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

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yeah, I used to have all the Munchkin d20 books from when SJ Games was fire saleing them, and managed to sell them off last year at a profit, because people are coocoo for that game.

It's reasonably amusing if you like your D&D jokes and puns, but the most remarkable thing is that they made the 3.0 classes and races actually more boring, somehow. It also has the most restricted use of the d20 license I've seen, since they count all proper names as product ID. So all those people who were hoping to use The Wight Brothers in their Pathfinder supplement are out of luck. (There are no such people, however.)

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:20 on May 18, 2016

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Kavak posted:

Well then build it somewhere else. What the hell is a Baernoloth, anyway?

Side question: Each of the Lower Planes seems to have a decent theme going, but what's Gehenna's deal? It seems like its solely meant to contain all the Neutral Evil deities that don't fit in the entropy and suck of the Gray Wastes, like Bhaal.

The Yugoloths have reasons for building a stronghold on Carceri. Not to spoil anything, but they're trying to get all the dark green tiles in Monopoly, and their greasy cousin won't sell Pacific Avenue no matter what. As for what a Baernoloth is, imagine if Havelock Vetinari just stopped giving any fucks about ruling Ankh-Morpork and just hosed with everyone for the sake of doing so.

Gehenna is the Plane of petulant assholery. It's a more agressive, spiteful Evil compared to the slow crushing despair of the Grey Wastes or the misanthropic self-loathing of Carceri

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Kavak posted:

EDIT: Mephits as appliances and messages is one of those things that seems cool until you think about how any of that would actually work or what it'd look like. And what's the difference between Vacuum and Negative Energy?

Negative Energy is literally where Necromancy spells get their power from. Being their sucks the lifeform from you, and there are tons of undead present. Vacuum is just that, vacuum. It kills you with boring physical means.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




SirPhoebos posted:

The Yugoloths have reasons for building a stronghold on Carceri. Not to spoil anything, but they're trying to get all the dark green tiles in Monopoly, and their greasy cousin won't sell Pacific Avenue no matter what. As for what a Baernoloth is, imagine if Havelock Vetinari just stopped giving any fucks about ruling Ankh-Morpork and just hosed with everyone for the sake of doing so.

Gehenna is the Plane of petulant assholery. It's a more agressive, spiteful Evil compared to the slow crushing despair of the Grey Wastes or the misanthropic self-loathing of Carceri

Well it's their fault for playing the shittiest board game

I grok the Lower Planes a lot more now- I never thought of each one having an emotional theme. I probably need to start buying Planescape stuff from DTRPG.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Kavak posted:


EDIT: Mephits as appliances and messages is one of those things that seems cool until you think about how any of that would actually work or what it'd look like. And what's the difference between Vacuum and Negative Energy?

Negative plane is designed by an utter lack of anything. Vacuum plane is defined by a lack of specifically air.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I'm not saying that this is fair, but when I was a teenage gamer in the 90s who had skimmed AD&D books but never played D&D, mephits and the quasiplanes looked like a pretty good summation of everything that was wrong with D&D, at least setting-wise. Thirty-one elemental flavours of basically the same creature looked like a lazy way to crank out supplemental material, and devoting pagecount to describing dimensions of pure [whatever] that were basically impassible and unusable made it seem like the people who made AD&D must have been out of touch with their own plane of reality.

Mephits are kind of funny, though.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



There were two cool things about the multitude of inner planes.

1. Obsessively memorizing their layout.

2. The rad fortresses villains could build in them, hewn roughly into incongruous asteroids and the corpses of giant elemental monsters in defiance of the local laws of reality.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




theironjef posted:

Negative plane is designed by an utter lack of anything. Vacuum plane is defined by a lack of specifically air.

Then shouldn't the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Dust turn into the Elemental Plane of Air and collapse the entire multiverse?

Halloween Jack posted:

I'm not saying that this is fair, but when I was a teenage gamer in the 90s who had skimmed AD&D books but never played D&D, mephits and the quasiplanes looked like a pretty good summation of everything that was wrong with D&D, at least setting-wise. Thirty-one elemental flavours of basically the same creature looked like a lazy way to crank out supplemental material, and devoting pagecount to describing dimensions of pure [whatever] that were basically impassible and unusable made it seem like the people who made AD&D must have been out of touch with their own plane of reality.

Mephits are kind of funny, though.

They don't seem very usable except as flavor, but the Elemental and Energy Planes are cool and saying "This is what's between them and these little assholes live in each one" seems okay to me.

I'd turn the QEP of Ash into one of Ice- that could actually be an interesting place to visit.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Dungeons and Dragons is a game of fantastic imagination, and by fantastic imagination I mean possessing an entire plane of nothing but ooze and more ooze and monsters made of ooze that is actually the original ur-source of every puddle of slimy wet mud across the entire multiverse. Did I just blow your mind?!?

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!





Planescape Monstrous Companion: Slaad




Slaad are the native planar race of Limbo. They scavenge the battlefields of the Blood War, feeding on the dead and using the wounded in their reproductive cycle. They operate in cliques, with the strong ruling as many weaker ones as they can keep track of. Although they want to rule the multiverse, but lack the will to mobilize armies or become involved in the intrigues of “other fiends” (note: Slaadi aren’t fiends). Although they aren’t evil, they are nonetheless pretty nightmarish and are just as likely to wreck your poo poo as any Tanar’ri. Slaadi have a chance to Gate in others of their kind.

Red Slaad (2000 xp) attack with two claws and a bite (1d4/1d4/2d8). Once a day, a Red Slaad can emit a loud croak that stuns opponents within 20 feet for 2 rounds (Petrification save to avoid). A Red Slaad’s claw attack has a 25% chance of implanting an egg that takes 3 months to gestate. A Blue Slaad hatches and eats the host from the inside.

The Blue Slaad (9000 xp) have more potent claws (2d6) and attack twice with each in a round. Their bite inflicts the equivalent of mummy rot 10% of the time. This is separate from the chance to inflict lycanthropy on wounded and unconscious humanoids that transforms the victim into a Red Slaad over the course of three months. They get the spell-like abilities Hold Person, Passwall, and Telekinesis.

Both the egg and the transformation effect can be detected with Detect Evil, and can be stopped with Cure Disease, Remove Curse, or similar curative magic. To prevent this, Red and Blue Slaadi put victims into temporary camps. Red and Blue Slaadi have an intense rivalry despite their interconnected life cycle, and it’s only through raw instinct that these two groups haven’t Prisoner's Dilemna’d the entire race into extinction.

If a Red or Blue Slaadi’s victim is a powerful human or demi-human (such as a high-level adventurer), then sometimes a Green Slaad (11000 xp). A Green Slaad can polymorph into the human or demi-human that it spawned from. They get a selection of spell-like abilities, the most significant being Delayed Blast Fireball 1/day. The book says that they prefer to use their innate magic or Gating in other Slaadi, even though they can’t Gate with total reliability.

A Green Slaad that lives for about a century will withdraw into the wilderness. Many are never seen again, but some return after one year as a Gray Slaad (15000 xp). Gray Slaad retain the ability to Shapechange into the host they spawned/transformed from, and often wield a magic weapon in this form (“referee’s choice”, which is a really weird term). As a nice nod to their chaotic nature, their list of spell-like abilities says these are “powers they’ve demonstrated”, noting that not all Gray Slaadi posses all the listed powers. Some Grays can enchant an item given the time and materials.



