 or 5 x 20 foot wall, exchanging the ability to move for the ability to deal 15d6 slashing damage to anything passing through its occupied spaces. It takes a standard action to transform into the wall and a move action to transform back. Even a dead clockwork golem can still grind its gears on your face, though, as it explodes into a 10 foot burst of 12d6 piercing damage shards. Finally, for magic immunity bypasses, Rusting Grasp staggers it for 1d6 rounds and deals damage normally and Grease produces Haste for 1d6 rounds.

Glass Golem (CR 8 Large Construct)
Glass golems are typically found being created in desert regions, where the sand needed to create the glass they are hewn from is prevalent. On top of dealing an extra 1d8 bleed damage with its natural attacks, a glass golem can cast Spell Turning on itself for a round every 1d4 rounds, and if it is in bright light any onlooker needs to make a DC 16 Fortitude save to avoid being dazzled for a round. The exceptions to magic immunity for this patricular golem are that Shatter damages it, Keen Edge works on its natural attacks, cold damage spells Slow it for 3 rounds, and fire damage spells heal it for 1 HP per 3 HP of damage the attack would have dealt. There's a variant called the stained glass golem that gains a +10 to Stealth checks but is otherwise unchained, because everyone knows that stained glass is far more hard to pin down than translucent glass.

Mithral Golem (CR 16 Huge Construct)
As its name implies, the mithral golem is made entirely of the silvery metal mithril. Its entire gimmick is "gotta go fast": on top of having a move speed of 50 feet and a Dexterity score of 24 (which is colossal by golem standards), it's got all the big name mobility feats like Run and Spring Attack as bonus feats, gets one more move action per round than any other creature normally gets, and can become liquid for up to 10 rounds per day to flow through any crack or hole of any size. On the magic front, Slow spells remove its extra move action for 1d6 rounds, Haste heals 1d6 damage per caster level (to a max of 10d6 per cast), and any cold damage spell cast on a mithral golem while it's in liquid form deals 10d6 damage.


Gray Render (CR 8 Large Magical Beast)
One of those other monsters introduced in Third Edition Monster Manual that didn't get into the first Pathfinder Bestiary, and thus ended up here. Gray renders in D&D and Pathfinder are pretty much the same thematically, being weird gray ape-things that "adopt" a creature or group of creatures as their own charges. Gray renders eventually get tired of their current entourage and move to find new unsuspecting groups to claim as their own pets, but until then they actively give food to their adopted entities and defend them to the death. Mechanically, it's just a really strong monster with nothing all that noteworthy.


Gremlins
Just as Outsiders have their various clans such as demons, devils, daemons, demodands, and other things that don't start with D, so too do other creature types. The gremlins are one clan of fey that are unified by being small, preferring the Material Plane over the realm of the fey, and loving subterfuge, destruction, and mayhem. The mite from the first Pathfinder Bestiary is retconned to be the lowliest of the gremlins, having lost their love for chaos and entered a state of self-loathing. As a result, other gremlins hate them and will engage in extreme violence towards them. Mechanically, on top of all being fey, all gremlins have at-will Prestidigitation as a spell-like ability.

Jinkin (CR 1 Tiny Fey)
Jinkins are gremlins that look more or less like the sort seen in the famous 1984 movie, and are just as ill-tempered and destructive. They love attacking larger creatures by stealing items from them, pretending to retreat, and then leading the target right into a sneak attack or set of deadly traps. If six jinkins get together, they can take an hour to cast Bestow Curse on a willing or helpless target or curse a magic item. Dwarves find jinkins particularly loathsome, which isn't all that surprising given that dwarven crafts and magic items are a big deal.

Nuglub (CR 2 Small Fey)
Extremely violent gremlins with hunched backs, a coat of oily black fur, and three glowing blue eyes. Nuglubs find great amusement in murdering helpless victims in the dead of night and then watching as people descend on each other in paranoia as they try to find the culprit. These crimes are typically conducted either alone or with smaller and weaker species of gremlin, as multiple nuglubs in one place will inevitably fight for dominance and eventually cannibalize one another. Nuglubs get a trio of spell-like abilities that they can use once per hour rather than the usual x/day formula, as well, with Heat Metal, Shocking Grasp, and Snare.

Pugwampi (CR ˝ Tiny Fey)
Pugwampis look like tiny gnolls that were based on chihuahas instead of hyenas, and are probably the only monster in Pathfinder's history to be stated to have a canonical love of poop jokes:

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 posted:

Pugwampis live in caves or ruined buildings, occasionally venturing forth to find victims upon which to inflict their sick senses of humor. Their “jokes” tend to involve spikes and excrement, or sometimes pits full of spiders or campsites that flood with swamp water. Certainly only the pugwampis consider their jokes funny.
Their main spell-like ability is Shatter, but since it's only 1/day they usually have to engage in acts of destruction the old-fashioned way. They also have an aura of unluckiness in a 20 foot radius that forces any creature that isn't a pugwampi, gnoll, or Animal type to make two rolls and take the lesser roll any time they have to make a d20 roll (which, since this is a d20-based game, is quite often). Pugwampis worship gnolls as gods, but gnolls absolutely hate them, typically beating them up and torturing them for fun.

Vexgit (CR 1 Tiny Fey)
These insectoid gremlins are the ones that adhere most tightly to the traditional WWII-era conceptualization of what a gremlin is. They absolutely love to tear at and tinker with mechanical objects until they either stop working or become deadly hazards for humanoids to deal with. On top of being able to cast Rusting Grasp and Snare at a 1/hour rate, they have special abilities that allow them to treat objects as if they were one category simpler for the purposes of how long a Disable Device skill use takes and the granting of a +10 bonus to Disable Device checks when six vexgits gather to perform one task.


Grick (CR 3 Medium Aberration)
Another 3E-introduced monster like the gray render, the grick is a giant, slimy worm with a quartet of razor-sharp tentacles around a beaky mouth. Other than their freaky appearance, they're aren't that complicated, being another in the litany of large physical combat-based ambush predators you find in any given cave in D&D/Pathfinder-land. Pathfinder has a new variant of the creature called the jungle grick as well, which gains the Advanced Creature template and heads for the trees, dropping down from tree branches or attacking from the undergrowth rather than hiding somewhere in a cave.


Grig (CR 1 Tiny Fey)
Gaining their name from an older English word for both crickets and a type of apple-loving fairy, the grigs of Dungeons and Dragons just combined both definitions of the word by having them be tauric fey with the upper parts of pixies and the lower parts of crickets or grasshoppers. They've been around since the 1E Monster Manual II, reappearing again and again through the AD&D 2E Monstrous Manual, 3E Monster Manual, and eventually right here in the PB2. While D&D's grigs were harassing little shits that loved to torment humanoids, Pathfinder has envisioned them as gallant little paladins that are more than willing to fight evil far beyond their size, with a love of the arts on the side. Of course, the fact that their quest to fight evil is also stated to be one to "vanquish ugliness" makes them sound horribly superficial, which is...I guess pretty faerie-like, actually. Grigs can rub their legs together as a standard action to create a sound that forces a DC 12 Will save on any creature in a 20 foot radius that hears it; since Otto's Irresistible Dance isn't Open Game Content, failure here means that the foe is staggered for as long as the grig keeps concentrating to keep up the effect.



Grindylow (CR ˝ Small Aberration [Aquatic])
In British folklore, the grindylow is a nasty water spirit or fairy that uses its long arms to grasp at children near the edge of their watery lairs, pulling them in to drown and eat them. Charming, those Brits. Anyway, while that's the origin of the name, Pathfinder's grindylows seem pretty clearly based on the ones seen in the movie adaptation of the fourth Harry Potter book on an aesthetic level, looking too similar for me to call it mere coincidence. Like pretty much every Chaotic Evil race ever, grindylows love violence and suffering, harming beings above and below the waves as a favored pastime, even ganging up to attack groups as large as merfolk clans and ship crews. They also have an almost religious reverence for the octopus and an equally great hatred for the squid, seeing the latter as a twisted mockery of the former, and will go out of their way to kill and mutilate any squid they find. A grindylow's tentacles don't actually deal any damage like those of a proper octopus, instead allowing for a special trip attack as a swift action that gains a +4 bonus and can't be countered on a failure.


Grippli (Class Level-Dependent Small Humanoid [Grippli])
A race of amphibian humanoids from the not so successful Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Cards series of 1982, the grippli were effectively created as the Good frog people to contrast the Evil frog people that were the bullywugs. They were rather elf-like not only in their tree-living primitivism, but also in the fact that they combined a ridiculously long lifespan (700 years) with a tremendously low birthrate (around six or so tadpoles in that span). In Pathfinder, they are rather simplistically described, with just two paragraphs here and a paragraph in the Advanced Race Guide that is literally just the same information from this title regurgitated in a slightly different phrasing. Namely, they live in trees in rainforests or swamps, are omnivorous consumers of both giant insects and fruits, live about 60 years, and love metal and gemstone objects from the outside world. As a playable race, they get +2 to Dexterity and Wisdom but -2 to Strength and have a climb speed of 20 feet on top of their 30 feet land speed, darkvision, a +4 bonus to Stealth in marshes or forests, and move at normal speed in inclement swamp or marsh terrain.


