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Aug 23, 2009

DigitalRaven posted:

Gauru and Blood Talons

I think I'm remembering an argument from before the final version shipped that got incorporated, then. I do like that the Gauru form can use weapons now though.


Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo

Part Five: The Transition Guide

The Transition Guide is, to my understanding, an addition to the Beginner Box that was not originally included in the product at launch--it was added to reprints, but it was also a free download on the beginner box page. Itís short, at under 20 pages, but itís a valuable addition to the box.

The first thing in the booklet is a list of rules that were skipped or simplified in the BB proper: Opportunity Attacks, disarm/grapple/trip, with CMB and CMD, base attack bonus (which is more simplified than absent,) monster templates, bonus types and how they interact, hit dice, taking 10 or 20, armor rules (which are simplified in the beginner box, not having max dex bonus or spell failure rules), creature sizes, multiclassing, ability damage, concentration (in the BB, casters canít be adjacent if they want to cast at all,) and languages.

The booklet also suggests that good places to start looking for other options to add to the game compared to the beginner box are the races, classes, and feats sections -- makes sense, all of those areas are very simplified in the Beginner Box and all of them are pretty simple to pick and choose things to add from the core rules without making things too much more complicated.

The next two sections are how to read the non-simplified spell and monster statblocks. Not especially exciting. Thereís a section on how to level Beginner Box characters from level 5 to level 6, adding a couple of things where they had been simplified (clerics getting domain spells, for example, or the fighterís armor training, the rogueís uncanny dodge, arcane and opposition schools for the wizard, plus the scribe scroll bonus feat)

The next, and final section, takes an adventure that is downloadable free from Paizoís site, Master of the Fallen Fortress--which was designed for the core rules--and provides guidelines on how to read it and how to adapt it to work for the Beginner Box, or just run it as a full adventure--itís a little bit different as it was not written with the expectation of being a beginnerís product specifically.

In a few places in this transition guide, itís pointed out that you can take what you like and leave the rest from the core rules or any other Pathfinder product. Itís a nice touch to reiterate that!

The back inside cover houses advertisements for the Adventure Paths, the fiction line, the campaign setting line and the accessories products, plus a plug for the subscription options and for The back cover is an ad for the Pathfinder Society, the Organized Play setup for Pathfinder.

The Pawns

One thing I didnít spend much time talking about in this box was the Pawns. These are sturdy cardboard miniatures, basically--thereís several sheets of them, they have solid art that matches their bestiary entries, theyíre in the same scale as a standard heroic-scale 32mm mini would be--they play nicer, in my opinion, with said minis than the pog-like tokens that come in most beginner boxes for games of this type. Thereís not much to be said here beyond that--theyíre a nice accessory, and Iíd actually legitimately consider buying these if I were running Pathfinder in person, as they come in both bestiary boxes, that provide pawns for every creature in one of the five Bestiaries printed to date, and in Adventure Path kits, for many (but not all) of the Adventure Paths with baaaasically everything youíre gonna need for those paths. Which is nice because they can get fairly obscure at times.

Closing Thoughts

The Pathfinder Beginner Box is, for a product aimed at beginners, certainly among the best, if not the best overall, that I have seen. All of the books provide clearly laid out and accessible information without overloading the reader, the Game Masterís Guide provides a full adventure and the structure of a second, plus dozens of hooks for further ideas, the Transition Guide provides a third adventure among tips for graduating to the full game, and the accessories are fantastic, especially compared to similar products. The right elements are emphasized in the right places to make this a good starter product, and the free support on the website gives even more playability. Itís got great production values, as most of Paizoís products do, and overall I am left with a positive impression. Itís also got a lot of information on where to go next, and excellent samples of the accessories Paizo offers. Overall, while this is probably not a product that is really aimed at experienced gamers, thereís enough there to make it a good point of entry for Pathfinder. Which is, after all, the point.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

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

Hostile V posted:

And, as an added benefit, this is not the book that has Reconstruction-era Beast.

OTOH the second book is set to have a load of cool stuff in it to compensate, which should wash the taste out somewhat

Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case

I want to point out that the thing depicted in the picture of Agathion is the motherfucking wand of Orcus, so that gives you an idea of the caliber of item stored there by the powers. In fact you go and find it as part of Dead Gods, one of the finest adventures ever written.

Nov 22, 2007
man what

I think, though we haven't gotten far enough into Beast, that with Mage you can explain a bit of Beast cosmology as long as you accept Mage uber alles as far as cosmology goes.

Mage and Werewolf agree on 90% of stuff since most werewolves don't give a poo poo about both dreamworlds and the supernal realms, just the Shadow. In Mage and Werewolf 1e, both mages and werewolves claimed it was their doing that caused the split between the material and Shadow, but as of Dark Eras, it's semi-canon that the fall of Atlantis happened 'before???' (maybe) the fall of Pangaea.

Anyway, Beasts and the Dark Mother originate from the 'Primordial Dream'.
As both Beast and Mage state, 'astral realms' are made up of three layers - the Oneiros, which is your personal dreamworld; the Temenos, which is humanity's collective unconscious; and the Anima Mundi, the thoughts and feelings of everything that isn't human.

The difference in theme between the Shadow and the Astral Realms has been best put to me over in the WoD thread:

Ferrinus posted:

Spirits are emergent properties of real-world situations (which may or may not include people's thoughts), whereas temenos goetia [thought beings] are direct representations of what people think.

Some Mage supplements - e.g. Legacies: The Sublime, I think, posit that there used to be no Temenos, or no real division between it and the Anima Mundi, but at some point they split apart. There isn't hard evidence for this, but it seems true enough - the Temenos didn't exist, or was empty, until humans were able to communicate thoughts to each other.

The primordial dream, as far as Mage is concerned, exists on the edges of the Temenos, kind of near the Anima Mundi 'border'. They're humanity's oldest urges as humans, the primal fears and urges. The Mage point of view is that it's born out of the thoughts of humans just like the rest of the Temenos, but Beasts probably disagree. Either way, this is where Beast types and their Legend seem to come from - humanity's stories of monsters and fears.
The Dark Mother has no explanation or origin (which, for the gamelines, is probably for the best). Jury's out on whether it's an extremely powerful goetic (formed from human thought) being or is an independent entity.

Beast-Horrors come from the Primordial Dream, and take the place of the regular human soul by whatever means. This fits into both Beast and Mage cosmology, as the Astral Realms are kinda-sorta a soul-conduit. Souls in CofD are weird, don't think too much about it.

So anyway, if Beasts are a way of making humanity scared, and teaching lessons, it seems that the Dark Mother, if there is an intelligence behind it, is trying to re-strengthen the Primordial Dream inside the Temenos, since it's been pushed out of the forefront by all the other things humans think about.

I think it's a little bit of a shame that Mage got most of the Astral Realms under its purview, because while it fits in with them, you could have an entire gameline of Psychonauts influencing people's dreams and the Temenos and carrying dream-powers into the real world.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

bewilderment posted:

I think it's a little bit of a shame that Mage got most of the Astral Realms under its purview, because while it fits in with them, you could have an entire gameline of Psychonauts influencing people's dreams and the Temenos and carrying dream-powers into the real world.

And then you've got the Hunters. Valkyrie has developed the necessary technology to build artificial portals into these realms, and for their guns to hurt and wound these kinds of spirit-beings.

Jul 9, 2003

bewilderment posted:

I think, though we haven't gotten far enough into Beast, that with Mage you can explain a bit of Beast cosmology as long as you accept Mage uber alles as far as cosmology goes.
You do need to assume that Beast's line about the Primordial Dream being super mega important and them being ~totally kin~ to everything else is complete bullshit, though.

I mean, this is not a bad thing here. Plus it pushes Beasts from their claim of "Oh humanity has forgotten these ancient terrors, and that's bad" to "Humanity has forgotten these ancient terrors, because they're not relevant to modern life anymore" which makes a lot more sense than Beast's claim on the topic.

Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion

Cythereal posted:

And then you've got the Hunters. Valkyrie has developed the necessary technology to build artificial portals into these realms, and for their guns to hurt and wound these kinds of spirit-beings.

Which reminds me, what the hell is the Hall of Mirrors?

Nov 22, 2007
man what

Zereth posted:

You do need to assume that Beast's line about the Primordial Dream being super mega important and them being ~totally kin~ to everything else is complete bullshit, though.

I mean, this is not a bad thing here. Plus it pushes Beasts from their claim of "Oh humanity has forgotten these ancient terrors, and that's bad" to "Humanity has forgotten these ancient terrors, because they're not relevant to modern life anymore" which makes a lot more sense than Beast's claim on the topic.

Oh yeah, that part is bullshit and I'm pretty sure no supernatural being has anything close in their backstory to that making sense. Vampire semi-canon is actually, last I checked, convergent evolution - the different 'clans' are actually different supernatural beings that happened to gain the same traits, and the original Mekhet, for example, is actually some kind of cave monster.

That said, it makes some amount of sense if you interpret that kinship as Beast-Horrors actually being born from the Temenotic concepts of other beings - from human thoughts of werewolves, and vampires, and also the fact that, as being all somewhat derived from humans, these supernatural beings all have their own spaces in the Temenos.

It also explains why Beasts hate Demons - Demons aren't human, and never were. No Temenos exists for Demons, because the Demon shared consciousness is cut off from them - it's the God-Machine.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

I like the Void Engineers book and their Star Trek: TOS style trippy spirit adventures. I like them and Mage and spirits better than werewolves.

I can't paste the Sponsor Touchstone from Werewolf, but coked-up werewolves is a great idea. Is that that Jack Nicholson movie Wolf? Or Werewolves of London.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 06:06 on Jun 1, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Rand Brittain posted:

Ring-Givers rock.

Yeah, when we did Planescape 3.5, we wanted to have a sect move into the power vacuum left behind by Faction War, and the Ring-Givers were chosen to be upgraded to a full faction. They were one of the "new" factions along with the Mind's Eye, Sodkillers, and Sons of Mercy.

Daeren posted:

Nah, Planescape was so popular in Australia that it crept into pop culture, funny enough.

Ettin can back me up on this.

Now I'm curious- what exactly crept in?

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

bewilderment posted:

It also explains why Beasts hate Demons - Demons aren't human, and never were. No Temenos exists for Demons, because the Demon shared consciousness is cut off from them - it's the God-Machine.

I believe the default is actually that inhuman supernatural beings in general don't touch the Temenos. The Astral Realms book makes a point of mentioning that werewolves' dream selves aren't found in the oneiric astral layer: they dream straight into the world-soul of the Anima Mundi, which is extra perplexing considering the Ecstatic Wind normally makes that a dangerous place for self-aware visitors.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Werewolf: the Forsaken, Second Edition

Primal Urge represents your inner instinct, the fire inside you that yearns to kill and devour. It is the wolf within. Normally, it's just a whisper in the back of your mind. When you see your auspice moon in the sky, however, the voice rises to a constant bellow. As your Primal Urge increases, you get less human, closer to Wolf, the ultimate predator. A few werewolves even feel the drive to become something more, something like the Firstborn or like Father Wolf himself. Primal Urge grants a number of beneifts, but also some weaknesses.

The benefits are:
  • More Primal Urge means a larger Essence pool, plus more Essence spendable per turn.
  • More Primal Urge eventually means you can achieve superhuman dot levels in Attributes and Skills.
  • The more Primal Urge you have, the more you heal per turn at all times.
  • Eventually, you start to get bonuses to tracking prey.

The downsides are:
  • The higher your Primal Urge, the harder it is to hold back Kuruth's fury and so the longer it lasts.
  • The higher your Primal Urge, the harder it is to eat. First, you can only eat meat. Then it has to be raw meat. Then it needs to be meat from other carnivores. At last, it must be the Essence-soaked ephemera of spirits or the flesh of humans or wolves. You can eat other stuff, but it grants no nourishment, and you lose one Essence each day you go un-nourished.
  • The higher your Primal Urge, the shorter the period you can go between full-on calling of the Siskur-Dah. If you go past that, you lose one Essence each day and suffer a breaking point towards Flesh.

Being a werewolf means several physical benefits. First up: Regeneration. Werewolves regenerate from damage, though it's not a peaceful healing process. It is the wild instinct to survive, taken to a violent extreme. Anything but a superficial wound heals in a way that looks unnatural and perverse to most people. Muscles grind and twist, bones fuse with a faint hiss, torn skin wraps around until it crosses a wound. Uratha avoid hospitals at all costs, as witnessing the regeneration of Lethal damage causes Lunacy as if you were in Dalu form, regardless of what form you are in. Uratha heal Bashing damage per turn based on their Primal Urge. They heal 1L every 15 minutes, or can spend 1 Essence reflexively to upgrade their healing that turn from Bashing to Lethal. Aggravated damage heals more slowly - 1A per four days. Only silver and certian supernatural powers will cause them aggravated damage directly, however. Any source of harm that would cause Aggravated damage to a human and isn't supernatural causes them only Lethal damage. Werewolves who suffer Tilts from Aggravated damage, such as missing arms or eyes, heal them when the associated wound is healed. In Gauru form, all Bashing and Lethal damage is healed at the start of every turn. Poisons can still affect the Uratha, but subtract (Primal Urge) from the Toxicity of any poison or disease that would harm them.

Werewolves also have improved senses - actually, three sets of them. Human, wolf and spirit. In any form, a werewolf can tap into all three sets of those senses, if with some effort depending on the form. Uratha have human senses like any person, but the First Change perfects them. They have 20/10 vision, perfect hearing, good sense of smell. If they lost a sense before the First Change, it comes back within days of the Change. This will even force regeneration of lost eyes or damaged sense organs. Even if you were born blind or deaf, the Change will give you the senses you never had. Human senses are the default in Hishu and Dalu form, and in those forms they must consciously choose to activate the other two, though this is reflexive and takes no roll.

Wolf senses are still constrained by the world of Flesh, but they are more intuitive and holistic. They are default in Urhan and Urshul forms. Wolf senses give a bonus to Perception-based rolls depending on the form, and they negate all penalties for sensory deprivation - if you get blinded, overcome by strong scent or made deaf, your other senses compensate under the Wolf senses. Further, a wolf's sense of smell is very important in many things. You may use Primal Urge in place of any roll to identify someone you remember, even when they're hiding or disguised. If you smell a scene and later meet an Uratha that was present, you can identify the connection with a Wits+Primal Urge roll - or free, if they deliberately left their scent. Further, you can recognize another werewolf or a Wolf-Blooded by scent using a Wits+Primal Urge roll, but this takes an instant action and you must be close to the target. Wolves also have excellent hearing, and under the Wolf senses, you can hear a distance of (Primal Urge) miles, and may hear frequencies beyond the human range. You ignore all penalties based on quietness or range of hearing. In the city, however, this is largely academic and does not apply, due to the sheer number of sounds - you can only use the bonus in your immediate surroundings. Anything beyond that is lost in the jumble. Wolves have excellent night vision, though less color vision than humans, and great vision for movement. Halve all darkness penalties, rounding down, and ignore any visual penalties due to rapid movement. (Handy for reading license plates off speeding cars!) Lastly, if a werewolf has ever tasted the quarry's blood, they can use the Wolf senses to gain a rough sense of location. This is not limited by distance, but only gives exact direction, ignoring all barriers and dangers. This applies to any living thing with blood, but you can follow only one victim at a time. You will lose that trail when you taste the blood of another creature or after one lunar month.

Uratha are tied to the world of Spirit, and may peek across to experience it, extending any or all of their senses across the gauntlet with their Spirit senses. However, they cannot exist in both places at once. With an instant action, you may send any of your senses across the Gauntlet, or spend 1 Essence to do it reflexively. This can extend either Human or Wolf senses in either direction. Without a Gift, however, each sense is binary - you can only use it on side of the Gauntlet at a time. If you send some but not all of your senses across, you get -2 to any actions relying on Perception or concentration, and you lose the ability of the Wolf senses to ignore sensory penalties. You may only send your form's default senses across the Gauntlet, too - no sending Wolf senses across in Dalu form. Further, all Perception rolls suffer a penalty based on the Gauntlet's strength in the area. You do not, however, need to focus to sense spirits inn Twilight. Using the Spirit sense, you can sense spirits in Twilight as well as you can when they are manifested, unless they are intentionally hiding.

