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Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Chernobyl Peace Prize posted:

Are you SURE you aren't a Fascist

No, he's just an irredeemable devil's advocate.

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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Kavak posted:

No, he's just an irredeemable devil's advocate.

I've just never NOT considered siding with the immortal AI. Fallout New Vegas, Deus Ex: HR.... If I hadn't wised up I'd be one of those Singularity Institue idiots. I got mad at the ending of Wall-E since they gave up their life of posthuman comfort.

There's a Phil Sandifer essay about the original concept of the Cybermen being beings who attained qlippothic enlightenment. That might play well with a Mage/GM crossover.

You could have Demons who Fell just because they're pathological egotists.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


The Machine is not only inscrutable and dangerous to humanity even as it preserves it from threats that would ruin its plans, it is also may well be broken; sometimes it does things like create angels with no missions at all, leaving them stranded until they either Fall (unless that's impossible; I've seen contradictory stuff on whether exiles can Fall or not) or die, or assign one angel to protect a target and then have another angel assigned to destroy it, which generally will result in the death and/or Fall of one or both angels during or after their clash. Hell, the existence of demons at all is a strong strike against its sanity; angels are part of the Machine, like its own semi-autonomous limbs. If demons aren't actually part of its plan, the fact that its limbs can rebel against it is a strong sign that something is wrong with the Machine.

Not only is the God-Machine a cruel, uncaring force that keeps the world in a terrible state and seems to have no goals beyond its own existence, it is quite possibly broken, sick, or insane. Which is one of several reasons my favorite agenda is Inquisitor-Saboteur; take the parts of the Machine that work (such as the ones that keep the world turning), destroy those that don't, and eventually either hijack it or destroy it and keep things together in a new way. One that doesn't massacre towns because of reasons it doesn't particularly care to tell anyone.

Kavak posted:

No, he's just an irredeemable devil's advocate.

In that case he should be firmly on the side of the demons.

Count Chocula posted:

I've just never NOT considered siding with the immortal AI. Fallout New Vegas, Deus Ex: HR.... If I hadn't wised up I'd be one of those Singularity Institue idiots. I got mad at the ending of Wall-E since they gave up their life of posthuman comfort.

There's a Phil Sandifer essay about the original concept of the Cybermen being beings who attained qlippothic enlightenment. That might play well with a Mage/GM crossover.

You could have Demons who Fell just because they're pathological egotists.

Demons are also immortal AI though. At least, immortal so long as they don't let their only Cover die of old age; if they keep a good supply of those going they are theoretically immortal. Or they could just hang out in demon form actually, since that doesn't age, except doing that will result in the God-Machine detecting them and sending angels to destroy them and bring them back in to be reprocessed.

Roland Jones fucked around with this message at 04:20 on Jun 15, 2016

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


quote:

Berlin, Germany was long a city split by the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall fell, the Agencies that ran demonic concerns on each side went to war to control the city. While both were temporal Agencies, the Western Agency accepted Integrators as members, while the Eastern Agency was heavily Saboteur and often executed Integrators. During the fighting that followed, the Western Agency controlled more of the financial and tech markets, but the Eastern had more members. The two fought to stalemate for ten years before declaring a truce, having used up most of their resources and now being hunted by Machine agents. The two Agencies recruited new demons and each consolidated their power over half the city. Fifteen years of mostly peace and cooperation have brought them together. The Western Agency is sitll more friendly to Itegrators and the Eastern still more likely to attack Infrastructure, but they rarely fight openly these dies. Some demons even belong to both Agencies openly.

I take back everything I said, since this book has support for playing Wings of Desire, my favorite movie about Berlin, angels who Fall, Columbo, and Nick Cave (clearly an oWoD vampire).

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Hostile V posted:

Reviews of hero RPGs will never die.

So my question is, do the PCs in AMP lose their poo poo around the other PCs or are they immune due to Friendship? The whole thing is a neat idea on a plot or character level, but I would enjoy that more for a book or a movie than to actually play.

As a longtime Marvel reader, I know that even being best friends won't stop superheroes from fighting. See: every time Spider-Man meets the Fantastic Four.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



Hostile V posted:

Reviews of hero RPGs will never die.

So my question is, do the PCs in AMP lose their poo poo around the other PCs or are they immune due to Friendship? The whole thing is a neat idea on a plot or character level, but I would enjoy that more for a book or a movie than to actually play.

That whole thing reminds me of the the JoJo's "Stand users are fated to meet" thing, which even then only resulted in a hostile encounter most of the time.

On the other hand, AMPs are likely to meet each other anyway because that's just how superperson plots work most of the time, so...

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

So Battletech must have a bunch of art of buff, sexy dudes dressed as pro wrestlers, right? It's not just an excuse to draw women in rubber underwear, right?

There has been art like that yes.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Humbug Scoolbus posted:

There has been art like that yes.

From older editions...







Although cooling vests and hot pants have always been used for cheesecake shots of female mechwarriors

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Daeren posted:

Out of curiosity, you said you were aligned with the God-Machine largely as a matter of aesthetic and transhumanism. Would anything change if you just mentally did a find-replace of gears with muscle, or bone, and turned it into a pulsating, shivering Body of the Many sort of Cronenberg parasite that's fused its mass with the planet and lurks invisibly at the edge of perception, vomiting out shambling husks to do its bidding on temporary missions, some of which occasionally achieve self awareness and understandably get the gently caress out of dodge?

Because that's still the exact same thing, only now it's made of meat instead of metal.
I would love that. The God Machine is an out-of-control being that has been consumed by its desire to perpetuate itself, its original meat and cells replaced millennia ago by countless descendants, its self-defense and repair system replaced with a rampant cancer that acts blindly and preserves a thing that nature would have let die years ago. It's woven its life support and redundant backups all through reality and it's at the point where its mind has gone from alien to diseased. You can't even rightfully call the Angels anything close to angelic, creatures of horrible, perfect nature that hunt and kill and fulfill missions for the terrible mother that birthed them all.

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



Count Chocula posted:

gently caress off, the God Machine seems like the least evil faction in the WoD. I can't say why, I guess my teenage transhumanism and love of shouting the Futurist Manifesto make me easy prey for a machine-God. Why do I hate the Technocracy then? Because it is made up of humans, and isn't a pure immortal machine.

Demons are losers who willingly choose decaying flesh and tired Judeo-Christian imagery over the perfection of the Machine.

Plus giving Demons their own game makes the God-Machine less cool and mysterious. And what's its central metaphor? Tearing yourself away from a corporation or capitalism?

Can you use Demon to play Videodrome? Can you be agents of the God Machine?

I thought you were the one saying Demon was a fantastic game in which to Fight the Power and gently caress the Man. I mean, I don't have a problem with either playstyle (one of Demon's great virtues is how well it supports both angles), just like, maybe refrain from slinging mud when you're contradicting yourself.

Integrators are one of the four up-front playable splats for a reason. You don't work from within the hierarchical mind of the God-Machine because, like, how do you play that, but you can act in the nation's best interests while still having to dodge out the FBI who question your motives or methods. That doesn't even preclude also having friends in the Bureau who see things differently too, or at the least, allies of convenience. Part of the paranoia of Demon is that demons make each other nervous, and I like to think that's because yes, some demons are making deals with angels, or are even on the payroll somewhere. The ones who are good at their job, though, are the ones who don't show it. So who's the mole?

The God-Machine is the System deified. Living in a globalized late-stage capitalist world, we all have experience with the System. Left to its own devices, it's not good, and it's not evil. It builds roads. It drops bombs. It connects people together and it isolates them in cycles of poverty. When people don't grab the wheel and swerve it off course to steer it, it has no conscience, because the people are its conscience. The question of whether the best odds of improvement lie with reforming and revitalizing the country or smashing the state is a legit argument. What everyone knows you can't do is unquestioningly fall in line. That's when the System runs wild. The God-Machine is far from infallible, and it's made of hearts and steel. Hearts die. Steel rusts. Let it run without interference forever and entropy will ruin it, even if its mysterious original purpose was right.

As for flesh and steel, I don't think the aesthetics of demons and of angels differ meaningfully. They're two sides of the same coin, two casts of the same model. One's just jailbroken and started running on its own battery. They run the range from muscular six-armed gods with abstract statuary for heads to bandsaw-teethed Terminators on treads.

I Am Just a Box fucked around with this message at 06:44 on Jun 15, 2016

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Count Chocula posted:

I'm not being a Devil's Advocate, and I tried to avoid saying STEMlord (too much). I just like what I like. oMage and oChangeling -at least how I saw them - are about weirdo artsy kids and hippies and outcasts of all stripes banding together, and getting power from what makes them different. The M20 review, and the general Technocracy wank in this thread, seemed really hostile to that. I know that, in real life, the scientists world view is more correct than the hippie/magickal world view 99% of the time. I've lost friends defending science! In the real world, being great at words and art and symbolism makes you less than useless compared to knowing how math and physics and all that boring stuff work.