Gryph (CR 1 Small Magical Beast)
A four- to eight-legged cave-dwelling heron that injects its eggs into live prey's bloodstream? Must be from the Fiend Folio. While I doubt that many people were exclaiming "bring back the gryph!", it was OGC-ized by the Tome of Horrors, so it ends up here anyway. While the gryph of yore's eggs hatched days after their traumatic insertion, the one here in Pathfinder implants 1d4 eggs on a successful sting attack that hatch in 1d4 minutes. The ravenous chicks deal 2 Constitution damage per chick as they violently erupt from the unwilling incubator's body and fly away. Managing a DC 20 Heal check or casting a Remove Disease or Heal spell before the gryph eggs hatch stops the process. At that point you're pretty safe, as the implantation is a 1/day ability and gryphs aren't actually all that interested in long-term combat.



Gug (CR 10 Large Aberration)
Like the denizens of Leng from earlier, the monstrous gugs are taken from Lovecraft's Dreamlands. They're Chaotic Evil, so you probably already get their general MO: they maim people, torture them, sacrifice them to dark gods, yada yada. They'll eat their sacrifices as well, though they also consume fungi, slime, carrion, and undead creatures. In spite of the text's claim that gugs can contort themselves to gain longer reach or move through "impossibly small passages", they don't actually have the special qualities that would allow them to do this. EDIT: As noted by user Terrible Opinions, the Compression ability is indeed listed, it's just easy to miss. Beyond that, though, they're pretty much just bite, claw, rend, and nothing else. The exception comes in the gug savant, a CR 11 variant that has been granted 1/day usage of Invisibility, Spike Stones, Transmute Rock to Mud, and Unholy Blight thanks to their dedicated worship of and sacrifice to the Great Old Ones.



Next Time in Pathfinder Bestiary 2: Turns out that the bookmarks in the PDF version are broken, so this entry has less letters than what I'd last spoken. Next time is is H through K, but that's a story for another day.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 18:51 on May 5, 2016

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Gugs actually do have the compression special quality which allows them to squeeze into smaller than normal passages for their size. It is a universal rule though so they don't bother re-explaining it so they can maintain the holy 1 monster per page rule.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


College Slice

Count Chocula posted:

I've been trying to put this exact idea into words for years. Do you have any information on how the name 'Obrimos' came about, derivations, fictional antecendents, etc?

Obrimos is from a Greek word that means "mighty" or "terrifying". You see the feminine form of the word, "brimo", used a lot to describe ancient Greek goddess of death and magic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Valatar posted:

Is there any kind of summary for the changes between first and second edition nMage? I'm enjoying the writeup, but so far it's mostly covering familiar ground and I'm hugely curious about whether any mechanical changes occurred aside from the whole CoD changeover.

The biggest change is that magic rules are entirely reworked, and when I get there it's gonna be a good bit of explaining.

Doodmons
Jan 17, 2009


Kaza42 posted:

So, after reading the review here, I decided to pick up Spellbound Kingdoms, and I'm loving it so far. Quick question for Nifara or anyone who might know, how are you supposed to use the Spin maneuver in Court Sword? The only path that accesses it is through Lunge, which has an (r) tag, which means you have to use one of the balancing moves next turn. Or the Intensify maneuver from Elemental Maelstrom, which is only accessible past the Fireball (r) move. I feel like I'm missing something here, but can't figure out what.

Cirno already answered this question, but another thing that's not obvious about Court Sword: the arrows leading from Signature Strike to Lord's Punishment and Lord's Stance are actually bidirectional - they're the only arrows in any fighting style in the game that aren't one-way.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


So looks like I'm going to be running a game of SK soon. Seems like there's some experienced folks on this thread - any advice on running the game? Rules or other stuff that's easy to miss (or should be ignored)?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Mage: the Awakening, Second Edition



The Silver Ladder knows that all souls strive for enlightenment. The Exarchs, traitors to the world, have chained them with the Lie, but even so, they strive. Even in the Fallen World, the dream of destiny is alive. It is the duty of those who are more advanced to reach down and pull their lessers up, to free them and bring everyone to their own level of perfection. Of course, help only matters if the helpee has the will to take it. The Awakened have pulled themselves up on the ladder on their own, but even for them, the climb continues. The Silver Ladder cares deeply not only about their own Order, but about all the Diamond and Pentacle. They are more than just the definers of magical society - they are advisors on how best to free humanity from the Lie. The enemy wants to keep humans chained, Sleeping and ignorant. The Silver Ladder dreams of freeing them, and so they found Cryptopolies, mystery cults to encourage Sleepers towards enlightenment and to work against the Seers' influence. They seek out and shelter Proximi lineages in the hopes of creating a more magical, enlightened humanity. Thearchs of the Ladder also serve as mediators between the Awakened, as they believe all mages belong to a single magical nation. Their strong belief in personal rights and diplomacy is the backbone of mage society. They are even responsible for the Diamond's code of laws, the Lex Magica, and it was they who championed the right of individual mages to research as they liked, citing commands from the invisible and theoretical Oracles of the Supernal. They formed the Diamond, and later the Pentacle alliance. As a result, even when they don't hold political rank, thearchs are always politicians. Often, if they do not lead, they are advisors to leaders. Mages join the Silver Ladder when they want to take control of their lives, when they want to help enlighten Sleepers, when they want to help friends or family Awaken, when they admire classical Awakened society and want to perpetuate it, or when they feel a desire to lead others rather than serve them.

The core of the Lex Magica and the beliefs of the Silver Ladder are, despite their legalistic nature and complex practice, surprisingly simple. They are based on a core set of beliefs, the Elemental Precepts, which have helped to form the core of Diamond society as well as the Silver Ladder. Even the name Diamond is from these, not geometry - remember, when the Diamond formed, it was three Orders, not four. The Elemental Precepts are:
  • Thunder: Imperium is the Sovereign Right of all Humanity. There is no original sin. Humans do not deserve this Fallen world. Ascension to the Supernal is the birthright of every human, merely by virtue of being human, but it is denied by the Exarch's Lie. Sleepers cannot see past the Lie, which keeps them from self-actualizing. Thus, the Ladder must create a perfected society, defined by mastery of magic, to assist in Awakening and Ascension.
  • Diamond: The Awakened are One Nation. All mages are united by a common bond to the Time Before and to the Supernal, making them a nation of citizens beholden to the perfected Supernal law. Banishers and Seers are rebels and to be treated as rebels, but even they have the rights of mages. The Awakened are bound into societal groups, or Consilia, which they must obey over any Sleeper government. This belief was held even in ancient days, and it is the driving force that helped form the Diamond.
  • Blood: The Sleepers Follow. Once all souls are free, the Exarchs will surrender or die, their existence relegated to mere theory. The perfect Awakened City will rise, a true utopia. Humans will come together as one, and the Ladder's true work will begin. Until that time, Sleepers must be led and commanded for their own good, as the Lie traps them with unwise impulses.
  • Star: The Silver Ladder is the Path to Victory. The titular Ladder refers to the stages of enlightenment that souls progress upwards on - laborer to Ascended Sage. Despite the rhetoric of the Free Council, the Ladder knows that everyone deserves the right to move to the rung that best suits them, even if that is not the top. Artists should be artists, managers should manage, mages should work miracles. The Awakened have a destiny and a duty to uplift the Sleepers and Awaken the Sleepwalkers.

The Silver Ladder was born from the intersection of low-status cultural mages and proto-Stoic philosophers in ancient Greece. The founders were students of Plato, and by the time of Alexander, they had reinvented themsevles from hedge wizard to sages, pulling on the ideal of the philosopher-king. They latched onto Plato's Atlantis as a mythic past of a respected city of great sage-kings, the ideal which the Diamond strives for. After an early schism with those who believed that the less enlightened should worship their betters, and that mages should worship the Tyrant Exarchs, the proto-thearchs successfully forged alliances with the other Hellenic orders to form the Diamond. (The schismatics would become the ancestors of the Seers of the Throne.) The Diamond systems of Consilium and Convocation were Ladder inventions, and they still form a slim majority of leadership roles. Their philosophy has shifted somewhat from enlightened kings to Sages, wise advisors that enable their charges and empower their followers. The Ladder are teachers, authorities and counselors to the Cryptopolies, and they've even allied with Seers before when something threatens the Awakened as a whole. For example, they worked together during the First Crusade's Siege of Jerusalem in order to preserve their influence over the Sleepers of the area and to defeat the soul-stealing demon Desiderus.

