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Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Robindaybird posted:

Basically the idea was small dicks were actually better, it shows one is a man of reason and higher intellect, anyone with a massive dong was thought to be like a beast, ruled by desire and lust.

Secondly, big dicks are considered hilarious, they can't take a giant dong seriously.

Note that the pottery also shows both men and women without pubic hair, for much the same reason -- body hair was considered gross and animalistic, and a well-groomed ancient Greek would remove as much of it as possible.

Which just goes to prove: a penis shaved is a penis urned.

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Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Selachian posted:

Which just goes to prove: a penis shaved is a penis urned.

:master:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Note: technically :nws: due to Greco-Roman pottery-style dicks.

:nws:


Areson, the Warrior is the god of war, weapons, fighting, blood, death, fear and nightmares. He is shown as a hulking man with dark skin, coated in the dried blood of his foes and with a sword that drips blood. He is always fighting, and if he has no enemies, he will kill even his allies - not out of hatred, but because war is all he has and knows. His symbols are bladed weapons and blood. His home system is Lakedaimonia, and his Temple Moon is Sparta.

Powers granted by Areson are:
  • Battle Rage (Glory 0+): When reduced to half health, you must make a roll to avoid going into a berserk blood rage. In this fury, you may not actively dodge, but get a bonus to all attacks. You must either kill yur foe or remove yourself from the presence of others to regain control. You also get a bonus to STR based on your Glory, but you cannot do anything requiring rational thought while in your blood rage.
  • Weapon of Choice (Glory 30+): You may choose a signature weapon. This weapon gets a bonus to damage or accuracy based on your CHA. If it is ever lost or destroyed, you must sek Areson's favor to have it replaced within a few months.
  • Body of a Warrior (Glory 60+): Your muscles become sculpted and muscled, beautiful to Hellene eyes, but all scars also become more noticeable, weeping blood and smoke when in battle. You also get more HP.
  • Baleful Stare (Glory 100+): You have a sinister and terrifying presence. You may glare at people to intimidate them and weaken them in battle.
  • Skin of Areson (Glory 150+): At the start of battle, you may call on Areson's blessing several times per day to turn your skin black and glossy, making it natural armor against both kinetic and energy attacks until the battle ends.
  • The Art of Murder (Glory 200+): You get a bonus to all attack and damage rolls against living foes.
  • Blood Bath (Glory 250+): You get a temporary bonus to STR for each five foes killed in battle, as long as you are covered in their blood.
  • The Great Destroyer (Glory 275+): You may just straight up kill foes that are significantly weaker than you instantly, several times per week. Against Heroes or major villains, you instead drop them to 1 HP.
  • A Jealous and Dangerous God (Glory 300): Areson turns his back on you out of jealousy and hopes that you die at the hands of your foes. Eventually, he will come to you in the night to fight you to the death. If you defeat him, he will acknowledge you and allow you to sit at his table as a hero of war. If you fail, dot dot dot.

:nws:


Artesia, the Hunter is the goddess of tracking, hunting, animals, accuracy, shooting, targeting, sight and the evil eye. She is known as the Scarred One, because she is always dpeicted as being covered in self-inflicted scars and tattoos. She was once beautiful, but shaved her hair to keep it from her view and carved off her breasts to better wield a bow. Some stories even claim she removed her own eyelids to always be able to see. Some know her as the Silent One, and claim she carved out her own tongue to remain silent when sneaking up on prey. Her symbols are crosshairs, rifles and the evil eye. Her home system is Arkadia, and her Temple Moon is Stymphalos.

Powers granted by Artesia are:
  • Acumen of the Hunter (Glory 0+): You get a large bonus to Tracking when in a forest, and a smaller one anywhere else.
  • Lidless Eyes of Artesia (Glory 30+): You get a bonus to all sight-based Perception checks, increasing with Glory.
  • Unerring Aim of the Huntress (Glory 60+): At the start of battle, you may make a CHA roll. On a success, several times per battle you may choose to automatically hit with a ranged weapon.
  • Beast Language (Glory 100+): You may communicate several times per day with wild beasts, and you get a bonus to Animal Handling checks.
  • Alacrity of the Huntress (Glory 150+): Several times per week, you may quadruple your SPD for purposes of movement for several rounds.
  • Sight of the Lidless Eyes (Glory 200+): Several times per day, you may choose to have you and you allies automatically go first in battle, or gain a large bonus to your first attack. You also multiply the range of any ranged weapon you use by your PER.
  • The Beast Within (Glory 250+): You begin to be removed from civilized thought, wearing less clothing, ceasing to bathe and becoming more feral. You may smell fear in others and become aggressive when you do. You cannot be surprised or ambushed, and you can detect hostile intent iwth a PER roll, and you and your allies get a bonus to Initiative and STR against anyone you detect it in. You may extend your nails and use them as armor-piercing weapons. You will deem anyone not part of your 'pack' to be a threat and will make your boundaries known to them as soon as you can. Anyone who breaks those rules you set will be attacked and killed if possible.
  • Stalking the Stars (Glory 275+): You can make a Tracking roll to instantly know where your prey is, anywhere in the universe, and when you choose to hunt them, you will teleport to only a few paces behind them, no matter where they are or where you are, and will only lose sight of them when you choose to.
  • Stalking the Stars (Glory 300): You will see a lone deer with antlers of crystal and gold and pure white fur. It will run into space, beyond the stars, and you will chase after it, never to be seen by mortals again.



Athenia, the Seer is the goddess of wisdom, prophecy, omens, language, investigation, police and detectives. She is always portrayed seated, cross-legged and cross-armed. She speaks calmly and in measured prose, carefully considering every word. When she thinks about a problem, she considers nothing else until she finds the correct answer, and when she gives it, she is always right. If she seems wrong, it is because the question is wrong. While she is a goddess of truth, however, she is not a goddess of justice, which is the domain of Heuson. Her symbols are the owl, the third eye and the shield. Her home system is Attika, and her Temple Moon is Athenoi.

Powers granted by Athenia are:
  • Wisdom of Athenia (Glory 0+): You may ask the GM a number of questions per game, which must be answered truthfully, though they can be ambiguous and terse.
  • The Owl of Athenia (Glory 30+): You can always sense the direction of an item or person you are looking for, as long as you meditate on them for at least five minutes. You sense this in the form of a glowing owl only you can see, showing the path.
  • Augury (Glory 60+): You may ask the Fates for a glimpse at the future several times per week. This requires a PER roll and is always answered in analogy and allegory, but always truthfully and helpfully. You may weaken yourself to ask questions beyond your limit.
  • Theon Noesis (Glory 100+): You have a photographic memory and can recall any experience in perfect clarity. You may even recall obscure facts with ease. Further, once per game, you may analyze a target for weaknesses, receiving a bonus to damage, armor-piercing property or being told the weaknesses of the foe.
  • Aegis Shield (Glory 150+): You are gifted an almost unbreakable shield bearing the image of Athenia in her cross-armed Aegis pose. This manifests as a golden shield of light directly in front of you, requiring no arm to carry it, and it blocks incoming damage. The shield must be activated with an action, and lasts for several rounds.
  • Goddess of War (Glory 200+): Athenia's wisdom guides the strategic and careful side of war. Once per week, you may call on this wisdom, gaining a pool of Hero Points that may be used by you or your allies in combat. You also receive the Tactician talent. If you already had this, it has double the normal effectiveness.
  • The Coming of Athenia (Glory 250+): Any time you critically fail in a stressful situation, you will have terrible headaches for several rounds, driving you into fetal position and causing sea wter to gush from your mouth and nose as your eyes roll in your head. Once the seizure ends, however, you will receive an epiphany from Athenia, and the GM will tell you what must be done. You will gain a pool of Hero Points to use in the situation at hand, which will remain for several minutes before fading.
  • The Great Owl (Glory 275+): An owl will arrive as you wake one morning and serve as your trusted companion. While the golden owl is present, you may make a number of rerolls each game, and your INT rises by 3 points. The owl itself has stats, too, and will help you out as best it can.
  • Pallas Athenia (Glory 300): Athenia will come looking for her owl and its caretaker. She will invite you to learn from her temple in the stars, and will take you to it, honoring you with the name Pallas.

The Las gods and goddesses are more static and passive than the Hel gods, though they do have bursts of activity, not unlike a tsunami from a calm sea. They are often calmer, focused on earthly things, water, emotion, love and cool-headedness. They are generally paired as couples - Heiria and Heuson, Hermia and Hephaeston, and Hestia and Hoseidon.



Heiria, the Mother is the goddess of wisdom, charity, kindness, love, forgiveness, emotion, children and marriage. She is a loving mother, full of forgiveness for all people. She embraces the condemned and cries over them as they go to their deaths, and she loves even murderers in the act of killing. She is often shown as something of a blind fool for this behavior, but those who truly understand her see her as worthy of respect and emulation, even though her universal love is generally accepted as impossible for any mortal in this universe of war and hatred. Her symbols are clasped hands, the blindfold, and tears. Her home system is Argos, and her Temple Moon is also Argos.

Powers granted by Heiria are:
  • Know the Truth (Glory 0+): You may look in someone's face and sense if they are lying with a PER roll, several times per day. Against those beloved by Heuson, you get a large bonus.
  • Know the Mind (Glory 30+): Several times per day, you may look into someone's face and know their thoughts with a PER roll.
  • Know the Face of the Guilty (Glory 60+): Several times per week, you may look into someone's face and know any guilt they hold in their heart with a PER roll.
  • Know Forgiveness (Glory 70+): You may ask for forgiveness or mercy from anyone, once per week, and receive it. Anyone or anything trying to attack or harm you will stop and firgive you. This may even be used to postpone someone's fate for a few hours, saving them from natural events that might harm them by begging the Moirae for forgiveness. This respite will last for a number of hours, during which time you will not be harmed as long as you do not act to harm your aggressor. When this is over, you will suffer the injury or fate you would have suffered as normal. If you would have died during the time graced by the Moirae, no amount of healing can save you. This ability can be used on behalf of others, as well.
  • The Gods' Tithing (Glory 100+): All other gods pay homage to Heiria. You may choose any divine gift belongong to another god, so long as it is of equal Glory value or less.
  • Know the Cosmic Pattern (Glory 150+): Several times per week, you may petition the Fates to see their cosmic pattern with a PER roll, receiving a vision of the future in the form of analogy and allegory, which is always truthful and helpful. You may weaken yourself to ask questions beyond your limit.
  • Marriage Binding (Glory 200+): You may bind two objects or people together in matrimony. The two will always feel a slight tug in the direction of the other, and will always be aware of each other's presence as long as they are within several kilometers of each other. Beyond this range, they have only a vague idea of where the other is, but this has infinite range. Inanimate objects bonded to something else will move towards each other slowly. A mated pair has a communal Fate and HP pool, split evenly or determined by the couple as they desire. If one is hurt, the other can absorb it. This has no range limit, but is usable only by living beings. If the couple is unaware or uninterested, they may make a Reesolve roll to notice and use this power. They may not love each other, necessarily, but will always feel a strong kinship for each other. You may perform this binding several times per week. If you willingly accept 2 Fate Points, the marriage is permanent unless the targets negate it with the same amount of Fate Points. It does not have a listed duration for a temporary marriage, however. If one of the mated pair dies, the other immediately gains 5 Fate Points, to move them closer to their beloved in the afterlife.
  • Salvation (Glory 250+): You may grant salvation to those about to succumb to their Fate. You may embrace someone to permanently remove two Fate Points from them, but you gain one Fate Point for doing so. You may also save someone from death by begging the gods for mercy. You receive one Fate Point, but the target of your prayers will be restored to full HP and be healed of any physical afflictions. You can do this as often as you want.
  • Guilt and Accountability (Glory 275+): Your gaizing into the minds of the guilty takes its toll on your mind. You see guilt in everyone, and you find it hard to trust even close friends. You may touch someone to know a single guilt or disservice done by them, and may connect it through as many people as it takes to get to the source, allowing you to follow a trail through enablers, victims and criminals in any order you see fit. You cannot turn this off and cannot control who it is used on.
  • Know the Weight of the Guilty Heart (Glory 300): The constant knowledge of guilt becomes too much for you to bear. You seclude yourself from others, unable to bear their guilt. Soon, Heiria will arrive to care for you, taking you to Olympos to live among the stars in peace.