Werewolves are excellent trackers, and we get a brief overview of the tracking rules. But that's boring, so let's talk about shapeshifting! All five forms of the Uratha are natural and have their own uses. Nothing can detect them as unnatural, and they are entirely physically natural, just...well, monstrous in some cases. High Harmony Uratha have trouble shapeshifting. It is painful on a level that is impossible to describe. Their body, mind and soul shatter and reform, tearing themselves apart and refitting. Sure, it all regenerates instantly, but it hurts like hell. At balanced Harmony, the transformation is uncomfortable, but it's a natural discomfort. It's right, if not ideal. At low Harmony, there is no pain of discomfort. The transformation is, in fact, a warm relief. You feel discomfort instead when you spend more than a few hours in any one form, and the chance to change forms is like getting a massage or hot bath after exertion. They must change form at least once per scene, or spend Essence to avoid doing so when unstressed. When stressed - such as during combat, a chase or when you feel threatened - you must change form one step at a time towards your goal form - Urhan if you need to run, Hishu to hide, Gauru to fight and so on.

  • Harmony 9-10: Spend 1 Essence as an instant action to change form.
  • Harmony 7-8: Spend 1 Essence as a reflexive action to change form, or an instant action at no cost.
  • Harmony 4-6: Change reflexively at no cost.
  • Harmony 2-3: Spend 1 Essence as a reflexive action or take an instant action at no cost to avoid changing form.
  • Harmony 0-1: Spend 1 Essence as an instant action to avoid changing form.

Next time: Forms of the Wolf.

Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case

why did nobody tell me that there's an official sci fi sequel to in nomine where God and Satan both have space empires and giant space fleets and fight against space vikings

Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
Because Age of Sigmar is terrible?


Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets

Kellsterik posted:

That section on the Shadow is fantastic, I'm glad the Werewolf book goes into such depth about painting a picture of what the place looks and feels like. It reminds me of the Mysterious World chapter in Mage 2E.

It should. The Shadow was me writing it for Stew. Mage's Mysterious World was Stew and Malcolm writing it for me.


The 6 Urban/Rural Spirits sidebars are really helpful for any game. I feel like that's the in-depth explanation of the Shadow that's been missing from other games I've played that have to cut it to a page or two of general description for space.

I added those twelve examples after I found out we didn't have room for any sample spirits in the book. I could live with it in Mage 2e, but werewolf needs those things.

And, regarding first tongue, the chapter I handed it just said "Beach Carrion Theives (PLEASE TRANSLATE)". Someone better with Grimm's than me filled out all the Sumerian words.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Werewolf: the Forsaken, Second Edition

Hishu is the human form. It looks human in every way, and it's the form you're born in. It has no inherent stat bonuses...but it is very human. More human than actual humans. And so, it blends with crowds. Hishu gives a +1 to Perception rolls when using the Wolf senses. Further, it has Sheep's Clothing: any effort to find you in a crowd or chase you in populated areas gets a penalty equal to your Primal Urge.

Dalu is...relatively subtle. You go up to about 150% of your Hishu body mass, growing rock-hard muscle and increasing in size. Your jaw extends slightly, and your teeth elongate and sharpen. Your fingernails harden into claws, and your Wolf senses sharpen. Dalu is meant for urban hunting - at a distance or without inspection, it can pass for human. Big, ugly human, but human. However, drawing too much attention can be a problem. Unarmed attacks using your claws in Dalu deal Lethal damage, and in a grapple you can bite for Lethal damage. Your instincts are heightened against attackers, allowing you to apply Defense against Firearms attacks. You get +2 to Perception rolls when using the Wolf senses. You get +1 Strength, +1 Stamina, -1 Manipulation and +1 Size. However, you cause mild Lunacy when dealing closely with humans. Lastly, Dalu form gets Badass Motherfucker - when you chase prey into a crowd, you can roll Presence+Primal Urge against the prey's Composure+Primal Urge. If you win, anyone surrounding or protecting the prey will back down or offer them up to you.

Gauru is your classic wolfman. Huge, ferocious, destructive. In Gauru you weight pretty much four times your normal Hishu form and are about one and a half times as tall when standing bipedally. You're bulky, with arms the size of most waists, legs like tree trunks and teeth like knives. Gauru is for making and dodging the killing blow, to end a hunt or battle quickly. It only communicates to help with the kill, and you can only control the primal beast for so long. You can take Gauru form once per scene, for turns equal to your (Hishu Stamina+Primal Urge). After that, you either shift into Dalu or Urshul, or you go into Kuruth. If you do not shift, you roll Resolve+Composure reflexively. Succeed, you get one more turn of control, then must shift to Dalu or Urshul, and you enter Wasu-Im. Fail, you go directly to Basu-Im. While in Gauru form, you regenerate all bashing and lethal damage every turn. Your claws deal +2L, and your bites do +2L and need not have a grapple first. Either can establish grapples on top of causing damage. You get +3 Initiative when using teeth or claws. Your Wolf senses give +3 to Perception rolls. As in Dalu, you apply Defense against Firearms. You cause severe Lunacy on sight. You must attack a foe in striking range every turn, though you can move on from a crippled foe if another one exists. If there are no foes in range, you can move towards them or throw things. If you have no foes to attack, you must attack anything you can reach. If you do anything else, you must roll Resolve+Composure to avoid Kuruth. You get +3 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +2 Stamina, +2 Size. You automatically fail any Social roll that isn't Intimidation, and any Mental roll that isn't Perception or Resistance-based. Last, you have Primal Fear: All lesser foes - including most humans, spirits of lower Rank and non-supernatural animals - use Down and Dirty Combat rules when you fight them, and in normal combat, foes do not add Athletics or any other skill to Defense against your attacks.

Urshul is a legendary beast. It's a wolf the size of a horse, double the body mass of Hishu form, as tell at the shoulder as a human. Urshul harries the prey, leaving vicious wounds to weaken it for Gauru's kill. Urshul cannot communicate in human language, but can speak First Tongue easily. Claws deal +1L, bites deal +2L and do not require a grapple. Bites can establish grapples in addition to damage. As in Dalu, you apply Defense to Firearms attacks. Your Wolf senses give +3 to Perception rolls. You inflict moderate Lunacy. You get +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Stamina, -1 Manipulation, +1 Size and +3 to species Speed factor. Finally, you get Weaken the Prey: Once per scene, you may cause Arm Wrack, Leg Wrack or Knocked Down when you deal damage with an attack using your teeth or claws, without need for a targeted attack.

Urhan is the normal wolf form. In a pack of woles, it blends in seamlessly, at least depending on regional markers and coat colors. Urhan covers long distances very quickly and blends in with nature. It cannot speak human language and can barely manage a few simple First Tongue words. Bites deal +1L and do not require a grapple, and they can establish a grapple as well as cause damage (but not both at once). You get +4 to Perception rolls from Wolf senses. You get +2 Dexterity, +1 Stamina, -1 Manipulation, -1 Size and +3 species Speed factor. Lastly, you get Chase Down: You can spend 1 Essence to preempt another character's combat action with your own, which takes up your action for the turn. If others are able to preempt actions as well, it goes to Clash of Wills. If you have already acted this turn, you can't use this trick. Either way, in a foot chase, you roll your Speed instead of Strength+Athletics.

Uratha can sense each other. Apex predators know their own, after all. This comes from all three of the Uratha's senses. Everything a werewolf senses can identify another, as all parts of them carry a prominent and forceful predatory aura. By invoking the Hunter's Aspect, they take this further, unleashing their predatory nature on the prey to cow them. Their auspice determines how this manifests. This allows them to demolish the prey's resolve, ruining their chances before the fight even starts. The hunter's aspect works against anything - humans, spirits, Uratha, other supernatural creatures. Anything. It's rarely subtle, and using it against other Uratha will always lead to a grudge even at best, and can start a pack war for years at worst. It's a clear statement, after all, that the target is prey, not an equal. When using your Hunter's Aspect, you roll (Power Attribute+Skill+Auspice Renown) as an instant action. The Attribute used depends on the interaction. If you use it in a physical chase, use Strength. Staredown, use Presence. Outsmart the prey, use Intelligence. Most werewolves outside Hishu form prefer to engineer chances to use Strength. The skill similarly reflects the nature of the ineteraction. Intimidation, Persuasion and Subterfuge are common, followed by Brawl, Athletics or Survival. In theory any Skill could work, so be creative. A chase through city streets might usE Intimidation as a threat or Streetwise to cut them off or Stealth if you scare them by leaping out of nowhere or Survival if you're homing in on their scent. No matter what, the prey contests with Composure+Primal Urge. If you win, they get a Condition based on your auspice for the rest of the scene, or (Primal Urge) days on an exceptional success. If the condition just times out, they get no Beat from it. However, a victim can only suffer one Hunter's Aspect at a time - if they're under one already, all attempts to inflict others fail. Cahalith, with the Monstrous Aspect, apply the Resigned condition. Elodoth, with the Isolating Aspect, inflict the Isolated condition. Irraka, with the Blissful Aspect, cause the Unaware condition. Ithaeur, with the Mystic Aspect, grant the Mystified condition. And Rahu, with the Dominant Aspect, give the Submissive Condition.

The body of the wolf is not all werewolves get. They also have spirit. While many of their physical qualities are enhanced versions of normal things, their relationship with the Hisil is unique. Their nature is mystic and spiritual. It is half of what they are. It is what keeps their Renown. This tracks their progress and accomplishment in life. It is measurable, even in character. Lunes award Renown for achievement, branding it into your flesh in silver runes. These First Tongue runes appear only in the Hisil, but they mark you as Forsaken. Mechanically, when you achieve a Renown-worthy task, you can spend 3 XP to seal it. Renown comes in five types: Cunning, Glory, Honor, Purity and Wisdom, each of which can be between 0 and 5. As you increase Renown, your Gift rolls get better, as does your Hunter's Aspect, and you gain new Facets to your Gifts. Every time you increase your auspice Renown, you gain a new dot of your Moon Gift. Every time you increase any other Renown, you gain a Facet of a Shadow or Wolf Gift. Further, your total Renown determines your effective Spirit Rank. 0-3, Rank 1. 4-7, Rank 2. 8-12, Rank 3. 13-18, Rank 4. 19+, Rank 5. Once per day, you can spend 1 Essence to intensify your brands. This makes them faintly visible even in the material world. Uratha, spirits, Wolf-Blooded and anyone attuned to the spirit world intuitively understands not only what Renown the brands reflect, but also what you did to earn them. When you display your brands this way, you choose a Renown category and gain a Condition based on it. You don't have to use your auspice Renown, but since the rating determines the Condition's strength, your auspice or tribal Renown will often be the best option.

Using your Renown this way tempts others to challenge you. Most Forsaken do not see these challenges as a hostile act. If you push your Renown to the surface, you expect them to respond so you can prove your ability. To outsiders, including even some Wolf-Bloods, this appears to be a hostile confrontation. To the Uratha, it's a sign of respect. In fact, a leader who punishes that kind of challenger will face censure, mutiny or at the least dissent. Uratha might, soon after the First Change, go for massive efforts to impress the Lunes and their peers. Many young Forsaken die within a year as a result of this. The problem is, you set your own bar for Renown. Every time you increase it, you raise the bar. To go further, you need to beat your last accomplishment. Some Uratha paint themselves into a corner that way, doing something so great they can't ever beat it. It's good to consider in chargen what you did to achieve your starting Renown, especially if you have more than one dot in the same category. As for what constitutes an additional dot...well, that's up to the fickle Lunes and how the Uratha tell the tale. It's the Cahalith's job to sing the pack's virtues, but the Lunes love sacrifice above all. Acts of great virtue are meaningless if there was no chance of loss. Loss, or risk of it, impresses them as nothing else does. Without stakes, there is no Renown.

Cunning is earned by clever planning and raw creativity. You might earn it by infiltrating the foe, luring prey into a trap, convincing the Pure's Wolf-Blooded to betray them, tricking a spirit into a bad deal, using legal loopholes to get the deed to your territory or proving something doesn't need to be done instead of doing it. Its condition is Cunning. Glory is earned by strength, combat, fury. You might earn it by defeating a usperior foe, facing overwhelming odds whether you win or not, holding off a potent foe to save lives, facing down an Uratha in Kuruth, taking part in a suicide mission with the intent to survive, remember and tell the story, or challenging a leader. Its condition is Glorious. Honor is earned by doing what is right, holding to your ancestral duties and standing as judge and shepherd, You might earn it by acting as a neutral party when a packmate is judged by outsiders, mediating an in-pack dispute, submitting yourself to judgment, making restitution to victims, announcing your attack before you do it, seeking diplomacy with a rival, weakening yourself to ensure a fair fight, being honest even when it might hurt your pack, ceding territory to one more suitable to it or refusing to hunt an inferior foe. Its condition is Honorable. Purity is earned by adherence to the Oath of the Moon to the exclusion of other things, placing ancestral duty before personal desires and acting as Father Wolf should. You might earn it by sacrificing in the name of the Oath, showing deference to foe of higher Renown, showing respect to the prey, taking a mate, killing witnesses to an Uratha revealing their nature, sparing an enemy Uratha, fasting outside the hunt or losing face in order to uphold your totemic ban. Its condition is Pure. Wisdom is earned by holistic approaches to problems, esoteric answers and using logic and reason over the violent blood of the wolf. You might earn it by making a deal with a dangerous spirit, healing negative resonance, seeking nonviolent solutions, making a fetish, discovering and exploiting a spirit's ban, helping to find and earn a rare Gift, securing a territory, creating a new rite, discovering hidden lore or bolstering the power of a Locus. Its Condition is Wise.

Next time: Essence

Dec 22, 2003

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

Count Chocula posted:

I like the Void Engineers book and their Star Trek: TOS style trippy spirit adventures. I like them and Mage and spirits better than werewolves.
If Void Engineers were heavily drawing from the TOS well I think they would have been in fact the Correct Splat; as it was I got the vibe they were more being Stargate (given the period) and maybe X-COM and poo poo. They had DREAMS of being Starfleet, collectively, but were not there yet.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

Not Starfleet, more the TOS vibe of trippy space adventures out on the frontier. At its best it should be Moorcock books like Blood where characters hop dimensions constantly, ever mutable.

Daeren posted:

Nah, Planescape was so popular in Australia that it crept into pop culture, funny enough.

Ettin can back me up on this.

You've gotta be taking the piss.

Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!

The Whispering Vault: Part 3

Now we come to Disciplines. Disciplines are Whispering Vault's collection of advantages...some are more like simple feats or edges from other games, some are more like supernatural powers. They're one of the big ways you customize a character to a different role, because while you can change your Vessel's physical stats from Hunt to Hunt, your Disciplines remain fixed and a lot of them are nigh indispensable for some character builds. This is especially true of combat, since Stalkers apparently stink when it comes to using human weapons you're going to want the appropriate Disciplines to supplement your strength or give you a ranged attack when needed.

The game really plays up the nature of Disciplines, stating that they are insights into the true nature of the universe and allow the Stalkers to manipulate the Dream themselves in order to alter reality. Some of the Discplines live up to this hype, most don't. Before getting into the Disciplines themselves there are two rules the book brings up:

Strenuous Use Some Disciplines take such a large amount of Essence that they will weaken your Vessel, costing Vitality. This is meant to be only the most powerful Disciplines.

Mastery: At the cost of an extra Discipline "slot" you can Master one of your Disciplines to be extra awesome with it. This not only increases your bonus from the Discipline but gives you access to something called Inspirations. The idea behind Inspirations is that they're meant to be improvisational uses of your Disciplines to accomplish something that isn't normally a part of the Discipline. However, there are no guidelines provided on Inspirations with a single exception (attacks with Inspirations inflict Damage equal to your Willpower attribute). That's it. The sole example provided of an Inspiration in action is basically just a more limited version of that: using Terrify to "attack" a mortal by scaring them to death, an attack that inflicts your Willpower in damage and has no effect at all if it doesn't kill the target.

Using an Inspiration costs Karma, the standard amount is 1 Karma but its noted that the cost can increase for exceptional uses of the Discipline (the one above apparently merits a 2 Karma cost).

This kind of highlights part of the problem that Whispering Vault has: there are almost no rules outside of Combat...essentially they boil down to [Roll an Attribute Vs a Target Number] (with no guidelines for setting a Target Number beyond words like "easy, hard, routine, etc). This might fly in a rules light game like PDQ but Whispering Vault really doesn't qualify.