Thearchs seek out Mysteries that give them clues to rising upon the Ladder of being, particularly in pursuit of Sleepwalkers who possess magical abilities, ancient records of the Awakened or Supernal entities. They are more obsessed with artifacts of the Time Before than anyone but the Mysterium. They can justify nearly anything in pursuit of these relics, claiming they grant a pride in the past and a vision of what will be again. In doing this, they hope to improve their standing on the Ladder and, eventually, free every soul from the Lie. They believe all Sleepers must Awaken, and that all Awakened must Ascend. The symbolism of the Silver Ladder is towards authority. They are the ones that propagate the idea of the Diamond descending from an ancient ur-culture, and they serve as the Vox Draconis, the Voice of the Dragon - priest-kings of Atlantis, leaders not because of conferred authority or divine right, but because of wise leadership. They often use the trappings of priesthood as symbols, or other authority figures, but at heart they are humanists, exalting the potential within us all, not gods. They use symbols of authority from many cultures, including badges and judge's robes, and also tend to adopt the trappings of the strongest LAdder mage in their area. They prefer not to use crowns or royal symbolism - it's ostentatious, and besides, the job of the Ladder is to lead, not to rule.

Hubristic Thearchs deny the very existence of hubris as anything but cowardly mockery. After all, it is the right and duty of every soul to strive for more than they are. Forcing reality to bend its knee is a duty! Paradox is a curse from the Abyss, which is the creation of the Exarchs. But ignore that rhetoric. Silver Ladder mages fall to hubris when they overestimate their own abilities and ignore advice when it goes against their own desires or tellls them not to act boldly. They also fall to it by mistaking the role of a leader for that of a ruler, or when they use Cryptopolies and politics to gain temporal power rather then enlightenment. And, perhaps ironically, they fall to hubris when they believe their own Wisdom places them above all others, especially Sleepers.

Sample concepts include the Cabal Negotiator, who spends his time keeping mages from killing each other. He owes allegiance to no cabal himself, instead representing the Consilium as a whole and allowing the many competing interests of the cabals in his area to come to terms. The Self-Help Guru is ap ublic name, a lecturer who teaches others how to help themselves. He takes the symbolism of the Silver Ladder and translates it into something even Sleepers can understand, pushing them towards enlightenment with the language of the self-help seminar.

Stereotypes posted:

Arrow: Loyalty, honor, and service. We cannot ask for more.
Guardians: Every tale has its necessary villains, and fear must go along with love for effective rule.
Mysterium: Reclaimers of our birthright. We climb the ladder, but they blaze the trail.
Free Council: Even democracy must recognize the firsts among equals.
Seers: True wisdom comes from leading all, including your enemies.

Next Time: The Free Council

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mage: the Awakening, Second Edition



There is magic in the Fallen World, like a stunted tree thank to the Abyss, but still growing, reaching out to touch the Supernal. This modern age is a time of power and potential. All of human knowledge can be put in your pocket. Revolutions fly on the wings of invisible bluebirds. Mathematicians and scientists puzzle out the fundamental structure of the Fallen World. Yes, the Lie is a chain on the soul - but chains can be reforged into keys and swords. The Council of Free Assemblies knows that change and innovation lead to Wisdom. They are an Order born of modern idealists and ancient rebels, all united by a love of humanity and a belief that the Fallen World has a place equal to that of the Supernal. They are rebels, geniuses and malcontents, idealists and iconoclasts. The Free Council is larger and more varied than any other Order, drawing on a mix of anarchists, free-market capitalists, ancient former Nameless Orders and cutting edge technomancers. All are united by the Libertine Creed and faith in the future. Mages join the Free Council when they want to fight for Sleepers, when they find more value in modern work of culture and humanity than those of ancient mages, or when they are deeply invested in a Sleeper magical culture or tradition.

The Free Council is made of mages with deep ties to the Fallen World. They don't deny that the ancients had deep insights on magic, but they believe that the potential for these insights exists today, as well, that the modern world forges new Supernal symbols with its achievements. The past is done, and the future is changing, but the present is the most exciting time. Despite being made of thousands of different traditions ranging wildly in age, all of the Council's Assemblies agree on the Libertine Creed.

The Creed has three tenets:
  • Humanity is Magical. Sleepers in groups show evidence of Supernal inspiration. Other Orders hide among and control Sleepers, but the Council invests in them, finding new occult secrets in culture, art, science and technology. Sleeper art corresponds to Supernal symbols that did not exist before. Yes, Libertines admit that the Sleeping Curse can damage individuals, but they believe that overall, humanity's spirit reflects the Supernal. Of course, even the most hardcore Libertines know it's dangerous to teach secrets to the unworthy, so they strive instead to make al Sleepers worthy. However, they rarely work to uplift Sleepers individually. Rather, they want to bridge the gap between Awakened and Sleeper by destroying the Lie and Awakening all of humanity. Any one person is less important than the revolution.
  • Destroy the Followers of the Lie. The Lie enslaves Sleepers, trapping the world in hostile forces. This further distances Sleeper and Awakened. Libertines are not content with just seeing past the Lie - they want to tear it down, to end the hierarchy it creates just by existing. Radical Libertines advocate open war with the Seers (and occasionally the Silver Ladder), but the Council as a whole cannot agree on any course of action to best reform the often authoritarian nature of mage society. Most believe that peaceful cooperation as part of the Pentacle is best, as it will gradually push the Awakened to more modern though. The formation of the Pentacle itself is, after all, a great victory.
  • Democracy Seeks the Truth. Democracy is in total ideological opposition to tyranny, and only by rejecting all elements of the Exarchs' own symbolism can they truly be defied. Hierarchies, even good ones, dilute the power of humanity. The Free Council believes that group decisions are best, electing temporary leaders in response to needs. In practice, it's not actually that much different than leadership by experienced mages, and so Libertines can exist fairly well with representative democracy, but their doctrine of trusting experts does not mean that the powerful always rule, and rarely does any one leader lead for long. Most Libertines believe that a decision made by consensus, or at least directly empowered by a group, is more likely to be a good decision than one made alone.

For most of history, those mages not part of the Diamond were shuffled off to dead ends or ignored. Powerful Legacies existed outside Diamond society, but definitely in the minority. Others stood against the Diamond, and were branded heretics or Left-Handed. Many formed Nameless Orders, ultimately becoming regional powers at best. However, the democratic revolutions of the 18th century and beyond changed everything. Mages found new and unique symbols in the bombs and gunpowder. These revolutionary mages chafed under the Diamond, finding allies in the Nameless Orders. Ancient mystery cults and traditions met with these new, modern mages, each eager to escape Diamond dominance. They were transformed, catalyzing the birth of a new globalist Order. They took advantage of mass travel to spread the Libertine Creed, turning NAmeless Orders into cells of revolution able to communicate easily. Membership grew rapidly, sparking conflicts across the world and threatening magical war. It seemed to be the conflict that would shape Awakened society in the 20th century. Seeing an advantage in their cold war, the Seers offered the Nameless an alliance against the Diamond, offering them a chance to marry human culture and technology to wealth and power. It was an attractive offer - the Nameless were deeply entrenched in Sleeper cultures and opposed to the Diamond. The Seers could use them to lock down on occultism and seal the Lie entirely, completely controlling Awakening. However, on New Year's Eve, 1899, the Nameless sent back their answer, simultaneous and unanimous: No. The Great Refusal was, perhaps, unanimous only because the dissenters were quietly, brutally and swiftly purged, but it refocused the new Order against the Seers. Within a decade, the Nameless Wars were over. The Diamond offered its support, instead, and the Silver Ladder helped the Nameless to unite into a true order, the Free Council. The Pentacle alliance was formed.

The Free Council searches for Mysteries in scientific and cultural innovation. Supernatural fringe theories, retrohistory, archaeology and social movements. Radical occult theories rejected by the Diamond find homes in the Free Council, and even occasional success. They were born in the era of anarchism and communism, when occultists invented the tarot (which even the Diamond admits was a success) and when West and East fused religions into new forms. Globalization was the true mother of the Pentacle. Libertines are very proud of their Lorehouses - a sort of mix of university and library of lore. Every mage in the Council is tasked with spreading magical knowledge through the Lorehouses, requiring constant new research. The symbols of the Free Council are tied to culture. This methodology was derided by the Diamond as Techne - that is, craft, not art. The Libertines adopted the term proudly, recognizing the power of humanity in creating symbols. They use complex Sleeper phenomena as magical tools, seeking and inventing new ways to tap into the Supernal via cultural power, not Atlantean symbols. Modern math is just as valuble as gematria. Stonehenge and solar panels can be used similarly. Science itself is a tool of wonder.

