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Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Mors Rattus posted:

It'd be great if that were mechanically relevant in any way to Geist.

Yeah, the problem with Geist is that for all its fluff, the mechanics have absolutely nothing to hard-compel people. Vampires need blood, for instance. The other lines have a bunch of soft leverage as well - hell, that's basically what all the fluff serves to do, give ideas and impetus to player action. Geist has...basically none of that. It has some suggestions, sure, but when you reach for the actual mechanical tie-ins for that it talks about, you either grab a handful of nothing, or a handful of half-baked, fiddly, incredibly easy to abuse mechanics.

It really suffered from White Wolf getting bought out right in the middle of it being written, as far as I remember. There's an excellent game in there, but if they do a Geist 2e, it'll be more a rewrite than an update.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Beast is basically the book Grendel but even more insufferable, over and over, by White Wolf. Mixed with abuse apologia.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






The mechanics in beast also don't really have a way to hard compel you to do something outside of running down to zero Satiety, which has to almost be deliberate. I mean yes a Hero can put an Anathema if you're dumb enough to hang around 4-6 Satiety but a Hero showing up isn't mechanics anymore. The mechanics don't make Heroes. Heroes just are. Feeding badly doesn't directly attract Heroes, feeding badly is a sign to your ST that they should maybe introduce Heroes if they weren't planning to already. But the shared nature of the Primordial Dream means that a beast nearby being a complete rear end in a top hat can summon a Hero to gently caress up your day just as much as if you did.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Daeren posted:

It really suffered from White Wolf getting bought out right in the middle of it being written, as far as I remember. There's an excellent game in there, but if they do a Geist 2e, it'll be more a rewrite than an update.

The merger was in 2006, it seems like it was the crunch of the recession that sunk Geist. It needs to be retooled into Stand-User: The Posing anyway.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





Kavak posted:

The merger was in 2006, it seems like it was the crunch of the recession that sunk Geist. It needs to be retooled into Stand-User: The Posing anyway.
I have legit thought a lot about what kind of system you would use to represent Jojo's Stand Adventure Time. It is hard because Stands are both in no way balanced against each other, but also explicitly are not necessarily "stronger" or "weaker" in any kind of obvious way. I feel like some kind of PBTA could be done for it, with perhaps advances involving more involved specification on the tricks of your Stand.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

The God-Machine is some serious Unknown Armies poo poo and is the first WoD thing to really pique my interest. Is there a specific line concerning it, or is it just an overarching antagonist across the whole setting?

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Demon draws the focus onto the God-Machine as its primary 'antagonist' but it is large enough to be a problem for everyone.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




There's a group of vampires who worship the God-Machine in one of the Requiem books. They get answers to questions they haven't asked yet. Which is cool and all, but if they don't ask the question in time really bad stuff starts to happen.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



So, Beast still sucks. But there's a game out there about playing a creature that is, mostly, born inhuman. A creature that doesn't fit into human society all that well, which bands together against outsiders and glorifies a bizarre and often hostile religion. A creature that hunts and kills without mercy, because doing otherwise will drive them mad. A creature who is fear personified, whose soul is a great beast. A creature that has a really good game! I'm talking, of course, about...



Werewolf: the Forsaken, Second Edition

Werewolves are savage, violent, bloody. They are dominant predators, creatures who instinctively divide the world into two parts: us and them. They are gangs, hanging together by shared blood - specifically, shared spilled blood. They are hunters and hunted, and they would go to the wire for one of their own. Werewolves find prey, run it down, tear it to pieces as it begs for mercy or tries to fight. They love violence and domination in way that their human side will never admit. They thrill in the hunt. And werewolves...well, they stand on the boundary.

Werewolves are liminal creatures, half of one world and half of the other. They are not a mixture of both, but equal parts. Some werewolves one side or the other, or try to blend them together, but ultimately, the werewolf lives on the border. They step up and take responsibility, but must never go too far. Become too human, and your flesh entraps you, unchanging, unable to grasp what you really are. Become too much the monster, and you fade from the world and your family. The werewolf must balance man and spirit, blood and essence, human and monster. But more than that, the wolf must hunt.

The wolf must hunt.

It's the core of what being a werewolf is. The Uratha, as they call themselves, claim descent from the original hunters - the wolves that hunted their own father and slew him when he grew too weak. Everything a werewolf does is seen through the lens of the hunt. They form packs to have others to hunt with. They keep territories as hunting grounds. Their spiritual side gives them a predator's instincts, and it drives them mad when they do not hunt.

When hunting, a werewolf's blood races, burning hot. When hunted, they feel the chill in their blood. Their rage is potent but ultimately transient. They change, but remain strong in any form. Their blood is weaker than their bone - the things they know deep. The things they are. Blood is what you feel. Bone is what you are. And you need to be both. Werewolves are born to Flesh, the world of meat and stone and physical things, but inherit the world of Spirit, the world of the ephemeral and the animist. These two do not mix, or shouldn't. Flesh sticks to flesh, spirit to spirit. In theory. In practice...humans cross into Shadow, by accident or with knowledge they should not have. Spirits head to the physical world for power or to hide. Werewolves belong to both, and so they can return their prey to their proper place.

Against a full pack, individual people and even most spirits can't pose a threat. The sheer physical power of a werewolf overwhelms lesser foes. Others, however, hunt werewolves - other werewolves, ancient fragments of older spirit-gods, strange creatures from beyond the moon. The pack must find the edge between hunting the worthy and gaining the notice of that which is far too powerful. Werewolves are liminal creatures, always dancing on the edge.



Werewolf inspirational media:
  • An American Werewolf in London, by John Landis.
  • Dog Soldiers, by Neal Marshall.
  • Ginger Snaps, by John Fawcett.
  • Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale, by David Holland.
  • Boyz n the Hood, by John Singleton.
  • Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, by David Simon.
  • Queen and Country, by Greg Rucka.
  • The Shield, by Shawn Ryan.
  • Sons of Anarchy, by Kurt Sutter.

The game also suggests some other CofD books that might be handy - the 2e core, Predators (a book on spirits, Hosts and Claimed), Night Horrors: Wolfsbane (a book on more dangerous werewolves and the first appearnace of the idigam, of whom we speak more later), and the Idigam Chroonicle Anthology, which is the story companion to this book.

Next time: Auspice

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


MonsieurChoc posted:

There's a group of vampires who worship the God-Machine in one of the Requiem books. They get answers to questions they haven't asked yet. Which is cool and all, but if they don't ask the question in time really bad stuff starts to happen.

They're the Holy Engineers and they are the best loving covenant.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Nessus posted:

Doing a Beast game for a few sessions that transitioned into revealing that you were actually Fomori and the Garou are on yo rear end sounds like some high concept art.

I mean hell, why would they tell fomori exactly what happened to them?

If we're talking oWoD here, the fomori would be informed of their state because some aspect of the Wyrm get off on creating anguish and torment. And being told straight up you're literally a monster, all we did was plant a seed and all this evil is because of you would probably lead to some solid anguish for most people.

But that'd be a different game and probably clash with what Beast is actually espousing.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Nessus posted:

I have legit thought a lot about what kind of system you would use to represent Jojo's Stand Adventure Time. It is hard because Stands are both in no way balanced against each other, but also explicitly are not necessarily "stronger" or "weaker" in any kind of obvious way. I feel like some kind of PBTA could be done for it, with perhaps advances involving more involved specification on the tricks of your Stand.
Once it hits part 4, Stand fights become pretty much strange puzzles where the difficulty is in figuring out how the enemy's stand works and how to counter it using the Stand powers available to your group. The JoJo du jour usually has a stand which will probably win in a direct punch fight but those (past part 3) almost never happen.

Getting this right would be... very hard, particularly in a mechanically satisfying way.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



Nessus posted:

I have legit thought a lot about what kind of system you would use to represent Jojo's Stand Adventure Time. It is hard because Stands are both in no way balanced against each other, but also explicitly are not necessarily "stronger" or "weaker" in any kind of obvious way. I feel like some kind of PBTA could be done for it, with perhaps advances involving more involved specification on the tricks of your Stand.
Monsters and Other Childish Things times a thousand probably has you covered.

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 God Machine Chronicles fluff book has a great story about two racist rednecks who kill their new black neighbor because they're racist jerks and don't trust him...and it turns out he's a retired Task Force: Valkyrie agent living in Infrastructure and keeping a part of the God Machine going. So his friends shoot one of the rednecks and say to the other one "hey good job chucklefuck, you've got a choice. Die or live in this house and turn a crank in the basement a few times a day so the world doesn't end".

