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Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Count Chocula posted:

What's stopping nMage from turning into Doctor Who, with a bunch of Time/Space Archmages zipping through the past on the non-TARDISes that they can explicitly create? Or is there an NPC faction that does that?
I have come around to nMage, the Arcanum are awesome (tho Space seems a bit overpowered) and I like all the Sympathy stuff.

By and large, not much. The big counterbalance is other archmages punching them in the throat if they screw around too much. Archmages follow the Pax Arcana, which is basically a gentleman's agreement to not gently caress around with the fabric of reality (or mundane affairs) too hard too often, because all the other archmages (and the Exarchs, in some situations) will come down on the offender like a ton of bricks when there's a breach of decorum.

Besides, even mages around Gnosis 4 or 5 tend to be...detached from the frame of reference most humans have. Archmages are at the point where they don't really even think about screwing around like Doctor Who unless it's directly serving one of their often incomprehensible Obsessions or motivations that don't have to do with seeking transcendence from the Fallen World.

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sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Yea there's no real hard mechanics stopping that, and really that could be pretty fun in the right party and all, but the fluff reason is that Archmages super aren't into that poo poo, and if you just start wheeling around the time-stream for shits and giggles enough to start leaving a trail you're gonna get a whole swarm of mages on a whole different level than you asking for a good reason they don't just kill you and hope the next idiot that gets powers is smarter.

That said, all that does it turn it from doctor who to some kinda spy/covert time traveler game which could also be very fun! I could see a campaign based around going back to maybe a couple specific events that are important to a character while trying to keep off the radar enough to not have to deal with archmages getting pissy being pretty interesting.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Simian_Prime posted:

The Marvel Universe RPG (the diceless one from the early 2000s) tried to use this for time and movement. It was a clever idea, the problem was that the book was so poorly edited that the terms "panel" and "page" became interchangeable. Goddamn that book was a hot mess.

If the book can't even consistently describe a panel as "several quick actions" and a page as "one short combat" , then what good is it?
My point about the thread's design-by-committee being superior to many paid RPG writers stands.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually



Marvel Super Heroes RPG, TSR 1984

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


Tatum Girlparts posted:

Yea there's no real hard mechanics stopping that, and really that could be pretty fun in the right party and all, but the fluff reason is that Archmages super aren't into that poo poo, and if you just start wheeling around the time-stream for shits and giggles enough to start leaving a trail you're gonna get a whole swarm of mages on a whole different level than you asking for a good reason they don't just kill you and hope the next idiot that gets powers is smarter.

That said, all that does it turn it from doctor who to some kinda spy/covert time traveler game which could also be very fun! I could see a campaign based around going back to maybe a couple specific events that are important to a character while trying to keep off the radar enough to not have to deal with archmages getting pissy being pretty interesting.

It's not really part of the most recent series, but 'conservative Time Lords trying to stop The Doctor from loving around with time' used to be a pretty popular plot. Then even stranded him on (then) present-day Earth in the 60s (John Pertwee, I think?) and there was a whole JFK/spy plot in Trial of a Time Lord.

Which just gives you more material to draw from, I guess. And Mage NPCs are probably more likely just to kill a rogue time Mage, and they can't regenerate...

(Okay there's probably some weird Life/Mind combo that lets you do that, but you couldn't do that and time travel. Probably.)

I'd just ban time travel in my game unless I had a really good idea for it.

I Am Just a Box
Jul 20, 2011
I belong here. I contain only inanimate objects. Nothing is amiss.



Count Chocula posted:

Does this mean most PCs can't turn their commonly used freeform spells into Rotes? Or can they only do it OOC by having the player invent it but learning it In-Character from a teacher or grimoire? Or did I miss something and spellcasting just doesn't work that way anymore?

Mostly the middle option. The assumption is generally that the Orders can provide access to rotes that encode all but the most niche and esoteric or forbidden spells. Casting by rote, or directly out of the grimoire (which is slower, but more effective, than memorizing the spell rote from the grimoire and then casting it in the field), shows how particular traditions within your Order can influence and color your Gnosis in a tangible way. The Arrows, the Ladder and the Councillors can all provide you a study on effective casting of the Howl from the Beyond, but the rotes they teach you are going to be different means of accessing the truth of the spell, and even within an individual Order, things like location, clique and philosophy will lead to divergent teachings. The Mystagogues around an Athenaeum tended by particular masters are probably going to end up drawing on those masters' approaches.

There's a degree of rotes as treasures of magic to be valued and won, too. Only masters can produce the teachings of a grimoire (though any initiate of Prime can then produce copies). A grimoire with rare or especially convenient spell rotes, then, can be the carrot for a search story, or a heist, or a counter-heist.

In terms of spells that you're good at because you personally have a lot of experience casting them and they come easily to you, rather than having sat down and formally calculated and coded into the perfect mudras to express it, that's what praxes are. You don't need a particular degree in any Arcanum to develop your own praxes, just time, practice, and arcane experience or growing Gnosis.

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:

Worth a special mention is the Safe Bearing Technique, which provides a bonus to navigate any hazard that the Exalt has previously sailed flawlessly - an example hazard is provided in a sidebar (the Mirror Court, a maze of enormous mirrors left behind from a retreat of the Wyld) with the unstated assumption that the Storyteller will come up with more elaborate hazards to add to the captain's logbook. When you go all the way out to the West and sail off the map, Chaos-Cutting Galley protects the ship from the warping effects of the Wyld.

Serious Moorcock vibes from these - I think the Melnibonians had a similar maze, and Blood is all about a steamship captain somehow sailing through the realms of Chaos. A ship sailing The Wyld would be amazing.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Also notable, time travel in Mage can't, without archmastery, go outside the time traveler's lifetime.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Dogs in the Vineyard: Resolution in Action

This chapter is just a list of some sample conflicts - what the stage is, who rolls what, what Raises might look like, what the stakes are. The objective is to underline how conflicts don't have to just be shootouts and arguments, and different ways Raising and Seeing can be used narratively.

Do you Outshoot the Shooting Instructor?
The stage: A shooting range outside the Dogs' Temple. Someone flips a nickle. You have to shoot it. The whole conflict happens in the space of a heartbeat.
This is a character's initiatory conflict. You roll Acuity + Will. I roll 4d6+4d10.
Your Raises are stilling your breath, stilling your mind, leading your target, remembering your grandfather's hand on yours as he taught you to shoot. Mine are the sun's glare, the distance to the shot, your grandfather's insistence that you never take a shot you can't hit.

Who Draws First?
The stage: The street through the middle of town. The clock is about to strike noon. The whole conflict takes place during the final second.
It's a pure gunfight, so both people roll Acuity + Will. Raises include flexing hands, narrowying eyes, birds flying across the sun, fear of death, doubts about rightness.

Do You Learn to Ride?
The stage: Scrubland above the Dogs' Temple. You've never ridden a horse before. The conflict takes place over months, a montage of your initiation.
You roll Body + Heart for physical activity. I roll 4d6+4d10.
I Raise using the challenging situations that pepper your riding experience. Each time you Raise, you start it with "on the next day that I go out riding..."

Do I Lose You?
The stage: The mountains above Bowers Draw, looking for my hideout. You don't intend for me to get away after what I've done.
We both roll Acuity + Heart.
Raising and Seeing are back and forth as normal, but don't have to follow linear time. Your next Raise is a flashback to the scene of the killing, looking at some red mud on the corner of the doorframe - the same red mud as up here in the creek bed.

Do You Gun Me Down?
The stage: Following the previous conflict. I've been run to ground, but I have a couple thugs with me.
It's a gunfight, so Acuity + Will for both sides.
My thugs aren't participants in the fight - instead, I use them as a See. Your shot misses me, but kills Billy. He's dead, but you didn't hit me, so it's a Block or Dodge.

Do You Get Murdered In Your Bed?
The stage: Your room, at night, with a possessed sinner.
You're asleep, so you only get Acuity. I get Body + Will.
My first Raise will be an overwhelming hit with my axe dice added in, so you'll probably Take the Blow right away. However, you aren't dead - you heard it coming, and come awake already in motion. You won't die unless the whole conflict goes my way.