The hubris of the Free Council can be ironically intolerant of other viewpoints. Their Order is fractious and argumentative, made of many conflicting traditions. They often find themselves unable to agree on any methodology and so unwilling to act. Their lack of hierarchy means they act with one purpose, but they can't take any action that is unpopular. Hubristic Councillors often abdicate responsibility for group decisions or mistakes, or justify unneeded deaths to battle the Lie. Lone voices of dissent or even questions can be censured and crushed by the majority - or even struck down by violence. Most Libertines also are forced to accept things that make them uncomfortable in the name of social and political unity.

Sample concepts! Radio Free Libertine uses her magic to broadcast a personal radio show over the city. She speaks truth to power, transforming the beliefs of magic into words that Sleepers can understand. She inspires, reports, brings truth, all to remind people that things are worth fightng for, that the Lie cannot grind them down. She is fighting for reality in hearts and minds. The Dreamer is a traditionalist, a shaman following the path of spirits and stories. She agrees with the Diamond on some things - the power of stories, say - but she knows truth lies with the listener, not the speaker. When telling stories, she always learns more from the listener, asking for their thoughts and learning from their understanding of her words. She is an animist, a member of an old religious tradition, and she wouldn't abandon it for anything.

Stereotypes posted:

Arrow: No man is an island, no matter how strong the fortifications.
Guardians: Magic is to be shepherded, not feared.
Mysterium: What good is hoarded knowledge if you don't share it?
Silver Ladder: How does one exalt the equality of all, then claim to be first among equals?
Seers: Our antithesis, our great cause. The Great Refusal was our Calatafimi.

Next Time: The Seers of the Throne

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Valatar posted:

Is there any kind of summary for the changes between first and second edition nMage? I'm enjoying the writeup, but so far it's mostly covering familiar ground and I'm hugely curious about whether any mechanical changes occurred aside from the whole CoD changeover.

I'm not sure whether there's a big chart somewhere yet, but there are definitely mechanical changes, some of them significant and others more subtle. The biggest change is to spellcasting itself. In broad strokes, they cut down on the number of individual prewritten spells and shifted the focus to big high-concept spells like "damage someone with Forces" or "transform an inanimate object into something else" that you can then actively customize and augment based on your Arcana dots and how much Paradox you want to risk. It's generally more streamlined and coherent and feels like it actually follows the internal logic of the Practices rather than being a big grab bag of random descriptive effects- I feel like the better parts of the Ars Magica DNA are showing up in this edition.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mage: the Awakening, Second Edition



So, why the Seers of the Throne? Well, isn't it obvious? The Exarchs won. They are the living Supernal symbols of oppression and they won. The Fallen World exists by their will. All but a few humans are blind to magic by their will. Those that remain squabble over broken remnants at the feet of the throne of gods. Better to rule on Earth and get the chance to serve in Heaven. The Seers have wealth and power as their reward for serving the will of the Exarchs. They oppose the Pentacle out of religious obligation, for they serve faceless, invisible gods of the Supernal. They can compete directly with any of the Diamond Orders in their field of expertise, and they can exploit human culture so well that the Free Council gets mad. Their battle-mages worship war itself, their sages serve the symbol of control by surveillence. They get wealth, power and sex, all for oppressing others and reinforcing the Lie. The Seers serve under the Ministers, the Earthly servants of the Exarchs and heads of the Ministries, each dedicated to a specific form of control over the Fallen World, ranging from military force to economics. These form the Iron Pyramid, a massive power structure of Supernal politics capped by the Exarchs, each of which patronizes one Ministry specifically, each functioning as a small Order in their own right. Of course, the Iron Pyramid acknowledges four Exarchs particularly as Archgenitors, their Ministries Greater to the rest of the Exarchs' Lessers. The Ministries didn't invent the human misery they push - but they do draw strength from it. Their cults are often fanatical cannon fodder. They maintain stables of magical servant-creatures and have ties to monstrous societies. The Ministries rise and fall with new forms of tyranny, though the Seers pretend the Great Ministries are eternal. Mages join the Seers when they want to use magic for their own comfort, taking everything they couldn't get before, or when they're afraid of the Exarchs or Seers and want to be on the winning side, or when they're promising young apprentices lured in by the promise of knowledge they need desperately.

The Seers know that humans are fallible. They aren't gods. The Exarchs are gods, and so are infallible. Thus, the world is not Fallen - it's just on the bottom of the cosmic pyramid of power. The Exarchs rarely speak directly to the Seers, except via the Ministers and, more rarely, their Prelates - that is, Seers they like, who are granted visions or dreams of Exarchal will. These visions always focus on themes of domination, defining a clear victory condition but no clear method of achieving it. Seers hold these cryptic and metaphorical visions to be tests, with success granting great power over rivals. The Exarchs, the Seers believe, were once human, and reward loyal serviec with secrets and a place in their hierarchy. Seers often live as plutocrats, rewarded for their crimes. Advancement comes with strength to demand it - most Seers want to undermine their minions to ensure they don't become strong enough to challenge.

The Seers believe several tenets:
  • Mages who serve the Exarchs faithfully will be rewarded. The advantage of service is clear. Money and power are the least of these rewards - even junior Seers live in comfort and wealth. Less obviously, the Seers will teach rotes, provide magical artifacts and more - even the Profane Urim, artifacts that allow total domination over many serants, controlling their minds and wills in many ways. The ultimate reward, of course, is archmastery and even, perhaps, Ascension to join the ranks of the Exarchs.
  • Divination reveals the Tyrants' will. Fallen divination, particularly Tarot and dream interpretatin, grant insight into where and how to act in service to the Exarchs. After all, they control the world - the marks of their will must be present, if we could but understand them. The Seers are obsessed with signs and omens, even beyond the use of Fate and Time magic. They listen for them in white noise, in bird migrations, in the prophecies of Sleepers with foresight, whom they enslave. The more they serve the Exarchs, after all, the greater their rewards.
  • From the Iron Pyramid comes prestige and servitude. As the Exarchs are superior to mages, so are mages superior to Sleepers. The Seers watch and subvert Sleepers to their will. Senior mages are superior to lessers in the Seers, with less and less explanation the further down the Pyramid you go, and more and more exploitation. A Seer must split their time between sabotaging subordinates, flattering superiors and undermining superiors. The Ministries wrestle for control and influence, and so, despite all the power that comes from the Exarchs, the Seers spend far too much time jockeying with each other and chasing their own agendas to actually wage full war on the Pentacle.

While individual cults in the Seers differ on fine points of myth, the majority agree broadly with the Diamond's stories of Atlantis. They believe the Exarchs are Ascended humans who created an artifact or portal known as the Celestial Ladder, using it to force their way into the Supernal physically. They thus were able to remake the cosmos to their own vision. When the Diamond first formed, all Orders had groups that believed the Exarchs should be placated or worshiped, and the first major Exarch cult split off from the Diamond in order to enslave themselves to the General, Exarch of control by fear of violence. They died when Republican Rome was born, crushed by circumstance and rivals. However, other cults survived, both in and outside the Diamond, until the 1500s, when the followers of the Unity, Exarch of control by xenophobia, became the Ministry of Hegemony, the first Ministry of the Lie, by use of political ideology, nationalism and racism to divide humanity.

The Seers seek Mysteries that reveal the will of the Exarchs, or those Mysteries their divination points them at. Many are also pushed into Mysteries by their superiors, ostensibly by will of the Exarchs but often just to satisfy a whim. (Most Seers assume that if the Exarchs cared, they'd say so.) The Exarchs generally command the Seers to conquer the Watchtowers of magic by studying Awakenings, control magic by hoarding secrets and magical places, enslave old gods and various powers, regulate the Abyss, keep humanity divided and resentful to keep them Sleeping, and to destroy the Pentacle and Nameless Orders. They are also directed to protect humans from existential threats and to guard the seals on ancient beings known as the Bound. Not even the Exarchs want the world destroyed, and more than once the Seers have worked with the Diamond to stop a disaster - mostly the Silver Ladder, but sometimes the Guardians or Mysterium. And, rarely, the Exarchs do take direct action, sending forth emanations known as ochemata into the Fallen World. Ochemata are Supernal beings formed off of an Exarch, godlike in power. The Seers claim they are still mere shadows of the Exarchs' true power. Sometimes, ochemata issue commands. Most of the time, however, they take care of problems the Exarchs don't trust the Seers with. The symbols of magic used by the Seers are simple: the Exarchs' will. Their tools are beyond culture, relying instead on their patrons. They use Exarch icons, runes and scripture, praying for aid. This draws their souls closer to the Tyrants, more in alignment with the symbols. Eventually, a gate appears in their Oneiros, their personal dream-worlds, leading them to a Supernal test of loyalty controlled by the Exarch patron, with the offer of the power of Prelacy behind it.

Hubris is easy - the Seers are never, ever altruists. EVen the deluded and willfully ignorant are quickly disabused of any ideals of fighting the good fight. But hey, there's profit in tyranny. No shame there. Unfortunately, the Exarchs don't care how traumatic the missions they give are. They don't care about you and while they reward Prelates, few ever stop being expendable. Seers tend to fall to hubris when they obey blindly no matter the cost to anyone, when they enslave Sleepers to their will or when they steal objects of power without regard for others. This is, incidentally, most of what Seers do.