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


Big Mad Drongo posted:

The God-Machine is some serious Unknown Armies poo poo and is the first WoD thing to really pique my interest. Is there a specific line concerning it, or is it just an overarching antagonist across the whole setting?

Basically Old World of Darkness was just inundated with metaplot. Every single book and supplement added to this until it kind of spiraled into the kind of insanity you associate with brand wide comic crossovers. (This involved several atom bombs, one regular, the other a GHOST atom bomb). When they went to New World of Darkness they excised all of it. All the plot is entirely up to you aside from like setting specific books centering on a specific city, location or time period. In the lead up to Chronicles of Darkness they first released The God Machine Chronicles as a rules update and introduced the God Machine as a possible antagonist, something you could use as an antagonist for not just the core book but any of the splats as well. Especially Demon which explicitly relies on it as a concept for it's premise. So if you want more info on it The God Machine Chronicles has some general information, and I imagine demon has more. Unfortunately I don't know if they've released more things explicitly for the God Machine itself. But yes, it's very Unknown Armies and it's pretty cool.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




I like how the God-Machine is also completely orthogonal to the Mage cosmology. Can Mage Sight even find hidden Infrastructure, or would a Mage need the relevant merit from Demon to find that poo poo?

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




The God-Machine first showed up in the original World of Darkness corebook, as part of a big block of weirdness/fiction. It was pretty popular at the time, but didn't get much more than a nod here and there until Demon/GMC.

That book also had Mothman, but I don't think that myth got a full write up in nWoD. Or am I wrong?

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Zereth posted:

I like how the God-Machine is also completely orthogonal to the Mage cosmology. Can Mage Sight even find hidden Infrastructure, or would a Mage need the relevant merit from Demon to find that poo poo?

Mage 2e has a single reference to Demon while discussing rules about interacting with other templates, and the word might be referring to one of the other types of demon. Otherwise it very, very pointedly fails to mention the God-Machine in any way, shape, or form, and I am almost certain this is intentional.

RAW, you could probably infer the presence of Infrastructure with Space, Time, and maybe Forces Sight, but that'd likely just give you an incomprehensible "poo poo's hosed, captain" error message when you look at a bunch of folded space-time where Burger King should be.

I'd wager that if the average Mage learned about the God-Machine they'd poo poo a brick, then instantly get an Obsession relating to it and get their fool rear end killed by poking their nose in the wrong piece of Command and Control Infrastructure.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


Zereth posted:

I like how the God-Machine is also completely orthogonal to the Mage cosmology. Can Mage Sight even find hidden Infrastructure, or would a Mage need the relevant merit from Demon to find that poo poo?

It might, depending on the kind of infrastructure. It's more likely with the kind that folds space or uses some sort of supernatural concealment or doing something messed up with physics, something the God Machine and mages both know exists. Less so when it comes to someone's name on a lease. At least that's my take on it. There's honestly a lot of different kinds of infrastructure, which I'm actually writing about right now.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Mors Rattus posted:

Werewolf: the Forsaken, Second Edition

Yay! I love WTF2 and I'm glad someone other than me is reviewing it, since I can't seem to keep up the motivation to review something I don't despise.


I think something's wrong with me.

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



Big Mad Drongo posted:

The God-Machine is some serious Unknown Armies poo poo and is the first WoD thing to really pique my interest. Is there a specific line concerning it, or is it just an overarching antagonist across the whole setting?

Demon: the Descent is all about the God-Machine (a later sidebar talking about the God-Machine's powerful constituent angels is going to ask: hey, does this mean there are fallen angels? There are), and other lines treat it as present but usually unfocused crossover territory, like how Mage doesn't care much about Changeling's Hedge and Werewolf doesn't talk about the Underworld. Though, since the God-Machine as presented in the GMC and Demon is a reimagined takeoff of a popular fiction piece that goes all the way back to the 1e World of Darkness Rulebook, there are lots of little side mentions of hooks involving, if not the God-Machine as described in Demon, at least some kind of god-machine as described in the WoD Rulebook.

Demon is a great line, too. I would have suggested Mors or somebody cover it in the thread sometime, but I was intending to sit on that suggestion for awhile, given the thread is currently kind of glutted with CofD already.

Zereth posted:

I like how the God-Machine is also completely orthogonal to the Mage cosmology. Can Mage Sight even find hidden Infrastructure, or would a Mage need the relevant merit from Demon to find that poo poo?

Most infrastructure isn't really completely hidden with concealment effects, so much as hiding in plain sight with only mild signifiers to denote that something is wrong: weird patterns in the stocking layout of a convenience store, a rhythmic noise coming from within a stalled out automobile. God-Machine projects are rife with little odd signifiers designed to attract player characters with more curiosity than self-preservation instincts. Concealment infrastructure strong enough to hide entire complexes within folded space or make a project disappear from notice entirely aren't as common; otherwise, the GMC book wouldn't make much sense, as it's designed for adventures by normal humans without said lesser template from Demon. Mostly the problem for mages, I'd say, is that there isn't any one Arcanum with the God-Machine and its occult matrices as a purview. Life will help you find the beating heart speared into the car's engine block, but it won't give you full enough information to be able to tell why the car has a beating heart and what that means cosmically. Death will find the subtle traces of ectoplasm lining the telephone occillators, but only provide a very partial explanation of what purpose the ectoplasm serves.

MonsieurChoc posted:

That book also had Mothman, but I don't think that myth got a full write up in nWoD. Or am I wrong?

The mothman is, in fact, one of the sample Horrors in the Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook. I believe the developers mentioned at one point that the runner-up beat out by the God-Machine Chronicle for a signature second edition mortals campaign structure was a pitch for some kind of Mothman Chronicle.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 00:36 on May 25, 2016

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Hunters also seem to ignore the God Machine. It's a good candidate for being the mysterious backer to one Hunter group or another (the Cainite Heresy comes to mind), but most Hunters are a part of the mundane world that the God Machine works in and it's not something your typical Hunter is likely to encounter.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest!
The rightest!


One of the conspiracies is actually Hunters working FOR the God-Machine to find and take out demons, which rather handily fits the description most conspiracies have of "not too far from the monsters themselves."

WhitemageofDOOM
Sep 13, 2010

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

Daeren posted:

Mage 2e has a single reference to Demon while discussing rules about interacting with other templates, and the word might be referring to one of the other types of demon. Otherwise it very, very pointedly fails to mention the God-Machine in any way, shape, or form, and I am almost certain this is intentional.

RAW, you could probably infer the presence of Infrastructure with Space, Time, and maybe Forces Sight, but that'd likely just give you an incomprehensible "poo poo's hosed, captain" error message when you look at a bunch of folded space-time where Burger King should be.

I'd wager that if the average Mage learned about the God-Machine they'd poo poo a brick, then instantly get an Obsession relating to it and get their fool rear end killed by poking their nose in the wrong piece of Command and Control Infrastructure.

I have a problem with mage not mentioning the god machine. The God Machine IS the demiurge and it and Demon are the two Gnostic games.
So My Mage game deals with the GM heavily and i removed the seers/atlanteans divide to "Kill the demiurge/The Demiurge keeps saving humanity don't rock the boat" divide.

I Run it as since the GM runs on pure actual Physics of the fallen world even if strange occult physics Mage sight see's Infrastructure, Angels and Demons as such.

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


Big Mad Drongo posted:

The God-Machine is some serious Unknown Armies poo poo and is the first WoD thing to really pique my interest. Is there a specific line concerning it, or is it just an overarching antagonist across the whole setting?

At last I'm not imagining the UA vibes! I love God Machine too.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Halloween Jack posted:



I never bought or played Rifts as a kid because they were kind enough to warn me not to play their game.

These ads appeared in a ton of Marvel comics, though. I imagine it was a successful ad campaign with middle-to-high-school boys.

Well, Turtles and Robotech sold with that age audience very well, at least until the Turtles became "kids stuff" and Robotech was off the air. So aiming Rifts at teens or young adults fit with the audience they'd already been appealing to.

The ad of Palladium's I really want to find again is one put out as a reaction to D&D 3e where it proclaims Palladium is the "original d20 system". Not sure where it originally appeared, though.

Halloween Jack posted:

I haven't read either book, but from what I've heard, Sin-Eaters are overpowered goth superheroes who don't really have it bad, and Mummy suffers from too many clunky extra stats. Both those things are oWoD as gently caress.