Next time: Hephaeston, Hermia, Hestia and Heuson

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Jul 29, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Note: technically :nws: due to Greco-Roman pottery-style dicks.



Hephaeston, the Inventor is the god of crafting, forging, technology, manufacturing, inventing and cleverness. His eyes spark with electricity and he is always wreathed in Aether. He is always creating and inventing, and is typically depicted seated and often lame, sometimes even missing his legs. He is always surrounded by robots of all kinds, which obey and carry out his plans. Whne he is happy, his laugh is thunder in the sky. When he is angry, planets tremble. His symbols are toothed gears, the hammer and the saw. His home system is Boitia, and his Temple Moon is Thebes.

Powers granted by Hephaeston are:
  • The Skin of Hephaeston (Glory 0+): Your skin is dark and bronzed, like that of the god himself. You resist any heat-based damage.
  • The Tinkering Hands (Glory 30+): Given enough time, you may repair any broken item, no matter what it is. Complexity or lack of tools or parts just means it takes longer.
  • Helper Machina (Glory 60+): You may create and control a number of helper robots. They are the size of small dogs, and while usually humanoid, you may make them look however you want. There are templates to build off of, but you get to customize them heavily.
  • The Bronze Construct (Glory 100+): You have a divine epiphany and are driven to work for a week or two to build a bronze robot that obeys you but is self-aware and has a personality. You get to customize it, and if it dies, you can recreate it in half the time it took to build the first time. The one limit it has is that it is incapable of true creativity, artistry or invention, and will never create anything unique. It will die for real when you do.
  • The Tinkerer (Glory 150+): You may enhance any item's function, given enough time.
  • Master Work (Glory 200+): You may create any one item or work as the pinnacle of your craft. Anyone that sees it will know it is one of a kind, and it will almost never break. This takes several months to complete, and you may have only one such item aat a time, as they can only be made with the blessing of Hephaeston himself.
  • The Primordial Creator (Glory 250+): You may draw on Hephaeston's primordial craftwork to make or unmake any item in the world. You may deal damage to yourself to inflict twice as much damage or repair twice as much damage to any item, ignoring all scaling - so you can use this to damage a capital ship, if you want. Any damage you deal to yourself this way can only be healed naturally. You can do this only once per week.
  • The Curse of Hephaeston (Glory 275+): You awaken to find one of your limbs twisted and weak. No medical treatment or replacement will ever work - they inevitably wither or break. Your stats are weakened by this, and it is very hard to hide your disfigurement, which will make those who do not worship Hephaeston stare and misjudge you sometimes. Machines or crafted items within 5 meters of you will glow faintly, and you can make them perform better or worse than normal with a mere thought, for as long as you are close to them.
  • The Mad Hermit (Glory 300): You seclude yourself in your workshop over time and are set to create a great wonder which can defy the laws of the universe. You can build literally anything you want, so long as it does not alter the fundamental laws of fate. Anything else? Fair game. It will work flawlessly when you make it, but will catch Hephaeston's attention when it is completed, and he will seek you out and take you to Olympos as one of his helpers.

:nws:


Hermia, the Trader is the goddess of haggling, commerce, fate, manipulation, money and banks. She is always smiling, and holds one hand out and one hand back, sometimes hiding a coin or her crossed fingers. No one who deals with her gets a fair deal, but she is involved in all aspects of commerce. She is utterly untrustworthy, yet all are drawn to her for their share of her wealth. Her symbols are the coin and crossed fingers. Her home system and Temple Moon are both Korinthos.

Powers granted by Hermia are:
  • Walking in My Shoes (Glory 0+): You will always have a way to get to your destination, though it may not be quick. You will always find a ticket on a ship, keys to a car or a boat drifting into place when you need it. Once you arrive, the vehicle will break down, get lost or otherwise become unavailable. You may call on this power once per week.
  • Get the Balance Right (Glory 30+): You can tell the cost and worth of an item with a touch and brief examination, and can learn more with a PER roll.
  • The Policy of Truth (Glory 60+): Once per adventure, you may tell a lie that will be believed, no matter how outlandish it is, for at least one hour by one person (halved for each additional person).
  • Rush (Glory 100+): You always know the quickest path to any destination, though it may not be the safest. With a PER roll, you may halve the time it takes to get anywhere.
  • Any Second Now (Glory 150+): Several times per day, you may open any lock you touch. This can be anything - a tumbler lock, a belt buckle, a computer password. You just have to touch it, and it opens. You can even make an INT roll to use this against abstract locks, such as riddles or puzzles.
  • Grabbing Hands (Glory 200+): Once per day, you may grab any item you can see, as long as you have a hand free and it will fit in your hand. It will disappear from where it was and appear in your hands.
  • Lie to Me (Glory 250+): You find it exceptionally hard to hear and believe the truth, and find it very hard to be fair and honest. You must make a PER roll in order to behave honestly or believe what you hear. If you fail, you instead see or hear something contrary to the truth.
  • World in My Eyes (Glory 275+): You are able to bend time and space, moving massive distances in the blink of an eye. You must run three steps, but at that point you can teleport to anywhere within a range based on your SPD, with no physical barrier being able to stop you as long as you get those first three running steps. With a SPD of 7 or more, your range is 1 AU, as a note.
  • Master and Servant (Glory 300): You are struck with a deep wanderlust, to the point of pain and anguish when standing still. As you travel, you will one day vanish, finding yourself running beside Hermia in Olympos.

:nws:


Hestia, the Healer is the goddess of healing, home, safety, medicine, doctors and recovery. She wears white, but it is covered in red handprints from the blood she wipes off the sick and injured as she cares for them. Gore and blood cake her otherwise pretty face, and her hair is dirty and messy. She is always working, and while she smiles, it is tired. Her work is never done, for there are always more injured to care for. Her symbol is the red handprint, and her home system is Euboia, home of the Temple Moon Khalkis.

Powers granted by Hestia are:
  • Protective Stance (Glory 0+): You may place one person under your protection. While protecting them, you get a bonus on all actions to do so. You must always be in their presence and can't leave their side or the bonus ends.
  • Healing Touch (Glory 30+): Several times per day, you may heal with a touch.
  • Sanctuary (Glory 60+): You may create a safe and secure place of rest, a bubble of space psychically hidden from any that would cause harm. While in the area, no violence can be done, and anyone seeking to do violence will be expelled and unable to find their way back in. This lasts from sundown to sunset, and may not be activated against until the next sleep cycle. On a ship or other place where there is no sunrise or sunset, the effect lasts 8 hours.
  • Bounty of Hestia (Glory 100+): With just a few seeds or grains, you may provide food for a number of people. It will be raw and flavorless, but fresh and wholesome.
  • Hestia's Hearth (Glory 150+): You are able to channel the blazing hearth of Hestia, which lies at the heart of a star. Several times per week, you may fire a jet of flame at your foes, with a range of several kilometers. Anything flammable struck by this jet will burn for several rounds. This power disregards scale modifiers - you can use this against a capital ship if you feel like it.
  • The Arms of Hestia (Glory 200+): You may protect others by creating a personal force field around them which helps redice damage. You may instead project this field over a large radius. In either case, the shieldl asts several minutes. You may spend 5 Hero Points to make your forcefield radius kilometers instead of meters. It lasts the same time and has the same protection. In all cases, the shield disregards scale and protects equally against personal weapons and ship-scale weapons.
  • A Mother's Healing Touch (Glory 250+): Several times per day, you may completely heal any wound you touch.
  • Home Body (Glory 275+): You may name an area as your protected area and consecrate it to Hestia, though once you select it, you can never change it. Once selected, the area is transformed into a home of crystal and marble, complete with courtyards and baths. This home is very comfortable, has a breathable atmosphere, and is always warm and has enough food for anyone inside it. It is invulnerable to any damage and can withstand even the fiery heart of a star. It will crumble only after you die, and then only after 12 months. The area's size is based on your CHA, and while in it, you and any of your friends get a bonus to resistance rolls and armor protection. You may have up to CHA homes. Once a home is made, however, you are pulled to stay in it. When not in a home, you get a penalty to all rolls requiring concentration or precision that increases with the number of homes you have.
  • The Soothing Fire (Glory 300): You will fall asleep in front of your hearth and pass from the world, never to be seen again. The home will crumble 12 months later.



Heuson, the Father is the god of sternness, obedience, law, justice, punishment and government. He is the only god regularly depicte with a beard, which is from a time in history when Hellenes were known to wear longer facial hair. Some say that Heuson never cut his beard due to a pact he made with the Hellenic people, that their laws would exist as long as his beard was uncut. He is a stern father, but his punishments are always earned, and evne criminals agree that they deserve what Heuson orders. He is seen as being in the prime of his life and the picture of virility, masculinity, power, low and order. His symbols are the lightning bolt, the beard and the golden eagle.

Powers granted by Heuson are:
  • Righteous Authority (Glory 0+): You have an air of command, giving you a bonus whenever you are speaking to a group and issuing orders.
  • Thunder (Glory 30+): You may create a blast of thunderous sound with an action, creating a low rumble in your chest and then roaring. This thunderous blast hits everyone nearby, forcing them to make a Resolve check or be stunned for several rounds. You can do this several times...in a period that's not listed. I'm going to assume 'per week' rather than 'ever.'
  • The Appetite of Heuson (Glory 50+): You gain Heuson's appetite for beauty. To be worthy of your passion, someone must have the Enchanting Beauty talent and be someone you would normally be attracted to. When you are attracted to something, you will not stop until your appetites are sated or you make a Resolve check. You will stop at nothing to seduce the person you are attracted to and will use every resource you have at the task. Regardless of gender, this union will be able to produce children, and any children born will have some characteristic of you and be favored by the gods, who will grant them a gift of some kind.
  • Bolts of Justice (Glory 60+): You are given a number of Heuson's lightning bolts - small and unassuming silver cylinders until activated, when the become bolts of blue-white electricity. These are thrown and deal quite a bit of damage, with a range of kilometers. They disregard scale and can harm man-sized foes or spaceships equally. Once you run out of bolts, you must plea with Heuson at his Temple Moon to get more, at the cost of many sacrifices.
  • The Gods' Tithing (Glory 100+): All other gods pay homage to Heuson. You may choose any divine gift belongong to another god, so long as it is of equal Glory value or less.
  • Shape Shift (Glory 150+): Once per week, you may take the form of any being. Once you take the shape of something, you may never take that shape again, but while in it, you have all of its abilities and powers. You may keep the shape for several hours.
  • The Judgment (Glory 200+): You may look into the eyes of any living being and make a Search roll to see their guilt. Once you determine it, you may reprimand them with a fair punishment, at which point they can escape the wrath of justice with only a difficult Resolve roll. If they fail, the punishment is made real and is carried out in the most expedience way. If they succeed, it does not and oyu may never accuse them of that crime again. The punishment hurts you in some way even as it hurts the criminal, often costing Hero Points, Fate Points or XP.
  • Attribute Increase (Glory 250+): You may boost one or two attributes permanently, beyond your racial maximums if desired. You also gain the Force of Personality talent.
  • King of All Men, Low and High (Glory 275+): You may proclaim something and have it be made so through will, commanding any living creatures, beast or man, to perform a task that will not harm them. The will obey you without pause, though creatures with high Glory get a chance to resist and obey for a shorter period. You may use this several times per week.
  • The Pride of Heuson (Glory 300): Heuson is proud of your works and demands greatness from you. You must perform a deed of such greatness that Heuson will call you to his sidei n Olympos, or die trying. The deed must be of great worth and value to the gods and the Hellenes. Every month you do not begin your quest, your attributes will be drained, and if any hit -3, you will succumb to your Fate and die. If you begin your quest, you will heal the attribute loss quickly.

