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unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!



Part 4: Combat and Conflict and Demonic Devices

So, at some point, a fight is going to break out. Whether it is a heated debate, two scientists trying to outwit one another in a game of strategy, or just some people fighting to the death (the usual villain stuff) eventually the dice or going to come out and things are going to escalate. For physical combat there are a few steps to follow

Step 1: Declare. Everyone acting in the combat, NPCs included, say what they’re going to do. I use my eye lasers, I distract them, I run away, if you’re a threat or threatened by the conflict you’re probably going to declare. If you’d like you can let people change what they do based on other input. For example if player A says they’re going to charge the superhero and player B says they’re going to throw their portable black hole at the hero, player A may want to reconsider their choice of action. If you’d like something more concrete you can also let people declare in order of their cunning with the lowest declaring first. This means the person with the higher cunning will have a much greater understanding of the fight than the others.

Step 2: Roll. Everyone rolls their dice and picks out which set(s) they want to use.

Step 3: Resolve. At this stage you start implementing the sets. Highest width is resolved first. If there’s a tie for width use the height as a tiebreaker. If the height also matches whoever rolled the most dice wins, or just roll off to see who goes first. Going first can be very important, especially when your action is to block or dodge which must go off before the attack otherwise it’s wasted. If you hit someone before they act they lose a die from one of their sets, though this can be from a set they aren’t currently using but rolled nonetheless. What you do is determined by the width of the set.



As you can see your stats can shift a lot during combat, with Courage being shifted over to Cruelty or Open being shifted to Sly. For mortals, if their Open hits zero they’re dying. If someone says they’re going to kill them they die unless someone else tries to stop them. Lucky for you, the Hellbound (people possessed by demons) have to empty out their Open AND Sly before they can kick the bucket. And given that on a width of 2-3 that dot simply slides between the two it means the attacker will need a set of at least 4 width to put down one of the Hellbound.

It also has rules for mobs of people here. This can apply to any grouping of mortals working together whether it be a mob with torches and pitchforks, a specops team or your grouping of brightly costumed henchmen. They roll a number of dice based on how many there are on a one to one basis and up to 10 dice total. They also gain a combat advantage based on how many of them are armed and how angry or scared they are. Any time you hit them you take out a number of people equal to the width of the set, and the mob flees after a certain portion of them are taken out of the fight.

Intellectual Conflict functions almost identically with a few minor differences. Speed no longer matters for defense, so you can still use a set to defend with even if it has a lower width than your opponents. You also can’t take off someone’s last dot of Open with just mental conflict. You can’t think someone to death, though you can think someone to NEAR death. You also can’t FORCE someone to listen to you, though you can coerce them through social attacks until they’re more receptive. For instance you can't just yell at conspiracy theorist until suddenly they just give up all their beliefs.

Social Conflict is played like intellectual conflict. The only difference here is that with social conflict everyone has an out. You see, when you’re manipulating or being manipulated it’s all to get someone to do something they wouldn’t do otherwise. This means that the defender can avoid the damage from an attack if they comply, which might not be a bad idea. Let’s say you’ve taken a puppy hostage and threaten the police to leave the area or you’ll turn it into a far less adorable animal, like a possum (American, not Australian). You attack the police’s courage and roll great, getting a width of 5. Now if they can decide to leave, and avoid that attack, or they can stay but will lose a dot of Open, which is a big deal.

You can also suffer simple misfortunes which might cause your Tactics or even Strategies to slide, if it’s a relatively minor inconvenience, or disappear, if it’s pretty major or life threatening. This is up to the GM but it recommends only doing so sparingly, after all they’ll probably much things up by themselves given enough time.

The last part of this chapter details an optional rule for Collateral Damage. While it may seem like a lot of fun it does add the potential for the players to commit a LOT of sins they might not ordinarily if given the option. Basically at the end of each combat round you assemble a collateral damage die pool. Using the big flashy powers, lots of people with guns, or a whole lot of people in a cramped space all add to this pool. If you get a set the width determines the severity of the threat, up to deadly at width 5, while height determines how many people are affected. The villains have the opportunity to save those threatened but that also means turning their back on the threat contributing to the collateral damage in the first place.

The upside of being possessed: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Demon

If being possessed was only having something whisper terrible things into your mind it would be annoying, but probably not enough to get someone to commit terrible sins. Luckily demons can also do some things that provide more concrete temptations, like Demonic Devices.

I have no idea what to do with this crap

A demon can guide you through a process which will result in an item with extraordinary powers far beyond what science can accomplish. This is because while science has to obey certain laws like physics, your devices are powered by Hell and anger and spite.

quote:

Some just make their cursed amulets look like cursed amulets and have done with it, but many take the modern approach because (1) they’re mortified of looking like they’re behind the times and (2) it’s hilarious to watch real scientists try to replicate impossible devices. (Until they succeed, like Alexander Graham Bell and his stupid telephone. Arish-Kanneret the Honeyed Voice of Betrayal is still pissed about that.)
So, let’s build something terrible.

Step 1: What does it do
First you figure out what you want it to do, then find out where it fits into the following options.

Environmental Change, Minor: Knocking over walls, uprooting trees, and drilling through steel are all under this category. The rule of thumb is, if it could be done by something that could fit in a 2 door garage it fits here.

Environmental Change, Major: Here is where things would either require a LOT of effort for science to accomplish or science just isn’t there yet. Airships, invisibility cloaks, lightsabers and the like are all in this category.

Environmental Change, Cataclysmic: Nukes, devices that would turn all the gold into lead or a beam which creates volcanoes all fit here. This is the category for things which could cause immediate political and economic upheaval if activated.

Attacks a Tactic: This device can attack a tactic without question. It might be a blamethrower which chews up their Nurture tactic or a poverty beam which damages their Generosity.

Attack with Nastiness: Using this gives you an advantage bonus for attacking a particular tactic in a specific way, the most obvious being using Open Courage(Or Cruelty) to attack Courage for some sort of melee weapon.

Now each of these options will cost you points of Knowledge and/or Generosity. If you’re spending more than 2 points you’re going to need to pick up some flaws in the process.

Step 2: Flaws.

Blatant: When you use the device EVERYONE around notices it. It might have strobe light effects, air horns, sirens, whatever it has it is not subtle.

