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gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

theironjef posted:

Afterthought 34 is up and stupid. I mean, way worse than usual.

You guys just keep upping the ante on your intros, it's kinda incredible

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


'90s RPGs sure loved their Judeo-Christian parables, didn't they? It's like they wanted to gently caress around with Christian myth to show how edgy they were so much that they wrapped right back around to doing traditional moralisms, only this time angels have tits akimbo.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012




Part 1: Comic Book Superhero Shenanigans

(Magical Minutias 1 and 2 are just standalone character sheets for monsters. I didn’t see the point of devoting whole posts to them.)

quote:

DECEMBER 2012 THE WORLD ENDED .

IT ENDED IN FIRE
IT ENDED IN RAIN
IT ENDED IN DARKNESS

NEMESIS, HAD RETURNED, AN ANCIENT DEVICE BUILT BY THE GODLIKE ATLANTIANS ON EARTH MILLENNIA AGO. IT HAD SEEDED ALIEN WORLDS AND COME HOME TO REIGNITE THE ATLANTIAN GENE ONCE MORE AND BRING ABOUT THE SECOND AGE OF THE GODS.

2024, GODS NOW WALK THE EARTH, MAGIC HAS RETURNED AND BRIGHTLY COLORED HEROES AND VILLAINS HAVE MADE EARTH A POSTHUMAN WORLD WITH ALL THE LOOK OF A COMIC BOOK AND ALL THE PROBLEMS OF A WORLD ON THE VERGE OF A NEW GOLDEN AGE OR FALLING INTO OBLIVION.

The crossover in Magical Minutia #3: “Crossover” is with Nemesis: Modern Mythology, Channel M’s superhero game that they promise will combine “cyberpunk, superheroics and urban fantasy” and will definitely come out at some point.

Crossover posted:

The world of Nemesis:Modern Mythology will be our foray into the world of superheroes. We’re not sure when but It’s coming.

At the time of this writing, this book was released over a year ago. Nemesis is not out yet. Though you can buy a Soto art poster for it for 50 cents or just save the preview picture to your hard drive and rasterbate it if you want.

The opening comic, which isn’t titled, is about this group of characters.



This is Youthquake. They are, it seems, the signature characters of Nemesis. Their group name makes them sound like they spend their weekends going around telling people about Jesus and filming bad Christian parodies of Top 40 songs for Youtube.

(No, I don’t know why the redhead is holding a ghost stomach.)

The comic follows Shane Farris AKA “Mentalmancer”, the blond kid in the yellow. He writes an email to his mom telling her about a typical boring day at his boarding school, Nemesis Academy. He gets up late because his genius roommate tore up his alarm clock for parts, says hi to his friends, catches breakfast in the cafeteria, and saves the world from gold spider-riding soldiers from “the Empire Eternal”. It goes through introducing everyone while they fight, then they go and grab lunch at the local pizza place. Soto didn’t do the art for it, but the comic does have an amazing array of goofy faces, poses, and proportions.



(I didn’t realize Ankle Day was a day you could skip.)

It’s still better than Soto’s stuff though.

Also, only one bit of transformation.



There is no title page or table of contents for the book, nor are there credits for the comic. (Not that it really needs a ToC. There’s only 3 chapters.) DriveThruRPG doesn’t help because it just has “Various” for both the writers and artists. So whoever did this comic didn’t get credit for it. I’m going to guess it’s the same core staff as the previous books.

The first chapter is laid out like a travelogue by Alice Liddle/Liddell. Alice is a witch who invented the “Looking Glass Drive” (LGD for short), an engine that is used to power dimension-hopping vehicles and is installed in her own ship, the Jabberwocky. She spends her free time traveling and cataloguing the different parts of the multiverse with her crew.

She also dyed her hair blonde at some point.



Oh yes. As it’s been hinted at in the past few books, the WGA world, AKA “WWC-Earth”, is part of a greater multiverse. Behold!



(This isn't in the book. I got it from Facebook.)

Yup, we’re part of this multiverse too. FATAL and Friends is canon to WGA.

Also, I have a hunch that “Quester Earth” is what was eventually turned into Bellum Maga. I’ve mentioned in other posts that some of the art for that book was accompanied by an explanation of it being for a “witches after the apocalypse” setting.

Alice’s travelogue talks about Nemesis-Earth (AKA “Nemesis-Earth-Prime” AKA “Earth-Olympus” AKA “Super-Earth” AKA “The Perfect World”), the dimension the events of Nemesis mostly take place in. (If you read the multiverse chart, you probably noticed there’s a couple versions of the same world because we’re doing Crisis on Infinite Earths stuff now.) Nemesis-Earth is fairly similar to WWC-Earth and ours: There’s about 6 billion people, the dimensional size is roughly the same, and mundane world events have gone mostly the same ways. However, 6 million of the population are post-humans with various super powers, time is a couple years ahead due to the dimension being older, there is no masquerade, magic use is unisex (though still skews mostly female), the overall level of technology is higher, and the overall magic level is slightly lower.

The WWC loving hates the place and have banned travel to and from it. If you try to open a portal to it on WWC-Earth, they will somehow detect it immediately and stop you. (So they can instantly know about that, yet have trouble finding young witches and getting them into schools and when someone on Earth commits a magical crime.) As a result, it has to be done from another dimension. If you get stuck there for whatever reason, they will not help you. Alice thinks this attitude comes from the fact that otherkin, presumably witches in general, are not, never have been, and never will be the true rulers of the world.

Not surprisingly, Nemesis-Earth’s various ruling bodies more than just frown upon all of the bullshit witches get up to in their own dimension. Trying to torture mundanes on Nemesis-Earth is a good way to get punched in the face and put in jail.

Alice Liddell posted:

Want to get put into traction? Show off your collection of shrunken mortals.

That’s probably another reason why the WWC hates the place: They can’t get away with their bullshit. The WWC are petty assholes.

That said, magic use is more common on Nemesis-Earth and magical enclaves exist in many major cities. Most magic users use their powers for medicinal uses or as sorcerers-for-hire and are a generally friendly bunch. Religious bias against magic use exists, but is rare.

The superhero stuff came about on Nemesis-Earth due to an alien race called “The Arisen”. For a long time, the Arisen were the only sentient race in the universe. Out of loneliness, they messed around with the DNA of primitive humans to create the first post-humans, the Atlantians. The Atlantians, in turn, upgraded the rest of humanity when they found out why the Arisen did it, because… why not, I guess.

At some point, Atlantis got itself into a civil war that killed over 90% of the population. To preserve their race, a group of 6 Atlantians created a device that would, after 50,000 years of charging up, return and reactivate the Atlantian gene within humanity. I guess they put that in when they upgraded some of humanity too, but just let it sit dormant or something.

The device, Nemesis, accomplished this by, I assume, blowing everything the gently caress up in 2012. Along with creating 3.5 million post-humans (I guess being post-human makes you super virile…) and reactivating the Earth’s “magical field”, it also killed nearly a billion people and almost completely destroyed civilization. Thankfully, that was 12 years ago and now Nemesis-Earth is a technological wonderland of peace and prosperity, with the occasional comic book villain and Nazi.

(If you recall, there was mention in the core of an Atlantis blowing itself up in WWC-Earth. I’m going to guess this happened in multiple dimensions and Nemesis either nope’d the gently caress out or got deactivated by petty witches on WWC-Earth. )

The general premise of modern day Nemesis-Earth is that it’s pretty much our Earth, but better and more progressive. (Seriously, it seems like Nemesis wiped out every far-right person except the Nazis.) During the 12 year rebound in technology, climate change has been eliminated thanks to air-cleaning towers that convert the pollution into resources, and fossil fuels have been replaced by more effective solar and wind power, perpetual motion engines, and rechargeable batteries with decades long lifespans. Most cancers are a thing of the past. Life expectancy for the entire world is now 150 years. Smart, self-driving cars and helicopters are common and available for rent. Underground trains and airships use the planet’s magnetic field to provide fast travel across countries. Paper money has been done away with in favor of debit cards that serve as identification cards. Magic users aren’t massive shits who will turn you into things if you mildly annoy them. Presumably. Any media made before 2012 has been lost though. (Thanks to a typo, the book makes it sound like everyone stopped making TV shows, books, and the like after 2012.)

On Nemesis-Earth, there are several governments and countries of note. As seen from this world map.



(The book doesn't mention this, but I noticed that Hokkaido is no longer part of Japan... and might have been annexed by North Korea?)

United States: Same as the real world US, except it now has 51 states (Hawaii got destroyed during the Nemesis Event, but it picked up Puerto Rico and, somehow, Cuba), universal health care, a female president, and the best technology.

Meso-American Republic: Doesn’t have a write-up.

Rainforest Preserve: Ditto.



(That’s… not what your country looks like…)

The African Imperial Union: A benevolent dictatorship created by Queen Mabaya and her army of metahumans (the in-verse term for the not!mutants that make up most post-humans) shortly after the Nemesis Event. It was not a peaceful takeover. ( I want to know why predominantly Islamic northern Africa and richer than most South Africa survived Mabaya’s mass takeover of the continent.)

Eastern European Waste: No write-up. I guess everyone that lived there is squatting in Heaven now.



United Kingdom: After the Nemesis Event, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland (all of it?), and Australia all banded together to protect itself from Germany and Avalon. Prince Harry rules it along with a council of representatives from each country. It’s the only thing keeping the rest of Europe from falling to Germany.

Avalon: Ruled by fae monarchs King Oberon the 3rd and Queen Titania, Avalon is one of the most magical places on Nemesis-Earth. “The culture here is very Victorian minus the lack of equal rights based on sex". One of Oberon and Titania’s daughters is married to Harry. So I guess the UK doesn’t need to worry about them as much.