Are You Dead?
The stage: Following the previous conflict. You Took the Blow for the first axe swing, and rolled 16 Fallout. Your companion rushes to your side.
You roll Body, your friend rolls Acuity, the dice are pooled. I roll your Fallout Dice, plus Demonic Influence.
Your friend's Raises are medical attention, exhortation, and ceremony. Mine are spurting blood, failing pulse, and the voices of angels beckoning.

Do You Figure Out Who Murdered Her?
The stage: Bending over her cold body in the toolshed.
You roll Acuity + Heart, I roll Demonic Influence.
Your first Raise is to Call by Name, commanding her ghost to speak. My Raises are disembodied voices, chills, pain and hate.

Do You Control The Demon?
The stage: A prepared place outside of Bridal Falls City. Inside a consecrated marble box is a demon. Your teachers waitin among the trees.
You roll Acuity + Heart. I roll 4d6+4d10, as this is another initiation.
Your Raises and Sees are all ceremony. The demon's goal is to possess you, then pantomime being forced back into the box, hoping your teachers will let it escape. The demon's Raises are battering wind, whispering in your ears, anything to get inside.

Do You Stop Me From Murdering Her?
DitV's setting can be seen as anywhere between a subtle world of faith and paranoia and a magical landscape of screaming demon skulls and magical gunslingers. The stage: Another gunfight in the middle of town.
We roll Acuity + Will.
My Raise is fanning the hammer in a shower of bullets. Your Block is sweeping your coat around to deflect the bullets, then your Raise is Calling my Secret Name to command me to drop the gun. The power of righteousness protects you!

Next: Oh boy.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets


Count Chocula posted:

Does this mean most PCs can't turn their commonly used freeform spells into Rotes? Or can they only do it OOC by having the player invent it but learning it In-Character from a teacher or grimoire? Or did I miss something and spellcasting just doesn't work that way anymore?

Middle option. Any character in an Order has at least a dot of Order Status. That Merit lets you requisition things from your Order, including rotes.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Count Chocula posted:

Serious Moorcock vibes from these - I think the Melnibonians had a similar maze, and Blood is all about a steamship captain somehow sailing through the realms of Chaos. A ship sailing The Wyld would be amazing.

I have to admit the Sail section did a very good job of convincing me to set my Exalted 3rd game aboard a First Age relic vessel, wandering the untamed seas looking for treasures and glory...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

The Eleventh Question are a Legacy that claim descent from Lucy Caspian, a 19th century Mystagogue. She claimed that each Arcanum answered a question - Mind revealed the nature of thought, Matter the truth of tangible and inert phenomena. However, each answer was incomplete, and the full Mystery of magic and Ascension required an Eleventh Question, beyond the Arcana. While investigating a haunting, ghosts possessed her cabal and made them kill each other, staging it as a murder-suicide. A Guardian named Sullivan helped Caspian's student, Jeremiah Moon, solve the mystery and clear the names of the dead. They mixed Sullivan's training with Moon's philosophy (learned from Caspian) to found the Eleventh Question, becoming its first two members and teaming up as nomadic investigators. After Moon's death on their final case, Sullivan passed on the Legacy to three other Guardians, then vanished. For the next century or so, the Eleventh Question have been nearly exclusively Guardians, but the Epopts have kept them at arm's length for their obsession with revealing truth, though they have been valuable when needed. They accepted members of other Orders, but only if approved of by Guardian leadership. This was the history accepted by mages and taught by this 'Jeremiad' Eleventh Question.

However, in 2008, a group of Mystagogues came forward and claimed descent from the 'true' Legacy. They held that Caspian was the real founder and had taught the Legacy to Moon, but had been killed by Sullivan so he could claim its secrets. This 'Caspianite' Eleventh Question felt they had the true lineage. Both they and the Jeremiads claim to be the true Eleventh Question and use the sectarian name only for the other group, but most mages use the sectarian names for both now. The Caspianites even claim that Sullivan arranged the original murders to cover his tracks. They will accept members from any Order, and now that's happening, the Guardians consider the Querents (as the Legacy is also known) to be untrustworthy at best, if sometimes useful.

The parent Path of the Legacy is Moros, while both the Guardians and Mysterium are parent Orders. Most Querents are ex-law enforcement, though some were mathematicians, priests, philosophers - or, for the Jeremiads, spies. All, however are people obsessed with seeking the truth behind raw facts. They are also almost all impatient with half-truths at best and often develop offputting habits. Prospective members must have Time 2, Investigation 2 and one of Academics, Larceny, Medicine, Occult or Science at 2. Their initiation requires them to solve a Mystery assigned by their tutor. The group has no formal hierarchy, though members often work in pairs. They rarely gather in larger groups except for emergencies or truly bizarre events. Their belief system holds that all evidence provides clues to a holistic ultimate truth. Secrets prevent enlightenment, so they must be revealed, but not everyone deserves enlightenment, so often they will not share all they learn freely...though some Free Council members have begun to ignore that part of the tradition.

The ruling Arcana of the Eleventh Question is Time. Their Yantras are: Succeeding on an Investigation roll relevant to the spell (+2), verbally explaining a mysterious phenomenon to a trusted associate, collecting samples or recording information relevant to the spell (as a note, the Yantra is the act of collection; the stuff may or may not also be a sympathetic Yantra possibility) (+2), using stimulants to stay focused (+2 if they cause a negative Condition). Oblations are: Solving a riddle or puzzle, studying esoteric magical theories, pursuing an obsessive or antisocial habit, or giving an extended lecture on an intellectually challenging topic.

Attainments:
The First: The Undisturbed Scene. Prereqs: Initiation. You get an uncanny knack for showing up before evidence is lost or finding evidence that was not wiped away. This emulates the spell Perfect Timing, in that you get +(Time) to rolls to gather information at a location. With optional Matter 1, you may also engage Matter Active Sight on arrival, and if it must pierce supernatural concealment, you automatically get (Matter) successes.
The Second: The Unobvious Answer. Prereqs: Time 2, Investigation 3. You can study a person, place or thing to peer into its recent past, gaining information by subtle cues and behavior. This duplicates the Postcognition spell, with (Time) successes and Reach applied to instant speed and sensory range. With optional Matter 2, you can also make liquid or particulate matter that's been diluted or diffused reshape itself into the shape it once held, provided some residue remains. You must touch the spots where the stuff was, but you can reform fingerprints or washed away blood. This duplicates the Shaping spell, applied to liquid and particulate matter. Its changes can be obvious (now the murderer's hands drip blood!) or subtle ('hey guys, I think you missed a clue over here').
The Third: The Chance Answer. Prereqs: Time 3, either the skill you got into the Legacy with at 3 or one of the others on the list at 2. You extrapolate from the present to a future scenario, learning what you will know then. This resembles the spell Divination, with Reach assigned to instant speed, sensory range and specific questions. However, you may only ask questions you believe your future self will know the answer to, by methods other than use of this Attainment. If you would not have personally discovered the answer, all you get is 'Irrelevant.' With optional Matter 3, you also reshape matter into an object relevant to your personal future - a duplicate of a murder weapon, an item of clothing someone important will wear, a key you'll need. You must have raw materials but need no tools, and from your perspective you probably just 'discover' the object. It may become the actual future object rather than a duplicate, or it might not.
The Fourth: The Timely Answer Prereqs: Time 4, Investigation 4. You may build a profile of known data on a subject over the course of a scene, then predict their actions. If you have at least a Representational sympathetic Yantra, the subject need not be present. This duplicates the Prophecy spell, with Reach assigned to sensory range. With optional Matter 4, you no longer need sympathetic Yantras to do sympathetic magic, as Time and Matter will construct one for you from the past or future, reshaping present matter into a Representational sympathetic Yantra, usually in the form of a lucky find on an investigation.
The Fifth: The Penultimate Answer. Prereqs: Time 5, either the skill you got into the Legacy with at 4, a second one at 3 or a third one at 2. After a scene of meditation, you may project your consciousness up to a year into the future, inhabiting your own body and ruling it there. You experience a future scene no more than an hour long. While doing so, your body is unconscious and can't be revived until the scene ends. If you die in the future, you immediately awaken, unharmed, but the scene ends. In the future, you are limited by your current stats even if they would most likely change. The future you visit is the most likely one but is not set in stone. When the present reaches that point, if you do not change it, the future may happen. If it does, you may choose to take exactly the results you foresaw, or you may choose to act differently and change things. You may repeatedly visit the same future scene, but each time you overwrite those that came before. With optional Matter 5, you may also add or delete objects when the future happens, as per the Ex Nihilo or Annihilate Matter spells, with combined factors equal to the lower of your Time or Matter dots, either from your person or in sensory range. You have a rebreather instead of drowning, your enemy has no bullets. This cannot, however, add or delete magic items.