Next time: Hoseidon, Agnostics and the Two that are not worshipped.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Is greco-roman nudity really nsfw? Like, you'd have to have a really conservative workplace.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I'm just being technical because, well, there are titties and dicks. I don't consider it especially NWS so much as I am being conservative here in case your boss does (and yet somehow lets SA be read at work).

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Mors Rattus posted:

:nws:


Hermia, the Trader is the goddess of haggling, commerce, fate, manipulation, money and banks. She is always smiling, and holds one hand out and one hand back, sometimes hiding a coin or her crossed fingers. No one who deals with her gets a fair deal, but she is involved in all aspects of commerce. She is utterly untrustworthy, yet all are drawn to her for their share of her wealth. Her symbols are the coin and crossed fingers. Her home system and Temple Moon are both Korinthos.

Powers granted by Hermia are:
  • Walking in My Shoes (Glory 0+): You will always have a way to get to your destination, though it may not be quick. You will always find a ticket on a ship, keys to a car or a boat drifting into place when you need it. Once you arrive, the vehicle will break down, get lost or otherwise become unavailable. You may call on this power once per week.
  • Get the Balance Right (Glory 30+): You can tell the cost and worth of an item with a touch and brief examination, and can learn more with a PER roll.
  • The Policy of Truth (Glory 60+): Once per adventure, you may tell a lie that will be believed, no matter how outlandish it is, for at least one hour by one person (halved for each additional person).
  • Rush (Glory 100+): You always know the quickest path to any destination, though it may not be the safest. With a PER roll, you may halve the time it takes to get anywhere.
  • Any Second Now (Glory 150+): Several times per day, you may open any lock you touch. This can be anything - a tumbler lock, a belt buckle, a computer password. You just have to touch it, and it opens. You can even make an INT roll to use this against abstract locks, such as riddles or puzzles.
  • Grabbing Hands (Glory 200+): Once per day, you may grab any item you can see, as long as you have a hand free and it will fit in your hand. It will disappear from where it was and appear in your hands.
  • Lie to Me (Glory 250+): You find it exceptionally hard to hear and believe the truth, and find it very hard to be fair and honest. You must make a PER roll in order to behave honestly or believe what you hear. If you fail, you instead see or hear something contrary to the truth.
  • World in My Eyes (Glory 275+): You are able to bend time and space, moving massive distances in the blink of an eye. You must run three steps, but at that point you can teleport to anywhere within a range based on your SPD, with no physical barrier being able to stop you as long as you get those first three running steps. With a SPD of 7 or more, your range is 1 AU, as a note.
  • Master and Servant (Glory 300): You are struck with a deep wanderlust, to the point of pain and anguish when standing still. As you travel, you will one day vanish, finding yourself running beside Hermia in Olympos.

I just realized that all of these are Depeche Mode songs. "Grabbing Hands" isn't actually a song, but the chorus of "Everything Counts", so it's reasonable that they conflated the chorus for the title.

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 thought the pride of Heuson would be all those shirts in his fashion line.

YakOnFir
Aug 16, 2015


Young Freud posted:

I just realized that all of these are Depeche Mode songs. "Grabbing Hands" isn't actually a song, but the chorus of "Everything Counts", so it's reasonable that they conflated the chorus for the title.

Areson has nine inch nails and fatboy slim references

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



Since someone started Hellas, thatís a perfect cue for me to revisit an old F&F that I half-assed back a few threads ago to make it not-poo poo. See, Kheperaís games are based on an engine that started waaay back in 1987, for a game that people flat out donít remember at all. Seriously, Iíve found more conversations online about Fantasy Wargaming than this game! A game whose 4th edition is one of the finest designed and best put together RPGs Iíve ever seen.

I think thatís a shame, a real honest to god shame. As I said, I talked about this game AGES ago, but I didnít do a good job at all. And, Iím going to run a game of it soon, so yíknow what? Doing this is a good way to renew my knowledge of this wonderful game.



Created back in 1987 by Stephan Micheal Sechi, Talislanta was designed to be a direct response to the hegemony of TSR and D&D clones that dominated the market in the 80ís. The main sell-motto of the game was:



This isnít really correct, the setting is quite different from your standard D&D/Tolkienesque milieu, but itís not completely out there weird like say Tekumel or Jorune can be. Which is fine. There are a lot of races and nations that are well known concepts just with a minor twist or mixing of two traits, but thatís good. Itís strange enough to feel exotic and alien andÖ just interesting to explore, but not so much that you need to read and memorize the setting book to know what the deal with something is. I really like the setting, and it has this wonderful mix of breadth without excessive depth. It gives you this big massive varied world, and just enough detail that you won'tí be overwhelmed and GMís can feel free to twist and create without worrying about changing the ďCanon SettingĒ, if youíre one of those GMís who care about that.

But anyway, back to the history lesson: Talislanta has gone through 5 different editions each being put out by a different publishing company in different formats with a different staff every single time, making the game a mess for collectors to gather. In fact just finding a decent copy of every book is very difficult, to the degree that the creator himself, Sechi, just did it in 2015, after five years.

So, to keep things nice and neat, Iíll be covering the 4th edition, which was created under the now defunct Shootingiron Design, by John Harper. Yes that John Harper as the Game Designer, and Stephen Micheal Sechi as Creative Director. Of special note will be the art, almost all of which is done by P.D. Breeding-Black, who is basically just known for Talislanta which is a real shame. Her art, while not technically amazing, is beautifully evocative and really sells the mood of the game. Other art shown will be by Ron Spencer, who favors a darker shading-heavy style, Adam Black who does some very nice pencils, and Eric Patrick who does a lovely rugh sketch-style. This edition is considered to be the ďAuthoritativeĒ version by Sechi, as the existent 5th edition changes a lot about the mechanics and setting.

Itís also important to note: This game is totally free on the Talislanta Website. Sechi owns the rights to the game, and has put literally every book released under the Talislanta name up as free PDFís. So, please do feel free to check it out. So without further ado:

Chapter One: The Rules

Yes, this is a game that actually just flat gives you all the rules in the first chapter. The resolution mechanic, what the attributes and skills are and how they work, how to make rolls, how to gain and spend xp, how to create a character, how combat and magic works. All in the first chapter. Oh, there are chapters for Magic and Combat and Skills yes, telling you in more detail how they function, special rules relating to them, skill and spell lists, etc.

But if you are playing, just the first chapter tells you everything you need to know to sit down and play the game. Which is amazing after having seen so many games which scatter their mechanics and rules across half the drat book! Oh, but you probably think that sounds complex yes? Like weíre frontloading the rules, dumping a big fat steaming load of mechanics up-front? Itís 15 pages. The entire mechanical portion of the game, is 15 pages of large print two-column text with minimal art. Nobody who wants to play will ever have to look at more than 15 pages of content once youíre done with character creation. That, is efficiency like a motherfucker.

But now, to the rules themselves! After a short one and a bit page introduction which is your standard ďWhat is and RPGĒ thing, yíknow explain what a GM is, that you need some funny dice, etc. we get the primary, IE ONLY resolution mechanic in the entire game.



All rolls in Talislanta work like this: You take the characterís Skill or Attribute rating, which are explained later but we have to start somewhere, yeah? Take that rating, whichever will apply to this specific roll, and compare it to the Degree of Difficulty. This is the final result of combining all the modifiers to a roll into one number. Then you take the difference, add it to the roll of a d20, the only die in the entire game, and then take your result and look on that chart up there. Thatís the Action Chart, itís on the default character sheet so every player has one, and it tells you what happens with your roll.
  • Mishap: Your action has failed, and in addition something bad beyond just failing happens.The GM determines exactly what that is based on the action and situation. Note, that unless you are rolling with a negative modifier, meaning the Degree of Difficulty is greater than your Rating, you cannot get a mishap. This means these only happen if the character is doing something explicitly beyond their capabilities, and are literally relying on luck, and acting at an explicit disadvantage. Mishaps should only happen when a player does something obviously risky or stupid, or the GM is an rear end in a top hat. But thereís not much you can do to prevent rear end in a top hat GMís, so I canít really knock if for that.í

  • Failure: You fail. Thatís basically it, you fail, donít do whatever you were trying to do, too bad try again next time. Not much explanation needed.

  • Partial Success: You succeed! Kinda. You partially get the result you want, but not to the degree or in the way you want it. The results are desired but disappointing.

  • Full Success: You do whatever you were intending to do, as you intended to do it. Itís success, what do you expect?

  • Critical Success: You succeed and something extra special good happens, fulfilling the playerís intention with a bonus! Itís a critical success, not much beyond that.

Right, thatís the central resolution mechanic done. Now obviously Combat and Magic chaptersíll expand and define the levels of success to a degree, removing more of the fuzzy GM-fiatness from those aspects of the game. But for your run of the mill Attribute or Skill roll? Thatís all you do.

But now let's move on to how you get the modifiers for your roll. Yep, they just go right into how you get numbers and what they mean.

Attributes
These are as expected your natural physical abilities, inherent and generally unchanging. They are based at 0, and can be either negative or positive numbers, such as +3 or -2. An attributeís Rating, that is what you use to determine the modifier to your roll, is double the level. This means that if you are rolling a pure attribute, you double the level and thereís your modifier. Note, this applies to both positive and negative. So a +3 attribute is a +6 bonus, while a -1 turns into a -2.

Skill Ratings
Skills are skills, they represent learned and trained abilities and talents that your character has acquired during their life. Though there are some inborn special abilities, racial traits if you will, that also act as skills. There are two numbers you need for skills, the Level and Rating. Level is just how good you are at the skill. The base is 0, and they go up from there. Skills are never negative. Rating is the combination of the Skill Level with the skillís associated attribute. For example, Deception is a Charisma skill, so if you have a Deception of +3, and a Charisma of +2, then your Skill Rating for Deception is +5, which you would compare with the Degree of Difficulty to get the modifier for your roll to use Deception. But, if instead it was a Deception +3 and a Charisma of -3, then the resulting rating would be a 0, as the negative Charisma actually subtracts from the Skillís level.

Intent
Gets an entire paragraph. Any action stated should include what the playerís intended result for that action is, so that the GM can both apply the results of the action table in a fair and understandable way, as well as to help determine the Degree of Difficulty of the roll.

Degree of Difficulty
This comes from how difficult the GM thinks whatever act the player wants to do would be to someone with a 0 in the relevant attribute or skill, per the rulebook. They also recommend that the modifier stays within a range of -10 to +10. This is a handy shorthand but, think about it: this game has a static target number. That means the GM always knows what the probability of any roll will be, always, and quickly and easily. That action chart means a GM can just know exactly what Degree of Difficulty will appropriately challenge the player to the desired extent, so that they can avoid both pointlessly easy rolls and punishingly hard ones due to mad math because of overcomplicated modifier algebra. Itís nice, and Iím guessing a few D20 DMís know what Iím talking about.

Opposed Actions
An action directly opposed by something else, creature, person, whatever, uses the opposerís ability rating or Skill/Attribute Rating for an appropriate opposing skill as the Degree of Difficulty. Here have a gameplay example:

The Rulebook posted:

Sherra the thief wants to use her Stealth skill to sneak past a watchman. Because this is an Opposed Action, the Degree of Difficulty is the watchmanís ability to detect the thief. The watchman has the Guard skill at rating 7. Sherraís Stealth skill rating is 9. Sherraís player rolls a d20 and adds +2 (the difference between Stealth 9 and Guard 7) to the roll. If the watchman had a Guard skill of +11, Sherraís player would roll a d20 with a -2 modifier to the roll, instead.

