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Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Wizards are not samurai.

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Count Chocula posted:

No, your clarification makes me want to play the game MORE (minus the rape). Solipsistic anger makes way more sense to me than Werewolf's hyper-masculine VIKING RAGE/Klingon Honor crap and anger about 'nature'. It the game knew it and focused around it it would be great - hell I'd love some way to use it as an anger management therapy tool. It looks like 'solipsistic rage' returns no search results on Google, but it's a valuable idea and term.

The Collector is obviously based on the disturbing John Fowles novel and movie.

....Right, Got it then. Well I don't like this game, and I am going to continue to be harsh on it because that is what it deserves. I have read the whole thing, I have podcast on it twice, this game has injured me and I am not going to be nice on it just because you want to play a hyperrapist.

e: and you have missed the point on nWerewolf2 so badly that I don't even know where to start.

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine


He may not have missed it. He may have just assumed we meant oWoD werewolf, because :effort:

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Count Chocula posted:

No, your clarification makes me want to play the game MORE (minus the rape). Solipsistic anger makes way more sense to me than Werewolf's hyper-masculine VIKING RAGE/Klingon Honor crap and anger about 'nature'. It the game knew it and focused around it it would be great - hell I'd love some way to use it as an anger management therapy tool. It looks like 'solipsistic rage' returns no search results on Google, but it's a valuable idea and term.

The Collector is obviously based on the disturbing John Fowles novel and movie.
Doesn't modern psych research suggest that "venting" anger if you have an anger disorder is actually counterproductive and just encourages you to get worse and worse? Like at most it can dissipate tension in the moment but does not actually help you handle it better in the long run.

I mean that's normal anger not like supernatural Rage, but even in old Werewolf Rage was mystical wolfpower as much as it was "I am actually super angry."

That would actually be an interesting system, to try and create a game system which encourages you to channel anger constructively.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Gimme the Shadowlands, I hunger for the Shadowlands.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012




Magic Part 2: Orders

Orders are the second half of the magic system. While Orders are mostly flavor, tied to the setting, they also have a variety of mechanical effects, as well as narrative limitations that make each Order unique. Iíll be going over the basic flavor of each order, what makes them unique, and a few of the cooler sample spells for each.

Cartomancy

It means ďCard MagicĒ. This is an Order which casts spells using an enchanted deck of ďZodarĒ cards, the Talislantan equivalent of Tarot, made of twenty cards each with a unique meaning and use. The most common use of the Zodar is in fortune telling and prophecy, which are generally difficult to understand if always correct. More traditional spellcasting is done by shuffling the cards, arranging them in specific orders and combinations that shape the magic, with each card having a specific function and use in spells. Cartomancers keep the actual spellcasting part secret, using it rarely. It isnít an art learned in schools, and is self-taught. Anybody who uses the Zodar long enough slowly becomes attuned to the magic, slowly developing Cartomancy.

The Zodar Deck posted:

The twenty cards of the Zodar are:

1. Zar: The Dark Moon. An ill-aspected card, signifying evil, conspiracy, black magic.
2. Laeolis: The Blue Moon. Sorrow, disappointment, heartbreak.
3. Jhang: The Crimson Moon. Rage, violence, dark passions.
4. Ardan: The Purple Moon. Romance, passion, desire.
5. Phandir: The Green Moon. Mystery, things unknown.
6. Drome: The Amber Moon. Peace, repose, relief.
7. Talisandre: The Silver Moon. Good fortune.
8. The Lesser Sun. A matter of little import.
9. The Greater Sun. A matter of great import.
10. The Charlatan. Deception or deception discovered.
11. The Rogue. Loss, thievery, distrust.
12. The Warrior. Confrontation, conflict, vigilance.
13. The Assassin. Treachery, betrayal, death.
14. The Peddler. Opportunity, the chance for profit or loss.
15. The Wanderer. Travel and adventure.
16. The Wizard. Sorcery, chance, uncertainty.
17. The Mystic. Hidden knowledge, secrets.
18. The Alchemist. Change, transformation, the unexpected.
19. The Reaper. Inevitability.
20. The Archon. Victory.

Physical Components: Cartomancers cast spells by shuffing and manipulating the Zodar. A Cartomancer must have at least one hand free to manipulate the cards to cast spells. No need for magic words or other gestures, just the cards.

Advantages: Basically, Cartomancy is stealthy. Most people donít know it even exists as a form of magic, just considering Zodar to be playing cards or fortune telling toys, and Cartomancy have no magical effects like magic lights or noises. A Cartomancer can cast spells in a crowded room, and just look like heís playing solitaire.

Limitations You need your Zodar deck to cast spells. If you donít have it, you canít cast magic. If you lose your Zodar, or itís destroyed, you canít just pick up a new one. The Zodar are inherently magic, and you need to spend one week attuning yourself to the new deck before you can cast spells again.

Modes Cartomancy cannot use the Transform or Summon Modes. Alter spells can affect anything relating to one of the cards of the Zodar, such as The Warrior improving Combat Rating, or The Wanderer increasing Speed.

Enchantment Cartomancers can only Enchant new Zodar cards, and are unable to make other magical items.