There are many other Legacies, and the book gives us examples but does not stat them up. Acanthus Legacies include:
  • The Walkers in Mists (Ruling: Space). They are druids and pathfinders who seek out a sort of meta-natural state that they describe as the guiding destiny of the natural world. Their stronger members can enter a place called the Mists, using it as a shortcut to arrive wherever needed.
  • The House of Ariadne (Ruling: Time). One of the oldest yet most metropolitan Legacies, they use random travel through a maze as a divinatory tool in modern cities. They read the past and future of a city via secret signs and walking hidden paths.
  • Sisterhood of the Blessed (Ruling: Fate). A Silver Ladder Legacy, they began as a group of Awakened noblewomen in the Middle Ages, and now take on any role that influences the powerful from the shadows - though still mostly women. They use Fate in social situations, for the most part, to influence the people around them.
  • The Pygmalion Society (Ruling: Mind). A group of artists who have some talent but not enough for their tastes, they seek out and sponsor true artistic genius. Through the art they patron, they guide others to inspiration.
  • The Blank Badge (Ruling: Mind). An exclusively Libertine Legacy of collective, anonymous action. They use the techne of group responsibility and shared consequence, taking on a sort of collective nimbus that allows them to hide their identiteis and even, with power, share Paradox.
  • Carnival Melancholy (Ruling: Death). A Left-Handed Legacy of showmen and charlatans born of the Depression. They sought to escape the dustbowl's sickness by conning others out of their souls. Now, they are Reapers that trick souls out of people and harvest them for their luck.

Mastigos Legacies often form around Astral space and dreams. Legacies include:
  • The Clavicularius and the Bene Ashmodai (Ruling: Spirit). Both are primarily Seer and Silver Ladder. The Clavicularius fight their inner vices into submission, gaining power of those urges both in themselves and others, while the Bene Ashmodai embrace their darker natures and form alliances with their soul's demons.
  • Bearers of the Eternal Voice (Ruling: Mind). They wield words as weapons, causing emotions and beliefs and even rewriting memories. They are almost entirely Guardian, as the Guardians fear what would happen if other mages used their power, which works just as well on other Awakened.
  • Cryptologos (Ruling: Prime). A mix of Libertines, Mystagogues and Seers fascinated by language and the High Speech. They learn to find truth behind words, translating intent rather than meaning, and they are very good at casting with High Speech.
  • Brotherhood of the Demon Wind (Ruling: Time). A group of Arrow swordsmen more properly known as the onikaze, they were originally samurai, but in modern tims fight for causes that appeal to them. They apply Space and Time magic to sword combat, splitting seconds and striking despite long distance.
  • (Legion) (Ruling: Death). (Legion) are publically disavowed by the Guardians as a Left-Handed Legacy, but they are nonetheless supported as holy martyrs. They are, after all, the ultimate in deep cover agents - Reapers that give up their own identities to become the people whose souls they steal, disguising themselves so well even they don't know who they really are.

Moros Legacies include:
  • The Uncrowned Kings (Ruling: Mind). Alchemists who realize that the truest gold is the transformed self, who use alchemy, craft and labor as a focus for the mind. They have immense wills and perceptions, as long as they continue their labor.
  • The Stone Scribes (Ruling: Time). They believe that a human life can be summed up at the moment of death, and so record the essence of the dead and dying. They then use these 'final names' in ritual mantling, sympathetically becoming the dead.
  • The Bokor (Ruling: Death). They are often suspected of being Left-Handed, but are far too influential in the Free Council to ban. They harness the dead for power, raising zombies as servants and marking souls.
  • Forge Masters (Ruling: Prime). They take inspiration from craft-gods, and are experts of enchantment and imbuing items, as well as being famous for their mastery of so-called 'Perfected' Supernal metals.
  • Votaries of the Ordained (Ruling: Fate). They guard magical treasures, Proximi, Sleepwalkers and other things for the Guardians and the Arrow. They are also known as Rooks, and they can sense danger to others as well as being able to curse threats.
  • Logophages (Ruling: Prime). Called Banishers even by the Seers, they believe that magic is knowledge - and even knowledge can die. This Left-Handed Legacy ensures they are the only ones to know a secret, then destroy it for its magical power.

Obrimos Legacies include:
  • The Perfected Adepts (Ruling: Life). They are a founding Legacy of the Arrow, believers that the self is Supernal. They master their own bodies, honing themselves to perfection via transformation.
  • Daksha (Ruling: Life). They are a powerful but infamous Legacy of the Mysterium, influentia despite their questionable beliefs and history. They were born of 19th century Theosophy, seeking out the ancient past and tranforming themselvs into 'Lemurians' - hermaphroditic humanoids with a third eye on the back of their heads. (Spoiler from other books of 1e: at least some of them were Nazis.)
  • The Thrice-Great (Ruling: Spirit). They explore the sky of Shadow, binding planetary spirits with great ritual and letting them access the material world. They claim to serve an Oracle, which other mages believe to be an ascended archmaster. They deal with strange, strange things in the darkness.
  • The Tamers of Fire (Ruling: Mind). A member of a cluster of truly ancient Legacies, the Tamers, dedicated to elements. Fire is one of the most popular, and they are demagogues and rabblerousers who stoke the flames of passion.
  • Transhuman Engineers (Ruling: Matter). They are a group of Libertines on the cutting edge of technology, chasing the 'singularity.' They use their Attainments to interact with and analyze as many devices as they can.
  • Echo Walkers (Ruling: Life). A Left-Handed Legacy, but more for what they do than their magic. They learn to take on a quasi-angelic form for a time, seeking Supernal perfection. This would be fine if they didn't primarily do so by tormenting Sleepers with invasive spells that damage their souls.

Thyrsus Legacies include:
  • The Orphans of Proteus (Ruling: Life). They are master shapeshifters, taking on many forms and living as all of them.
  • The Dreamspeakers (Ruling: Mind). A Libertine Legacy that is really dozens of cultural Legacies that blended together over time, from Aboriginal Australians to sleep psychologists. They explore the deep Astral, the Anima Mundi 'world-soul', which they name the Dreamtime, to commune with the planet. They become able to walk the astral even while waking or outside a place of power.
  • The Illumined Path (Ruling: Prime). They see Awakening not as binary, but a spectrum. Originally a group of Christian mages of the Silver Ladder, they seek to open the eyes of Sleepers to the supernatural - a worthy goal but one that tends to piss off Consilia.
  • The Keepers of the Covenant (Ruling: Fate). They focus on the idea of Thyrsus as spiritual intermediaries, merging their destinies with the spirit world and becoming living bridges to the Shadow.
  • Chrysalides (Ruling: Life). A uniformly Seer Legacy, they base their magic on body dysmorphia. They offer the chance to be what you want, dividing your time between two forms - one that is perfected in mind and body, and one which pays the price for that perfection.
  • Tamers of Blood (Ruling: Space). Cousins to the Tamers of Fire, the Tamers of Blood are called Left-Handed by the Pentacle. They are experts in blood symbolism and sympathy, and make their living among apostates and the Nameless Orders by advising on their specialties...but clients tend to move on when they learn that the Tamers of Blood can control the bodies of those they get blood samples of.

Next time: The world of magic and how it will kill you.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

One of my favorite characters was a Blank Badge in 1e. We were playing a game about meddling in mortal politics, and my character was the PR guy who never quite appeared on camera or left any lasting traces. A faceless source of soundbites, quotes and platitudes that kept our opponents busy and our public placated. Although to be honest I mostly picked the Legacy so that I could have Psychic Paper.