But RPGs are FANTASY. They're explicitly happy pretend funtime. Some of the games I defend (parts of) like Beast and Bellum Magica have harmful subtext - but at least they're punching UP. But some just say 'hey, those guys that rule the real world? That rigid paradigm of solid objects and linear time? You can imagine a world that isn't that. You can pretend that the depression you feel in shopping malls has metaphysical reality. You can play somebody who can change the world by being stylish and knowing the right words and the right place to say them.'
It's as valid as imagining that the FBI had fancier guns and legitimate targets to use them on.

Count Chocula posted:

Look, I'm gonna dispense with the philosophy and politics (tho I can imagine Demons calling anyone who sides with the God Machine as 'Statists'). The God Machine is the coolest thing in the nWoD by a wide margin, and gamers have always sided with that, even if it's Rifts Coalition Nazis or the Drow.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

"These lovely games that pretend to be about fighting the man are actually awesome, something something STEMlord Technocracy wank."

"gently caress off, the cosmic embodiment of uncaring oppression is the coolest thing ever!"

But no really guys, I'm not just a devil's advocate because

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




An idea:
the Machine is not sapient at all,
nothing more than a bacterial colony on a global scale.
It only adapts as a result of massive blind experiments because it has no capacity for creativity.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I wouldn't call the God-Machine the System personified, that brings it too close to a government. A government is a machine made out of people, meant to fulfill the needs of people. Sometimes a government will do things people think are bad, but it always has a reason. The God-Machine is a machine made out of other machines, and if it has any meaning at all, it's either self-perpetuation or entirely unknowable. It's the ultimate Chinese Room.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


I actually believe all things, just at different times and depending on my mood. But at the heart of it I don't like the rules of the real world - the God Machine follows them but it also breaks them. And two of the things I explicitly oppose are 'logic' and 'consistency'. The God Machine works using mortal instruments but it also works using occult matrices. It's embedded in the world - forced to abide by most of its rules - but it's not of it. It's endgame is unknowable, just like the old Mage endgame of Ascension. The Technocracy's endgame seems to be 'keep our world the way it is and shut down the weird bits', and people here also like VASCU and Hunter and other warriors of the status quo. They work by committees, not occult matrices.

I just want something to change the nature of the universe, whether it's machine or Mage.

quote:

I think you could easily run an IDA game if you, again, fudged the numbers on the amount of Irregulars. They mention having offices in Paris, Istanbul, Macao, New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro and others, so you could set a game just about anywhere and have Irregulars from all over the world. I think there's enough variety of detective archetypes out there that each member could be doing their own thing without too much crossover in terms of skills and areas of interest. You could just as easily do this with the Aeon Society, but if you want to focus on pulp crime out of dime novels, I think the IDA could offer a lot of fun.

There was a fun movie like this - Murder By Death. Charlie Chan, Miss Marple, a Holmes type, a Sam Spade type, etc all need to solve a mystery.

quote:

The God-Machine is far from infallible, and it's made of hearts and steel. Hearts die. Steel rusts.

This sounds like a Springsteen line, or at least a Gaslight Anthem one. But Rust Never Sleeps, so you'll have a hard time catching the God Machine napping.

You could run a pretty fun Born to Run/Darkness at the Edge of Town campaign. Suicide machines sprung from cages on highway 9, chrome wheel injected and stepping out over the line. The ideal angels twist and turn and ask forgiveness for future mistakes. That kind of thing. Lots of decaying Jersey factories and guys swearing on hot rods and that Catholic imagery that runs through Springsteen and his imitators.

Might be too personal to me tho.

Keiya
Aug 22, 2009

Come with me if you want to not die.


Roland Jones posted:

The Machine is not only inscrutable and dangerous to humanity even as it preserves it from threats that would ruin its plans, it is also may well be broken; sometimes it does things like create angels with no missions at all, leaving them stranded until they either Fall (unless that's impossible; I've seen contradictory stuff on whether exiles can Fall or not) or die, or assign one angel to protect a target and then have another angel assigned to destroy it, which generally will result in the death and/or Fall of one or both angels during or after their clash. Hell, the existence of demons at all is a strong strike against its sanity; angels are part of the Machine, like its own semi-autonomous limbs. If demons aren't actually part of its plan, the fact that its limbs can rebel against it is a strong sign that something is wrong with the Machine.

That just means the God-Machine is an octopus.

... actually, 'octopus-built god AI' sounds awesome.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Keiya posted:

That just means the God-Machine is an octopus.

... actually, 'octopus-built god AI' sounds awesome.

We shouldn't have uplifted that octopus that can predict World Cup results.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


Count Chocula posted:

I actually believe all things, just at different times and depending on my mood. But at the heart of it I don't like the rules of the real world - the God Machine follows them but it also breaks them. And two of the things I explicitly oppose are 'logic' and 'consistency'. The God Machine works using mortal instruments but it also works using occult matrices. It's embedded in the world - forced to abide by most of its rules - but it's not of it. It's endgame is unknowable, just like the old Mage endgame of Ascension. The Technocracy's endgame seems to be 'keep our world the way it is and shut down the weird bits', and people here also like VASCU and Hunter and other warriors of the status quo. They work by committees, not occult matrices.

I just want something to change the nature of the universe, whether it's machine or Mage.

Demons are actually far better agents of change than the Machine is; the Machine's only apparent discernible goal is its survival via maintaining the status quo. Hacking the Machine, destroying it outright, or even "redeeming" it as some Integrators believe is possible, has a better chance of changing things than letting the Machine keep operating unopposed does. And demons actually can do those things, in theory; they're really ludicrously powerful, and their Embeds operate according to the God-Machine's rules, after all. They're just stuck fighting/hiding from something far more powerful than they are, namely the God-Machine itself; it casts a long shadow over them and makes things like unifying against it difficult at best. Its very existence is an impediment to large-scale change of any sort, really, outside of some hypothetical agenda of its own.

Keiya posted:

That just means the God-Machine is an octopus.

... actually, 'octopus-built god AI' sounds awesome.

Heh. I suppose that works.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Count Chocula posted:

We shouldn't have uplifted that octopus that can predict World Cup results.

That octopus is named Paul though

I dunno I don't see anyone named Paul unleashing something destructive on a global scale

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Crasical posted:

That octopus is named Paul though

I dunno I don't see anyone named Paul unleashing something destructive on a global scale

Paul Atreidies.

The God Machine seems like a Doctor Who villain in the best possible way. Remember when Girl in the Fireplace had a clockwork ship that gobbled up living flesh to integrate into itself? That was some prime-time family entertainment. Or the original Auton episode with the plastic mannequins coming alive that showed how they were made.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




wiegieman posted:

The God-Machine is a machine made out of other machines, and if it has any meaning at all, it's either self-perpetuation or entirely unknowable. It's the ultimate Chinese Room.
Thou shalt not deform the soul.

Count Chocula posted:

Paul Atreidies.
Sand will cover this place. Sand will cover you.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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



Is it just me or does it look like that desk is about to fall over?

Bubblegumshoe: Introduction

The latest game to come out of Evil Hat, Bubblegumshoe (aka BGS) is a GUMSHOE game about teen sleuths solving teen mysteries. Chief inspirations are series like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Pretty Little Liars and Veronica Mars, but there's a non-negligible amount of Scooby Doo at work, too.

Instead of hard-boiled detectives and Cthulus and car chases, the whole game revolves by default around a high school in a small modern American town. Where is the missing will? Is the vice principal embezzling from the school? How can I get Kendall's phone back without anyone seeing the pictures on it? That's the level of mystery we're looking for here. It's a great fit for GUMSHOE - traditional noir has trouble due to being too traditionally focused on the lone wolf detective, but a gang of teen sleuths is spot on for a tabletop party.



First impression is that I like the book's aesthetic. It's full of taped-in notes and half-formed clues scribbled in margins. Important passages look like they were marked with a highlighter.

Intended game flow is episodic, with each episode lasting about 2-3 sessions. As the game continues, the town it takes place in gets more fleshed out, both by the GM and by player input. As the town gets more established, the social web gets more complex, laying the foundation for future mysteries. If you're a fan of Twin Peaks, there may be an overarching super-mystery hidden within the setting that acts as a thread connecting multiple episodes together.

GUMSHOE 101
All GUMSHOE games work pretty similarly. The core of the game is Clues, which you get by using Abilities. If you have the Ability, you get the Clue, no roll needed (usually).

Each ability has a rating, but instead of just being a flat value, that rating is a pool of points. If you have Fashion 5, and you spend 2 Fashion to get an extra clue, then your Fashion is down to 3, but will refresh back up to 5 at the end of the episode. Ratings are effectively a measure of how much screen time each ability gets.

There are four kinds of abilities in BGS: Investigative, General, Interpersonal, Relationships. Investigative abilities always work, without a roll, because they're what you use to get clues. For extra information or benefits, you spend points out of them, but you're guaranteed to be able to get enough info to solve the mystery.

