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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I went into so much detail on all those powers that I'm reading through from page 185 now, so I gotta gird my loins for this.

Is this that fiction compilation they put out where they had an excerpt on their webpage, and it was a story about Lucita making a guy commit necrophila before she'd let him have sex with her?

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Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012


Halloween Jack posted:

I went into so much detail on all those powers that I'm reading through from page 185 now, so I gotta gird my loins for this.

Is this that fiction compilation they put out where they had an excerpt on their webpage, and it was a story about Lucita making a guy commit necrophila before she'd let him have sex with her?

It's just a single story, yes, and it's Isabel Giovanni. And she is only in the book just for that scene.

Kavak posted:

Eternal Farts'

Ehehehehe.

Kavak posted:

Also, I thought Vykos was an it because they turned themselves into a neuter. Shouldn't the book be using "him" if it's given him a penis?

I think it's several parts White Wolf wanting to be edgy, the fact that this was written in the 90s, and the fact that everyone in the setting, Sascha included, doesn't really see them as anything resembling a human anymore. Also, what Halloween Jack said.

I'm just using "it" because that's what the book uses.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I went searching for official art of the cock goblin before Adnachiel linked it. The amount of prettything, mai waifando art I found of it was... well, unsurprising I suppose.

There was one I can only describe as Sexy Tyranid Kuato in Art Gallery.

ninjaiguana
Aug 1, 2009

Holy shit! I have a tail?!


Halloween Jack posted:

I went into so much detail on all those powers that I'm reading through from page 185 now, so I gotta gird my loins for this.


Quick mention on the Godlike stuff with Go First - as I understand it, the idea was for the new version of Go First to cost 8 per rank, because the 1st printing was 1 per rank and people realized it was broken as poo poo. For 6 points you could get Go First 6, making you act before anyone else without Go First regardless of their abilities. Well, nearly regardless - 8+ Hard or Wiggle dice would let them block ONE of your attacks (at a minimum cost of 16 or 32 points!). And of course you're using an automatic weapon, because why not? Because of the way ORE defenses work, such a high-width attack means your gobble dice are worthless. Hope you like being shot in the head! Sure, Heavy Armour still works...but that's 7 points per rank, while the Fastest Gun in the West over here spent less than that to clown 90% of his enemies.

Unfortunately, they apparently overlooked the equally busted ability from Hypercool when they fixed Go First. When I run Godlike - and I've run quite a few games of it, in both 1st and 2nd edition - I remove the initiative bonus from Hypercool. In a game where Mental Stability checks can mess you the hell up and Base Will is amazing, Hypercool is still worth it even without the initiative bonus.

ninjaiguana fucked around with this message at 16:46 on Aug 30, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I was going to say, as good as Go First is, I think you're better off in the long run buying a bunch of Hypercool, which does other things. And if they increased the cost, you should definitely buy Hypercool.

I think if I was creating my own Godlike character tomorrow...well, hold on a minute.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008





Part Five: Starships and Starship Combat

So, starships. As you'd imagine for a game based around sandboxing throught the galaxy, starships are a pretty important thing. And in keeping with how gear is handled, starships can be custom-designed to the players' specificiations based on what they can afford.

Starships are are stated up in a manner similar to PCs; they have stats, traits, gear, and perks. Most of these require the group to pay out in Influence to represent the standard maintenance needed to keep the ship flying. Since starships are used by the whole party, all the players can combine their Influence into a single pool to build the ship. However, if the group's total Influence falls below what's needed for the ship, then the ship's weapons and traits will be lost in various was (breakdowns, no ammo, etc.) until the PCs can get the minimum cash flow going again.

It's worth noting that the group doesn't need to have just one ship. It's possible to break the total Influence into multiple pools to maintain multiple ships, so if you want one guy to have a single-man fighter while everyone else tools around in a cargo hauler, that's perfectly fine.

The first step in making a ship is to assign its Attributes. There are six Attributes for ships:
  • Hull represents the overall size of the ship. This determines how much Cargo space you have, and what kinds of weapons you can slap onto the thing.
  • Engines determines your accelleration/decelertation speed.
  • Crew is the quality and quantity of the ship's crew (if you have NPC crw), as well as how accessable the ship's systems are for the people on board.
  • Power is your ship's generator output. This is used for shields and boosting systems.
  • CPU is the power of the ship's main computer. This is for intiative and Locking On to targets.
  • Sensors are what it says on the label. Used for long-range attacks.
Each ship gets 18 points to ditribute however you want, with a 3 being "average". You can set an Attribute to 0, which means that your ship doesn't have that particular system, but for the most part that's not something you'll want to do.