Monathin
Sep 1, 2011


kaynorr posted:

The weirdest non-combat Charm is Hero Rides Away, which literally rewards the Exalt for doing cool stuff with her mount. If you end a combat scene riding, and/or survive peril with the aid of your mount, you gain Willpower and Essence. If you accomplish a major goal with the aid of your mount, you reduce your Limit as well. Utterly gratuitous, but a nice flavor Charm.

I want to point this out becausee discussing Limit is gonna be the first big thing I talk about next update, but if you're going to dabble in Ride, don't sleep on Hero Rides Away. Reducing Limit in Exalted 3e is EXTRAORDINARILY difficult, and gaining it is all too easy. Being able to release valve it with Hero Rides Away is some drat powerful stuff.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 14g: Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties

At long last, we come to the chapter on Horrors. I mean, it's a realm of horror, there must be some pretty scary beasties to deal with, right?

Well, there are a bunch of decent monsters, yeah. But Torg doesn't want them being treated as "generic" monsters, because once you know a Horror's general stat block and weakness then they become less scary. So to counteract this, the stat blocks for the Horrors are treated as templates, with each listed monster getting a Power Point rating. These points are used by the GM to buy extra powers for the horror off a couple of lists.

As an aside, the book warns that the idea of a monster having an ability it normally doesn't have may not be for the faint of heart.

quote:

This shorthand might suggest that any monster can have any power, which might offend the sensibilities of some readers (after all, a zombie with a shape changing ability does go against the spirit of what zombies are all about). We suggest that those of you who want your monsters "real" shouldn't focus too much on these apparent rifts of logic. It's simply a system to distribute many powers that many creatures have in common. For those of you gamemasters who are a bit more daring, remember that the reality of Orrorsh is similar to the monster stories of Earth, but is not the same. Like any Nightmare worth his blood, you should feel free to experiment with strange combinations and even come up with new powers. Remember that even Earth's stories of vampyres and werewolves contain contradictions and variations on the powers such creatures wield.
I don't know about you, but I find this book's constant reassurance that all these various rules and World Laws and such are really important pretty annoying. Okay, yes, horror movie tone, I get it.

Anyway, minor monsters may only get one point, whereas more end-boss-y creatures can have up to 8 or 9.

The one-point powers can give the monster a darkness field 25m in diameter, +10 Toughness against a specific damage type (with damage types including "melee weapons" and "firearms"), night vision, or an attack that instead of killing people turns them into monsters.

The two-point powers include the ability to negate up to 10 points of a target's armor, changing into an elemental form, resistance to normal weapons that turns the first five wounds taken into shock damage, and the ability to transform into an animal.

The three-point powers include hypnosis (effective skill roll: Charisma+15), life draining, possession, and regenerating as if the monster was spending a possibility per round to eliminate existing damage.

Note that there's no limitations on what power I can put on what monster beyond the point costs. I could be a total dick and give baseline zombies +10 effective armor against guns; good luck getting those headshots.

The more powerful monsters also have suggested weaknesses and True Deaths, but again the GM is encouraged to alter these to gently caress with the player's OOC knowledge and expectations.

So let's get to the monsters!

Amphids are slimy humanoids whose skin is covered with images of the faces of its victims. They exist maunly around the western tip of Java, and have rubbery skin (+4 armor), sharp claws and teeth (about as damaging as a heavy pistol), and can travel underwater. Despite that, they're considered minor creatures with a Fear Rating of 1/2, but 4 Power. So you can make them hypnotic and immune to bullets! Oh, and they have a True Death: "strangulation and then decapitation".

Bone Golems are created through occult rituals and require the bones of at least seven different kinds of animals. They're really just heavy bruiser monsters, with no real abilities beyond being able to rip you to shreds.

The Children are the creation of Punch, the Nightmare clown who isn't mentioned anywhere until this point. They look like children of race appropriate to the area they're in, and will approach adults who have recently lost children themselves. Then, when they're adopted and accepted by their new family...well...at least they have the decency to wait until everyone's asleep. Their True Death requires being baptized in a church to release the corrupted soul.

Chthons are best described as insect golems. You take a few thousand dead bugs, ritually prepare them and assuming you don't blow the ritual roll you've now got a disgusting, winged beast with giant pincers. I mean, you still get that if you screw up the ritual, but in that case you don't get to control it.

Corrupted Souls are one of the most common Horrors, yet at the same time the ones heroes are least likely to meet. Corrupted souls are what horrors are when they are "between bodies", and as such are generally only found in the Waiting Villages. Entering one of these Villages is a bad idea, because the dozens (if not hundreds) of souls will attempt to kill you and take your body for themselves. Individually they're not very strong, only have four skills, and can only attack by floating through a person (attack value 15)...but you never encounter only one.


I'm not touching you...

Disembodied Hands are, well, disembodied hands. They possess individual "intelligence", and are actually more dangerous than you'd expect due to their size and the fact that they make no noise.

quote:

The hand moves by extending its fingers forward and dragging its wrist behind it. The creature cannot communicate, but it possesses a mystical sight and hearing. It can sense where objects are and can hear the breathing of someone hidden in closet.

A disembodied hand attacks by sneaking up on its victim and strangling the person. The creatures climb electrical cords to get the drop on their victims, or bury themselves under pillow and wait until their prey go to sleep.
The only real attack they can do is attempting to strange someone (they have Strength 14, which is quite a bit above average). If one grabs your throat, it does its Strength as damage each round until you can pull it off with a contested Strength roll. Disembodied hands have high dodge and stealth skills, so fighting them is a real pain in the rear end. Oddly, they also have True Deaths, which is to be places on the bones of the body they used to belong to.

Faceless Ones are humanoid creatures with leathery wings and smooth featureless faces. But because we always want what we haven't got, Faceless Ones are capable of stealing the faces of their victims. They do this by simply pinning someone (by getting a knockdown result) and grabbing them. The victim's face is transfered to the Faceless One, as are all the victim's memories, knowledge, and skills. The victim's face becomes smooth and featureless, meaning they can't see, hear, or breathe, which means that in six rounds they'll suffocate. The only way to save them is to kill the Faceless One, which returns the victim's face. Their True Deaths require being presented with a mirror while in their faceless state.

Orrorshian gospog come in a few varieties based on the planting, as always. First and second planting gospog are used as caretakers for the more powerful ones, or are gifted to powerful Horrors. Third planting gospog are were-tigers that can change forms at will, although they prefer their human form for hunting in cities. A fourth planting gospog is called a "Scarabus", and looks like a more traditional demon; goat head, horns, barbed tail, and so on. Scarabuses (scarabi?) can be summoned via occult rituals, and can grant people power in exchange for their souls. Fifth planting gospog are wraiths, and are pretty much mindless killing machines. Their primary use is when the Gaunt Man or Thratchen want to not just make an example of someone, but also everyone within two blocks of that someone. Their only weapon are claws (damage value 19), but they also have insanely high unarmed combat skill and Toughness.


Metaaaal! :rock:

Ghouls are your Night-of-the-Living-Dead style monsters. They're bodies that have risen from the grave to feast on the flesh of the dead (the solitary ones that stay close to graveyards) or the living (the shamble-into-town ones). Note that zombies are a different monster we'll get to later; the main difference is that ghouls can act autonimously and are a lot tougher.

Lost Souls were mentioned before when we talked about spells. Nobody (not even the Gaunt Man, not even the lost souls themselves) know where they come from. The souls never remember a point where they were even alive to begin with. They can only be contacted through the spirit medium skill.

The Others are your required Chtuhloidian octopus-like creatures. They spend all their time in the jungles of Orrorsh, maintaining and feeding off the gospog fields or any luckless humans they can find. They're slow movers, but once they get close then they can make up to four attacks without penalties with their damage value 20 tentacles. They're also usually accompanied by a few second planting gospogs armed with blunderbusses.