General abilities are things that aren't guaranteed to succeed, like Driving or Sneaking. When using one of these, you roll 1d6 and compare the result to a test difficulty. If you want to boost your chance of success, you can spend points out of a relevant ability pool 1-for-1 before rolling to increase the result.

Interpersonal abilities are a subset of investigative abilities, for the most part, but used on people instead of crime scenes - Intimidation, Flirting, Reassurance, et cetera. They work the same way, but thety can also be spent to get bonuses in Throwdowns, BGS's form of social combat.

Relationship abilities are ability pools tied to specific people. You can leverage those relationships to help you out, but doing so puts stress on your relationships, which will no doubt be fun for you in the future.

Next: Chargen!

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Halloween Jack posted:

So Battletech must have a bunch of art of buff, sexy dudes dressed as pro wrestlers, right? It's not just an excuse to draw women in rubber underwear, right?

This is what Shunsui wished he looked like:



Also, check out that beefcake:

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Something I've always wondered about with Mechwarrior is how you'd run an RPG if people actually took radically divergent careers. I can just imagine five players making two mechwarriors, a mechanic, a spy, and an elemental, then turning to me saying "So what kind of adventure are we all going on together?"

I'm sure the solution is don't do that and instead figure out early on which of the various settings the group wants to participate in. It's just weird that RPG core books always seem to present every option as equally valid in every campaign. It's even more bizarre when it's a really crunchy system that's going to lock characters out of situations that they don't have points specifically invested in.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Just Dan Again posted:

Something I've always wondered about with Mechwarrior is how you'd run an RPG if people actually took radically divergent careers. I can just imagine five players making two mechwarriors, a mechanic, a spy, and an elemental, then turning to me saying "So what kind of adventure are we all going on together?"

I'm sure the solution is don't do that and instead figure out early on which of the various settings the group wants to participate in. It's just weird that RPG core books always seem to present every option as equally valid in every campaign. It's even more bizarre when it's a really crunchy system that's going to lock characters out of situations that they don't have points specifically invested in.

Games have gotten somewhat better at this. Like, I don't want to steal ProfessorProf's thunder, but one of the sidebars in Bubblegumshoe says you probably shouldn't make an antisocial loner character because it's going to be difficult to slot them into a party-based game week after week.

And you see this all over Ken Hite's/Robin Laws' writing where the games all have a laser-focused theme and a tight definition of what the protagonists should be like.

You're right though that a LOT of games sin in this way, including the age-old Drow in a party full of surface dwellers.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Just Dan Again posted:

Something I've always wondered about with Mechwarrior is how you'd run an RPG if people actually took radically divergent careers. I can just imagine five players making two mechwarriors, a mechanic, a spy, and an elemental, then turning to me saying "So what kind of adventure are we all going on together?"

I'm sure the solution is don't do that and instead figure out early on which of the various settings the group wants to participate in. It's just weird that RPG core books always seem to present every option as equally valid in every campaign. It's even more bizarre when it's a really crunchy system that's going to lock characters out of situations that they don't have points specifically invested in.

AToW actually has a case of this in the ongoing fiction, where one of the officers assigned to the little recon mission is a female MechWarrior who pilots exactly zero 'Mechs during the mission. I think I have to reread that to find a justification for this.

Though with the way the Modules work, you can't actually make a MechWarrior who can only do MechWarrior stuff. Military training always includes close combat, small arms and medical training. And you can't be an officer without having some "face of the party" qualities.

And since the skills are thankfully not too granular where it counts, there are only two Skills (Gunnery/'Mech and Piloting/'Mech) your MechWarrior will never get to use outside of his 'Mech.
Okay, there's that whole thing about spending a bucket full of XP on your first 'Mech, but a sane GM should compensate here during no-'Mechs-allowed missions.

(Though the expansion book is a bit more sane in that the ongoing fiction there is all about a mercenary group using Battle Armor).

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:29 on Jun 15, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Just Dan Again posted:

Something I've always wondered about with Mechwarrior is how you'd run an RPG if people actually took radically divergent careers. I can just imagine five players making two mechwarriors, a mechanic, a spy, and an elemental, then turning to me saying "So what kind of adventure are we all going on together?"

I'm sure the solution is don't do that and instead figure out early on which of the various settings the group wants to participate in. It's just weird that RPG core books always seem to present every option as equally valid in every campaign. It's even more bizarre when it's a really crunchy system that's going to lock characters out of situations that they don't have points specifically invested in.
Among numerous other problems, this is a big one with Cthulhutech. They made what is actually 3 different games, in the same setting with one corebook.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



If we're locked in a mountain cave with nothing but a crate of our own weapons and a kindly surgeon, it must be time to talk about Crafts in...



Exalted 3rd - Bloodless Edition

Crafts - If You Build It, You Can Then Build Something Else

Crafts is the art of the tangible - if you can lean against it in pride and/or fear, you can build and repair it with the Crafts skill. Creations that are primarily magical and intangible in nature are governed by the sorcerous working rules, which we'll cover later. For now, let's review the basics of how to build something and then move onto the Charms that render these basics if not moot, then less onerous.

A craft project is classified as basic, major, superior, or legendary based on the complexity & scale of what you're trying to do. Major projects are things that take significant effort on the mundane scale - a suit of armor, a house, a carriage, etc. Basic projects are everything that falls below major projects - things you can bang out in an afternoon. Superior projects are either extremely large scale mundane projects (shipbuilding, palace construction, outfitting a battalion) or anything which is infused with and/or manipulates Essence (generically referred to as artifacts). Legendary projects are the pinnacle of crafting in creation, achievable only through years of work and capable of changing the cirumstances of a kingdom - legendary projects are almost exclusively the domain of the Solar Exalted, and as such they are exceptionally rare in the Age of Sorrows.

As you work your way up the project hierarchy, the investment in time and materials becomes correspondingly larger. Material needs are left up to the Storyteller's discretion, and some broad guidelines about time requirements are provided - a few hours at most for a basic project, a few days for major, weeks to years for superior, and nothing less than TEN SUN-DAMNED YEARS for legendary. Of course, this is before Charms kick in.

Aside from time & materials, projects beyond basic require a certain amount of logistical support which is abstracted in the concept of project slots - all characters can sustain three major project slots without effort. Here we see the first little bit of meta peeking through - crafters are intended to be (among other things) multitaskers, capable of doing many things at once. What if you want to do a superior project? Superior slots have to be created by fusing together multiple major slots, equivalent to the dot rating of the artifact you're creating (mundane superior projects are always either two- or three-dot equivalent). What if you want to create a four dot artifact? What about legendary slots? Good questions - major and legendary slots can be purchased with crafting experience points, which we're about to explain.

Crafting XP is what you get when you finish a crafting project, aside from the actual thing you were making. Because things weren't complicated enough, crafting XP comes in three flavors - silver, gold, and white - depending upon whether you finished a basic, major, or superior project. The more important the project was to someone else (interacts with the Intimacy of another), yourself (interacts with one of your Intimacies), or materially valuable, the more crafting XP is produced. Crafting XP is spent to fuse major slots into superior slots, buy additional major slots, buy legendary slots, and to attempt to finish superior & legendary projects.

Once you have the materials, slots, and skills (each tier of project has its own skill prerequisites, of course), and have invested the Storyteller-determined time, you get to roll Attribute + Craft. Basic & major projects require just one roll versus a set difficulty, while superior & legendary projects are extended rolls which occur each time the crafter accumulates enough crafting XP to make an attempt. Assuming the gods favor you, in the end you'll have a new horseshoe/sword/temple/deathray and some crafting XP to show for it. Time to start the next project!

What I've described above is the baseline system that everyone in Creation uses, from mortal apprentice blacksmiths up to deathlords crafting rings of absolute power. Materials, slots, time, rolls, XP. It's a very fiddly system, not quite on par with combat but certainly a close second along with social influence. Given the explicitly crunchy nature of Exalted, there are lots of places to use magic to change the circumstances, and enough design space that Solar crafters should mechanically feel different than Terrestrial or Siderial smiths. While our children will one day review the Dragon-Blooded book and talk about the Craft charms there, let's content ourselves with looking at how the Solars can make a mountain out of a molehill for only 5 motes and a willpower.

Crafting Charms - The Real Exalted Begins

There are four separate Charm trees, labeled Efficiency, Momentum, Repairing & Reforging, and Power. A crafter will want to work his way down all four trees more or less together, as they all support different aspects of crafting. Someone counterbalancing the sheer number of Charms is the fact that there are two Charms (Supreme Celestial Focus and Spirit-Stoking Elevation) which let you purchase certain skills with crafting XP instead of regular XP.