Australian Outback Dinosaur Preserve: The Atlantians had a dinosaur zoo in a pocket dimension near Australia. The Nemesis Event hosed it up, and now part of Australia is Jurassic Park. There are still Aboriginal tribes in the area, but dinosaur attacks are rare, so it’s all good. (Which is a good thing because the area is surrounded by a several hundred foot wide and deep trench. Yeah, they just locked them in there.)

Free Tibet/Dragon Mountains: The Himalayas are inhabited by dragons that woke up during the Nemesis Event. The Savads, a group of “mystical martial artists”, live in monasteries there and have bred a species of goat the dragons prefer over humans. Also, I guess Tibet told China to get hosed at some point. That part isn’t elaborated on.

Tartarus Prison: No write-up.

The 1000 Year Reich: A Neo-Nazi group full of metahumans took advantage of the chaos in Germany during the Nemesis Event and set themselves up as rulers. They even have their own version of Ingrid Frieze working with them. Because everything evil comes from Germany. (Alice even starts this blurb by assuring us that she loves the various Germanys she’s visited.)

Other things of note that aren’t included on the map are:

The Trans-American Pantheon Combine: A worldwide organization of benevolent metahumans that organizes and takes care of various metahuman interests, as well as acting as a worldwide police/military force. Has been effective so far, not that the rest of the world’s governments could do a thing about it if they weren’t. (So why haven’t these guys all gone after Germany?)

The United Nations: “This version of the U.N actually has some power when it comes to the Earth.” Has its own military, court system, and space program. Deals in worldwide problems, of course.

Imagitech: Nemesis-Earth’s Maximum Inc., except Macdonald Hartman is a metahuman, because of course he is. (Both versions also have doctorates in something now.)



World War 3 Memorial: A memorial dedicated to a pantheon (group) of metahumans called “The Watch” that died in the 3 month war between Canada (which no longer exists) and an invading alien army, along with the other “less than 100” metahumans that died during it. Millions of humans also died, but they didn’t get a memorial because they’re not special.

The Romanian Rift: A portal to the Shadow opened up in Romania and split it in half. Vampires hang out here. The UN has a wall around the area.

AB-1 Alert Areas: A genetically engineered, effectively immortal Godzilla-like monster named Brutus roams the planet destroying cities. (Alice describes him as being a cross between a troll, an ogre, a shark, and Wolverine.) Various governments have set up a network of alert devices that informs people when he’s in the area.

Up next: Rules

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 06:03 on Jun 23, 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.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

'90s RPGs sure loved their Judeo-Christian parables, didn't they? It's like they wanted to gently caress around with Christian myth to show how edgy they were so much that they wrapped right back around to doing traditional moralisms, only this time angels have tits akimbo.
It's just so incredible to me how they want the Bargainers to be the EDGY 90s GOOD GUYS WHO DEAL WITH DARK FORCES.

But then A: mechanically, the Covenant are way better. They have less nonsense to get their powers, they can reliably use their powers, they can actually use their powers to attack, they don't have to operate in the shadows nearly as much.

And B: pretty much everything in this book has painted the Bargainers as bad loving people (or at the very least, put-upon and being worn down by horror and internal struggle). Twist is a straight-up monster who thinks the ends justify the means, the book explicitly says "no, the ends loving don't", the one guy who has better powers is allied with an angel, they're turned into sinister government boogeymen if captured and demons are a bunch of bullying cowards. They're a cult whose creator realized he made a horrible mistake and is trying to rectify it but he can't shut down his creation because it gives people "guidance" because their powers are an endless affliction. It's explicitly mentioned in the book at one point that a lot of Bargainer will say "take me to jail" if taken by Prime because the nullification fields cut them off from the demons and they can get some peace.

I sincerely can't tell where they're trying to have their cake and eat it too, where the writing is just bad and wrong, where the moralizing is intentional and where Forbeck genuinely believes this stuff. It's kinda Poes Law as hell in that sense.

e: wow I can't believe that Witch Girls Adventures ended up being Reverse Brave New World with an out-of-place superhero/post-human book interrupting a line about magic and magic users, that's hilarious. And Jesus that art is something real ugly. It may be a "better" setting (for certain meanings and values of better) but it sure as hell is still tainted by Witch Girls.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 08:03 on Jun 16, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

Afterthought 34 is up and stupid. I mean, way worse than usual.

That definitely took a bit for you to circle around. I think there was a point there was supposed to be music and it just goes to silence and then back to the talk? Also, what about Jolly Rancher Watermelon soda? Because for me that's the worst soda I've ever tasted. Try it sometime! Let me know how awful you think it is. Because watermelon flavor, amirite?

And I'm inclined to think J.U.N.K.H.E.A.D. is now official Rifts canon as far as I'm concerned.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

This was supposed to be an Afterthought question but I guess it works well here too:

What do you even do in a game of RIFTS?

Like, you have a party of 3 to 4 players, one's a Juicer, another's a Glitterboy, and then one of the Psychics, and then a Leylinewalker, and they start off in ... a city? And they're supposed to ... fight the Coalition or something? What does a campaign arc look like? Is it just "we go around the devastated United States and enter whatever point on the map looks cool, combat and shenanigans ensue"?

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Goddamnit Matt forback, how can you put so much effort and love into something and have it come out this poo poo.

E: did he have anyone exerting any sort of editorial control?

By popular demand fucked around with this message at 08:44 on Jun 16, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


gradenko_2000 posted:

What do you even do in a game of RIFTS?

Like, you have a party of 3 to 4 players, one's a Juicer, another's a Glitterboy, and then one of the Psychics, and then a Leylinewalker, and they start off in ... a city? And they're supposed to ... fight the Coalition or something? What does a campaign arc look like? Is it just "we go around the devastated United States and enter whatever point on the map looks cool, combat and shenanigans ensue"?

One of the upcoming reviews I have the roughs done for is the first Rifts book of adventures, and honestly it's not that different from D&D, only minus dungeons (for the most part). Basically, it assumes the PCs are a ragtag bag of wandering knights-errant in spirit (or mercenaries, at least) that wander from town to town, usually the town is on fire and needs help, but if it doesn't then something sneaky is going on the PCs have to solve, or there's some monster nearby they need killed. Alternately, the PCs can run into some sort of trouble between towns. And so on.

There's also the rough adventure path from the early books that goes from the PCs discovering Archie-3, teaming up with Archie-3 to defeat the Mechanoid invasion, then somehow randomly ending up in Africa and defeating the Four Horsemen. From what I understand there's a lot of support for mercenary company campaigns, but I haven't read those books beyond Mercenaries. There's also the big metaplot adventure series like War on Tolkeen or Minion War.

The alternate campaign which is perhaps troublingly well-supported is a Coalition patrol / field unit which is sent out on various missions, usually involving killing monsters.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

Alien Rope Burn posted:

That definitely took a bit for you to circle around. I think there was a point there was supposed to be music and it just goes to silence and then back to the talk? Also, what about Jolly Rancher Watermelon soda? Because for me that's the worst soda I've ever tasted. Try it sometime! Let me know how awful you think it is. Because watermelon flavor, amirite?

And I'm inclined to think J.U.N.K.H.E.A.D. is now official Rifts canon as far as I'm concerned.

I love junkhead and I'm glad I asked the question. After reading the Fatal and Friends Demon writeup I'm down for a Glob Machine.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


SirPhoebos posted:

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

Yeah. Either the perfects are more restricted, or come with a heavier cost. The perfect dodge is only usable once per scene normally unless it's reset by successfully dodging 3 attacks without relying on a perfect effect. The perfect parry requires that you spend initiative in proportion to successes on an opponent's roll. Neither charm can be used when you run out of initiative.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Crasical posted:

"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!"
This is so loving nineties I think my wallet just grew a chain.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




FMguru posted:

This is so loving nineties I think my wallet just grew a chain.
I have never in my life seen someone include a link to a Geocities website in an actual printed RPG book.

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!




There's something absolutely perfect about Arrogance being a power you can select in Better Angels.

unseenlibrarian
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.

It'd be interesting once the Better Angels review is done to see someone do A Dirty World, the Noir RPG, since the two share a lot of DNA in the version of ORE they use.

Nice C.S. Lewis reference in "That Hideous Strength" being a power.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

'90s RPGs sure loved their Judeo-Christian parables, didn't they? It's like they wanted to gently caress around with Christian myth to show how edgy they were so much that they wrapped right back around to doing traditional moralisms, only this time angels have tits akimbo.
Well, you have to remember that the 90's was pretty much when the concept of "edgy" was invented.

But really I think it's also because of Vampire. When it came out it was pretty much the first major-release RPG to really deal with concepts of moral ambiguity and uncomfortable choices. Then when that hit it big, everyone tried to jump on that bandwagon and try to BLOW YOUR MIND MAN.

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

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




Bubblegumshoe: Character Creation

PCs are referred to in BGS as Sleuths, and like in other GUMSHOE games, character strengths change based on the size of the party! Everyone gets separate pools of build points for each type of ability (General, Investigative, Interpersonal, Relationship) - General is always 40, but the other three go down as the number of players in the party goes up. With 5+ players, the spread is 40/5/8/12, but with 2 players, it's 40/8/12/18. You get 4 points in the ability Cool for free.

Before going into ability lists, we're introduced to a quartet of sample characters:
  • Jessica Park, the book's plucky protagonist who we'll learn the most about. Second-generation Korean-American, daughter of the county forensic pathologist. Likes photography, wants to become a journalist to fight injustice.
  • Tyler Lincoln, black son of an architect and a cop. Likes computers and music, stays on the straight and narrow.
  • Amanda Barrett, soccer ace who works for a garage in town fixing cars. Gets into trouble with terrible bands and terrible boys.
  • Elizabeth Soriano, bisexual latina cheerleader. Divorced parents, jock king brother, amazing fashion sense and artistic talent.

Aside from abilities, you gotta know how you connect - how well do the Sleuths know each other? Do they go way back? Where do they hang out? BGS assumes the party are already friends, but you're free to hash out the details yourselves.