Gray Slaadi are obsessed with learning the secrets to transforming into Death Slaad (22000 xp). At least a half-dozen are known to exist, and they are the closest thing the Slaad have to leaders. A Death Slaad’s claw attacks require those it hit to make a Con check or be stunned for 1d6 rounds. They have the same Shapechange abilities as before but get enhanced stats if appropriate (at least 12 charisma and 18/01 strength). They have even stronger spell-like abilities than Gray Slaad, and they can Gate other Slaad once a turn with a 100% chance of working. Like Grays, Slaad can enchant items.

So those are all the mega-entries in the Monstrous Compendium. I’ll be covering the remaining entries in order of how interesting I find them. If I decide some are too boring to include, that’s just how I roll, bitches. (I will show off the art of course)

Next: The Golden Girls

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I used to have all the Munchkin d20 books from when SJ Games was fire saleing them, and managed to sell them off last year at a profit, because people are coocoo for that game.

It's reasonably amusing if you like your D&D jokes and puns, but the most remarkable thing is that they made the 3.0 classes and races actually more boring, somehow. It also has the most restricted use of the d20 license I've seen, since they count all proper names as product ID. So all those people who were hoping to use The Wight Brothers in their Pathfinder supplement are out of luck. (There are no such people, however.)

I'd use a Plutonium Dragon as a boss fight. No joke.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I like the Slaadi but it seems like somebody came up with Limbo's description before putting them there.

"What're the main inhabitants of the elemental soup plane? Frog men."

Covok
May 27, 2013
Probation
Can't post for 29 days!


Kavak posted:

I like the Slaadi but it seems like somebody came up with Limbo's description before putting them there.

"What're the main inhabitants of the elemental soup plane? Frog men."

What? You don't like frog soup, the platonic ideal of soup?

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Kavak posted:

I like the Slaadi but it seems like somebody came up with Limbo's description before putting them there.

"What're the main inhabitants of the elemental soup plane? Frog men."

Like many things in this book, it comes down to the monsters being created before the campaign setting. While I don't know the chronology of when monsters first appeared, generally if the stat bar has a listing for a Treasure Table, the more likely there'll be incongruous elements.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I seem to recall there was some monster race aligned with pure Chaos, who if you encountered them, were likely to do things like attack for no reason, offer no resistance while you hack them to death, or explode, or disbelieve their own existence and vanish. Was that not the slaad? I had a mental image of what those creatures looked like, but it was the Rast. I swear I'm not making this up. Maybe it was just something from a Planescape fanpage.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Halloween Jack posted:

I seem to recall there was some monster race aligned with pure Chaos, who if you encountered them, were likely to do things like attack for no reason, offer no resistance while you hack them to death, or explode, or disbelieve their own existence and vanish. Was that not the slaad? I had a mental image of what those creatures looked like, but it was the Rast. I swear I'm not making this up. Maybe it was just something from a Planescape fanpage.

This is really just the logical evolution of those reaction tables for multiverse campaigns.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Halloween Jack posted:

I seem to recall there was some monster race aligned with pure Chaos, who if you encountered them, were likely to do things like attack for no reason, offer no resistance while you hack them to death, or explode, or disbelieve their own existence and vanish. Was that not the slaad? I had a mental image of what those creatures looked like, but it was the Rast. I swear I'm not making this up. Maybe it was just something from a Planescape fanpage.

Yeah, can't say I know what you're referring to.

I used to read Planeswalker.com a lot back in the day, and even contributed to their attempt to make a d20 Modern conversion. I one criticism is that they took the boosting the Yugoloths got later on and ran with it, so now it's hard for me to distinguish how much of the wankery I associate with them is canon-supported or not.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




The curst have a rule where every round there's a chance they break off fighting to sob uncontrollably, dance around, or just stare at a wall.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

SirPhoebos posted:

Yeah, can't say I know what you're referring to.

I used to read Planeswalker.com a lot back in the day, and even contributed to their attempt to make a d20 Modern conversion. I one criticism is that they took the boosting the Yugoloths got later on and ran with it, so now it's hard for me to distinguish how much of the wankery I associate with them is canon-supported or not.

From what I remember of flipping through the Blood War boxed set, the 'loths had some serious wank going down.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



SirPhoebos posted:

Like many things in this book, it comes down to the monsters being created before the campaign setting. While I don't know the chronology of when monsters first appeared, generally if the stat bar has a listing for a Treasure Table, the more likely there'll be incongruous elements.

The slaadi first showed up in the Fiend Folio (1984), when the Outer Planes were mostly just vague descriptions in the back of the PHB and Deities & Demigods and a bit of material from the Dragon. Things didn't start getting more defined until late in 1E's life cycle, when the first Manual of the Planes was published in 1987.

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


Nessus posted:

If that passage was written in scripto continua or whatever it's called, where the word train keeps going without punctuation at all, he wouldn't even be wrong!

pre:
WHATAREYOUCRAZYMODERNPEOPLETALKINGABOUTITISONLYNATURALTOONLYWRITEDOWNTHESOUNDSAN
DNOTPAUSESAFTERALLTHETEXTISONLYFORPERFORMANCEITSNOTLIKEANYONEWOULDTRYTOREADSILEN
TLYORREADATEXTTHEYVENEVERHEARDBEFORESCRIPTIOCONTINUAISTHEREFOREOPTIMALBECAUSEGOD
DAMNPAPYRUSISEXPENSIVE
More seriously, yeah, it probably was scriptio continua, because even in our world writing to be read silently to learn information is a fairly new concept.

Keiya fucked around with this message at 00:28 on May 19, 2016

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!




Planescape Monstrous Companion: Night Hags, Larvae, Imps, Quasits, and Nightmares



Night Hags (12000 xp) inhabit the Grey Wastes. Practically speaking, they rule the place. They are also a key component in the economy of the Lower Planes.

Night Hags will attack any good creature if they believe they have a chance of winning. Physically, their bite can cause disease on a failed poison save. Magic-wise, they get a decent selection of spell-like abilities, including Ray of Enfeeblement 3/day. Their most potent ability can only affect “selfishly evil” monsters and characters. It’s a Sleep spell that works on up to 12 HD or 12th level (spell save to resist). The hag then strangles the victim and takes its spirit back to the Grey Wastes where it becomes a larvae. Even if the target makes its save will then visit the victim in ethereal form (which it can assume at will, the entry just now mentions) and intrudes on its dreams, riding on the victim’s back until dawn. This permanently drains the victim’s constitution by 1 each night. When the victim dies, the Night Hag takes his or her soul back to the Grey Wastes. The only way to prevent this is to destroy it in either it’s normal or ethereal form. Oh, the Night Hag doesn’t have Planeshift or Teleport Without Error, so how she gets to and from the Grey Wastes is basically DM fiat.