The Efficiency tree is about project slots and crafting XP. There are permanent Charms that grant you additional slots - Tireless Workhorse Method for more major slots, Dragon Soul Emergence for superior slots, Summit-Piercing Touch to use a major slot AS a superior slot, and God-Forge Within for legendary slots. Getting more bang for your crafting XP is another theme: Efficient Craftsman Technique and Copper Spider Conception reduce the cost to buy slots, Sublime Transference allows you to convert one kind of crafting XP to another, Spirit-Gathering Industry cuts down the XP cost to complete a project (Vice-Miracle Technique takes it further by letting you "finish" an artifact that you just happened to never mention or plan for, costing no XP and gaining none by completion). Wonder-Forging Genius lets you jump directly to the finish of a legendary project, when you have ten or more legendary projects underway. I have absolutely no idea under which conditions this would actually be useful in play. Finally we have one combat-useful charm, the Dual Magnus Prana which lets you retroactively declare that it wasn't you who just got killed, but rather a simulacrum that you had painstakingly built at some prior point.

The Momentum tree is primarily about gaining more crafting XP than the baseline rules, either through 10s on Craft rolls (Brass Scales Falling), finishing projects (Red Anvils Ringing & Chains Fall Away), having Craft abilities rated at 5 (Supreme Perfection of Craft), or just being awesome (Divine Trascendence of Craft). Several of these Charms are, once purchased, completely passive XP generators (either per day or per story) and help a crafter feel like he's not falling behind on his homework when he's out with his Circle saving the world. Thousand-Forge Hands boosts the speed of a project, allowing the first finishing roll to come within a few months at most for legendaries, or weeks for superior projects. Lastly we have Words-As-Workshop Method, whereby a crafter can just describe a minor artifact into existence for a single scene.

Reparing and Reforging is just what it describes, because Solar warranties are for life. Repairing is just another kind of project, although usually with lesser time & materials requirements. It includes a little bit of everything (Time Heals Nothing for a repair slot, Blood Diamond Sweat for extra crafting XP, Breach-Healing Method and Realizing the Form Supernal for dice tricks) all for repairs only, usually slightly cheaper than similar Charms for entirely new projects. There are also Charms to strengthen objects (Durability-Enhancing Technique, Crack-Mending Technique, Object-Strengthening Touch, and Chaos-Resistance Preparation with the last one about keeping things protected in the Wyld), and one to weaken them (Shattering Grasp). Finally there are two Charms that can change or add Evocations (Design Beyond Limit and Celestial Reforging Technique), which are the unique magical effects found on artifact equipment.

Finally we have the Power tree, which is where all the dice tricks and other flat boosts live so you don't end up wasting narrative years of your life on a project just to roll nothing but 1s. We've got rerolls (Flawless Handiwork Method), the full free excellency (Triumph-Forging Eye), double 9s/8s/7s (Supreme Masterwork Focus), non-Charm dice & successes (Experiental Conjuring of True Void, Unbroken Image Focus, First Movement of the Demiurge, Divine Inspiration Technique, and Holistic Miracle Understanding). There is the first sighting of a Charm that lets you mess with the magical dice cap rule, allowing you to extend it to (Attribute + Ability*2) with some silver XP. Lastly we have a few Charms (Inspiration-Renewing Vision and Horizon-Unveiling Insight) that let you push out the terminus of the extended crafting rolls, giving you more shots to complete your project before the whole thing collapses in a pile of celestial investigations and cost overruns.

Solar Spotlight - Did You Write An Instruction Manual For This Airship?

Let's say to start that there are zero concerns with this subsystem scaling up to Solar levels of competence. Solars will naturally tend to work at the superior/legendary end of the spectrum, with the ability to do major projects without any significant investment of downtime. The only thorny part is that aside from some general guidelines, it will be up to the Storyteller to determine the time/material investment for these projects which work as a balancing factor. Experienced Storytellers can probably eyeball it pretty well, but newcomers to Exalted might unintentionally make the crafting components either trivially easy or overly onerous - the former is obviously the way to lean, as there are a number of other mechanical breaks (primarily crafting XP) to keep the circle's smith from cranking out a dozen Daiklaves Of Absolute Ruin a month.

Like a lot of other non-combat specializations, crafting requires a certain amount of individual spotlight time to really feel awesome, and the system is structured around downtime projects rather than something that is thrown together out in the wild (or Wyld). However, as we proceed we'll see more systems like that, which leads us to believe that the intention is for there to be a very deliberate pace to the game measured in months and years as well as combat rounds. It's not as structured as the seasonal system in Ars Magica, say, but the rules are pretty clear that there are fun and rewarding things to do in your base of operations other than wait for your aggravated wounds to patch up.

The crafting system also does some thematic heavy lifting in how the project slot system & repair rules are structured. The way that crafting XP flows from basic all the way to legendary means there incentives to not just execute world-shattering feats but make smaller projects for those you know and care about. Crafters are expected to be juggling multiple projects simultaneously, erecting new wonders in Creation while at the same time attempting to rebuild the glories of old. A Storyteller can (and should!) easily scatter in mentions of long-decayed First Age wonders such that the crafter has a long list of superior and legendary projects that they'd love to overtake, creating a certain "just one more project" drive that will be familiar to anyone who just stayed up another hour playing Civ so that the new bank in their capital came online....

Yes it's big, and it's complicated, and requires a fair amount of bookkeeping - but the rewards are relatively inline with the effort and Exalted is a system which is all about that level of crunch. The fact that there is something this intricate outside of combat bodes well for the future, as we dive into sorcery and the occult.

Next time: Sorcery and the occult, of course!

MollyMetroid
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


SO I said Reign of WInter would continue last weekend. It obviously didn't--a bunch of stuff, personal and otherwise, came up and has put the review on the backburner for a bit. it's still coming, I haven't abandoned it or anything, but expect updates to be a bit irregular for now.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Chapter 9: Chusuk, the Music Planet

The entire chapter is devoted to the planet Chusuk, complete with a ruling Great House, their Houses Minor, their history and political situation, and notes on the planet’s geography, economy, and religion. It’s an example of how to create a homeworld for the PC’s House, or just a world that they can visit for an off-world adventure. (Several, I hope, if you’re putting this much work into it.)

House Varota is a very new Great House, having only enjoyed that status for about 1500 years. Its founder, Francesco Varota, was a virtuoso musician and craftsman from a clan of instrument-makers in the 9th millennium. He became the Emperor’s court musician until the two had a falling out. Shunned by the Emperor’s friends, Francesco took shelter among his rival Houses as a wandering minstrel. Unknown to all but themselves, Francesco and the Emperor had staged their falling out so that Francesco could become a spy. He fed the Emperor’s enemies false information while soliciting their secrets. Francesco and the Emperor “made up” on the latter’s deathbed, and Francesco was granted a baronet on his homeworld.

Francesco spent his reign using his broad acquaintanceship among the nobility to leverage trade deals and craft alliances. And whereas he was a charmer and a spy, his son Philippe was a consummate political genius who rallied popular support and conducted political intrigues. He also authored the Varotan Manifesto, a Machiavellian handbook. His heirs added to it over millennia, until it became an encyclopedia of intrigue. The final page was written shortly after House Varota overtook House Mandervold to become the new ruling Great House on Chusuk.

Earl Angustin Varota has lead the House ably, but he’s ready to retire. He’d like to hand control over to his daughter Corina, whose husband Dubrahm died suddenly of heart disease that their Navachristian Suk Doctor, Memphis Dion, was unable to treat. They wait for her son Analdo to come of age.

Angustin’s wife, Lady Luchessa flunked out of the Bene Gesserit at a young age, but retains their skepticism of religion, though she is a patron of the arts. Sevrenty Tomash is the Varota’s Master of Assassins, almost 100 years old but sharp as ever. Aeneus Miracola is their Swordmaster, and still regrets not finding Dubrahm in time to save him.

Houses Minor

House Adici controls a bustling city and a booming import/export business. They want to expand their territory, and are making connections with Great Houses who do business with them.

According to legend, House Deseo descends from an illegitimate son of Francesco Varota who served his father as a spymaster. They control a large fiefdom encompassing several provinces, and still function as the Varota’s loyal intelligence service.

House Levrache is Lady Luchessa’s birth house. They sycophantically support Varota, and control a province which supplies timber to many Varotan industries.

House Mandervold still has an axe to grind with Varota for replacing them as Chusuk’s Great House. Their baron and his bound-concubine, who is Luchessa’s sister, plot to assassinate the Varota heir and put their son on the throne.

House Nambure controls a northern province. Its people are unusually tall and strong, and form the bulk of the planetary militia. They train their soldiers to fight in a unique and ancient style, and the swords they manufacture are found all over the planet.


Think I’ve got this whole Renaissance thing pretty much figured out.

History

Central to Chusuk’s identity is its origin as a refuge for Navachristians fleeing the religious persecutions of Emperor Forneus I. Civilization on Chusuk began as a network of communes, so that if one was discovered by inquisitors, the others could escape. Fortunately, Forneus was deposed and the persecution ended before this ever happened.

The planet celebrated its religious freedom with an explosion of art and culture that earned it the name “The Music Planet,” and its politics evolved along the same lines as the rest of the Imperium. House Mandervold was recognized as the planet’s Great House a few centuries after Forneus’ death. They ruled the planet with a laissez-faire benevolence, a policy House Varota has more or less continued. So commerce, religion, and art are the three principal cultural forces on Chusuk.