Multiple Actions
By default you get one action per round, but you can take additional actions at a cumulative -5 penalty for each additional action. If you ever roll a Mishap, then you cannot take any additional actions that round. An action is pretty much anything that takes effort or time. Speaking a short sentence, looking around a room, dropping a held item, etc. would not count as actions but attacking, defending, moving around, longer speeches such as attempts at diplomacy, etc. would.

The Rulebook posted:

Thena the Danuvian Virago wants to throw her empty mug at a rude male across the table, then stand up and punch him in the face. First,Thenaís player makes an attack roll to hit withthe mug. This is a normal attack roll since it is Thenaís first action during the round. Next Thenaís player rolls to see if she punches the male. This attack roll suffers a -5 penalty (in addition to any other modifiers) since Thena has already acted once during this round. If Thena wanted to then take a third action, her player would roll with a penalty of -10.

Other Modifiers
Some skills, Combat, and Magic all can add other situational modifiers to rolls in special cases, but weíll get to that when it comes time.

Next up is Experience Points! XP is spent to level up your characters skills, not accumulated in levels. How you spend them is explained in the Skills chapter, but this bit tells the player how they will receive them and why.
  • 1-20XP per Adventure or Session, the exact number varies but they give guidelines in the GM chapter.

  • 1-10XP for good roleplaying, once again more information about rewarding these in the GM chapter. The game explicitly says that the GM can and should adjust or get rid of this based on the style of the campaign and players.

  • 1XP per in-game week a character devotes to training a particular skill. Yeah, you explicitly can give XP to players just for having a ďOne month laterĒ timeskip as long as they note that theyíre actively working on training their skills. Itís nice, and can be a good way to do some burst-XP leveling if someone wants to get just that last few needed XP.

Okay, now we get to the next big session after the basic rules, Character Creation, which fits on one and Ĺ pages.
  • Step One: Choose an Archetype Iíll go over the archetypes when we get to the setting chapters of the book, but essentially Archetypes are sorta starter packages of race, attributes, skills, and equipment. They all follow a standard format:



    As you can see, the archetype gives you a sort of generic-view of how a character of this type would generally think and act, a sort of base personality to work off of, as well as the common racial traits for appearance. The base attributes and skills are give, as well as a set of beginning equipment. Now, I know you probably think that this is limiting, itís really not. Thereís a massive list of them, and they are customizable beyond this starting template. Itís honestly a great idea as it gives even complete newbies to the game a really solid basically idiot-proof base to work off of. It also works to enforce the setting, as the Archetypeís are not balanced at all. A Kharakhan Giant is not just strong, they are just naturally stronger than any other playable race. Just flat higher Strength flat out. Only an Ur that bumps their Strength up by +2 can even match them for natural power. A Cymrillian Magician is not just good at magic, but flat out superior at magic to almost every other archetype by raw stats. Itís appreciable if you get sick of various races basically being the same drat thing plus or minus Infravision and a tiny bonus to Dexterity or something.

  • Step Two: Record The Archetypeís Information Okay, this just means write down all the archetype information on your character sheet, nothing to see here moving along.

  • Step Three: Personalize your Character This is both the part where you come up with your characterís personality and appearance, but also where you customize your attributes. Basically you can shift-around your attributes up to a maximum of 2. So, increase Strength by +2, so you decrease Intelligence by -2, or you raise two by +1 and drop one by -2, etc. you get the idea. This can help shore up an Archetypeís weaknesses or emphasize their strengths, without completely changing the base idea of the Archetype.

  • Step Four: Determine Other Characteristics Calculate your HP, Movement and Encumbrance ratings, which will be explained in a bit on the Attribute sections.

  • Step Five: Choose Skills Some archetypes have choices for the character to make about their skills, such as a choice of weapon skill, or an additional language, that sort of thing. This is also where spellcasting Archetypes pick their magic skills.

  • Step Six: Record Equipment and Wealth You put down your gear and starting cash on the character sheet, weapon stats, etc. Some classes have choices of equipment, so make that choice here too. This is also where you spend your starting cash to start with some additional equipment if desired.

  • Step Seven: Contacts and Character History Work with the GM to come up with a desired background for your character, as well as Contacts. Contacts are NPCís your character knows, and can go to for favors, information, and the like. Thereís a list of premade contacts in the GM section Iíll be going over to help newbie GMs. I actually like this step, and the contacts can really help kickstart the game and give some good NPCs for the GM to build on.

  • Step 8: Choose a Name Choose a name, nicely enough thereís actual guidelines for how different peoples name themselves in the setting section alongside sample names.

Thatís it, youíre done! Hooray for Character Creation!

Okay, this post is getting on, so Iíll leave you here, but next upÖ

More the Rules! Attributes, Skills, Combat, and Magic!

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Okay Talislanta, you can't say there are no elves when what you're really doing is putting elves in, painting them green, and calling them something else.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Selachian posted:

Note that the pottery also shows both men and women without pubic hair, for much the same reason -- body hair was considered gross and animalistic, and a well-groomed ancient Greek would remove as much of it as possible.

Which just goes to prove: a penis shaved is a penis urned.

How is this not getting more love?

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



YakOnFir posted:

Areson has nine inch nails and fatboy slim references

Yeah, but it's only two and they mostly are disguised or can come from other sources. I mean, if "Battle Rage" was named "My Violent Heart" or "Baleful Stare" was "Bird Of Prey" I could see being more of a NIN or Fatboy Slim reference. But with Hermia, I can literally highlight and hit Google search (and did) and get a Depeche Mode hit, with maybe the exceptions of "Master and Servant" and "Lie To Me", since the former is pretty open phrase and the latter is actually a cover of a song.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Selachian posted:

Note that the pottery also shows both men and women without pubic hair, for much the same reason -- body hair was considered gross and animalistic, and a well-groomed ancient Greek would remove as much of it as possible.

Which just goes to prove: a penis shaved is a penis urned.

Shaving also makes it look bigger, so it's a trade-off. To have a tiny dick that's also unshaved... that's a terrible, almost-impossible standard for the self-image of young Greek men!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I would like to just take a moment to draw attention to a fact that I think has been missed or passed over: at Glory 150 or so, your space doctor can sub in for your ship's weapon and shield systems in a pinch, because Hestia grants the power to shoot solar flare lasers and project giant loving forcefields.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Quote is not Edit.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Mors Rattus posted:

I would like to just take a moment to draw attention to a fact that I think has been missed or passed over: at Glory 150 or so, your space doctor can sub in for your ship's weapon and shield systems in a pinch, because Hestia grants the power to shoot solar flare lasers and project giant loving forcefields.

I'm more impressed by not-Artemis' 275 perk. Just the thing for a recurring antagonist.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Cythereal posted:

I'm more impressed by not-Artemis' 275 perk. Just the thing for a recurring antagonist.

It is a little odd though that the cult focused on long-ranged combat will end up 'a few paces' from their opponent. Seems like a good way to get cleaved in twain.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



The Lone Badger posted:

It is a little odd though that the cult focused on long-ranged combat will end up 'a few paces' from their opponent. Seems like a good way to get cleaved in twain.

I dunno, to me that says "shotgun range." Or flamethrower.

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 wonder what would happen if you stripped all the space stuff and Dynamism from the game and just set it in Mythic Greece with the only magic being those awesome god powers. I reckon it'd be fun. And you could do the same thing for other pantheons, like the Norse and the Indian and...whoever. Just mythic heroes following bizarre God powers.

Other references I spotted: Athena gets Bubo the Owl from Clash of the Titans, and if that power that turns a home into a beautiful Greek villa works on a ship than you get the Master's TARDIS from classic Doctor Who, which was both a time machine and a Greek column.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Selachian posted:

Note that the pottery also shows both men and women without pubic hair, for much the same reason -- body hair was considered gross and animalistic, and a well-groomed ancient Greek would remove as much of it as possible.

Which just goes to prove: a penis shaved is a penis urned.

holy poo poo

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Wapole Languray posted:

Created back in 1987 by Stephan Micheal Sechi, Talislanta was designed to be a direct response to the hegemony of TSR and D&D clones that dominated the market in the 80ís. The main sell-motto of the game was:



This isnít really correct, the setting is quite different from your standard D&D/Tolkienesque milieu, but itís not completely out there weird like say Tekumel or Jorune can be.

Talislanta's style is very derivative of the works of Jack Vance, although not specifically drawn from any of Vance's books.

I have a bunch of earlier edition Talislanta stuff, and it always seemed to turn out the same way: a diverse colorful world but a mediocre afterthought of a system. I've never read the Big Blue Book though.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012





The Rules: Part 2

This post will finish up the Rules chapter, and I should be able to keep it short, as a lot of the rules are pretty intuitive and familiar to most RPG players. Iíll mostly focus on the things unique to Talislanta. So, lets start with:

Attributes

Most of these attributes act exactly like they do in every other fantasy or non-fantasy RPG ever, so Iíll mainly go over the more interesting attributes or ones that have unexpected uses.

Intelligence, Charisma, Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are all act exactly like youíd think, same as in D&D, all D20 games, and a tons of other things. No surprises.

The traditional Wisdom attribute is essentially split into two, Perception and Will. Will handles the mental strength aspects, determination, clear thinking in stressful situations, resistance to torture, social manipulation, and magical mind-control. Perception covers the characterís sensory awareness, including all mundane senses and any supernatural ones. Use to notice ambushes, find hidden objects, notice details, etc. I honestly like this change, as Wisdom always felt crowded and didnít make much sense as was.

Speed isÖ speed. It affects initiative, movement speed, and is used in chases, races, pursuit, etc. Itís explicitly movement speed, dodging and quick reactions fall under Dexterity.

Combat and Magic are separate stats not tied to any others! Representing your natural aptitude for either Combat or Magic, not learned abilities, they are used exactly how you think. This decoupling of Combat and Magic doesnít change the game massively, but it keeps the Caster/Magicless imbalance down, as now Magic doesnít just put absolutely everything on intelligence, and allows melee fighters to actually have decent stats in non-physical attributes without crippling their combat abilities.

Next up is the derived attributes, Movement, Encumbrance, Hit Points and Healing. Movement is based on your speed, 100 feet per round plus 20 feet per +1 Speed and minus 10 feet per -1 Speed, assuming ideal movement conditions. The game explicitly says though that you shouldnít care about movement rates outside of combat, and directs you to the combat chapter for more details about combat movement, so Iíll cover that later.

Encumbrance is how much weight you can carry. Default is your own bodyweight, plus 25 lbs per +1 Strength, or minus 10 lbs for every -1 Strength. You canít have negative encumbrance, you can always carry at least one pound. If you exceed your encumbrance you take a -5 on all rolls involving any physical activity. If calculating the encumbrance of quadrupeds such as mounts you quadruple all the numbers involved.

Your Hit Points act like basically any game, hit 0 to die, you know the drill. HP is based on your Archetype, such as the Cymrillian Magician last time starting with 19 HP, which is then modified by your Constitution. You add your Constitution to your HP at character creation to get your final HP. So that Magician with an unmodified Constitution will actually have 18 HP, 19+(-1)= 18. Of note, that this is legit your final HP. Except for magic spells or enchanted items, your HP will stay the same forever and will never permanently change. Characters in Talislanta donít get tougher by getting more HP, they just get better and not being hit at all.

Healing is based on Constitution. Default is 5 HP per day, plus 1 per +1 Constitution and minus 1 HP for every -1 Constitution, to a minimum of 1 HP a day. This is assuming natural unaided healing with just regular rest, actual medical treatment massively speeds this up.