I'm going to straight up quote the concepts because they are loving monstrous, good job writers.

Concepts posted:

Abacomancer: I lazily trace a glyph in the fresh ashes. He was a father of three, and his children hardly spoke to him in the last decade of his life; their guilt means a particularly gaudy spot urn in the columbarium. The ashes of a father are a fitting tribute to my gods, so it's his ashes through which I work my divination. The wind kicks up, blowing coolly over white marble, shifting and twisting the glyph into something new. I wipe the ashes on my greatcoat and ignore the screams of the man's ghost. The Exarchs have answered my queries, and I will not let some crying shade distract me from the call of gods.
Architect: The city stretches before me. Others of my Path would deem her a concrete jungle, but I see her as a living companion, as lonely as I am. Her lungs billow black smoke into the air, while her guts teem with thousands of residents. I raise my hands, and a dozen architects at three different firms unknowingly coordinate their efforts. The Exarchs bring order to this world, just as I bring order to this city. A skyscraper here, highway ramp there - enough to alter weather patterns, bringing storms to my lover's belly. Drop by drop, the poorest within her will wash away, their foundations crumbled and possessions destroyed. In five years, property values will be low enough for gentrification to take hold, and my true work will begin.

Stereotypes posted:

Adamantine Arrow: They exalt challenge, but not the ones who challenge them.
Free Council: Genius is unappreciated, even when it's completely backwards.
Guardians of the Veil: Their dreams aren't as empty as their conscience seems to be.
Mysterium: Career scholars who worship power? There's lots for you here, friend.
Silver Ladder: One nation under gods, accept nothing less.

Next Time: The experience of the Fallen World

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Silver Ladder is still the best. Thunder: Imperium is the Sovereign Right of all Humanity, gently caress yeah!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AC41dglnM

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

Count Chocula posted:

I've been trying to put this exact idea into words for years. Do you have any information on how the name 'Obrimos' came about, derivations, fictional antecendents, etc?
I find nMage less inherently interesting than oMage - it's a whole game of Hermetics - but some of the alchemical symbolism is cool, as is the idea of secret symbols in the Supernal world. But nMage feels more about revealing the mystical truth of the world (via old styles of magic), as opposed to oMage, which lets you turn anything into a source of power - which lets you alter the narrative of the world through your enlightened will. It just seems less crazy and less applicable to the real world.

You aren't a hermetic, NMage is you are all high (omage power stat) Mage's who can dispense with the tools. It's one of most commonly forgotten things about oMage but every time you raised your powerstat involved abandoning your paradigm more and more for pure will working.
Also if you cared about sources of power and altering the narrative of the world, you don't exactly have an enlightened will.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


If we want to get technical, oMage had everyone doing Chaos Magic while the new one has everyone doing a new type of true magic unlike any "real" occult magic, but most occult traditions have some fragment of the truth so someone using Japanese Onmyoudo is as right as someone going full Hermetic.

So funnily enough, if you take both game's metaphysics into account, oMage is the one actually being super eurocentric, despite it's appearance otherwise.
:goonsay:

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




WhitemageofDOOM posted:

You aren't a hermetic, NMage is you are all high (omage power stat) Mage's who can dispense with the tools. It's one of most commonly forgotten things about oMage but every time you raised your powerstat involved abandoning your paradigm more and more for pure will working.
Also if you cared about sources of power and altering the narrative of the world, you don't exactly have an enlightened will.

You didn't dispense with the tools, you just had very specific tools that you had to use for each flavor. That was one of my turn-offs for nMage, the fact that you couldn't really come up with an interesting, thematically appropriate ritual or magical instrument.

Of course, oMage's "flavor of the whatever" style magic isn't my personal favorite, I'm a mug bigger fan of GURPS Cabal which gives you an extremely flexible, but still thematic set of mystic associations that you could mix and match in a variety of very creative ways.

I actually prefer it to oMage's 'chaos magic' because it didn't involve any of your beliefs about how magic works. There's a great example in the Cabal book about a guy who casts a fire spell using a chewed up lump of Big Red gum. Not because he believes that chewing gum is somehow magical, but because he knew that the color red and the spice cinnamon both resonate with the element of fire.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


Count Chocula posted:

I've been trying to put this exact idea into words for years. Do you have any information on how the name 'Obrimos' came about, derivations, fictional antecendents, etc?

It's Ancient Greek for "Mighty". All the path names are Greek but some are artfully mispelled.

Acanthos: "Thorn"
Mastigos: "Scourge"
Moros: "Doom"
Obrimos: "Mighty"
Thyrsos: "Staff"

Okay, so the last one's a bit of a stretch.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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oriongates posted:

You didn't dispense with the tools, you just had very specific tools that you had to use for each flavor. That was one of my turn-offs for nMage, the fact that you couldn't really come up with an interesting, thematically appropriate ritual or magical instrument.

Of course, oMage's "flavor of the whatever" style magic isn't my personal favorite, I'm a mug bigger fan of GURPS Cabal which gives you an extremely flexible, but still thematic set of mystic associations that you could mix and match in a variety of very creative ways.

I actually prefer it to oMage's 'chaos magic' because it didn't involve any of your beliefs about how magic works. There's a great example in the Cabal book about a guy who casts a fire spell using a chewed up lump of Big Red gum. Not because he believes that chewing gum is somehow magical, but because he knew that the color red and the spice cinnamon both resonate with the element of fire.

Do I have good news for you when we get to the Yantras section!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mage: the Awakening, Second Edition

The world is a Lie. Magic, monsters, everything that is hidden from most people - they're real. Most urban legends and horror movies have some kernel of truth humans prefer to deny. This is not because human belief shapes reality - it's because reality nudges the minds of humans that would prefer to look away. Vampires, werewolves, they exist. So why do so many humans not acknowledge this? People should notice, someone should spot it. But so few ever do. And that is because of the Lie. Mages who study the Lie argue that mere social pressure cannot explain the human reluctance to acknowledge the supernatural. Some humans even do notice some things - ghosts, say - but remain blind to the rest. Even those who witness undeniable magic often rationalize it away or even forget it happened. Mages name this Quiescence, or the Sleeping Curse. Quiescence causes Sleepers to forget revelations of magic they encounter, reinforcing the learned impulse to rationalize things away and forget. This is a problem for those mages that wish to get people to cast off the Lie.

It is clear - the Lie is too pervasive, too targeted, too elaborate to be an accident. It has a guiding intelligence behind it. Mages know some Supernal symbols are alive - they can summon Supernal entities into the Fallen World, after all. Most of these entities are content to allow mages to call to them. However, the symbols that guide the Lie are evidence that something Supernal is actively attempting to cripple humanity - and succeeding. The term most mages use for these beings, whose nature is a matter of debate, is 'Exarch' - rule from outside, in Greek. Anything that challenges the Lie risks allowing the Abyss into the world. The Supernal is all that is true and real - and the Abyss is everything that can't be. Occasionally, parts of the world are so tainted by it that they are overwhelmed with anti-symbols - a Paradox occurs, damaging the world. The impossible becomes real. Very rarely, this happens by itself. More often, mages overextend themselves or fall prey to weakness when casting, accidentally allowing the Abyss to seep out of their magic. The Abyss is no mere void exploited by the Exarchs, either - it contain millions upon millions of impossible beings. Mages divide them into three rough categories. Greatest are the Annunaki, stillborn universes driven mad by nonexistence, each trying to infect and overtake the Fallen World and twist it into themselves. Lesser entities merely twist the laws of the Fallen world. Beings created by this warping are referred to as Gulmoth. Other times, the Abyss warps a human soul and creates an entity dedicated to creating similar warping, and these are called Acamoth.

Now, we've talked a lot about the Supernal as being real and symbolic, but what is it like? It calls to people, begging them to Awaken, but most never hear it. A few, however, feel the stirring. Sometimes Supernal symbols haunt their dreams, or they see the waking world around them suddenly become fraughtw ith meaning. However it happens, it becomes increasingly clear to those that feel it that everything they thought they knew was a Lie, that there is a truth beyond it. They realize - the world is not deterministic. Boundaries need not constrain us. Change does happen. Humans do have great power. They begin tos ee the truth, their Sleep becoming restless and fitful. Some mages claim that this lasted decades for them, but for most, it is a few weeks. This stirring, however, eventually becomes a mystical pilgrimage that takes one of two forms.