Sample Spells posted:

Hand of Destiny (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Casting Modifiers: -10 (10th level)
Description: Rahastrans use this spell all the time, as it
is as much a part of their belief system as anything else.
By laying out two cards and divining their meaning, a
skilled cartomancer can determine his destiny. In game
terms, this is the PC asking the GM "What is likely to be
my best course of action?" The level of the spell should
be used as a ruler in deciding how accurate and helpful
the insight will be. For example, a 5th level divination
might yield only general information, such as, "The
future is obscure, but it seems that subtlety is the best
course of action." For a 10th level divination the result
might be more specific, as in "Signs indicate that deceit
would yield greater fortune than direct action." A 20th
level divination might yield more detailed information,
like "Fortune would shine on sneaking into the tower in
disguise", while at 30th level the GM might really get
specific, as in "Use a spell to hide your life-essence and
enter the necromancer's tower in the guise of undead."

Fool's Gold (Conjure)
Duration: 5 minutes
Range: 50 feet (usually cast on self)
Casting Modifiers: -5 (1st level, -4 for extra duration)
Description: Casting this spell and tapping The Peddler
three times will cause a cache of coins (up to 100 g.l., as
the caster requires) to appear in the casrtomancer's
pocket. The conjured coins look and feel quite real, but
will remain in existence for only 5 minutes, after which
they will vanish without a trace. This spell has many
practical applications, though its use is not without
certain risks. Kasmirans in particular have little fondness
for enchantments of this sort.

The Fold (Illusion)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -19 (1st level base, +9 levels for
Touch, Sound, and Scent, +3 levels for Motion, +3 levels
for Complex Elements, +3 levels for Magnitude.)
Description: Every Rahastran knows when to fold a bad
hand and make a discrete exit when his or her luck has
changed for the worse. By drawing The Charlatan the
caster can appear to vanish into thin air, leaving nothing
behind. Even someone holding the caster will believe
that the cartomancer has disappeared, and even beings
with keen senses of smell and hearing may be fooled by
this illusion. While the spell is in effect, the cartomancer
can move silently, hide, or make a quick getaway, as
Desired.

Wrath of the Warrior (Attack)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -6 (6th level)
Description: By tapping the Warrior card three times
and pointing at a target, the cartomancer causes her
victim to be pummeled by a pair of ghostly fists for 6
points of damage. If the spell is cast at a higher level,
the disembodied hands will appear to hold weapons.

Cryptomancy

Cryptomancy is the magic of writing. It uses mystic sigils, runes, and inscriptions to cast spells. Once created, these sigils can maintain their magic indefinitely, until activated. Cryptomancy is taught, generally by memorizing the various magical symbols from Cryptographic manuals. These books are always encrypted in a secret alphabet only known to other Cryptomancers.

Physical Components Cryptomancers must have one hand free to at least trace the mystic patterns needed to cast magic. Most spells actually require the cryptomancer to make a physical mark of some kind, so many cryptomancers carry papers, ink, charcoal, brushes, pens, knives, and chisels to write with.

Advantages When a Cryptomantic spell is cast, the magician may define a ďtriggerĒ, a condition that activates the spell. The spell will last until that condition is met and the magic is activated. Spells in this stasis condition can be detected and countered like any other spell. Setting a trigger on a spell adds a -5 to the difficulty, and the sigil must be clearly inscribed. These spells only activate once, for runes and such that work multiple times youíd use the enchanting rules to make a magic item.

Limitations Because a Cryptomancer has to accurately duplicate complex magic symbols, casting a spell can take a while. The default casting time for all Cryptomantic spells is 2 rounds minimum.

Modes Cryptomancy cannot use the Transform Mode. Cryptomancy gets a +3 bonus to Ward and Reveal, but a -2 penalty to Illusion and Influence. Cryptomancers use magical runes to communicate with extradimensional beings for the purpose of summoning. Cryptomancers use Alter by inscribing or drawing runes upon the target of the alteration.

Enchantment This Order is very useful for enchantment, and itís honestly one of the main uses for Cryptomancy. Some example uses are making magical traps and alarms, magical tattoos, inscribing on magic jewelry, and enchanted cages, manacles, and chains meant to hold extra-dimensional or super-powerful beings. Itís magic runes, itís really really suited for enchanting things.

Sample Spells posted:

Symbol of Clarity (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: 50 feet
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -Variable (see below) +3 due to Order
modifier.
Description: Inscribed in the air above a page or other
written surface, a Symbol of Clarity will render any form
of writings or inscriptions clear and intelligible to the
caster. The symbol functions no matter what language
the original inscriptions were written in, or what efforts
may have been used to obscure the message (codes,
obscured letters, etc.) The level of difficulty entailed in
the translation is used as a spell penalty in this case.
For foreign languages, the penalty is -1 to -10, depending
on the age and/or relative obscurity of the writings. For
codes and cyphers, subtract the skill level of whoever
devised the encryption. Obscured writings may cause a
penalty of -1 to -20 to be applied, depending on how
badly distorted, faded, or smudged the original
inscriptions are. All penalties are cumulative.

Talking Runes (Illusion)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -6 (1st level, -5 for trigger effect, -2
due to Order modifier)
Description: Talking Runes are symbols that slowly
"speak" a secret message when activated by a specific
trigger, which may be as simple as someone opening a
door or as complex and specific as the caster desires
(such as, "When the magician Azradamus reads the last
page of this book"). Talking Runes may speak up to 20
words in any language known to the caster, at a rate
of about 4 words per round. Talking runes may not speak
magical phrases in order to cast a spell.