Shaden are the remnants of one of the Gaunt Man's previous conquests. They appear as clouds of inky darkness, and can alter their shape to hide in shadows (darkness gives them +5 to their base stealth of 18) or whip out acidic tentacles. They usually have the "ignore armor" ability, and their True Death is being killed via unarmed or melee combat.


You wanna know how I got these scars?

Shadows are actually the first creature in the game to be based off Indonesian culture! How about that! Shadows are born from the Muslim belief that creating images of Man was an affront to God. To get around this, entertainers used shadow puppets for shows since they were technically not "images of man". The shifting reality of Orrorsh (and the mind of Punch) have twisted this idea around to create living shadows. These shadows are two-dimensional beings, but are capable of interacting with three-dimensional objects. Like many Orrorshian monsters, they have ridiculously high stealth scores, and as an added bonus they can teleport between shadows that are within 25m (Torg really loves that measurement, doesn't it?) of each other. Shadows tend to hunt in groups of five or so, harrying and taunting the victim the whole time. Their True Death involves being trapped in bright light for a full minute.


Someone seriously needs to clean out this alley.

Skarths are amorphous red slimes. Skarths feed on human blood, and acquire it by find a person, snaking around his body to strangle him, then oozing inside his mouth and chewing its way through the corpse. Skarths can do the wrap-around thing if they get a high enough result on a hit, and when they are crushing someone they get +3 to their damage until the victim makes a contested Strength check.

Succubi and Incubi are more standard-issue monsters. They're actually not that dangerous, especially compared to the other monsters available, although they do have high enough social skills that they can make life difficult when working in tandem with other monsters.

The Video Cassette Recorder of Death is a creation of our old buddy Skutharka. Technically speaking, the horror isn't the VCR itself, but the small machine spirit inside it. At any point, regardless of if there's a tape in it or not, the VCR can play back an image of a ghostly face made up of static and video artifacting. The face can communicate with the viewer, and will ask the person what they want most out of life. When the person answers, they see a TV show of that fantasy in vivid detail. While this is happening, the VCRoD is making charm and persuasion rolls until it gets a vow result on the social skill table (from waaaay back in the core book). Since its skills are in the low 20s, it's not going to be long before the rube is stuck following the VCR's instructions: "Go out, kill someone, bring me back the body and feed the remains into the cassette slot of the VCR."


I have to return some videotapes.

The machine spirit consumes the parts, and will continue to convince the victim to go out and kill again until either the poor shmuck is killed or someone destroys the VCR.

Vampyres are indeed spelled with a "y". Apart from that, they're about what you expect, although because the Life Drain and Infection powers are separate things they need to buy it's entirely possible to have vampyres that neither turn other people into vampires or drink blood. Vampyres have a pathological need to live in civilized areas as opposed to somewhere more isolated where they'd be safer. They also organize into covens for mutual protection, especially the ones not strong enough to create progeny. Only one vampyre is in charge of a given coven, but internal politics being what they are infighting isn't exactly uncommon. In fact, sometimes a vampyre will leak information about a rival to hunters or Storm Knights so they'll do his dirty work. Vampyres are not inherently strong, but they are fast (acrobatics 20, dodge 19, stealth 20) and have a charm skill of 26. Their weaknesses and True Death are, again, what you'd expect. Given how vampyres are mainstays of gothick horror, they get surprisingly little space.

Werewolves are another horror mainstay, and again get much less space than you'd expect. Werewolves are not native to Gaea, and were actually created by one of the incumbent Nightmares; the fact that they're just like Core Earth's understanding of werewolves is just a coincidence. Regardless, the souls in Waiting Villages see being put in a werewolf body as a punishment, because a werewolf cannot control its actions when in wolf or wolf-man forms. For the most part, werewolf transformation is completely involuntary and based on the phases of the moon. Some werewolves can control the change, but they'r rare. And of course, the only way to kill one for good is with a silver bullet.

Zombies are mindless bodies raised from the dead. They contain the weakest of all possible corrupted souls, the ones who have been defeated so much they're barely the whisper of an idea. Zombies are incapable of showing any form of initiative or self-motivation. Without instructions they'll just stand there. In other words, they're fodder.

Zuvembies are zombies, but tougher. These are closer to early zombie-movie zombies: tougher, much stronger (Strength 20), and completely mindless. Interestingly, the book explicitly states that you can't charm, taunt, or persuade a zuvembie due to it being completely mindless, but normal zombies don't have that text. SO I guess that means you can trick, persuade, or charm zombies? That's pretty weird.

---

So there we are. Twenty monsters, and only one of them has anything to do with Indonesian culture. But while that bothers me, there's something else that bugs me more.

I included a lot of pictures from the book in this update, but the thing is that's all the art in the chapter except for one of a werewolf that I think I put in a different update. You don't realize how useful a visual reference for a monster is until you don't have one. Especially when dealing with the horror genre; the descriptions in the book are incredibly vague, and a few more pieces of art would help break up the normal Torgian wall of text and stat blocks.

But really, the biggest problem is that, once again, there's no consistent tone here. Are we doing Victorian horror, 50's B-movie monsters, or what? Why is there only one "modern technology warped by evil" monster? Is that a thing we're trying to do here, or what? What is your point, Orrorsh?

Well, anyway, we're in the home stretch now. But don't worry, soon we'll be learning how to run horror adventures...Torg style!


NEXT TIME: Fighting the good fight.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




Dogs in the Vineyard: Creating Towns

This is my least favorite chapter of DitV!

It starts out saying that something is wrong in the town, and explaining what "something wrong" is. I'm just gonna quote this one:

quote:

"Something wrong" falls into a tidy progression, which looks like this:

Pride (manifests as injustice).
...leads to...
Sin (manifests as demons attacking from outside, in the form of famine, plague, raiding outlaw bands, or whatever).
...leads to...
False Doctrine (manifests as corrupt religious practices and heresy).
...leads to...
False Priesthood (manifests as demons within the congregation: sorcery, possession and active evil).
...leads to...
Hate and murder.

Let's remember for a moment that this is a supernatural setting. Demons are real - there's some lip service towards the truth of the setting being ambiguous, but it isn't really backed up by the rules. They have real power that you can experience directly and that sorcerers can command at will. People possessed by demons can grow fangs and claws and glowing eyes.

If demons are real, then that means that whatever leads to their attacks is a real power. What lets demons attack a branch is the diminishing of the light of Faith, through the above process. Look at the definition above of "Sin".

So, for the rest of this section, I'm going to replace the phrase "Pride can enter into X when:" with the phrase "X-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:".

Let's get started.

Stewardship
The Faith is organized into a heirarchy of nested Stewardships. Everyone is spiritually responsible for something, but something else is responsible for them. You'll be judged for how you fulfilled your Stewardship. The King of Life expects you to keep your Stewardship in order and to defer to your Steward's judgment.

Here are some explicitly defined Stewardship chains:
  • Local Families -> Local Officials -> Regional Officials -> Prophets & Ancients of the Faith
  • Children, Elder Parents, Related Unmarried Adults in the House -> Married Adults -> Husband
  • Various Duty-specific Officials -> Counselors -> Steward
  • Congregation -> Dogs assigned to it -> Stewards at the Dogs' Temple -> Prophets & Ancients of the Faith
  • Day-today Behavior, Obedience, Destiny, Relationships -> You

Stewardship-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:
  • Thinking you'd do a better job with someone than their Steward does
  • Thinking your convenience is more important than your Stewardship
  • Thinking fulfilling your Stewardship obligations means you deserve compensation
  • Thinking your Steward is doing a bad job, or that you shouldn't obey them
  • Using your Stewardship over someone as a display of power
  • Favoring some of the people in your Stewardship over others
Let's be perfectly clear on the fact that a woman thinking she shouldn't defer to her husband in all things can lead to the village being destroyed by malevolent spirits.

Women's VS Men's Roles
Oh boy.