The first kind of Awakening is called a waking world dream. The symbols of the Supernal around you become more and more pronounced, more real to you than the physical world around you. You have a choice: ignore it, turn away, return to Sleep. Or you can accept this reality and explore it. You cease to perceive the physical world at all, and everything becomes a journey through mystic truth. In your mind, you overcome obstacles on your quest for truth. In the mundane world, your body interacts with others as if they were part of the dream. What happens in reality mirrors your dream, and everything you do in the dream affects the events of the real world. This can lead to impossible events happening, at times. Quiescence quickly ensures witnesses do not recall. Sleepers cannot see the world of your dream, and even other mages must be of the same Path and using their Mage Sight to glimpse what you see. However, mages are familiar with the symptoms of these Awakenings and most know not to get in your way - intervening often means being cast into the dream's narrative or even preventing the Awakening entirely - and so only Guardians and Seers consider doing it with any real frequency, and even then, only when absolutely required. Mages of all Orders, however, will often tail you in hopes of recruiting you once your Awakeing is complete.

The second, rarer form of Awakening is the supernal journey, taking place entirely within your soul. Sometimes, you see, a Sleeper is asleep or meditating when the Watchtower calls to them, or they have a moment of inspiration so strong that it takes them out of their body. In these Awakenings, you experience the Supernal World directly, removed entirely from the Fallen. You travel across dreamscapes formed from your Path's symbols, interacting with the native beings without any mask. To onlookers, you appear asleep or comatose, and it can last anywhere from a few minutes to years, entirely divorced from the subjective experience of time.



However an Awakening occurs, it invariably requires you to successfully navigate hazards and leave your mark on the Supernal. In waking world dreams, this usually means signing your name, leaving a bloody handprint or crafting some tool or weapon, a song or anything unique to your identity. In Supernal journeys, it typically manifests as a Watchtower you must reach, climb and mark. Once you mark the Supernal, you regain awareness of the ordinary world, but are now Awakened, forever changed. Each Supernal Realm represents a Path, and by marking it, you declare yourself a member of that Path. Mages do not consciously choose their Path, but the Paths seem to bias towards certain types of people. More philosophical mages describe Paths as revealing the truths of the five aspects of the Lie, and some Seers believe that each path is a challenge to the Exarchs of a Supernal Realm. Some members of a Path seem to be chosen because they saw through a facet of the Lie the Path challenges in the moment of Awakening, while others struggled with it all their lives, or always knew but never had the power to act on it.

The Acanthus Awakening sends them to Arcadia. Before Awakening, they are often powerless, shackled by duty or obligation or poverty or some other unchangable. Their life is predictable, clad in iron, lockstep. They are even more confined than most Sleepers. They yearned for escape. They begin their Awakening by breaking patterns, rebelling against destiny with bizarre choices. They give up routine. They see the secret rhythm their life has danced to and refuse to continue the dance. Thus, a stranger world is revealed. They find hidden paths and impossible routes thanks to their rejection of their place. In these strange places, they meet strange beings, Mysteries that live and walk. These Mysteries will drown those who do not have the will to pursue them, leaving them to die, alone and confused, fearful and deluded - but those that give chase? Those who freely enter? They reach the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn. You must run forward, never away. By solving that first Mystery, the thorns are opened. Ancient mages said the Watchtower was dominated by thorny woods, but in the modern day it is as often a factory of rust or a filthy hoarder's home. Whatever it is, it is unfinished business and unborn potential, and you must shove it aside to confront Arcadia directly. The fairy lords of Arcadia are living destiny. Do not take what they offer for sustenance. Do not love or hate them, or they will trade your destiny for theirs. In Arcadia, no act is trivial. You must face temptation, and there are no simple answers. There are worse answers, but no perfect ones. Make a decision. Accept that every decision has consequences. Carve your name upon the Watchtower and accept that you have changed your fate. Accept that everything you do will have consequences and deny the legacy that would have been yours. Free yourself from destiny and for the first time in your life, be the one to choose.

The Mastigos Awakening sends them to Pandemonium. It is a terrible thing and a liberating gift. Mastigos are those who Awaken to confront spiritual wounds, obsession and destructive behavior. They were the people who had sex just to feel anything at all, the artists that used their own illness for inspiration, the priests and scientists who lacked any willingness to show anything but outer faith or who tampered with things, who cared more for appearance than reality. They are people who suffer and whose coping mechanisms were unstable. However, the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet is not there to fix their lives and straighten them out. Pandemonium is not a place for ascetics merely for the sake of asceticism. Mastigos never deny the self. Rather, the potential of their base desires is unlocked. They understand, they justify their vices, turning them into functional symbols, even servants. Their Awakening begins with risktaking, ever greater, until they face an existential crisis with only one solution: own your passions. For some, this is a symbolic deal with the Devil, for otehrs taking command of their desires. You face a simple choice: Awaken or destroy yourself. Crisis sends you to Pandemonium, home of demons. You must navigate through a maze of thought, prejudice and belief. You must reveal yourself to yourself in full, carving your name on the Watchtower and taking command of your flaws and your vices. Abandon shame and embrace what you are, turning weaknesses into slaves of your own transcendent will. Do not hide. Understand your nature and use it, rather than obeying it. Be the master, not the slave.

Next Time: Stygia, the Aether and the Primal Wild

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Terrible Opinions posted:

Gugs actually do have the compression special quality which allows them to squeeze into smaller than normal passages for their size. It is a universal rule though so they don't bother re-explaining it so they can maintain the holy 1 monster per page rule.
poo poo, you're totally right that it does. I even checked over its stat block, but completely missed that "SQ: compression" under languages.


oriongates posted:

Of course, oMage's "flavor of the whatever" style magic isn't my personal favorite, I'm a mug bigger fan of GURPS Cabal which gives you an extremely flexible, but still thematic set of mystic associations that you could mix and match in a variety of very creative ways.

I actually prefer it to oMage's 'chaos magic' because it didn't involve any of your beliefs about how magic works. There's a great example in the Cabal book about a guy who casts a fire spell using a chewed up lump of Big Red gum. Not because he believes that chewing gum is somehow magical, but because he knew that the color red and the spice cinnamon both resonate with the element of fire.
GURPS Cabal is a good example of having old mystical concepts (namely Qaballah and astrological decans) adapt to the modern world, yeah. Another fun one is that Anatreth, decan of progress and movement, can take bullets and meth as some of its offering materials.

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

... It's magic. I ain't gotta explain shit.

oriongates posted:

You didn't dispense with the tools, you just had very specific tools that you had to use for each flavor. That was one of my turn-offs for nMage, the fact that you couldn't really come up with an interesting, thematically appropriate ritual or magical instrument.

If i remember the rules on tools and ritual accroments are some minor bonuses against paradox.
You can just snap your fingers and magic at things which requires a very high(again whatever the power stat of omage was) right out of the gate.

MonsieurChoc posted:

If we want to get technical, oMage had everyone doing Chaos Magic while the new one has everyone doing a new type of true magic unlike any "real" occult magic, but most occult traditions have some fragment of the truth so someone using Japanese Onmyoudo is as right as someone going full Hermetic.

So funnily enough, if you take both game's metaphysics into account, oMage is the one actually being super eurocentric, despite it's appearance otherwise.
:goonsay:

There being as many grains of sand on a beach as there are paths to enlightenment is not however "Do whatever solipsistic poo poo you wanted." of oMage.

WhitemageofDOOM fucked around with this message at 19:14 on May 5, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Like I said, Yantras are gonna make you guys happy. We're not there yet, but: symbolism is important now, and there are several methods of designing around your ownsonal symbolism, that of your Order and that of your Path. The Free Council, especially, is very good at making otherwise normal activity into a symbol they can use to empower their magic.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


There was an entire book of nMage devoted to magical traditions.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Mage: the Awakening, Second Edition

The Moros Awakening heads to Stygia, but they do not go there seeking the Watchtower of the Leaden Coin, quite. The Leaden Coin is always with us all, you see. It's the weight of everything we find precious and everything we hate. When we die, if we are lucky, we pay it to the ferryman and are released of our weight as we pass on. The Moros, in Stygia, perform this transaction without having to die, undergoing an alchemical transformation as their Leaden Coin is made a fearless gold. The Awakening begins with Death - as the tarot says it, that is. Change, sudden but inevitable. It comes and cannot be resisted, no matter how you try. The harder you work to prevent the change, the worse it gets. The harder you fight, the hotter the flame burns you. You need to let go. Accept it. Change happens. Embrace it. Become it. The world changes, and you change with it. You understand now - change comes because it should and it must. You are the one who changes things. You carve your name on the Watchtower, aware that all things change, and that yours is the hand that brings change. You embrace this nature - the Great Work, the alchemy of the self, the transmutation that does not destroy, but purifies and clarifies. You die and are reborn, your weight lifted.