There's also some of the standard mid-90s GMing advice where you show the players who's in charge:

So, lets get down to the Disciplines:

Conjure: Creates a small object (small is not defined) which is normally permanent. The difficulty of the task (an Insight Challenge) is based on the complexity of the object. If you're a Master you can create several small objects at once or a single large object (which is defined as "no bigger than you can carry") which will slowly disintegrate over several hours. Despite being created magically there's no ruling on whether or not weapons created this way count as "mortal" or not for penalties like your Die-Cap. If it weren't for the frustrating ambiguity over how big a "small" object is this would probably be one of the most useful non-combat powers. The power has a lot of blind spots as well for things like grenades and c4.

Delve: You can read minds. This requires physical contact and an Insight Challenge and it states that it yields "ambiguous" results, which is appropriately a very ambiguous rule. In fact I think I may have to cut myself off from using the word "ambigous" anymore because otherwise this chapter will force me to type it every paragraph at this rate. Even more ridiculous is that if you find a traumatic memory you have to make a Willpower challenge or lose "one or more" points of Vitality. That seems kind of BS doesn't it? I mean, Stalkers are supposed to be the protectors of the universe who are sent to hunt down naughty gods and they're going to fall to pieces because of something that scared a mortal? If you Master Delve you can also use it to speak with the dead, with penalties for badly decayed or destroyed corpses.

Disintegrate You can destroy "small" (there's that word again) objects with a touch. If you've got plenty of time you can just do it but doing it quickly takes a Willpower challenge, based on the durability of the object. Disintegrate "cannot be used as an attack form under any circumstances" which seems to cut out a lot of possible Inspirations. Masters can disintegrate any object they can see and can even destroy larger objects like doors or cars in exchange for a Vitality point. Frankly unless you are a Master I see no point in taking Disintegrate...most Stalkers are more than capable of breaking objects if the need arises.

Dissipate: Definitely one of the most useful Disciplines, Dissipate lets you pass through objects or barriers. If you do it slowly there's no roll needed but a quick phase requires a Willpower roll and a failure costs you a point of vitality. The Master version lets you take a person or "large object" (if you're going to keep using these terms then loving define them! We've had "large object" refer to anything from the size of a sack of potatoes to a car in contradictory ways) with you but this makes the process take so long its practically pointless: up to a minute or more to walk through a wall.

Dominate: Your mind controlling power. This is a Presence challenge and most mortals will do whatever you want so long as you want them to (makes Delve look kind of lovely since this means you can just force mortals to tell you what they want to know and it doesn't require touch or risk damage from bad memories). If a mortal is Driven they can shake off Domination "a matter of rounds". If you fail to Dominate someone you can't try again. A Master in Dominate can attempt to control a Minion but this requires you to overcome the Resolve of the Unbidden controlling them, which is probably around 20 or so, and costs a point of vitality. Keeping control also uses up your action every round.

Foresight: I haven't even started reading this entry yet and I bet it'll be ambi...unclear. Foresight is Strenous, costing a point of vitality and requires a Challenge whose difficulty is the duration (in minutes) and granting a +1 bonus to all rolls for that duration. However, if you fail then challenge then you have lost track of "now" and the GM decides how long it will take you to return. That's....really really lovely. A point of Vitality (keep in mind that most Stalkers have around 8-10 Vitality and can't heal) for a chance to get a modest bonus for a short duration and if you fail you're stunned until the GM decides you aren't. What if you master it? You can recall some of your visions "usually dreamlike cryptic clues that may help the Stalker complete their Hunt but never give them a direct answer". Son of a bitch.

Frenzy: And here we break the combat system with the multi-attack power. It lets you take two attacks (presumably only attacks, it doesn't mention other multi-action attempts) in a round in exchange for a -1 penalty to Strength and Dexterity for those actions. If you've mastered it you can up it further to 3 attacks in exchange for a -2 to Strength and Dexterity. The text suggests combining this with Savage (which boosts melee damage) but it is much better with the Rend power or a weapon since those won't be penalized by a strength reduction. With Frenzy and Rend you can pretty much set your Strength score to 1 on all your Vessels and pump up your Dex and Fortitude and just blaze away.

Morph Half the description for Morph seems to be missing. It states that you spend 3 minutes reweaving your vessel with an insight challenge but if you fail there's a cost of a point of vitality. It doesn't tell you what you can change yourself to look like but it does mention you can't mimic specific forms and can "come close enough to invoke the Veil so they can pass as a wolf or a tiger, but their Vessel would be monstrous". Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what this power lets you do...can I look like an ordinary dog, or is it going to be a silent-hill esque half-dog? Can I look like a human. What good is it if I can't change quickly, look unobtrusive or imitate someone? It also notes that no matter what changes you make there are no mechanical benefits (so growing claws won't help damage and wings won't let you fly). A master can at least change shape quickly and assume a human form (this is the first time not being able to look human has been mentioned) but still can't mimic a particular person which seems like a rip-off. Inspirations are mentioned to allow you to do things like develop venom or flight or armor (none of which there are rules for).

Rend This lets you make a ranged attack with Damage equal to your Willpower, but you're still penalized by the law of Proximity so it has a die-cap of 5. The attack must suit the Avatar's theme and automatically unMasks you, stripping away the Veil. A master adds +2 damage and may imitate a mundane attack form like a gun or a thrown weapon and won't be unmasked. A Master of both Rend and Frenzy is pretty much a combat monster.

Calm yourself citizen! I'm here to help!

Savage This gives you a +2 bonus to damage when using your Strength. Since this relies on weapons that are a part of your Avatar (claws, razor fingers, prehensile drill penis, etc) using it causes you to become unMasked. The mastered version increases the bonus to +3 and lets you imitate a non-supernatural attack and remain masked, making this much worse than Rend already.

Terrify: A Presence challenge lets you turn mortals into gibbering wrecks from fear, unless they are Inspired or Driven which makes them "hesitate" for a few rounds. No clue what that means. Of course, most any Stalker should be able to do this already by just showing off their true form and the Dominate Discipline is just as difficult and lets you take complete control over mortals. It has no apparent effect on non-mortals. If you've Mastered Terrify then you can use it against a group of mortals but the TN is the highest resolve +1 per mortal...making it kind of suck. It also won't work on a group led by someone Inspired or Driven and no we still don't know what those words mean yet.

Translocate: I've noticed that quite a few Disciplines are really just shittier versions of other Disciplines: Savage is a shittier Rend, Terrify or Delve are shittier versions of Dominate. Dissipate is the shittier version of Translocate. This lets you teleport instantaneously anywhere you can see without a roll. If you can't see the destination then you must make an Awareness challenge (notably unlike Dissipate you don't take damage for failing). Master Translocation lets you take a "large object" or another character but requires 3 rounds of preparation (still faster than dissipation) and a roll which inflicts a point of Vitality damage if you fail.

Ward: This lets you try and resist an attack from a mortal. Big problem here: no rules are provided for how it interacts with a normal defense you roll your defense normally and then roll Ward if that doesn't work? Does Ward replace your normal defense? Anyway, its a Willpower Challenge against a difficulty equal to the Damage...does that mean the damage dice of the attack or the actual rolled damage that's compared to your Fortitude because if its damage dice then Ward is pretty easy (since most attacks max out around 8-10 damage dice excepting the Unbidden or heavy weaponry) but if its against the rolled total then Ward is practically impossible (since that's usually 20+ when resisting a solid attack). If you succeed then you take no and you not only suffer the normal damage but you take an extra point of Vitality damage. Yay!! Oh, and Ward uses up an insignificant action so that means you can't use it if you've moved or talked already that round and you can only do it once per round. Masters do not lose extra vitality for failing and you can try and Ward an attack from a Shadow or the Unbidden (i.e. the people you'll usually be fighting).

Weave: The healing power...which is a big deal since you can't heal normally on a hunt and only get a handful of vitality but also a big problem because Weaving kind of blows. It takes a number of minutes equal to the Vitality you want to recover and reduces your Willpower by one every time you do it (which lasts until the end of the Hunt). This not only reduces your maximum Vitality by 2 but it also reduces one of your attributes by one until the Willpower is recovered. Master Weavers can heal faster and can heal other characters...but this costs both you and the person you're healing 1 Willpower.

Whisper: Also apparently called a "silent scream". Whisper is one-way telepathy which works over any distance between Stalkers but only within visual contact when sending to anyone else. Masters can do two-way communication at any range but this requires a Presence challenge.

and that's it for Disciplines. Next we'll be talking about Servitors, your twisted grotesque pokemon.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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


Alright let's get down to the business of secrets. Spoilers: there's not much revelatory about this section. It does, however, include stats and info for the major players of Defiance: Malachi Winter (Tough), Rev. Lange (Phaser) and Enrique Salvador (Teleporter). I'll just be sharing straight screenshots of their statblocks and fluff and pictures.

Got it? Good. Let's get to the parts I actually care about.

The Truth About Patriot

The man isn't dead. In fact, it's more than the fact that he's not dead. He survived thanks to the dumbest rescue possible and the most apathetic citizens alive. To quickly sum up the in-character section written by the man himself:

"Got a last request?" "Yes. Tell me 'eat lead, hippie'. I want to die true to myself."

The two guards who were supposed to be his firing squad instead drew the rifles on the crowd and the Warden and hustled Patriot to ropes thrown over the prison's walls. The three of them jumped into the Chicago Bay and swam to shore with the help of an Aquarian with a SCUBA rig. Now Patriot is in hiding with Defiance once more and is actually the guy leading the Patriot Corps under a false identity (Jeremy Singer, AKA True American). Truth is keeping the lie that Patriot is dead going because he's a good symbol of martyrdom and all the fake Patriots running around are helping gently caress with the government. 95% of the time, it's not the real guy. It's the other 5% that has the feds hunting as hard as they can.

The Patriot Corp are a cheery bunch.

However this means that everyone who witnessed his intended execution knows the truth. And the guards in the towers took pot shots at Patriot during the escape but the collaborators and prisoner got away just fine. And that crowd had people in the government, people in business, people who had a grudge like Jack Billington.

Except the last thing Patriot hears before diving into the water is the Warden yelling at everyone "Patriot's dead, you hear me? This didn't happen, we killed him!" in a desperate attempt to cover his rear end. So he gets away and gets to be the martyr and live his life and his enemies are simply told to pretend that he was killed despite the very public, very obvious fact that he wasn't. Which is frankly horsecrap and lazy, absolutely lazy. There is nothing stopping them from doing something with that info and to my current knowledge, nothing is done. Which is just...infuriating, yet another wet fart.

Also Patriot makes out with a fish lady in thanks for helping get him to shore. Will we see more of Lorelei the Aquarian? Hell if I know!

Who Runs Defiance?

People think it's all Truth running the show. In actuality, it's three people: Truth, Patriot and Yoshi. Granted, Truth is generally the defacto leader due to Yoshi's imprisonment and Patriot needing to remain in deep cover. They still help advise as best as they can. It's basically Yoshi's decision to claim that there are only four major factions of Defiance and downplay the roles of the others and he mostly acts as a direct line of misinformation to the feds if they swing by his cell.

Isla Delta

Isla Delta has the thousand Deltas they need to declare independence. It's just a matter of the right time to the Madame President. The moment the announcement goes out, she's afraid of bringing the interest of the USA or the USSR to Isla Delta and Costa Rica which would spell outright war. That's not to say that Isla Delta doesn't haveother secrets. The big asset that the fledgling nation has is access to Alphas living on the island. Some Alphas let out of New Alcatraz or The Fortress for "work release" went rogue to Isla Delta almost immediately or fled when their job was done because Costa Rica won't extradite. Isla Delta keeps the existence of its Alphas as a state secret and they're essentially the panic option if they go to war. The biggest secret weapon? The Alpha Snuffer who runs Isla Delta's criminal justice system who is capable of stripping a Delta's powers permanently.

"Ugly" negative quirk my rear end, continued. Dude's swimming as fast as a jetski and he's a hot fishman. What's ugly about that?

Delta War

In current "no poo poo" news, the Kennedy Administration actually likes the existence of Delta War because it makes the population scared of Defiance and they make a great justification for Delta Prime's activities. Literally everyone in power in Defiance has tried to talk Delta War into calming the gently caress down and frankly if I was them I would have just cut all formal ties and let them twist in the wind. Winter's managed to last as long as he has because he's not an ex-military psycho or a completely unpleasant fuckjob. In a bit of apologism, he's said to be more rational, just incredibly hardassed and trying to figure out how to steer Delta War away from straight terrorism without seeming weak and inviting a coup by his underlings. He is right about the Pilot Mountain Bomb and how it was a test of the US Government-made Bicentennial Bomb. Also there's a Primer mole sharing the bed of one of Winter's LTs who managed to survive the re-education and is secretly feeding plan info to the government.

Pax Delta

Basically the main secret is that Reverend Lange admits he's a Delta but hasn't told anyone he's a Phaser. While it may not be the best power set for combat, it's undeniably pretty handy for surviving assassination attempts, nonviolently escaping from jail and avoiding attacks from people protesting Defiance. This, in addition to his natural charisma and belief in nonviolence, is why Dr. King picked Lange to lead Pax Delta in his absence.

Thoughts on the setting secrets: Okay this really just isn't very interesting this time around. It's rather perfunctory in the twists you'd expect. And of course Patriot's not really dead, he's a plot-important character and they sort of want to have the cake of him being a martyr and eat it too. So yeah, I don't have much to say about the plot details this time around. It all speaks for itself.


Errata changes from the core book and Ravaged Planet:
  • The Yankee wasn't killed by Kapitan Krieg, he was in fact supposed to be burned alive but Sparky became Superior first. I kind of figured this was the case. Also there are two unnamed Deltas who escaped alongside the Yankee.
  • There has been at least one Patriot before John Cruise, such as the one who testified in front of McCarthy, something I kind of already figured earlier judging by the fact that the core book describes him as the original Patriot.
  • Patriot was supposed to be born in 1944, not 1945.
  • The Gunner got shorted a skill in the core book and gets Running 1.
  • You have to have three extra successes to try to use a trick you don't know as opposed to the normal one extra for knowing a trick.
  • Veterans can't use the 5 points gained from taking the negative quirk to buy a trick because tricks cost 10 points.
  • The size modifier charts has the modifiers backwards so bigger=easier to hit but more health, smaller=harder to hit but less.
  • You can only use one success on a healing roll to heal 1 wound across all locations. Any extra successes are wasted.
  • You need at least a 10 result to use the Pumped Up trick properly.
  • Ravaged Planet mentions that there was destruction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the A-Bomb wasn't built yet because of Superior, something else happened to them that won't be elaborated on here.
  • Houston was not nuked along with Atlanta and San Francisco.

Get it? It's an errata joke.

The rest of the afterword is talking about Forbeck's move to AEG from Pinnacle and how he's optimistic about how it'll all go. In addition, he mentions player discussion about the power sets and how there was a staged re-enactment of Patriot's execution at Gen Con 1999. If anyone here on this slice of the forum remembers Gen Con 1999 and happens to remember seeing this I'd love to know more. I would double love pictures to share. Apparently Pinnacle used to have pictures of it up on their website. Frankly it's a long shot and likely impossible but you never know. On that note, here's the page in question:


Y'know I won't lie. I think I spent more time digging through old archives to try and find pictures of Patriot's execution at GenCon 1999 than I did thinking about any of this. Defiants is not a relentlessly boring book as compared to Ravaged Planet but, well, that doesn't make it a particularly good book. The fluff wasn't intolerable (needed better secrets) and it gives a better view of Defiance. Did any of this change my mind about Brave New World? No, god no. I was, however, entertained reading this. I mostly laughed and I cringed. I haven't come up with such a stupid character idea as Splodehog (I love that name) in a while. That's pretty much the highpoint of this whole thing for me, that and realizing I have enough of a handle on this system to figure out why the Phaser is a worse Teleporter.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR THE GAME LINE? Ehhh. Keep some of the Defiance fluff, most of the Deltas. I would definitely approach the Delta Warrior stuff carefully or throw out the ability to work with them. That's really all I have to say about Defiants that I haven't said before. Again, there are much better engines to play superheroes in. Don't play Brave New World.

Three down baby, six more to go. NEXT TIME: it's hip to be square, man. What's more square than working for Big Man JFK in BRAVE NEW WORLD: DELTA PRIME? Not much. Warning: I hope you're prepared for more historical people in important positions and Delta powers that are not fun for player characters.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

A followup note: I have a friend who reads these and is like "so does the Warden of New Alcatraz have super charisma and that's his ploy to cover up the escape they all witnessed?"