Of course now that we have HP the game takes a second to tell us about DEATH. Death rules have hints of d20 and will be familiar with D&D players out there. Hit 0 or less HP (You can have negatives), and you are unconscious and dying. You are out of the fight for a while no matter what, but when this happens you make a roll modified by adding your Constitution to your current HP, which means getting negative HP is really bad. Depending on what result you get, the following happens:
  • Mishap You hosed up and are now straight dead forever, burn that character sheet and make you a new PC meat.

  • Failure You arenít dead yet, but youíre drat close. You are going to make another death roll every minute to stay alive until someone does some healing or first aid, with each minute adding a -1 penalty cumulative. Roll a Failure or Mishap? Youíre dead, roll any Success? You get to live for another minute. When you are healed enough to not be dying, you treat as though you got a Partial Success.

  • Partial Success You arenít going to die if you donít take any more damage, but you arenít out scot-free. You gain some permanent injury, recommendations are a 1 point reduction in an attribute, GM enforced mental illness, some physical disability such as a missing limb, disfiguring scars, etc.

  • Full or Critical Success Unless someone hits you again, youíre going to be fine. You get no permanent or lasting effects from your brush with death and will be fine once youíre healed back up to at least 1 HP.

The game also notes that these rules should be saved for PCs and very important NPCs, anybody else should just be dead at 0HP to save time and effort.

Skills isnít an interesting section. Most of the actual skills information is in the Skills chapter, this section is just some rules for how to use skills. Iíll just cliffnotes this part for brevity:
  • If your character is untrained in a skill you can either use an Attribute roll, use another related skill at a penalty, or just roll the skill at 0 if thereís no thereís no other choice. Some skills like Magic or Alchemy canít be used untrained at all.

  • Skills are improved by spending XP. The cost is twice the new Skill level in XP. Improving a +5 to a +6 costs 12XP, level +1 to +2 is 4XP, etc. You can only improve a skill one level at a time, and need at least an in-game week between levels, so you canít clear a dungeon and walk out the door having suddenly become a master swordsman on the climb up.

  • Learning new skills is more complicated. The XP cost of a new skill, meaning raising one from level 0 to +1, is 1XP per week of time required to learn the skill. Every skill has a learning time listed in their entry in the skill chapter. The GM may require the player first track down an NPC who already knows the skill to teach the player first, if the skill is far enough outside of the characterís established expertise. You canít learn skills marked as Special Abilities, as these are essentially racial powers and are often biological, though you can improve them if your archetype starts with them as normal.

  • Monsters and minor-NPCs donít have skills, instead they have an Ability Level, which is used as a general purpose modifier for anything that NPC can reasonably do or be skilled at, with everything else just using the raw undoubled attribute as if they were using a level 0 skill.



Okay, that does it for skills, so let's move on to Combat! OKay, Combatís split into round and turns and it works exactly how you it does in every other RPG. One round is how long it takes for everyone involved to do a thing, each characterís time to act is called a turn, you get the idea.

Damage Rating (DR) and Protection Rating (PR) are the numbers for weapons and armor. Weapons do a fixed amount of damage, though generally Strength will be added in for melee weapons, while armorís PR negates that much damage. More information in the Combat chapter, along with what sort of special maneuvers and tactics one can utilize.

Next is a step-by-step of combat procedure, which is actually interesting!
  • 1. Roll Initiative Every combatant makes a Speed attribute roll, and then everyone goes in order of highest to lowest result, pretty typical. You only do this in the first round of combat, unless something interrupts the fight.

  • 2. State Intent This is where the player states what they want to do. All players state their intent at the beginning of the round, as all actions are assumed to happen near-simultaneously. They decide which weapon or Combat Skill they will use, and what Tactic they will perform, Attack, Defend, Movement, or Stunt. Shades of fate, eh? No seriously Iíll go into it more in the Combat chapter but this really, really, reminds me of the Four Actions of Fate Core in happy fuzzy ways. Interestingly, the players can choose to state their intent last in order of initiative, so as to know what everyone else is doing first. This is similar to how initiative works in ORE games like Reign and Godlike, but itís player choice instead of mandatory.

  • Step 3. Determine Bonuses and Penalties Okay I donít need to explain these you calculate your bonuses and figure out the difficulty, the mathy bit. Follows the normal rules for Skill Rolls.

  • Step 4. Roll Bones You roll dice. Thatís it, you roll 1d20, and do the math to get your result.

  • Step 5. Judging the Results You resolve everyoneís rolls in order of initiative. The actual results are based on what tactic the player used, but are generally similar to default Skill results. The main variation is for Attack rolls:

    • MishapThe attack fails, and you suffer some mishap such as a broken weapon, hitting an unintended target, etc.

    • Failure You miss.

    • Partial Success You hit but only do half damage, rounded up.

    • Full Success Full damage.

    • Critical Success You do full Damage, and cause a Critical Wound, which forces the target to make a Constitution roll. This has a variety of effects based on the result of the targetís roll, which Iíll go over in the Combat chapter.

And thatís the primer on combat! Next up Magic!

Yeahhhh I love the magic in this game! Itís so gooooood. The best I can compare it to is sorta Ars Magica-y, in how freeform it is.

Essentially, Magic is not made up of distinct spells, but instead special skills called Modes that are tied to Orders. Orders are ďschoolsĒ or ďflavorsĒ of magic. They describe what your magic looks like, what itís good at, what limitations it has, etc. Examples are Pyromancy, Natural Magic, Witchcraft, Shamanism, etc.

Modes are tied to an Order, and act as the skills you actually roll. They determine what the actual effects of the magic are, such as Attack, Heal, Illusion, Move, Reveal, Summon, etc. Which mode you use is based on what you intend the magic action to accomplish.

So how do you cast spells and use magic? Well, thereís two ways: Casting from Memory and Casting from Written Works.

Casting from Memory is what you would be using in Combat and during action scenes, and is most similar to standard D&D Vancian casting. The procedure is as follows:
  • Step 1. State Intent The player figures out what kind of spell they want to cast based on their Orders, Modes, and what they want to accomplish with the magic. This determines what Order you will cast in, what Order youíll use, and what the general effects of the spell will be.

  • Step 2. Choose Spell Level Spell Level is essentially how powerful you want the spell to be. What the actual effect of increasing the level is based on mode and can vary based on intent but itís intuitive stuff like increasing the damage of an Attack spell, or the duration of an Alter spell. There is no hard limit, but the roll to cast has a cumulative -1 per Spell Level.

    The Rules posted:

    Cyrila the Aeromancer has a skill rating of +7in the Move mode and wants to cast ďTouch of the WindĒ (a Move mode spell) at Level 6. Her final Action Table modifier is +1 (7 - 6 = 1).

  • Step 3. Determine Bonuses and Penalties Standard do the maths, figure out the modifier stuff.

  • Step 4. The Casting Roll You roll the 1d20, add modifier, yadda yadda you know the drill.

  • Step 5. Judging the Result Look at the action table, determine what happened.
  • Mishap The spell fails resulting in a MAGICAL MISHAP. Which is gamespeak for the GM gets to gently caress you hard. Hereís some samples of recommended Mishaps:

    Magical Mishaps posted:

    • No noticeable effect (50% chance of side-effect occurring later)
    • Spell rebounds upon caster
    • Spell strikes unintended target (random direction)
    • Reverse spell effect (rebounds upon caster)
    • Reverse spell effect (random direction)
    • Static spell effect; area charged with magical energies (5-foot radius around the caster)
    • Wandering spell effect, 5-foot radius charged with magical energies, moves at random
    • Phase-shift: caster teleported to random location
    • Black hole effect: caster and any individuals within 20 feet are drawn into another dimension
    • Temporal rift: caster falls backwards (or forwards) in time
    • Random spell effect (Gamemasterís choice)

  • FailureSpell fails, and fizzles out to no effect.

  • Partial Success The spell has half the intended effect, the GM determines exactly what this means based on the spell.

  • SuccessSpell does what it do.

  • Critical Success Itís cast perfectly, doing the full effect and incurring no Spell Penalty.

Whatís Spell Penalty? Well, casting spells from memory is mentally exhausting, and repeatedly doing it quickly wears down a magician. Every time you cast a spell from memory and donít get a Critical Success, you get an accumulative -1 on any further spell casting rolls until you get seven hours to rest and recuperate. This doesnít just mean sleep, but any relaxing activity.

The Rules posted:

Torren the Wizard wants to cast ďArkonís Bolt of Destruction.Ē He has already cast three spells in the last few hours, so Torren suffers a minus 3 Spell Penalty ( in addition to any other Action Table modifiers). After the spell is cast,Torrenís player notes on his character sheet thatTorrenís new Spell Penalty is -4. The next time he casts a spell, he will take an additional -4 penalty to his casting roll.

This is a much less obnoxious way to implement Vancian spellcasting in a free-form system than burning through a predetermined number of spells a day, and I honestly really like the Spell Penalty idea, especially as it naturally leads to powerful spellcasters being able to throw out infinite low-level spells while also packing a goodly number of high-power stuff for when things get nasty without the complex picking and choosing of fixed spell lists.

The second way to cast spells is from written works, such as spellbooks or scrolls. The benefit of doing this is that they donít accrue Spell Penalty, and gets a fixed +5 to the casting roll. The downside is that it takes 1 minute, or 10 Rounds, per spell level to cast any spell from writing making it useless for combat or any sort of time-limit. These are better suited for when using magic isnít an urgent thing, and for casting powerful ritual spells and the like. Of note that scrolls are light, portable, and infinite in use but can only hold one fixed spell determined at the time of the scrollís creation. Spellbooks and the like can hold hundreds of spells, but are generally big, clunky, and not suited for carrying around willy-nillly.

Next are the rules for Counterspells. This isnít used to defend against a spell, as that can be done with regular skills or another Mode that can counter the effects of the spell, such as using Defend against Attack, or Reveal against Illusion. Instead Counterspelling is used to completely negate a spell as though it failed. To counterspell you must use the same Mode as the spell youíre countering, with a -5 penalty to the roll if youíre using a different Order from the spell being countered. You cast per normal spellcasting, then if you succeed you compare the level of the Counterspell to the level of the Target spell. Use the difference on a roll of the action table to determine the effects of the Counterspell. Full or Critical Success completely negates the target spell, Partial Success reduces the spellís Level and all effects by half rounded up, Failure has no effect, and Mishap can actually increase the power of the target spell.

The Rules posted:

For example, Alanar casts a Level 9 spell that creates a Wall of Winds between him and his rival, Cyrila the Aeromancer. However, Cyrilais proficient in this Mode (Defend), and is ofthe same Order as Alanar. She successfully casts a counterspell at Level 8, hoping that this will be sufficient to dispel her opponentís magic. After her spellcasting roll, Cyrilaís player rolls again at a penalty of -1 (her level 8 counterspell minus Alanarís level 9 spell = -1). She rolls a 17, for a result of Full Success. Alanarís barrier sputters and dissolves before his eyes.

And thatís it for the Rules! Next time we go into Combat and check out all the special rules for beating things to death with warhammers!

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


I'll give Tailslanta some credit. While it isn't wowing me, it had some forward thinking design ideas for the 70s.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



This is 4th edition, which came out in 2001. 1st Edition Talislanta was similar, though had some clunkier elements, dice rolls for damage instead of fixed numbers for example. The rules were mostly the same though, just 4th has a few decades of polish and got rid of a lot of the more complicated elements of the game. And yeah, the rules are not mindboggling or original. But they are a really nice, super easy to learn ruleset for a fantasy RPG. This whole chapter was 15 pages and would be the only part of the book you'd really need to look at after character creation.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER


SONO CHI NO SADAME!

Truth: When the Primers took the Delta Times server, they were able to figure out Truthís identity. Sheís currently behind bars in Crescent City because her powers mean she canít escape and sheís in holding until a transfer to New Alcatraz.