Sigil of Deterrence (Attack)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -10 (5th level, -5 for trigger effect)
Description: A favorite of Kasmiran trapsmiths, this sigil
is usually placed inside a locking mechanism, and is
activated by touch. Unauthorized individuals who
attempt to open a lock protected with this sigil will suffer
a painful blast of energy (5hp damage) sufficient to
damage a key or lock-pick; or incapacitate a thief's hand.
A successful Traps skill roll (with a penalty equal to the
Traps skill rating of the magician that set the rune) will
alert a thief to the runeís presence.

Shaladinís Blade-Icon (Conjure)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -6 (1st level, -5 for trigger effect)
Description: This symbol is commonly sewn into the
sleeve of a robe, or carved into the face of a ring. When
triggered by the wearer, the rune causes a dagger to be
conjured into his or her hand. Shaladin's Blade is not a
magical weapon per se, but does damage equivalent to
a common dagger. Note that a Blade-Icon can be
triggered only once and must be re-cast before it can be
used again. Also note that an untriggered Icon counts
as one of the seven magical items that a person can
Carry.

Crystalomancy

Crystalomancy is both a form of magic and a holy art, seen as a gift from Terra, the Earth Mother the chief god of the Gnomekin. Crystalomancy is therefore protected as a holy order, and practitioners are considered to be priests as well as magicians. It is passed down orally from one magician to another, and has no known written works. It is almost impossible to be allowed to learn if one is not a Gnomekin. This order casts spells using magical specially grown crystals.

Physical Components All spells require a specially grown crystal of the appropriate type for the mode to cast:

MODE CRYSTAL Color
Alter Topazine Rich yellow
Attack Rubiate Fiery crimson
Conjure Albinite Milky white
Defend Amberite Warm orange
Heal Emeralite Deep green
Illusion Prismatite Clear/refractive
Influence Amethyte Vivid purple
Move Azurite Bright blue
Reveal Glassine Perfectly clear
Summon Ebonite Glossy black
Transform Variagate Multicolored
Ward Umberate Dark brown


Advantages A Crystalomancer can store a spell inside of the proper crystal for later use. This adds 10 rounds to the casting time per level of the spell, but once stored the spell can be used at any time. Even non-Crystalomancers can activate the crystal to cast the spell. Once a crystalís spell is cast, the crystal is now useless and cannot be used to cast magic again. When a crystal has a spell stored, it counts against the limit for enchanted items.

Affinity Crystalomancers get a +1 to spell-casting when using crystals they grew themselves.

Limitations A Crystalomancer cannot perform magic without their crystals. Crystals also have a carat level, which limits what level of spells can be cast with that crystal.

Modes Crystalomancerís cannot use the Conjure or Transform modes. They get a +3 bonus to Defend and Heal spells, and a -3 to Attack and Summon. Alter spells can only affect stone, earth, and crystal, not living beings or abstract qualities. Summoning can only be used to call up Earth elementals.

Enchantment Crystalomancers can create permanently enchanted crystals, which can be used on their own, such as crystals that heal the holder when activated, or worked into other objects, such as a supernaturally sharp sword with the crystal set into the pommel.

Crystal Growing A Crystalomancer can create their own crystals! Itís covered by the Agriculture (Crystals) skill. Crystals grow at 1 carat per week. A Grower can maintain one growing crystal per skill level. Crystals stop growing once harvested.

There are also wild crystals, which work for spellcasting, but at a -5 penalty to use. Crystalomancers still seek them out though, in the hopes of finding a new kind of crystal, or one that allows new uses for their magic.

Sample Spells posted:

Rubiate Beam (Attack)
Duration: Instant
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -9 (6th level, -3 for Order modifier for
this mode)
Description: This spell uses a rubiate crystal as a focus
to create a fiery beam of light that will do 6hp damage to
any creature or object that it hits. Targeted creatures
may try to dodge the beam.

Safe Passage (Ward)
Duration: 5 minutes
Area of Effect: 5 foot radius centered on the crystal
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -19 (10th level, -4 for extra duration,
-5 for area of effect)
Description: By casting this spell on an umberate crystal
and dropping it in a passageway, the crystalomancer
can make it impossible for a certain type of creature
(such as Darklings) to pass through the area for 5
minutes. This spell is very useful when fleeing from
pursuers underground.

Sense of Terra (Reveal)
Duration: 5 minutes
Range: Self
Casting Modifiers: -9 (5th level, -4 for extra duration)
Description: This spell gives the caster an infallible
sense of depth and direction while underground. As
long as the spell is in effect the crystalomancer will not
become disoriented or lost, even in total darkness. In
addition, the magician may make Perception rolls at +5
to detect deadfalls, traps, and potential cave-ins.

Glassine Eye (Reveal)
Duration: 2 minutes
Range: 2 miles
Casting Modifiers: -6 (4th level, -1 for extra duration, -1
for extra range)
Description: By placing a glassine crystal in a desired
location, the crystalomancer can use this spell to turn
the crystal into a remote scrying device. As long as the
crystal is within range, the caster can see through the
Crystalomantic Eye as though he or she were there,
with a +4 bonus to Perception for purposes of seeing
hidden things/beings.


Okay, Iíve realized that these are going to be giant posts at this rate, so Iíll be splitting Orders up into aboutÖ 3 posts Iíd say. So next time, more orders!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





Here's a little relevant music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf4eu5y0418

INTRODUCTION



Corporation is a RPG that began its run in 2009. Itís a d20 based game that is best described as a cross between the original Syndicate game and 2000ADís progs set in the 26th century in a world where megacorporations and a unified world government control the Earth. The player characters are all humans who have been recruited by the major corporations of the world to serve as their Agents. Agents are chosen from people who are at least above average and then made better through the use of cybernetic implants and augmentations.