Night Hags rule the Grey Wastes by default. They gather larvae into herds and barter them to the Baatezu and Tanar’ri, though they also sell them to Liches. The fluff section here says the fiends use larvae to create Imps and Quasits, respectively, but their uses expand as the setting evolves. Night Hags see the Multiverse as a place of eternal conflict. They don’t form permanent alliances, although others will seek out their counsel thanks to their “keen minds and perfect memory”. They’ll trade for knowledge, magic items and spirits, but if the other party is weaker, they’ll track them down and turn them into larvae. Night Hags don’t hate any species in particular or even their own kind. That makes them perfect intermediaries on the Lower Planes, and only their aversion to permanent alliances keep Night Hags from having even greater power. Night Hags have a burning desire to know all things, and have founded mortal colleges to that end. “some research projects - even those carried out by the most moral of wizards - have been ultimately found to be financed by hag gold.” Night Hags remember any time they were outwitted, and will spend years plotting revenge. They also remember every kindness shown to them, “but they appear less motivated to repay it.”

Amanitis, a Night Hag haggler posted:

Larvae! Larvae for sale! Nice, fresh larvae...



So what are larvae? (35 xp) The monster entry says they are the souls of especially selfish mortals, but this expands to the soul of any NE mortal that wasn’t a devotee of a specific power. The entry opens with an excerpt from an in-setting chronicle of a famed Planar traveller Mordeia the Great. Mordeia describes how her party travelled through the Grey Wastes disguised as a Lich’s court, and met a coven of Night Hag that tried to sell them larvae. The Night Hags demonstrate how they brand larvae, and before leaving Mordeia pinches the branding iron. Fin.

Combat notes are provided for the Larvae, but honestly, that’s not the important part. Larvae are the de facto currency of the major powers in the Lower Planes. Adventurers can use gp to buy the usual goods even here, but if you need to Get poo poo Done, it either involves using larvae or trading larvae to someone. Baatezu and Tanar’ri can turn larvae into Imps and Quasits, and these in turn can be promoted into stronger members of their races. Alternatively, larvae can be used to power magic rituals, such as extending a lich’s immortality. The description also drops a plot-hoot about rumors of the Dark Eight gathering a million larvae to power a ritual that’ll destroy the Tanar’ri once and for all.

Putris, a sister to Amanitis posted:

My larvae’s fresher’n her’s. Trade wi’ me an’ I won’ bite yer!

This feels like a good time to talk about Imps and Quasits. In Planescape, they aren’t actually Baatezu and Tanar’ri. In fact they aren’t technically fiends. They serve as familiars for evil wizards and priests, conferring the normal familiar benefits and drawbacks and more (they give 25% magic resistance to their “master”). In both cases the creature makes a contract with its new “master” and gradually takes over their actions. Imp/Quasits have long-term ambitions to become more powerful. They cannot be destroyed outside their home plane, and return after a year and a day. On the planes, they serve as messengers, errand runners, and agents of the Baatezu/Tanar’ri.

All this fluff info comes from the Imp side. The Quasit writing is peak “same as imp, but chaotic evil instead”.



While they serve the same role, they are pretty different in combat. Both can Polymorph Self into two animal forms, and the two have different preferences. Imps (1400 xp) use their stinger to inject an instakill poison (at least it allows a poison save). They get a few spell like abilities, including Suggestion 1/day and Invisible at will.



Quasit (2000 xp) have somewhat better base stats but weaker abilities. Their claw attacks impose a cumulative -1 penalty for 2-12 round (poison save to ignore). Quasit have the same spell-like abilities as Imps but instead of Suggestion, 1/day they can cause Fear in a 30 feet radius. Once a week, a Quasit can Commune with the Lower Planes, asking up to 6 questions.

An Imp pondering the merits of its daily summonings posted:

Hmm...17 offerings of employment today. Which to choose? Which to choose?

I suspect that the Imp/Quasit and Larvae monsters were conceived at the same time. In the Ecology section of Larvae, we have this blurb: “Larvae are the sole means for creating imps and quasits. Because imps and quasits later advance to become greater fiends, larvae are the foundation of the population of the Lower Planes.” Which ignores the fact that we were told in the actual Baatezu and Tanar’ri entries that Lemures and Manes form the base-line of their races respectively. However, in Imp ecology, we have in parenthesis, “Speculation, fostered by the imps themselves, has it that fiends evolved from imps.”



I’ll wrap this post up with the Nightmare (2000 xp), since Night Hags use them as mounts. Aside from kicking and biting enemies, they emit a cloud of noxious vapors that chokes everyone within 10 feet (Paralyzation Save or -2 to hit damage). Also, Nightmare can not only fly, but move freely through the Astral and Ethereal, which make them very useful for bad dudes and dudettes to get around. In the fluff section, it describes how an evil character can gain the services of a Nightmare. Some of the steps and qualifiers are pretty common in 2nd edition for intelligent mounts and evil hirelings. These steps only apply to mortals-fiends and other Lower Planar creatures do their own thing. In the department of tangential setting info, we get this: “Once per year on the plane of the Gray Waste, its denizens meet in a dark and sinister Gloom meet to debate how to spread their will for the next year. Nightmares announce the Gloom meet. For two weeks before the Meet, nightmare frequency changes from very rare to uncommon. Immediately before the meeting, the nightmares herald it by riding the planes in a terrifying charge.” The monster entry concludes with the writing of a wizard that visited a Nightmare gravesite called the Hill of Bones. I give it a 6.5/10 on the Spooky Meter.

Next Time: the Children of Gith

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:

The problem is, you can also trace a Runewalk accidentally or purposelessly, and this often has surprising results. Some mages go on unfocused Runewalks when they're out of ideas for a problem's solution, trusting in the Supernal to guide them. Others do it out of sheer curiosity to see how the trail will affect them. Walk the Death rune and maybe you help a dying man find closure. Go on a pub crawl and end up condensing a week's worth of drinking into one night by walking the rune for 'water of life'. But sometimes, a Runewalk has tragic results. Unwittingly trigger the word 'lightning' and maybe you get struck from a clear sky. Or maybe you take out power in a three block radius. Sleeper memories of these events tend to be inconsistent - they remember a transformer blowing, maybe, for lightning guy. Trace out the rage rune and cause a bar brawl, no one remembers exactly what caused the fight save that it was an insult and they all heard it. Some hold that Runewalks are derived from subconscious desires manifesting in the presence of High Speech. Others believe the hidden symbols act as a guide, pushing you down a path once you start. The Orders keep libraries of successful Runewalks, which have been happening for centuries. It used to be hard for the Nameless to access these, but now there's whole websites dedicated to sharing these paths. However, following a route rarely yields the same results from mage to mage. In fact, two people can walk a Rune together and have different results - or the same ones. No clear pattern.

This is so cool - it's psychogeoraphy, the Situationist derive, that Hellblazer spinoff about Chas where The Knowledge is a magic spell. And it's all real magical practice. I'd just call it anything other than 'runewalking'.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9rive

The Chad Jihad
Feb 24, 2007




Speaking of slaad, it was always kind of odd to me that of all things the slaad got two epic flavors added on. I mean I'm not complaining cause slaad rule but still

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bieeardo posted:

From what I remember of flipping through the Blood War boxed set, the 'loths had some serious wank going down.