Bulky: This isn’t something you can just carry in a backpack. You can buy this multiple times, each time making it progressively larger and more awkward to use.

Cooldown Rate: This effects how often it can be used, with the first rank limiting you to using it every other round at the fastest.

Easy Disarm: There’s a huge red OFF switch, a giant lever that says DO NOT PULL or the controller is the ipad you carry around with you which could be yanked out of your grasp. Whatever the method there is a relatively easy way for someone to turn it off without your consent.

Expensive Upkeep: The machine runs on faberge eggs and fresh saffron. If your Generosity drops too low for too long it stops working.

Finicky: Sometimes the machine doesn’t work when you want it to.

Fragile: Well a laser made of glass sounded cool, and it looks really cool, but now it also has a vulnerability to bricks or other hard objects.

Fuel Hungry: This is similar to expensive upkeep but the machine requires something you can’t just buy. Maybe it runs on the tears of children or the blood of the innocent but regardless of what the fuel is it won’t be something you can grab at the gas station.

Palpably Evil: Normal people can tell it’s bad news just by looking at it. They get goosebumps and feel their skin crawl. Particularly sinful people, on the other hand, desperately desire the object.

Rare Components: To build this you’re probably going to have to go on an ADVENTURE or HEIST because to complete this thing you’re going to need something special. The hair from an angel, the skull of deceased royalty, unobtainium, whatever it is it’s special and going to be hard to get to get.

Step 3: Pay the Piper

Now you can start paying the demon the dots of Knowledge and Generosity required by the effects you desire from the device. You can do it all in one go or spread it out over a series of payments. Once this is done your device is good to go and you can go and hold the county hostage or sail the skies or what have you.



Being the Demon


So, you’re also playing the demon to someone else at the table, there are a few things of note. First is that, under normal circumstances you are stuffed in a tiny jail cell inside of them. You can’t hear or see what’s going on outside, you don’t know what they’re thinking or what they’re doing, you’re out of the loop. There are several situations in which this can change however. If their primary Sinful Strategy is greater than their Virtuous Strategy the demon can hear and see whatever is going on around them. Unfortunately this does not allow you to speak but being able to look around can be a huge benefit. If he uses a power or asks for you then you’re allowed to start talking to them for the remainder of the scene.

I'M INSIDE YOU

You can also improve your hosts Sinister Tactics and Strategies but doing so requires two things to happen. First, they must have committed a sin of sufficient evil and you must have witnessed it happening. Second they must also commit this act while you’re able to perceive your surroundings. This means if they kill someone with their bare hands without using powers and their Virtuous Strategy is higher than the Sinister Counterpart you’re out of luck. You didn’t see it so all they have to deal with is the murder charge.



As you can see certain sins correspond to the different Sinister Tactics and levels of improvement for them. If they commit major sins you can even improve their Sinister Strategies.

An Eye for the Divine
When invoked a demon can also identify those around them that are hosting a demon or an angel. Though this can be blocked or obfuscated by the various demonic aspects and powers. For example if they're surrounded by darkness you'll know there's a demon in there but you won't get any more information.

Dragging them to Hell
If you get their Primary Sinister Strategy up to 5 dots that’s when the magic happens. At that point you can take control of their body and prepare to open a portal to hell where they will presumably be tortured for eternity and the demon gains a significant chunk of power in the process. That’s their job after all. The demon might be distracted or infatuated with some of the pleasures afforded to them on earth but their ultimate goal with every host is to drag them kicking and screaming into the inferno.

Demonic Aspects
You’re also the only one who activate your Demonic Aspects, the remnants of your form that you can manifest around your host. If they simply ask for it you can give it and they slide a point from the Virtuous Strategy over to their Sinister Strategy. For the demon this is great. It’s an easy way to rack up the Strategy necessary to drag them to hell. As the demon you can also activate these without their consent by rolling their relevant Sinister Strategy. If you get a set it activates for the rest of the scene. If you fail it still goes off but you slide a point over to their Virtuous Strategy, which is a pretty significant setback. Why would you do this? Well, there are a few reasons. Maybe your demon is a bit of a mischief maker and wants to inject some excitement into their hosts life. There’s also the possibility that the host has been ignoring them or performing too many good deeds so now they have to explain to everyone at the soup kitchen why they’re suddenly sporting a pair of giant bat wings. It can also be used as a threat, that if they don’t do SOMETHING sinful, even if it’s something small, they’ll turn it on during a very inopportune time and let the host deal with the consequences. While suddenly being covered in armor is more awkward than anything, bursting into flames in a highly flammable environment could have catastrophic consequences.

quote:

“I Think, Perhaps, I’ll Be A Jerk”
The ability to activate Aspects blindly runs, head-first and hard, into issues of separating player knowledge from character knowledge. If a demon’s uninvoked and running on a Sinister Tactic deficit, he doesn’t know what’s happening with his mortal. You, the player controlling that demon, may know that the mortal is right in the middle of a tender reconciliation scene with his ex-wife. That would be the worst possible time for a demonic Aspect to kick in, wouldn’t it?
And maybe that’s great fun for all the group. Maybe your mortal’s player loves the opportunity to chew scenery and emote and be livid at his demon. But what do you do if he’s annoyed that you upstaged his scene and turned his high drama into low farce?
If you’re a nice guy and you’ve got a friendly, cooperative group, call a time out and ask player-to-player. “I totally want the demon who’s bored and cooped up to ruin the hell out of this. Please?”
If you’re a more competitive group, just go for it. But understand that the price for putting things on an adversarial footing is that you wind up on an adversarial footing. It’s perfectly in character for a mortal who’s been demonically cock-blocked to decide that demonic help just isn’t worth it. It could be your ticket to more time silenced, not less.
Then again, the conflict is the core of the game. Play it by ear and don’t be a dick.

Demons also have an ace up their sleeve but they are LOATHE to use it. They can grant their host a Master die on a roll, which is great for the host, but doing so ALWAYS slides a dot from the Sinister Tactic over to the Virtuous. Even if the roll is using Greed or Cowardice it always slides from bad to good. Doing something perfect is something only the divine are capable of, and while demons used to be angels remembering it is a painful and shameful experience.