The answer is no. The Warden is a normal man. A normal man in a fit of anger trying to cover his own rear end saying "gently caress HE GOT AWAY. He's dead and we killed him and he's dead. This never leaves the island. Keep it a secret".

And that's the dumbest thing.

Aug 23, 2009

It's the kind of thinking that lead people to believe that everyone involved in the 9/11 "inside job" could be bribed into silence.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

I am feeling like Forbeck doesn't really want Pax Felta PCs, given they must all be pacifists in a game where that doesn't seem viable at all.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Werewolf: the Forsaken, 2nd Edition

Essence is the energy of the Hisil. It is the food of spirits, and their currency, the resource that motivates the entire Shadow food chain. To the Uratha, it fuels powers, heals, activates fetishes. You can gain Essence in several ways:
  • You can absorb Essence from a Locus. In Shadow, you must physically touch the Locus' heart, and in the physical world, you must devour the strange meat and vegetation that appears in the Locus.
  • When you perform the Siskur-Dah rite to hunt a spirit in Shadow, you can gain the spirit's Essence when you consume it.
  • You can gain Essence from the flesh of humans and wolves. For every point of damage you cause with your bite, you can choose to ingest the flesh and gain 1 Essence. This causes the damage to be Aggravated. However, it is a violation of the Oath of the Moon and is always a breaking point towards Spirit.
  • Fetishes contain Essence, and you can destroy them to gain that Essence.
  • The first time you see your auspice moon at night, you gain 1 Essence.

Uratha can spend Essence for a lot of reasons, but the amount they can use in a turn is limited by Primal Urge. If you need to spend more Essence than that, you can spend it over a number of turns, and the power activates when it's all spent.
  • 1 Essence lets you regenerate Lethal damage instead of Bashing for one turn.
  • You can spend Essence to speed crossing the Gauntlet.
  • You may or may not require Essence to change shape.
  • Some Gifts and Fetishes take Essence to use.

Crossing the Gauntlet is known as Reaching. To an outsider, it appears that you just disappear with a quick 'pop'. Normally, a werewolf must be in a Locus to Reach. The dicepool depends on the direction you're trying to Reach in. To enter the Hisil, you roll (10-Harmony), and to enter the Flesh world, you roll Harmony, in either case applying the Gauntlet modifier to the dicepool. At Harmony 3-, you don't need a Locus to enter Shadow, and Harmony 8+ lets you enter the physical world without a Locus. A reflective surface to stare into gives +1, entering Shadow during the day is at -2 and entering Flesh during the day is at +2. Crossing takes 2 turns per level of Gauntlet strength, with you vanishing at the start and reappearing on the other side at the end of that period. If you roll an exceptional success, it's instant, and if you spend 1 Essence it's instant.

Being a werewolf's not all good, though. They have weaknesses. Most prominent is silver. Silver weapons deal aggravated damage to Uratha. Non-damaging touch with silver doesn't hurt them, but does cause intense pain as long as the contact remains. It does need to be real silver - silver nitrate won't work, nor any alloy or mixture less than 80% silver. Weapons with silver coatings work for one hit before they lose effectiveness. Unless it's a weapon forged of silver, it counts as an improvised weapon.

Second up, we have Lunacy. Lunacy is the ancestral fear of the wolf. When a person sees Dalu, Gauru or Urshul at close range, or witnesses shapeshifting or regeneration of more than bashing damage, they suffer a breaking point. This roll is not necessarily immediate - it comes at a dramatically appropriate moment when the witness would otherwise stop and take a breath and think about things. Primal Urge causes a penalty to the roll, and it's modified by form. Dalu gives +2 to the roll, Gauru gives -2. Further, if you have dealt Lethal damage to the witness, they get +1 - the prey's less likely to respond to Lunacy. If they have any wound penalties, the penalty applies instead as a bonus to the roll, too. If they witness succeeds at the roll, they get Guilty, Shaken or Spooked as norml, and suffer -2 to all actions for the scene, as Lunacy presses at the back of their mind. They will probably rationalize thins later to better understand the events. With exceptional success, the witness gets no Condition and no penalty, and instead regains all Willpower. They will remember things perfectly. Failure causes the victim to lose a dote of Integrity and gain the Atavism, Delusion or Reception condition, depending on circumstances. They either flee or panic, and afterwards they're going to rationalize what they saw to fill in the blanks and keep themselves sane. If the Lunacy condition lasts for (Primal Urge) days without resolving, it fades without resolution. On a dramatic failure, the witness becomes Wolf-Blooded. Note: groups working together suffer less from Lunacy. When two characters are working on the same task together, each gets +1 to the breaking point roll. A group of five or less fives +2, a group of 10 or less gets +3 and any larger group gets +4. Wolf-Blooded do not suffer Lunacy, nor does anything that does not use Integrity.

Third, werewolves suffer Kuruth, the Death Rage. It is fury that lies in every werewolf, a icking time bomb that always ends in death - usually of your foes, sometimes your friends or even yourself. There are two phases to it. The first is Wasu-Im, the Soft Rage. In this phase, you have some semblance of control, allowing you to find a safe place to unleash yourself. Basu-Im, the Hard Rage, is the second stage. It is what most werewolves think of as Kuruth - you just try to kill and destroy, without control. Both stages rely on your Harmony and Primal Urge. What draws you into Death Rage and how long control lasts depends on your Harmony, but the length of the Hard Rage is entirely on Primal Urge. Normally, a werewolf that finds a Kuruth trigger enters Wasu-Im. If they take Gauru form, or enter Kuruth while already in Gauru form, they immediately enter Basu-Im, however.

In Wasu-Im, you immediately shift to Urshul or Dalu form and remain in it for the duration. You suffer a modified form of the rage of Gauru form, but if you fail the Resolve+Composure roll to take any non-attack actions, you enter Basu-Im. Instead of attacking, you can roll Resolve+Composure as an instant action. Each success gives you one turn of lucidity after that, and exceptional success ends Wasu-Im if you want to. Your Harmony determines how long Wasu-Im can last. If you haven't ended it by then, you enter Basu-Im. You can also voluntarily enter Basu-Im at any point in Wasu-Im.

During Basu-Im, you are in the true Death Rage. You immediately shift to Gauru and remain in that form for the duration specified by your Primal Urge. This happens even if you've already hit your 'limit' for Gauru turns this scene. While in basu-Im, you ignore all wound penalties and any attempt to influence, intimidate or otherwise change your actions by mundane or supernatural means suffer a penalty of (Primal Urge*2). This is on top of any other resistance you might have. When an Uratha enters Kuruth, it's contagious. Werewolf packmates within 10 yards that can see or hear you fall into Basu-Im after one turn, resistable with a Resolve+Composure roll. You need 1 success per character in the scene currently in Kuruth, and you make the roll every time a packmate falls to Basu-Im. While in Basu-Im, you suffer rage as per Gauru form, except that everyone except other werewolves in Basu-Im is considered an enemy, even packmates. If there's no prey around, you will break things until find prey. Once your time is up, you collapse into Hishu, lacking any memory of what happened, though learning of your deeds is probably going to be a breaking point towards Spirit.

The game suggests that some players may prefer if entering Kuruth causes the scene to fade to black and they find out what happens later. And, side note, Wolf-Blooded that arise out of Lunacy are not transformed instantly. Rather, it occurs at a seemingly random moon phase within the next lunar month, disproportionately favoring the auspice of the werewolf they saw. As the change overtakes them, they become Wolf-Blooded and gain a Tell and all other traits of Wolf-Bloods.

Next time: Harmony

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

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

Part 15a: Aysle - Darkness and Light

Knights in shining armor charge a line of half-man, half-beast monstrosities as the forces of light and dark clash for control of the region. The charge is cut short when the monsters brandish AK-47s and mow down their foes.

A ship attempting to cross the English Channel is attacked by a sea serpent. Spells and artillery fire combine to drive back the beast in the heart of a reality storm.

Viking raiders attack a coastal town in northern Norway. The police are unable to fight back against the invaders' sorcery...but the dragon that lives nearby doesn't like having its sleep disturbed by these loud savages.

A London gangster enters a local store that hasn't been paying its protection money. The shopkeeper is defiant...until the the gangster's legbreaker, an ogre, comes in. As the gangster watches the ogre work, his face becomes noticeably darker and more corrupt.

This is the state of northern Europe in the Near Now. This is the world of darkness and light, honor and corruption. This is Aysle.

Aysle - The Patchwork Realm
The situation in England and Scandinavia is pretty chaotic, even by the standards of what's going on in the rest of the world. Like many other parts of Core Earth, another reality has invaded and overlaid a great deal of the region, altering the local reality and its inhabitants. In this case, the reality is known as Aylse: a world where magic holds sway, where great armies clash in an eternal battle between the forces of darkness and light.

And while this battle rages on in the background of the Possibility Wars, it's been part of Aysle's history for centuries. Because unlike the other invading cosms, the true battle is between the two High Lords of Aysle itself.

Five hundred years ago, the world of Aysle was under the control of the council of Houses and its queen, Lady Pella Ardinay. She was a fair and just ruler, dedicated to the high principles of honor. She protected the many races of the land from the monstrosities that lurked in the shadowy corners of the world, and in turn she was protected by the leader of her knights, the warrior-woman Tolwyn of House Tancred.

But peace never lasts. Especially when your world catches the attention of the Gaunt Man.

Aysle was a world rich in possibilities, and the Gaunt Man had plans for it. But rather than get his own hands dirty, he sent one of his lieutenants: the necromancer Uthorion. Gifted with a Darkness Device and explicit instructions on how to defeat the queen, Uthorion's army swept across the land. The dark army wasn't just taking territory and killing innocents, however; every piece of land taken by the Gaunt Man's forces became corrupted. Trees became twisted and black, lakes and rivers fouled, even the inhabitants changed to more monstrous forms.

Uthorion knew that Ardinay was too powerful to defeat by normal means. She drew her strength from the land, and even with a Darkness Device at his side he couldn't just overrun her army and kill her. But he also knew there was one point in time, one small window where he could sieze control. So his army marched to Ardinay's castle to face off against Tolywn's forces, and strike down Ardinay in the gap between sunset and moonrise.

The battle was bloody, and all hope seemed lost when Tolwyn was struck down by a corrupted dragon known as the Carredon. Ardinay and Uthorion faced off, a battle of sorcerers as the war raged around them.

But not even Ardinay's magic could withstand the power of the Darkness Device. But even as defeat loomed, not even Ardinay could have predicted what happened next.

Rather than kill his foe, Uthorion sundered Ardinay's soul from her body and transfered his mind into the now empty shell. In the body of the queen, Uthorion truly bound himself to the Darkness Device, the black crown Draxacanus. He sent word for his forces to retreat, and stepped forward as the queen to declare victory over the forces of darkness.

And the armies of light cheered, unaware that their queen was no more.

For five centuries Uthorion ruled Aysle, adjusting the reality of the cosm to allow the power of corruption to spread more easily. He ruled as Ardinay, giving lip service to the former ruling council and eroding the world from within for his master.

But what Uthorion didn't know was that Ardinay had one last card to play.

Tolwyn's defeat in the great battle was not unexpected. In fact, Ardinay had planned for it. When Tolwyn fell, her soul was caught by a powerful spell and trapped in a timeless limbo. She "slept" for centuries until her soul awoke in the body of a Core Earth woman who was killed shortly after the initial invasion. Finding herself far from home in both time and space, she quickly allied herself with others who were fighting back against the High Lords. People like Father Christopher Bryce, Doctor Hachi Mara-Two, and the edinos warrior Tal Tu.

They were the Storm Knights, and they are the ones who trapped the Gaunt Man in the pocket dimension and stopped him from becoming Torg.

But that wasn't their only triumph. Returning to Aylse, Tolwyn faced Uthorion in battle, and managed to not only drive him from Ardinay's body, but to restore Ardinay's soul back to where it belonged. The queen was restored, and the High Lord of Aysle was defeated.

In a manner of speaking.

It turned out that the Gaunt Man was more forward-thinking than either Ardinay or Uthorion had expected: the bond between High Lord and Darkness Device was not a spiritual one; it was a physical one. That meant that once his spirit was removed from Ardinay's body, Uthorion couldn't access the Darkness Device's power anymore...a detail that the Gaunt Man didn't happen to mention to him. Now cast adrift and powerless, Uthorion had to find a new body to inhabit in order to try and retake Ardinay's body and regain control of the cosm.

Lady Ardinay, meanwhile, found herself in control of a reality that had been twisted to darkness and bound to an artifact of pure evil. She is back in control of Aysle, yes, but the land is nothing like she remembers. She wants to fix the damage that had been done in her absence, but doesn't know how. She can't uproot the stelae planted by Uthorion without causing millions of deaths, she can't pull Uthorion's forces back up the maelstrom bridge because they won't listen to her, and she can't undo the changes done to Aysle's world laws and axioms without giving in to the Darkness Device.

So now Aylse exists in a point of uneasy equilibrium. The restoration of Ardinay has undone some of the corruption of the land, but some of the damage has dug in too deep to fix. The other High Lords know that she's back in control, but at the same time none of the Core Earth governments are really sure they're buying this "I was evil because I was possessed but I'm not now" thing to really form a strong alliance.

And all the while, Draxacanus ceaselessly whispers in her ear, telling her that she can fix everything, end the War, help everyone, save everyone...all she has to do is wear the crown and its power will be hers.

She's been resisting the crown's siren songs. So far. But still, it's tempting...

Lady Pella Ardinay and Uthorion

Technically, Aysle has two High Lords, although only one of them is really a High Lord as per the normal definition.

Lady Ardinay is indeed bound to Aysle's Darkness Device, with all the benefits and powers that entails. However, she didn't get this power volintarily, and she knows exactly what would happen if she did tap into that power even for the "right" reasons. So she's doing what she can under her own power to make things right. She's abdicated some of her power back to her people, and is dedicated to hunting down the more dangerous creatures of darkness that Uthorion set loose. As for the realm...well, that's a trickier problem. She knows what would happen to all the Ords if she began pulling back her borders, so that's out of the question. Right now, she's focusing on trying to help the native Core Earthers adapt as well as they can to the acceptance of Ayslish reality because what else can she do? Besides, they'll have to learn that magic is better and more natural than that strange technology stuff they used to have. So she's not using the Darkness Device at all, trying to rely on her own innate magical power and experience to see things through.

The biggest problem with that is that Draxacanus won't leave her alone. It knows she's still weak after returning to her body, so it's constantly whispering in her ear to try and break down her defenses and not give her a minute's peace to just think.

Uthorion, meanwhile, is (understandably) not happy with his current situation. See, there's two things you need to know about him. First off, he's a Class I Toadie with a side of "Now I am in control muhahaha!". Second, he's a moron. He only invaded Aysle in the first place because the Gaunt Man said to, he only knew how to defeat Ardinay because the Gaunt Man told him, and he only took over Ardinay's body because the Gaunt Man told him to. He was pretty much given free reign after that, but everything he did was still part of the Gaunt Man's long-term plans.'s a different story. Uthorion has taken over the body of a Viking warlord named Thorfinn Bjanni and has at least managed to unite the various Viking tribes under his banner. But while he's now got enough forces to stay in the game (as it were), he's run into another problem: he has no idea what to do next. He knows he wants to take Ardinay's body over again so he can be High Lord, but he doesn't know how to do that. He doesn't have anything close to his old army. He doesn't even have access to his dark magic since that belonged to his old body. The Gaunt Man isn't around to give him orders anymore, and Thratchen is pretty much ignoring him. As for the other High Lords...well, they're not exactly leaping to help him. The only one willing to help him is Malraux, but now that Malraux is the Cyberpope, Uthorion finds himself unable to trust the only person giving him a hand due to living in technology-hating Aysle for 500 years.

So right now Uthorion is limited to raiding coastal towns and skirmishes against Ardiany's weaker forces. He's still a threat, but nowhere near what he used to be.

Axioms and World Laws
As always, let's take a quick look at the setup of Ayslish reality.

Magical Axiom: 18. Unsurprisingly, Aysle has the highest Magical axiom in the whole game line. Magic is ridiculously common in Aylse, to the point where everyone in the cosm is capable of casting a spell. In fact, everyone in Aylse starts the game with a randomly determined spell they can cast without any training. At this axiom level, permanent magic enchantments are also possible. We'll get to that in more detail later, of course. (Oy lord, will we ever.)