Investigative Abilities
What you use to root out clues. Remember, these don't require rolls to use.
  • Fashion: Mainly used for identifying someone's socioeconomic class or hiding your own.
  • Notice: See things other people didn't see.
  • Outdoors: Tracking, broken twigs, et cetera.
  • Photography: Both taking pictures discreetly and knowing things about photography in general.
  • Pop Culture: What's hot, what's not.
  • Research: Looking things up.
  • Scholarship: Everything you learn in class at school.
  • Town Lore: The town and its strange secrets.
Jessica's in a 4-person party, so she gets 6 points of Investigative Abilities. She goes 3 Notice and 1 each in Photography, Research and Scholarship. It's important to try and cover all of these across the full party.

Interpersonal Abilities
Like Investigative Abilities, but targeted at people and also used in social combat.
  • BS Detector: I like that they abbreviate it in this book. Spot liars in action.
  • Flattery: Feminine whiles, or their male equivalent. Brooding in a tight T-shirt?
  • Gossip: Rumor gathering.
  • Grownup Face: Getting adults to take you seriously.
  • Impersonate: Like disguise, but usually on the phone or online. If you have at least 2 points, you can have a fake ID.
  • Intimidation: The usual.
  • Negotiation: Find out what they want and make them believe you can give it to them.
  • Performance: Dance, song, music, cheerleading, theater.
  • Reassurance: Fast talk, sympathy, being nice to people.
  • Taunt: Angry people don't think about what they're saying.
GUMSHOE vets may notice this list is shorter than usual - BGS puts more emphasis on Relationships, and trims down the other skill lists to back it up. Want Bureaucracy? Get a Relationship with the administrative assistant. Want Streetwise? Get a Relationship with a drug dealer.

Jessica has 9 points here. 3 points in Grownup Face, 2 points in BS Detector and Impersonate, 1 in Performance (saxophone, for her) and Reassurance.

General Abilities
With these, you roll 1d6 to succeed, with target numbers from 2 to 8. You can spend points to raise your roll before rolling - spend 2 Athletics to roll 1d6+2 instead of 1d6. If your rating is 0, you can't even try if there's pressure or opposition.
  • Athletics: Jock stuff.
  • Computers: Hacking, putting up phony websites, stuff like that. You can usually do the thing, the roll is to see if you get caught while doing it.
  • Cool: Keeping a cool head under pressure. This functions like a combination of Health and Stability from other GUMSHOE games - its your social HP, in a game where nearly all combat is social. You get 4 points for free.
  • Driving: Tailing people, racing, driving fast and good. Just driving normally requires no roll.
  • Fighting: Physical combat is against school policy and also the law. Be extra careful.
  • Filch: Steal things or plant things on people. Also probably frowned upon.
  • First Aid: Deal with injuries. More on this when we get to that chapter.
  • Intuition: Sense trouble before it becomes trouble.
  • Preparedness: Already have retroactively thought of something in advance.
  • Repair: Fix stuff. Also covers lockpicking and (depending on your game's tone) elaborate booby traps.
  • Sneaking: How not to be seen.
  • Throwdown: Social combat. Not required to take part in throwdowns, but it really helps.
Jessica gets 40 points for this list, so she goes: Sneaking 8, Intuition 8, First Aid 5, Preparedness 4, Throwdown 4, Fighting 3, Athletics 2, Computers 2, Driving 2, Cool 6.

Cap Abilities
Stuff that isn't on the list - Escape Artist, Surveillance, Cop Talk, Stunt Driving - can be bought as a Cap. Caps cost 5 build points for their first point, max at 2 (Non-General) or 6 (General), you can only have one, and no two party members can have the same Cap.

If someone has a violent cap ability, they can get a couple extra boosts from it (like being able to kill someone without a weapon), but remember that most real combat in BGS is social. Killing people is a losing proposition.

Relationships
Your connections to NPCs. They come in three types:
  • Loves: Best friends, family, romantic partners.
  • Likes: Friends, contacts, people who would do things for you willingly.
  • Hates: Enemies, exes, people who cause trouble for you.
You can leave points unspent here. Hates are developed together with the GM, generally, and aren't totally useless: If you beat a Hate in a social clash, you refresh 3 points of Cool. Also, if the GM works with you to create a Hate with you, you get 3 free relationship build points to use elsewhere.

For each relationship, give a name, a nature (love/like/hate), a tag (brief explanation of connection), a rating, an ability (the NPC can provide this expertise to the party if leaned on), and a location (where they can usually be found).

Jessica's list: Mom (Love 6), Ginny (Like 4, I stood up for her in gym), Greg (Like 3, even though they broke up) Priscilla (Like 1, old friends), Principal Sanchez (Like 2, saw the Ginny incident), Kaitlyn (Hate 3, didn't approve of me dating Greg). Remaining points are left unspent.

For our sample cast, Tyler goes for Electronic Surveillance 2 (6 build points), and Elizabeth spends 5 build points for a point in the Cap of Art 1.

Pick Up and Play Relationships
Rounding out this section is a set of relationship builds for different types of characters, as a jump start for people who can't decide how they should distribute their build points. Just pick one, then fill out names. A couple examples:

Social Butterfly
Best Friend (Love 4)
Ex (Like 2)
Club Crush (Like 1)
Older Classmate (Like 2)
Best Friend's Sibling (Like 1)
Angry Ex (Hate 3)
6 Extra

Loner
Best Friend (Love 7)
Mentor (Love 5)
Enemy (Hate 3)
4 Extra


The art inside the book is a very different style. I'm not sure if I like it.

Who You Are
The (mostly) non-mechanical bits to round things up. You have three backgrounds to establish! Class is where you are on the socioeconomic ladder - upper crust, wrong side of the tracks, middle class. Clique is your school social base - Jocks, Cheerleaders, Stoners, Gearheads. Club is the thing you do in your extra time, school related or not - Drama Club, Field Hockey, Starbucks, Church Group.

Jessica has a single-parent family, Lower Middle Class. Her Clique is the Grinds, hard-working kids who pay attention in class and get top grades. Club is Marching Band, but could also be Library or Photography Club.

Using Backgrounds
Backgrounds do provide occasional mechanical support! The GM can let you use them to define free one-off 1-point Relationships with people related to your backgrounds. They can occasionally be used like investigative abilities if the situation calls for it ("Your time in Drama Club tells you this is a fake knife"). They also affect Thresholds, barriers of entry to certain locations that require most people to burn points of Cool to get in.

Drive
Why aren't you ignoring the problems around you? What makes you a protagonist? That's your Drive. Hates Not Knowing, Friendship, Lovesick, Fairness, Family Code, Risk Taker, Subconscious Curiosity, pick something and explain it in a sentence or two. When you obey your drive to do something reckless or stupid, you get Cool refreshes.

Story Arc
Write down something you want your character to accomplish on a personal level, one sentence. I want to become head cheerleader, I want to get my dad remarried, whatever's important to your character. When you accomplish it, you get a Relationship build point to spend on characters related to the arc. Once you've completed a story arc, pick another.

Next: Rules!

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

Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Goddamnit Matt forback, how can you put so much effort and love into something and have it come out this poo poo.

E: did he have anyone exerting any sort of editorial control?

As I heard it from Matt, there was a ridiculous amount of control particularly when it came to the Bargainers. They were supposed to be evil from the start, but also not supposed to be recommended as PCs.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Well they sure succeeded with flying colors if that's the case.

This is the part of the release cycle where the books start getting weird and disconnected from each other. Core, Planet, Defiants and Prime all has a logic linking them. From Bargainers on, not so much. Chronologically, it's the year 2000 when Bargainers is released. Forbeck has actually been with AEG since Defiants, Planet was the last Pinnacle book. We've still got a year or so to go to get to book 9.

Still to come:

Glory Days
Crescent City sourcebook
Evil Unlimited sourcebook (remember them? The biggest, baddest group of supervillains and crooks that have had zero explanation or use so far)
The Covenant sourcebook.

Somewhere along the line in the last four books, the plug gets pulled and the last three books of the 12 line run get canned. The only one I know for sure of is the Multiverse book that would have been called Crossroads. So we really are on the downward slide from here on out.

Halloween Jack posted:

I have never in my life seen someone include a link to a Geocities website in an actual printed RPG book.

Ohhhhh yeah. From what I can tell due to Internet Archaeogy, this game was pretty popular for homebrew settings and hand-made Delta powers. It had an...interesting following. Some of these relics actually still exist in the form of rehosted sites.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Tasoth posted:

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.

That's a given with any good vehicle-focused game were you can't not be vehicle-focused, as the vehicle is just as much a part of your character as his limbs. BattleTech takes the Heavy Gear approach of "No, you really don't have to include our stompy bots in your campaigns, just because we're that company with the stompy bots.".

Tatum Girlparts posted:

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.

This is especially true in those darker days (like pre-Clan-Invasion or the late Jihad) were odds are that replacement parts for you 'Mech might be hard to impossible to come by. It's good to be versatile.

Young Freud posted:

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.

This. Clanners have kept the fully-body suits, and their helmets weigh only half as much as the Sphere equivalent and are far less bulky.

Adnachiel posted:

The crossover in Magical Minutia #3: “Crossover” is with Nemesis: Modern Mythology, Channel M’s superhero game that they promise will combine “cyberpunk, superheroics and urban fantasy” and will definitely come out at some point.

At the time of this writing, this book was released over a year ago. Nemesis is not out yet. Though you can buy a Soto art poster for it for 50 cents or just save the preview picture to your hard drive and rasterbate it if you want.

How'd you make a crossover with something that has yet to be released? And aren't these guys spreading themselves a bit thin if they now want to do supers as well o_O ?

Alien Rope Burn posted:

'90s RPGs sure loved their Judeo-Christian parables, didn't they? It's like they wanted to gently caress around with Christian myth to show how edgy they were so much that they wrapped right back around to doing traditional moralisms, only this time angels have tits akimbo.