From the get-go, letís talk about two problems I have with this game. The first is that the layout is kind of weird! The sections are (in order):
  • Introduction
  • 1: Character Creation
  • 2: Equipment
  • 3: Cybernetics
  • 4: Telepathics
  • 5: Character advancement
  • 6: The Corporations
  • 7: The UIG and the Order of the True Faith
  • 8: The Game System and Rules
  • 9: The World in 2500
  • 10: The Cities
  • 11: People and Places
  • 12: Running a Game of Corporation
  • 13: Antagonists
The main issue I have is that you get the rules more than halfway through the book and some terms will pop up you wonít immediately be familiar with. The rules are far from complicated but the structure is definitely odd. So I wonít be presenting this book in printing order; I will be putting it in the order that makes the most sense to me.

The other major problem is that the game lets the players do a lot and there are loose guidelines for letting them do that (want to make money betting on professional sports? You can!). Also the rules are a bit cumbersome at times (like, for example, rules for item/armor conditions). There are a lot of books for Corporation that offer more and more things to do and buy and they also bring new guidelines to the table (ďgetting infections from stolen nanotech implants because the guy didnít bake the plates properly and kill off the self-replicating onesĒ and ďhow to make money from selling clonesĒ come to mind). The game really does run the risk of offering you Too Much but I do understand the idea behind it. Itís less ďthese are the concrete rules!Ē and more ďmaybe one of your players will have an idea to do this so we want to at least offer you a loose framework for how they can do it. This is assuming you want to make this be a part of your game or allow the player to do itĒ.



I do enjoy this game, I do think it has some interesting ideas and I have some appreciation for the fact that itís not just a hardcore cyberpunk dystopia that has somehow existed for at least a century. Itís a bit like Transmetropolitan in those regards; the world is not in the best state but itís better because when it was at its lowest, mankind almost wiped itself out for dumb reasons. Also Iím not one to quibble about the definition of ďcyberpunkĒ but you are most definitely working for The Man and itís really not that awful. Itís much more of a sci-fi espionage/action game with augmentation, alien technology and future shenanigans than cyberpunk. And on that note, letís get into a proper introduction to the game and world proper.

A quick note on what I will and will not be including: I'll be including sidebars and pictures when appropriate. There's a lot of in-universe writing in the book sprinkled pretty liberally and while it's decent, I'm not going to focus on that and talk more about the mechanical content and descriptions.

CORPORATION: INTRODUCTION



Let's skip the section that explains what a role-playing game is. The year is 2500 and the world is united under the banner of the United International Government. Beneath the UIG are the five corporations that control large swathes of the world, enforcing their own laws and way of life. The five corporations are:
  • Ai-Jinn: a Chinese industrial giant responsible for mining and construction. Ai-Jinn is also famous for its Triad roots which it continues to these days, using Agents as ringleaders of organized crime groups to make extra money for the corporation.
  • Comoros: an Indo-African corporation responsible for education and culture. Comoros has the best telepaths hands-down and are more empathic as a whole and come across as the ďgoodĒ faction. Despite that, they really hate the UIG.
  • Eurasian Incorporated: formed from the EU and Russia becoming a mega corporation, EI is responsible for health/medicine and leisure. Eurasian Incorporated is filthy rich with its Agents famous for acting like 90s-era New Russian vory with little regard for collateral damage. Because of its size and power, EI is full of corrupt businessmen and infighting and as a result itís got a public image people love to hate.
  • Shi Yukiro: formed from a Japanese zaibatsu, Shi Yukiro is responsible for electronics and cutting edge high tech. Theyíve got the least influence by size and control and are particularly insular, guarding their ion technology carefully and making its Agents adhere to Japanese traditions.
  • Western Federation: formed from an American arms manufacturer, the Western Federation is responsible for guns and defenses (and unofficially entertainment). The Western Federation is a military machine that enforces its ideals with an iron fist, wishing to bring about a new world order of Federation supremacy where crimes are dealt with harshly and things they donít like are illegal. The main reason they havenít reignited the Corporate Wars is because they havenít fully stamped out resistance at home.
The UIG came into power after the Corporate Wars of the 23rd century when the world governments were surpassed by megacorps who fought a global war against each other. Each corporation wanted to outright rule the world but all that happened was a terrible war of attrition that systematically destroyed swathes of the Earth and depleted all of their resources. The UIG stood up when the corporations fought each other to a standstill and made themselves the controller of the world. So why arenít the corporations extinct? Well, all the UIG cares about is enforcing its rules and protecting its citizens. It cannot and will not get involved in corporate affairs. They rebuild their power and money by helping rebuild the world and now thereís an uneasy peace where one side waits for another to falter so they can completely take them over.

Players control Agents of a Corporation. You sign a contract and they turn you into enforcers and street-level executives for your corporation while trying not to attract the intervention of the UIG. Itís a lot like EVE Online and how Concord doesnít give a poo poo about what youíre up to, you have broken the law and you need to be punished. Your jobs might be legal or illegal but completion gets you paid and brings benefits. Plus, playing by the rules grants you better perks of citizenship in the UIG, which gets you paid better. The threat in the field isnít going to be some civilian and in fact you really shouldnít use overwhelming force against normal people. The real threat comes from the fact that Agents doing other missions have the same basic strengths as you and wonít go down without a fight.

WHAT MAKES AN AGENT?