Being the Human

There are a few things the human can do that can help prevent them from just sprinting into the mouth of hell as soon as the game starts. First off is their use of justification. At the end of a scene during which they did something noble or selfless they can slide a point from a Sinister Tactic. At the end of each session they can also slide a point on one of their Strategies to represent long term growth and trying to improve themselves. They can also improve a Strategy by sacrificing a dot from both the Sinister and Virtuous Tactic beneath it.



More good news is the human is entirely in control of the Demonic Powers. You control when and where they’re used. The downside is using a power also wakes up the demon, who can now talk to you and see through you for the rest of the scene.

Endgame
Finally, if the host gets their Primary Virtuous Strategy up to 5 dots they can attempt to exorcise the demon. Of course this isn’t something done lightly because, even if they are successful, they’re now a normal dude hanging around a bunch of costumed villains which might not end well.

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



That Old Tree posted:

The Demon F&F got me kicking around ideas, and it looks like I might be running a game of it soon, so I'm re-reading it myself. Holy poo poo, I forgot all about these loving sidebars full of white text on top of backgrounds full of white patches gently caress YOUUUUU

Maybe this was remarked on earlier; I haven't been following the conversation closely. But, just, goddamn.

White Wolf'd!!

There are some pretty bad sidebar designs in other games too, like Promethean and Mummy's fonts. It gets somewhat better in one or two of the later Demon supplements, which have the sense to add a dark outline around the lettering. Here's one that doubles as a little summary preview of another supplement.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


Young Freud posted:

If it's the same person, then I definitely have a poor opinion of her, because she actually yelled at me when I got another job from another staffing agency. It was super unprofessional.

Well, her Facebook says she lives in San Antonio. So you might be safe now, unless it's con season.

So it turns out that an older version of Nemesis was available at one point as Nemesis: A Perfect World. The Amazon page for the book and the GM screen still exist.

quote:

Now comes the answer to the age old question, "What would you do if you had superpowers?" Nemesis: A Perfect World allows players to create and play any type of super-powered being. The characters they create are based on themselves. The setting is a land created by the prophesied end of the world. This land has all the flash and majesty of a comic book plus the added drama and realism of our own evening news. Here, the fate of your city and country depends not on strange visitors from another planet or specially trained mutants, but you! Includes a forward by Paul Dini.

They refer to the game as "superpunk" because it combines superheroes and cyberpunk. I don't get the impression that the game's setting explores the underbelly of an all superhero society and the socioeconomic and political issues that such a society would have, so it's sort of like modern steampunk in that everybody just likes the aesthetic.

The game has also gone under the title Nemesis: Remix and has a Youtube trailer and unfinished opening comic.

Edit: There was a link to a screamy angry article by Harris about racism in fantasy settings here. (In a nutshell: If you do a Tolkien-esque European setting with mostly white people, you are bad and wrong.) I deleted it because it was kind of off-topic.

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 02:16 on Jun 26, 2016

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Adnachiel posted:

They refer to the game as a "superpunk" because it combines superheroes and cyberpunk. I don't get the impression that the game's setting explores the underbelly of an all superhero society and the socioeconomic and political issues that such a society would have, so it's sort of like modern steampunk in that everybody just likes the aesthetic.

Hahaha, sorry if you combine superheroes with cyberpunk you'll either get an Image Comic, probably from Top Cow; Pat Mills' Martial Law; or Ray Winninger's Underground.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



I'm scared about what that forward from Paul Dini might contain.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Adnachiel posted:

He's technically right, but he doesn't really have room to bitch about racism in games and world-building when every German character he makes is either evil, a Nazi, or a loud dominatrix; every native born Asian character is a magical martial artist; and every American Indian character has the same stereotypical "deed name" sounding name. The Tumblr preteen screaming rant tone, complete with typos, doesn't help either.

There's a lot of issues in fantasy tabletop games and other high-fantasy settings, I actually had gone a long while to see if there's any way to "Fix" the Drow of their unfortunate trappings, but eventually I felt you either have to excise them entirely or rebuild them so much they're no longer Drow.

Unfortunately, as Harris so handily demonstrates, a lot of people who scream about fixing racism end up not really understanding the actual issues, or mistake *any* representation as a positive one. You have to be thoughtful if you want to tackle it.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


I've linked this too many times on this forum and elsewhere, but if you want to read an essay on racism in Tolkien and fantasy in general, here's one by a fantasy author who is much better than Tolkien, Michael Moorcock: http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=953

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Robindaybird posted:

There's a lot of issues in fantasy tabletop games and other high-fantasy settings, I actually had gone a long while to see if there's any way to "Fix" the Drow of their unfortunate trappings, but eventually I felt you either have to excise them entirely or rebuild them so much they're no longer Drow.

Unfortunately, as Harris so handily demonstrates, a lot of people who scream about fixing racism end up not really understanding the actual issues, or mistake *any* representation as a positive one. You have to be thoughtful if you want to tackle it.
When you say "fix the drow" what's the goal there? I mean it seems like a creative project you could tackle but there's a difference between "making them a less preposterous civilization that is nonetheless at least close enough to the way they've been portrayed that the distinctions can be explained as exaggerations," "throwing away everything but the concept of dark-skinned elves who live underground and are fond of spiders," or something in between.

To a certain extent the ideas here involve broad cultural gestalts, I guess you could say, and especially when you're popping a specific name on. "Dark elves" suggest evil or dark skin, vaguely; "Drow" suggests a certain thing, in the same way that "elf" suggests "the civilization of the forest twink archers".

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Basically it was negate the "Dark skin = evil" implication, and the "Wimmenz, they go cray with power" that tends to pop up, though to D&D's defense they've been downplaying both aspects, it's still enough there that someone can run with it.

Closest I got is make them like the otherground races - pale from lack of sun - rely entirely on darkvision, way less self-destructively backstabbing given they share the underdark with Mindflayers and other horrors, realistically they would've all been brainfood with their inability to not backstab a bitch for a short-term gain, and Lloth being very punishment happy towards anyone not prone to this behavior.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Count Chocula posted:

I've linked this too many times on this forum and elsewhere, but if you want to read an essay on racism in Tolkien and fantasy in general, here's one by a fantasy author who is much better than Tolkien, Michael Moorcock: http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=953

Moorcock is throwing some very hefty rocks for living in a glass house.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Young Freud posted:

Hahaha, sorry if you combine superheroes with cyberpunk you'll either get an Image Comic, probably from Top Cow; Pat Mills' Martial Law; or Ray Winninger's Underground.