Dude, I have this idea about a Yu-Gi-Oh!-clone with pogs, where everything and everyone has a Judeo-Christian name for no adequately explained reason, and every single conflict is solved with pogs (including bank robberies). Also everyone talks like a member of Team Dai-Gurren.


(Does anyone have experience with pog-based resolution systems?)

Doresh fucked around with this message at 16:56 on Jun 16, 2016

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!


senrath posted:

There's something absolutely perfect about Arrogance being a power you can select in Better Angels.

We haven't gotten into the system yet but it's actually a really nice power to have. In Better Angels and A Dirty World you can actually talk someone into giving up. Likewise you can be talked down until you can't really fight back.

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



For as far as we've come as a hobby, sometimes all you want to is make your problems go away with a nice 3d6 fireball. Let's explore the spellcasting and ghost-punching unseen world in....



Exalted 3rd - Bloodless Edition

Occult - Get these Motherfucking Spirits out of my Motherfucking Watch

The Occult Charms deal primarily with the affairs of spirits, the large and small unseen gods who manage the affairs of Creation. Survival has a pair of Charms that basically amount to "your familiar can see spirits" and "your familiar can rend & tear spirits", but for those who want more tools in their toolbox you have to look to the Occult.

First order of business is to see the drat things, as spirits are inherently immaterial unless they deliberately choose to Materialize. This is handled by the first charm, the Spirit-Detecting Glance, as well as the follow-ups Uncanny Perception Technique (which basically gives you spidey-sense for spirits & Wyldlings), and then the Keen Unnatural Eye when attempting to use Survival or Investigation in a spirit context. The rest of this particular tree is devoted to the greater abilities to punch spirits once you see them, usually with the side benefit that you don't just hit the spirit, but you take their Essence motes as your own. Spirit-Cutting Attack, Spirit-Draining Stance, Ghost-Eating Technique, and Spirit-Slaying Stance are the core spine of Charms for this purpose. Those without initiation into the unseen are not left in the cold - Phantom-Seizing Strike causes spirits hit by the Solar to become material so others can join in. A spirit ally normally must pay motes to fight by a Solar's side in the physical, but the Solar can foot the bill with Spirit-Manifesting Wind. Material Exegesis Prana expands on this and lets the Solar attempt to materialize multiple ally spirits at once - and has a unique dice trick where if three 6s are rolled, everything materializes and she gains two willpower points. All Souls Benediction is the last word in being solid - all willing & unwilling spirits must Materialize, and may not revert back without the Solar's leave or the end of the scene.

As Werewolf players can attest, spirits are also prone to occasionally possessing others. Solar occultists can intervene with the Burning Exorcism Technique and have the power of the Unconquered Sun compel them. More skilled exorcists can apply Soul Projection Method and enter the body of another to clean house. It's nice to see that this ability is left open-ended; it can also be used to retrieve the soul if it was eaten by something that does such things, or battle a Derangement within a person's mindscape. This is later upgraded to Immortal Soul Vigil, where the occultist can passively explore a subject's dreams and memories. This charm has some very weird wording, as it implies that the user can engage in a kind of time-travel back to when the subject was influenced by a spirit and attempt to confront said spirit. The implications of this are non-trivial to say the least, and opens a much larger set of doors than I think the author intended.

When you want to make sure that someone shall not pass there is the Spirit-Repelling Diagram which creates a fairly sizable (short range) ward that is completely impassible for weaker spirits, and only crossable with difficulty for stronger ones. However, that's mostly just a prelude to the Spirit-Caging Mandala, which is probably the most versatile workhorse of the tree. It's a magical cage for spirits, preventing them from moving and making them solid, and can be invoked at a fair distance from the target. Once you've got the pesky ghost trapped, you can throw it into someone else with the Soul Projection Method above, draw motes from it with Spirit-Draining Mudra, hit it through social influence with Demon-Compelling Noose, or finally unmake it with the Spirit-Shredding Exorcism.

Rounding out the list are a number of utility Charms that fall under the heading of "unseen energy manipulation". All-Encompassing Sorcerer's Sight makes its return from previous editions, and as always it gives the Solar the ability to see sorcerous workings and other persistent magical effects. This becomes a free effect at the iconic anima level with Sorcerer's Burning Chakra, and is a prerequisite for one of the capstones, Spirit-Drawing Oculus. Also only usable at the iconic level, this Charm is nicely described as sweeping up all the stray fragment of essence that have fallen into Creation's couch cushions, too small to be worked but taken together representing a dozen or so motes (on average). The other capstone is Ephemeral Induction Technique, which lets a master occultist conjure forth a spirit from nothing but raw Essence and good intentions. The spirit can then be held in thrall to the occultist as a familiar (subject to the full range of Survival Charms, suggesting a nice Occult/Survival hybrid build) and may be released into the world or have the bond renewed at the turning of the seasons.

Sorcery - I Do What I Want, No Really, Whatever The Hell I Want

Occult is all about the unseen world as it is - parlaying with anything bigger than you and laying the smackdown on anything smaller. Sorcery is unconcerned with what exists and focuses on creations of pure Essence - and notably NOT the Essence of the sorcerer. Sorcery comes in two flavors, spells and sorcerous workings.

Spells are pretty much what you'd expect - codified magical effects that provide a very tangible, set result. There are three circles of spellcraft - Terrestrial (the maximum a Dragon-Blooded sorcerer can perform), Celestian (where Lunars and Siderals max out), and Solar (guess who reigns here?). These are the only Charms per-se in the Sorcery tree; everything else is a spell (which are also purchased with XP, thankfully).

Spells are cast in a method differ from Charms - the sorcerer doesn't volunteer his own essence for the deed but siphons it in from Creation by means of a shaping ritual, which mechanically serves as an extended action until the sorcerer has gathered the necessary number of sorcerous motes (successes). Each sorcerer has at least one shaping ritual - they're intended to allow sorcerers to personalize their magical nature by putting a distinct stamp in how they operate. Fifteen sample shaping rituals are provided - for example, a sorcerer may have been initiated through a pact with one of the mighty ifriti fire lords, in which case their shaping rituals draw upon any nearby flames, adding free successes to each shaping roll in proportion to how much fire they pull in. Each sorcerer is also personalized by having a single control spell, which is a normal spell that they have customized into a more potent, signature version (the nature of which is covered in the spell description).

In combat, shaping rituals are the big gun that requires many rounds (possibly) to fire, and may require the rest of the circle to create a defensive perimeter to allow the sorcerer to charge up. Once shaping has begun it can be paused, but the spell progress degrades slightly every turn that the sorcerer does not continue to shape. Once you've accumulated as many sorcerous motes as the spell calls for, it goes off. Those on the receiving end have a few options as well - a sorcerer can attempt to counter a spell in the process of being cast, although she is at a disadvantage if she does not also know the spell being contested. If the effects of the spell linger, a sorcerer can attempt to distort it after the fact to mitigate it in some way - each spell is differently affected by distortion, as listed in the spell description. If that's not enough, a sorcerer can attempt to undo the spell entirely, which requires a sorcerous working. What's that, you say? Let's find out!

Sorcerous Workings are the last and greatest word in the magical arts. They are long-term, long-lasting, immense undertakings on bar with a craftsman's legendary projects. Possible effects are nearly limitless, but should be fundamentally immaterial in nature to preserve the space between Sorcery and Crafts. However, the system for sorcerous workings is distinct from that of projects, as it has a very different feel. At their core sorcerous workings are extended challenges, with a basic interval of one week. The number of successes is set by the Ambition of the working, with three tiers of Ambition possible in each of the three sorcerous circles. The terminus (how many rolls you can make) of the working is set by the Means, which represents how many resources you have brought to bear on the project. Here the guidelines are fairly fluid, so Storytellers will have to eyeball how much is worth what.

Finally we come to the difficulty of the rolls, and this is dictated by the Finesse of the working. Finesse is chosen by the sorcerer on a scale of 1 to 5, and essentially represents the degree to which the sorcerer can dictate all the consequences of the working. Finesse 5 is the hardest, but assures that you get exactly what you wanted and nothing else. Finesse 1 is essentially a monkey's paw, where you get what you wanted and Oh So Much More. I think this is a pretty elegant system, and sums up the choices a sorcerer must make to gain power. The gaining is assured (more or less), but its how much you care about the consequences that matter. A sorcerer who finds himself running out of time before the terminus can even voluntarily lower the Finesse involved, but each degree of ease will impose a new complication on the final work. Botches are handled similarly - a botch does not end the sorcerous working early, but is a hidden catch that will only be apparent when all is said and done.

Another nice touch is that while spells can be undone with sorcerous workings, it is impossible to undo a sorcerous working by any means. They are woven into the fabric of Creation itself, and once you lay it down you're stuck with it. The most that can be done about an unwanted sorcerous working is, yup, another sorcerous working with the same Ambition and Finesse as the first. The book notes that this is not the same thing as destroying the first working - the two powers are going to be in constant conflict, and while it may seem like everything cancels out there should always be some sort of mystical sparks as the two engines of Essence push against each other.

Solar Spotlight - An Unlimited Number Of Shotguns

One problematic Charm aside (Immortal Soul Vigil), Occult is a solid if unremarkable Charm tree. It only offers a limited number of ways to interact with the spirit world that don't involve hitting them or trapping them, but that's because you are intended to also be able to call upon social influence to resolve conflicts with spirits. Demon-Compelling Noose is helpful in getting your way, but it's something of a blunt instrument and while it may command obedience you won't get loyalty without actually persuading.

It's unclear the degree to which spirits are intended to function as familiars outside of Ephemeral Induction Technique - I've looked through the book and can't seem to find any firm text on the subject. They would be significantly more powerful than animal familiars, with the ability to Join Battle independently without a Charm, materialize as needed and call upon their inherent Charms. Were it my table, I'd say it was fair game if you could persuade a spirit to work with you, but that relationship will have a lot more give and take than just keeping your tyrant lizard fed and healthy.