Sinning: Venial sins are stuff we do on a normal basis, like swearing and being a jerk. Too many venial sins and you cool off in Purgatory when you die. Mortal sins involve things like murder or actively, willfully ignoring the Ten Commandments. One mortal sin on your soul damns you to Hell for eternity. However, Covvies can tell if theyíre about the level of sin theyíre about to commit by making a Faith roll before doing it (TN 10 for Venial, TN 5 for Mortal) to avoid getting slapped with the sin. Knowingly committing a Venial sin deducts 1 point from your Faith and a Mortal sin deducts 3. Hit 0 Faith and lose your powers until you attempt the sacrament of reconciliation and penance. Otherwise you canít regain any Faith by any means. I would imagine this rule translates to other religions badly.

Covenant Figures



BAD GUYS

Vampires: Killing all vampires remains the top objective of the Covenant as a whole and killing them legitimately doesnít count as a sin.

Deaders: Evil Unlimited now has this tech, which is weird when the first book mentioned that this is a well known technology among shady Gadgeteers. Also I canít imagine killing a Deader counts as a sin.


Man look at the texture of that wing.

Werebeasts: If you donít have any of the other books, here are stats for the werewolves. I will not be reprinting them.

Demons: Stats are reprinted here. Thereís nothing new here to demons: they can use any Bargainer spell at any time and they can swap between one powerset to another at any time. Killing a demon banishes it from that dimension for a hundred years but they just respawn on their home plane.

Possessions and Exorcisms: The possessed can fly at a Pace of 5 (30 feet a round). People keep their normal skills and can fight like they normally would or gain Barehanded 5 and Dodge 5 from the demonís abilities. Possessed items get 3d6 in all stats and a few skills have a 5 in them as applicable.

Also itís still okay to work with Bargainers if you have to.

So this section really didnít provide anything new or good or useful. But why stop there? Itís time for a premade mission.

FOR GOODNESS SAKE

This is a Covenant-based mission where it works best if yíall are aligned with Defiance. It makes less sense to be a Primer mission.

Background: Carmen Whitstone is a young woman from a wealthy family. Wealthy upbringing, top of her class at Yale, MBA from Wharton, now sheís a consultant for a consulting/investing firm. Sheís not happy with how she got everything handed to her and she gains a lust for power, for a chance to actually seize her own destiny. Instead of starting her own business or going to therapy or backpacking through Nepal, she gets in a car accident when an offline Armorgeddon suit falls out of the sky and hits her car.

And Carmen becomes a Bargainer. Yaaaaaay.


Meet Karnax. He's like Shazbatt but A: not named Shazbatt and B: a lot more blunt about what he wants.

Recovering in the hospital, sheís plagued by voices until time and sedation leaves only one in her ear: a demon by the name of Karnax. Karnax promised her power if she did what he said, so Carmen quit her job, bought a limo and drove around until she found five Goth Satanists (The Sixth Cult of Satan because I guess 1-5 didnít pan out so well). They tried to get her to leave them alone up until she started speaking in an Abyssal tongue and then they were on board.

Carmen and the Satanists made a satanic church in the basement of an abandoned church and tattooed Carmen all over. Last night they drew a protective circle, lit the candles and summoned Karnax. And they successfully pierce the barrier and summon Karnax into the circle, who casually steps out of the circle because the summoning ritual made everyone throw up and someoneís puke smeared the wards. Now everyone is dead (everyone being the Satanists Darren Colby, Ginny Speltman, Dale Whistler, Cos Swenson and Margarita Valez who didnít even get names until now) except for Carmen and Karnax is loose in Crescent City. Karnax would have killed the fleeing Carmen except he got distracted by a plot contrivance: a newspaper box with the headline of Truthís arrest. Figuring ďhey, this is perfect for my evil planĒ he decided to leave Carmen alone for now and go get Truth from Primer HQ.



CHAPTER ONE

The PCs get the following call in the middle of the night from Joeson.



When they get to the building, the only thing standing between the PCs and the crime scene is caution tape. There is blood everywhere along with tape where the bodies were and other satanic accouterments that are currently untouched or not yet catalogued as evidence. A TN 5 Search roll reveals that Carmenís business cards are being used as book marks in occult tomes because why not. If they donít find the card, they accidentally run afoul of the buildingís super who is a Catholic and more than willing to cooperate with Covvies. If asked about who rented the space, heíll give them Carmenís name and address. This is incredibly dumb because as previously mentioned wasnít this a basement in an abandoned apartment building? Why would someone rent this space?


I know this is supposed to be "possessed Carmen and a priest" but I can't look at this and not think "middle school manga drawings".

At Carmenís house, the PCs arrive to see that sheís smashed her car into the porch. The front door is open and Carmen is on the couch in the living room, clutching an empty bottle of sleeping pills and waiting for death. Rush her to the hospital and sheíll be awake by sunset or you can make a TN 15 Healing roll with Godís Mercy to save her life. If she survives, sheíll tell the PCs about what happened and mention that Karnax was rambling as he killed everyone, talking about Mephistopheles, a cathedral and a woman strong and true. If the PCs wish and have a priest amongst them, Carmen can confess her sins.

MEANWHILE Karnax has broken into Primer HQ and ripped the place apart to grab Truth. A news team has caught the entire thing live and broadcasts it.


PRESS SPACE TO SKIP

Find/save Carmen: 1 EXP.
Get Carmen a Bargainer tutor to help her control her powers: 1 EXP.
Giving Carmen confession: 1 EXP.

CHAPTER TWO 123

A TN 10 Occult roll lets the PCs understand what Carmen is talking about : Karnax wants to desecrate a cathedral with intent to summon Mephistopheles. He'll need to do it on a night of a new moon at midnight and considering how subtle Karnax is, they've only got a few days until the next new moon and the nearest cathedral is St. Patrick's in Crescent City. Contacting Joeson (who is in New York) will result in him just saying "okay, go kill him".

Should the PCs find help? The game says no, that it should be slanted in favor of the demon so the PCs don't feel robbed of their victory if they succeed. This even extends to getting to the church: the cops have figured out the person responsible for the murders was a demon and have surrounded the church. They can't enter because the Archbishop won't let them in for fear of being arrested under the DRA, but they're defending the place.


Man he's just beating on these Covvies. This is what happens when you think vampires are the real threat.

No matter when the PCs arrive, Karnax is not there. He flies through the cathedral's stained glass with Truth in his arms, turns on the Tough powerset and uses a shard of glass to cut Truth from neck to navel on the church's altar while chanting if he's not stopped. The Archbishop will help the PCs fight as best as he can. The rest of the mission is stopping Karnax before he can sacrifice Truth.

ENDGAME

The PCs Succeed: The PCs get brief sanctuary in the church and the thanks of Joeson and the Archbishop. If Truth lives, she commits to Defiance full time and brings the Delta Times back online. If Truth dies, Defiance is left with a hole that takes time to fill but they eventually will.

The PCs Lose: Karnax successfully desecrates the church, Truth dies and Mephistopheles is brought to Earth. Mephistopheles immediately kills Karnax for his impertinence; yes Mephistopheles wants to invade Earth but he's not nearly close to ready and good job rushing this whole thing, jerk. He roars loud enough to destroy the cathedral and when the rubble clears Mephistopheles and Karnax's corpse are gone, returned to Hell.

Thoughts: By far the most straightforward of the scenarios and yet incredibly lacking. The logic flows narratively but there's still a cutscene that happens beyond player control. There's a fight against a tough enemy but it's slanted for you to be doing it on your own and bad team composition might just gently caress the party. Then there's the matter of having an important NPC's fate in your hands; there's no way that canonically you fail saving Truth. It's impressive how there's a sharp 90 degree turn taken from the weirdness of Evil Is As Evil Does and yet it's still bland and unfulfilling. The feeling of "who gives a gently caress" is in full force; this barely needs to be a Covvie mission, it could very well just be done with the Covenant reaching out for help outside of the Church due to heavier scrutiny.

But don't just take my word for it!


Tag yourself, I'm the dude second from the left.

HYPOTHETICAL PLAY SCENARIO

Cast of Characters


Before the game, Jeremy has the decency of telling the other players that this game is Covenant-themed so a Covvie would be a good logical addition to the group. Everyone is ultimately torn; their team composition is pretty good all things considered. They may not all get a moment in the spotlight, but they cover the bases. Ultimately Dan bites the bullet out of a sense of "gently caress it, I'll sacrifice" and puts Flak off to the side for a new character.
  • Wonderbolt: male Blaster played by Amanda who is eager for the end. Wonderbolt hits hard.
  • Slippery Pete: male Teleporter played by Brian who is also ready for this to end. Slippery Pete has unfortunately grown to do everything because teleportation is that good.
  • Plus Ultra: female Booster played by Catie who has a Devo album stuck in her head. Plus Ultra boosts the other PCs and acts as the face.
  • Pater Familicide: a male Covvie Priest played by Dan. A sexy priest covered in guns and skulls who only speaks in a sensual whisper and spends far too much time repenting for acts of murder for the Lord. What he brings to the party: lots of guns, high intimidate, maxed-out Faith. Also a provocative cross-shaped codpiece. There is a mixture of horror and amusement from the table.
  • Rough Rider: female Tough played by Eric. Rough Rider punches things and takes hits (in theory). Eric is mostly just sitting sullenly, unable to do much ingame and stewing over it.
  • Jeremy: the GM, whose enthusiasm for this game has become irritating.
Suggested mood music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMD2TwRvuoU

It's midnight and the call comes in of "OH poo poo A DEMON!". PF springs into action, spending as long as he can brooding sensually as he meditates on the nature of demons and evil, crouched naked by a window in his apartment above the church he services. Despite Jeremy's nudging to call the others, PF continues brooding as long as the other players will let him. Finally he calls the others who meet him at the abandoned apartment.

Pete ports them past the detective and onto the killing floor of the basement where RR quickly finds the business card in the occult tomes. Everyone runs back to the car and they find Carmen near-death from her suicide attempt. Catie and Amanda get somewhat frustrated that this seems to be going where the last three adventures went. PF broods, clutching the passed-out Carmen's hand as the others urge him to drag her to the car to get her to the hospital. It takes a lot of urging.

At the hospital, Carmen spills the beans about everything. PF broods about the nature of demons, crouched shirtless by the window. Everyone else is incredibly concerned about the implications and that the next day of the new moon is tomorrow. They don't have any contacts to lean on at all, having played this game just for the premade missions. Ultimately, Eric brings out his copy of Bargainers to check out the stats for a common demon. Things do not look good.

Ultimately the team splits up. Wonderbolt, Pater Familicide and Plus Ultra go to the cathedral and sneak in while Slippery Pete and Rough Rider rob a gun store to get a lot of high-caliber armor piercing bullets. Jeremy asks where they think they're going to get the guns to shoot 50 caliber AP bullets. "Good point," says Brian. "Let's go rob a National Guard armory." It takes the two of them some time to lug a Browning M2 back to the cathedral and even more time to get it past the cops. By the time they work on mounting the gun on a tripod, Jeremy is fuming. The gun is mounted on the second floor and everyone else arms themselves with handguns equipped with tazers. While they're discussing battle plans, Jeremy makes some changes to Karnax' stats: he gives him a 10 in everything stat and ups his combat skills.

The group waits, split into two teams: Plus Ultra and Wonderbolt on the second floor while Pater Familicide, Rough Rider and Slippery Pete wait by the alter. At 11:55, Karnax flies in through the window holding Truth in his arms. "Wait what the gently caress?" says Amanda. "Hold fire!" says Eric. "Yup, Truth is the sacrifice" says Jeremy with a poo poo-eating smile. "God drat it!" says Dan, "Get her loose, Brian." "Wait was your plan to just start shooting when he showed up?" says Jeremy. "Well yeah, we expected some expendable NPC" says Catie.