Yeah, I like Geist pretty well, actually, but the flaws are undeniable, and you'd have to really lean on the Underworld angle to make it horrific.

unzealous posted:



Part 10: The God Machine


It’s entirely possible your character has brushed up against the Machine, it’s Agents or the Infrastructure beneath and not realized it. For most, when they hear a strange and unsettling noise in the night it’s much easier and safer to ignore it and walk faster, hoping for the best. If you see something absolutely inexplicable it’s much easier to try and forget about it than to let it haunt you. If you opened the wrong door at an office building and saw a stairway extending hundreds of feet into darkness it’s much easier to just close the door and convince yourself it was just a trick of the light, or maybe they have a bomb shelter, or any number of explanations.

One of the few issues I had with God-Machine was some of their examples just seemed random rather than creepy, like the cave full of nails. I mean, that's odd, sure, but it just feels to me like the authors ended up coming up with stuff that's non-sequiturs than something I would actually find unnerving. The only major issue for me is that what the God-Machine does is often presented as so random and arbitrary it just feels like a big ball of random plot justification than a fully-formed concept. Maybe the adventures help out with that - I admit I never read them, mainly just the setting material - but there's a certain level of "you can't understand it!" that keeps me from a GM from understanding fully what I'm supposed to do with it.

It feels more like something I'd throw in as an aside or a subplot to something else than trying to use as a lynchpin for a campaign, but maybe I'm alone in that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Alien Rope Burn posted:

One of the few issues I had with God-Machine was some of their examples just seemed random rather than creepy, like the cave full of nails. I mean, that's odd, sure, but it just feels to me like the authors ended up coming up with stuff that's non-sequiturs than something I would actually find unnerving. The only major issue for me is that what the God-Machine does is often presented as so random and arbitrary it just feels like a big ball of random plot justification than a fully-formed concept. Maybe the adventures help out with that - I admit I never read them, mainly just the setting material - but there's a certain level of "you can't understand it!" that keeps me from a GM from understanding fully what I'm supposed to do with it.

It feels more like something I'd throw in as an aside or a subplot to something else than trying to use as a lynchpin for a campaign, but maybe I'm alone in that.

No, I get the same sense, myself. It feels so alien and distant that often it might as well not even be there.

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


I like it because, like UA, it infects the real world and lets you pretend that anything unexplained could be something large and disturbing. Like those X-Files conspiracy episodes that got terror out of filing cabinets.

If you wanted to be super-literal, you could just use it to run Person of Interest.

quote:

The God-Machine was created by ancient wizards to unlock the secret rules of the Universe. Once it completed its analysis there would be no limit to the feats the wizards could perform using that information. That’s why it’s called the God-Machine — not because it is a god that is also a machine but that it is a machine that makes people gods. Fortunately for the rest of the world, the wizards died out millennia before they accomplished this ultimate act of hubris, but their creation hasn’t stopped collecting data. The God-Machine might have figured it all out by now, and if someone could access what it knows, they might achieve what those wizards did not. So tell me: have you seen any gears in places they don’t belong?

This is way better than Atlantis as an nMage origin.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




I used to love those old "Rumors in the style of Unknown Armies" threads on rpg.net from years ago. This feels similar.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


Alien Rope Burn posted:

It feels more like something I'd throw in as an aside or a subplot to something else than trying to use as a lynchpin for a campaign, but maybe I'm alone in that.

Well, to talk a bit about things that are coming up, those weird asides, the ones that don't seem to be particularly threatening are generally supposed to serve as a point of mystery for a proactive game, one in which the players are investigating this weird poo poo and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

The more reactive game generally involves the characters or someone they love being part of one of the God Machine's projects in some way, or getting too close to the truth. The project dictates that they must be hurt, or killed, or their house bought out from them or burned down, and they obviously aren't down with this happening. Ultimately a project is going to make their life worse and mundane methods aren't enough to stop it. And that's just the local, personal level.

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



MonsieurChoc posted:

I used to love those old "Rumors in the style of Unknown Armies" threads on rpg.net from years ago. This feels similar.

The release of the GMC book sparked a pretty good thread in exactly that vein, too.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Werewolf: the Forsaken, Second Edition

Werewolves are blessed by the Moon. Literally. They are marked by the god-slash-goddess Luna, who is both male and female, separately and at once, as part of the moon's aspect of change. Anyway. The moon blesses the Uratha, enhancing their abilities, giving them the senses they need to kill, sending her spirits to watch them and reward them with power. It is the Moon's blessing that makes the Uratha what they are - their nature is not passed on by bite or by blood, quite. Rather, they catch the Moon's eye in the moment of the First Change. Luna is the spirit of change, after all, as well as of the physical moon. And the face of the moon during your First Change determines your Auspice - what kind of werewolf you are.

Cahaliths are the Gibbous Moon, visionaries, lorekeepers and prophets. They are the living history of the Uratha - but they are no lonely hermits or wise women. They lead the charge, screaming their fury to the moon. A Cahalith is rarely subtle. They can be stealthy, sure, but it's not their preferred hunting method. They like their prey to know they are ocming, to hear their howls and see them leap. They want their prey to understand their place as prey, and they know their own place in the story, too. Cahalith live in stories, you see, often viewing the world in them, with endings and misfortunes inevitable. The Uratha name this 'hurmas-hi' in the First Tongue - roughly, 'submitting to dreams.' Cahalith are prophets, after all, and that's a job for fatalists...or at least for people who like to plan out their own death scenes.

Luna visits the Cahalith in their sleep, informing them of the future in their dreams. Sometimes, this is clear. Often, however, these dream-hunts are symbolic and allegorical. What you do with the foreknowledge granted by the Moon is up to you...but if you're wise, you'll be careful and talk to your pack and totem to try to take advantage of what Luna sends. However, the native Renown of the Cahalith is Glory, not Wisdom. They seek to make tales worthy of being remembered, and often look to more introspective packmates for the lessons within those tales. Their hunts are memorable, often loud and horrifying. They smash through walls, show the prey what hunts them, who they are. They leave bystanders alive, often, to tell the story - even if it's unwise tactically or threatens Harmony. That's how legends are born, after all. Cahalith, however, tailor their legends to their prey. If they hunt someone they know is claustrophobic, they'll favor narrow alleys or elevators. If the prey fears water, they'll try to engineer the hunt on a bridge or riverbank. Mortal fears, to the Cahalith, are the ways people know they will die. It's a predator's responsibility to become that fear, to fulfill that compact. It's just respectful to the prey.

Cahalith, in a pack, have a tough responsibility: they're there to rally the others and keep their spirits high, pushing them to rage or retreat as needed. They must, thus, always be 'on.' They can't show weakness. A Rahu can show vulnerability without detracting from their battle skill, an Ithaeur or Elodoth can want respite from spirits...but a Cahalith has to hold the pack together, and that job never ends, never stops. They have to remember all the stories of the pack, often all the lore of their tribe. Not every pack understands that maybe tonight you're not feeling very funny and don't want to play the comedian. And yet, the more a Cahalith is needed, the more in tune with their own nature they often feel. Ignoring the stress this causes for too long can lead to violence...and the worst part is, a Cahalith is usually aware when that's coming, but feel powerless to change it. That's part of the story too, right?

Before the First Change, most Cahalith were creative, vivacious and enthusiastic people. Not necessarily extroverts - maybe they prefer to do online debate rather than beign the life of the party - but they typically seek glory for themselves somehow. They want recognition, which drives them to great or terrible acts. Under the rise of the gibbous moon, they feel the call to the first hunt. Their First Change is never subtle, and they tend to draw notice from werewolves and other supernatural beings more easily than those of other auspices.

Stereotypes posted:

Elodoth: Two sides to every story. We get that. But whose side are you on?
Cahalith respect a good Elodoth - they're often the ones that bring in the most interesting plot twist. Both a Cahalith and Elodoth are supporters of the pack, in different ways, and most Cahalith are happy to play whatever role the Elodoth needs...as long as they get their time in the limelight and don't need to keep things secret.
Irraka: I'm glad you can be satisfied with simply doing the job. I can't.
Cahalith may be impressed by the skill of the Irraka, but they don't like hiding and see little glory in it. Fighting a foe without at least announcing yourself feels wrong to them. That doesn't mean the Cahalith need fair fights - but unlike the Irraka, they like the prey to know the fight is happening.
Ithaeur: Every spirit is a story. Tell me one.
Cahalith often hold the Ithaeur in some awe. Spirits understand their place in a narrative more than most, and Ithaeur can manipulate them without losing their own roles. Cahaliths work to communicate an Ithaeur's wisdom in a way others can understand and use, helping to cut through the esoterica that most Ithaeurs are prone to.
Rahu: You are not always the hero. I don't care how bright the moonlight shines on you.
It's a cliche for Cahalith to be jealous of Rahu. Something, to the Cahalith, is missing - something the Rahu has. To them, the Rahu are chosen ones, special warriors who, through no merit or fault of their own, become the leaders. Their integrity as storytellers usually keeps them from making the Rahu appear too proud or hidebound, though...usually.