Sorcery, by comparison, is absolutely great. The spells break down into either combat magic or large-scale plot coupons, and by my extremely rough math are worth the actions it takes to cast them in combat. The spells might seem to suffer a bit with the problem that when all you have is Rain of Doom, all you see are ways that problems can be solved with Rains of Doom - if it weren't for the sorcerous working system which is a high point.

It's another downtime system, which the game needs plenty of to incentivize stepping back for everyone. It's also distinct from Crafts for a good reason - Crafts is about reliably putting the work in and getting a tangible reward, whereas sorcerous workings encourage a certain amount of risk-taking. The Finesse system is a great narrative negotiation between player and Storyteller, and it leads to more interesting stories than just "ritual fizzles, you lose your 5000gp diamond". Note that high Ambition projects can require 75-100 successes, and there are no Charms to increase the potency of your rolls to complete the working - everything comes from having enough Means and Finesse, so have your poo poo together before you start building a permanent gate to the demon realm.

Next time - Bureaucracy, When All Else Fails

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


Bubblegumshoe makes me want to run a Brick game (though JGL solved at least one problem by punching it, it also lead to a social connection).

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012




Chapter 5: Characters, Part 1
Welcome, finally, to the chapter meant to be directly of use to players in creating their characters. I'm still genuinely unsure why GURPS setting books seem to like having the player information be after the GM information, especially when you have to go all the way to page 182 like you do here. Wouldn't it be more sensible to have that kind of thing up front and center like you see in most Dungeons and Dragons titles? Oh well, I don't work for Steve Jackson Games, so I'm sure there's some arcane methodology to this manner of layout that I'm simply not privy to.


Starting Points
Like 3E setting books before it, GURPS Banestorm provides a sliding scale of power levels – and, subsequently, point buy cost totals – that you can utilize in the world of Yrth. Just as the idea of setting books such as GURPS Banestorm in the 4E era quickly died out with the 4E era in favor of "pre-built genre toolkit" titles such as GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, GURPS Action, GURPS Monster Hunters, and the recently released GURPS After the End, so too did the idea of sliding point buy scales, those toolkit titles instead favoring a single power level. It's one of those little vestiges of the Third Edition mentality that stuck around for only a tiny bit of a time and stands out here like a time capsule. Regardless, the starting points are as follows.
  • Ordinary Folks/Heroes by Necessity (25 to 75 points): At this level you're a bunch of village nobodies who are forced into adventure to survive. While this is primarily intended to be something for what the book refers to as a "gritty one-shot" rather than a full campaign, it also considers the fact that you could have a long-term series of adventures going further and further up in points as what started out as a necessary action turns into a profession.
  • Heroes in the Making (75 to 125 points): The level of hometown heroes and greenhorn adventurers. This is the starting point where you're probably not going to die horribly to a wolf or anything, but there's still a large chance for monsters to kick your teeth in on a bad day.
  • Professional Adventurers (125 to 175 points): This is the point where you are capable of "cinematic" levels of combat and are respected as actual adventurers. The book recommends 150 points to be the optimal level for a campaign.
  • Great Names on Yrth (175 to 250 points): Congratulations, you're now a mid-tier Dungeons and Dragons character. You're both famous across the land and have the power, skills, wealth, or some combination thereof to back it up.
  • Living Legends (250+ points): This is the point where you shed your bonds and become a full-fledged high fantasy character. Living Legends are the people who go out and slay dragons, punch wizards, and generally do amazing feats of heroism. Of course, everything's relative. According to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, this is the type of point buy a standard Dungeons and Dragons-style character should have, and GURPS Monster Hunters assumes that your gonzo high urban fantasy action heroes are going to be using packages of 400 to 450 points. Turns out that different authors have different opinions on how to define power scales, who knew.



Designing Characters
This section is basically "what traits should I/shouldn't I take on Yrth?", which is one of those things that's valuable to someone actually playing but not so much to someone just reading, so let's summarize it and move on.

Advantages
The big thing here is technology. Not only are you going to be spending points on the High TL advantage because your home Tech Level is suddenly super-advanced, but going out in the open with an AK-47 or an Abrams tank (assuming you somehow got an Abrams tank through a Banestorm anyway, just work with me here) means every archmage on the continent wants you murdered, mindwiped, or mindwiped and then murdered for good measure. Due to the lack of world-hopping in the setting, the world hopper advantage Jumper is banned, or simply has a -25 penalty to rolls if you are combining GURPS Banestorm and the GURPS Infinite Worlds setting. Power Investiture (basically D&D Cleric god-magic) is also verboten, as all magic on Yrth is either of the wizardly variety or a Mysticism power regardless of whether you are faithful or not.

There are a few new advantages as well. Social Regard (Good Neighbor) is a social advantage that has people regard you as a great neighbor who they wish to be friendly with and do small favors for, while the rest are talents. A talent, if you don't know, is an advantage that grants a +1 bonus per level to a cluster of skills of a certain theme, as well as a +1 reaction bonus with a certain group of people. The talents presented here are Born War Leader (bonus to a number of soldiering and tactical skills and better reactions with soldiers and warriors), Close to Heaven (bonus to theological rituals of various sorts and exorcisms and better reactions with religious academia), and Halfling Ranged Weapon Talent (bonus to skills related to bows and all thrown weapons and better reactions with archers; can only be taken by halflings).

Disadvantages
No banned disadvantages, but a fair amount of new ones, all of which are social disadvantages in one of two categories. For new Codes of Honor that dictate certain actions you have to take, there's Arab (never ignore an insult to you, your family, or your religion, be hospitable and kind to guests in your house), Elven (don't do needless harm to nature, be beautiful and elegant in all you do), Halfling (be a stereotypical Tolkien hobbit), Northman's (be truthful and honor your promises, seek bloody vengeance in open combat for the death of someone in your family), Sahudese (always strive to preserve face, dedicatedly follow orders, respect your elders and the spirits), Stays Bought (never turn away from a job you've already taken money on), and Theatrical (the show must go on no matter what, and you can bend the truth but never outright lie when on stage). There are also new Social Stigmas, which influence what others think about you: Perceived as an Animal (you are a sapient animal but few people actually know that, so they are likely to treat you as they would a non-sapient member of your species), Barbarian (a variant of Minority Culture for someone who is "the other" somewhere else rather than a likely present minority), and Known Criminal (a variant of Criminal Record where you are actively branded with some mark or wound that says you are a criminal).

Skills
Alchemy and Chemistry are one and the same in the world of swords and sorcery that is Ytarria, Astronomy still follows the same rules as you'd expect in a non-magical solar system, and any other science skill gets rolled up into one primitive pseudo-scientifical practice skill called Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy). You also obviously won't be seeing skills for technology that isn't around on Yrth unless you decided to keep them on your high Tech Level character rather than handwave them away as being lost for whatever reason or retrained or whatever excuse you'd make. Oh, and in perhaps one of the few mechanical moments that makes me give a , the skill Exorcism suffers a -8 penalty, or -4 if you have the advantage True Faith. This is explicitly stated to be so that it's inferior to casting the Banish spell. So...why not just remove the Exorcism skill entirely if you are that determined you want wizards to be the best ghost busters and demon denouncers out there?



Nonhuman Races
While some of the species found on Ytarria that aren't humans were covered way back at the start of chapter 2, there are even more that apparently weren't special enough to be in the People of Ytarria exposé.

Djinni (627 Point Template)
The djinn are, as noted in the section of the Djinn Lands, actually a combination of a human vessel and a magic thought-elf called an Ascended One. The stats here specifically refer to the Ascended One, as the human part of the djinni is just a normal human wizard save for the addition of the Reprogrammable and Secret (Host to a Super-Powered Spirit) disadvantages. The Ascended One itself is a powerful being: small bonuses to Dexterity and Health combined with a big boost to IQ, Fatigue Points, and Hit Points, agelessness, no need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe, immunity to metabolic hazards and most mind-affecting effects, incorporeality that is enhanced by still being able to affect corporeal objects with their touch, invisibility, and mind reading and possession powers. On the downside, Ascended Ones are isolationist, stubborn, and kind of dense when it comes to social interaction. While not an actual codified part of the template, all Ascended Ones are wizards and have lots of spells under their belt.

Dolphins (92 Point Template)
A sapient dolphin. They do dolphin things, but also sing long sea chanties in dolphin-speak and tell puns. Sea elves and merfolk are their friends, shark men are their enemies, and land dwellers think they're just regular dolphins. Mechanically, dolphins have a bit of a boost to Dexterity and Health and a large boost to Strength, have a great sense of direction and acute vision, can hold their breath for a decent amount of time, can use echolocation and ultrasonic hearing/speech, live somewhat shorter lives than other sapients, are impulsive and curious, have stone age technology, and have natural ranks in the Aquabatics skills.

Gargoyle (5 Point Template)
Gargoyles come from the desert world of Gabrook, just like goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds do. Indeed, they even look like goblinoids with wings and scaly gray hides. Where goblins and gargoyles diverge even further than appearance is attitude, however: the latter are dim-witted layabouts that have eyes bigger than their stomachs, and few other species are willing to tolerate them. Some gargoyles find employment as thieves, but most are scavenging skulkers found either in the upper layers of densely packed cities or in the wild mountain ranges of Ytarria. The mechanics of the gargoyle involve a small penalty to Strength and IQ but a boost to Health, blunt claws, winged flight, damage resistance on par with an alligator or shark, excellent night vision, gluttony, ugliness, laziness, and a disdain for learning. A standard adult gargoyle is the size of a goblin, but those that survive to age 50 increase to human size, and the individuals that somehow manage to make it to a century old get to be Size Modifier +1 like giants. There are Strength and Damage Resistance increases with these size boosts, but just how much of a boost that is is left up to the Game Master rather than stated outright.