The Obrimos Awakening goes to the Aether. Their Awakening is the logical conclusion of their work, their theories. It is not a sober or rational event, however. The Obrimos Awakening begins when you paint yourself into a catastrophic corner, when you end up in a disaster where there is only one exit: an intuitive leap of understanding. You do not like to act without analysis, to feel without thought. But you must. You must become aware of the flaws of your theories, refine them, rebuild them greater. You will do this, become someone who builds ever higher on a foundation of your own beliefs. But before you can, you are someone who liked order. You thought it all made sense. You loved structure. And then...you started to notice the flaws on your systems. You saw the nonsense that was built into your theories and beliefs. You began to question the order of it all. And yet, when you tried to describe the problems to others, you sounded insane. You see a great force in these problems, a God that should be present yet is not - and is all the more obvious for it. You spit the place where an answer should be, but is missing. You feel a deep urge to complete that answer, to create that God. And in a surge of understanding, an intuitive leap of perfection, you do it. You write your name upont he Watchtower of the Golden Key and you create the God that fills the hole you saw, you write the answer that perfects the flaws of the system. There will be new flaws, and always, you will fill them in a way that fixes them. Again and again, you will rebuild, better than before.

The Thyrsus Awakening is of the Primal Wild. It comes after long madness. The world speaks to you before you are ready to listen. Every living thing around you crowds your attention. Your heart feels like an alien creature pulsing in your skin. Even the concrete speaks to you, a wordless babble you cannot understand. You can ignore it at first, but not for long. The world screams at you for attention. You feel it everywhere you go, everything you see. You can't escape it. Everything has something to tell you, and you begin to listen. You need to - it is the only way you will survive. As you listen, you realize: they were talking for a good reason. They have so much to tell you. You turn to the Watchtower of the Singing Stone and you leap in. You leave the old, silent world behind and embrace the life that is everything. Spirit and animal and plant and all, it is there and it is alive and you love it. You embrace it. You are part of it. You are the apex, the predator, the peak. All of life flows from you and to you, an eternal sacrifice from itself to itself. Life is devouring and fighting and loving and living. You carve your name upon the Watchtower and emerge, part of the life and master of it. The world still speaks to you. But now, you speak back.

When the Awakening is over, you perceive the material world again - but never as you did before you Awakened. Your eyes are open now. You can see the symbols that underlie the world. This, the Peripheral Mage Sight, can never be turned off. You will grow used to it quickly, the buzz of magic that you can always sense. When you focus, you can call upon the Active Mage Sight, perceiving the truths of all Arcana whose rudiments you understand. This will show you more - the nature of the things around you, the activity of the spells cast around you, and more. But that information may not be enough. By focusing all of your attention on a single thing, you may engage the Focused Mage Sight, blotting out the material world to gaze on the Supernal symbols within your object of focus. This can reveal deep, deep Mysteries - but it can also draw Supernal attention.

To the Acanthus, the world is full of destinies and paths that others follow, bizarre anomalies of time, signifiers and omens. The Active Mage Sight of the Acantus often is accompanied by time dilation or contraction. Under the Focused Sight, they may perceive thorns - visual metaphors of the branching timelines that grow and die ahead of all things, appearing as vines or cracks or shining lines. To the Mastigos, the world is full of thoughts that turn in on themselves to become minds, and proof of how distance is purest illusion - there is no real separation. Their Active Mage Sight warps distance, shows mirages, causes the sense of being lost, watched or chased. They see auras around all things that think, a haze of thoughts an emotion. Under the Focused Sight, they often sense chains, bars, uniforms or other symbols of imposed boundary. To the Moros, the world is quiet, settled. Sounds are muffled, movement slow. The dead and the destroyed leave afterimages to Active Mage Sight, or the world is seen through a lens of entropy and decay. The Focused Sight sees those who are distracted or tied to the past with these things set aside, broken or discarded. These impressions are known as shells or crypts. The Obrimos see the power living in the world. They see the interaction of Forces and PRime in all things, feel the world straining at its seams, barely able to contain the energies. Under the Focused Sight, they see mandalas, complex patterns of all forms of power and authority. Halos, shining lights, the sound of sunlight. To the Thyrsus, the world is ecstatic, transcendent, connected. It is alive, pulsing to its own beat, magic flowing like breath. Under the Focused Sight, they often see all life as part of one massive superorganism, each creature a cell. While all Arcana you study are part of your Mage Sight, your path is what predominates. A Moros sees Matter differently than a Thyrsus.

Mages name the aggregate Supernal symbols that correspond to a thing or event a Pattern. When more clarity is needed, the individual symbols in a Pattern are Forms. A Life Pattern, for example, isa ll the information the Life Arcana can give about something. All of the Patterns of the world together form the Tapestry, or in older texts, the Tellurian.

The language of these Supernal symbols is known as the High Speech. All mages learn to speak it in Awakening, and statements in the High Speech can alter reality. Using it can increase your control over your magic. Because its nature is entirey Supernal, the Lie conceals this speech from Sleepers, who hear it as meaningless gibberish or glossolalia. That said, the High Speech is not really a language - it is the Platonic ideal of language. It is gibberish to mages, too, but their Mage Sight responds to it, and they know the information it tells without having to understand the sounds. That said, nothing the High Speech conveys can be spoken in normal language directly, and it is useless for conveying long messages - but very, very good at expressing intent or mood. The High Speech cannot be used to lie, either, and is the only language that can fully describe a spell. The runes of written High Speech are derived from the shapes Mana takes on when released while viewed by Mage Sight. They are rather like drawing a blueprint for magic. Communication in High Speech need not use them, though - any alphabet will do, and only the Awakened will be able to read it. Often, the Awakened find High Speech in strange and unexpected places - written in architecture, in roadways, in advertisements, in the sounds of animals. Some of thse are messages from other mages, or put down intentionally. Most are not. (Indeed, the oracle at Pythia and some Christian groups that practice glossolalia sometimes actually speak High Speech without knowing it.) It is unclear what makes these marks - the Exarchs, perhaps, or the Oracles. Often, they lead to deeper Mysteries.

Mysteries, to mages, are things that beg to be understood and explored. They are phenomena that, in understanding and experiencing them, allow a mage to increase their enlightenment. They are the knowledge that cannot be taught. Old European magical societies called this experience a Mystery Play - a story with a symbolic moral. Each is a tiny reminder of the Awakening, of the first truth a mage learned. Chasing Mysteries is intoxicating to mages, and the journey is often as important as the destination. Even those Mysteries not easily solvable help in enlightening you and making you stronger. There are many Mysteries, and not all are obviously tied to the Supernal. In fact, most don't seem to be. Nothing forces mages to study them - but mages are a curious lot, and generally willing to go to great lengths for truth.

Next Time: Will and magic

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


]

Part 5: Conditions and Combat. Also Charts

Conditions are what has replaced derangements as a consequence of breaking points. They are also ways to reflect any sort of temporary or long term circumstances or modifiers. The most common ones you’ll likely come across are Guilty, Spooked and Shaken, which result from Breaking Points. These serve as a way to tell, at a glance, how your character is feeling beyond just their physical health. It should be noted that not all conditions are negative. Some conditions come as the result of an exceptional success on behalf of the Players. There are also Persistent conditions. These are conditions which are expected to last a very long time and require significant time and/or effort to resolve, if it's even possible. You can see from a few of these sample conditions from the book that they can have a wide variety of effects. Conditions also have a resolution, a way to remove the condition. While this involves some sort of handicap for negative conditions resolving these is a good source of beats. For Persistent conditions the resolution is simply a way of measuring beats obtained and may or may not actually eliminate the condition.

The book also encourages STs to come up with their own conditions if they can’t find one that matches the fiction. Generally a condition will alter dice pools +2 to -2 or some other effect everyone can agree on. They also need a method of resolution, and these are best kept somewhat general to allow the player some flexibility in resolving them.

Violence!



(Well he's trying at least)

Combat is probably going to happen at some point in time, whether it’s running away from a gang’s enforcers or trying to beat a terrifying monstrosity to death with a pipe wrench, bad things happen and someone is probably going to get hurt. It recommends that before combat starts you determine your Intent, which should inform you how far you’re willing to go during combat. Often you might be fighting just to protect yourself, or because they have something you want, and occasionally all you want is for them to die.

Down and Dirty Combat


When you are vastly more proficient at harm than your opponent, or the combat would slow things down too much without adding anything you can use Down and Dirty Combat. This resolves the entire combat in a single roll. Both parties roll their combat pool and the winner follows through with their intent, whether it be roughing someone up or fleeing down an alley. The winner also deals damage equal to the difference in their rolls plus whatever weapon they were using, if any.

Initiative

A normal combat counter is going to start with everyone rolling initiative which is a single d10+Their Initiative modifier. Everyone then has a chance to act in descending order. If you’d like you can delay your action but doing so permanently changes your spot in the initiative order. During an Ambush only those who are aware of the impending attack are able to roll initiative and act, the other forfeit both their turn and their defense until the next round begins at which point they roll as normal.