Probably the two most notable fiend NPCs are a pair of rival arcanaloths. In what there is of a metaplot, the Yugoloths are playing the Baatezu and the Tanar’ri something fierce, and manage to gently caress them both over by yoinking their ability to Teleport Without Error for themselves in Hellbound (it makes even less sense in context). It's also pretty clear that the Yugoloths are inflaming the Blood War for their own reasons and have some bigger handwavey plan that was never detailed that I can recall.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





CHAPTER 10: LIBERTY OR DEATH!

Welcome to the final chapter of the book intended for players to read. As such, this is the chapter meant to justify and explain everything left in a haphazard, clumsy manner.

The big thing is that the average person doesn’t see Delta Prime as a bunch of empowered jackbooted thugs. I will say one interesting thing about this book: it came out in 1999 and the response to The Destroyer’s destruction in Manhattan and the complete eradication of Chicago does manage to encapsulate everything that went wrong with America after 9/11. Now, I’ve been holding back from this comparison for the majority of this review. It’s not a card I want to play; I know two people who died in the collapse of the towers and I don't want to bring up the events lightly. I can’t compare the events in this game to that attack. But I will compare the aftermath of the book’s events to the world I grew up in during the early 2000s. I remember when my parents set up a collection of Emergency Food and stocked water under the stairs to the basement, something they didn’t do pre-Y2K. Choices and decisions were made after 9/11, and they were made after the Bicentennial Battle. So the average person doesn’t see Delta Prime as a threat to their personal well-being. They see Delta Prime as a protecting force, a shield to protect America from all of the bad Deltas who are responsible for the damage done to America. And if you have to give up some things to be safe, so be it. Kennedy didn’t snatch away the Bill of Rights because scared people handed it to them.


So now the government does stuff like this, I guess.

But there’s also a strong undercurrent of governmental abuse through this whole thing. Normal people are disappeared in regular government prisons or press-ganged into military service. Most people keep their heads down. If you’re a Delta, you know how bad it can get. You either register and become a government item or don’t and spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. In-game, if you are an unregistered Delta and you’re captured by Delta Prime, that’s it. No plot recommendation to later have a jailbreak, that’s it; make a new character. The game also recommends that despite either being a one-note delta or incredibly lethal, you should fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and try to set an example as a responsible Delta. If anyone else has played City of Heroes: Going Rogue, you should play the more responsible side of the Praetorian Resistance instead of the side that just murders Loyalists.

Man this game has a lot in common with City of Heroes.

Let’s talk about Delta Points and Experience. Every PC starts play with at least 3 Delta Points which have two uses. First, completely negate a single wound. Second, roll another dice to add it to a roll that comes up short like the low result exploded. You don’t keep your pool of Delta Points from game to game. They refresh at the beginning of each session.

Experience Points are exactly what you think you are. They’re used for four things: Raising Traits, Buying/Improving Skills, Buying Off Negative Quirks, Buying New Tricks. Raising a Trait got costs 3xNew Score points, buying/improving skills costs New Score points, the price of buying off a Negative Quirk is the price of the quirk and all new Tricks cost 10 points. Do you want new Positive Quirks or to improve your current powers? Tough poo poo! You can never improve those! Hope you don’t regret not buying certain quirks!

How the hell do you earn those points? Play the game and play it well and don’t be a murder hobo, be a good upstanding freedom fighter. Also have fun or something, that’s something you do right?


The illustrious sound 'pok', up there with 'wungo', 'fleem!' and 'kflang'.

Chapter Ten Thoughts: I could give less of a gently caress for the reasons to actually want to be in Defiance. This is up to how your GM sells the game and how you and the rest of the players talk about what you want to do. I care more about the actual mechanics. Not being able to improve your one-note powers is absolute horseshit. Not being able to improve your quirks is less horseshit but still pretty horseshit. I know that at the end of the day improving your powers incrementally isn’t thematically good for this game. I understand that it was building towards the return of Alpha powers or whatever (it was building towards something bigger than that, but). It’s still unforgivable for 1/5th of your classes to be unplayable/broken with zero chance for reform or advancement beyond skills and tricks. Let’s be honest too: the only thing raising traits does is raising your dice pool, tricks are at best okay, TNs for skills aren’t particularly high and negative traits are annoying. And your players are going to either get bored fast with their slow advancement or they’re going to get devious as gently caress with what they can do from the word go, like abusing flight to just drop explosives on people. I mean it’s just on the loving nose of me to say that this system is bad after all of these concrete examples. But every time I think the game is done slapping lovely condiments onto a bad sandwich, the guy at the deli lifts the top bun and finds something new.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: GUIDING THE GAME


"So a priest, Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Kid of Kid 'n Play walk into a bad guy's hideout..."

Players gently caress off it’s ~GM TIME~ HELL YEAH!

The first two pages of the GM session are: what is GMing, how to GM, you have the touch and/or the power and you have access to a world and info the players don’t, try to play with three or four players. Then the game asks you an important question: how do you play a game set in Brave New World?


Marv from Sin City is a friend to all children and a role-model for them to look up to.

The answer is: well, do you have the GM screen for BNW? There’s an official adventure in that. Do you not have that screen because it’s the year 2016 and the PDFs created in 2009 never included the GM screen/guide? Well gently caress, have the other advice then. A saga is a series of stories told over multiple sessions. Come up with a back-story for the whole adventure you have planned and figure out how it would go if the players never intervened or came in at a time different than you intended. Come up with two or three different directions the story could go and split the story into chapters. Pre-make your characters using Profiles that you can alter when you need to have a certain character be the same but different than other enemies. Create major and minor extras, with the explicit advice of “major extras are recurring villains, minor extras are generic goons and feel free to ignore the finer details of how they’re real people interacting with your characters and possibly getting murdered”. Do group initiative rolls for minor extras and single roles for important extras. Have attacks deal full-body wounds to extras to make things go faster and let them live if the players are squeamish about killing or kill them to make the cops hate the players. Have the players come up with a list of reasons for why they’d be interested in the plot at hand and then “figure out what the heroes’ buttons are and then push them. Hard.” Use maps. Use the minis. Why the gently caress wouldn’t you. Buy stuff from Pinnacle. Make sure the players are having fun or they’ll quit.

Probably the worst thing from the GM chapter: give out 1-2 experience points a chapter to heroes who deserve it. If they’ve done more than that or it’s an important chapter, 3-4 points and no more. Or give them friends, enemies, money, equipment or a Delta Point that can only be used this/next session.



Chapter 11 Thoughts: Where the gently caress do I begin.

Some of this is inoffensive info, like “don’t worry about the hit points for goons too much” or “plan for if the characters decide to get a latte and miss the bank heist”. But the way the answer to “how do you play a game in this setting” should not be an attempt to answer without answering. It is a bullshit technically correct response. There are zero plot hooks in this section and that’s what’s important. How to play, sure, but what could you play? Shrug, think of something. Second god those are peanuts for stringing the players along with the promise of points. After three sessions, you’ll generally have enough for a skill boost/new skill or to buy off a negative quirk. Want a new Trick? Wait ten sessions. Want a Trait boost? Wait as long or equally long. gently caress that. Goddamn peanuts. Also "pushing buttons to get the players to play the game" is a sneeze away from "railroading". You should think of what you know about the player's Delta to figure out why they would be interested and let it arise organically.