The Hunter's Aspect of a Cahalith is Monstrou. When a Cahalith hunts, the world knows. Shadows grow longer, the light always hits them just right. They are iconic monsters, inevitability made manifest. Death is coming, and the prey knows it. The innate Gifts of the Cahalith are Gibbous Moon, Inspiration and Knowledge. Their Auspice Skills are Crafts, Expression and Persuasion, and their Renown is Glory. Their innate power is...well, prophetic dreams. Their sleep is always full of vivid dreams. This has two mechanical manifestations. First, the ST can just hand out a prophetic dream whenever, as obvious or cryptic as needed. Second, after any scene following a night in which the werewolf got more than 4 hours of sleep, you can declare a particular action or event was foretold in their dream. If the action or event was foreseen as beneficial, you or a packmate gets +3 to one action, or an NPC gets -3 to one action. If the dream showed the action or event as detrimental to the pack, you can choose to automatiucally fail the action or take damage or a setback as a result of it, and get a Beat. Either way, you can only use this power once per session.

Blood Talon Cahaliths have the duty of reminding their packmates why they're fighting and who they really are, even in the middle of the carnage and mindless violence of battles between werewolves. Bone Shadow Cahalith learn the stories of spirits, to help guess at spirit banes. Hunter in Darkness Cahalith hide until the right moment, making their hunts intimate and personal. Iron Master Cahalith are unpredictable, and more likely than other Cahaliths to prefer physical art to normal storytelling. They reject the idea of prophecy as definite, and are less fatalist than other Cahalith. Storm Lord Cahalith revel in hardship and danger, believing that all things can be overcome and that disadvantages are just there to build tension. Many prefer more formulaic methods of storytelling, like genre stories or Noh drama.

Next time: Half Moon Bay

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




I Am Just a Box posted:

The release of the GMC book sparked a pretty good thread in exactly that vein, too.

On that thread is a pretty cool World of Darkness: Rumors fan supplement. I didn't know it existed, so I downloaded and was happily surpised to see it had rumors I submitted back in the day! Hopefully they're not the bad ones.

If any of you guys want to check it out:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/2...ness+Rumors.pdf

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


MonsieurChoc posted:

I used to love those old "Rumors in the style of Unknown Armies" threads on rpg.net from years ago. This feels similar.

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3725740
I made one here a few months back, but it posted at 3:34am so it died.

Big Mad Drongo
Nov 10, 2006







Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

One of the few issues I had with God-Machine was some of their examples just seemed random rather than creepy, like the cave full of nails. I mean, that's odd, sure, but it just feels to me like the authors ended up coming up with stuff that's non-sequiturs than something I would actually find unnerving. The only major issue for me is that what the God-Machine does is often presented as so random and arbitrary it just feels like a big ball of random plot justification than a fully-formed concept. Maybe the adventures help out with that - I admit I never read them, mainly just the setting material - but there's a certain level of "you can't understand it!" that keeps me from a GM from understanding fully what I'm supposed to do with it.

It feels more like something I'd throw in as an aside or a subplot to something else than trying to use as a lynchpin for a campaign, but maybe I'm alone in that.

That's definitely fair, but it's also part of why I like it. Rather than give the GM a way to justify any plot development, it seems like a good jumping off point for the players to shape the narrative.

Even something vague, like the ATM that hands out 20s for the hair of people it's never been fed before, seems like the sort of plot hook you can put in front of your group and the funnest explanation they come up with is what you make true. Is it cataloguing all the residents of the city? Preparing some powerful ritual that requires a sympathetic link to thousands of people? Feeding a subterranean hair monster that gets bored with the same tastes incredibly quickly? Weaving the most inclusive wig ever created? Grab whatever the players come up with and run from there.

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


unzealous posted:

Well, to talk a bit about things that are coming up, those weird asides, the ones that don't seem to be particularly threatening are generally supposed to serve as a point of mystery for a proactive game, one in which the players are investigating this weird poo poo and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

The more reactive game generally involves the characters or someone they love being part of one of the God Machine's projects in some way, or getting too close to the truth. The project dictates that they must be hurt, or killed, or their house bought out from them or burned down, and they obviously aren't down with this happening. Ultimately a project is going to make their life worse and mundane methods aren't enough to stop it. And that's just the local, personal level.

What makes this different from, say, government or big business? It sounds like the God Machine is the perfect metaphor for that. I have a job where I collect bits of data, and what gets done with them and who gets affected is out of my hands, with decisions made 10 levels above me. And that's' pretty benign compared to my neighbors who have their houses destroyed to make way for an overpass, which I guess is the start of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I guess that makes the God Machine the best version of the Technocracy.

Could it be benign? Are there people who serve it because, hey, at least SOMEBODY or SOMETHING is in charge and has some kind of plan?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Alien Rope Burn posted:

The ad of Palladium's I really want to find again is one put out as a reaction to D&D 3e where it proclaims Palladium is the "original d20 system". Not sure where it originally appeared, though.
I'm not sure how you would even quantify that if D&D doesn't count. If you define it as a game that uses the d20 for most rolls, and is a game with rules for more things than just travel, encounters, and assorted random junk, Bushido has them beat. It was pretty well ahead of the curve insofar as it had a skill system and unified pretty much all the important rolls with a d20. (Instead of using d20s for this, percentile for that, and so on.)

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!




Part 11: Infrastructure!

So, like we discussed in the last post there are some things we know about the God Machine. Most importantly, as far as we’re concerned, are it’s limitations.

It isn’t everywhere, it relies on middlemen, agents and intermediaries to disperse and gather information and act on it’s behalf.

It isn’t all powerful, though it turns out that there’s a lot between our current understanding of the world and omnipotence. It can do things with the laws of physics that are far, far beyond our understanding but it still has rules it must abide by.

It doesn’t know everything but it’s very, very intelligent.

quote:

The popular chaos theory illustration describes a world in which the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can mean the difference between sunshine and rain on the other side of the planet. The God-Machine doesn’t control the weather per se. It simply knows which butterfly must flap its wings to bring the rain and ensures that those wings are flapping in the right time and place.

It is a machine. It does not care for the well being of humans. Even if it understood things like ethics or morality they don’t factor into it’s decision making. It seems to prefer projects that can be executed without people noticing, but not because it doesn’t want people to find out, or because it’s afraid of what will happen. It acts this way simply because that is it’s nature. To it people are tools or resources, useful only inasmuch as they can provide some function it can utilize. It may hurt and kill people but it doesn’t gain anything resembling an emotional response from this. There’s no empathy for their plight, or even sadistic joy at their suffering. Their pain or death is only a means to an end, nothing more, nothing less.

It is incredibly patient and methodical. A project might take decades of logistical movement before all the pieces are in their proper place. It doesn’t act without apparent careful consideration for it’s every action. If a project is thwarted it doesn’t desperately try to pick up the pieces or immediately try it again. It seems to simply withdraw to reevaluate the situation.

Finally it acts relatively slowly. Because of how massive it is and it’s reliance on agents and often mundane methods of communication it’s actions take time to implement. This isn’t to say it can’t move quickly. If a cult member gets an email with a photo and a message saying this person must die immediately, they won’t waste a lot of time.

Infrastructure
Infrastructure in relation to the God Machine are the bits and pieces that together will execute it’s plans. They can start simple but will build on one another to form vast networks of buildings, people, companies and everything else it uses to further it’s goals.


Concealment Infrastructure: This is what it uses to keep people from prying too deep into it’s plans or to waylay any suspicion that something might be wrong. They can be entirely ordinary, a shell corporation, a franchised restaurant, a security guard paid to keep people out of an old warehouse. They can also be supernatural, after all it’s aware the supernatural exists, it’s only reasonable to take advantage of that fact. A security guard might get bored, or curious about the hatch leading underground. A spirit of fear has no such compulsions as long as it’s fed.