Karnax strides to the altar, claws at the ready, holding Truth in one hand (up until Pete teleports behind him, grabs Truth and teleports her up to Plus Ultra and Wonderbolt). Karnax turns to stare at them as PF and RR start shooting the demon with their tasers. Caught between two targets and making the necessary rolls (because Jeremy made him beefier) to avoid being stunned, Jeremy decides to take his time and focus on PF and RR. Three things happen when Karnax makes his choice: Catie pokes Wonderbolt and boosts her damage, Wonderbolt starts charging Superblast and Catie grabs the Browning and starts shooting.

A Browning M2 is belt-fed, 72 bullets (armor piercing in this case) per belt. It shoots full-auto and can fire up to 9 bullets an action. Let's pretend our Booster here has Speed 4 and Shooting 5. She gets +3 to hit Karnax for his size and she gets one extra dice to roll to hit per bullet. So in short, Catie has 13d6+8 to hit Karnax with, who will of course dodge, on a TN 11+ (Jeremy neglected to adjust Karnax' Dodge skill). However, Karnax has a pool of 10d6 to Dodge with. Jeremy has made him too powerful to hit in the slightest. Catie calls bullshit in frustration and Jeremy responds with "well excuse me but who the gently caress decided to bring a military-grade weapon to this fight, do you think that's fair?". Wonderbolt keeps charging her attack as Catie gets up and puts both hands on the table.

Words are said. Loud, angry words. Grievances are aired. Dan, Eric, Amanda and Brian watch numbly as team leader and GM argument turn into a screaming match. Eventually they intervene but it's too late. Such things cannot be unsaid. Nobody is happy, not in the slightest. The missions are not fun, Jeremy's attitude is not conducive to fun playing, people are kind of peeved at Dan for Pater Familicide's characterization and nobody really wants to continue trying to fight the demon. Brian shrugs and asks for permission to turn Truth over to the demon because this clearly is an unwinnable scenario and Karnax probably needs her to get to part three of the mission. Better to take the railroad then deal with this poo poo. Everyone reluctantly agrees.

Jeremy shakes his head. "Forget it, this is stupid. You're all acting like kids and throwing this fight. This is over, you were on the last part of this whole mission anyway."

And it is over. The final mission is shelved, the books are put away and everyone moves on to a new game with Eric GMing. Jeremy does not join them. It takes a few weeks for everyone to cool off, but things linger in the end like a bad smell.

AUTHOR'S AFTERWORD




Final Thoughts on Brave New World: Covenant

I think it's pretty obvious I didn't care for this book. I can't recommend it, I can't recommend the whole series. It was a heck of a ride for me to get to this point, to watch a series start in the lower middle and then just keep sliding backwards. The Covenant go from a workable, surprisingly versatile class to a groaner with a bunch of garage-made weapons and it's just not good or enjoyable. If I can say one thing in its favor, I do appreciate that it took them nine out of twelve hypothetical books to get to the point where setting important NPCs are in danger and you need to do missions with them. A lot of better games got to this point much faster.

Nine down, zero to go. So where do I go from here? To a future that never came. I think I'll take a few days to chew on this whole series but NEXT TIME we're going to talk about CROSSROADS and a general retrospective.

Because I feel bad about ending the play scenario on that point (because I seriously couldn't think of a satisfactory ending for that with the characters I have and it felt logical to me), I'll leave you all with some real examples of playing Brave New World. There was a bit of a thriving Brave New World community online at one point, caught between the era of web commercialization and the dotcom collapse. These sites are all preserved relics and I share them because I think they're important to this game. There's stuff to make fun of, sure, but I'm sharing it more because this is a largely forgotten game and these are perfect snapshots of it in the mind of players.

http://cdekalb.tripod.com/
http://www.oocities.org/gislef/bnw_home.htm
http://www.oocities.org/badsign_98/bnw/
http://www.oocities.org/tammer12/bnw.html

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I don't like the way Carmen's written up ended up wording up that she's a selfish bitch because she has depression.

Really, it's kind of hard to see the appeal of the setting with how badly the adventures are written.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


There is no appeal to Brave New World. It's just a bad pile of cringeworthy grimdark superhero cliches.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Hostile V posted:

Background: Carmen Whitstone is a young woman from a wealthy family. Wealthy upbringing, top of her class at Yale, MBA from Wharton, now sheís a consultant for a consulting/investing firm. Sheís not happy with how she got everything handed to her and she gains a lust for power, for a chance to actually seize her own destiny. Instead of starting her own business or going to therapy or backpacking through Nepal, she gets in a car accident when an offline Armorgeddon suit falls out of the sky and hits her car.

And Carmen becomes a Bargainer. Yaaaaaay.

Jesus, how many characters in this loving game have the origin story of "being in a car accident"? We had another character in the Crescent City splatbook who became a villain when she got hit by a car.

Robindaybird posted:

Really, it's kind of hard to see the appeal of the setting with how badly the adventures are written.

Night10194 posted:

There is no appeal to Brave New World. It's just a bad pile of cringeworthy grimdark superhero cliches.

That have been done better in other games, like Underground and Aberrant. Or even DC Heroes' Watchmen splatbook.

I'm kind of wondering if anyone has gone to that grimdark superhero well after BNW.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Well, there was AMP "superheroes built on torture" Year One, yeah? And Wild Talents actually has a few fairly grim worlds.

Honestly I think deconstructionist superhero settings are probably equally as common as straightforward superhero settings in RPGdom.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Well, there was AMP "superheroes built on torture" Year One, yeah? And Wild Talents actually has a few fairly grim worlds.

Honestly I think deconstructionist superhero settings are probably equally as common as straightforward superhero settings in RPGdom.

Oh hell, I completely forgot about AMP.

You know, it would be interesting to see if you could make a PBTA game with superheroes. It would probably be easier to build something comparable to the Avengers, the Justice League, or other super-teams than in most games.

Fake edit: and wouldn't you know, I google that and find there's been at least two attempts at that. Worlds In Peril and Masks: The Next Generation.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


Robindaybird posted:

I don't like the way Carmen's written up ended up wording up that she's a selfish bitch because she has depression.

Really, it's kind of hard to see the appeal of the setting with how badly the adventures are written.

Shiiiiit, you're right. She actually reminds me of Fake!Medusa from a few missions ago. She was just having a really lovely day and then died in a random traffic accident, so when she comes back with superpowers she's almost a sympathetic antagonist. Except then she's written as just 'a bitch' without any depth or introspection.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Yeah Brave New World has a definite problem with writing compelling bad guys. Or heroes. Or...anything. The bad guys are a nihilistic privileged girl, a lawyer having an awful day, a suicidal hacker who jumped at the call to murder his loved ones when he got superpowers and two dudes and a Nazi on a lovely quest to make Hitler think they're awesome.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


Young Freud posted:

Oh hell, I completely forgot about AMP.

You know, it would be interesting to see if you could make a PBTA game with superheroes. It would probably be easier to build something comparable to the Avengers, the Justice League, or other super-teams than in most games.

Fake edit: and wouldn't you know, I google that and find there's been at least two attempts at that. Worlds In Peril and Masks: The Next Generation.

Ironically, the PBTA are not deconstructions and play the premise very straight.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Hostile V posted:

Yeah Brave New World has a definite problem with writing compelling bad guys. Or heroes. Or...anything. The bad guys are a nihilistic privileged girl, a lawyer having an awful day, a suicidal hacker who jumped at the call to murder his loved ones when he got superpowers and two dudes and a Nazi on a lovely quest to make Hitler think they're awesome.
I think when you're on a quest to impress Hitler and it isn't for some strict operational reason, you can just go ahead and call yourself a Nazi.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




So what have we learned?
I learned that in the context of a "what if" questions there are stupid questions and unimaginably boring answers.
I forgot many games reviewed here, but I think that I'll remember BNW for being less appealing and bland than a pile of soggy Quaker oats.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




If FATAL can be likened to an entertainingly bad movie like 'the room' or 'manos the hands of faith', then BNW is 'The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies'

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Covok posted:

Ironically, the PBTA are not deconstructions and play the premise very straight.

Oh, the reason I brought PBTA up was more because the way characters are handled, they're just templates to be reskinned to fit players' concepts. And they'll more or less be balanced, so you would avoid the power scaling that plagues most superhero games, where Batman can be on adventures with Superman and Wonder Woman.

The closest either of those games is Worlds In Peril's focus on the life without the mask. Masks, OTOH, is more like playing the Teen Titans or Power Pack.


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

So what have we learned?
I learned that in the context of a "what if" questions there are stupid questions and unimaginably boring answers.
I forgot many games reviewed here, but I think that I'll remember BNW for being less appealing and bland than a pile of soggy Quaker oats.

The thing that gets me about BNW is that it's a bunch of failed opportunities, execution, and direction. I've said it more than often, there's kernels where it could have made for a more compelling game, like ditching the whole JFK conspiracy and just making Superior the President and just go all "Twilight Of The Superheroes" where posthuman politics have made for a dystopian future for most of mankind, especially those with superpowers, or ending WW2 due to superpowered intervention early changes things drastically both geopolitically (Russia denied it's Warsaw Pact buffer states, Japan largely keeps it's co-prosperity sphere, fascism still reigning in Europe) and socially (No Greatest Generation, political careers cut short).

But it seemed Forbeck also wanted to have just a normal superhero game, with magic and extradimensional beings and supervillain organizations, and couldn't decide if he was doing a Watchmen or Marshal Law style deconstruction or emulating the Golden Age. And that's why we ended up with this mish-mash of half-baked ideas.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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






Godlike, Chapter III: Character Creation

One of the best things about setting a game in WWII is that your PC can be from anywhere. In the vast majority of roleplaying games, regardless of the setting, PCs are assumed to be people with a lack of commitments, and certain skills, that allow them to be ďadventurers.Ē A global war takes care of that problem. Your character can be a baker from Ohio with five kids, or a boy just out of high school, and you have all the rationale you need to be ďon an adventureĒ and to put points in whatever military skills you think youíll need.

The Talent powers of Godlike also take care of the inconvenient, ah, demographic factors of the 1940s. The Allies canít afford to segregate women and people of colour who can fly and throw cars at people. The text also reminds you that Allied soldiers can be from any of a large number of nations, including refugees from countries attacked by the Axis. Multinational teams are even more likely when Talents are involved.

Since characters are usually soldiers before they manifest their Talent powers, Godlike encourages you to create your character first as a human being, then apply Talent powers after. Accordingly, character creation and Talent creation are divided into separate chapters.

Step one is to talk to the GM about what kind of campaign theyíre running. WWII is still a very broad setting, and the nature of warfare changed over time. You donít want to get excited and write up a lengthy backstory for a veteran of the Battle of Tunisia whose powers are suited to deep cover missions in Vichy France, only to learn that the GM was planning to set the game in the Battle of Midway. (If youíre going by the canon, itís important for everyone to note when given nations produced their first Talent, as this sidebar summarizes. The United States was late to the game. Talents often manifest in life-threatening situations, and the U.S. didnít enter the war until May 1941, which might go some way to explaining it.)

Next, Godlike wants you to start with a brief concept, then develop a detailed personal history from there. (Something like ďa two-bit gambler looking for redemptionĒ is good, but just ďpatriotic farmboyĒ is too vague.)

Nationality is the first thing to consider when detailing a character. Characters can conceivably hail from any country, not just the Allies. Sure, defectors from Germany, Italy, and Japan would be very rare. But you could be a refugee from a country invaded by the Axis or Soviets, such as a Lithuanian Jew or Ethiopian tribesman, or a dissident from an Axis client state such as Bulgaria. (Itís recommended you give everyone a free skill point in English to speed things along.)





After that, continue fleshing out a detailed background including where you were born, raised, and educated, your age and former occupation, if any, your friends and family, and even personal anecdotes such as tales from school. A very brief summary of your characterís motivation is highly recommended. Okay, now for the actual mechanical stuff.