CHAPTER TWELVE: WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING?

Because they couldn’t name this chapter “What’s Going On?” without chipping a dollar or two to the estate and rights of Marvin Gaye’s work.

So. Secrets of the setting. Let’s break it down into segments.

What’s Up With Defiance?: The lady who runs the Delta Times online newspaper is a reporter for the Crescent City Star, a newspaper for Crescent City. She’s a Delta and her power is the ability to sense the truth, hence her codename of The Truth. Specifically, she can hear a statement and know if it’s true or not, but that’s it. Her editor refuses to print some stories because the government has come down on them a few times for stories, so some of them get put on the Delta Times. As a result it’s an accurate newspaper that is at least speaking SOME truth.


nyyyyyyyyyyyyyrrrr

Okay but what exactly is Defiance. To the American public, Defiance is a collection of terrorists and people who just don’t want to register. In actuality, you can call yourself a Defiant for not registering, but there actually are cells of Deltas protecting each other from the law or actually planning on fighting the government. You only get into the actual structure of Defiance by going to the website, saying you want to help and then eventually you get a chance to prove yourself. If you do well, you’ll get more assignments and eventually get brought into the fold proper. If you suck at it, you probably never get to see anything behind the main news page. This also is what happens if you get burned, that or they’ll feed you lies and crap.

Where Do Delta Powers Come From?: Up until the Human Genome Project, nobody had a clue. But the scientists ended up finding a similar sequence that some people don’t have but most Deltas do in some sense. This is called the Delta Factor (because why not) and it appears in some form, mutated or altered but that DNA code is there in all Deltas.

The big question is “where the hell did it come from if it’s not there in normal humans? Is it a pure mutation? Is it from some other source?”. This has quickly become a big thing in conspiracy circles who have dedicated themselves to figuring out where the Delta Factor came from and why it kicks in when people are near death. Some blame Nazis or Soviet super science (despite Silver Ghost getting their powers in World War 1). Some people blame aliens or government experiments. And then there’s the Delta Cult, a cult of wonks who believe that Deltas are demigod children of old gods and entities and that they will return to get their offspring when the time is right/stars are right/nothing is good on TV.


There is quite a lot wrong with this picture and I would like to see what this looks like in color done by the original team to see if it would be worse. I dunno if she's supposed to be a Goliath or what.

Where Did the Alphas Go?: Hold on, let me tell you another story first.

Why Is Kennedy Such A Dick?: Because he’s not JFK. JFK was straight-up killed alongside his wife and the governor of Texas in the Dallas attack. Superior did in fact swoop in and save the day and try to fly the president to a hospital in Dallas, but JFK died en-route.

So Superior had an idea, the kind of idea a morally-questionable superman would have. He brought JFK’s body to the house of an Alpha he knew in Washington DC. This man was Façade, an Alpha with the power of shape shifting and mimicry. He flew Façade in the form of JFK to Walter Reed hospital, said his Alpha healer friend Doctor Abrahams healed him but he’d need a few days to recover, then flew to Abrahams and basically said “hey we’re bros and I used you in a lie are you okay with this”. Surprisingly Abrahams said yes, probably because he didn't want to be torn in half.


Superior and JFK.

Thanks to Jackie being dead and the cranial damage the real president suffered, Façade woke up and blamed memory loss and lapses in personality on a head wound. Façade pretended to be JFK, Superior was the real power behind the presidency and anyone who got close to the truth was either brought in on the line or quietly killed. Superior was responsible for the Delta Registration Act, cementing him as a complete dick because that was the first step to martial law and the American junta. Somehow Superior had seen the movie Dave like thirty years before it came out because the plan was for JFK to quietly die and a new puppet to be brought in for Superior to control.

So Where Did the Alphas Go?: Façade didn’t want to share the presidency and was tired of Superior bossing him around. So JFacadeK told a Primer Gadgeteer to build a device that would get rid of Alphas and basically anyone who could threaten him. That Gadgeteer pretended to be a freelance nut, sold it to the head of Evil Unlimited who sold it to the Devastator who used it to threaten Chicago. The entire thing was the equivalent of a stage magician’s misdirection, bringing the city of Chicago to wherever it brought the unshielded Alphas. So the Devastator ultimately didn’t kill the entire city of Chicago but he was somewhat responsible for protecting Façade’s presidency. The secondary effect was that it suppressed people from becoming Alphas somehow. Anyone left who is still an Alpha is either imprisoned or someone Façade doesn’t consider a threat. Also maybe sometimes people still become Alphas I dunno whatever.

Tell none of this to your players and in the future I’ll still be calling JFK JFK because I don’t want to keep calling him Façade.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: THE USUAL SUSPECTS

ENEMIES ENEMIES ENEMIES ENEMIES oh boy enemies. Are you excited? No? Eh, alright. This is the closest thing to Plot Ideas you will find in this book. And that’s kind of sad. Note: these enemies are not in alphabetical order because they’re not in order in the book and I want you to experience how this whole chapter is laid out. I will also not be talking about their general stats or abilities, just their presentations and their usefulness to the game as a whole.

AQUARIANS

Fish people from an underwater society!

No wait, come back! Come back here and look at the scope creep.

Aquarians are Deltas whose power was “be a fish person with normal skin tones”. A lot of Aquarians live in Chicago Bay where the Sears Tower used to be, their “village” called New Atlantis. They’re reclusive and somewhat secretive. They have issues with Delta Prime and Chicago and are generally blamed for problems and called terrorists for being Deltas. My main criticism of their plan is that if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Bioshock it’s that running away to live at the bottom of the sea doesn’t protect you from the world’s problems.



Thoughts on the Aquarians: Okay so why do they have to be a thing? I get the idea that there should be more inhuman deltas, and that’s actually not that bad of an idea. But we don’t know anything about Crescent City at this point and from what limited info we have of the world, Fish People are not something I expected, especially as the first NPC. You’re not even offering much to do with them by saying “look some are good, some are evil, what do you want from me? They’re still people despite being amphibious”. Also I have to generally take major umbrage with the notion that Aquarians (hell, Goliaths) would be ugly or ugly by human standards. I’ve seen that gif of a dragon loving a car. There would be a lot of people who would want to fetishize the poo poo out of them for being different at the very least.

EVIL UNLIMITED

Evil Unlimited is the prime supplier of items and goods for evil/supervillain Deltas. The organization has regular people and Deltas and the business is a black market of associated groups. They are mysterious and they contact people through their Sales Reps.



Thoughts on Evil Unlimited: That’s all they have to offer us, the mildly armed evil sales rep. This is barely anything. I get that there’s ten pages left, and I get that Evil Unlimited will get a later book, but is this really all you need to offer? It’s just maddeningly sparse, you’re leaving this completely up to the GM to figure out at this point. It’s insulting!

DEADERS

Deaders are corpses re-animated by having a chip placed in their brain and stimulated by a Gadgeteer's gadget control panel to give them the illusion of life. The technology is well-known amongst grey/black hat Gadgeteers who are willing to tamper with dead bodies in the pursuits of "science". As long as the machine transmits the life-giving impulses, the Deader has to comply with their master's commands. Apparently all it takes is makeup and cologne to make a walking corpse pass for human because they rarely speak.