Insect Man (29 Point Template)
Remember the weirdly clever giant insects mentioned in the tour of Zarak? These are those. They actually look very human-like, face for their large bug eyes, bronze chitin, and antennae, so it's a mystery how the dwarves ever assumed they were regular insects. Another mystery is where they come from. It's believed that the insect men may have come from Gabrook, but the fact that they only appeared over the last ten years is particularly odd if that's the case. Regardless of their origins, the fact remains that the insect men are learning quickly, breeding quickly, and are coming ever closer to overrunning the dwarves on the edge of the Great Desert.

Stats-wise, the insect men have Strength and Health +1, the same damage resistance as gargoyles, silent movement, and racial telepathy through their hivemind for benefits, but have the drawbacks of being mute, shy, dedicated to their colony, unattractive, and uncomfortable when not in a group. The warriors of the hive have a 25 point template that is slightly different, with +3 Strength and +2 Health but -1 IQ, slightly more damage resistance, four arms instead of two, poor hearing on top of their muteness, a few decades shorter lifespan than most sapients, and a total lack of free will.

Intelligent Animals
Some other sapients besides the dolphins of Ytarria show up here. Oddly enough, they are in a sidebar and declared to be optional parts of the setting, ignorable by "GMs who dislike talking animals". One can only wonder why the Ecco race didn't get the same treatment. Anyway, three of these guys, so let's go over them quickly.
  • Great Eagle: Giant bald eagles with bodies the size of a man and twelve foot wingspans, the great eagles are found up in the heights of the Bronze Mountains. They cannot speak any other species' language, but they have one htat involves a lot of screeching noises and body posturing. While typically not the kindest of creatures and very territorial, great eagles are strangely drawn to deeply religious individuals, and often seek to help them. A great eagle's stats aren't that surprising for a big eagle beyond an IQ score only a point less than the average human, having winged flight, sharp claws and an equally sharp beak, a loner mindset, and keen eyesight. Their main statistical anomaly is Sense of Duty (To the Pious and Very Holy), related to that whole thing they have about religious devotees.
  • Noble Horse: Horses as smart as humans, found deep in the wilderness. While they can't speak, they have natural telepathy that allows them to communicate. Stats-wise, they're nothing to write home about. I mean, it's mechanically just a horse with no IQ penalty and added telepathy, what more can I really say?
  • Wise Owl: These owls are big, but not giant – about the size of the real world Eurasian eagle owl. Their big gimmick (besides, again, the whole human or near-human intellect all these guys have) is that they can learn Elven and Anglish and also have the Intuition and Oracle advantages. Their ability to see signs and portents and figure out optimal choices to make has turned them into a species of feathery Mary Worths, taking delight in meddling in the affairs of humanoids that wander into their deep forest homes.


Medusa (139 Point Template)
Medusas are an always female species that may or may not be actually one of the Elder Races of Yrth that just got written out of the history books. They resemble elf, orc, or human women with snakes instead of hair, and have a 50/50 chance of either having normal skin colors for their apparent species or having the same color patterns as their snakes spread across their body. Medusas, unsurprisingly, have a petrifying gaze, and it's this gaze that has led to the medusas living deep in the wilderness most of the time. Turns out that those eye beams are actually hard to control, and accidentally turning people to stone doesn't get you many friends.

The medusa's petrifying gaze is straight up a normal "I make a Will check intentionally, you make a Health check in response, we see who wins" Affliction advantage in the standard racial template provided, which is stated to cover an experienced medusa. Medusas with less skill in handling their eye shots, however, suffer from having the Unreliable or even Uncontrollable limitations put on their petrifying gaze to reflect their lack of control. Other than her trademark ability, a medusa gets a small bonus to Dexterity, IQ, and Health attributes, an immunity to other medusas' gaze attacks, innate Magery, and a weak impaling attack with her snake hair that carries venom with it. A medusa's disadvantages are a dislike (but usually not outright intolerance of) other sapient species and the social stigma of being a monster.

Octopus Folk (239 Point Template)
A species human-sized octopus with human level intellects. Not much is known about them, as they tend to keep to themselves, but anyone trespassing near their lairs are typically warned off with sharp coral spears. They might be from Yrth, or they might have come in from Olokun, but nobody's really sure about anything with these guys.

Their mechanics are pretty much exactly what you'd expect from an octopus, with a sharp beak that carries a mild toxin, eight arms, color changing and elasticity, ink cloud production, regrowth of lost limbs, and a big streak of curiosity.

Sphinx (140 or 170 Point Template)
Sphinxes hail from Loren'dil, the same land as the halflings, centaurs, minotaurs, and giants. Sphinxes have several different breeds, but all have the same general body plan of a human head on a big cat's body. Most sphinxes are leonine sphinxes, which have lion bodies and the wings of eagles on their backs, but there are also pantherine sphinxes (extremely rare, with black panther bodies and bat wings) and tigrine sphinxes (tiger bodies and no wings at all). Sphinx forepaws have slightly opposable thumbs, allowing them to have somewhat clumsy but nonetheless present manipulative capabilities. Sphinxes are clever and love to learn new things, but also suffer from a murderous hunger and loner attitude, which often come in conflict. A potential prey item can win their survival by intellectually stimulating a sphinx, and some villages have even taken to feeding sphinxes some of their livestock in exchange for use of the sphinx's wisdom as both an adviser and a judge.

Sphinxes have a big boost to Strength and Dexterity and a small boost to IQ and Health, tough hides, sharp claws, good night vision, poor grip, curiosity (especially pronounced with intellectual pursuits), bloodlust, a solitary nature, and natural ranks in the Brawling and Running skills. Both leonine and pantherine sphinxes have winged flight for a maximum of 170 points, while the tigrine sphinx is the 140 point racial template due to a lack of that flying power.

Spirits
AKA the guys the Sahudese pray to. Spirits are found all over Sahud, manifesting as the genii loci of various things large and small. Spirits aren't so much a species as they are a state of being. All of them have the Spirit meta-trait, which means they don't eat, drink, sleep, or breathe, are ageless, and are invisible and incorporeal. Other mechanical traits are all "mosts" or "almost alls" rather than certainties: most spirits have a lower IQ attribute than humans but high Perception and Will attributes, a lot of them have Selfish and Proud disadvantages, and a vast majority of them have Dependency to whatever they are a spirit of. A sample template is given for a spirit of local springs, which has features such as water-only telekinesis (because this was printed before GURPS Powers, which would add the Control [Element] advantage to the game), the ability to heal blood and bladder disorders, and temperature control that only affects water.

Troll (171 Point Template)
Trolls resemble goblins brought up to the size of a giant, and are yet another species from the desert world of Gabrook. Strangely enough for being denizens of Fantasy Tatooine, trolls actively seek out wet, humid areas and are great swimmers. Those on Ytarria tend to live in semi-submerged caverns, deep and wet forests, under bridges, or in sewers, though the latter two locations tend to lead to them being hunted down by monster slayers pretty fast. Trolls are horribly violent misanthropes with everyone but their blood relatives, who they instead treat with care and will quickly avenge any harm done to them.

Trolls have a lot going for them mechanically. On the plus side, they've got a big ol' Strength attribute boost, decent HP and Perception attribute boosts, small boosts to the Dexterity and Health attributes, extra land and water movement speed, a great sense of smell, the ability to hold their breath even longer than dolphins, clawed hands and sharp teeth, leathery hides for damage resistance, a high tolerance for pain, D&D-style darkvision, particularly long arms, wound regeneration that is bypassed by acid and fire (but not limb regrowth, as those are considered two different things unlike in D&D), immunity to disease and fear effects, the ability to eat almost anything, and natural ranks in the Brawling and Swimming skills. On the downside, though, they've got -1 IQ and are bloodthirsty, callous to the feelings of others, isolationist, gluttonous, curious, vulnerable to fire and dehydration. Oh, and they eat other sapients, which is kind of a big social faux pas if you hadn't heard.


Next Time in GURPS Banestorm: The other half of chapter 5, as I actually ended up nearly coming close to the post length limit. Cursed souls and templates for occupations are coming up.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy


I must say I really like this art.

Lynx Winters
May 1, 2003

Borderlawns: The Treehouse of Pandora

GURPS didn't stop making setting books, they just stop making softcovers of them when e23 took off. Age of Gold and Solar Patrol are real cool.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

That definitely took a bit for you to circle around. I think there was a point there was supposed to be music and it just goes to silence and then back to the talk? Also, what about Jolly Rancher Watermelon soda? Because for me that's the worst soda I've ever tasted. Try it sometime! Let me know how awful you think it is. Because watermelon flavor, amirite?

And I'm inclined to think J.U.N.K.H.E.A.D. is now official Rifts canon as far as I'm concerned.

poo poo, did I leave a silence in there? Dammit. It was probably supposed to be a music cue or something. Also yeah. J.U.N.K.H.E.A.D. rules. He's definitely going in my next game.

gradenko_2000 posted:

This was supposed to be an Afterthought question but I guess it works well here too:

What do you even do in a game of RIFTS?

Like, you have a party of 3 to 4 players, one's a Juicer, another's a Glitterboy, and then one of the Psychics, and then a Leylinewalker, and they start off in ... a city? And they're supposed to ... fight the Coalition or something? What does a campaign arc look like? Is it just "we go around the devastated United States and enter whatever point on the map looks cool, combat and shenanigans ensue"?

I think the core book does a worse job of selling an adventure idea than basically any other Rifts book. Vampire Kingdoms has a great thing where you sign up with a crazy merc company and fight vampires in little Mexican towns, and Triax puts you in a big war with the Gargoyles, and Atlantis is great for playing as escaped gladiatorial slaves trying to get the hell off the island, etc. The core book though, I've always thought that despite all the psychics and dragons and so on, it basically seems to be trying to sell players on being in the Coalition. Full class writeups and a stronger sense of what the Coalition actually does all day really seems to encourage that players just sign up and go fight Simvans in the hinterlands with some skelebot backup.

Also thanks for the intro compliment. I was bored during a work meeting the other day and brainstormed about 30 new ones of which Jon gleefully rejected about 26. Granted, a lot of them were really dumb. I think one was just "Second person POV intro...?"