Marvel's old 2099 series was basically superhero cyberpunk.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


I had an issue of that that predicted a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Judge Dredd counts, if you really stretch the definition of 'superhero'.

Terrible Opinions posted:

Moorcock is throwing some very hefty rocks for living in a glass house.

You live up to your username.

Any random Moorcock story contains more that is original and 'fantastic' than everything Tolkien wrote. And I don't recall anything racist in his stories.

He also wrote a great essay on how reactionary sci-fi is, which I'll link the next time somebody reviews a libertarian space opera game.

Now where's my Jerry Cornelius RPG?

Did anyone review that Dieties & Demogods book with Moorcock's gods?

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 08:41 on Jun 26, 2016

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Angry Salami posted:

Marvel's old 2099 series was basically superhero cyberpunk.

You're right. Honestly, "superpunk" is such a '90s concept that I really couldn't separate it out from the Image era. It's really part of that post-Watchmen Dark Age of Comics worldview.

Count Chocula posted:

I had an issue of that that predicted a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Judge Dredd counts, if you really stretch the definition of 'superhero'.

This is pretty true as well, especially with the more over-the-top villains like Judge Death and the other Dark Judges.

Count Chocula posted:

Any random Moorcock story contains more that is original and 'fantastic' than everything Tolkien wrote. And I don't recall anything racist in his stories.

He also wrote a great essay on how reactionary sci-fi is, which I'll link the next time somebody reviews a libertarian space opera game.

I was just looking to see if Moorcock is still alive (he is), and ran across "Starship Stormtroopers". It sounds like he was probably the first to call out Heinlein's crypto-fascism in "Starship Troopers" as well as H.P. Lovecraft's racism and anti-semitism.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Adnachiel posted:

They refer to the game as "superpunk" because it combines superheroes and cyberpunk. I don't get the impression that the game's setting explores the underbelly of an all superhero society and the socioeconomic and political issues that such a society would have, so it's sort of like modern steampunk in that everybody just likes the aesthetic.

Isn't superhero comics with the "added drama and realism of our own evening news" something most (if not all) superhero comic publishers have done since at least the 90s? Heck, almost every hero who started out in the Golden Age has punched some Nazis at one point or another, so evening news have been there since the beginning.

(With a possible exception being the Comics Code days, but even then you probably had your fair share of evil commie villains.)

EDIT: And wouldn't "superpunk" essentially involve playing as a Lex-Luthor-type of character? Rebelling against those pesky supers?

Doresh fucked around with this message at 14:02 on Jun 26, 2016

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

Doresh posted:

Isn't superhero comics with the "added drama and realism of our own evening news" something most (if not all) superhero comic publishers have done since at least the 90s? Heck, almost every hero who started out in the Golden Age has punched some Nazis at one point or another, so evening news have been there since the beginning.

(With a possible exception being the Comics Code days, but even then you probably had your fair share of evil commie villains.)

EDIT: And wouldn't "superpunk" essentially involve playing as a Lex-Luthor-type of character? Rebelling against those pesky supers?

Hm. It is a thing that was broadly attempted from the 90s through to the 00s, in different ways though. The 90s through adolescent angst and flailing attempts at edginess, the 00s through a really hit and miss "cinematic" approach that produced some interesting stories but also kind of sucked a lot of joy out of the medium (essentially, that kind of thing I think this book is attempting to allude to). At this point, though, a lot of writers are bored of this and have slid back into deliberately making superhero comics somewhat goofy and fun again, with the rational that you can tell interesting and compelling stories even while you're doing that. Your Ms. Marvels, etc.

So... yeah, this game being all like "it's superheroes BUT WITH SERIOUS ISSUES AND POLITICAL DRAMA" comes across as being not only badly out of touch with the medium, but genuinely just really dated as well.

Also, yes, the modern incarnation of Luthor (someone who fundamentally just cannot accept that the motives of characters like Superman are actually pure and benevolent because he does not believe in power being benevolent), but with less resources and cast in a more sympathetic light would make a pretty decent 'punk character.

Gazetteer fucked around with this message at 14:38 on Jun 26, 2016

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Count Chocula posted:

I've linked this too many times on this forum and elsewhere, but if you want to read an essay on racism in Tolkien and fantasy in general, here's one by a fantasy author who is much better than Tolkien, Michael Moorcock: http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=953

Oooh, a Moorcock superfan! You should cover one of the Stormbringer RPGs, or maybe even the edition just called "Elric!" With the exclamation point and everything, like it was a musical.

Nuns with Guns
Jul 23, 2010

....?


Doresh posted:

Isn't superhero comics with the "added drama and realism of our own evening news" something most (if not all) superhero comic publishers have done since at least the 90s? Heck, almost every hero who started out in the Golden Age has punched some Nazis at one point or another, so evening news have been there since the beginning.

(With a possible exception being the Comics Code days, but even then you probably had your fair share of evil commie villains.)

EDIT: And wouldn't "superpunk" essentially involve playing as a Lex-Luthor-type of character? Rebelling against those pesky supers?

Technically modern realism and injection of real-world issues started coming in heavily all the way back in the 1970s in what's labeled now as the Bronze Age of comics. The big surge in comics covering serious topics peaked with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (and on the indie side with Maus), which are also seen as the starting point of the modern comic age due to how drastically they reshaped the direction of superhero comics.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Demon: the Descent

Your average stigmatic is a normal person that, by chance, runs into the God-Machine as it's working on a project or finds an object made by the Machine. Others, however, are sometimes recruited deliberately as part of a Machine cult or a servant of an angel - or of a demon. The warping into a Stigmatic usually happens within a few hours of that first encounter with the Machine, and it can take anywhere from minutes to weeks to manifest. It starts with strange hallucinations and warpings of perception, like being trapped in an endless dream in which the familiar is made strange. The visions are nearly impossible to make sense of and highly traumatizing...but they're better than what comes next. The stigmatic develops a brand which marks them as touched by the Machine. Some leave frost everywhere they touch, others have no reflection, others have glowing, shifting tattoos appear. It is often highly painful as it manifests and clearly not normal. Even if the brands are minor and easily concealed, they leave psychological scars. Once the brand manifests, the visions recede, and the world returns to...some semblance of normal. However, now the Stigmatic can always see where the Infrastructure is, sensing the presence of the God-Machine easily...and, worse, they attract its attention.