Thoughts on Deaders: This is a bad addition. It clashes tonally with the rest of the book, and I know how stupid it sounds considering that this is a superhero book. I know that this is a semi-realistic setting with the major exception of Bargainers getting demon totems but there's absolutely no indication of anything along these lines happening. The thing is, Bargainers get mentioned to the reader early enough in the book that it seems weird and tonally incorrect but hey, you gave me forewarning to ask 'why?'. When your main selling point for Gadgeteers is Power Armor and being able to mimic the powers of deltas somehow maybe, throwing in being able to reanimate the dead with shock chips and a control panel is out of loving left field. I would prefer the god drat Aquarians more than this, Jesus Christ.

DELTA PRIME

Okay we've spent enough time for you to get a grip on Delta Prime, the paramilitary Delta thugs who help JFK rule America with an iron fist. The main focal point of the Delta Prime entry is the Armorgeddon Pilot. The Armorgeddon Suit is a suit of power armor developed by Delta Prime's Gadgeteers. It's a big part of their arsenal, which is why the creating Gadgeteer is not the pilot. An Armorgeddon Pilot is a trained soldier who has a Gadgeteer assigned to them for maintenance. The two of them bond or something I'd imagine, but if the pilot dies the suit can be rebuilt and given to a new pilot.




Thoughts on Delta Prime: I really would prefer a basic Delta Prime hero like a Scrapper or Bouncer or Gunner. The Armorgeddon Pilot is a gigantic jump in power and tonal danger compared to the other sample villains. That guy's shoulder gun is as powerful as a Blaster's blasts and he can eat damage compared to the others thanks to his armor. Actually I'll break my rule real quick about not talking about the mechanics. All he has is the suit with that gun. He's got impressive fighting ability but no clubs to use and no blades. Also, it does nothing to protect against a Blaster's blasts because that's wearable armor. So, very much dangerous to the majority of heroes he'll run into except for his Achilles Heel.

POLICE

Cops know they're no match for a Delta but they have numbers. But also cops are people too. I dunno. You know the police, you know they'll hound you and you don't want to piss them off too with your activities.



Thoughts on Police: I actually appreciate that they're loaded for bear. I don't have much to say about this inclusion. It makes sense and it's a handy ability reference to have on hand. Good on that.

MAFIA

The Italian mob is in the pockets of the United States government. That's a weird thing to say, but there it is. Early on, JFK took initiative and brought the Mafia under governmental control and now most of America is a lot like Chicago. The mob runs unions, drug smuggling/sales, prostitution, vice and sin and some of the money goes back to the government while the bosses make bank legally. Plus, criminals can pass tips back to the government for kickbacks. It's described as being surprisingly efficient if you're on the good side of the mafia. The connection isn't public, though, and if the truth was to come out it would be an absolute poo poo show for JFK's image and American credibility.



Thoughts on the Mafia: On the one hand I'm kind of torn about this idea. If I was a player, I might feel it was a cop-out to find out that Giovanni Stereotype was actually connected to the hideously corrupt government. It would feel like a no-poo poo moment. On the other hand, it's a nice bit of world building and if it's played right I don't think it would hurt much. It could provide a nice way to transition from small crime to the threat of the government. Like all ideas in this game, it requires the right touch.

VAMPIRES

Here just have the picture and the stats for vampires. Read it for yourself.



Thoughts on the Vampires: gently caress.

Let me try that again.

Vampires have a stupid amount of things going for them. Shapechanging, blood-drinking, all these strengths and weaknesses. It's just so loving off kilter thematically too. Are they unstoppable? Absolutely not, they're actually pretty poo poo at everything they can bring to the table. They should really have more in their Barehanded Fighting if that's how they get anything done. But I want you to just look at the fact that there's a possibly radioactive, possibly superhuman shape shifting blood-drinking vampire on this list. Where even in the gently caress did this come from? There's an answer that will come much later down the line and it's wholly unsatisfactory. The only thing I can say in favor of this is that I really do enjoy this art quite a bit. It's nice art.

So yeah. gently caress.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BRAVE NEW WORLD CORE BOOK

You might think that this book makes me angry. That's not wholly true. I am more incredulous than anything else. I was right when I said that my sympathy might wear off. I do still sympathize with Matt Forbeck, I honestly do. But this setting, I feel, would have been better as just a book he wrote or as a homebrew setting he put together with some of his friends. This book was absolutely nothing what I expected and I am still somewhat amazed that this exists. But you know, I'm sort of glad it does. I don't feel like I've truly reviewed a bad game until Brave New World. Unhallowed Metropolis/Necropolis were bad, sure, but that's because they were boring from a mechanical standpoint and just too grim and dour to function.

Brave New World is a bad game. But it's certainly piquing my interest and getting me to look deeper into it, and I can't say I'm not entertained writing this up for you guys. If this was boring and a chore, then this would be my last entry for the entire shebang.

But it's not. And you better believe that I'm covering the goddamn sourcebooks.

There are eight more books for the entire run of Brave New World. The GM's screen is unavailable to me because that was a tangible thing and they could never port it to PDF. And I've been skimming the other books and let me tell you something: they do not make the game any more balanced or fix anything.

Last year in the summer, I found a PDF depository of nWoD game lines and extra books for plot hooks. Over the course of July, I devoured Promethean, its side books and a lot of the other plot idea books like Ghost Stories, Midnight Roads and Asylum. Let me tell you a secret: when you shotgun nWoD books back to back to back, you quickly realize how formulaic they are. Ridiculously formulaic. This is no surprise for some of you guys out there who have way more experience than I have, but the nWoD book formula is there to keep the books easy to structure and get out in the world. And sometimes, this is to their detriment.

They are not nearly as shameless as Brave New World's books, where literally all of the books I've looked at are 120-160 pages long apiece and divided into two sections. The first half, give or take 5-10% more, is strictly in-character fluff and world building for the players to read. The entire second half of the book is, in short succession, new powers, new premade characters, new truths about the setting for the GMs to know and maybe a new adventure if you're lucky. There's going to be new powers, new art and re-used art and the metaplot backstory is going to quickly gain the structural sense of the Winchester Mystery House. So join me NEXT TIME when we crack into the rest of planet Earth through BRAVE NEW WORLD: RAVAGED PLANET!

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 05:19 on May 19, 2016

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Yeah, I used to have all the Munchkin d20 books from when SJ Games was fire saleing them, and managed to sell them off last year at a profit, because people are coocoo for that game.

It's reasonably amusing if you like your D&D jokes and puns, but the most remarkable thing is that they made the 3.0 classes and races actually more boring, somehow. It also has the most restricted use of the d20 license I've seen, since they count all proper names as product ID. So all those people who were hoping to use The Wight Brothers in their Pathfinder supplement are out of luck. (There are no such people, however.)
It's not surprising that SJG of all people would want restrictive content control, but I recall that not being extremely uncommon.

potatocubed posted:

I don't know, but I feel the same. I think in my case it might be because I got into Planescape via the Blood War card game, and the three illustrations I remember from that are Pazuzu, the marut, and the cat lord.