Chusuk is similar to Earth in size and shape, with icy poles and a tropical equator. The population is relatively small and ecology-minded, maintaining vast preserves of ancient forests. Much of the world’s economy is based on its unique natural resources, like high-quality cotton and rare woods, used to manufacture luxury goods. All of the world’s Houses Minor grew out of some cottage industry or another. The Varotan Trade Faire, once a quaint cultural festival, grew into a major CHOAM event where merchants come from all over the Imperium to spend billions.

At this point, I should mention that Chusuk isn’t completely original to this game. The non-canon Dune Encyclopedia mentions Chusuk, a planet devoted to art and music, Varota the instrument-maker, and the “Navachristians of Chusuk.” It was also Gurney Halleck’s home planet before the Harkonnens raided it. However, although Navachristianity is mentioned more than once in the original Dune as one of the religious traditions incorporated into the Orange Catholic Bible, it never receives even a brief description itself--many people assume it was a blend of Christianity and indigenous Navajo spirituality. The authors of this game take the liberty of defining it here.

Navachristianity’s central tenant is that God sent not one, but many messiahs to guide humanity--a messiah for every civilized world, for every era of history. Detractors call it the “Billion Jesus Church.” Navachristian theologians believe that they can examine the history of any inhabited world and identify the Navachristian Messiah for each age, and are fascinated with what they see as the “messianic identity pattern” that identifies him or her. They celebrate several holidays (notably ones that seem to correspond to Easter and Christmas). Chusuk is the center of Navachristianity, but the religion is common enough that you can often find a temple in most major cities throughout the Imperium. It should be noted that Chusuk theologians don’t recognize any messiahs as having been sent to Chusuk yet...

By and large, the rest of the Imperium is more interested in Chusuk’s arts than its religion. The Varotan Arts Institute and the Imperial Academy of Music are renowned throughout the Imperium. The exclusivity of the former has sparked at least one War of Assassins. The latter sponsors apprenticeships in instrument-making. Varotan instruments are auctioned off for huge sums. Chusuk has given birth to entirely new art forms such as water sculpture, sculpted fountains in which both the pattern and the sound of water flowing over their surface is precisely controlled for aesthetic effect.


In the grim darkness of the 21st Millennium, there is only Orientalist painting.

Locations

The Spaceport of Mondriagne is considered the most beautifully decorated spaceport in the Imperium--spaceports are technically Guild facilities, and usually cold and functional. The port is the size of a small city itself, and transports all kinds of goods. Anyone you need the PCs to meet, they could meet here.

The Holy City of Coramshar is home to the second-largest cathedral in the Imperium, and features organs carved by the greatest Varotan masters.

The Snow Springs are located in the planet’s subarctic region, which also happens to hold an active volcano with open lava pools, creating a network of natural hot springs. It’s a luxury spa for the galaxy’s elite (many of whom probably also come for the trade fair).

The Ruins of Lor are an enigma--crumbling stone ruins scattered throughout the planet’s central archipelago, indicating a thriving civilization millennia before Chusuk was settled by Navachristian refugees. The largest ruins now deep underwater. A large corporation has secured exclusive development rights to the archipelago; other businessmen joke that the “Lead Sea” will sink the company.

Adventure hooks

Chusuk Messiah: Working with a Bene Gesserit contact, the Navachristian Church has received credible reports that God’s messiah has finally appeared on Chusuk. The PCs are sent to find evidence of miracles, reporting to the Bene Gesserit agent.

Stalking the Wild Zevec: A nobleman in the PCs’ House wants to capture a dangerous big cat native to the high, cold mountains of Chusuk.

Precursors of Chusuk: A kinsman to the PCs’ House has been asked to send a team of experts (the PCs) to investigate an amazing find in the ruins of Lor.

Holiday Excursion: After a difficult mission, the PCs are offered an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Snow Springs, where they are certain to come across some kind of trouble by sheer coincidence. Also entangled in the plot are a bearded, kickboxing cowboy and a man who can make grenades out of pine cones.


Next time on Dune: Texas Ranger: “Instruments of Kanly,” a sample adventure.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Halloween Jack posted:

Among numerous other problems, this is a big one with Cthulhutech. They made what is actually 3 different games, in the same setting with one corebook.

I believe this is going to be an issue with any kind of vehicle-focused game, because the gap between in-vehicle and out-vehicle action is simply too large. I don't think you can make a Fang of the Sun Dougram (1 mech pilot with 1 mech, and the rest of the party as infantry) style plot work in a tabletop RPG.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Traveller posted:

I believe this is going to be an issue with any kind of vehicle-focused game, because the gap between in-vehicle and out-vehicle action is simply too large. I don't think you can make a Fang of the Sun Dougram (1 mech pilot with 1 mech, and the rest of the party as infantry) style plot work in a tabletop RPG.

You might be able to do that if the mech had enough weaknesses and down-sides that the mech is reliant on the rest of the team to do stuff. Kind of like how real tanks operate in urban areas.

That said, I think vehicle games would work best with either everyone being crew on a vehicle or everyone having their own vehicle, and with strict siloing between vehicle-related abilities and non-vehicle abilities- that is, you get Mecha Pilot stats and Mecha Pilot skills and Mecha Pilot abilities with Mecha Pilot XP that are totally unrelated to and utterly un-interchangeable with your non-Mecha stats, skills, abilities, and XP.

Personally, I feel more games could use more siloing.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Traveller posted:

I believe this is going to be an issue with any kind of vehicle-focused game, because the gap between in-vehicle and out-vehicle action is simply too large. I don't think you can make a Fang of the Sun Dougram (1 mech pilot with 1 mech, and the rest of the party as infantry) style plot work in a tabletop RPG.

Well, you can have campaigns where everyone is just a grunt (which probably results in a greater variety of characters) or part of some Black Ops operation. Or you play some weird version of Star Trek, where you may or may not end up meeting bird people.

Or you can do the silly thing and have one character pick an OmniMech, because those come with handle bars for Battle Armor to ride on. Bonus points if the character picked one of those QuadMechs that look a bit Zoids-ish.

Ratoslov posted:

You might be able to do that if the mech had enough weaknesses and down-sides that the mech is reliant on the rest of the team to do stuff. Kind of like how real tanks operate in urban areas.

Oh man, urban areas are a nightmare for most 'Mechs (who have been primarily built for more open and wild battlefields as the Great Houses avoided urban combat after some harsh lessons learned in the past, though the Word of Blake doesn't give a drat about this). Lots of opportunities to slip and crash into buildings, tanks behind every corner, and infantry inside buildings is a bitch to take out. This is especially true if you're in a lighter 'Mech that relies more on speed instead of standing around and blowing everything up - which is pretty fine considering it is very expensive to start out with everything bigger then a Medium 'Mech.

quote:

That said, I think vehicle games would work best with either everyone being crew on a vehicle or everyone having their own vehicle, and with strict siloing between vehicle-related abilities and non-vehicle abilities- that is, you get Mecha Pilot stats and Mecha Pilot skills and Mecha Pilot abilities with Mecha Pilot XP that are totally unrelated to and utterly un-interchangeable with your non-Mecha stats, skills, abilities, and XP.

This would work for a tank-centric campaign, or a Dark Age campaign because that era introduced 120+ ton tripod 'Mechs with a 3-man crew.

And thanks to the modules being all point buy, it's pretty easy to make your own templates. Heck, you could just give everyone the skills from the MechWarrior school for free and hand out Light or Medium 'Mechs for everyone.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:31 on Jun 15, 2016

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Exalted 3e seems really cool, but does it fix the Perfect Defense issue that blighted 2nd Edition?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Yes. There are new issues, of course, but nothing quite so bad.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


About the separation of vehicle and footduder, Warbirds does this. Everyone is expected to be a pilot, but all your piloting related stuff and your not-piloting stuff pull from different steps in chargen.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

There have been 82631 posts made by sexpig by night, an average of 24.08 posts per day

The Democrats!


Young Freud posted:

From older editions...







Although cooling vests and hot pants have always been used for cheesecake shots of female mechwarriors



Yea there's for sure an issue where for men it's just kinda jacked dudes in hot pants and for women it's skimpy undies and a vest that seems custom made to put her tits out and all, but at the very base level they are pretty good at being consistant where mech pilots are half naked idiots no matter what gender, and isn't that what we all want? Just remember, when the cool guy in the mech has to make an emergency bailout, he's actually just some dude in his underwear and boots and maybe a vest frantically fleeing his soon to be exploding robot. The future rules.


Doresh posted:

AToW actually has a case of this in the ongoing fiction, where one of the officers assigned to the little recon mission is a female MechWarrior who pilots exactly zero 'Mechs during the mission. I think I have to reread that to find a justification for this.