Being stigmatic is profoundly harrowing. They know how small they are in the face of the world. Some gain other powers beyond their ability to see the Machine's gears, but even these just draw angelic attention. And while they can see the gears, the human mind is not equipped to make sense of them. Their visions often appear as meaningless gibberish, far more distracting than they are helpful. Those that are not overcome by their perceptions are still lost in a strange and alien world, often becoming obsessed with studying or avoiding whatever caused their transformation. Suicide isn't rare, though most stigmatics hold little hope out for the afterlife. They may try to return to their normal life, but the Machine rarely lets them. Angels seek out stigmatics, though not always for hostile reasons. If a stigmatic repeatedly causes a problem, sure, angels will try to kill them, but if they don't, the Machine just wants to use them. Stigmatics make excellent cultists, test subjects or bait to draw in demons, and the Machine will never ignore something useful.

Demons view stigmatics in a number of ways - as useful informants, potential allies or even as closer ties to the Machine. However, approaching them is always a risk. Not all stigmatics are hiding from the Machine - some serve it, or serve rival demons. Those that are newly made will have little knowledge of use, at that. Still, stigmatics play a crucial role for many rings and Agencies. They are valuable lookouts and contacts, and can be valuable allies for getting cover stories or support. Their ability to see Infrastructure makes them excellent scouts, and some can use supernatural abilities that would risk a demon's Cover if they did it.

Mechanically, stigmatics are created as mortals, with a few extras. First, every stigmatic gets the Unseen Sense (God-Machine) merit free. Second, they all suffer visions as per the Omen Sensitivity merit, but entirely beyond their control. Once per session, the ST can stun them with a vision that they become obsessed with. Third, all stigmatics have a single glitch, always a major brand or major tell. It cannot be cured or removed by any means, but can be suppressed temporarily with Willpower. Finally, stigmatics get 3 extra Merit dots to spend on supernatural Merits.

Cryptids are what happens when an animal or plant becomes stigmatic. In fact, animals are the most common things to breach a facility. Most of them end harmlessly (except for the animal), but sometimes, the animal briefly connects with the design. Animals simply are not intended to perceive the structure of the universe, and when they become stigmatic, weird poo poo happens. Most commonly, they die, but not always. Some are warped to various degrees and escape back into the world as a cryptid. Where stigmatics tend to know better than to operate openly, cryptids work on instinct and have no concept of secrecy. When they threaten to break into the public eye, the Machine deploys 'experts' to explain away their nature. However, it does not hunt them all down or even always notice a cryptid exists. Sometimes this is because eradicating them will draw more attention, while other times it's because a cryptid is useful or subtle enough to be ignored. Demons tend to dislike cryptids because many are capable of sniffing them out by a natural attraction to Aether...but on the other hand, they can be extremely useful to study, and in large numbers they can cause huge problems for God-Machine projects.

Unlike human stigmatics, cryptids have no pattern they follow. They could become anything - a talking dog, a mothman, an invisible creature. However, there are some common traits. Pretty much all cryptids can sense Aether, exactly as per the demonic aetheric resonance, but always on. Many of them possess the same unseen sense that stigmatics do, but not all. (Their aetheric sense is often more reliable anyway.) Cryptids universally do not appear on camera easily. Most show up as blrured silhouettes, with humanoid ones easily mistaken for humans or upright bears, while larger ones seem to blend into the background. Humans have a hard time recalling exactly what they saw in a cryptid, though demons, stigmatics or anyone else that can see past the Machine's veils do not. Most evidence of cryptids in the media tends to vanish quickly, but that's not innately supernatural - that's the Machine quietly scrubbing them from the networks. Angels may allow fringe websites and tabloids to continue, however, as they often do more to discredit cryptids than bring attention to them.

Cryptids are basically giving the ST free rein to create whatever goddamn monster they want. Example powers are given for them, but they explicitly can have whatever kind of power you need them to. Example Cryptids:
The Mothmen! They are a race of giant humanoid bugs that started in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. They are between four and six feet tall, with a wingspan at least twice their height. They have four arms, two legs and buglike eyes, plus pale gray fur. They are carnivorous but mostly eat small game, like squirrels. Newborns are about the size of a clenched fist, but will reach full size within two weeks. There were once over 24 mothmen on the east coast of the US, and the Machine had nearly a dozen angels hunting them from the mid-60s to the late 80s. This is the source of many men-in-black stories.
Reptilians, meanwhile, are...well, reptiles in human skin. They are not as common as conspiracy theorists believe. In their true form ,they resemble giant, humanoid chameleons with human eyes and short tails. They can change their skin color and limb shape to appear as human. They are panicky critters, with strong instincts, and when confronted they tend to drop the disguise and flee. They are useful as spies and informants for both angels and demons, and tend to find quiet work as janitors or security guards. They certainly don't control a drat thing about the human world.

Sometimes, strange alterations to humans are done on purpose. The most common are sleeper agents - humans whose minds have been altered by the Machine to create subconscious programming. Their minds are subtly and deeply reprogrammed, much harder to notice than the gross control possible by use of angelic Numina. They receive secret, embedded commands with specific triggers to bring them out. When triggere,d their personality is suppressed and their directives are enacted. While triggered, sleeper agents' normal personality has no bearing on how they act. They are one of the biggest sources of fear for demons, because anyone who has ever been captured by the Machine could be a sleeper agent. Unfortunately, there is no reliable means to detect them - maybe if you can read memories you might find evidence, but it's always very well hidden, and if you gently caress up you might trigger them.