Social Axiom: 18. This is tied with the Cyberpapacy, and is a few points below Core Earth. As befits a Generic Fantasy World, life operated under feudal laws, although that it's worth pointing out that the infusion of magic throughout the culture makes life a bit better for an Ayslish commoner than it did for the ones from our world. The overall standard of living is about where it would be post-Industrial Revolution. Technically the world is ruled by a royal figure, but Ardinay set up a counil of Lords to advise her. This also kept things pretty equal among the various races of the land since everyone had a voice (sort of). While Uthorion was driving, however, the council was disbanded and interracial tensions rose. With Ardinay back, things are slowly returning to the old stability, but centuries of distrust are hard to overcome.

Spiritual Axiom: 16. It's pretty interesting to note that Asyle's Spiritual axiom is higher than the Cyberpapacy's. Aysle has your standard fantasy pantheon; i.e. a bunch of different gods, and people with faith and focus can cast miracles. On the plus side, unlike places like the Forgotten Realms, the gods don't manifest in the world. One thing that's interesting to point out is that because of Reasons that we'll get to later, dwarves are the only race that won't call on the power of the gods. Not can't; won't.

Technological Axiom: 15. This is the "movable type, calculus, crude firearms possible, steam power possible but risky" level. Technology in Aysle is (at best) not something most people care about due to the preponderance of magic. After all, if magic is common enough that literally everyone can use it, why bother working to develop other solutions? You don't need to develop the steamboat when you can just hire someone to cast a spell that makes the water push the boat forward. In keeping with normal fantasy idioms, dwarves do have an interest in technology, and have developed basic steam power and flintlock rifles. The discovery of Core Earth technologies has been of great interest in this area.

And now we come to the world laws. There are four laws all told, one of which was tweaked by Uthorion to make his job easier. That said, only two of them do anything practical and one of them is completely, utterly useless.

The Law of Observation states that reality in Aysle is defined by what one can observe through the normal five senses. What this means is that in Aysle, what is observed is true. The sun rises and falls not because that's how people observe its path based on the revolution of the planet in relation to a stationary object, but because the sun actually does rise into the sky then fall again.


Under Aysleís Law of Observation, everything that is perceived is real, and everything that is real has been previously perceived.
This law has zero effect on gameplay, or really on anything at all. I'm not really sure what the point of it is.

The Law of Magic states the following, and I quote:


The Law of Magic states that magic is real.
I mean technically it exists in other realities where this law doesn't exist, but it also exists in Aysle. It's worth pointing out that this law also states that everyone in Aysle starts with one free add in a magic skill and a magic knowledge skill, and that racial stat limits are higher here. But really, the main reason this law exists is because the Law of Observation states that only things that can be observed are real, but you can't observe magic, so instead of going back and changing the useless Law of Observation, they added this as a sort of band-aid.

That's some prime one-way thinking.

The Law of Honor states that the good people do in the world will be reflected in that person. Being "honorable" is an important part of life in Aysle, and the law of the land reflects this by protecting the innocent. Being "honorable" is defined as being honest, faithful to those close to you, respectful of those under you, and bravery in the face of danger. In fact, the land will reward those who behave as honorably as possible.

The Law of Corruption is sort of the flip side of the previous law. It states that the evil you do will be reflected on your soul and difficult (if not impossible) to hide. People who wallow in corruption and evil find that they're unable to keep their wicked ways secret for very long. Evil needs an audience, and the worse a person is the more their true nature will leak through to be visible on their body and soul. Uthorion managed to twist this law when he took over Ardinay's body to allow truly corrupt people to channeled the signs of corruption into the land itself. In this way, nobody would sense his occupation of the queen, and an added bonus was that evil people of power could corrupt the land on their own. As a result, large portions of both the cosm and the realm are twisted beyond recognition, giving rise to new monsters and hiding dark deeds.

The Laws of Honor and Corruption are the closest thing we get to an alignment system, because they all add two new mutually exclusive skills to the game: honor and corruption. We'll cover those when we get to the skill section, but basically the way they work is that the more honorable/dishonorable you are, the easier it is to perform honorable or dishonorable acts.

Due to centuries of Uthorion's evil being channeled into the world, Aylse is not the world of wonder it used to be. Uthorion's actions destabilized the world's government, allowed the corrupt races of Aysle to walk under the sun, and kept the wicked from being dealt their just rewards. And even now, with the rightful ruler back in place, too much damage has been done to easily fix. Large swaths of the realm are trapped by shadow, innocent people are being caught between the armies of light and dark, and the realm has no friends on the outside. Ardinay wants to undo the harm done in her name, but centuries of powerlessness have taken their toll on her spirit. Uthorion is still out there, slowly rebuilding his power base and destabilizing Ardinay's already shaky position. The constant shifting between darkness and light has affected the people of the realm in unpredictable ways, warping the unfortunate into new monstrous species never before seen in Aysle. And through it all, Lady Pella Ardinay tries to block out the non-stop tempting whispers of the Darkness Device, an font of power that she never wanted but could solve all her problems so easily if she'd just listen for one moment...

It is a time in need of heroes. Saddle up, brave knights; it's time to face down the forces of darkness.

NEXT TIME: Our fantasy is the genericest!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Why exactly will pulling back Aysle's warping kill the local Ords?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Mors Rattus posted:

Why exactly will pulling back Aysle's warping kill the local Ords?
It's how reality overwriting works. Admittedly it's been over a year since it was discussed in the core set, but it works as follows:

See, non-Possibility-rated people (Ords) can only ever have one Possibility point. They can invest that into their cosm to allow it to change, and the cosm refreshes it. This is the "normal" flow of P-energy.

When another reality invades, people find themselves in flux between the two realities. In order to settle on one or the other, Ords have to spend their one Possibility point to survive being ripped apart between the two realities; they spend their point, and they survive the change to the new reality.

But instead of that P-energy being refreshed by the cosm, the Darkness Device interrupts the cycle; it directs the P-energy that would go to the Ords to itself. So people never get their one allowed Possibility point back.

(This is also why cosms controlled by High Lords stagnate; people can't invest P-energy into the realm to allow it to change.)

If the stelae are removed and the original reality is allowed to retake a region, then once again people find themselves being torn between two different realities. The problem is that they don't have a Possibility point to spend to survive the changing reality. They wind up being shredded by the conflicting realities, regardless of which reality they're originally from. Remember, the High Lords have brought thousands of Ords from their home realities along for the invasion.

If Lady Ardinay were to just pull up stelae and let Core Earth's reality retake that territory, everyone inside it who isn't P-rated will die. Period.

There are ways to "refresh" the Ords' P-energy to allow them to survive the reality shift, but it's a very long-term job. You have to perform "great heroic deeds" in fighting back against the High Lord in question, tell the tale of your victory to the inhabitants of the stelae zone in instill them with hope (and P-energy), wait months for the word and hope to spread, then you can uproot the stelae.

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Mors Rattus posted:

Why exactly will pulling back Aysle's warping kill the local Ords?

It's been explained before: Ords are likely transformed or their Possibility energy has been cut off from their core realm. If a stelae is pulled, they would be destroyed in when Core Earth reality pours back in, killing millions. The only way to avoid that is give them Possibility energy to survive the return to their reality. So either Lady Ardunary taps into the Darkness Device and likely succumbs to it before she can do so or Storm Knights gotta do what they gotta do to save those people.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Technically speaking Ardinay could do the whole "instill people with hope" thing to allow everyone to survive as she pulls territory back, but that would take years. Not to mention that if she pulled back out of England and Scandinavia, Malraux would move in on that poo poo in a heartbeat.

Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
Basically, once ords have been transformed to a new reality, they don't have the possibility energy to survive being transformed again; they're not like Stormers/Storm Knights, who can regain possibilities on their own and create contradictions. So if you uproot the stelae and they transform back without having been refilled with energy, they kind of explode.

(There's a way to refill their possibilities by getting a 60+ result on a roll and playing a glory card, but I think it's dependent on -also- someone successfully telling a story about how badass you were. A streamlined and generally less dumb version of this became the procedure to lower the fear rating in deadlands.)

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

unseenlibrarian posted:

(There's a way to refill their possibilities by getting a 60+ result on a roll and playing a glory card, but I think it's dependent on -also- someone successfully telling a story about how badass you were. A streamlined and generally less dumb version of this became the procedure to lower the fear rating in deadlands.)
I will admit that I actually managed to do that once in an actual game. Unfortunately, said campaign ended shortly thereafter so we never really got to do anything about it.

And yes, it's not just about getting the 60+ result and playing the card, you do have to tell everyone about how awesome you were and how it's possible to fight back against the High Lords.

Jan 7, 2015

Hostile V posted:

A followup note: I have a friend who reads these and is like "so does the Warden of New Alcatraz have super charisma and that's his ploy to cover up the escape they all witnessed?"

The answer is no. The Warden is a normal man. A normal man in a fit of anger trying to cover his own rear end saying "gently caress HE GOT AWAY. He's dead and we killed him and he's dead. This never leaves the island. Keep it a secret".

And that's the dumbest thing.

Someone really dropped the ball on that one big time. Monty Python is not a good source for this kind of story.

Kavak posted:

It's the kind of thinking that lead people to believe that everyone involved in the 9/11 "inside job" could be bribed into silence.

Except with that one, you'd at least getting some money out of it.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Chapter 4, Part 9: The Orclands
The Orclands are mostly steppes and desert, with some scattered forests thrown in. It's a land of antelope, bison, wolves, and yaks, little rain, and not much to really speak of. It is more or less intended to be the Wild West of Ytarria, and most individuals of all species scrape by with Iron Age technology at best.

Before the dark elves' Bane, the Orclands were basically a place where some orcs and gnomes hung out doing tribal poo poo and nobody else really cared. Then, with the first Banestorm, the region was sprinkled with nomadic tribes of centaurs, giants, minotaurs, and humans. Oh, the humans... Remember how The Mysterious East Sahud was made up of Native American nations as well as various Asian ones in spite of being heavily Chinese and Japanese in its nature? Well, the Orclands history seemingly disputes that.

GURPS Banestorm posted:

Over the next few centuries, people of Mongolian and American Indian descent began filtering into the Orclands from the northeast as Sahud became more civilized. These nomads quickly came to dominate the region, following the bison and antelope on their seasonal migrations.
So yeah, Native Americans and Mongolians left Sahud for the wild Orclands because Sahud got too civilized. :doh:

The Orclands didn't actually become the Orclands until the late 1700s and early 1800s, when Megalans pushed huge groups of them out of what would become Caithness. These orcs pushed other species to the northern extent of the Orclands before things generally settled down up until 1985. This was the time when Castle Defiant, a citadel of Caithnessers in the southeastern Orclands, was overrun by orcs. Not just any orcs, though Ė these were orcs lead by outcast dwarves, because orcs on their own were not smart enough to ever assail such a fortress. The dwarven rogue Bulgaren and his band of angry orcs now hold court in the castle and use it as a place to raid more human villages and get more loot.

The Orc Tribes
There are twelve major orc tribes and many smaller ones, ranging in size from dozens to hundreds of members. Some of the example named tribes include the Blackskulls, Bloody Fangs, Carrion Eaters, Death Birds, and Poisoned Talons, with others being similarly "violent or grotesque". These tribes spend most of their time herding yaks or hunting bison, any time in between being spent either fighting someone or planning fights with someone.

Betrayal and Honor
Orcs "breed like locusts", scattering across the plains, and are just too drat stupid to understand what things like loyalty and trust are without learning it from some other species. Without this knowledge, orc tribes instead ultimately use how much you've destroyed as a measure of prestige and honor. Taking a life is more valuable than destroying an object, for instance, and an orc that razes a whole town and massacres its citizens is going to be fair more prestigious than someone who kicked apart some wanderer's donkey cart. Tribes rarely get larger than in the hundreds because eventually someone starts backstabbing someone else for orcish honor once a threshold is broken.

Daily Life
Due to the lifestyle of "destruction = honor", orcs rarely have more possession than some basic supplies, a yurt, their weaponry, and some stock in the communical livestock herd. Orcs are strangely progressive on gender, unlike many orcs in fantasy, as they see destruction as destruction regardless of who's doing it. Orc women even go into battle while pregnant and when raising their young.

Orcs don't typically pay attention to the signs of untapped magic potential, but those that learn it typically become strong members of their tribes with Making and Breaking college spells and various combat magic.

Orcs love war. If they aren't fighting someone else, they're fighting amongst each other, and a tribe that is an ally one day may be an enemy the next. Chieftains are known for being literally unable to have extended alliances without a common enemy to prevent infighting. While orcs respect the warriors of other cultures, they nonetheless will try to destroy them if they feel threatened or wish to display more tribal honor.

Tribes are ruled by a chieftain, who is basically the most violent orc around who carved a path of blood to the top. Their underlings follow their orders out of an acknowledged respect for their brutality and power rather than out of fear or abuse, though they are expected to be treated as expendable property anyway, lest the leader is seen as soft. Some humans, dwarves, and undead have been able to work with this power structure and take over orc tribes.

While the act of creation rather than destruction is seen as dishonorable, orcs nonetheless realize that an army without weapons and armor isn't much of an army at all. Thus the rare orcish craftsman is given some leeway in the normal power dichotomy and allowed to make rather than break, though their work is usually shoddy and in need of constant maintenance.

Other Races
As stated before, there are nomadic Native American and Mongolian humans found in the northern Orclands. While most are yurt-dwelling nomads that live basically like less violent and more technologically savvy versions of the orc tribes, there are also scattered villages near the coasts adn the forests. Regardless of which type of lifestyle they live, all are brought together through the threat of the orcs:

GURPS Banestorm posted:

Humans bear the brunt of any orc attacks, and those who live the furthest south are fierce and hardened warriors. They hold their own, despite orc breeding rates and ferocity, because they have better tacticians and more determination; a human tribe under pressure hangs together, while orcs are prone to in-fighting when they are either winning a fight or losing badly. Humans have learned to exploit orc psychology; for example, itís usually worth the difficulty to kill an orc tribeís leader, because his lieutenants will probably fall to fighting among themselves to succeed him, whereas a human tribe in the same circumstances might well swear revenge under an acknowledged heir. Unfortunately, orcs' near-constant breeding means they are singularly able to recover from anything less than than complete extinction.

Outcast Dwarves
The worst of dwarven criminals are usually thrown out into the Great Desert or the Orclands, and some of them end up finding their way into orcish society. Many become craftsmen, but others aim even higher, becoming powerful warriors or leaders. The situation with the Blackskulls tribe lead by Bulgaren is a prime example of what happens when orcs actually become organized under a competent leader, as they have made frightening inroads into raiding rural parts of both Zarak and Caithness.

Giants typically like to be left alone, but some have decided to live together in spite of themselves as a way to defend against potential orcish raids. Others expect their size alone to be good enough to scare away most orcs, while yet a few others still decide to fall into the orcish ranks. In spite of their discomfort at human and centaur presences, they will usually pitch in to defend the northern Orclands if a particularly large orc tribe decides to get rowdy.

Centaurs would rather go off and be alone, but there are too many orc incursions to allow that. Instead, their tribes are heavily interconnected, as well as connected with the human and giant settlements in the north as well.

Chapter 4, Part 10: The Nomad Lands

GURPS Banestorm posted:

Megalans refer to the region north of the Whitehood Mountains as a land where huge hairy men and animals devour each other indiscriminately. As usual with civilized peoples' views of their less sophisticated neighbors, this is slightly over-simplified Ė but, in this case, only slightly.
Is one barbarian land stuck in TL2 rather than TL3 not enough for your taste? Never fear, for the Nomad Lands are also here.

Highland in the south, lowland taiga and plains in the north, all temperate or cold. It is an area where the mana frequently goes wild and there are larger prehistoric versions of animals such as beavers, bears, elk, and wolves, as well as monstrous legendary beasts such as gryphons, hippogriffs, and pegasi.

Very little is stated about the history of the Nomad Lands. Some Scandinavians of various sorts, Celts, and Mongols were dumped there, they were eventually attacked by Megalos and driven out of their homes, and then a warrior named Ross Gatecracker united a bunch of clans that pushed back Megalos so hard that they had to build the Emperor's Wall to keep the Northmen back. While some modern coastal Northmen have begun to trade with other nations, the vast majority are still either barbarian raiders that viciously attack Megalan settlements or mercenaries that sell their swords to the highest bidder.