For starters, Agents are selected from individuals who are more skilled than the common person. When they sign a contract to become an Agent, their Corporation will outfit them with a collection of augmentations that are standard across all Agents for any corporation. They will also foot the bill for the price of these cybernetics and will pay monthly for their upkeep (plus if you lose them due to, say, total loss of body, theyíll pay for installation of new ones). Basically this is the starter pack that makes you more than human and no matter your employer you get these benefits that canít be taken away from you.
  • SVC/Sub Vocal Communicator (6k credits): The SVC is implanted in your jawbone and will let you talk to friendly Agents without moving your lips or speaking loudly. It can also speak to your HQ. Range is 300 meters with security signal decay with range; talking to someone on the bench next to you is 100% secure, talking to someone 300 meters away isnít.
  • ID Chip (500 c): All Citizens, Agents and UIG officers have ID chips mounted on the back of one hand beneath the skin. They can be scanned to confirm identity and let the scanner know more about the ownerís details such as licenses, cybernetics and memberships. Information is available depending on the Rank of the person viewing the chipís info and chip checkers can be mounted on doors, weapons, vehicles, etc.
  • AI Chip (18k c): An Agent receives a level 1 AI chip mounted on their neck that basically acts as the central processing/coordination hub for all of your augmentations. It can also be used to help hack, control weapons or run subroutines. The max level of an AI chip is 9 and it requires AI levelx5k credits to increase your level at the rate of one level a week. The AI chip doesnít get a lot of use in this book, all told.
  • Basic Process Socket (20k c): A x-pin socket is installed at the back of the skull that allows the Agent to slot chips that give them information or skills. The socket is covered with a little flesh-colored cover. More info will come later on chips and expansions to the socket.
  • R-Drug (400 c/month): The R-Drug was developed by Two Snakes Medical (a smaller corporation) and allows the Agent to regrow missing body parts by returning them to their original genetic form. Facial features, toes or fingers regenerate in a week, two weeks for a hand or foot and three for a full limb. Unfortunately, you canít regenerate a head. The R-Drug makes the loss of a limb a minor long-term inconvenience and a handy way to incapacitate an enemy Agent.
  • Histonamide (100 c/month): Histonamide makes blood clot faster meaning that Agents are more resistant to bleeding from normal wounds. Theyíre still vulnerable to ďmashingĒ damage which causes bleeding. In game terms, anyone without Histonamide automatically takes mashing damage while Agents only take it from mashing weapons or overwhelming damage. Bleeding is Very Bad.
  • Atrophic DNA (7k c): Residual DNA left by Agents decays to uselessness in 10 minutes unless a special formula neutralizes the process within 5 minutes. Handy for getting rid of incriminating evidence!
  • Synaptic Modulation (22K c): A feedback chipset is installed that lets the brain and Agent recognize pain without actually feeling the worst of it. This isnít to say they donít feel pain, it just doesnít really hurt and you can convey how badly it feels without it actually hurting.
  • Independent Cellular Excision (ICE) and Neural Stabilizers (30K c): ICE technology is installed in the brain and heart and major organs to ensure theyíre resistant to damage. Organ and head trauma wonít really affect an Agent unless itís an overwhelming application of force (or if the organs are just plain removed). In game terms, youíre immune to moderate organ damage and canít be knocked out.
  • Ambidexterity (free): Agents are taught to use both of their hands for tasks. Not fancy but certainly practical.
So in a straight or fair fight, a normal person isnít beating an Agent. Thatís okay because most of the time a regular person isnít going to be the focus of an Agentís aggression. I like how from the word go you have a Donít Suck package mandatory for every player character, that is a good design decision and helps set them apart from a normal person.



NEXT TIME: Weíre going to skip ahead some to chapters 8 and 5. After that weíll get to chapter 1 proper and see what itís like to build an Agent.


A stylized picture of a process socket.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


quote:

4. Ardan: The Purple Moon. Romance, passion, desire.

Does it have a picture of Prince on it?

Does Atrophic DNA mean Agents are sterile?

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Agents aren't said to be sterile and even if they were there's always cloning and genetic engineering and artificial insemination to pick up the slack.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Count Chocula posted:

Does Atrophic DNA mean Agents are sterile?

Honestly, I read "Atrophic DNA" being more a curse than a benefit. If your DNA decays at insane rate outside your body, which normally has a half-life of 521 years and can last for 7 million years in ideal cases, how long does your own cellular structure last inside you? Not that it's without merit, it fits perfectly with the theme.

I'd imagine that the various corporations use that special formula mentioned in it's text as part of their monthly regimen of drugs and supplements given to Agents. If an Agent dies, their body decomposes rapidly as their DNA breaks down quickly so as to be a deniable person. And if an Agent runs from the program or goes turncoat, they start aging quickly without access to the formula.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Makes their blood clot faster, eh? Don't bang your head too much, Agents!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



It's really just a hand-wavey way of saying "look you don't have to worry about the GM being like 'ha ha you left behind an eyelash, prepare for the UIG ramraid!'" so the PCs don't have to get bogged down in cleaning up after themselves whenever they do something illegal. I'm not even going to pretend that any of this is scientific in the slightest, it's a future where one of the most common breakfast meals is an egg the size of your fist that has the motto "an Egg-U-Like a day keeps cellular mutogenesis at bay!" and you can just glue on detached limbs without needing to keep it on ice. We're on the soft side of science here, soft like butterscotch pudding.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


With regard to Beast chat, the most efficient way of feeding Satiety as any Hunger at any level is to buy a box of feeder mice, tip them out in your basement, then hunt them all down and smash each one with a claw hammer.