Next time: Seattle

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


I was surprised to see wereshark show up in the BNW review- just last night I was reading "The Tree is My Hat" by Gene Wolfe, thinking for all the world that the only weresharks that had wormed their way into any crazy 90s/00s metaplot were the Rokea from oWoD. Playing Demon and figuring out how to juggle the players' pacts and agendas would be one thing, but playing a bunch of characters that were born sharks seems like it would be alien in a way that few games can really touch. Maybe there's a White Wolf book from back in the day about playing a character that started life with only instinct suddenly being uplifted into thought and reason, but from my recollection they just kind of gloss over it and give you different starting gifts.

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

There are also the Shark Totem Warriors in Arcana Evolved.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Nuns with Guns posted:

Technically modern realism and injection of real-world issues started coming in heavily all the way back in the 1970s in what's labeled now as the Bronze Age of comics. The big surge in comics covering serious topics peaked with Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (and on the indie side with Maus), which are also seen as the starting point of the modern comic age due to how drastically they reshaped the direction of superhero comics.
This has been going on quite a bit longer than the 80s!

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


Has there ever been a game about either playing as or hunting cryptids? That would be fun, like that kids show, Secret Seven, about hunting cryptids. You could have a Bigfoot/skunk ape/yeti splat, a reptilian one, chupacabras, mothmen...

I just remembered the Feng Shui LuchaCabras. Those guys were perfect.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Count Chocula posted:

Has there ever been a game about either playing as or hunting cryptids? That would be fun, like that kids show, Secret Seven, about hunting cryptids. You could have a Bigfoot/skunk ape/yeti splat, a reptilian one, chupacabras, mothmen...

I just remembered the Feng Shui LuchaCabras. Those guys were perfect.

This is what a lot of people thought/hoped Beast was going to be.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


That kind of sounds like what Little Fears was originally planned to be (a game about children fighting werewolves and stuff), before the guy making it started researching things like real child abuse cases and things went off the rails.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Little Fears is the most impressive game I will never, ever play.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Activism in spandex punchman comics goes as far back as superheroes fighting thinly veiled Fascists before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

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


Superman's first foe was a governor who wrongly sentenced a man to death. He went on to fight crooked slumlords.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



And the KKK.
(when they were still publicly respected, yet)

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




I'm personally fond of the blue and gold robots comic.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I'm still vaguely baffled by the X-Men trying to punch famine in Ethiopia.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Demon: the Descent

I'm skimming over quite a lot of the ST advice - including advice on how to create Interlocks or design God-Machine facilities and plans. Buy the book if you want to read it. Much of it is quite good, but hard for me to summarize and not worth trying to. However, there is a set of directives on playing the God-Machine that I'll summarize here.
  • The God-Machine is neither cruel nor kind. It calculates the most efficient required solution, with preference toward subtlety, and implements it. It will avoid causing collateral damage until it determines that doing so outweighs the potential losses.
  • The God-Machine has biases towards self-preservation, secrecy, and the maintenance of the status quo. Most of its programs involve defending itself, maintaining or hiding its work or trying to do local-scale projects, rather than changing the world. This is not absolute, but sweeping global changes are the exception, not the rule.
  • You should never reveal the God-Machine's decisions or opinions. Let the PCs learn what projects do and try to figure it out from there.
  • The God-Machine is slow to react, but implacable once roused. It will ignore most PCs as individual people, most of the time, except in moments of great crisis. Demons that get more than Primum 3 or 4 count as a crisis, as does the derailing of major Infrastructure or the destruction of facilities.
  • The God-Machine doesn't think like a human. It feels no emotions as far as anyone can tell. It does not get frustrated. If you stop it, it will simply try a different plan.
  • The God-Machine thinks of people as roles, not individuals. It understands humans and supernatural beings only through the systems they build. It will assume that your job, your family and your resources define you.
  • The God-Machine never speaks, even to angels. It simply has never shown any sign of being capable of communicating on a personal level. If it wants a message delivered, an angel delivers it.
  • The God-Machine is not a discrete being. There is no place or object you can point at to say it's the God-Machine. It is the sum of all of its Infrastructure - all the facilities, occult matrices and angels. It is an emergent self-awareness from the magical symbolism of human systems, and its entire work is it, with no single point being 'the God-Machine.'

Anyway, on to Seattle. Seattle is a chaotic, unplanned city that was built as needs arose, never to a plan. It resists change and practicality. It is full of engineers and programmers and medical professionals, and the God-Machine has many hooks in the area to control them and the systems around them. However, as a result of an untended experiment, the city has become a point of instability for the Machine. This has resulted in a number of locations discreetly detaching from reality. See, back before the Great Fire of 1889, the Machine's agents completed a project that allowed the timeline - at that point, there was just one in the region - to splinter and branch, creating a limited version of 1889 Seattle that never moves forward, rather like a save state. The fire destroyed the city, but led to a massive growth period in which the city doubled in size and technological capacity in two years. The need for the bubbled time was gone and the process of creating it was forgotten, but the machines used to do it werre never removed. It is unclear whether it was intended to be undone or if it was just put in reserve. Either way, 1889 Seattle's splinter reality still exists, and it's not the only temporal splinter any more.

Ever since the creation of the 1889 splinter, the reality of Seattle has become rather unstable. Every few decades, a new splinter shows up, generally at the same time some new piece of Infrastructure is installed or a new fracture in reality is found. It is unclear what the splinters are for or why they exist, and it's likely not even the Machine knows, or at least not all parts of it. It may be planned...but on the other hand, the Machine seems far less present in the older splinters, and some of their Infrastructure is broken or cut off. Demons thrieve in the splinters. No one knows why. Angels in Seattle seem to Fall faster than elsewhere, and demons show up in Seattle more often than most cities, even if they Fell elsewhere. The general hope is that the fracturing of reality keeps the Machine's vision poor.