Expected of girls:
  • Be demure, polite, and deferential
  • Do boring, repetitive work without complaints
  • Be afraid of spiders, mice, guns, etc
  • Cook, clean, feed animals
Expected of unmarried women:
  • Be receptive to courtship
  • Overcome girlish fears
  • Otherwise see above
Expected of married women:
  • Bear children
  • Raise children
  • Serve husbands
Expected of boys:
  • Be energetic, smart, conifdent
  • Do hard work without complaining
  • Not be afraid of anything
  • Take on important responsibilities
Expected of unmarried men:
  • Court lots of women
  • Only marry one of them, unless they're good and the Faith says they can have another
  • Work
Expected of married men:
  • Provide for families
  • Educate their Stewardship
  • Defend the home

Gender-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:
  • Not being satisfied with the roles of your gender, or wanting the roles of the other one
  • Wanting someone to act outside their gender roles
  • Denying someone full access to their roles

Love, Sex & Marriage
Oh boy.

So, sex between man and woman, within a marrage, sex and love ar virtuous. If they're married to other people, romantic love is not virtuous and sex is a sin. If one or both are unmarried, romantic love is maybe virtuous and sex is probably a sin. If both are women or both are men, romantic love is not virtuous and sex is a sin.

Sex-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:
  • Demanding the love of someone who doesn't love you
  • Pretending to love someone you don't
  • Wanting sex without considering love, virtue or sin
  • Considering your love to transcend sin and virtue
  • Pursuing marriage for advancement instead of love
  • Buying affection with money or prestige
  • Demanding your suitor buy your affection
Remember, in this setting, gay sex and gay romance both conjure literal community-destroying evil spirits.

Polygamy
OH BOY.

Polygamy is a reward to men for service and dedication. To get allowance to court a second wife, you must be called upon by the King of Life to do so, must fulfill your office in the Faith in an exemplary fashion, have a woman in mind, and be able to support the expanded family.

Polygamy-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:
  • Considering polygamy to be a right rather than a reward
  • Thinking you deserve polygamy when you really just want it
  • Seeking a second wife to display prestige
  • Not wanting your husband to get a second wife
  • Resenting your husband's previous wives
  • Putting your relationship with your fellow wives before your husband
  • Wanting a second husband

Money
Money.

Money-related behaviors that can summon evil locusts:
  • Thinking you deserve more than others
  • Not wanting to give up what other people need
  • Exploiting the poor

Injustice
So eventually one of the above locust behaviors happens, and injustice flows as a result. Someone is left hungry while others are eating. Someone is prevented from fulfilling their role in the community. Someone has to choose between sin and suffering. A woman wants a job or something.

Sin
We get a nice handy list of eight sins here.
  • Violence: Hurting others without just cause.
  • Sex: Be married, or at least have a good reason for not being married yet but get it taken care of ASAP.
  • Deceit: Lying, cheating, breaking promises, stealing.
  • Blasphemy: Taking the King's name in vain.
  • Apostasy: Not letting the King of Life be your anti-demon.
  • Worldliness: Swearing, gambling, drinking, flashing ankles at people.
  • Faithlessness: Neglect of duties of your office in the Faith.

Demonic Attacks
Once all the above is nice and taken care of, it's time for the demons to roll in. The goals of demons are to isolate the community, endanger its survival, exacerbate injustice, prosper sinners, and oppress the faithful. To them, the PCs' arrival could be a threat or a golden opportunity.

Maybe a demon's attacks are tied to the specifics of the sin. Maybe they don't. Maybe it depends on the circumstances. Once your players start to get a sense for what the rules are, adhere to them.

False Doctrine
A way to numb a sinner's conscience and justify sin. Coming to believe a tenet of Faith that isn't true, like that the Book of Life is merely human wisdom, or that a woman can have more than one husband. Something concrete.

Corrupt Worship
Outward expression of false doctrine. The specifics of the worship may not line up exactly with the false doctrine, it may just be general heresy brought on by the doubt sowed from that doctrine.

False Priesthood
One corrupt worshipper becomes a group of sinners. The heresy now has the force of a community behind it.

Sorcery
Organized worship has power. For the Faith, that's the power of righteousness. For a false priesthood, that's the service of demons. Members of a cult can command demons, but are also susceptible to demonic possession, allowing demons to act directly through them.

Hate and Murder
Hate here refers to an organized and deadly assault on the Faithful by the demonic. The victims are innocent, the deaths are ritualistic. This is as wrong as things can go, and as bad as a situation can be for the PCs to have to dissolve.

Setup
To make a town leap out easily for plotting, it needs three kinds of NPCs: People with a claim to the party's time, people who can't ignore the party's arrival, and people who have done harm for understandable reasons. Also useful is a secular authority - the Dogs butting heads with the Territorial Authority is always a fun source of tension.

A town might have multiple situations, related or unrelated, at different steps of the process. Pick some of the problems from the above lists that leap out at you, build off of them.

Once you've got the cast and the problems, determine what each person wants from the Dogs, and what they might do. Determine what would happen next if the Dogs never came. Then, you're done.

I dunno, I mean, I get that it's based on frontier Mormonism and 19th-century lifestyles. The part that really bugs me is how it takes those ultra-conservative values and makes them explicitly, magically correct, with all violations punishable by demons eating the community. All this fascinating moral dilemma is poured into "How will the Dogs address this growing problem in the community while wrestling with the secular authorities, people's morals, and their own consciences" and meanwhile over here we have a huge pile of poo poo that's actually, legitimately evil behavior, according to the undeniable will of God himself. And it's not even poo poo like "Decapitating your brother and burning his house down", it's poo poo like "A woman maybe wants her life to not be terrible a little". It seems like a weird setting choice for a game with a heavy moral choice theme, to have certain moral choices automatically lead to demon possession and sandstorms.

Anyway, Next: Between Towns.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Well, there goes any interest I had in Mormon Cowboy Game.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I imagine DITV blew a lot of minds by having these ideas, presented so clearly; even if you don't like the Mormon system at all here, you can see how you could use the game system with a different set of ethical choices.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


One of the absolute surest ways to make religious elements lose almost all their interesting aspects in a story is to remove all ambiguity by making a very explicit (and I believe Prof is correct that it's explicit here, despite trying to weasel out of it) link between temporal action and spiritual reaction. It removes faith, it removes doubt, and you also end up accidentally writing some really creepy poo poo like 'Man I know this looks bad but if we don't do these incredibly regressive or oppressive things the evil locusts come, man.'

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Night10194 posted:

One of the absolute surest ways to make religious elements lose almost all their interesting aspects in a story is to remove all ambiguity by making a very explicit (and I believe Prof is correct that it's explicit here, despite trying to weasel out of it) link between temporal action and spiritual reaction. It removes faith, it removes doubt, and you also end up accidentally writing some really creepy poo poo like 'Man I know this looks bad but if we don't do these incredibly regressive or oppressive things the evil locusts come, man.'
I could see an argument that you have to make it relatively direct and mostly literal or else you wouldn't be exploring doubt, you'd just be saying "Well, all of this is bullshit, as we know, being enlightened persons." Which might impair the attempt to be simulationist in the context of the game itself. Like if the point is to emphasize that the PCs, in their role and duty here, do in fact actually for-real believe in the teachings of their faith, it would be a way to do it, even if the GM might never opt to unleash the locusts.

That said the obvious thing for the Dogs to deal with is Mountain Meadows. :smaug:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Nessus posted:

I could see an argument that you have to make it relatively direct and mostly literal or else you wouldn't be exploring doubt, you'd just be saying "Well, all of this is bullshit, as we know, being enlightened persons." Which might impair the attempt to be simulationist in the context of the game itself. Like if the point is to emphasize that the PCs, in their role and duty here, do in fact actually for-real believe in the teachings of their faith, it would be a way to do it, even if the GM might never opt to unleash the locusts.

That said the obvious thing for the Dogs to deal with is Mountain Meadows. :smaug:

It's much more interesting to me to play someone who actually firmly believes in something reprehensible (without direct proof that the Evil Locusts are coming) and get into WHY they believe it and what social structures and things (like the dogs, for instance) exist to reinforce it. A game about exploring religious fundamentalism by trying to understand the fundamentalist perspective and how their culture comes to have faithful surety in these things feels undermined by having those things be unequivocally real.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



The more I think about Dogs in the Vineyard, the more I think a recent computer game called We Know The Devil, a game about three girls at a religious summer camp who can't leave the camp until the Devil comes and they confront them. To say more would spoil the plot of the game but it's good and it's making me think of an alternate interpretation of the game with the knowledge that Baker is no fan of conservative Mormonism.