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



theironjef posted:

poo poo, did I leave a silence in there? Dammit. It was probably supposed to be a music cue or something. Also yeah. J.U.N.K.H.E.A.D. rules. He's definitely going in my next game.


I think the core book does a worse job of selling an adventure idea than basically any other Rifts book. Vampire Kingdoms has a great thing where you sign up with a crazy merc company and fight vampires in little Mexican towns, and Triax puts you in a big war with the Gargoyles, and Atlantis is great for playing as escaped gladiatorial slaves trying to get the hell off the island, etc. The core book though, I've always thought that despite all the psychics and dragons and so on, it basically seems to be trying to sell players on being in the Coalition. Full class writeups and a stronger sense of what the Coalition actually does all day really seems to encourage that players just sign up and go fight Simvans in the hinterlands with some skelebot backup.

Also thanks for the intro compliment. I was bored during a work meeting the other day and brainstormed about 30 new ones of which Jon gleefully rejected about 26. Granted, a lot of them were really dumb. I think one was just "Second person POV intro...?"

I've said it before, Rifts seems like the ultimate murderhobo game in just the way it's setup. You travel from town-to-town which can't help themselves and either helped them out against mega-damage baddies that they can't defend against and/or wiped them out due to a misunderstanding and based off the sheer power difference between a party and the town. The last Rifts game I ran intentionally ripped off The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai since the whole "it takes a gunslinger/samurai to defeat other gunmen/samurai" trope works really well with Rifts given how mega-damage works and the abilities of the Juicer, Crazy, or just powered armor and mecha in general.

I believe the contrary evidence to the encouraging the players to be Coalition is that the Coalition section is separate from everything else, making it difficult to compare or reference weapons and armor from that section. I always took it that Coalition section, because Siembedia was an old grognard, was meant to generate consistent NPCs since that's likely his Justice Guild belief believed that NPCs should be made just like player character, even grunts.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

kaynorr posted:

It's unclear the degree to which spirits are intended to function as familiars outside of Ephemeral Induction Technique - I've looked through the book and can't seem to find any firm text on the subject. They would be significantly more powerful than animal familiars, with the ability to Join Battle independently without a Charm, materialize as needed and call upon their inherent Charms. Were it my table, I'd say it was fair game if you could persuade a spirit to work with you, but that relationship will have a lot more give and take than just keeping your tyrant lizard fed and healthy.

Twilight Castes have the ability to bind spirits as familiars (with an insultingly easy roll by the way), which strongly implies they're the only ones who can do it

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




theironjef posted:

I think the core book does a worse job of selling an adventure idea than basically any other Rifts book. Vampire Kingdoms has a great thing where you sign up with a crazy merc company and fight vampires in little Mexican towns, and Triax puts you in a big war with the Gargoyles, and Atlantis is great for playing as escaped gladiatorial slaves trying to get the hell off the island, etc. The core book though, I've always thought that despite all the psychics and dragons and so on, it basically seems to be trying to sell players on being in the Coalition. Full class writeups and a stronger sense of what the Coalition actually does all day really seems to encourage that players just sign up and go fight Simvans in the hinterlands with some skelebot backup.

Before I really knew what was up with how Simbieda seems to think games are run, I always assumed it was a bunch of weirdos (Rogue Scholar, Mind Melter, whatever) versus dragons and robo-Nazis. Like most games of its time, it just gave you a bunch of rules for all that poo poo, even though you shouldn't need so much drill-down into the faceless mooks you fight. I still kind of suspect this is where it at least started, but like everything else Palladium it just drove a flaming bus into crazy-town.

My first real exposure to Rifts was a giant game of like a dozen people as vampire hunters in Mexico. It was loving awesome, but I quickly lost interest because even as a teenager I had little patience for the foibles of gaming groups that exceeded six or so people. I tried getting into another game, but it was corebook-only and the GM had nothing to back up the promise of the game. We spent two whole sessions as a bunch of poo poo-tier adventurers cowering in a town being inspected by Coalition badasses, then someone made a mistake and all our SDC asses died near instantaneous MDC deaths.

Ever since I've never gotten much into Rifts, even though I read quite a few worldbooks because of the cover or basic pitch.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 09:15 on Jun 17, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




My wife has not forgotten about Kult, and still really wants me to run this some time.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Halloween Jack posted:

My wife has not forgotten about Kult, and still really wants me to run this some time.

Hack Don't Rest Your Head and run it. Kult's mechanics seemed janky as gently caress and DRYH does a good job of making the player balance pushing themselves to their own deaths against pulling off some desperate gambit.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Can I get a recommendation for an RPG podcast? (aside from System Mastery, of course-love them but I've listened to all the episodes)

EDIT: New patch dropped for FFXIV if anyone was wondering why my updates have slowed down.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I once tried to read DRYH, and didn't get any farther than the part where it tells you that you need black dice, white dice, red dice, pocket change, and two bowls. I probably wouldn't use the Kult system as written but I'd probably also just use some basic functional system instead.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

SirPhoebos posted:

Can I get a recommendation for an RPG podcast? (aside from System Mastery, of course-love them but I've listened to all the episodes)

EDIT: New patch dropped for FFXIV if anyone was wondering why my updates have slowed down.

We have a thread just for that!

I would personally recommend Roleplaying Public Radio. A lot of their latest content is for Red Markets, an as-yet-unreleased-but-being-kickstarted system written by one of their group, but their Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, Night's Black Agents and Delta Green campaigns have all been both a pleasure to just enjoy as a spectator, and a massively informative as a GM.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Halloween Jack posted:

I once tried to read DRYH, and didn't get any farther than the part where it tells you that you need black dice, white dice, red dice, pocket change, and two bowls. I probably wouldn't use the Kult system as written but I'd probably also just use some basic functional system instead.

I reviewed it way back when: http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/flavivirus/dont-rest-your-head/.

Any sort of tokens will sub in for the coins, and so long as you keep pools seperate you don't need 3 different dice colours, though I think it'd be a little lacking.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Lynx Winters posted:

GURPS didn't stop making setting books, they just stop making softcovers of them when e23 took off. Age of Gold and Solar Patrol are real cool.
Apologies, I was trying to imply that they had been mostly phased out, not entirely.

I have Age of Gold on the docket for a future review, and I plan on buying Tales of the Solar Patrol next time there's another GURPS book that gets released and I want to grab a few things from SJG together.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I just want to say a brief thank you to this thread for the games it's shown me over the years. Feng Shui's rules system might be dogshit, but the setting was great and I got a lot of good gaming out of it anyway. And my players are really happy this thread introduced us to Double Cross because it is working real good for a Parasite Eve game.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


theironjef posted:

I think the core book does a worse job of selling an adventure idea than basically any other Rifts book.

It doesn't really sell any adventure ideas, as far as I can tell. The original Rifts presumes you're already familiar with other RPGs and offers effectively zero guidance on campaign, adventure, or party structure. It doesn't even have the boilerplate "This is what an RPG is!" sections most Palladium books used where it asks you envision dealing with a guy robbing a bank and have you ponder on what you would do in that situation, and then just alters the guy from supervillain to mutant animal to micronized Zentraedi based on the game. That last one isn't an exaggeration.

Even Rifts Ultimate Edition doesn't offer much great advice other than "players, you should really think about and come up with a cool idea of what to play, GMs, you should find out how to best accommodate them". Most of the GM section is turned over to guiding you on what other Rifts books you might need to buy in a passive-aggressive "Oh, you don't need any other books, trust us, but should you want any, here's a huge list of them to consider..."

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




I remember that KODT comics joke about an RPG tagline "not for sissies".
Would you say that Rifts takes about that amount of ?

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


BattleTech - A Time of War


Character Creation Part 4 - Attributes & Traits

So with the Module portion of CharGen over, its time to optimize your XP distributions. After going through all those Modules, pretty much all of Shunsui's Attributes, Traits and Skills are a couple XP away from their next full level. He can leave it at that, or free up some XP to reduce the XP Pool in question to its next lowest level. He can also completely remove unwanted Traits that are too many XP away from their first actual level.
As for negative Traits, he has to further go into the negatives until they've reached their first level.
On top of that, his military Modules also come with certain minimum Attribute scores, and his Edge Attribute has gone into the negatives, but requires a minimum investment of +100 XP like every Attribute. With that out of the way, he currently looks like this:

STR 1
BOD 1
DEX 4
RFL 4
INT 3
WIL 3
CHA 3
EDG 1

A bit dreadful considering that 4 is the lowest level at which you no longer gain a penalty to your roll (not to mention that he'll instagib at the slightest provocation), but as mentioned, Attributes aren't finalized until later.

Traits also come in different levels - called Trait Points (TP). All TP are worth the same, but Traits only have a handful of TP totals were they actually do anything. Having Good Hearing for example is just 1 TP aka 100 XP, while having a Sixth Sense requires 4 TP.

Now lets look at the Traits Shunsui has gotten himself during his career...

Combat Sense is an expensive little bugger (requiring a total of 4 TP) that improves Initiative rolls and offers bonuses in stressful out of combat situations and to resist getting stunned or surprised. As Shunsui only has +100 in it and is running a bit short in XP, he'lll drop it for now.

Compulsion handles anything from little personality quirks (at -1 TP) up to outright insanity (-3 TP and beyond). Shunsui has two of them at -1 TP, one for his xenophobia and the other for his paranoia towards his own government. A very conflicted fellow indeed.

Connections means that you have, well, connections. You can use them to get some intel, cash or equipment.

Enemy is sort of the opposite of Connections, in that there is an NPC or group of NPCs that is more or less directly working against you. An Enemy is always stronger than the character this Trait has, and at Shunsui's -1 TP, he or she has +20% more XP.