Generally speaking, the game divides Seattle (modern day) into five areas: the four quadrants (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest) and the East Side across the lake. Each quadrant is home to a different splinter timeline, all of which coexist and are layered over each other, though each is centered in a different area. They all cover the core Seattle metropolitan area...and nothing at all beyond. Whatever knowledge of the rest of the world existed at the time remains, but you can't exit Seattle. Any attempt causes you to somehow reenter the city. Any vehicle leaving Seattle just loops back around, even trains. You can go anywhere in the city at the given time period, but can only cross between splinters if you find the correct fracture points in the correct quadrant, which may or may not be fixed in location or time. Most connections seem to run from a splinter to the modern timeline and back, leaving each splinter largely independent of the others. There's no evidence to suggest they can't connect to each other - they just haven't. Each splinter remains part of the World of Darkness, with monsters and strangeness, just at different points in history. The timeline within these splinters does not advance - days pass, things get done, but the time never really changes. Thus, they are more limited than the modern timeline. Most cover a very limited span - no more than a year - at the end of which, the clock resets and everything within is put back at the beginning of the splinter timeline, with no memory of the process. Demons are immune to the changes, as are stigmatics, but that's about it. The native inhabitants of the splinter are less real than the mainstream timeline's inhabitants, not in the same way. Their nature prevents them from ever realizing the shift...but, like normal humans, they can enter pacts or become stigmatic, and can even leave their timeline if they somehow gain the knowledge and awareness to do so. Two versions of the same person can coexist, though it's likely to be dangerous for their sense of identity. The rest of the universe doesn't especially care, for the most part.

There are connections between the splinters and mainline reality. If you go to a splinter and make a pact with someone there, it echoes back in the real world. It becomes part of history in the dominant timeline and other, future splinters - a pact with Tom in 1962 remains happened in the real world. In practice, this is not especially useful more than a generation or two back, and there is a minor risk of unpredictable (if small) changes to the present. However, clever use of this trait can make Cover much easier to get. Generally speaking, patch job pacts will be more useful this way than soul pacts - especially in further back splinters.



The East Side refers to the literal east side of Lake Washington, which is not, strictly speaking, part of Seattle proper. It's like miniature Seattle, less diverse and more insular, but higher income. It's where the tech companies keep their campuses, and it tends to be more religious and conservative than Seattle proper. The East Side is also where the God-Machine is strongest in Seattle. The entire thing is somewhat like a circuit, strategically designed and built for conformity. It is composed of a number of planned communities, the most prominent of which are Bellevue and Redmond, where the wealthy live. Bellevue is highly regulated and monitored, full of angels traveling where they need to be, and human works are closely observed. However, this is really home for the Machine's organic assets rather than any sensitive Infrastructure...but it's a great place to go if you need to spy on or ambush an angel and are strong enough to get back out. Redmond, on the other hand, is full of the tech campuses, including one owned by the Deva Corporation. Despite all this, it feels like a suburb, with few tall buildings and a decent amount of trees. The Machine ensures an atmosphere of conformity and work towards the greater good. Redmond is the Machine's heart in the Seattle area, and it's very hard to mvoe around without drawing notice. There's a ton of facilities, and this'd be the place to target if you wanted to really hurt local Command and Control Infrastructure...but figuring out which parts that is is a bit of a challenge.



While technically not a part of the East Side, Mercer Island at the center of Lake Washington is full of wealth and privilege, and so leans more towards the east than the west. It is also the God-Machine's favored home for those it wants to reward. It is the safest place in the entirety of the Seattle area - an expensive holding cell for those the Machine wants comfortable but accessible and isolated. Nearly everyone there works for the Machine in some way, though most don't know it. It's a small and insular community of ultra-wealthy people, and strangers stick out. There is, however, very little Infrastructure on the island, and what is there is meant to protect the Machine's property - organic and non-organic. The bridge crossing Lake Washington, however, is an extremely important piece of Logistical Infrastructure - it contains a number of mechanisms which supply mystic power to Infrastructure across the East Side by absorbing the kinetic energy of the cars on the bridge. There is a drawbridge halfway across the bridge, with a powerful angel named Drawbridge stationed there to protect the bridge, should it come under attack or otherwise be endangered. The Linchpin is a black food truck with 'Cupcake Cuties' written on it in pink. The truck drives across the bridge regularly. It has no cupcakes to sell and no store to go home to - instead, it serves as a maintenance check for the bridge's Infrastructure.

There is no splinter timeline in the East Side.

Next time: The Southwest Quadrant and 1889

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


quote:

The God-Machine is not a discrete being. There is no place or object you can point at to say it's the God-Machine. It is the sum of all of its Infrastructure - all the facilities, occult matrices and angels. It is an emergent self-awareness from the magical symbolism of human systems, and its entire work is it, with no single point being 'the God-Machine.'

This is very Grant Morrison. I approve.

There's a Paul Di Flippo story where Kurt Cobain's sweater is a time-traveling AI. Is one of the splinters the grunge scene right before Nirvana got huge (aka 'the only thing anyone knows about Seattle') ?

quote:

The God-Machine thinks of people as roles, not individuals. It understands humans and supernatural beings only through the systems they build. It will assume that your job, your family and your resources define you.

Assigning this common viewpoint to the antagonist of the game seems very political. Probably in a way I and many people would agree with, but it feels like opposing this idea is something with teams of Leftist theory behind it. Subtle.

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 02:36 on Jun 27, 2016

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

Count Chocula posted:

Has there ever been a game about either playing as or hunting cryptids? That would be fun, like that kids show, Secret Seven, about hunting cryptids. You could have a Bigfoot/skunk ape/yeti splat, a reptilian one, chupacabras, mothmen...

I just remembered the Feng Shui LuchaCabras. Those guys were perfect.

Conspiracy X had that as one of the things you could do.

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


Has there been an official X-Files game? It has the most RPG-friendly structure of any major media.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Considering that Carter was making poo poo up as he went along I'd say that's an apt statement.

There's Monster of the Week, a Powered By The Apocalypse game. Can't speak for its quality though. There's also InSpectres which is "what if Ghostbusters actually was a franchise like Akyroyd and Reitman envisioned in the first few drafts?".

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


They also replaced all the PCs with other players but kept the show the same.

Obligatory: "I didn't spend all those years playing D&D and not learn something about courage."

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Count Chocula posted:

Has there been an official X-Files game? It has the most RPG-friendly structure of any major media.

Literally ConX. You are humans battling a Grey breeding plan that is trying to silence the psychic seepage of Humanity, Atlanteans that may or may not be hunting humans for sport, Saurians that are now just returning from a prehistoric religious war that got dragged out on account of time dilation, and human beings that have succumbed to the nearly sapient psychic miasma that humans have produced from their existence since the species began and become predators of various stripes.