Defense Infrastructure: Sometimes concealment isn’t enough, and sometimes a project is important enough that countermeasures against interference are prepared. These are the cultists, the spirits, the supernatural creatures and anything else that follows it’s commands. They protect an area, and dissuade anyone from getting too close. And if they don’t get the message murder is generally a reliable option.

Logistical Infrastructure: This is the God Machine’s moving company. They make sure that what’s needed is where it’s supposed to be, when it’s supposed to be, in the condition it’s supposed to be. They move people, artifacts, spirits, anything that factors into the God Machine’s plan and isn’t where it should be.

Elimination Infrastructure: When a project is completed or thwarted there might be loose ends. This cleans them all up, doing it’s best to ensure that nothing remains that indicate the infrastructure existed. From arson to magic their job is to make sure there’s nothing that will make people ask the wrong kind of questions.

Command and Control Infrastructure: The messages, the angels, the power, all have to come from somewhere. There has to be something making the decisions, and while this is largely theoretical, if this were undermined or compromised it could severely alter the God Machine’s plans.


The Occult Matrix
All this work, this effort, this careful moving of people and things to the right place at the right time forms The Occult Matrix. It takes advantage of tiny exceptions to the known laws of physics and reality to perform a specific function. Of course if this were easy humanity would be doing the same. This requires a frankly unimaginable degree of precision and accuracy. If any factor is off even slightly the whole endeavor will be for naught. And given how much work goes into any given bit these projects can’t just be repeated if they fail. The proper conditions might not exist for a thousand years, if they ever do.
If everything goes as planned you get Output with a capital O. For the most part this involves summoning an Angel, one of those big, terrifying, supernaturally powerful beings made of metal and gears. Angels follow it’s commands with unquestioning obedience and are kind of terrifying. It might also involve opening a gate to another dimension, summoning some sort of immensely powerful being or any number of things which make other supernaturals seem impotent in comparison. This isn’t to say that these are the end of the project. All this might just allow it to perform another, more powerful project, which is why they refer to this as it’s Infrastructure. The more Infrastructure it can create the larger and more powerful an Output it can create. This means more powerful Angels, larger areas covered, even more Infrastructure created.

Now, for all this planning and preparation there are still points of vulnerability referred to as Linchpins. These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are vulnerable for a variety of reasons.

quote:

Suspicious Front: The front the God-Machine uses to conceal its project is particularly flimsy. For example, a gas station near a lonely highway hasn’t updated its prices in many years, such that it has the cheapest gasoline this side of 1990, all the newspapers and magazines in the convenience store are twenty years old, and the snack food has long since expired. The average passerby may take advantage of the cheap fill-up without noticing the low rumble in the ground below, but chances are he won’t come that way again. Someone looking for signs of God-Machine Infrastructure, however, is more likely to investigate further.

Mortal Politics
: The God-Machine has subverted a politician’s pork project in order to construct a massive stone edifice. Officially, this is a war monument, but it’s actually the focal point of an occult matrix that is the goal of the God-Machine’s project. If funding for the construction were to be suddenly cut off, however, the God-Machine would either have to find some other way to finish the project or give it up for lost.

Communications Disruption: The God-Machine has set up a communications hub in a post office in Oregon. Its gears type thousands of letters per week and mail them to most of the God-Machine’s mortal pawns on the West Coast. These letters contain instructions to coordinate activity on dozens of the God-Machine’s projects. None of the postal employees know the gears are there, but someone who intercepts enough of these communiques could notice that all the envelopes are coming from the same origin city. Stop those letters, and many of the God-Machine’s projects could collapse

The Occupation: A large group of seemingly invulnerable monsters occupies a small town and imprisons its entire population. Even an investigator ten miles away can tell that something is definitely going on down there just by looking through a pair of binoculars — circles of standing stones, daily human sacrifices, and more chilling sights. Rescue attempts seem hopeless. The creatures are too tough to fight and not quite stupid enough to trick. However, they are incredibly vulnerable to a commonly available substance. Can enough of it be brought into play to defeat these monsters before the God-Machine brings in reinforcements?

If You Can’t Beat Them: The God-Machine is used to having human worshipers, and it can always find some use for these cultists. The cultists themselves are not always very good at screening new members for signs that, say, a postulant intends to infiltrate the cult in order to investigate the God-Machine or thwart its designs. Part of this is the natural human desire to win others over to one’s ideals. Part of it is the knowledge that the God-Machine quite often devours cultists in the course of its projects, and those who bring in fresh meat to fuel its designs are significantly less likely to end up being put through the grinder themselves. The God-Machine doesn’t reward the loyalty of its tools, per se, but it recognizes the difference between a hammer and a nail.
Now, as an ST if they manage to stop a project they should get something out of it. That isn’t to say that the God Machine is just going to call it quits, after all it has a goal, whatever that might be. And while it expects a certain number of projects will fail for one reason or another if it can identify a singular cause for their failure it will take steps to remove them from the equation (it will probably try to kill the players). You could always try a coordinated attack, striking at multiple linchpins at once in the hopes that it becomes frantic and begins to make mistakes, or gives some insight as to it’s true purpose. Of course while that sounds easy it hasn’t happened yet. At least not successfully.



Up Next: Running A God Machine Game!

unzealous fucked around with this message at 04:28 on May 25, 2016

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Chapter 3: Character and Traits
We open with another page in the saga of Ben.

quote:

Ben had never followed anyone before, but then, he’d never met anyone like her before either. She was young, blonde, and pretty, but in truth that barely registered. He’d spotted her in the mall on his break, of all places, coming out of an upscale teashop. A single look and he knew, just knew she was like him.

“You know, if you want to be more obvious, maybe you should just start yelling ‘I’M FOLLOWING YOU,’” said the blonde, stopping without turning around. A nearby sports car lock chirped off.

“You’re like me,” Ben said, hating how dumb he sounded. He’d been working on what to say since he spotted but none of it wanted to come
out.

“Except I know the value of subtlety,” the blonde said, turning to face him. Though shorter than he was, she loomed larger in his sight, and as he looked closer he saw her Horror, something huge and vaguely feline.

“You’re too loud, kid. Someone’s going to find you.”

“Kid?” Ben stiffened. “You’re not much older than me.”

“You’re sweet to think so,” she said, smiling a little. “Seriously, though. You’re drawing too much attention. That’s why we wanted to chat.”

“We?” Ben asked, looking around. As he watched, the shape of a man detached itself from a nearby light post, rapidly resolving into an older man in a sharp suit. Behind him, his Horror coiled in sinuous lengths beneath a vast head of dripping fangs. His mouth was set in a severe line and his eyes were narrowed suspiciously. The feeling of power coming off him struck Ben like the heat of a fire, and he instinctively stepped back.

“This isn’t just your territory, you know,” the blonde continued, as if nothing was wrong. “We’ve spent a lot of time putting down roots. Fixing up our homesteads, right? Making sure things run smoothly around here.”

“Then you come along,” the older man said, each word as deliberate as a rock dropped in a pond, “and start lighting fires all over town. That,
by the way, stops now.”

“Homesteads?” Ben thought of the dark water and rolling surf he’d learned to visit, the place where his Horor roiled beneath the waves when it wasn’t out feeding. “You guys have places like that too?” Another thought caught hold of him. “And who’s going to find me?”

The blonde looked to the older man and something passed between them, though Ben couldn’t quite catch it. “We’ll get to that,” she said after
a moment. “But yes, people like us all have our own places. Way you’re going, you have to learn how to defend it, too.” She put out her hand. “Hi. I’m Robin.”

“Ben,” he said, taking it.

“I’m James,” the older man said, pointedly not offering his hand, though his look softened a fraction. “Let’s go grab a shake or something."
I'm not sure how much later after the previous thing with the bullies this is supposed to be, but the next chapter says "a few weeks". So either he's dealing with bullies at college+ age, or he's ludicrously competent for his age. As we'll see later, the first is probably the more likely. This game has... opinions.. about bullies.

Tales of the Dark Mother: Dave posted:

“Meeting’s in five minutes.”

Dave looked up at the bathroom mirror. Gerald was standing behind him. He’d obviously come into the men’s room to check up on Dave. Dave ground his teeth and didn’t answer.

“Did you hear me?” Dave could almost hear the implied ‘boy’ at the end of the sentence.

“Yeah, I heard you, Gerald.” Dave enjoyed the bristling look. Gerald hated that Dave got to use his first name now.