Prey's Low Satiety threshold explicitly notes you can hunt animal targets to fulfill it despite the mechanic being about human fears, and this gives you a pool of 1 (low satiety) + 3 (abundant feeding) + 4 (victims die) = 8 dice. Getting too full? Just catch the mice and put them back in the box, or kill two or three.

Even disregarding Family Dinner - which, as mentioned, turns Beasts into gigantic hypocrites for actively choosing to torture people despite it being the riskier and harder option - the Satiety rules are written to incentivize playing "that really creepy guy in Accounts Receivable who's way too interested in your pets" long before doing anything the text actually says it wants.

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


Would some kind of automated Rube Goldberg-esque Mousetrap count as a lair? Speaking of Grant Morrison, he based on Professor Pyg on both HH Holmes (the Murder House guy) and the professor who built elaborate rat cities with different conditions to study human and rat emotions. Possible Beasts all?

And you could handwave it that animal fear tastes 'like cold coffee', to use Lestat's description of drinking rat blood.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

Count Chocula posted:

Wizards are not samurai.

Shugenja are samurai, which is a social caste. Shugenja are NOT Bushi, which are warrior samurai

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Count Chocula posted:

Would some kind of automated Rube Goldberg-esque Mousetrap count as a lair? Speaking of Grant Morrison, he based on Professor Pyg on both HH Holmes (the Murder House guy) and the professor who built elaborate rat cities with different conditions to study human and rat emotions. Possible Beasts all?


Of course you could but It's still not a physical location and has to be represented via tags and tilts.

Also yes I guess in that they're incredibly hosed up people who aren't supposed to be aspirational figures in the least and villains at best?

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Count Chocula posted:

And you could handwave it that animal fear tastes 'like cold coffee', to use Lestat's description of drinking rat blood.

The Astral, Primordial Dream, etc. are all explicitly and repeatedly stated to be humanity's collective unconscious, and beasts work on human fears. The way feeding works is how fear resonates in humanity's oversoul. Killing animals in an isolated basement should give a horror sweet gently caress all for nourishment.

You also missed my point where killing twenty bucks of feeder mice is by-mechanics more satisfying than anything short of hunting down and killing a werewolf in single combat. That ain't cold coffee.

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


If I really wanted to defend everything about this game I could argue that many people - like the poster mentioned above - are scared of loners who slaughter animals for fun, but you're right, it is a dumb rule. And that fear is usually based on the perception that killing animals leads on to worse crimes.

"Like flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods - they kill us for their sport".

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Daeren posted:


You also missed my point where killing twenty bucks of feeder mice is by-mechanics more satisfying than anything short of hunting down and killing a werewolf in single combat. That ain't cold coffee.

A character that is Renfield but with potent monster powers is kind of terrifying. Although I thin Renfield was already that way since I think he could match Dracula in physical strength. Been a while since I read the book.

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 assume that everybody in the WoD calls ghouls 'Renfields'.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Kurieg posted:

....Right, Got it then. Well I don't like this game, and I am going to continue to be harsh on it because that is what it deserves. I have read the whole thing, I have podcast on it twice, this game has injured me and I am not going to be nice on it just because you want to play a hyperrapist.

e: and you have missed the point on nWerewolf2 so badly that I don't even know where to start.

Where was the second podcast on it?

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

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


Robin Laws just posted this - https://www.academia.edu/27610983/What_Does_it_Mean_to_be_Orlanthi_Hermeneutic_Challenge_in_King_of_Dragon_Pass

What Does it Mean to be Orlanthi? Hermeneutic Challenge in King of Dragon Pass

I look forward to reading it.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Terrible Opinions posted:

Where was the second podcast on it?

We did a podcast based on the Kickstarter preview when it first came out
http://podcast.darker-days.org/e/darker-days-radio-episode-64/

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Tasoth posted:

A character that is Renfield but with potent monster powers is kind of terrifying. Although I thin Renfield was already that way since I think he could match Dracula in physical strength. Been a while since I read the book.
Renfield was the clear inspiration for ghouls, yeah, including why they inexplicably and automatically and inevitably have a dot of Potence. Why not Fortitude? Why not Celerity? Why not "whatever the least bullshit clan discipline is for your clan"? Because Renfield, and also, because gently caress you.

You also have the revenants if you want that sort of half-vampire thing going on.I always thought that was kind of an underexplored concept.

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Count Chocula posted:

Robin Laws just posted this - https://www.academia.edu/27610983/What_Does_it_Mean_to_be_Orlanthi_Hermeneutic_Challenge_in_King_of_Dragon_Pass

What Does it Mean to be Orlanthi? Hermeneutic Challenge in King of Dragon Pass

I look forward to reading it.

It's interesting but somewhat straightforward - essentially the article's thesis is that while other games require you to learn physical skills or strategy to master them, KoDP requires you to understand what it means to be Orlanthi and act within their cultural mores. I'd have appreciated a bit more discussion on how it teaches you Gloranthan Magic and hero quests as well as Orlanthi customs and social mores, but I thought it was a pretty great read.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Nessus posted:

Renfield was the clear inspiration for ghouls, yeah, including why they inexplicably and automatically and inevitably have a dot of Potence. Why not Fortitude? Why not Celerity? Why not "whatever the least bullshit clan discipline is for your clan"? Because Renfield, and also, because gently caress you.

You also have the revenants if you want that sort of half-vampire thing going on.I always thought that was kind of an underexplored concept.