Oh, and humans are actually bigfoots blended with Atlantean and Grey DNA. Because.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012




Part 2: The Campus and Spirit River Valley

Trinity Stone’s campus is located on an island in the middle of the Spirit River. Here, have a map.



All of the buildings are built in either a Southern Antebellum or French Creole style, with one exception. Some of the descriptions are much more elaborate than the ones in previous books (right down to the kind of wood used), probably because Harris was going off his DM notes when he was writing this. They're actually kind of nice and paint a better picture of the school than the Willow-Mistt and Coventry write-ups did.

A – Coleman Dormitory: Was originally the Colemans' house, now it’s the school dorms. The Intern rooms are more opulent than the other students, and they get their own room and bathroom. Also has porch swings and a rec room for watching TV and reading.

B – Temperance Hall: The main hall, built in a Victorian style. The building is divided into three sections, all of which have three floors: The center hall holds the library, auditorium, teachers’ offices, the headmistress’s office, and the band hall. The left hall holds the mundane classrooms. The right hall holds the magical classrooms. The magical side has a bunch of fire prevention spells and wards to prevent another massive accident from happening again.

C – Eliza Gardens: A garden with a greenhouse used to grow magical plants and mundane vegetables for meals. The C in the book is the copyright symbol.

D – Alice Court: A magical building that is used as the cafeteria (so what’s the banquet hall in the dorms for?), the cooking classroom, a teacher’s living quarters, and an outdoor pavilion for barbeques and other outdoor events. (The walls magically fold away when they use it for that.)

E – Lab Buildings: Classroom labs for the more dangerous magical arts, including the Enchantment classroom. Each lab has X foot thick stone walls and 6 inch thick metal doors. They don’t gently caress around at Trinity Stone.

F – Jackalope Stadium: The school’s sports field, gym, and the personal lab of one of the teachers; named after the school’s mascot and one of the many animals in the Spirit River Valley.

G – Trinity Farms: The combination farm and ranch that provides the school with food. Has a chicken coop, cow pastor, an emu pen, a grain mill, and the stables for horses and magical mounts that the students can ride on the weekends with permission from the staff.

H – Santos Hall: A multi-story log cabin that is used as the guest dorm (upstairs) and the meeting area (downstairs) for the various student groups. The Highbinders Youth Group, Hex Scouts, and the “Circle of Steel” have their own dedicated meeting rooms. The building is named after a staff member that was killed by witch hunters two years ago… from whenever you run your game, I guess.

I – Teacher’s Grotto: Where most of the teachers live. The headmistress gets her own house, the American Indian teacher, Maggie Two-Feathers, gets her own cabin, the vampire teacher, Darius Winston, gets his own crypt, everyone else lives in a two story apartment block. The school’s docks are located here too.

J - Spirit River Cabin: The meeting area for when representatives of the various tribes in the valley need to contact the school or trade with them. Also used by Rustics for quiet weekend stays.

K – Trinity Park: A mundane park in Fort Worth. It was actually created magically to hide the entrance to the school. (So… does the local government not acknowledge its existence? How does that work?) The entire park has a mundane avoidance charm on it that gives mundanes a -5 penalty to notice and remember magical occurrences. (Again, does that cover the group of kids carrying a bunch of regular mundane suitcases into the park at the start of the year?)

L – Spirit Valley: The Spirit River Valley itself. The hundreds of miles long pocket dimension is home to tens of thousands of native peoples from the Caddo, Cherokee, Apache, and Comanche tribes, animal paragons, spirits, monsters, and various magical animals from American mythology, including jackalopes, thunderbirds, giant white buffalos, and animals that haven’t been seen in the Americas since the Ice Age. The deeper you go, the more out there the creatures become. Bordering the dimension is a vast desert that connects to other magical deserts and dimensions. Anyone magical enough can enter it by crossing the river, and those of native lineage on vision quests sometimes enter it accidentally due to their mystical connection with the valley. In regards to the environment, the valley is similar to the real world except there’s no sun or moon, the stars at night (which aren’t dampened by light pollution) might actually be distant gates to other dimensions, the valley always gets 12 hours of light and darkness every day no matter what season it is, and most plants grow from seed to fruit within a few weeks.

Other places of note in the valley include:

Blood Jungle: A jungle inhabited by Aztecs. They don’t like intruders.

High Hill: An isolated mountain range home to sasquatches, eagle paragons, and rocs. Only people born in the area seem to be able to navigate it successfully.

Thunder Plains: Named after the sound the hundreds of buffalo, normal and elephant-sized flying ones, make when they roam around the plains.

Two Feathers Trading Post: Named after and run by local valley expert Carlos Two-Feathers, the husband of Maggie Two-Feathers. Students can come here with permission and trade magical bits and bobs.

Due to how vibrant the valley is, everyone in it regains an extra life point and zap point every hour up to an unknown maximum. Characters heal twice as fast and mundane diseases have a 25% chance of being instantly cured. (You can to roll a 4 on a D4.) Garden and Herbalism rolls have a +1. Elementalism spells get a +1 to Casting and their Range and Duration MTRs. Necromancy spells have a -1 to their Casting and Range, Duration, and Damage MTRs. Zombies created only last half as long as they usually do.

M - Spirit River: The dimension’s namesake and the physical border between it and the mundane world. It circles the dimension. The water is always fresh and potable, and restores a zap point per cup when drunk.

Up next: The staff and students

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 19:22 on Jun 27, 2016

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

There was an X-Files CCG back in the day because of course there was, there was a CCG of anything companies could get a license for.

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Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Tasoth posted:

Literally ConX. You are humans battling a Grey breeding plan that is trying to silence the psychic seepage of Humanity, Atlanteans that may or may not be hunting humans for sport, Saurians that are now just returning from a prehistoric religious war that got dragged out on account of time dilation, and human beings that have succumbed to the nearly sapient psychic miasma that humans have produced from their existence since the species began and become predators of various stripes.

Oh, and humans are actually bigfoots blended with Atlantean and Grey DNA. Because.

You could probably bring in Jonathan Tweet's Over The Edge into that. Al Amarja is pretty much the focal point of any conspiracy or weirdness going on, so you could have start something outside the country and have it eventually lead there.

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