Does the Paladin do what's lawful, or what's good?

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 20:03 on May 16, 2016

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


The Dog, Black Leaf, kissed another boy and I declare him possessed by a literal demon, from hell.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Hostile V posted:

The more I think about Dogs in the Vineyard, the more I think a recent computer game called We Know The Devil, a game about three girls at a religious summer camp who can't leave the camp until the Devil comes and they confront them. To say more would spoil the plot of the game but it's good and it's making me think of an alternate interpretation of the game with the knowledge that Baker is no fan of conservative Mormonism.

Does the Paladin do what's lawful, or what's good?

Yeah, DitV would be a lot more appealing if there was a way to go full Lucifer and turn on the horrible, oppressive universe you inhabit. "Well then God is wrong" should be the first and encouraged reaction to the game's morality- I feel like Baker was going for that, but the mechanics don't work with it.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Regardless of intent, and execution, those rules alone makes DitV a game you really cannot bring to the game table without some considerable discussion beforehand.

It's one thing if demons and stuff is real, but the Dogs and not!Mormons only believe they come because of violations of those rules - with an idea of following the tenants, or the Dogs digging deeper for the real cause and come to a crisis of faith, but as written, it's explicitly tied together.

Communist Zombie
Nov 1, 2011


kaynorr posted:

Sail is very solid all the way around, but the book is not joking when it says that involving naval hijinks needs to be all-or-nothing. Storms, winds, sea monsters, hazards....there are a lot of Charms dedicated to surviving naval terrain and getting a good return on XP investment means tackling those frequently. Sailing can also suffer from the Shadowrun Decking problem where the captain spends a lot of time on naval combat while the rest of the Circle is waiting to be useful again - however, this can be mitigated by having a very early boarding action before the captain is separated from the rest of the Circle, so that the rest of the players are fighting on deck while the captain is handling the elaborate spectacle that is happening in the background.

Or you can just port over the second edition three dot artifact 'Land ship'! Which is a actually a magical keel that lets a ship built on it sail through earth and stone (walls are considered waterfalls and forests are rough seas), though letting it get capsized will make it "sink into the ground, never to be seen again." Also not sure how well balanced for 3rd edition is its additional ability of giving a 2 mote (to a minimum of one mote) discount to sail charms used with it is.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




You could play DiTV as a religious 3:16 Carnage Amongst The Stars, in which the end point of every campaign is inevitably to turn against the perfect society of Earth that cast you out and destroy the source of your broken personality.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

ProfessorProf posted:

A town might have multiple situations, related or I dunno, I mean, I get that it's based on frontier Mormonism and 19th-century lifestyles. The part that really bugs me is how it takes those ultra-conservative values and makes them explicitly, magically correct, with all violations punishable by demons eating the community. All this fascinating moral dilemma is poured into "How will the Dogs address this growing problem in the community while wrestling with the secular authorities, people's morals, and their own consciences" and meanwhile over here we have a huge pile of poo poo that's actually, legitimately evil behavior, according to the undeniable will of God himself. And it's not even poo poo like "Decapitating your brother and burning his house down", it's poo poo like "A woman maybe wants her life to not be terrible a little". It seems like a weird setting choice for a game with a heavy moral choice theme, to have certain moral choices automatically lead to demon possession and sandstorms.

Well, do note -- I'm not sure if it's here or later but it's definitely applicable to here -- the person doing the injustice is not necessarily the person who starts the demon cult and sharpens the long knives.

Some girl doesn't get scared of bugs? Some boy's father isn't satisfied with his boy's bravery and sends him to KillYouDead Gorge on a test of courage, then when the inevitable happens makes bargains for the boy's life. At this point the Dogs are probably not going to remedy the situation by finding a big, scary bug.

It is not that the tenets are right, it's that they are accepted as right and people are either aware of their transgressive behavior or will otherwise use their own flawed judgment in steering a course.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Oh good, someone else hates Dogs in the Vineyard for the same reason I do so I don't have to pop a blood vessel venting all my anger towards it.

When I first saw DitV, my immediate impulse was pretty much complete revulsion for all the reasons listed above. This world is a terrible place, with the deck stacked against anything we'd view as decency by the author himself. The only thing I would ever want to do in this setting is Tear It All Down - it occurs to me that you might be able to make a playable game with a similar core mechanic of escalation only as investigators coming from the East to find out who this rear end in a top hat the King of Life is and how he cursed the land into his own personal despotic playground.

Design-wise, I think it stems from a certain tradition that starts with Call of Cthulhu - the premise is that real drama and heroism stems from the actions taken from defiance of knowingly impossible odds. I have to think that it was intentional that there are a lot of perfectly reasonable behaviors which summon demons. You're supposed to be able to play someone who is tolerant of homosexuality or premarital sex or wearing white after Labor Day; it's supposed to be excruciating to choose between executing the quiet gay couple and letting the literal forces of Hell run amok. Sometimes bad things have to be done, and it's only through Real Sacrifice that Real Heroes make the Hard Choices. The deck is supposed to be stacked against you, that's what makes it worth playing and anything else is an immature power fantasy.

Yeah, I hate it. It's an incredibly clear and powerful expression of a horrible concept.

Communist Zombie posted:

Or you can just port over the second edition three dot artifact 'Land ship'! Which is a actually a magical keel that lets a ship built on it sail through earth and stone (walls are considered waterfalls and forests are rough seas), though letting it get capsized will make it "sink into the ground, never to be seen again." Also not sure how well balanced for 3rd edition is its additional ability of giving a 2 mote (to a minimum of one mote) discount to sail charms used with it is.

I fully endorse this concept - commanding a literally solar-powered sandship across the great dunes of the South is good and cool. There is one Charm in the Sail tree that is explicitly about water, but everything else is readily portable to sand or air or the treetops. A campaign aboard ship is a way of life, and a pretty good one at that.

kaynorr fucked around with this message at 20:42 on May 16, 2016

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





kaynorr posted:

When I first saw DitV, my immediate impulse was pretty much complete revulsion for all the reasons listed above. This world is a terrible place, with the deck stacked against anything we'd view as decency by the author himself. The only thing I would ever want to do in this setting is Tear It All Down - it occurs to me that you might be able to make a playable game with a similar core mechanic of escalation only as investigators coming from the East to find out who this rear end in a top hat the King of Life is any how he cursed the land into his own personal despotic playground.
I dunno, I'd go with the Star Trek analogy myself as outlined - that seems way more fun than Getting Mad at Organized Religion, Again, which has been the cultural zeitgeist for like twenty-five years in this particular neck of the woods. Star Trek even has a secular example of the problem with the Prime Directive - in that setting, yes, cultural contamination is bad (and I think you can safely assume the Enterprise is permitted to quietly redirect comets and lethal volcanic eruptions away from Bronze Age civilizations). If you're lucky you get Gangster Planet; if you're unlucky you get Nazi Planet.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Nessus posted:

I dunno, I'd go with the Star Trek analogy myself as outlined - that seems way more fun than Getting Mad at Organized Religion, Again, which has been the cultural zeitgeist for like twenty-five years in this particular neck of the woods. Star Trek even has a secular example of the problem with the Prime Directive - in that setting, yes, cultural contamination is bad (and I think you can safely assume the Enterprise is permitted to quietly redirect comets and lethal volcanic eruptions away from Bronze Age civilizations). If you're lucky you get Gangster Planet; if you're unlucky you get Nazi Planet.

Oh, the mechanic has all kinds of great potential applications. My friend tried to pitch me a Star Wars game when it first came out where the escalation chain was Mind Trick - Fist - Blaster - Lightsaber.