Most Northmen are semi-nomadic, traveling to engage in raids or herd their livestock before returning to the village or hill fort of their clan/tribe. Some tribes and clans treat women as property, some are egalitarian and sexually equal, and some are even Amazon warrior groups. Som, but not all, tribes keep slaves, typically women taken in barbarian raids on Megalos.

Social Position
Each tribe is lead by a chieftain, sometimes instead known as a jarl. Beyond that, warriors, sailors, shamans, smiths, and skalds are all considered to be honorable professions for men, while hunters and gatherers are Status 0 losers that are considered to be necessary but dishonorable men. Women either have their husband's status in equal tribes or Social Stigma (Valuable Property) in misogynistic ones.

The largest nonhuman group in the Nomad Lands are Thulin's Folk, the dwarves that dwell beneath the great Whitehood Mountains. They are lead by the venerable Thulin X, a 265 year old dwarf whose immense age rewards him veneration even by the High King. Thulin has grown to hate Megalos, and on top of refusing to trade with them in favor of sending caravans to the Northmen, Caithness, and Sahud, he even attempted to get the kings of Zarak to boycott the Empire entirely. There are also several giant clans up in the far north, which freely trade with the Northmen out of a mutual sense of understanding and respect from each group for the other's strength and straightforward no-nonsense approach to life. Thanks to the local wild magic, there are also a load of werefolk Ė that's werebears, wereboar, were-eagles, were-snakes, weretigers, and werewolves, which we'll learn about when we finally get to the next chapter Ė in the Nomad Lands, though they tend to stay far out in the wilderness due to all the superstitions that surround them.

When Northmen practice magic, it's typically in the form of rituals meant to invoke the elements, divine truth from the gods, or call on the elements. Healing magic is seen as effeminate and frowned upon, as is using magic to get the upper hand in direct melee combat. Non-shamanic local mages are referred to as "witch-folk" or "rune-carvers" and are typically seen as eccentric but ultimately honor-bound folk. Foreign wizards are almost always seen as suspicious and are sometimes directly challenged by witch-folk or shamans are "rivals" or interlopers.

Northmen Religion
The Northmen are pretty lax pagans, typically following Germanic or Norse deities. They acknowledge the God of the Abrahamic faiths, but don't see him as anything special or more powerful than their own panoply of deities or the deific spirits over in Sahud. It is believed that every man is marked with the Wyrd, an unknowable and unchangeable destiny that they all march toward with open arms, which is why so few Northmen fear death. The religious leader of a tribe or clan is known as either a shaman or a druid depending on whether or not the tribe in question is heavily Celtic. On top of having all that ritual magic knowledge, shamans engage in blessing warriors on the eve of battle, conduct marriages, perform animal sacrifices, and lay down the restless dead when they manifest.

The Law
Various tribes have varying social taboos, which aren't really mentioned in spite of the fact that you'd think that's what the section called "The Law" is here for. Matters that affect the entirety of the tribe are deliberated by the chieftain and his most trusted warriors, while interpersonal matters are solved either by a selected third party arbitrator or through a duel. Punishment for minor crimes comes in either financial compensation or public shaming, while serious offenses lead to death, slavery, or exile.

Because of overall illiteracy beyond the use of certain symbolic runes, the Northmen have developed a strong oral tradition, emphasized most heavily by the presence of the skalds. They are not unlike the bards of the Abrahamic lands, being travelers that have expertise in music and the performing arts. A skald learns numerous ballads, folk tales, stories from foreign lands, genealogical trees, and clan histories that they augment with their own songs and poems that venerate new warriors and leaders of the present day. Skalds are considered divinely gifted, and benefit fairly strongly from it: not only do they have the Claim to Hospitality advantage in Northmen homes, it is considered a grave misdeed to kill a skald unless it is in an act of self-defense, netting the offender a hefty Reputation penalty.

There is also a page of stats for a 313 point skald named Blind Lars. A middle-aged Northman with a tall but lean frame and flowing blond hair, he is a skilled traveler in spite of his blindness and has been to almost every corner of Yrth. When Blind Lars talks, people listen, and he is very rarely without traveling company.

Next Time in GURPS Banestorm: We finally end chapter 4 with a trip to the desert kingdom of the djinn and the realms under the sea.

Fossilized Rappy fucked around with this message at 18:21 on Jun 2, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Werewolf: the Forsaken, 2nd Edition

Harmony is what werewolves have instead of Integrity, and it tears them between two extremes - the Flesh and the Spirit. Harmony goes from 0 to 10, with 0 being a werewolf locked to the world of Spirit and 10 being one locked to Flesh. Your ideal is Harmony 5, the balance between the two. PCs start at 7, being not that long after the First Change and so still mired in the physical. You can't spend XP to raise or lower Harmony - you just have to do breaking points, in either direction. Werewolves can suffer breaking points towards Flesh and towards Spirit.

Breaking point rolls are Resolve+Composure, but you can't use Willpower on the roll. Some breaking points will have modifiers. When you hit a breaking point towards Spirit, you get -1 to the roll for each point of Harmony below 5. Fail, you lose a point of Harmony. Towards Flesh, you get -1 per point of Harmony above 5. Fail, you gain a point of Harmony. All breaking points on the list below apply to all Uratha, but they aren't definitive - the GM and the players work together to figure out what might be a breaking point for each PC specifically, based on their auspice, tribe and Touchstones. Break points towards Flesh usually involve actively denying your Uratha nature, while those towards Spirit require you to turn your back on your human heritage. (And yes, if you'll note, one of the ways to raise your Harmony if you are dangerously low is, in fact, to be hurled into a sealed room with the pack's supply of emergency Slim Jims.)

    Towards Flesh
  • Defiling a Locus
  • Refusing to participate in Siskur-Dah
  • Staying out of the Hisil for a full week
  • Using a silver weapon against another werewolf
  • Breaking the Oath of the Moon (except the cannibalism part) (-3)
    Only at Harmony 3-
  • Allowing a spirit safe passage into the physical
  • Eating processed food
  • Mating with a human
  • Staying out of the Hisil for a full day
    Towards Spirit
  • Killing a human or a wolf
  • Staying in the Hisil for a full week
  • Hunting humans or wolves for food (-2)
  • Eating human or wolf flesh for Essence (-3)
  • Staying in the Hisil for a full month (-3)
    Only at Harmony 8+
  • Inflicting Lunacy on a loved one
  • Leading the Siskur-Dah
  • Spending more than two days away from your pack
  • Staying in the Hisil for a full day

Harmony determines your ability to Reach. At Harmony 10, you can't Reach, period. At Harmony 0, you can't Reach out of the Hisil. Harmony 8+ werwolves can Reach out of the Hisil without a Locus, and Harmony 3- werewolves can Reach into the Hisil without a Locus. With Harmony 4 or lower, however, you gain bans, much like a spirit has. The ban may have something to do with a spirit you've dealt with before, your personality or story events. You get the persistant Ban condition, resolved only when you raise Harmony enough to lose it. Further, the more distant your Harmony is from 5, the more severe your personal Kuruth trigger - while at Harmony 5, you don't get affected by the personal trigger at all. Further, the closer you are to 5, the longer your Wasu-Im control period lasts.

From here, we get new Werewolf merits!
Anchored (1 or 2 dots): Werewolves only. Pick one of your Touchstones. For 1 dot, that Touchstone gives +3 to resist breaking points. For 2, it gives +4. However, the 1-dot version makes your other Touchstone only give +1, and the 2-dot makes it give +0.
Blood/Bone Affinity (2 or 5 dots): Harmony between 3 and 8. For the two dot, pick Blood or Bone. Five dot covers both. Once per chapter, when doing something that'd recover all Willpower for the covered trait(s), you can apply the rote quality to the roll. However, any time you have the chance to fulfill the covered trait(s), you must spend 1 Willpower not to do so.
Code of Honor (2 dots): Harmony 8+. You have some kind of code of human honor and role that you stick to - a knightly oath, a secret society, whatever. You get a Virtue in addition to your Blood and Bone. On top of all the normal benefits of this Virtue, you get +3 to Stamina, Resolve or Composure rolls to uphold your code. However, any time you are faced with a challenge to your beliefs or a chance to betray them, you must spend a Willpower not to uphold and defend your beliefs at any cost. You cannot use the benefits of this merit or regain Willpower until you make a show of defending your beliefs against adversity.
Controlled Burn (2 dots): Resolve 3+, Composure 3+. When you enter Wasu-Im, you shift to Hishu or Urhan, not Dalu or Urshul. If you succeed in getting a turn of lucidity at all, you can spend 1 Willpower to end the Rage. However, you can only shift to Hishu or Urhan for Wasu-Im, which can cause problems at times.
Creative Tactician (3 dots): Purity 2+. Any time you act as the tactician or organizer in a teamwork action, participants ignore up to your Purity in penalties. Once per chapter, the primary actor also gains a Beat if they follow your guidance. You do not need to be the primary actor to use this Merit.
Dedicated Locus (1-5 dots): Safe Place 1+. You have a Locus attuned to your totem's resonance, with rating equal to the (potentially pooled) dots in this merit. Further, members of the pack can use the Locus' Essence faster than other Essence. Collectively, any pack member with this Merit can spend up to (Merit dots) Essence per day outside the normal per-turn limits...but this total is shared over the entire pack. So if your pack has Dedicated Locus 3, you could spend 4 Essence in one turn - 1 of your own, plus 3 from the Locus - and that'd be fine, but use up the ability for the entire pack for the rest of the day. Only pack members that contribute dots can use the Locus' benefits, and the Locus needs a Safe Place of at least equal dot rating. Also, the Locus is going to draw attention from local spirits.
Embodiment of the Firstborn (5 dots): No Ghost Wolves. You are the very likeness of a Firstborn. Pick one Attribute reflecting your ties to that Firstborn. You get a free dot in it, and you can go one dot above the normal maximum for it. Further, any time you spend a Willpower, anyone trying to attack you in the same turn gets the Shaken condition. However, spirits with old grudges will probably try to settled them through you.
Fading (3 dots): Cunning 2+. Any time someone fails to notice you in a scene, all future attempts in the same scene suffer a cumulative -1 penalty. Once per scene, you may add your Cunning to any roll to be unnoticed or unobtrusive.
Favored Form (1-5 dots): Requires Primal Urge at 1 higher than your dots in the merit. You pick one form other than Hishu. For each dot, you get a specific benefit in that form:
  • 1 dot: Pick a Physical Skill. When using that Skill in your favored form, you get exceptional success on 3 successes instead of 5.
  • 2 dots: Choose an Attribute. In your favored form, get +1 to that Attribute. It can't be an Attribute penalized in the form, like Manipulation in Gauru.
  • 3 dots: Choose a Gift. When using that Gift in your favored form, exceptional success on 3, not 5 successes.
  • 4 dots: Choose a second Attribute. You get +1 to that one, too. Same rules as before.
  • 5 dots: Choose a Skill. All uses of that Skill in the favored form use the Advanced Action quality.
However, for each dot in this merit, choose a Mental or Physical Attribute of a different form and reduce it by 1, including all derived traits. You can spread the penalties around different forms, at least. You can only ever have this merit for a single favored form.
Fortified Form (3, 4 or 5 dots): Stamina 3+, Survival 2+. Choose a non-Hishu form when you take this. For 3 dots, it has 1/0 Armor. For 4, 1/1. For 5, 2/2. You can take this multiple times for different forms.
Hearing Whispoers (2 dots): Bone Shadows only. With a turn of scrutiny, you can identify any Persistent Conditions the target has. If you suspect other weaknesses, you can identify them with a Wits+(Skill) roll, but each weakness takes a seperate roll and at least one turn of scrutiny. The ST picks an appropriate Skill for the weakness - and for this purpose, having no dots in a Skill is a weakness, as is anything else the ST deems fit, but you can't identify a spirit's ban this way. Note that except for the Condition-identifier bit, you need a reason to suspect the weakness exists before you can confirm it.
Impartial Mediator (3 dots): Honor 2+. When you step into an argument or debate and spend time listening to both sides, you can roll Presence+Persuasion+Honor vs the highest Resolve+Honor of each side. Any side you beat accepts your interpretation of the truth.
Living Weapon (3, 4 or 5 dots): Stamina 3+, Survival 2+. Pick a non-Hishu form, and then bite or claws. For 3 dots, that attack gains 2 levels of Armor Piercing. For 4, it gets +1L on top of its normal advantages. For 5, it ignores any nonmagical armor. You can take this multiple times to enhance different attacks and forms.
Moon-Kissed (1 dot): You must have the chosen Skill at 2+. Pick one of your Auspice Skills. You get 9-again on all rolls of that skill. If you already have 9-again, you get 8-again instead. When your auspice moon is visible, spending Willpower gives +4 on rolls of that skill, not +3. You can take this multiple times for different skills. However, each time you take this merit, you must choose a non-Auspice Skill you have dots in. You lose 10-again with that Skill.
Nowhere to Run (2 dots): Hunters in Darkness only. You have an instinctive awareness of the prey's safe spots. With a turn of scrutiny ,you learn the basic details and rough location of any Safe Place the target has. With a Wits+Investigation roll, you can identify other boltholes, hiding places and dedicated sites, IDing one per success. However, you must leave a mark somehow on any of those locations you visit - a scent at least, but anything as long as the prey might be able to notice it.
Pack Dynamics (3, 4 or 5 dots): You intuitively understand your pack. Any time you participate in a teamwork actions, you get a bonus to the roll - +1 for 3 dots, +2 for 4, +3 for 5. This also adds to any rolls using Resistance ATtributes when defending your pack. However, whenever a member of the pack is missing, the bonus you get on teamwork becomes a penalty to all rolls.
Residential Area (1-5 dots): Your pack's territory encompasses a residential area you've secured well. Once per session, you can access Merit dots equal to those in this Merit, split however you like between Allies, Contacts and Retainers, so long as they make sense within the scope of the territory. However, any time you use a Merit through this Merit, the characters you call on will want some token favor in return.
Resonance Shaper (3 dots): Wisdom 2+. You may roll Manipulation+Occult as an extended action, with each roll representing one hour at a small Essence wellspring or one day at a Locus. You can change a single point of the Essence's resonance with 5 successes, or the resonance of a locus with 10 successes per Locus level. The method is unique to you and your relationship with the Shadow.
Self-Control (2 dots): Resolve 4+. When compelled to shift in a stressful situation due to low Harmony, you may spend 1 Willpower instead of 1 Essence. If you do, you may remain in your current for for the entire scene. This is a breaking point towards Flesh.
Song In Your Heart (3 dots): Glory 2+. This is identical the Inspiring merit, but without the prerequisites, but can only be used when singing, howling or storytelling. Listeners can take the Inspired condition as a Persistent one, gaining a Beat every time they take a significant action inspired by your tale.
Sounds of the City (2 dots): Iron Masters only. You may spend a turn studying someone and roll Wits+Politics to identify one Social Merit they have, chosen by the ST. Further, you may spend a scene's effort to shut down up to (Cunning) dots of their Social Merits, so long as they somehow reflect human influences. The target loses access to these merits for as long as you wish, but you can only lock out (Cunning) total dots of Social Merits at a time. Further, while you are shutting down any Social Merits, all of your Social Merits in human spheres are considered 1 dot lower for all purposes.
Strings of the Heart (2 dots): Storm Lords only. You may spend a turn studying someone to instinctively sense what they most want, even if they don't know the context of it. When using this information, you are considered one stage of impression better for Social Manueivering against the target, and they cannot defy your threats, offers or temptations without spending Willpower. However, you always have one fewer Door than normal against the target, forever.
Totem (1-5 dots): You contribute your dots in this merit to the pack Totem. Further, you add your dots in this merit to any Social actions with the Totem spirit.
Weakest Link (2 dots): Blood Talons only. You can study two or more associated characters for a turn to identify the weakest of those characters by whatever criteria the ST feels is most appropriate at the moment. This takes no roll. Note that this depends entirely on narrative context - what determines 'weakest' is entirely based on what the situation is.

I really don't like how many of the Werewolf merits have drawbacks because I often see no actual reason for the drawback to exist. This will continue to be a thing in combat merits. Anyway, new combat merits!