Though with the way the Modules work, you can't actually make a MechWarrior who can only do MechWarrior stuff. Military training always includes close combat, small arms and medical training. And you can't be an officer without having some "face of the party" qualities.

And since the skills are thankfully not too granular where it counts, there are only two Skills (Gunnery/'Mech and Piloting/'Mech) your MechWarrior will never get to use outside of his 'Mech.
Okay, there's that whole thing about spending a bucket full of XP on your first 'Mech, but a sane GM should compensate here during no-'Mechs-allowed missions.

(Though the expansion book is a bit more sane in that the ongoing fiction there is all about a mercenary group using Battle Armor).

Last time my group did BT we had a 'mixed' party. It wasn't too bad, like we were a mercenary company and no one was dumb enough to make a pacifist with only social skills or whatever, but we had a party of a couple different flavors of mech pilots, a spy, a dude who's good with ground vehicles, and our techie/gearhead/also able to crush your head with a wrench because gently caress it and we all had a good time. BT is pretty good about showing war as a huge thing, you really have to actively try to make a one trick pony. Everyone at least has a secondary ability and maybe even a third 'well I'm not AWESOME at this but if I HAVE to...' kinda thing by the time things are done.

It works well with the setting because as hinted at above, in canon BT universe mechs kinda really suck to drive. Like, you do it because they're great weapons platforms and poo poo, but to do it you have to climb into a boiling hot cockpit surrounded by explosives and god knows what else that could kill you, and also the other guy in the mech knows that too so he's gonna probably try to rip your arms off and blow you up. It's just kinda good logic to train those guys to do more than that, because if that's your 100% only duty boy does your life kinda suck a little bit.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Tatum Girlparts posted:

Yea there's for sure an issue where for men it's just kinda jacked dudes in hot pants and for women it's skimpy undies and a vest that seems custom made to put her tits out and all, but at the very base level they are pretty good at being consistant where mech pilots are half naked idiots no matter what gender, and isn't that what we all want? Just remember, when the cool guy in the mech has to make an emergency bailout, he's actually just some dude in his underwear and boots and maybe a vest frantically fleeing his soon to be exploding robot. The future rules.

I think that one of the ideas, given that BT is a society in decline, is that the ability to make full-body temperature regulating suits was what they called "lostech". It was basically a lost art for the most part. Supposedly, the Word of Blake cult had better manufacturing where their vests came out to be very thin "sausage sweaters" and probably could have made full-body suits, but most of the houses and mercenary groups only had access to bulkier tech, so they came off looking like tube-lined life-jackets and not suitable for expansion to the limbs.

The Clans supposedly have full-body cooling suits, since that was one of the aspects that they kept up on giving their martial history.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!



Part 2: Character Creation!
So the game uses a variation of the One Roll Engine (ORE) Stolze developed. You assemble a pool of d10s and then look for matches. It’s pretty simple. The stats as presented are very similar to those used in his earlier game A Dirty World. You don’t have traditional stats like strength and dexterity, instead the methods you use and the situation will often dictate how you roll. You have Strategies, which are the broad methods by which you attempt a given task, and you also have Tactics which are a refinement of your method. This seems a bit confusing but the gist is when you want to do something you roll a Strategy plus a Tactic. Strategies and Tactics are also split into Virtuous and Sinister categories, depending on whether the method is sinful, lazy, reflective of some flaw, or whether it’s noble, compassionate or self sacrificing.

Your Virtuous Strategies are:
Patience - For things accomplished methodically and with discipline
Open - For things physically straightforward and largely uncomplicated
Insightful - Done using the truth of a situation or dealing with things as they really are

Your Sinister Strategies are:
Cunning - Taking the easiest way possible
Sly - Doing things without being noticed as well as acts of agility
Devious - For when you’re changing the way other people do things, for controlling and manipulating

You also have your Virtuous Tactics which are more specific than the strategies:
Generosity - To help others in need
Knowledge - Education, researching and technical problem solving
Courage - Facing opponents who are at least as strong as you are
Endurance - Doing something for a long period of time or a task that’s exhausting
Nurture - Appealing to and bringing out the better qualities in someone else
Honesty - Using and making others see the truth of a situation

And Sinister Tactics:
Greed - Taking something from someone
Espionage - Finding out and using information people don’t want to divulge
Cruelty - Attacking people weaker or unaware
Cowardice - Avoiding or overcoming physical obstacles
Corruption - Drawing out and appealing to the worst nature of others
Deceit - Misleading, lying and standing by dishonesty

Each of these will have a dot value assigned and you add these together to form the pool for your actions. You can roll a virtuous tactic with a sinister strategy and vice versa, and all of these values will change over the course of the game. So, let’s have some examples of how these things would work out in game. Let’s say you decide to steal someone’s car. Maybe you’re making a giant car robot to smash the nearby vehicle plant and need the raw material. To hotwire a car without being noticed you’re probably going to roll Sly and Greed. Sly because you’re trying to avoid notice and greed because you’re trying to steal someone’s car. Unfortunately you don’t roll well and a traffic cop notices you and approaches. Well, you could try to convince her that you’re just locked out but she might not buy it and you’re not a great liar so you take a rather novel approach of telling her you’re secretly THE EXOCULATOR! and if she values her eyes she’ll leave and tell no one! So for this you’d probably roll Devious and Honesty. Devious because you are attempting to manipulate their actions and honesty because you’re convincing them of the truth, weird as the truth may be. So she leaves screaming, giving you a bit of time to finish hotwiring the car. But now you’re on a time crunch. The hotwiring roll becomes a Cunning and Greed as you smash open the window with a rock and tear out the wiring behind the ignition. It switched to Cunning because you’re no longer trying to just avoid notice, that option disappeared when the screaming started, you’re just trying to get this done as fast as possible. The owner soon checks out what’s going on and the next thing you know he’s trying to wrench you out of the car, so you decide to sock him in the nose. You don’t really want to hurt him but you definitely don’t want him to hurt you either. He’s about as strong as you are (not very) so you roll Open and Courage. There’s nothing subtle about what you’re doing and the owner honestly has a pretty good chance of kicking your rear end given the opportunity. Still you roll well enough he backs off and you peel out, hopefully with enough time to be gone before the cops arrive.

Let’s start start with the left side of the character sheet here.

You can see that the sinister and virtuous strategies and tactics overlap. Turns out there’s actually a reason for this which we’ll get into in a moment.

You can’t start with a strategy above 4 dots, and the dots can’t overlap on the character sheet. This means that the maximum number of dots you can have between two opposing strategies or tactics is 7.
A specialty is something your character can do that represents something you can do that most people wouldn’t even attempt. Your character is assumed to be able to drive, they took shop and home ec, they can probably play Mary had a little lamb on the piano. A specialty is something like knowing how to fly planes, being a world class musician or advanced engineering skills. You can have a max of 3 specialties.

You also get an additional 20 points to spend on the person you’re the demon for. As the demon you’ll probably want to spend these on their sinister strategies and tactics, though you have the same limitations. You can't increase a strategy above 4 dots. Likewise the person acting as your demon will be spending 20 points on your character.
This is because if your open hits zero you’re dead. You start with 20 points to disperse as you see fit.

Tactics dots cost 1 point.
Strategies dots cost 2 points.
Specialties cost 2 points

Next you pick one of your Sinister Strategies which serves as your demon’s Primary Drive. There’s a box for it on the sheet. This is what your demon is focused on you becoming, and once that hits 5 it can drag your rear end to hell, which is bad. It also determines how active the demon is in your life. You see, for your drive, if your virtuous strategy is greater than the sinister strategy your demon is asleep until you invoke them. If it’s higher then your demon is always aware of what you’re doing, though it’s silent until invoked. You generally want your demon to have less information, not more. After this you pick one of the Powers and Aspects your demon grants you.

Powers are your fun super powers you can use to commit your various evil doings. They are somewhat vaguely worded giving you flexibility as to how they operate.

Alchemy lets you turn things into into gold (or probably any other precious substance). You can even use it as a weapon though it can’t instantly kill someone. Also it only lasts 24 hours.

quote:

For people who are running and kicking and otherwise resisting your decorative ambitions, attacks with this take the form of randomly making chunks of them golden. This wears off after a while (like adolescence) but is painful and confusing while it lasts (also like adolescence).

EEEEEEEVIL

Animal Form lets you change into any natural, non extinct creature, though you’ll probably look a bit evil and creepy regardless of the animal unless it’s a bunny or guinea pig.

Armor makes you harder to hurt.

Arrogance makes you much harder to socially manipulate.

Banish You can teleport something, or a part of something, away from you. You can even use it as an attack to send chunks of people away which is kind of gross.

Body Control lets you become the puppet master, moving someone as you see fit. Unfortunately they’re usually fully conscious of what’s going on which makes for an unpleasant experience.

Clairvoyance You can remote view, no sound unfortunately.

Dead Ringer lets you mimic someone in both appearance and mannerism.