It's the setting that I cannot comprehend spending even five minutes inside.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I mean, I've always been down for 'This place is terrible and will fight you every step of the way as you try to do something better.' Just 'try' has to not be a foregone conclusion. Having the deck (seemingly) stacked against you at the start is fine. Just as someone who studies religion, Objectively Correct Religions are nearly always boring and often come off pretty vile in fantasy and sci-fi. The interesting, even the beautiful, part of religion is in the argument, the philosophy, the faith that causes people to believe and act in accordance of that belief, and also in the variations on doctrine or from doctrine that spring from the interaction of the spiritual and the secular.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Nessus posted:

Star Trek even has a secular example of the problem with the Prime Directive - in that setting, yes, cultural contamination is bad (and I think you can safely assume the Enterprise is permitted to quietly redirect comets and lethal volcanic eruptions away from Bronze Age civilizations).
They're not, actually, which has resulted in at least one episode built around the most painfully stupid fake moral dilemma imaginable.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Man, I really thought it was a lot more ambiguous than that. My apologies for arguing about that earlier - I guess my brain must have edited the memories of the game into something a lot more palatable.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Halloween Jack posted:

They're not, actually, which has resulted in at least one episode built around the most painfully stupid fake moral dilemma imaginable.

Yeah, TNG and onwards the Prime Directive is interpreted in an incredibly dumb dogmatic manner- like the writers seem to think it's the Federation's divine law, rather than just one of Starfleet's General Orders.

"We'd have to contact at least one of these aliens to tell them how to prevent their planet from exploding? Then I think we need to consider whether its part of the divine plan of the universe that all of these innocent people die and that we shouldn't violate it."

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Kavak posted:

Yeah, TNG and onwards the Prime Directive is interpreted in an incredibly dumb dogmatic manner- like the writers seem to think it's the Federation's divine law, rather than just one of Starfleet's General Orders.

"We'd have to contact at least one of these aliens to tell them how to prevent their planet from exploding? Then I think we need to consider whether its part of the divine plan of the universe that all of these innocent people die and that we shouldn't violate it."

To be fair, it could be a "this was originally a general order, but slowly turned into divine law with succeeding generation's misinterpretations." There are some real world examples of this occurring, actually.

Halloween Jack posted:

They're not, actually, which has resulted in at least one episode built around the most painfully stupid fake moral dilemma imaginable.

"If we stop the death of a billion people, would this somehow be a bad thing?"

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Evacuating them from their home planet would irrevocably damage the culture they've developed over thousands of years. Yes, even more than the tide of lava.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Covok posted:

To be fair, it could be a "this was originally a general order, but slowly turned into divine law with succeeding generation's misinterpretations." There are some real world examples of this occurring, actually.

100 years isn't long enough for that to happen- secular law transforming into religion sounds like a good basis for a Star Trek episode, though.

To be fair, TNG only treated it that way in 2 really bad episodes- "Who Watches the Watchers" and "First Contact" were much better Prime Directive episodes.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Kavak posted:

Yeah, DitV would be a lot more appealing if there was a way to go full Lucifer and turn on the horrible, oppressive universe you inhabit. "Well then God is wrong" should be the first and encouraged reaction to the game's morality- I feel like Baker was going for that, but the mechanics don't work with it.

That was my reaction as well "I'd play this game if I had the option to go all Black Crusade on these not-Mormons".

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
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Mage the Awakening: 2nd Edition

I'm going to skim over Chapter 5, which is the condensed 'here is how the rules of CofD work' chapter. Instead, it's off to chapter 6 and the description of the poo poo out there in the world. The first and most common foe that any mage is going to face is...other mages. The Left-Handed, often. They're the people who have been warped by mystery. Left-Handed is a term that the Pentacle and Seers both use, referring to any magic they have banned. However, there are five larger subgroupings of Left-Handed mages that are themselves considered to be hazards to continued existence of other mages. While they are grouped together, each subgrouping contains many philosophies and reasons for what they do - all mages that deal with the Abyss are Scelesti, all mages that hunt mages are Banishers.

The Mad Ones, or simply the Mad, have neither organization nor philosophy as a whole. Each is unique. The term is just a taxonomic classification for those mages who have gone past obsession into something new, so consumed by a single idea or issue that they have lost all Wisdom. For a very long time, mages believed that each Mad One was a unique event. It's only in the last century that people have begun to realize that the Mad have similarities - they all have become so obsessed that their obsession has become a Fault in their worldview. One Mad might not believe the world is real unless they cast a single spell over and over. Another might be compelled to perform some bizarre behavior they believe is entirely normal or even compulsory, like poisoning innocents and recording what happens, or planning all things around astrology. Another may be obsessed with a Mystery such that without it they have no reason to live.

The very presence of the Mad leaks magic, whether they're casting or not. Sleepers that encounter them experience Quiescence when thinking about them, as if they were a spell. This cuts them further from the mundane world. Soon, they cannot interact with the mundane side of the Fallen World at all, as their friends and family forget them entirely. When they think about it, they may mourn this...or they may be relieved by the loss of these needless shackles from their work. Any mage can become Mad. It's quite easy. All you have to do is focus on something so much that you ignore the rest of the world and your own Wisdom. Sometimes, a cabal can enable this without meaning to, even welcome it as they see their cabal-mate gaining great insight into their obsession. The Mad rely almost entirely on any cabal they have for dealings with others. Their obsession even removes their ability to enter the Temeons, unable to venture beyond their own souls. They are extremely skilled, however, in the fields of their obsession.

Mechanically, the Mad are mages that hit Wisdom 0. Once you do that, you replace your Virtue with one of your Obsessions, now called a Fault. Your default state is pursuing it. In the field of their Fault, a Mad One is supernaturally able. Their skill rolls related to it only need three successes for an exceptional success. They might be able to use a specific Practice with any Arcanum, regardless of how many dots they have. Further, the Mad cause Quiescence by their very presence. Their own existence in the Fallen World is diffuse and disjointed. For every week in which they do not indulge their Fault, they gain one dot of Occultation. However, any time when they are not indulging their fault, either by choice of roce, their subconscious manifests magical effects known as Tulpa, which force them back towards the Fault. Sometimes, these benefit the Mad One. Sometimes they harm anyone in their way. Sometimes, they prevent any semblance of a normal-ish life.

Banishers are mages that turn on their own kind. It's easy, too. A second of indecision, a moment of dead, an answer you can't handle. With that, you realize that Mysteries are everywhere, incomprehensibly vast. The Fallen World hides its truths, and surely for a reason. But you're still a mage, drawn to and aware of Mysteries. Some Banishers happen organically - mages pushed too far, discovering answers better left unknown. They are traumatized, perhaps insane, determined that no other mage should suffer the same. Other mages dscover answers that disturb them so much they join the Logophages or Timori, Left-Handed Legacies devoted to destruction of magic. Others suffer Awakenings gone wrong, experiencing magic as pain and fear. Banishers rarely live long. Those who fear the Mysteries often prefer suicide to facing their fear, as do those who can't see magic for what it is. Others fight other mages, dying in battle to stop them from engaging in Mysteries or trying to steal their magic. Some mages take it as a duty to kill the Banishers coming from twisted Awakening. They see it as an act of kindness - better to end their pain then drive them further into madness. If nothing else, they can't hurt others once dead. Some cabals even form around the herrible calculus of figuring out how many a Banisher will hurt, and how badly.

However, a handful of Banishers manage to escape death until they develop their powers and are able to rationalize their experiences. Many believe that, though they are damned by their magic, their awareness lets them help those who are not. Others accept that mages - including themselves - are ordinary people, and while others do not appreciate the danger, they must use their magic as a necessary evil to speak truth to power. Banisherrs that join Left-Handed Legacies gain a support group that can teach them dark lore and magic. Those whose Awakenings went poorly never understand theri amgic, lashing out by blind instinct at the things that hurt them. Perhaps this kind of internal hypocrisy has a Supernal resonance, or perhaps they tap into a fear all mages have. It's unceral. What is clear is that friendly contact with a Banisher seems more likely to make you become a Banisher than cure them. The mindset seems to be almost contagious.

System-wise, most Banishers are just Nameless mages. Twisted Awakenings, however, are different. A Banisher with a twisted Awakening retains Integrity rather than Wisdom, and experiences their Peripheral Mage Sight in the form of pain and suffering.

Next time: Liches and Reapers

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