Revenants in Masquerade are incredibly conceptually cool, but they also suffer a bit from the fact that every new Revenant family you introduce to the setting makes them more commonplace and therefore more mundane and dull. That's why I think they work the best for the Tzimisce, because that gates them behind only appearing when a specific subset of antagonists appear, and moreover, ties them to certain geographical areas. But then suddenly the Tremere has Revenants, the Giovanni have Revenants, the Baali have Revenants, the Assamites have Revenants, and there's a Ventrue Revenant family somewhere in Greece, the True Black Hand used to have three on their own which are now all independent...

Though I do have a weakness for adding more, even as I critique the books for having too many. :v:

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

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


Clapping Larry

The Dhampir from the Kindred of the East were cool for that too...except for all the Kindred of the East stuff of course.

FrostyPox
Feb 8, 2012



So literally the only way I can see to use beasts as players is to, like, ignore or rewrite large swathes of the splat which is way more effort than its worth, or, more simply, to throw the "everyone loves me!" poo poo right out the window and use them as antagonists and not player characters.

Like a buncha mummies wake up because someone's stealing their relics, some Mysterious Benefactor helps them figure everything out, they go off to retrieve the relics, turns out they've been stolen by a Hero so he can use them to kill a Beast (who was SURPRISE the mysterious benefactor all along), the mummies punk the hero, punk the beast, get the relics back, go back to bed, the end.

Kaza42
Oct 3, 2013

Blood and Souls and all that

FrostyPox posted:

So literally the only way I can see to use beasts as players is to, like, ignore or rewrite large swathes of the splat which is way more effort than its worth, or, more simply, to throw the "everyone loves me!" poo poo right out the window and use them as antagonists and not player characters.

Like a buncha mummies wake up because someone's stealing their relics, some Mysterious Benefactor helps them figure everything out, they go off to retrieve the relics, turns out they've been stolen by a Hero so he can use them to kill a Beast (who was SURPRISE the mysterious benefactor all along), the mummies punk the hero, punk the beast, get the relics back, go back to bed, the end.

You start a Beast game set in a small town, pitching it in such a way to play up the self-righteousness of it all, to encourage the players to really get into the horrible swing of things. Focus on the individual damage they're doing and the effect on the environment of the town. Then one session, they arrive and you hand them all Hunter character sheets and now they're playing the Union here to kick the crap out of the Beasts.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Traveller posted:

John, shugenja are already samurai.

It's a reference to the original CCG set where cards would have the "Samurai" (warrior) tag or "Shugenja" (wizard) tag, and samurai wasn't an all-encompassing term applied to shugenja or courtiers. Togashi Yokuni was the only card with both the Samurai and Shugenja tags. This was more symbolic than anything else, since though Shugenja let you attach spells (and that was a big deal), very few cards referenced the Samurai keyword, and most of them were negative. Still, it did mark him as unusual story-wise, and wouldn't be until late in the first block that he'd be revealed as the original Togashi when he fights Fu Leng and both of them take the form of dragons.

BirdsUponBirds
Feb 19, 2013


Hang on--

Wapole Languray posted:


Crystalomancy

MODE CRYSTAL Color
Transform Variagate Multicolored

Modes Crystalomancerís cannot use the Conjure or Transform modes. They get a +3 bonus to Defend and Heal spells, and a -3 to Attack and Summon. Alter spells can only affect stone, earth, and crystal, not living beings or abstract qualities. Summoning can only be used to call up Earth elementals.


There is a crystal that does Transform, but the only people who use crystals cannot use Transform? I hope I'm missing something.

FrostyPox
Feb 8, 2012



Kaza42 posted:

You start a Beast game set in a small town, pitching it in such a way to play up the self-righteousness of it all, to encourage the players to really get into the horrible swing of things. Focus on the individual damage they're doing and the effect on the environment of the town. Then one session, they arrive and you hand them all Hunter character sheets and now they're playing the Union here to kick the crap out of the Beasts.

I like this one a lot, too.

Shady Amish Terror
Oct 11, 2007
I'm not Amish by choice. 8(

Flavivirus posted:

It's interesting but somewhat straightforward - essentially the article's thesis is that while other games require you to learn physical skills or strategy to master them, KoDP requires you to understand what it means to be Orlanthi and act within their cultural mores. I'd have appreciated a bit more discussion on how it teaches you Gloranthan Magic and hero quests as well as Orlanthi customs and social mores, but I thought it was a pretty great read.

That is an interesting twist of KoDP, yes, although it's worth keeping in mind it's not entirely just an Orlanthi custom simulator either; you can do reasonably well even while skirting custom constantly, although it's also easy to handwave that since, ah, how was it put? Something like 'it's good to follow the ancestors because that's respectful, but it's bad to never try anything new'. The very idea of changing tradition to avoid stagnation is itself codified in there somewhere. Otherwise you'd all be dwarves, and that's a fate no Orlanthi would tolerate.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Yeah, he kind of misses the big point of the game; you're building something no one has ever seen before and you'll have to write the new tradition.

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.




Our Elves Are Different... Let's Read Cryptomancer! (Part 4)

The first salvo of crypto spent, let's quickly get through the three racial chapters so we can get into the mechanics, shall we? Up first, our friends from Down Under, the Dwarves! In the world of Cryptomancer, Dwarves are "as diverse as they are numerous," which perhaps the first time that phrase hasn't been used to describe an RPG setting's humans. Dwarven society is split into clans, which used to be based on a common bloodline, but has now expanded to include many different families who share a common allegiance. The leader of a clan is called the mogul. The book goes to great length to stress that, even for the unusually-paranoid world of Cryptomancer, the dwarves stand out for sheer amount of time spent scheming. Power struggles and espionage are the rule of dwarven life - rare is the mogul who can rest easily.