Stats

As Iíve already discussed, the basic Stats in this game are Body, Brains, Coordination, Cool, Command, and Sense. A Stat of 1 is weak or underdeveloped, 2 is normal, and the human maximum is 5. Youíre not allowed to take a Stat at 5 at character creation, not that youíd want to.

Notably, a Body of 4 or 5 gives you some extra wound boxes and an automatic +1 Width to hand-to-hand attacks. Every point of Brains above 2 gives you a free skill point, but you can only spend it on Brains skills.

The only derived attribute is Base Will, which is Command + Cool. This is extremely important when it comes to your Talent powers, because in the Godlike setting, all superhuman powers are fueled by force of will. Your powers could fail, and fail spectacularly, when confronted by another Talent--or confronted with fatigue, hunger, cold, and post-traumatic stress, all sadly common in a combat zone.

You start with 1 point in each Stat, and get 6 more points to distribute. Thatís right, your Stats average out to be totally average, something rarely seen outside games that make you roll 3d6-down-the-line to make a dungeon-delving shitfarmer. Maybe they want to emphasize that before their powers manifest, Talents really are normal people. The given reason is that given the dice math of this game, you only need a pool of 4d to have a 50/50 chance of succeeding in a difficult situation. (Ordinary skill Tests are assumed to be challenging).

Skills

Skills are a little more generous. You get 20 points to distribute how you please. At character creation, you canít buy a skill higher than its governing attribute. (If you look at most of the Talent commandos NPCs near the back of the book, most of them donít have skills higher than 2, anyway.)

Whatís more, if your character is part of a Talent commando group like the United Statesí TOC (Talent Operations Command), you get a free point in all of these skills: Brawling, Climb, Cryptography, Endurance, Explosives, Grenade, Knife-Fighting, Machine Gun, Map Reading, Mortar, Navigation (Land), Parachuting, Pistol, Radio Operation, Rifle, Stealth, Submachine Gun, Survival, and Tactics.That almost doubles your total starting skills.

Once youíve picked Stats and Skills, thatís it, if youíre not a Talent! This game doesnít have rules for anything like Merits & Flaws. Youíre free to include whatever you think is appropriate in your characterís background. Thereís a little sidebar warning you not to do stupid poo poo like saying that Truman is your cousin and Patton is your bosom buddy, but otherwise, fire away. So youíre a millionaire? Okay, you can buy gold-rimmed GI glasses. Itís not going to make much difference in the field.


Creating a Character

So Iím going to create a character. Iíll assign his Stats and Skills here, and give him Talent powers in the next update, assuming he discovered his powers in battle.



Paul Beckert was born on February 17th, 1918 near the part of Pittsburgh, PA that used to be Allegheny City. Although not wealthy by any means, his family rode out the Depression in relative security as his father was steadily employed as a librarian at the Carnegie Free Library. Paul was an odd, sickly child who seemed to take little notice of his surroundings, so much that his parents worried that he was developmentally delayed. Instead, he simply matured into a bookish, bespectacled loner who didnít fit in with most of his peers. He grew up with a chip on his shoulder that was reflected in his interest in history and politics--he followed the example of Teddy Roosevelt, boxing and wrestling to strengthen his physique, and pursued an education that he hoped would allow him to reinvent himself.

Paul studied political science and economics at Penn State, all the while developing a fierce, if perhaps elitist patriotism based on the idea that educated men have a duty to contribute to society. An outspoken Democrat, he supported the New Deal and paid close attention to the disturbing news that seemed to arrive day after day. While others laughed at newspaper articles about Germany excluding ďnon-AryansĒ from its national chess league, Paul was profoundly disturbed. He graduated in 1940, and was working as an office manager when the United States declared war on Germany.

Paul joined the Army immediately and was part of Pattonís invasion of French Morocco, part of Operation Torch. His Talent manifested during the amphibious landing, whereupon he was sent back to be trained by the Talent Operations Command. Here are his stats:

Body 2
Brains 3
Command 1
Cool 3
Coordination 2
Sense 1

Okay, so Paul is remarkably intelligent and mentally tough. But his obliviousness to his surroundings could be a death sentence in a combat situation, and he has no capacity for leadership--he simply doesnít enjoy building rapport with others. Paulís kind of a goon, what can I say?

Now letís distribute some skills. Iím assuming heís a Talent commando because character creation is always, always more fun in games that donít assume youíll be spending half your points on skills that you logically should have, even if itís not your characterís focus or the playerís interest. He also gets a free point in a Brains skill. So after we add his powers, his character sheet will end up reading something like this:

Body 2
Athletics 1
Brawling 2
Climb 1
Endurance 2
Health 2
Knife-Fighting 1
Run 1

Brains 3
Cryptography 1
Education 3
Explosives 1
First Aid 1
Language 2 (French)
Map Reading 1
Mortar 1
Navigation (Land) 2
Radio Operation 1
Tactics 2

Command 1

Cool 3
Mental Stability 2

Coordination 2
Dodge 2
Grenade 1
Machine Gun 1
Parachuting 1
Pistol 1
Rifle 2
Stealth 1
Submachine Gun 2

Sense 1
Hearing 1
Survival 1

Base Will 4


By the way, I just realized that this game puts the ďSurvivalĒ skill all over the place--except in the skill list. It doesnít even get some detail in the appendix with the extra skills like Forward Observer and Radio Operation, some of which, youíll notice, are given to Talent commandos for free. Iím lumping it under Sense since Brains has enough skills.

Next update: Letís give this grunt some super-powers!

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


It's time for more Ironclaw!

The Avoirdupois' culture can be summed up most succinctly in a single word: Sincerity. They value sincerity and devotion to your duty and social place more than just about anything else. The Avoridupois are a powerful house, devoted to the church and often considering themselves to be greater champions of S'Allumer than the Rinaldi in Triskellian, despite the fact that they land took up the sunburst decades after the church was first founded. While the lords of their house are still called Archdukes and technically subservient to the Rinaldi of Triskellian, the land is simply too powerful (and the foxes have simply had too much trouble) for it to be considered anything but effectively independent. The focus on sincerity and social place means the Avoirdupois are easily the most conservative of any of the nations of Calabria, and it's not hard to see why: They possess a powerful army, their lands are relatively stable, their children are well fed, and things seem to be 'working' for the most part. This also means that there is a massive gap between the rich and the poor in Avoirdupois; while the peasantry is usually well fed, they tend to remain enserfed and the land has not yet developed the growing middle and burgher classes that are growing in other countries. This means there are fewer skilled professionals and the labor pool for more complex tasks is relatively limited. This means that while they are currently the juggernaut of Calabrian politics, the Avoirdupois risk being eclipsed by more modern houses. The longer they wait to try to fulfill their manifest destiny to rule the entire continent, the more they're going to face pike and shot armies, cannon, corps of wizards, superior economic strength, munitions plate, and other modern innovations that might render their exceptional training and numbers less viable.

The sense of strong place tends to lead to strong communities; a person in Avoirdupois lands knows who they serve, knows what is expected of them, and is left to accomplish it. All of the nobility, men and women alike, are expected to know how to fight and how to lead. Every single horselord who isn't physically incapable learns to ride, learns to command cavalry and men at arms, and learns to fight in plate and harness. This means that the Avoirdupois have an exceptional pool of skilled officers and knights. The stereotypical Avoirdupois PC is likely to be a second or third son or daughter, who inherited a Jennet (fast two-legged riding dinosaur), plate, and a lance but no estate to support them; the Avoirdupois knight-errant is such a common fixture in broadsheets and tavern tales that they're almost cliche. Chivalry is taken deadly seriously, not simply as a means to ensure nobles die less often in battle (though it's definitely that) but as a genuine obligation for the nobility; Avoirdupois are very unwilling to use treachery and deceit (partly because they have a giant army and generally don't have to). Feudal obligations are also set in stone: A vassal owes military service, taxes, and obedience to a master, but the master is expected to return it with protection, consideration, guidance. Those who abuse their feudal lessers are seized on by their peers (that this gives the peers the opportunity to seize the villain's lands and property is obviously just a just and noble outcome). Those who trespass against their feudal betters are ruthlessly suppressed. The Manorial and Fedual systems the Avoirdupois cling to are another example of a long-successful system that may not survive the rigors of the modern age; officials, workers, burghers, and priests are already making the system strain. The clerical presence and growth of the church in Avoirdupois lands has strained the feudal system more than anything else, as they exist outside of its hierarchy and are primarily beholden to the holy see rather than a secular official. There is an entire separate law for the clergy, instituted to allow the church to monitor itself rather than allowing Lords to mete out 'low justice' to unlanded priests at their leisure (something that could easily lead to conflict with the Holy See).

As for that, High and Low Justice are observed zealously in Avoirdupois country, but are a common theme throughout the legal codes of Calabria. A Noble is entitled to High Justice, meaning they can only be tried by their peers and are not subject to arrest or seizure by commoners. They tend to have greater rights and more lenient punishments, comparatively. Commoners may only claim Low Justice, and as such are subject to arrest and seizure by any noble or by other commoners who have received investiture to dispense low justice (constables, sheriffs, rangers, etc). The Avoirdupois are known to be exceptionally vicious in meting out low justice, both to foreign and local commoners; a scofflaw can be beaten without trial, seized for indentured servitude in a baron or knight's manor, or simply killed on the spot if the offense is considered severe. A Knight or better, exposed to high justice, will be brought before their lord along with their accuser or the person they have accused, for the case to be heard by one higher than them on the feudal hierarchy.

While the average Knight is trained for war, most of them do not do their duty in the harness and saddle. Since Knights make up the main educated class in Avoirdupois outside of the clergy, many of them spend much of their life training for war, but administering to the functions of their manor and estate in the name of their superiors. Every knight is still expected to spend much of their time practicing, preparing, and drilling their professional soldiers, such that they will be prepared if their lord should call upon them for service. The Avoirdupois are stricter about the peerage than most of Calabria; the only way to be a proper noble is to be of a proper bloodline and inherit ones' land. A commoner has no path to become a noble and cannot be knighted or granted titles of lordship. As mentioned above, the main avenue for a commoner who seeks wealth, education, or power is to join the church and work outside the feudal structure. Second sons, minor nobles, and commoners alike will see the church as a major route to social advancement. The Avoirdupois may keep the occasional indentured servant or criminal, but for the most part serfdom is preferred to slavery for their owned workforces. The common serf is not free; they need permission from their lord for movement, marriage, or any other major transaction or milestone in their life. Note that the nobility is not limited to horses; while horses and descendants of the original families hold the greatest prestige, nobles of defeated houses or those from minor bloodlines willing to swear their land and service to the king are accepted as peers of the realm.

In summary, while the Avoirdupois have the largest army and their troops and officers are well trained, and while their lands are prosperous and starvation is far from their mind, they are beginning to stagnate from their crushing social conservatism. The question with the horselords is not a question of their courage, but their flexibility. Will they be able to fulfill their stated goal and take the entire island as their domain before their advantages become moot? Will they manage to change in the face of the printing press and the gun? Their technology has advanced, but it has done so in traditional avenues; the finest full plate armor in the world is engineered in Avoirdupois lands and it is easily able to take a bullet. Their weapons and steel are of excellent quality, but that steel is put into forging finer swords and crossbows rather than building cannon and muskets. PCs from Avoirdupois country are likely to be escaped serfs seeking to make their way in other lands, lesser nobles out to make a name, or other people who don't quite fit into the rigid social structures of the land. Foreign travelers are likely to find the Avoirdupois severe and humorless, though not unwelcoming. They are a tightly knit community that has prospered for over a millennium, but the facade is beginning to show its cracks.

Who next? Scots-Wolves, Irish-Wolves, German Boars, or Italian Foxes?

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