“OK, then. See you in there.” Gerald walked out, and Dave stared into the mirror. But the bathroom wasn’t behind him anymore. It was a mountaintop. Dave turned, and saw the sky, immense, endless, clear and blue. Down the mountain, miles away, he saw creatures running and playing and loving…oblivious. Dave — not Dave, not the man in the suit and the tie and the polished shoes, but still Dave, somehow — leapt off the mountain. Immense wings blotted out the sun and cast a shadow across the creatures below. They ran in fear, but he could see them wherever they ran. He swooped, diving towards his prey, and talons large enough to uproot trees pierced flesh and bone. He took the sky again, carrying his prey back to the mountain.

He landed at the mouth of the cave, and walked back into the dark. He felt something above him, something like the immense creature he had become and yet still bigger, something more horrifying than he could ever be and yet something that loved him. He lifted his head, and pressed his against Her neck. She whispered something in his ear, and Dave understood.

Dave’s vision cleared, and he was standing there in the men’s room, staring into the mirror. “What…”. He glanced down at the sink. There were gouge marks in the porcelain. Striations made with impossibly sharp claws.

Dave straightened up. Someone was coming. Gerald opened the door. “Hey, Dave. You about ready yet?”

Dave turned and fixed his gaze on Gerald. “Yeah. Are you?”
...what? Does the Dark Mother just randomly gently caress with people for no reason?


Character Creation
This is a Chronicles of Darkness game, and Unzealous already covered how to make a chronicles of darkness character pretty well, the first main difference is in the Aspirations for Beast Characters, some example long term aspirations are "Become the Apex" or "Become Incarnate" Seeing as how those are the only two end-games that the game has that allow you to remain in control of your character that's not very surprising . The first main difference happens in the brand new Step 5

Add Beast Template
Choose your Family and Hunger, try and pick something that suits the character you want to play. Once that's done you choose your Legend and Life. Legend and Life replace the Virtue and Vice that a mortal character would have. Legend is the kind of monster that your Horror wants you to be. Life is the kind of person you want to be. We'll go over them in more detail later. Example Legends are relentless, seductive, unexpected, vicious, and watchful. Example Lifes are cautious, honest, loyal, parental, and shy.

This is the point where you describe your Horror in more detail, but not too much detail. Be broad and evocative, two or three key features that you want to emphasize above all others. Also describe your Lair, you start with a heart and one additional chamber, with a burrow connecting the two. You also have two Lair Traits at least one of which must be minor. You can choose to give up the additional chamber in exchange for two Experiences but that would be an incredibly bad idea for reasons that will become apparent later. When buying Merits you can choose to spend 5 merits to increase your Lair trait by 2. You also choose your starting Kinships, Nightmares, and Atavisms. At least one of your Atavisms need to be from your family, and if you have any appropriate Kinships established you can start with a Kinship nightmare. These will all be explained in more detail later. You gain experience and Beats the same way you gain them in a regular Chronicles game, filling aspirations, resolving beats, being inconvenienced by a beat, dramatic failures, etc.

Satiety
Beasts start with a minimum of 2 Satiety and a maximum of 7, and it provides a little questionnaire to determine where in that spectrum you start. Who are your Kin? If you consider another supernatural creature one of your kin, take an extra point of satiety due to the extra feeding method that's available to you. Does your belly fill easily? Do you feed in large, subtle feasts, or multiple small feasts. If you go the latter route take an extra Satiety since you've probably recently fed. Are you a social predator? Does your brood hunt together, if so take a point of satiety. How frequently do you show your true self? if you save your Atavisms and Nightmares for special occasions, take a point of Satiety to show that you conserve what you have. How drawn to your lair are you? If you didn't boost your lair trait earlier take another point of Satiety to show that you haven't needed to spend a bunch lately.

quote:

Experience Costs
Attribute: 4 Experiences per dot
Merit: 1 Experience per dot
Skill Specialty: 1 Experience
Skill: 2 Experiences per dot
Nightmares: 3 Experiences
In-Family Atavisms: 3 Experiences
Out-of-Family Atavisms: 4 Experiences
Lair: 5 Experiences per dot


Example of Character Creation
Hoo boy, it's time to meet Magda.

quote:

Magda is making a character for her friend Orson’s Beast game. Orson has told the other players in advance that he wants to explore the concept of family and what that means. He’s set up a chronicle based in what looks like a normal suburb, complete with white picket fences and PTA meetings. It’s a perfect hiding place for a brood of Children (the players’ characters) to set up, inciting and feeding on the mundane fears and terrors of its residents. When Orson first hears Magda’s idea, he likes it, but is a little unconvinced about how it’ll mesh with the rest of the group. Still, he allows it anyway to see what Magda does with it.
Magda is just a little bit insane and creepy.
Step One: Concept and Aspirations
Magda decides to play "Mrs. Winters, the whole neighborhood's grandmother." Who came into her devouring late in life after her own children were already grown. When asked if she was spontaneously devoured(Which is still a loving thing, drat it) or helped by another Begotten she decides it makes more sense for it to have happened spontaneously. She chooses for one of her aspirations to be "Learn about the begotten and figure out how she lasted so long without being devoured in the first place"

Step Two: Attributes
Physical is obviously tertiary, Mrs. Winters can knit like the wind and get around pretty well without trouble so she gets two dots in Dex and one in Stamina. Social gets priority over Mental, with two dots in presence and composure, and one dot in manipulation "Mrs. Winters is a charming old lady who keeps her cool, but doesn't have much need to get by on lying or misleading people (yet)." Wits gets two dots and intelligence and resolve only get one. "She won't say no to sampling a cookie before the bake sale starts."

Step Three: Skills
Mental>Social>Physical. There's some 'cute' justifications for her skills. Computers(her kids got her a laptop) Politics(City council meetings!) Persuasion(yes billy there's a santa claus) Brawl(T'ai chi classes at the Y) and Weaponry "because knitting needles make a fine weapon in a pinch. Orson shifts uncomfortably when Magda says that." She then decides that the dots in Politics suggest another aspiration. "Prevent the city council from rezoning and demolishing the neighborhood."

Step Four: Skill Specialties
Knitting (It doesn't apply to weaponry rolls, Orson is quick to point out) Local Politics, and "Sympathetic Ear" for empathy because she's a confidant for her neighbors.


Step Five: Add Beast Template
She picks Eshmaki because of the echoing darkness of an empty house. She chooses the Hunger for Punishment because..well..

quote:

Magda chooses the Hunger for Punishment for Mrs. Winters, letting her seep into the dreams of those who confide in her, berating them for their failings and filling them with the terror of their secrets being discovered. While Mrs. Winters won’t outwardly judge those who confide in her, she stalks them in the Primordial Dream, never letting them rest comfortably while they try to hide their illicit affairs, abuses, and other guilty pleasures. If they come clean, though, tell the truth and clear the air or otherwise make amends and cease their bad behavior, she leaves them alone. Fair’s fair.
Such a wonderful person. She chooses to avoid feeding on children if necessary. Giving her another aspiration to protect children. Her Legend is Judgemental and her Life is Maternal. Her horror is the stereotypical old woman cranked up to 13, long ragged fingernails and toenails, absolutely zero fat, hunched over, milky eyes, etc.

She accepts the starting lair value and takes Echoing and Darkness as her Lair Traits. "She also tries not to notice Orson scratching out a few lines in his plot notes as a result." Her Nightmares are "You Deserve This"(I hate this nightmare) and "You Are Not Alone". Her Atavisms are From the Shadows and Shadowed Soul. This also prompts her to take a dot out of athletics and put it in Stealth.

Step Six: Merits

quote:

The additional details Magda established previously makes Merit selection easy. Magda takes two dots of Resources (from her social security check and her side business of watching the neighborhood kids), Small-Framed (which costs two dots), Common Sense (which costs three dots), one dot of Allies for her connections on the city council, and two dots of Contacts (one for her neighbors and one for the city offices).
I'm still not entirely over the fact that the boilerplate sample character for Beast is a nosy pensioner.

Step Seven: Advantages
Mrs Winters has no kin, since she only really interacts with her neighborhood and doesn't want to shoehorn in a werewolf or mage next door. She feeds often so takes a point there. She isn't a social predator (Doesn't want to have Predators and Tyrants around the neighborhood kids), and shows her true self often to keep the neighborhood in line. And she only has a lair of 1. So her starting Satiety is 4.