Dominator Strike is your basic laser blast, demonic knife throwing, toenail shooting, demonic attack. However you want to flavor it you use this to hurt other people. It also comes with quite a selection of add ons for added potency.

No I don't know why she doesn't have clothes

Impossible Beauty makes you attractive, mesmerizing, absolutely breathtaking. It makes you much better at talking to people.

Ineffable Defense You are very, very hard to surprise.

Psychic Objects
You can summon items from nothing and they’ll disappear when you no longer need them.

Summon is the opposite of banish. If you see something you can teleport it to you, though it’s not as effective at attacking people as banish.

Telekinesis is pretty well known, move things without touching them.

Teleport Self let’s you disappear from where you are and appear somewhere else. Unfortunately you can only take your clothing and personal effects.

Terror inflicts terrible, mind breaking fear on some poor person.

The spookiest nerd

That Hideous Strength is straight up comic book strength. You get some guidelines about how much you can lift and throw and physics be damned.

Wither shrivels limbs, rusts metal and otherwise destroys things.



Demonic Aspects
function similarly except these actually belong to the demon (you still get to pick them but the demon is the one who controls them). They’re also unmistakably evil looking.

quote:

If you want people to help you out willingly, sprouting horns and flames may not be the best way. But if you want people to help you out fast, it can work wonders. Your mileage may vary.

Carapace covers your body and adds protection, it can work alongside armor and also makes you harder to kill.

Cloven Hooves
doesn’t sound great at first glance. You get weird feet. But what you also get is the ability to barter with other people’s souls. You can make someone MUCH better at something and all it costs is a teeny tiny bit of their everlasting soul. Doesn’t work on other possessed
people though.

Darkness Shrouded covers you and the nearby area in a cloud of blackness. While you, and others you designate, can see relatively well, to everyone else it is absolute pitch black.

Flame Wreathed covers you in fire. Touching other people hurts them, other people touching you also hurts them.

Ghost Form wins you the Kitty Pryde cosplay contest every year. You become a bit transparent but can phase through solid objects.

He's way too smug for having that dumb a costume

Giant makes you huge with all the upsides and downsides of suddenly becoming a colossus.

Horned gives you a natural attack of some sort. Well natural in that it’s attached to you, not that it appears in nature.

Invisible makes you...invisible. You can’t be seen but you can still be heard and will still disturb things you pass.

Wings let you fly, whee!

After picking a power and aspect for yourself you also pick a power and aspect for the person you’re demoning for. So at the end of character generation 40 points will have been spent. 20 by you and 20 by the player playing your demon. You’ll also have 2 Aspects and 2 Powers, one pair chosen by you, the other by your demon. As you can probably guess even character generation is best done as a group activity. After this though you're ready to start playing!

unzealous fucked around with this message at 13:18 on Jul 3, 2016

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

Okay, so. There’s less lies being told and more omissions of truth this time around, denial of information.


This picture was actually in two parts on two pages and I did my best to put them together but you can still see the seam in the middle and how it doesn't EXACTLY line up. Anyway the new Doom is lookin' good.

Mr. Twist runs the Bargainer website and is sort of a celebrity. He is not trusted in any form of government or power among Bargainers because he is a loving monster. In the pursuit of power to save the world, Twist has sacrificed members of his family in exchange for totems and he keeps this secret. Because of this, nobody in power who knows his secret trusts him.

Shazbatt is Shazbatt. He’s not lying about anything. He’s just not elaborating on certain things. Demons that get caught lying for their contract or who break contracts go before the Tribunal but some of them will offer a very good discount on the next totem instead (close to free even) or force their hand regarding other means. Of course, if someone finds out you’ve been extorting totems from demons due to blackmail…

What do Heaven and Hell want with the BNW Dimension besides owning it? They want souls. Everyone has a soul, but what happens to your soul when you die depends on what you believe. Believe in a faith with an Abrahamic basis (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity)? Your soul goes to a Heaven-allied dimension or a Hell-allied dimension depending on how in tune you are with their teachings. I’m not saying “good person and Christian? Go to Heaven. Bad person and Christian? Go to Hell”. It’s more like “do you believe in Christianity and have you done a good job living up/listening to those teachings? Heaven. Do you believe and have you not done such a good job? Hell”. Do you believe in Buddhism/Hinduism? Reincarnation. Atheist/agnostic/deist? Reincarnation. Shinto? Reincarnation, probably. True atheist? Still reincarnation. It only spells out what happens to Christianity, everyone else gets the shrug of ‘reincarnation’. What exactly do Heaven or Hell want with the souls? Excellent question, ask again in a later book.


"AUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHH" "Shut up and let me stab you." "HUEUUUUUUUERRRRRGHHHHHHAAAAAAGH!" "You are making this so weird."

Lone Wolves are Bargainers who never joined the organization and have had to figure things out the hard way but aren’t crazy. Most of them live with being unable to understand the voices but sometimes they find one who knows the Understand spell and will offer to bargain with them. Lone wolves focus more on spells because they’re afraid of bargaining for a totem or messing the process up without training. But there are of course people who are more than willing to pay those prices.

The Iron Mask is Houdini who faked his death to keep his loved ones safe from the demons and his deals. He bailed on the BNW dimension to become a dimensional traveler to learn about the Armageddon war and the nature of the supernatural. Somewhere along the line he became an Alpha and broke all the loving rules: he doesn’t need to bargain with anyone for spells or totems. He can directly affect the physical world with the force of a demon or angel and doesn’t need an invitation to go anywhere. He crafted the mask as an identity protector: you can’t monitor him by any means. His current mission when he’s not serving on the Tribunal? Continue exploring alternate dimensions and teach the human race what he knows to help put everyone on the same power level as him to protect them all from Armageddon. Okay that’s actually not that bad of a plan, Houdini.

Marie Laveau is the real deal and she too is an Alpha like Houdini. Unlike Houdini, she doesn’t really care about the dimensional war. What she’s interested in is amassing power for “her and her followers”. Who does this entail? Probably people interested in voodoo or black people, it’s incredibly vague. Who knows, it might just be an army of corgis. What is known is that, uh, the Haitian government is now a puppet under her control to try and make voodoo the official religion and transform Haiti into a home for her followers. She wants people to convert to voodoo and making the UN recognize voodoo would help her.


"Look we're never going to get to nationals if you can't make this free-throw." "Why the gently caress are there nationals? This is Heaven, isn't it?" "Oooh, no, you're actually in Sports Hell." "Can I still dunk?" "Sure, go nuts."

The Conjurers, specifically Peter the Kid, are so popular and powerful because Peter cut a bargain with an angel instead of a demon. This angel was rogue who is intentionally going against Heaven’s “hands off” policy and he’s named…

*sighs* Ritchyrd.

When you cut a bargain with an angel instead, the fee is different: they want souls saved for God and Heaven. This makes getting spells and totems stupid easy if you go to the soup kitchen or donate to charity and explicitly tell people you’re doing it for Christianity. His relationship with Ritchyrd is hidden and both of them aren’t willing to disclose it to other people. Peter’s ultimate goal if he gets a majority movement in Bargainer culture? Offer bargains with angels as an alternative to get the power to help save the world.

The Covenant is not as murderous as the Bargainers make them out to be. Most American Covvies love the sinner but hate the sin and are willing to work with a Bargainer without enabling their bargaining. If they already have a totem, what’s done is done and they can’t change that. Most Covvies, however, are fine with letting a Bargainer make enough rope to hang.

Delta Prime does in fact take in Bargainers. Reagan (ugh) offers them a job or jail and the job specifically is in Investigation as a Man in Black. The Men in Black specifically deal with Bargainers for the US government. Men in Black agents get a Changeling totem to blend in to hunt targets and they get another Delta totem to empower them and make them look like a proper Delta if they get rumbled by Prime at large.

The Union or the Bargainer community at large is working on recruiting more Bargainers from all walks of life. They don’t want to wait for more people find them, they want to actively recruit.


"I cast Summon Greater SWAT Team."

Defiance really doesn’t like finding out that Bargainers are working with demons. They like to keep secrets from them lest their allies turn into an angry mob.

Other magics “don’t have space to be expounded upon in this book but just use shaman and Voodoo practitioners anyway”. Their magic works the same was as Bargainers but they cut deals with animal spirits or the loa.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BARGAINS

The price paid for spells and totems is generally heavy. The point of bargaining is to try and pay less than what a demon would want normally without any haggling.

The price of a spell is a random act of cruelty towards a stranger that causes hard feelings. The reason it’s just a verbal agreement is because the demon won’t ask for more than that and they want to see the goods before they fork over a spell. We’re not talking cutting someone off in traffic, we’re talking about tripping a blind man, spitting in a stranger’s face, letting the air out of someone’s tires. If it ruins their day or puts them in a funk for a few hours, it’s good enough for a spell.

The price of a totem is something uncomfortable or unambiguously evil. Because the demon has to go through the hassle of stuffing another demon in a bit of wood and has to give up a sliver of their power, they want an entertaining return of investment. As previously mentioned, giving up your soul is a valid price to pay, as is giving your life or the lives of others.