Or maybe it's just because she's a well-realised hot woman. vv
Yeah, it's some iconic DiTerlizzi art. The cat lord, modrons, and his weirdly regal gnoll are the ones I immediately think of when I think of his AD&D work.

For comparison (since it seems like I will be trapped in the purgatory of PB2 for who knows how long given my repeated depression-based hiatuses), here's how Pathfinder Bestiary 3 did their Cat Lord:

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


BNW is dumb as hell, but I'm cool with the Aquarians because Namor and his people are awesome when done right, and I'm cool with the mob/JFK connection because when I was a kid I saw that Rat Pack movie that implied that JFK and his dad were mobbed up. It's probably the most grounded JFK conspiracy.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy


Well shoot, joke's on me.

How about PBTA Munchkin?

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Exploding Munchkins Fight Cthulhus Against Humanity with Dark Souls and Also Some Tits I Guess

Spark That Bled
Jan 29, 2010

Hungry for responsibility. Horny for teamwork.

And ready to
BUST A NUT
up in this job!

Skills include:
EIGHT-FOOT VERTICAL LEAP


Count Chocula posted:

This is so cool - it's psychogeoraphy, the Situationist derive, that Hellblazer spinoff about Chas where The Knowledge is a magic spell. And it's all real magical practice. I'd just call it anything other than 'runewalking'.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9rive

It also reminds me of an episode of Urusei Yatsura where Ataru accidentally summons a demon because the route for his morning jog matches the demon's personal sigil.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Spark That Bled posted:

It also reminds me of an episode of Urusei Yatsura

Aha! You're the one behind all the Lum avatars!

Spark That Bled
Jan 29, 2010

Hungry for responsibility. Horny for teamwork.

And ready to
BUST A NUT
up in this job!

Skills include:
EIGHT-FOOT VERTICAL LEAP


Kavak posted:

Aha! You're the one behind all the Lum avatars!

Actually, I made this one myself.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Count Chocula posted:

BNW is dumb as hell, but I'm cool with the Aquarians because Namor and his people are awesome when done right, and I'm cool with the mob/JFK connection because when I was a kid I saw that Rat Pack movie that implied that JFK and his dad were mobbed up. It's probably the most grounded JFK conspiracy.
Spoilers: there's still an assassination conspiracy. It gets weird.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Is there any mention of what happened to Bobby Kennedy and the rest of the family?

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




My favorite thing about Mephits is that ooze Mephits are stated to be working towards the ultimate goal of amassing enough money to pay a wizard to polymorph them into something other than ooze Mephits.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Kavak posted:

Is there any mention of what happened to Bobby Kennedy and the rest of the family?

Assassinated by Biafran rebels.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Fossilized Rappy posted:

It's not surprising that SJG of all people would want restrictive content control, but I recall that not being extremely uncommon.

Well, way back when, I sat down and looked at the OGL of various d20 products with the curious notion of say, converting some of it to newer games, and SJ Games' was easily the most restrictive in regards to Product Identity, only following the OGL as much as it requires and basically restricting even rules text at times from usage seemingly arbitrarily. Compare and contrast with AEG, which has a similarly restrictive notion of what their PI entails, but also has a specific clause added that lets you rip their PI whole-hog as long as you aren't changing or building upon it - so you could use all sorts of PI stuff for Rokugan or Swashbuckling Adventures. This means its mainly just useful for mechanical elements, but if you want to use Porté Mages in your d20 book, you can as long as you follow the details of their OGL agreement. Which is pretty cool!

The reason SJ games' was the most restrictive was for two reasons. One, they very pointedly designate what's open content within tiny little boxes, which strangely enough means some of the rules are excluded, and nobody else I can think of ever tried to designate rules text as product identity. The second, and more major reasons, is that they got "cute" about it, like:

Munchkin Players Handbook posted:

Every other word in this chapter, starting with the first one, is Open Content. Other text is closed content.

That renders the the entire skills and feats chapter unusable for people wanting to use any of that rules content under the OGL, for example, or there's:

Munchkin Players Handbook posted:

This chapter is all closed content, except for the words in this box and any words in italic type - but not bold italic! - which are open content.

Which means you can use the stat lines of any equipment, but, uh, can't use any of their descriptive text, which is where are all their unique rules effects are. (This also means stuff like "Glue", "Rock, Huge", or "Chaotic Evil" is product identity, somehow.) Basically SJ Games either didn't quite understand the OGL, was openly mocking it, or both, but the end result is whole chapters of rules material end up being rendered useless as open content for the sake of a (bad) gag.

So, for example, this is closed content:

Munchkin Players Handbook posted:

Slug-Thrower: A hand catapult loaded with your slimy garden friends. Treat as a repeating crossbow, but instead of doing damage, the slugs distract all humanoids (except orcs and half-orcs) they hit: adds +3 to DC for any task requiring concentration, and an additional +1 for each additional slug. Double the penalty for elves and females; triple it for elvish females; and double it again if you can get the slug down the front of her armor (requiring a critical hit)

And this was open content:

Munchkin Players Handbook posted:

Cost: 250 gp. Weight: 16 lbs. Damage: Special. Critical: 19-20/special effect; see above.
Slugs: Cost: 1 cp, or look under a rock. Weight: 20 to a pound.

... but maybe SJ Games was just trying to make sure really, really awful jokes died mercifully with their book.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Kavak posted:

Is there any mention of what happened to Bobby Kennedy and the rest of the family?
You at least find out what happened to Bobby and the other guys in power armor who were not Lee Harvey Oswald. The majority of Ravaged Planet's intro fiction are from Patriot's memoirs he's writing from New Alcatraz after he events of the core book's introductory comic where he was arrested by Delta Prime in the process of getting a college girl free from their clutches. Bobby shows up in his story.

Patriot's not nearly as big of a jerk as Superior but you are going to see a certain degree of Gumping in regards to important historical events.

Also Lee Harvey Oswald ends up becoming a gigantic Boogeyman to the super villain community. He's still alive and well in 1999.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Mage: the Awakening, 2nd Edition

Salamenca is a small Spanish city that is home to Spain's oldest university, the third-oldest in all of Europe. Between students and faculty, it's nearly a quarter of the population. It has many rituals and traditions - but its core Mystery is a complex phenomenon centered on its library, the oldest in all of Spain. It is part of the oldest portion of campus, with buildings constructed according to Hermetic lore, and it has many old manuscripts. Occasionally, mages take note of books appearing in the catalog without explanation, or that their book request comes with a second text. These unexpected books are unique and occasionally very magical. Many appear only once, others only appear for one person, and a few appear to multiple patrons. All other attempts to get the online catalog or a librarian to find these books fails - the books have no other evidence of existing, even to the most thorough searches. Known as libros efimeros, or fleeting books, they are highly diverse. Some are diaries of events that never happened or haven't happened yet, others technical manuals for devices never made, or detailed explanations of very strange ruins, which may or may not exist. They can be any language, but always appear to someone who can understand them. All vanish instantly if removed from the library or when the library closes or when returned. Most seem ordinary, but some can only be read by Mage Sight, with photographs showing only meaningless gibberish, blank pages or mundane text. Others can be scanned or photoed, but this usually requires a librarian's permission to do so anyway.