Dwarven clanhalls are a clan's underground home base. Because dwarves love gilded poo poo almost as much as stabbing their enemies in the back, clanhalls are ridiculously ornate, with every possible surface being covered in gems and gold. The most common exports of clanhalls (and the source of their opulence) are precious metals and shardnets, the latter of which is the reason the dwarves have been able to stay competitive in the modern economy. Mining is considered indelicate now that the dwarves have moved on to the finer things, so being assigned to the mines is considered a severe punishment. Aside from raw resources, dwarves also export their engineering prowess: as is the law in settings without gnomes, the dwarves are the masters of steam-powered tech.

The dwarven psyche is dominated by a concern for aesthetics and pleasure - in this way, they hew closer to the traditional concept of elves than of dwarves. They look down upon humans and elves for focusing on material things, ignoring art and philosophy. Some long-beard dwarves pine for a return to the simple, bloody warfare of the Mythic Age, but that grows less and less likely by each passing day. The only way for the race to survive is to hold on to their economic dominance and never let go. The section on dwarves ends with some fiction about two dwarves who assassinate their dinner host - one is appalled, while the other is more shocked by the host's poor wine pairing and the blood that's ruined his coat. They prepare to fight some guards, and the story ends.

Elves

Cryptomancer posted:

The elves are the great parasite of Sylvetica.
Elves began as a peaceful nomadic tribe and ended up as ecology-destroying drug dealers. The great shift happened when primitive elves stumbled upon the substance known as soma - the honeydew secretions of giant bugs called gigaphids. Pure soma is an addictive fluid that causes ecstasy and delusion in equal measure - and when distilled, it's the single best liquor on the planet. It's produced by trapping a gigaphid larva inside a tree (they usually will burrow out after hatching). When trapped, the aphid will cannibalize its fellow larva and eventually become subsumed by the tree. In order to sustain the enormous parasite, the tree will start devouring the water and nutrients from every nearby bit of flora, until the tree is the only thing standing in the acres surrounding it.

If you chop the gigaphid out of the tree after a few years, it can be reared as an enormous and intelligent winged mount - something that gives the elves undisputed air superiority in battle. But if you leave it trapped for a solid decade, it will become a giant fount of soma, the single most important commodity on the planet. Needless to say, the elves took to gigaphid rearing with a vengeance. Gigaphid mounts and soma production has helped assure their importance in Sphere society, but it's also resulted in the slow death of their home forest. Now, miles of deadwood are all that remain of their once-verdant home.

Elves don't age physically past 40, but their minds start to go at 120, and few survive to 150. Elven society is tribal (note: also described as "diverse as they are numerous") and based around soma production. Tribes have a single leader - called a speaker - and a council of elders as advisors. The speaker's role isn't fixed by vote or law and can instead gradually shift as one's influence waxes and another wanes. There's no formality, no ceremony, but everyone in the tribe simply knows when a new speaker has taken over (which confuses other races' attempts to infiltrate or suborn the tribe's power structure). Tribes built out around the soma tree, living in nearby hollow trees and mushrooms and travelling by strings of ladders and bridges between the rotten treeline. Larger tribes have enough territory to also practice gigaphid ranching. The trees holding infant gigaphids can then become staging grounds for warbands, or tactical goals in internecine struggles. As a people, elves are humorless and unemotional. They don't mind humans, but really hate dwarves, who they think have fallen from paragons of might to a group of conniving epicurians. The section ends with another bit of fiction - an elf warrior bargains with some gnolls that they'll leave the village if they win a duel. The elf wins, the gnolls turn to leave, and then the elf commands her hidden warriors to cut the remaining survivors down with poisoned arrows.

Next time: Humans and Risk Eaters!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Alright I like the idea that the Elves are basically Appalachian drug clans who have polluted the land with their stills and labs and I also like the idea that the Dwarves have become weird techbros who shun physical labor and think the tech bubble totally isn't going to burst we'll make money forever.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



Ahahahaha dwarves are coders who politicked their way into management and elves are investors running incubators. This game owns bones.

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 SomaCoin tree was growing well until it caught fire and we lost everything."

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


gradenko_2000 posted:

The thing that really makes it fall apart is the assumption that the game's rules define the world ... rather than just being the rules to play a game with.

I have to admit I always had trouble with that approach, though, the idea that things only ran by the rules in the book in the region around the PC's, and everywhere else just worked on real-world logic. It seems... off. But it's a preference thing, obviously. I honestly like those attempts at making rulesets that would result in a more-or-less coherent world if they were applied across the gameworld, at all times.

Obviously it only works down to a certain level of detail, the carpenter doesn't have to make to-hit rolls against every single nail he hammers in, but, still. It feels more right to me, even though that's silly.

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Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012



BirdsUponBirds posted:

Hang on--


There is a crystal that does Transform, but the only people who use crystals cannot use Transform? I hope I'm missing something.

The Order rules that modify or ban Modes are optional. Those are included in case your GM doesn't want to limit Modes, so that they can still use the whole crystal flavor aspect. 90% of the Order rules are to differentiate and let casters feel different while still mostly using identical mechanics, so a lot of the hard rules modifications are explicitly optional and are free to throw out.

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