Attacking
Your attacks are largely going to consist of:
Unarmed Combat: Strength + Brawl - opponent’s Defense
Melee Combat: Strength + Weaponry - opponent’s Defense
Ranged Combat: Dexterity + Firearms
Thrown Weapons: Dexterity + Athletics - opponent’s Defense

People familiar with world of darkness are going to notice there’s something missing from these values. Namely the weapon rating. In World of Darkness your weapon damage, expressed as a rating between 0 and 3, added to your dice pool. Now these are only added to rolled successes. What this means is that hits happen less frequently, but hurt significantly more. This also makes guns very, very dangerous as at range the defender doesn’t get their defense. This is also where another big difference makes itself apparent.

In World of Darkness weapons were broken up into a few categories. Chief of which was weapons which did Bashing damage, which were largely blunt weapons, and weapons that did Lethal, which were sharp, pointed, or a gun. If you feel up with bashing you're on the verge of being knocked out in one way or another. If you fill up with lethal you're going to start knocking on deaths door. You also heal 1 point of bashing every 15 minutes and 1 point of lethal every 2 days. What this meant was that in World of Darkness it was better to get hit by a sledgehammer than stabbed by a pocket knife because you could just walk the former off while the latter would take a week to heal. In Chronicles every weapon does lethal damage. The only thing that does bashing damage is your fists. Chronicles really does try to drive home the significance of lethal damage in play. If you inflict lethal damage on someone, or something, you are putting their life in danger. Likewise when you start taking lethal damage you are on a fast track to the hospital, if not the morgue.

In combat you have a laundry list of possible actions and modifiers which are largely self explanatory. You can aim for a limb, dive for cover, dodge, perform touch attacks, the whole nine yards. Thankfully they are all rather simple to interpret and adjudicate. While this page may look intimidating a lot of these are edge cases, and being organized like this makes them much easier to reference in play. Something mentioned only briefly but is rather important is that defense drops by one every time someone is attacked a round, so if 4 people are ganging up on one person that last person is going to be swinging while they have -3 to their defense. Definitely an important consideration if you're in a one vs. many situation, either as a player or as the ST.



Tilts
Combat can very easily result in Tilts. Tilts act like conditions in combat but often end at the conclusion of the fight. That isn’t to say that they can’t become conditions. For instance if your arm is broken you’ll have the arm wrack tilt which prevents you from using that arm during the fight. Afterwards you’ll need a condition to represent to more long term effects of the damage. Tilts can also represent an environmental condition, like a blinding blizzard or wading through a swamp where everyone’s movement is impaired.



Armor
Thankfully with all this in mind you can obtain means of protecting yourself. Armor has a few variables we're concerned about right now, which is it's Ballistic Armor value and it's General Armor value. Ballistic armor is going to apply on attacks with guns, and will turn a point of lethal from the attack to bashing damage, up to it's value. So if your armor has a Ballistic value of 3 and you take 4 points of lethal from a gunshot the armor reduces it 1 point of lethal and 3 points of bashing. Armor also has a General Armor value. The General Armor value applies to any attack and reduces the damage by one, starting with the most severe. If the attacker is doing lethal damage you're always going to take at least one bashing damage, even if the armor would have reduced the damage to 0. Armor also might only cover certain parts of the body, and while all attacks default to the torso this means if the attacker specifically aims at a portion not protected it will not get the benefit of the armor.


Weapons
Weapons serve as the main way of making someone less alive than they were before, or as punctuating threats to the same effect. They do lethal damage and add to the number of successes rolled against an attacker. Some weapons have a Damage value of zero, and while this means they do not add successes they still do lethal damage on an attack. Weapons also have an initiative modifier, with larger, bulkier or more unwieldy weapons reducing your initiative accordingly. The justification being that a as you get more difficult to wield it takes longer to get into a position where you can be effective. They have a strength score, which is the minimum strength required by the character to be used effectively, as well as a size. Size 1 can be hidden in your hand, size 2 on your person and sizes 3 and 4 can't be hidden at all, though I guess you could try to pass yourself off as a friendly sword salesman. In the description of the weapons themselves you'll also note that these are more broad categories than specifics. The machete weapon covers any large single handed blade while the chainsaw could be anything large and nasty enough, like a massive executioner's ax.


Firearms are broken up similarly, with the edition of a column for their clip or magazine size, which is the number of times it can be fired before it must be reloaded. As you can see guns have the potential to do a lot of damage. A good roll with a rifle could potentially take a human down in a single shot. They were vaguely threatening in World of Darkness but Chronicles has made them exceptionally dangerous.



Example
So, we have our lawyer Jennifer Walters. She's gone downtown to try and find out more about her client, and before she knows it she's found herself in a seedy bar where her professional clothing sticks out like a sore thumb. But she recognizes the person she was looking for.She asks to speak with him privately and they go outside to a nearby alley. She wants to do this the easy way and tries to convince him with a Manipulation+Persuasion roll, but with only a single die it is unsuccessful. Unfortunately for him she has had a long, long day and her patience ran out hours ago and she decides to sucker punch him. She rolls her Strength+Brawl, a hefty 7 dice and scores 3 successes, doing 3 points of bashing damage. Because she is taking him by surprise this is considered an Ambush and, failing his Wits+Composure roll to see it coming, he is denied his normal defenses this turn. He reels and now they both roll Initiative. With only 2 in initiative and a low roll he gets a chance to act before she can act again. Now they are both able to use their defenses, and he rolls his Strength+Brawl but has to subtract her defense turning his 6 dice pool into only 2 dice. On her turn she decides to throw him to the ground and rolls her 7 dice pool again, this time subtracting the man's defenses, leaving her with only 3 dice. She decides to spend a willpower to add 3 dice to this roll. She gets another 3 successes inflicting 3 points of bashing damage and forcing him to the ground because of her Grappling Merit. He decides to call it quits. This woman is clearly better at fighting, even if he won't admit it, and he tells her what she wants to know if she promises to leave him alone.

Next: Healing! Equipment! ST advice!

unzealous fucked around with this message at 03:42 on May 7, 2016

NGDBSS
Dec 30, 2009








Beyond a few merits that look new, is there much difference mechanically between nWoD plus the God-Machine Chronicle/Demon rules updates versus Chronicles of Darkness as a stand-alone book? Or was CoD intended rules-wise to be a compilation of the newly published rules changes into a single stand-alone text?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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The latter, though they add optional crafting and investigation systems.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





MonsieurChoc posted:

If we want to get technical, oMage had everyone doing Chaos Magic while the new one has everyone doing a new type of true magic unlike any "real" occult magic, but most occult traditions have some fragment of the truth so someone using Japanese Onmyoudo is as right as someone going full Hermetic.

So funnily enough, if you take both game's metaphysics into account, oMage is the one actually being super eurocentric, despite it's appearance otherwise.
:goonsay:
I think this was always the case because it seemed pretty clear that they built the system around the Order of Hermes and then just made their system objectively correct, albeit with some twists. Now this was probably way more about ease of design than anything, but it was kind of telling when they tried to have ancient magical artifacts from the traditions which did not follow the Hermetic rules, like, at all.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


NGDBSS posted:

Beyond a few merits that look new, is there much difference mechanically between nWoD plus the God-Machine Chronicle/Demon rules updates versus Chronicles of Darkness as a stand-alone book? Or was CoD intended rules-wise to be a compilation of the newly published rules changes into a single stand-alone text?

The latter. It was originally just going to be the World of Darkness 2E corebook, but Paradox wanted to revive the OWOD so they rebranded it.

E: F,b

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


unzealous posted:


(Well he's trying at least)
Could you imagine having air freshener sprayed into your nostrils if you've got a wolf's nose?

Alternately he's somehow lit it on fire.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I think that guy's a bear.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Those aren't bear legs. Bears are plantigrade.
And Bears also have very good noses.

It's not the best art either way.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 21:20 on May 5, 2016

Tendales
Mar 9, 2012


Does Dodge work against ranged attacks now? Defense isn't subtracted from the normal pool, but dodge seems to be a separate roll?

I never was a fan of how defense doesn't apply to ranged attacks because 'you can't dodge bullets.'

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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No. Your best option against guns is to take cover, which works extremely well.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


Mors Rattus posted:

No. Your best option against guns is to take cover, which works extremely well.

To elaborate you are usually going to gain both cover and concealment from something large in between you and a shooter. Concealment penalties are based on how much of you they can see, and go from -1 for barely concealed to -3 for substantially concealed. To even punch through the cover your gun has to have a higher damage rating than it's durability, which starts at 1 for flimsy plastic and goes up to 3 for metal. This means if you hunker down behind a car and they don't have a rifle you'll be in relative safety while you figure out your next move. Even if the weapon is strong enough you subtract the durability from the successes of the shot, making it still the much safer option.

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MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


I've been slowly going thtough System Mastery and I've just reached the Aberrant D20 episode. You know, it's pretty blatant just how bad the game is compared to it's companions Adventure! And Trinity. Not just mechanically (base game was badly designed way before the D20 version) but just the writing. I still don't get why it's the one people keep talking about instead of the other two.

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