Equipped determines a character's access to personal equipment, which is rated in Tech Level, Availability and Legality. This is also one of those Traits that typically only do something at character creation, but the book helpfully tells us that this doesn't have to be the case. Yay~.
As Shunsui has more TP in Equipped than Connections (2 vs 1), he generally won't need use his Connections to get guns and stuff. Then again Equipped only really does something at character creation...

Extra Income means a character has some investments, properties or whatnot going on that provide a steady stream of monthly income. Having this at negative TP denotes a debt of some sort. At 1 TP, Shunsui earns 250 C-bills on top of his MechWarrior salary (which is somewhat around 1,500, but the exact calculation is later in the book). He certainly doesn't need to worry about buying replacements for his personal weapons with that much cash.

Fit grants the character extra endurance. He gains an additional modifier to rolls featuring STR or BOD, and he suffers less Fatigue from strenuous activities. He only has +15 XP in it and would require a total +200, not to mention that it doesn't fit his character. So away it goes.

Patient Grants a bonus to checks where one has plenty of time to focus and concentrate. Sounds alright and not too expensive to active it (he has +25 XP and needs another 75 XP), so we'll keep it around.

Rank is a very important one for military campaigns. The higher the rank, the more a character has to say.
The exact rank depends on whether or not the character is an officer or merely enlisted. Clanners also have their own ranks without such a distinction.
Thanks to the officer school, Shunsui can take the Officer ranks, and he in fact needs a minimum of 4 TP to have the O1 Ranks, better known as Lance Leader (a Lance being a group of four 'Mechs). At 470 XP, he could easily bump this up to O2 (a Company Second), but that sounds a bit much for a 19 year old without much experience. Lets keep the partial investment so he can get promoted faster.

Reputation is self-explanatory, and can go both positive and negative. At 1 TP, Shunsui's is somewhat known.

Vehicle, is as mentioned last time, the dubious Trait that determines your starting vehicle - and only your starting vehicle. The supplement gives this more long-term utility, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
At +265 XP, Shunsui would only qualify for a Light 'Mech. As an officer and Lancer Leader, he ought to get something sturdier, so he spends another 135 XP to gain 4 TP, the minimum for a Medium 'Mech
Since it would cost way too much to actually get to pick a 'Mech or - heaven forbid - design one myself , I'll just roll on the Random Assignment Table (a BattleTech staple) for the Draconis Combine, which the book provides for any period around 3075. The result is...

WVR-8K Wolverine (55 tons)

Now that's what I call a lucky roll.

A Combine-version (note the "K" for House Kurita in the name, and that samurai shoulder padding) of a 'Mech design originally created during the Star League era (a running theme for a lot of designs), primarily build around energy weapons. Its main armament are a PPC (Particle Projector Cannon) and a Medium Laser, both of the state-of-the-art ER (Extended Range) variety, offering some nice (but heat-intensive) punch at long to medium range.
For added oomph at short range, it comes equipped with a head-mounted Medium Pulse Laser (very handy for fast opponents) and a shoulder-mounted SRM-6 (Short Range Missiles, fired in volleys of 6) of the Streak variety (aka the missiles are only fired after a clear lock-on, avoiding wasted ammo). It also comes with CASE (Cellular Ammunition Storage Equipment), which prevents the whole machine from blowing up if a lucky enemy shot hits the missile storage. On top of that, it has quite a lot of armor for its category.
An ovious flaw of the design is that both of its long range weapons are located on the right arm. One blown-off arm later, and the pilot is forced to go into close range. Still, that's a pretty nifty result. And those 55 tons place it at the upper end of what is considered a Medium 'Mech.

Fun fact: The Wolverine is an example of a Reseen, one of those Anime license 'Mechs that disappeared from illustrations for years thanks to license shenanigans until they made a comeback with a new design. The Wolverine in this case was originally a Blockhead from Dougram.


I like to imagine that the head turret was the actual head. Also know that actual handheld 'Mech weapons are so rare that whenever you see a 'Mech that appears to be holding a gun, it's actually just mounted to the arm.

Wealth is yet another Trait that only does something at character creation, namely modifying a character's starting cash. The default is 1,000 C-bills, but Shunsui's 1 TP give him 2,500. Combined with his Equipped Trait, he can actually aquire and buy his own set of MechWarrior gear (Cooling Vest, Neurohelmet, shorts and boots) instead of relying on whatever his higher-ups assign him. Officers got privilege.
He sadly can't start with a Vibrokatana (not Equipped enough), but he could get an ordinary one. Or a Nodachi, but that would be silly inside a cramped cockpit.

Other noteworthy traits Shunsui doesn't have (yet) include:
  • Alternate ID: Provides the character with an alternate identity. Several Traits regarded fame, infamy, connections and wealth are tied to only one identity.
  • Bloodmark: Congratulations, you've pissed someone off so much that there's now a bounty on your head.
  • Citizenship: Some Inner Sphere factions (thankfully not the Combine) require this Trait before one is considered a proper citizen. The Clan equivalent is called Trueborn and makes you a member of the genetically-enhanced Warrior caste, allowing one to get a honorary Bloodname and hail from one of the Clan Phenotypes (aka be a super soldier).
  • Combat Paralysis: The opposite of Combat Sense. Your Initiative is generally worse, and you suck in stressful situations.
  • Custom Vehicle: Used to pimp out a vehicle. 200 XP let you chooce your starting vehicle, 400 XP lets you build it yourself. Clanners have to pay a couple hundred more XP.
  • Design Quirk: Based on the optional BattleTech rule of the same name that assigns little benefits and drawbacks to a 'Mech and other vehicle, in order to give each model more personality. Again only applies to your starting vehicle.
  • Exceptional Attribute: Allows a single Attribute to go slightly above the normal maximum, but doesn't actually raise it. Costs 200 XP and doesn't sound very enticing. You're probably bettre off buying more Skill levels.
  • Fast/Slow Learner: Makes Skills cheaper/more expensive to learn. Slow Learner sounds like it'll seriously hurt in the long run, while Fast Learner at 300 XP is a bit expensive.
  • Glass Jaw: Suffer at least +50% damage from everything. Avoid at all costs. The counterpart Thoughness reduces damage by 25% and is good to have on any soldier or Battle Armor pilot.[/b]
  • Gremlins: Machines just love to malfunction in your vicinity for now adequately explained reason.
  • Prosthetic / Lost Limb: Most kinds of implants and prosthetics in BattleTech don't make you superhuman, but rather just more or less cancel out the penalties you gain from having a lost limb or two. Prosthetics are ranked in Types, with Type 1 being barely better than not having anything at all (a hook, a peg leg, a glass eye), while Type 5 is pretty much just as good as the original body part. Clanners also have access to Type 6 prosthetics, which restore your limb via cloning. The process takes a long while however, so most Clan warriors just go with the quick Type 5.
  • Introvert: You are shy and socially awkward. Definitely something Shunsui will get later in CharGen.
  • Natural Aptitude: Pick a Skill, and now you make checks with it by rolling 3d6 and picking the two highest results. Not particularly worth it seeing how it costs anywhere from 300 to 500 XP, and Skills are generally cheaper.
  • Transit Disorientation Syndrome: FTL travel makes you sick and dizzy, requiring up to 18 hours to fully recover. Now that's a nice one to give to Shunsui later.
  • Unlucky: Grants them GM Anti-Fate points with which to screw the character over. Thankfully recommends to not actively try to murder the PC.

The Fires of Hell

Previously, the not-NPC of this ongoing story have met up and gotten theri assignments. They got pumped full of medicine so they don't end up like the Martians in War of the Worlds, and 'Mech otaku Franz got into some hilarious hijinks when he accidentally spilled some rasperry juice on Luella Hildebrand, a Lieutenant and MechWarrior assigned to this mission for reasons she herself doesn't quite get, but she's just following orders anyways. Seeing how the Lyran military is run by idiots, these reassignments must be pretty typical.

Anyhow, their target is the planet of Rochelle in the system of the same name, all under control by the Word of Blake (also nicknamed "Wobbies" by their enemies). Making use of a pirate point, they enter the system and make their way into the atmosphere with a shuttle.
Unfortunately for them, they get spotted by one to many fighter patrols and end up crashing down. Things are off to a good start.

Your BattleTech infodump of the Day

More Space!

WarShips are scary mofos. They can get pretty darn big and are filled to the brim with capital-scale weapons that can blow cities to smithereens and are generally the worst thing you can be bombarded with aside from nukes.

As KF Drives are very bulky frail, WarShips didn't really become a thing until Compact KF Drives became a thing, which as the name implies are a lot smaller. They also only make up around 42% of the ship's mass, as opposed to a regular Drive that gobbles up whooping 95% (JumpShips really are just a FTL drive with some additional bits stuck to them). With that little breakthrough, WarShips had ample space for heavy armor, weapons, hangar space, and of course docking rings for DropShips.


Being surrounded just means that you can attack in every direction.

As mentioned earlier, the first two Succession Wars had the Houses of the Inner Sphere blow each others' WarShip fleets to Kingdom Come. With no infrastructure to build new KF Drives (let alone the more sophisticated Compact version), WarShips went extinct (outside of ComStar's secret stash) for up until the Clan Invasion.

As with so much else, the Clans never lost the know-how to build WarShips. They where however of little importance for their military doctrine, preferring more honourable ways of battle than glassing everything from orbit. As such, advancements in Clan WarShip design are less pronounced than their are on the 'Mech side of things.

Around the middle of the Clan Invasion era, the Inner Sphere restarted their WarShip industry. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of time, manpower and resources required to build even a single WarShip meant they would never quite reach the prominence they had in the golden age of the Star League - especially not with the much more economically feasible alternative of the Pocket WarShip, a variation of the Assault DropShip (aka a DropShip armed to the teeth with weapons) carrying lots of WarShip-killer weapons, specifically capital missile launchers and later sub-capital weapons (scaled-down versions of the various WarShip guns that can be mounted on smaller vessels).

Next Time: Skills - do you know Kung Fu?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 17:08 on Jun 18, 2016

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