Legend/Life
Legend represents your expected behavior as one of the Begotten. If someone had to describe in a single word the horrible thing that came to them in their nightmares, that word would be your Legend. Canny Heroes can use this against the beast by encouraging this behavior. You regain a point of willpower when you reveal your primordial nature in order to scare/impress/convince someone to do something. Successfully activating a Nightmare or acting in accordance with your Legend without being compelled to do so could also apply depending on the scene. But unfurling ones claws just to get a bar-stool closer to the door might have consequences. You regain all your willpower when you act in accordance with your Legend despite knowing it will endanger yourself or your loved ones. They give some Example Legends and..uhh.. some of them are really loving weak.

quote:

Unexpected: Regain one point of Willpower when your character reveals her presence to someone who thinks she is nowhere near him. Regain all Willpower if she startles a whole room of people previously unaware of her presence.
"Startling a room full of people" does not put your life in danger.

quote:

Watchful: Regain one point of Willpower when your character, while not revealing himself, makes it clear to another character in the scene that she is not alone. Regain all Willpower if someone discovers your presence despite all efforts to remain unseen.
"Guys I failed my stealth roll again." "...you don't have any dots in stealth." "I know, weird right."

Life represents the person you once were, and the person you want to be again.They lend the Begotten some sympathy in the eyes of humanity, and might put an inexperienced hero off thier guard. You regain a point of willpower when you act in accordance with your life in a supernatural situation. You regain ALL of your willpower when you "act according to your life rather than being the primordial terror the world expects." Or for denying a Hero the chance to prove himself the bastion of all that is right in the world. Dear lord these are super vague definitions and very strong ones "Well I could have killed him but I didn't, I regain all my willpower."

quote:

Shy: Regain one point of Willpower when you opt not to reveal your nature when doing so could reap significant benefits, such as gaining an ally or Kinship. Regain all points of Willpower when your taciturn demeanor gives your enemies pause or makes them think they incorrectly perceived the threat you pose.
Like this, "regain all your willpower for being a sneaky gently caress"? Seriously?

quote:

Cautious: Regain one point of Willpower when prudent behavior helps you dodge a metaphorical bullet, such as revealing your nature as one of the Children before a vampire attempts to drain you dry. Regain all points of Willpower when this caution urges you to do unto others before they do unto you, such as shooting your enemy while he distracts himself with his own heroic monologue challenging you to single combat.
...That's not Cautious. That's "Is Genre Savvy". And it's way too loving strong. And why are you regaining willpower from your life for revealing that you're a Beast?

So yeah, Legend and Life combine to make Beasts into ridiculously deep wells of Willpower, you should probably make your WP pool as big as possible.

Which finally brings us to...
Kinship
Kinship is general term for the ties that Beasts have with their "siblings" in the world of the Chronicles of Darkness. Kinship functions differently depending on if they're "merely" a fundamentally human being or overtly supernatural.
Descended from the Dark Mother: Vampires, werewolves, changelings, Prometheans, Sin-Eaters, mummies, fetches, inhuman spirits. In general, any being that was never human, or was human but has since been totally transformed into or merged with a supernatural being, falls into this category.
Fundamentally Human: Mages, psychics, mediums, slashers, and ghosts. As a rule, any character who can be described with “mostly human, but” falls into this category. Notable- Beasts willingly associate with slashers.
Kinship Does Not Apply: Demons, as described in Demon: The Descent.

This does raise the question, is there some kind of common spiritual ancestry? Beasts say yes, everyone else says no. end of story.


quote:

FAMILY TIES
(PERSISTENT)
Your character has become closely bonded to a Beast
and finds great (if sometimes grudging) strength in that
connection. While in his immediate presence, she may use the
Beast’s relevant Resistance trait value instead of her own when
defending against supernatural powers. In return, both she and
the Beast receive a +1 on any rolls made to directly assist each
other, or as part of teamwork actions undertaken together. You
may have this Condition with multiple Beasts simultaneously.
Possible Sources: A Beast
Resolution: Your character severs her association with the Beast.
Beat: Your character encounters trouble with others of her
kind or forsakes an important obligation to her supernatural
culture, due to her connection with the Beast.
Does this mean that if a Mage has the family ties condition with an entire brood they get +5 dice to cast a spell that aids or help those beasts?
Cause..
drat.

Thicker than Water
Beasts have a natural affinity with all creatures of the Dark Mother. This doesn't guarantee deep abiding friendship, but it does allay the natural fear and suspicious that most supernatural creatures have when approached by someone they don't know that also knows exactly who they are...which can itself be kind of off-putting. Particularly if they don't know what the gently caress beasts are.

Unless the Beast acts in a hostile fashion, treats the target poorly, or abuses their relatoinship: A beast starts with at least a Good impresion for the purposes of social maneuvering when it comes to dealing with any supernatural creature(including other beasts) Mostly Human supernaturals only start out with an "average" impression. Beasts can even use this power against mostly feral supernatural creatures but only really to establish dominance. That said they get to add their current satiety rating to any social maneuvering rolls with creatures like that.

This is a major bone of contention with a lot of people who play the other games. Because this is the game saying "No, you like Beasts, there's rules for it and everything" Despite the fact that Werewolves, Changelings, and Prometheans have legitimate greivances with a Beasts mere existance, as long as the Beast tries to be nice then they get a leg up on social maneuvering.

Family Resemblance
Beasts can recognize each other on sight, unless a Beast is using some kind of supernatural ability to hide their nature(Which initiates a clash of wills) If they want to learn more than "it's a beast, dumbass" Then they need to use this power normally. Detecting another full-fledged supernatural being is relatively easy, and happens reflexively if the beast is in their presence, success is automatic unless the target is hiding (which triggers a clash of wills). Each beast detects the other supernaturals differently, but it's always distinctive. A discordant chime for changelings, the taste of ashes for vampires, the smell of grave soil for geists. etc. For fundamentally human supernatural creatures, the beast needs to witness them calling on their supernatural power, after which allows them to roll.

The power does provide a fairly concrete definition of what you're looking at, but it won't give any more information (Strengths, weaknesses, any societies they're a member of, etc) Notably a dramatic failure on the roll (Wits+Occult+Lair-Target's Composure) sets your impresion to hostile automatically, but you have to choose dramatic failures in COFD. A success gives you the type of creature you're looking at, their supernatural power stat rating, and how "well fed" they currently are. It will also tell you a Beast's family and their current satiety level. An exceptional success gives you a general idea of the target's most powerful supernatural talent. It also removes two doors in social maneuvering.


Mother's Kiss
Beasts can temporarily boost the powers of other non-beast/non-demon supernatural creatures. As long as they're in the same general area, all it takes is a spoken name and some spilled blood. If the roll is successful, the target feels a rush of power, it's different for everyone but ti's unmistakable. The target can only be under the effect of a single Kiss at a time, and the effects fade at the end of a scene. Also for some reason(Game Balance) This power gets weaker the more powerful the target is.

quote:

Cost: 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Stamina + Satiety – target’s Supernatural
Tolerance. If a target of Mother’s Kiss has the Family Ties
Condition with the Beast, the Beast adds three dice to her pool.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast not only fails to boost a target’s
powers, but loses 1 Satiety as her Horror rebels against being
ordered about in this fashion. In addition, the target suffers a
dramatic failure on the next use of a supernatural power this
scene (the target receives a Beat when this happens). He may not
receive another use of Mother’s Kiss until after this failure occurs.
Failure: The Beast fails to augment the target’s powers.
Success: The target gains a pool of dice equal to the player’s
successes. For the rest of the scene, he may add these dice to
any roll for a supernatural power. Dice must be allocated before
a roll is made; they cannot be added afterward. Once dice are
sed, they are removed from this pool. If a power does not
require a roll, the Storyteller may allow it to receive a narrative
benefit based on the number of dice expended — the more dice
spent, the greater the benefit potentially generated.
Exceptional Success: As above, plus the target immediately
refreshes 1 Willpower point, plus an additional Willpower
point for every success above five. This may take her over her
normal Willpower maximum. Any Willpower points in excess
of her maximum rating are lost at the end of the current scene.

Passing Resemblance
This power allows a Beast to 'pass' as another supernatural type that they have a Family Tie with. Usually to pass through hostile territory, ally suspicion, or escape immediate harm. It doesn't confer any actual new capabilities but it allows them to 'detect' as that kind of creature under casual inspection.

For a single point of willpower and an active family ties merit this power lasts for a scene. Notably this power is only a perfect disguise if the detecting person couldn't detect beasts with whatever method they're using. So a Beast using this gift would trigger the predator's taint with a Vampire, but if a werewolf uses a "Detect Supernatural Creature" gift on the beast, he would need to win a clash of wills to keep up the disguise. If a beast is at high satiety, the nightmare provides some minor visual illusions to keep the charade afloat. A "Vampire" would look paler and appear to not be breathing. a "Changeling" would have a somewhat horrific fae mien based off of their Horror's appearance.