Call Out (2 dots): Honor 2+, Intimidaton 2+, Composure 3+. When you use an instant action to call out a foe, they get your Honor as a penalty to attack anyone else, and if they do attack someone else, you add your Honor to any attack rolls against them. However, if anyone else attacks your chosne foe, it ends the challenge, and they get your Honor as a bonus to any roll against you for the rest of the scene.
Efficient Killer (2 dots): Purity 2+, Brawl 3+, Medicine 2+, Strength 3+, usable only in Gauru form. When in Gauru, any time the opponent would be denied Defense for any reason, you may sacrifice your Defense to deal a Killing Blow instead of a normal attack. This works only on living targets, and whenever you use it, you immediately enter Wasu-Im.
Flanking (2 dots): Cunning 2+, Wits 3+, Stelath 2+, Brawl 2+. Any time you make a successful attack, you can choose to apply successes from it as a penalty to the victim's Initiative and Defense for the turn rather than causing damage.
Instinctive Defense (2 dots): Primal Urge 2+, Athletics 2+. In Urhan and Urshul forms, you use the higher of Wits and Dexterity for Defense rather than the lower.
Relentless Assault (1-5 dots): Strength 3+, Stamina 3+, Brawl 2+. You are a ruthless killing machine. This can be used in any of your forms, but only with Brawl attacks. However, it can be used during Kuruth.
  • One dot: In the first turn of a fight, you get +3 to Initiative as long as you make an all0out attack. This only lasts for the first turn.
  • Two dots: Choose a target when the fight starts. When making an all-out attack against that target, you retain your Defense against their attacks - and only their attacks.
  • Three dots: You may choose to remove one die from your dicepool before rolling an attack. If you do, increase your claws or teeth weapon modifier by 1.
  • Four dots: Any time you make an all-out attack, you get 1/1 Armor against all attacks for the turn. This combines with any other form of armor you might have.
  • Five dots: Any time you fill an opponent's last health box with Lethal or Aggravated damage, you may immediately make another attack on anyone in your reach. If this attack deals any damage, you immediately enter Basu-Im without a chance to resist.
Spiritual Blockage (2 dots): Wisdom 2+, Brawl 1+, Occult 3+, Wits 3+. You may use this any time you make a Brawl or Weaponry attack against something that uses Essence. If you do, your attack is at -2, but if it deals damage, the target loses 1 Essence, or 2 on an exceptional success. The Essence is considered spent for purposes of how much the victim can spend per turn.
Tactical Shifting (1-5 dots): You have learned to shift in combat to maximize effectiveness. Shifting up, for this Merit, is assuming a form with higher Size than your current form. Shifting down is going to a form with lower Size than your current one. You may use multiple levels of this merit together as long as they all require you to shift in the same direction. Note, however, that all maneuvers require reflexive shifting - if you can't do that, you can't use the Merit.
  • One dot: You may shift down at the start of the round to get +2 Initiative and +5 Speed for the turn.
  • Two dots: When you shift up, anyone in melee range that doesn't actively Dodge takes Bashing damage equal to the difference in size between your two forms. Anyone who takes this damage must roll Dexterity+Athletics or become Knocked Down.
  • Three dots: Shift down. For every level of Size you lose in the shift, all foes get -1 to attack you.
  • Four dots: Shift up when attacked to ignore 1B or 1L damage.
  • Five dots: When you have someone grappled, shift up to automatically deal 1L per difference in Size between the two forms.
Warcry (2 dots): Glory 2+, Presence 3+, Expression 2+, Intimidation 2+. You can only use this in Gauru, Urshul or Urhan forms. You may howl as an instant action, rolling Presence+Expression. You affect (successes) listeners of your choice. The affected get -1 Defense, -1 to attack and -2 Initiative for the rest of the scene. Someone can only suffer the effects of this once per scene. However, within 3 turns, curious spirits will arrive to see what the hell you're howling about, and may or may not be hostile.

Next time: Gifts

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 23:07 on Jun 2, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Werewolf: the Forsaken, 2nd Edition

Gifts are the magic powers of werewolves. They are borne of scars in the spirit, torn into your blood and Essence. These scars give power, granting strange abilities that are entirely natural to a werewolf, reshaping the Essence flowing through them. Despite their source, these are not alien powers grafted onto your soul - they are a reflection of your nature as a predator, and the power of their symbols shines through your spirit to create an ability to hunt and kill. There are three types of Gift. Moon Gifts are granted directly by Luna, and your first Moon Gift is burned into your soul during the First Change. They are Luna's mark and reward, a scar to show your harmony with her vast power. Shadow Gifts are given by spirits - or torn from them via Siskur-Dah. Because they lack the Moon's ties to the Uratha, other spirits must rend your flesh and Essence together to make their mark, scarring you painfully in exchange for mystic power. Wolf Gifts are born of Uratha Essence directly, manifesting naturally from the lineage of Wolf and Moon.

Using a Gift is entirely instinctual. There is no incantation, no concentration - you just will it, and the Essence makes it happen. The presence of a Gift's mark on your soul, however, is not enough to give complete mastery. Every Gift is split into five Facets, each an expression of the Gift's meaning interpreted through a different Renown. These Facets are intertwined with your Gift-brands and Renown-brands, drawing strength from them. An Uratha who has a Gift can only use the Facets they've earned from it. Some are permanent, others require Essence to activate, and often a diceroll. A number of things can modify Gift rolls:
  • +1 in the area of a level 1-3 Locus
  • +1 against anyone whose blood you've tasted
  • +2 against your tribe's favored prey
  • +2 during your Auspice moon phase
  • +2 in the area of a level 4+ Locus
  • -2 in the presence of an Uratha in Kuruth
  • -3 when in contact with silver

Gifts cannot be taught or learned. They are symbolism made real in your flesh and soul. They are vital and primal, carved into you directly. Gaining a Gift is a moment of adrenaline and invigorating pain. Your first Moon Gift is granted by Luna herself when you receive your auspice. It resonates deeply with the Renown brands that mark your auspice's virtue. You begin with a single Moon Gift of oyur Auspice. All Moon Gift Facets are tied to your Auspice Renown, and are ranked from 1 to 5 dots. Whenver you earn a dot in your Auspice Renown, you get the equivalent rated Facet of your Moon Gift - so an Ithaeur at Wisdom 3 has the first three dots of the Crescent Moon Gift. This costs no XP - it's automatic. However, you might discover other Moon Gifts of your Auspice. These cost 5 XP to unlock the first dot Facet, and 2 XP for further Facets, which must be purchased in ascending order. You may never raise the dots of any Moon Gift over the rating of your current Auspice Renown.

Shadow Gifts, on the other hand, are earned from spirits whose symbolic nature matches the Gift you want. You can bargain for a Gift, coerce a spirit into giving it, coax them into wanting to, even trick them or force them to give it up by Siskur-Dah. The one constant is that no spirit can give a Gift that does not reflect its own nature. A spirit of ash and burning flesh might teach you the Elemental's Gift or the Gift of Death, but it could never give the Gift of Warding. Once a spirit agrees to give a Gift, it physically tears the symbol into you. Luna's ties to the Forsaken are pure and close, so she can grant Gifts from afar, without tearing your flesh. Other spirits lack this connection and must work upon your Essence with more primal tools. They inflict 1L in a generally agonizing process of ripping, carving or tearing your flesh and spirit into shape. This ritual can leave scars that never properly heal, and it is not unknown for Uratha to tatoo over the healing flesh of a Gift-mark or to ritually reopen the wounsd for scarification. Shadow Gifts cost 5 XP to unlock, or 3 if favored by your Auspice or Tribe. Once you gain the Gift, you get a single Facet for free. You must then pay 2 XP per additional Facet you want...and you can never unlock a Facet associated with a Renown you have no dots in. However, every time you earn a new dot of any Renown, you may choose to unlock a single Facet of that Renown in any Gift you already know, for no cost. This makes the Gift-marks squrim and cut their way deeper into you, opening fresh Essence flows. If you have already unlocked all the facets of that Renown for all Gifts you have, the free unlock is 'stored' and applies to the next new Gift you gain with a suitable Facet.

Wolf Gifts need no spiritual intervention from anyone. They are natural paths of spiritual development for the Uratha, changes born of their hybrid nature. An Uratha can unlock a facet of a Wolf Gift at any time, provided they have at least one dot in the relevant Renown. A Wolf Gift Facet costs 1 XP, no matter what.

Moon Gifts
Crescent Moon's Gift
Ithaeur Only
  • Shadow Gaze (1 dot)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Duration: 1 scene
    Add your Wisdom Renown to all Empathy rolls against spirits and the Ridden. You may also activate this directly against any spirit you can perceive to reveal the symbolic truth it embodies. Second and subsequent uses of this ability in the scene cost 1 Essence each.
    Dicepool: Wits+Occult+Wisdom vs Resistance
    On a dramatic failure, the spirit knows you tried to read it, and you get nothing. Failure, you just get nothing. Success tells you the spirit's ban or bane, your choice. Exceptional success tells both.
  • Spirit Whispers (2 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Presence+Persuasion+Wisdom
    You may use this against a single object or dormant spirit you can perceive and that can hear you. You may ask a single quesiton, at most one sentence long. Generally, this is to ask the sleeping spirit of an object for information about its immediate area of influence. Dramatic failure gives a false or misleading answer. Failure tells you nothing. Success gives you a short, one sentence answer that is limited by the object or spirit's knowledge of its immediate environs or influence. Exceptional success gives a longer answer, not limited to a single sentence.
  • Shadow Hunter (3 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence.
    You can only use this when you gain the Siskur-Dah condition. It lasts the duration of the Siskur-Dah, and for that duration, you add your Wisdom to Perception rolls, rolls to resist Numina and Dread Powers of spirits and rolls to travel or chase through Shadow, provided you are in Shadow and taking actions to pursue the prey.
  • Shadow Masquerade (4 dots)
    Cost: 2 Essence
    Dicepool: Manipulation+Occult+Wisdom vs Resistance.
    Duration: 1 hour per success
    You can use this against any single spirit you can perceive, attempting to mimic them and pass as one of them. Dramatic failure means you don't mimic them, but do gain the Ban condition corresponding to the spirit's ban. Failure means you don't mimic them. Success copies up to (successes) Influence dots from the spirit, and also gives you their ban or bane, your choice. You use your Shadow Masquerade pool to use your new Influence, and to other spirits, you appear as a spirit of the same type as the target you copied, asl ong as you act appropriately. If you behave suspiciously, they get a roll to pierce the deception and end the Gift. Exceptional Success makes the roll to pierce harder.
  • Panopticon (5 dots)
    Cost: (Maximum Rank of affected spirits) Essence
    Dicepool: Intelligence+Occult+Wisdom
    Action: Extended, 10 successes, with each roll taking 1 minute.
    Duration: 1 scene, extendable for 1 Essence per additional scene
    You open the font of your Essence and reach out to see through the eyes of the spirits around you. Dramatic Failure overloads you and gives you the Confused condition. Failure gives you the Stumbled Condition. Success, once the target is met, makes you immediately aware of all spirits of up to the maximum Rank targeted within (100*Wisdom) yards. You get -3 to your own Perception rolls for the duration. You have a rough indication of what each spirit perceives, whether they are hurt or fighting, and so on. As an instant action, you may focus on one spirit and immerse yourself or withdraw from their senses. This blocks out your senses and those of the other spirits around you, but you perceive everything the spirit does with perfect clarity. You may spend 1 Essence to give a -(Wisdom) penalty to all Perception rolls that spirit makes for one scene. On an exceptional success, you suffer no penalty to personal Perception.

Full Moon's Gift
Rahu Only
  • Killer Instinct (1 dot)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Duration: 1 scene
    You get 8-again on all Brawl and Weaponry rolls for the duration.
  • Warrior's Hide (2 dots)
    Duration: Permanent
    Add your Purity to your Health. If you gain more Purity, you get more Health.
  • Bloody-Handed Hunter (3 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    You can only use this when you gain the Siskur-Dah condition. It lasts the duration of the Siskur-Dah, and for that duration, add your Purity to all attack rolls against anyone that is an obstacle to successful pursuing of the hunt - whether they are an ally of the prey or just someone in the way. This does not grant any bonus against the prey itself - use your own strength for that.
  • Butchery (4 dots)
    Cost: 2 Essence
    Dicepool: Wits+Brawl+Purity
    Duration: 1 turn per success
    You use this when you're facing multiple foes. Dramatic failure drops your Defense to 0 for a turn, and you can't do anything that would require you to give up your Defense. Failure does nothing. Success means that for the duration, as long as you're fighting more than one enemy, whenever you hit a foe with an unarmed attack (including teeth or claws) or whenever you are hit by a foe, you can apply one of Arm Wrack, Blinded, Deafened, Knocked Down or Leg Wrack to the target or attacker, regardless of if damage is dealt. Whenever you take a foe out of the fight by killing them or incapacitating them, the duration of Butchery is extended by one turn. On an exceptional success, you inflict three of the Tilts to the first enemy who strikes or is struck by you after you activate this Facet.
  • Crumson Spasm (5 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence per turn
    Dicepool: Stamina+Survival+Purity
    Your form warps under quicksilver rage, spasming and reshaping you with lunar energy. Dramatic failure means you close control of the lunar power, suffering a breaking point towards Spirit and involuntarily shifting to another form. Failure does nothing. Success gives you a pool of points equal to your successes. You can spend each point to do one of:
    • Add 2 dots to Strength or Stamina
    • Add 1 to general armor
    • Increase the Lethal damage of your natural weapons by +1
    These benefits stack with any granted by other Facets or forms. This lasts as long as you keep paying the Essence each turn to fuel it. If you use this in Hishu or Urhan form, you cause Lunacy as if you were in Dalu. Exceptional Success also lets you heal 1L for free each turn the Spasm is active.

Gibbous Moon's Gift
Cahalith Only
  • War Howl (1 dot)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Presence+Expression+Glory
    Duration: 1 turn per success
    You let out a howl to inspire your pack. Dramatic Failure restores 1 Willpower to a single enemy that can hear you. Failure does nothing. Success means all members of your pack that can hear you get +1L on their Brawl and Weaponry attacks for the duration, even if the rest of the attack deals bashing damage. Exceptional Success also gives you the Inspired condition.
  • Voice of Glory (2 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Duration: 1 scene
    Add your Glory to all Expression and Persuasion rolls for the duration. If you use this on first meeting someone, you automatically improve the first impression by one step. If you are trying to inspire or incite aggression and violence, you increase your impression by another step.
  • Dream Hunter (3 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Manipulation+Empathy+Glory vs Composure+Primal Urge (rolled when invading dreams)
    You can only use this when you gain the Siskur-Dah condition. It lasts the duration of the Siskur-Dah, and for that duration, you become attuned to whether the prey is awake or not. If the prey sleeps, you immediately know, and you may attempt to slepe naturally, meditate to sleep or spend 1 Essence to immediately sleep. You then track down the prey's dreamscape. On a dramatic failure, you become lost in the dreams of sky and moon, gaining the Exhausted condition when you wake. On a failure, you don't find thep rey and instead awaken, unable to try again until the prey wakes and then returns to sleep. On a success, you enter the prey's subconscious, causing a terrifying wolf to appear in their dreams and ensuring they remember this when they awaken. You choose one of the following:
    • The target suffers predatory nightmares. They get no Willpower from resting and gain the Exhausted condition.
    • You plant the seeds of fear in the prey, giving the Paranoid condition when they awaken.
    • The target's dreams are shaped with Essence, making them an easy target for spirits. They gain the Open condition.
    • You hunt the dream for fragmentary thought-creatures and figments, discovering one of the following about the prey:
      • Roughly where they are in the physical world.
      • Their Blood and Bone or equivalent traits.
      • Any steps they are taking to protect themselves from your hunt
      • An impression of their immediate surroundings
    On an exceptional success, you also awaken refreshed afterwards, regaining 1 Willpower.
  • Thousand-Throat Howl (4 dots)
    Cost: 2 Essence
    Dicepool: Presence+Intimidation+Glory vs Resolve+Primal Urge
    You let loose a terrible howl. On a dramatic failure, you choke and gain the Demoralized condition. On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, any prey that hear you and don't beat you gain the Demoralized condition. On an exceptional success, they also lose one Willpower.
  • End of Story (5 dots)
    Cost: 3 Essence
    Dicepool: Presence+Persuasion+Glory vs Composure+Primal Urge
    Duration: 1 day
    You name the target and relate their impending doom to your pack. On a dramatic failure, you suffer a penalty to Defense against the target equal to your Glory for one day. On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, doom falls on the prey. If they fele or hide from you or your pack, they suffer a penalty equal to your Glory to Speed, chase rolls and Stealth rolls. They get -(Glory) Initiative against you in combat and to their Defense against your attacks. The first time in a scene that they deal damage to you or your packmates, the damage is reduced by your Glory. On an exceptional success, you also get the Inspired condition.