That book just contains all of his lovely stories from when he was a teenager, you're mistaking that emo feeling for the taint of demonic power.

Now, the demons don’t actually care who gets hurt. You could very well use cruelty against a bad person without telling the demon they’re bad. You could target someone you don’t like. You can have the best intentions in the world (like saving the world) but it’s still evil. It’s like how Brooklyn 99 said: cool story, still murder. And the game wants you to rub that in the player’s face.

You’re recommended to not let the Bargainer off easy. You’re recommended to create a fully separate scene with just you (the GM) and the Bargainer’s player without the other players unless you want them to know just how low they’ll go. Work through the scene methodically, get the player to articulate just what they’re doing, show the pain of the victim, make the Bargainer know drat well that they’re responsible for the suffering and what they’ve done is terrible. Make sure they don’t like it and “if the hero backs off and starts to rethink her decisions, you’ve succeeded” or else “someone else” will have to “show them the error of their ways”. If they go through with it, the wronged person should want revenge. Basically, keep track of all of the Bargainer’s sins and everyone they’ve hurt and whip them out when you want to punish the Bargainer and the rest of the party. And who knows how the other players will feel when they realize their spell-slinging buddy is actively doing evil for their powers.

Thoughts on the secrets: loving wow.

So, never be a loving Bargainer. The GM is encouraged to make you miserable for doing everything in this book and this metaplot. You want to cut deals with people? Talk to the animal spirits or the loa, they’ll treat you better. It’s incredibly wrongheaded that your afterlife, as written, amounts to Heaven, Hell or reincarnation. Houdini’s kind of on the right track of things after starting this whole lovely movement but he’s just one superman trying to fix everything and it’s slow loving going for him. Marie Laveau’s thing is just stapled on terribly and it’s incredibly awkward. Honestly this whole thing is just hosed and bad. Who would want to deal with any of this? This is a terrible reality and state of affairs and just drags down the rest of this bad game.


"I already know the greatest spell of all, Balthazar, and your sacrifice won't protect you. I know all about the mystic art of...Gun." "Well poo poo."

ENEMIES

THE TEMPLE OF SIN

The Temple of Sin is an apocalyptic demon-worshipping religion (read: cult) that is being monitored by the government, Delta Prime and even Defiance as a national threat. They’re lead by Damon Lieber, who is actually Mr. Twist with a Changeling totem who runs the cult to do the works of his demonic sugar daddies. Pretty much everyone in the Temple is just a regular person who has been seduced by promises of a purpose and power when the world ends. As such, the sample worshipper is a regular person.


Dude what the hell are you doing, just hold the book normally. You look like a big brooding jerk.

Thoughts on the Temple of Sin: So remember how in the first part of this review regular devil worshippers are considered to be scum who give the Bargainers a bad reputation? And it turns out this national doomsday cult is run by a Bargainer who is doing stuff for his demonic buddies? Yeah. This is just wholly unnecessary and it’s stupid. Mr. Twist is a gigantic dickhead and I hate him more with every passing page. And yeah, this sample enemy is a regular drat person who has been brainwashed by a magical dickhead. Bargainers: hypocritical to the end.

THE COVENANT

This time around instead of a regular Covvie they’re offering up the Exorcist. Exorcists are Covvies with specialized training to destroy supernatural creatures and exorcise people. They have a minimum of Occult: 3 and hide in plain sight as regular clergy before they have to suit up to shoot a demon in the face. All Exorcists are required to show no mercy to Bargainers, zero-tolerance across every continent instead of however the average Covvie would behave around them. The Covenant keeps the Exorcists secret and it’s even a secret to the Bargainers.


SUPER ACTION EXORCIST, NEW FROM HASBRO! HIS CROSSBOW REALLY SHOOTS! TWENTY POINTS OF ARTICULATION! COMES WITH KUNG-FU BLESS CHOP!

Thoughts on the Exorcist: Well I mean. This guy is really good at what he does and he even has a good collection of holy powers even though he’s a pacifist. He’s pretty well equipped to kill a Bargainer. A supernatural creature? Ehhh not so much as we’ll see.

DEMONS

A demon can look like anything you imagine and they have a good variety of powers. For starters, they can use all spells at will. Which really isn't that good. But they can also gain a Delta powerset on the fly, switching from one to the other as they please, which is a problem. Demons come in many shapes and sizes and their stats range from 1d6 to 10d6 which is fair and balanced. Pick whatever you feel like. They only fight if they know they can win so they'll just run unless they have an unfair advantage. They also can't be killed easily. If a demon is killed in a dimension that isn't their own, they get shoved back to their home dimension and can't return to where they were killed for 100 years. The only way to kill them is to kill them in their home dimension so they generally live somewhere else and lie about where they're from.


Demonmorph. Xenomon? Whatever.

Thoughts on Demons: Ha ha do you get it he's a demon. So here's the fun thing: he's pretty drat good at melee. He can reasonably do a lot of melee things. But he has no defenses unless he wants to bust out a Tough powerset. He also has no ranged capabilities unless he busts out an appropriate powerset. A sufficiently prepared Blaster with Superblast can cut this demon's wounds in half in, say, the chest just by the 20 damage buff alone. However, you can just taze him repeatedly in the ribs to make him roll off blind TN 9 Strength roll to make him resist Stun. And as it turns out, that is actually the best course of action to take this specific demon down. While he's stunned then you can just keep unleashing the pain as two people alternate stunning him. So yeah, you can just stunlock this guy and keep kicking him until he dies.

DELTA PRIME

Here come the Men in Black. These Bargainers are teamed with another Primer with regular powers to keep them on a short leash and make sure they stay loyal. The powers don't matter, all that matters is that their partner is loyal to a paranoid degree. Reagan really doesn't trust their Bargainers. There's also the Men in White who are Bargainers in white labcoats teamed with Gadgeteers and gently caress you Deadlands get the gently caress out of here. Reagan is convinced that the two fields can be combined and as a result there are now some Primer hovercars turned indestructible by a Seal totem. Other than that there hasn't been much success in powering pseudo-science powertech with human sacrifice and to that I say loving good. We get it, Delta Prime is incredibly corrupt, they don't need to power all of their poo poo with Ghost Rock.


"I'm from a secret branch of the US Government. You can tell that by how high my pants are."

Thoughts on Delta Prime: Oh so it's just a Watcher. Alright. Shoot him in the head and then shoot his Bargainer buddy. Not much to say about him, he's pretty bog-standard and is more trained in shooting than actually using his powers (because his one reliable power, Microwave Vision, rolls off Spirit which is only 2d6). He's only a threat with a gun and even then not so much.

THE HEAVENLY HOST

Bring it on down to angel-town. The Seraphim is the angelic equivalent of a Navy SEAL but they can only go to Earth to enforce the pact. God doesn't really send angels down to Earth unless poo poo is broken. But then some of them go rogue, like Ritchyrd, or "fall" which is really just going super rogue and batshit.


I like her design except for the facial expression that makes her look like she's constipated.

Thoughts on the Seraph: Noooope. Get the gently caress away from that lady if you're on her bad side. I mean, granted, the people on her bad side are going to be predominantly Bargainers but I still wouldn't be anywhere near them. She has an immediate combat advantage over a regular demon by way of flaming armor and flaming sword, she's just gonna straight up beat him in a fight.

Here, have the complete author's afterword to see what Forbeck has to say about the book.



FINAL THOUGHTS ON BARGAINERS

Noooope. Nope. Don't bother. There is none of this that is good, there is none of this that's redeemable or usable or fun. It's both incredibly uncomfortable and incredibly unfun because it's presenting all of this poo poo for you to do tied up in dumb bureaucratic rules BUT DON'T YOU DARE ENJOY IT, YOU FILTHY SINNING MOTHERFUCKER. I can't recommend using any of this ever in any capacity unless you want them to be bad guys. Just throw it the gently caress out. There are no good plot hooks, there's no good way to use any of these powers, the spells just aren't any good and neither are the totems. I knew from the first time I heard about this book that it wasn't going to be worth the data it's stored on but it's just even worse in execution somehow. The dumb religious poo poo is just a cherry on top. I can't even muster up a gently caress to give about this book anymore, I am just done with it.

Five down, four to go. We are officially on the downward slide. NEXT TIME we're going to take a look at BRAVE NEW WORLD: GLORY DAYS which is about World War II and the fight against the Nazis before the birth of Superior. This book is tied with the core book in size (226 pages) and has a lot more to it that the other supplement books, including the first premade adventure not attached to a GM screen. So it's going to take a bit more than just three or four updates but spoilers: it's not getting much better than this one.


Forbeck's name getting cut off isn't my doing, that's how it appears on the book. Some of the scans? Not so good.

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Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD



"Trust me, this is all tied into the overarching metaplot! Which I can't tell you about yet! Just trust me, this will all make sense eventually! It's not just it's own weird little side-game! It's important! Just wait!"

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