Family Dinner
AKA: Let's blow the whole power dynamic and double-edged sword that is Feeding out of the water. A Beast can accompany any supernatural creature while it hunts, feeds, or both and gain sustenance from it. It doesn't matter if it's a vampire bleeding some drunk in an ally or a Werewolf stalking an intruder, as long as they are actively tracking prey and/or taking sustenance from the hunt. The Storyteller has final say on if it counts or not, but it needs to involve a monster's supernatural nature or appetites directly. You can't take your werewolf friend out to Burger King.

If the beast witnessed a successful hunt (one that results in taking down the intended quarry either literally or figuratively) they gain one Satiety. If they witness a feeding they gain one satiety. If they witness a hunt that results in a feeding they gain two. A Beast does not need to make her presence known to benefit from this, they could just stalk an unsuspecting vampire from the rooftops. But each successful use of Family Dinner removes a door on an attempt to place Family Ties on the target. If you already have the Family Ties condition on the target of Family Dinner, you gain another point of satiety. And a beast can choose to regain less satiety if they want to 'stay hungry' (AKA: For the love of god do not go to 10 satiety). You can only feed in this way once a scene, the target of the target's hunt cannot be a willing victim, and you need to be physically present. You can't feed via CCTV.

The Horrors just off the path
Beasts are also the unquestioned masters of the Primordial Pathways, they can go basically anywhere they want. Very few things can stop a determined beast from going anywhere they really want to go.

Skeleton Key
You know how there are several supernatural creatures that are very particular about their privacy? Werewolves like their Loci into the shadow, Changelings like their rooms hidden in the Hedge, Sin Eaters use their Avernian Gates to access the Underworld... well gently caress that poo poo, the Beastly Kool-Aid man is here to tell that door to open the gently caress up.

It doesn't specifically damage the gateway in any fashion, but to those who know how such things normally work it looks decidedly unnatural as a palpable sense of overwhelming force ripples through the area. As though some great force ripped the door off it's hinges right before it opened normally. Even if a portal resists being opened in this manner, the beast suffers enough backlash for it to be obvious that something isn't working right. That said Beasts have no innate way to sense these gateways, and need to at least know it's there before they can do their work. But once they know it's there they can use this power all they want. They can also, if they so choose, rip open such a doorway and tell it to instead make a path to the Primordial Dream. They can even do this to a Demon's Bolthole, but they can't actually open a Bolthole to the demon's secret realm, just the Primordial Dream. That said a Demon probably isn't super happy about it anyway.

quote:

Cost: 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Resolve + Occult + Lair vs. Supernatural
Tolerance of the gate’s creator or current owner, whichever is
higher. If no such rating readily exists, the Storyteller should
assign a rating based on how well-used the gateway is, with very
active gates being easier to open. If the gateway has a security
rating of some kind, add that to the resistance roll.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast not only fails to open the
gateway, but it slams shut on her, causing a psychic backlash.
Roll the gateway’s Supernatural Tolerance — the Beast suffers
one level of bashing damage per success on this roll. In addition,
the owner of the gateway, if any, is immediately alerted to the
fact that someone who is not one of his kind attempted to
force the crossing.
Failure: The Beast fails to open the gateway.
Success: The gateway opens, allowing travel between
worlds for a number of turns equal to successes rolled or until
the Beast wills it closed as a reflexive action. This applies even
if the gateway is normally open for a much longer or shorter
period of time. A gateway can only be connected to one realm
at a time — either its normal destination or the Primordial
Dream. If the Beast wishes to switch the destination, she must
end the current use of Skeleton Key and activate it once again.
Exceptional Success: As success, but using this particular
gateway does not require a Willpower point for the rest of the
story — the shadow of the Horror lingers on the portal, removing
some of the difficulty in crossing between worlds for the Beast.
A roll is still required as normal.



Under the Bed
The easiest way for a Beast to access the Primordial Dream is through their lair, but if they're pressed for time, and want to absolutely ruin someone's day, they can leave a back-door in someone else's nightmares. To set up such a connection, the Beast must first sate their Hunger in the targets presence. They can be an accomplice, victim, or witness, and they don't even need to be aware of what's going on, but there must be no question in their mind that the Beast is responsible for it. After that all it takes is a point of satiety from the Beast and the connection is set. The beast can have no more of these back doors than they have dots in Lair, and the target cannot themselves be a supernatural creature.

The Beast much approach the target while their sleeping, and spend another point of Satiety, this infects the target with a savage nightmare which opens up a portal directly to the Primordial Dream, which the Beast slips through.

quote:

Cost: 1 Satiety
Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety vs. Integrity. If the Beast is
a blood relative, she adds 3 dice to her roll.
Action: Instant
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The Beast is unable to enter the
Primordial Pathways through the target’s nightmares, and the
resulting psychic turmoil reverberates through the Primordial
Dream. Any Heroes in the same region feel the reverberations
and can track the Beast’s location (see p. 206).
Failure: The target’s mind shrugs off the Beast’s efforts
to infect them with a suitable nightmare; no travel to the
Primordial Pathways occurs.
Success: The Beast is able to step through the target’s
nightmares into the Primordial Pathways. She cannot
bring others along — this passage is an expression of her
connection to the target, and the passage itself reflects a
distorted version of the events in the target’s mind as a
result. The target gains the Spooked Condition regarding
the Beast and that night has terrifying nightmares involving
the Beast and her Hunger. While the target may not wake
up assuming that the Beast is actually a supernatural being,
he will likely be a bit wary around her for a while, even if he
can’t exactly explain why. The Beast gains no Satiety from this
dream, however, as the Horror doesn’t linger in the dream.
Exceptional Success: An especially potent connection
to the Primordial Dream is created; the Beast may make a
number of additional trips equal to her Lair rating before
rolling again, and the target does not need to be asleep for
the Beast to use this ability. The Beast must still be in close
proximity to her target and spend Satiety for each trip.
Unfortunately, a nightmare this powerful is very hard on
the target’s mind — he suffers a breaking point as a result of the
intense nightmares. Even if he successfully wards off Integrity
loss, the target awakens with absolute certainty of the Beast’s true
nature; if he was already aware of it, he sees the worst possible
aspect of the Beast. He is considered hostile to the Beast for
the purposes of Social maneuvering, requiring tremendous
effort to repair relations.
If you actually do this, it means that you planned to do this, and you're probably a horrible loving person. Just FYI.


Hold the Door
A Beast can let others into their lair if they so choose. They must be at an entrance to the lair and grant their express consent. After that any named target can simply walk in with the beast. If the lair is shared by a Brood they're instantly aware when outsiders have been given access. If they've met the target before they know exactly who has been brought in, and they maintain an image of the person which can be recognized later unless they change their appearance. Both mortals and supernaturals can use such a door, but a mortal will probably take a breaking point from the experience. A Beast can be bribed, bullied, or coerced into providing consent, but not supernaturally compelled. The permission must be genuine, if begrudging.


Be My Guest
Alternately, the Beast can spend a point of Satiety and give a target free access to come and go to his Lair as they please. This is a rare and closely guarded privilege and a Brood will probably be very very angry if they aren't consulted before such a privilege is given. Unlike with Hold the Door, a mortal's mind is shielded from the worst a lair can offer with the use of this power. The Lair recognizes the mortal as a valued guest and eases off on them. Such permission can be revoked at any time, but if the target is in the lair already it won't forcibly remove them.


Next Time: Lairs and Feeding

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Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


You know, I just realized something. If non-Beasts happened to learn about the weird effect Beasts have to force you to like them, they would probably be livid. Like, I can easily imagine werewolves who are aware of that killing anyone they're interacting with who they learn is a Beast on principle, and I imagine that vampires and mages wouldn't be particularly happy about it either, among the others. Hell, it even applies to demons apparently, and they probably have the most legitimate reasons to find anything like that a major threat. Edit: Whoops, forgot the "not kin" part means that this actually doesn't apply there.

My distaste for it as a mechanic aside, Thicker Than Water is basically an in-game motivation for any non-Beast aware of it to want to have as little to do with any Beast they encounter, or possibly kill them outright. Which is presumably the opposite of what it's intended to achieve.

Roland Jones fucked around with this message at 06:39 on May 25, 2016

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