Half Moon's Gift
Elodoth Only
  • Scent Beneath the Surface (1 dot)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Wits+Empathy+Hoinor vs Composure+Primal Urge
    Duration: 1 scene
    You use this after at least one turn of conversation with or observation of another person. On a dramatic failure, you believe whatever the target says is the truth. On a failure, nothing happens. On a sucess, you sense whether the target's words and actions are deceptive or truthful. You can tell the difference between outright lies and lies by omission, as longas the target is trying to mislead or deceive. On an exceptional success, for the rest of the scene you may also add your Honor to all Manipulation rolls against the target.
  • Binding Oath (2 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Resolve+Persuasion+Honor vs Resolve+Primal Urge
    Duration: 1 month
    You use this to seal an oath or agreement between two parties. You can be one of them, or you can oversee it for others. This requires a symbolic act from those swearing to the oath, like signing a document or cutting palms and shaking hands. Usually this is voluntary, but if done by subterfuge the victim unconsciously attempts to resist. On a dramatic failure, you cannot bind the oath and the first party to break it regains 2 Willpower. On a failure, you don't bind the oath. On a success, you bind it. Any attempts to break it, even unknowingly, suffer a penalty of your Honor, as circumstances conspire against the oathbreaking. On an exceptional success, you also instantly know if the oath is broken, and by whom.
  • Sly Hunter
    Cost: 1 Essence
    You can only use this when you gain the Siskur-Dah condition. It lasts the duration of the Siskur-Dah, and for that duration, as long as you are taking actions to pursue the prey, add your Honor to all rolls involving your Allies and Contacts to track or obstruct the prey, and to all Social rolls to attack or hamper the prey's Allies, Alternate Identity, Contacts, Resources and Status merits.
  • Ties of Word and Promise (4 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence per dot desired
    Dicepool: Manipulation+Persuasion+Honor
    Action: Extended, 10 successes, each roll takes 1 munute
    Duration: 1 day
    You choose Allies, Alternate Identity, Contacts, Resources or Status when using this, spending 1 Essence per dot you want to gain. The group must be one that your existing Allies or Contacts have some kind of friendly link to, and you must contact atl east one member of that group. Attempting to gain dots in a Merit with a group explicitly hostile to you gives -3. On a dramatic failure, you are rebuffed and the group attempts to block an existing Ally or Contact merit you have. On a failure, you get the Stumbled condition. Success, once you meet the target, gives the desired Merit for one day. Exceptional success means it lasts for a week.
  • Ties of Blood and Bone (5 dots)
    Cost: 3 Essence
    Dicepool: Stamina+Empathy+Honor vs Stamina+Primal Urge
    You use this to draw on the ties of pack. You pick a single packmate within (Honor) miles. If the target wishes to resist, they can, but they don't have to. If the target is out of range, you fail. On a dramatic failure, you suffer a metamorphic backlash, suffering the Arm Wrack or Leg Wrack tilt. On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, you and the target warp and shapeshift into each other, exchanging places. Both of you retain all garb and equipment you had. You are not given any awareness of the condition or situation of the target before the swap. On an exceptional success, both you and the target heal 2L or 2B during the exchange.

New Moon's Gift
Irraka Only
  • Eviscerate (1 dot)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    You activate this as part of a Brawl or Weaponry attack against an unaware or surprised target. The attack gets the rote quality.
  • Slip Away (2 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Duration: 1 scene
    Anyone that perceives or interacts with you while this is active finds it very hard to remember you at all. If you take no memorable action towards them, they dismiss any memory of you entirely. If you were memorable or if they are prompted to think very carefully, they get a penalty equal to your Cunning to try to remember you, even if they have otherwise perfect memory. They will not forget that they fought someone, but may forget the details of who you were or recall only a blur.
  • Relentless Hunter (3 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    You can only use this when you gain the Siskur-Dah condition. It lasts the duration of the Siskur-Dah, and for that duration, as long as you are taking actions to pursue the prey, you add your Cunning to all Stealth rolls against the prey, all attempts to overcome any obstructions or security the prey has placed between themselves and you, and all rolls to find entry points to places where the prey is hiding, alternate paths to reach them or any other means of getting to the prey despite their efforts.
  • Divide and Conquer (4 dots)
    Cost: 1 Essence
    Dicepool: Manipulation+Subterfuge+Cunning vs Composure+Primal Urge
    You use this on one person you can see that's part of a group. You must supply some kind of distraction of movement or sound as part of it, but it doesn't have to be anything major. On a dramatic failure, the target gets the Spooked condition and desperately clings to the company of the group. On a failure, nothing happens. On a success, the target gets the Lured condition, and will willingly split from the group to investigate, despite better instincts. On an exceptional success, this also affects (Cunning) other members of the group, applying Lured to all of them and scattering them in pursuit of figments.
  • Breach (5 dots)
    Cost: 3 Essence
    Dicepool: Wits+Stealth+Cunning
    You attemot to slip across the Gauntlet. On a dramatic failure, you are violently rebuffed, suffering your choice of Arm Wrack, Leg Wrack or Stunned. On a failure, you do not cross. On a success, you cross the Gauntlet, even if you aren't at a Locus. On an exceptional success, your next use of this Facet this scene costs no Essence, as well.

Next time: Shadow Gifts

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

I've been thinking for a bit that the Awakening and Forsaken posts have been short on summarizing and suffered for it, but at this point I'm starting to wonder how much detail you can go into before you're just kind of transcribing the book into the thread. Is it just me?

Dec 10, 2007


Planescape: Planes of Chaos - The Book of Chaos (Intro)

The Book of Chaos is the DMís section of the Planes of Chaos box set. In fact, itís actually the first booklet in the box, as it comes with a ďwhatís in this boxĒ section. Like the Travelogue, this booklet is separated by Plane, but with more details and rules that apply to each Plane. The Book of Chaos opens up with some in-setting fluff dissing on the Prime Material Planes. Which I guess is a symptom of the era Planescape was written, but it feels unnecessary. If a person has purchased this box set, he or she doesnít need convincing that Planescape is rad compared to the other D&D settings. I also feel an opportunity was lost to give an in-setting blurb about how adventuring on the Chaos-aligned Planes differs from other places in the setting.

The actual text starts by explaining whatís found in the box. Emphasis is given that each Plane on its own would be at least as large as a single Prime Material world. So not every realm or town has been detailed in this set. In fact thereís a lot of empty space just on a single layer. Instead, special attention has been given to places that communicate the unique nature of each Plane. This way, a DM can create his own campaign and know how to make the bits he or she adds fit with the tone of the setting.

Factol Karan of the Chaosmen posted:

Beautiful is! Chaos too dim Multiverse. Is to notice most of the

After an inventory of the boxís contents, we get a section discussing what makes adventures on the Planes of Chaos (Iím just going to abbreviate them to PoC) different from the rest of the setting. There are a lot of words, but the gist of it is that itís easier to sneak into the PoCs unnoticed compared to the Law Planes, but if adventurers get into hot water there are fewer chances to find safety. The booklet does give the implication here that the PCs should be allowed to prevail over obstacles that have earned a reputation for chewing up bashers and spitting them out, but I feel that this advice probably needs to be stated explicitly. Especially in this setting expansion, as the detailing of the hazards PCs had to deal with made me :stare: at a few points.

Since this is the first booklet in the box, we get some info that we already covered in the Travelogue. For example, it introduces the DM to Sects, and how they differ from Factions. The section does have this amusing line: ďAnd then there are those folk who have heard of Sigil, but figure itís just some pretentious madhouse that doesnít hold much significance in their lives.Ē :mmmhmm: The next section describes travelling to and around the PoCs. Besides taking a portal from Sigil, each Plane has a Gate-Town in the Outlands (remember them?) that opens up to the first layer. In addition, thereís the Great Road which connects the 5 Planes to their neighbors. On the Chaos side, there typically are not any towns congregated around Great Road portals. In a similar vein, towns usually donít appear around portals to Sigil. The reason for this is because itís impossible to tell whoís going to come through it. And if those people happen to be assholes, thereís no recourse besides what they have on hand.

Lenore of the Converts Sect posted:

Am I a Dustman? Why, yes. Yes I am.

All four of the major Planar Highways are found on the PoCs. Mount Olympus and Yggdrasil are detailed in the chapters on Arborea and Ysgard respectively, while the River Styx and River Oceanus get new details about them. The River Styx is flows through the top layer of all the Lower Planes. It also has access to Stygia in Baator and a few of the layers in The Abyss. It doesnít extend into the Astral, but there are portals on the shores that lead to the Prime Material Plane, which are used by Marraenoloths. The Styx flows in no direction, and has no apparent source or mouth. While itís called a river, the Styx can at places be as wide and deep as any Prime ocean. A trip from Acheron to Baator can take just as long as a trip to The Abyss. If you plan on travelling on the Styx, itís best to get a Marraenoloth guide. 10% of large craft and 20% of small craft have a chance of overturning (doesnít say if that is per turn or per trip). Along with the risk of losing all your memories, a berk that is submerged in the Styx has a 50% chance of being swept to another plane. Also there are patrolling fiends thatíll attack travellers but generally know better than to mess with the Marraenoloths. Of course Marraenoloths are really pricy and like all Yugoloths they might betray you. By contrast, travel along the River Oceanus is pretty normal, or at least as normal as going down a universe-spanning river can be.

The book says that the following chapters elaborate on the rules of magic on the PoC. To the bookís credit, it says that if the DM canít keep track of all the rule changes, he or she shouldnít feel too bad. Which I like, because there are a lot of rules, and their wording isnít always clear. One new general rule introduced is that if a spellcaster has a spell key to summon an elemental, then the summon spell doesnít bring an elemental but a pseudo-elemental created from the essence of the Outer Plane he or she is on rather than the Inner Planes. What this means in practice is that the pseudo-elemental has the same alignment as the Plane, and its chance to break free is increased by how many steps that alignment differs from the casterís. Also ďif a caster is distracted when the elemental appearsĒ then the pseudo-elemental will stay after the spell ends and attacks 100% of the time. But wouldnít the caster getting distracted interrupt the spell to begin with? :confused:

Okay, I had to go back and look at the general magic rules from the main box set, because I found the way the specific rules written in this book to be confusing. Besides, itís been 4 years years since I posted the general rules, and I didnít include the full chart and spell last time. There are four rules, but the book clumps two together so they can do the whole ďRule of ThreeĒ thing. These rules are for Wizards and spells cast by magic items. 1) Spells meant to work against outsiders donít work when theyíre on their home plane. 2) Summoning spells cast anywhere other than the Prime Material can only draw creatures from the Plane the caster is on or adjacent Planes. 3) Spells that need access to the Inner Planes wonít work on the Astral and Outer Planes, and spells that need access to the Outer Planes wonít work on the Ethereal and Inner Planes. 4) Spells that create an extra-dimensional space do not work on the Astral Plane or other planes that have no extra dimensions. In addition to these general rules (that fourth one could have just been saved for the Astral), each Plane has their own special rules on magic. A spell school is either enhanced, altered, diminished, or nullified. To circumvent these restrictions and alterations, a Wizard can use Spell Keys that take the form of props or additional actions to cast the spell. Keys can come either in a general form or for a specific spell. But:

DMís Guide to the Planes posted:

It doesnít take a club to point out that keys have limits, and only a leatherheaded wizardís going to think theyíll solve everything. Some schools and spells simply have no keys - most times thatís because the nature of the plane is too incompatible to the spellís magic. No matter whatís done, a fireball wonít work on the plane of Water, and wild magic will never function in the rig-orously ordered universe of Mechanus.
So the question is what changes can be circumvented, and what canít? On some of the chapterís in this supplement, the way the changes to magic are written make it sound more like an inherent nature. Other times, the changes themselves read like Spell Keys. As much as I love Planescapeís Cant, I feel that things would have benefited from a clear indication of what effects can be mitigated with Spell Keys and what canít.

Looking back, I also feel that the rules for Priests can be confusing. First, Iíd always assumed that Priests had to deal with spell diminishment instead of worrying about the alterations to spells like Wizards do. But now Iím not so sure. The section introducing the rules simply says that Priests pray and receive spells without issue no matter where in the Multiverse they are, not that when they cast them itís not impacted by whatever Plane they are on. Afterall, a firestorm spell will fizzle on the Plane of Water just as much as a fireball. On top of that, specific spell rules often mention changes to healing and resurrection spells, and before Iíd assumed that they were there for completion sake-:tizzy:

Okay, Iím not going to figure this out right now. Back to the Book of Chaos. There are two wandering realms in the PoC. One belongs to Gorellik, a Gnoll god that has been usurped by an Abyssal Lord. Heís been declining in power over the years, and now heís pretty much an incredibly strong Were-hyenadon. His Ďrealmí is just an area extending 100 yards from him. The only thing special about this is any gnoll (except priests of a different Power) are transformed into a hyenadon servitor. Gorellik mainly wanders between The Abyss and Pandemonium. The other wandering realm is the Seelie Court. Itís where Titania, Oberron, and all their annoying friends live. This realm moves between the forests of Arborea, Beastlands and Ysgard. Itís not really easy to distinguish the Seelie Court from the surrounding Plane, other than the increased frequency of fairies. There are a couple of special effects of the realm, ranging from irritating to ďyour DM is an rear end in a top hatĒ Time moves strangely in this realm, sometimes faster and sometimes slower than outside. Thatís the mild one. If a visitor eats or drinks anything offered to them, they get a permanent geas to the fairy that offered it, which only a wish can remove. Accepting any other gift lets the giver demand a favor, ďand fairy demands are often cruel by mortal standardsĒ. Thereís pretty much no good reason to go here.

Before wrapping up, Iíll put in the list of spells that are generally impacted on the Planes, plus the table showing what spell schools are impacted on a specific plane.

Next Time: gently caress you

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


I Am Just a Box posted:

I've been thinking for a bit that the Awakening and Forsaken posts have been short on summarizing and suffered for it, but at this point I'm starting to wonder how much detail you can go into before you're just kind of transcribing the book into the thread. Is it just me?

Nah it kinda bugs me too how Mors has basically transcribed dozens upon dozens of RPG books into this one thread, including mechanics and books that are just in print. I'm surprised that Leonard J Krabs hasn't got amy emails or phone calls about it, since you could run some games from this thread.


Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Hostile V posted:

The Truth About Patriot

The man isn't dead. In fact, it's more than the fact that he's not dead. He survived thanks to the dumbest rescue possible and the most apathetic citizens alive. To quickly sum up the in-character section written by the man himself:

Yeah, it was pretty clear that Patriot is Forbeck's Mary Sue, but this pretty much seals the deal. Like you said later, he gets to be a martyr and still live. I would honestly respect Forbeck more if he would have killed off the Patriot and had him speak from beyond the grave in prison writings and such instead of get into whole lovely prison escape that's covered up.

Hostile V posted:

Ravaged Planet mentions that there was destruction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the A-Bomb wasn't built yet because of Superior, something else happened to them that won't be elaborated on here.

This is like the whole thing with "Why is there an Ayatollah in Iran and not the Shah?" or "Saddam invades Kuwait" from last book. There's literally no reason for those two places to be destroyed in an alternate timeline if there was no nukes. Hell, there was little reason to bomb Nagasaki, it was just that the primary target of Kokura was obscured by smoke from a firebombing sortie the previous day and Bockscar had the orders to drop it visually. Kokura was the secondary target if for some reason skies over Hiroshima weren't clear, so it's a complete fluke that it wasn't bombed. Any other day besides August 6th and August 9th, Kokura would have been a crater.

poo poo, now that I think about it, nuclear weapons would be a bitch to develop into a functional weapon, since there's almost no way they would pass the bomber phase, since Alphas and Deltas would easily intercept them and they would be too large initially for Deltas to deliver given that they're single power set (Alphas might be a whole other story). Nukes really got their world-ending capability when they got to the ICBM era, but I don't think they would be feasible enough that they would even get to that point when you have literal supermen flying around, even with your own supers as escorts. Little Boy and Fat Man (and it's Russian copy Joe-1) weighed about just under 5 tons, which took up more than half the bomb bays of contemporary bombers. It took less than ten years to get them down to under a ton, and that was largely because of the Soviet entry in the nuclear arms race accelerating development.

Also, Delta Prime has the laziest costume.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 05:35 on Jun 3, 2016

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