The Consilium includes an oath to share knowledge of any of these books in its membership oath. In practice, most mages immediately share the contents but may keep things like unique Rotes or the locations of arcane resources secret for up to three years. Several librarians are Sleepwalkers employed by the Consilium - mages are almost never librarians, as the books never appear to librarians. Consilium mages are asked to immediately report any book they find to these librarians, and they also watch outsider visitors to see if they find active texts. While it's rare, sometimes people try to spy on or steal these texts, or try to stop others from using them. It is expected that such disputes will be kept out of Sleeper sight, on pain of being banned for a year or more. What is most puzzling, however, is that the books can appear to Sleepers, unlike many Mysteries. Never Grimoires, but other texts, sure. They only ever appear to people able to understand them, at that. Some local mages believe this has been the cause of a certain scientific advancements, but the books themselves cause Quiescence - Sleepers remember what they read, but not what they read it from.

Every few weeks, a crack in reality appears somewhere in Salamenca. They can appear anywhere in the city more than 50 yards from the library, but almost always outdoors. They are known as puertas efimeras, or fleeting gates, and these Irises are invisible to Sleepers but trigger Peripheral Sight. Closer scrutiny reveals them as narrow, faintly glowing rips in the air of the Supernal, with other places visible beyond. All you have to do is step through - no Keys. The worlds beyond are known as the mundos efimeros, or fleeting worlds. Visiting is rarely planned - the gates rarely last more than 3 hours, and some no more than 30 minutes. Once someone passes through, the gate becomes unstable and collapses between 5 and 15 minutes later. Most commonly, someone that discovers one will spend a few minutes preparing before going through, or will contact mages who can make the trip immediately. The act of passing through a rip triggers Peripheral Sight. Mages are expected to report anything they find to the Consilium, as well as turning over any recordings they make.

All worlds have certain common elements. In almost every one, magic cannot affect anything other than you or others traveling with you. It simply does not affect anything from the other side of the rip. All visits are brief. Between 30 minutes and eight hours after entering a rip, all visitros are dropped back in the Fallen World without ceremony, never more than a block or two from where they entered. Originally, it was believed that each world was unique and one-time, and some are only seen once, but others have been documented...or, at least, similar or identical worlds have been seen appearing, suggesting that the worlds can persist between visits. The Irises have been reported for at least 1,300 years, and most mages assume they've either always been there or were caused by the Fall. The worlds are also present in local legends of people wandering briefly into strange realms and then returning. Indeed, Sleepers can, rarely, pass through the rips. It is rare, and no one knows why certain Sleepers can do it. The most recent time it happened was 11 years ago, and the Sleeper Awakened the moment she returned to the world.

The Consilium attempts fair distribution of chances to explore the other worlds. Officially, a list is kept of local cabals and at any time, three have permission to use the rips. After each has visited one world, they are not eligible again until every other approved cabal has gotten their turn or at least refused the right to take it. By Consilium law, anyone seeing an Iris should report it immediately to an eligible cabal; in practice, the rule is often ignored because of the fact that the gates don't last long and most mages want to use them. However, it is common practice to gather your cabal before going through, as the fleeting worlds can be dangerous.

Anyone who looks at a fleeting book with Mage Sight that has also visited a fleeting world can immediately tell they're connected. The current working theory is that the books come from the worlds, but it's not been proven by finding a book from the library in one of the worlds. No gate has ever been seen within 50 yards of any part of the library, despite appearing all over the rest of the city. The books are much more regular than the gates. Masters of Fate, Prime and Time who have examined the library have determined it is under a powerful, lasting and entirely unknown enchantment. Most mages believe this magic channels and directs the Irises that would usually appear in the library, causing them to open imperceptibly quickly, small and only to deliver books. Others believe the gates are a side effect of the spell making the books appear. However, Sleeper legends of the gates predate the library - which means the spell must, as well. The question of who made it and what its parameters are is a major area of study.

Twenty-one worlds are known to appear semi-regularly, while dozens more have appeared only once. Two of the most common are:
  • Franco: This world has only appeared in the last 70 years, and its apparently continuous timeline is the proof used to show that gates can lead to the same world. In this world, the US stayed out of WW2. Germany conquered all of Europe except the UK, Spain and Italy, which were allied to it. Germany collapsed into revolution after Hitler's death in 1968. Spanish Fascist dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, succeeded by his aide, Luis Carrero Blanco, who continued to rule as a fascist until his death in 1999, when his grandson took power. Spain remains authoritarian, and while people of color and Jews are no longer official second class citizens, racial prejudice and conflict with Basque separatists remain much more significant and obvious than in the Fallen World. Ethnic minorities and foreigners are far, far less common in Franco than the Fallen World's Salamenca. Surveillence cameras are everywhere and the wealth gap between rich and poor is even worse than it is in the Fallen World. The police are well armed and will detain anyone that seems suspicious for questioning, especially if they are obviously foreign or non-white.
  • Magical Spain: While magic remains unhelpful in this world, there are clearly local mages - and they run the place. Quiescence does not seem to exist, and the local university teaches various magical disciplines. However, the place remains pre-industrial, and Salamenca has barely 20,000 people. The local mages are able to communicate with Madrid or travel quickly, but most commoners ride horses or walk. The university has magical heating and light, but most people use candles, oil lamps and firewood. Mages who visit are encouraged to learn as much as they can about local mages and magic.



Tokyo's primary thing is that it is home to Ansho - magically dead zones, ranging in size from a small room to an entire neighborhood. Awakened spells do not work there, and Mana immediately bleeds from any container. Despite this, there are a disproportionately high number of mages in Tokyo, and it has two full Mysterium Caucuses, plus one of each other Order. However, apparently there have only been mages in Tokyo for 500 years, dating back to a semi-mythical first mage named Nakatomi, whom the locals have a lot of beliefs about but few firsthand records. Thus, a lot of it is boring-rear end politics rather than weird poo poo, but there's still some.

The prevalent theory on the Ansho is that Tokyo is home to small pockets of Abyssal energy which neutralize Supernal forces inside them, or that the Lower Depths have welled up in these spaces. Masters of Prime have had limited success in shrinking Ansho via extensive ritual but it's never permanent and is very costly. New Ansho are rare, perhaps three to five each year in all of the greater Tokyo area, but that's enough to justify always looking for new ones. Their current method for doing so was inspired by the hunt for black holes - they send out slow magical pulses expected to bounce back, and investigate when they don't, using this to triangulate in on new Ansho. One to three Ansho seem to randomly vanish each year, but the number is still rising overall, and some fear they will overwhelm the city.

Beyond this, Paradoxes released in Tokyo send out a 'beacon' that alerts anyone sensitive to the supernatural nearby. While this doesn't necessarily identify the offender, it does draw notice. Functionally, this affects vampires, werewolves and other mostly supernatural beings, including ghouls and other 'lesser' types, plus anyone with Supernatural merits. The becon goes out (10*Gnosis) yards, plus 10 per success on the Paradox roll, as long as any successes happen at all. Those sensing it do not know the source, nor understand it, just that something 'off' happened and from what general direction it happened in. Ansho, however, block these beacons.





Next time: Tucson

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