Ships also have a "Size" Attribute, which goes from 1 to 5 and defaults to 3. A Size of 1 is your standard-issue single pilot fighter, a 3 is your Firefly-class "we all live here" ship, and a 5 means you're dealing with a battleship-sized deal. Size can be changed later when you buy Traits.

Once you do all that, then you figure your ship's base and calculated values:
  • Cargo space is (Size x 4) + Hull - 10. This is how many slots you have for Trade Goods or Workshops.
  • Weapon Slots is the same as its Size. Each weapon you install on a ship takes up a number of slots.
  • Resupply is the Size x 2. This is how many days a ship can travel before needing refueling and restocking.
  • Defense is 12 - Size + Engines.
  • Armor defaults to 3, regardless of Ship size.
  • Shields is 10 + (Power * Size).

Next, you pick the ship's Build, which (in a manner of speaking) is the ship's species. Or at least, which species built the ship. This will adjust the ship's Attributes in various ways; a Corporation-built ship will have more Cargo space, slightly better Defense, and an extra Perk; but it'll also have lower max Attributes and a penalty to some repair rolls. Meanwhile, a Legion ship will improve one Weapon and is more resistant to ongoing damage, but has less Cargo, -1 to its CPU, and has one less Perk.

Next up, you can pick one Trait per Attribute, including one Size Trait, at the cost of 5 Influence each. These work like PC Traits; they can modify your ship's stats, give you mechanical benefits, things like that. And there are some pretty neat options here; you can take the ever-popular Hunk of Junk Hull Trait, which reduces the ship's Influence cost by 10 and gives you +1 point of Secret Cargo space, but lowers your ship's stats. You can attach Solar Sails to your Engine stat, which increases you're ship's turning speed if you're near a sun. Things like that.

Size Perks are straight modifiers to the ship's Size (duh), which will also modify the base stats of the ship. Making a ship a Heavy Fighter is -2 Size, but makes your ship harder to hit, for example.

Now you can start jamming Weapons onto your ship, and again these work like they do for PCs. Ships have a base number of slots for weapons equal to its size (modified by Traits or Perks, of course). Like PC weapons, ship weapons fall into general categories: Command (boarding parties and special squads), Operations (missiles/rockets/mines), and Gunnery (general guns and artillery). You pick a base weapon type, add a Variation and as many Modifications on there as you can afford. You don't have as many options here as you do with personal gear, but you can still make some rather fun things like an acid-spewing point defense system or launchers that inject drone swarms into enemy ships if they can breach the hull.

Of particular note are "Warhead" type weapons, which are not instant fire-and-forgets but are actual drone-like objects that get a figure on the map and will move each round until they hit their target or are shot down. It's a nice twist on normal combat that adds an extra dimension to things. Fighters and teams of boarding troops are available as well, and are again treated in a manner similar to drones.

It's important to note that weapon placement matters. Some weapons are considered "batteries", which mean they have a 90 degree arc of fire based on what side of the ship they're on. "Ordinance" like missiles can only be launched from the side of a ship, but after that can move and attack independently.

Lastly, you can pick Perks. There are two kinds of Perks: automatic and optional. Every ship starts with all the automatic perks, which cover the basic functions of the ship. They're listed as Perks because some ship Traits can reduce the number of automatic Perks your ship has ("By the way, the ship doesn't have life support or docking clamps. Is that a problem?").


A typical size 2 ship.

The optional Perks are just small tweaks to your ship's stats, like more storage space, extra rooms, or a small shuttle. You can have as many optional Perks as your ship's Size.

Outside of combat, ships can travel from planet to planet within a star system through the use of standard-issue jump drives, and can move from galactic sector to galactic sector through the use of spacial rift things called ley lines.



When you look at the system map, you'll see blue lines on the map between the various planets. For each of these lines you cross, that counts as one day of travel. So here, it'd take five days to get from Alabaster to Lilith.



On sector maps, everything is broken down into hexes. Moving from one hex to another is considered six days of travel. But here's the thing: the parts of the map with ley lines count as one single hex. So on this map, if you travelled from Haven to Cerberus without using the ley line, that'd be six hexes times 6, or 36 days of travel. But if you took the ley lines, then you'd only be passing through four "hexes", so you'd only need 24 days.


"Dammit, why does he always leave the seat so far back?"

Now we come to Starship combat. Starship combat works on a grid like personal combat, but has a few significant differences.

For one, starship combat can scale up or down as needed. What determines the scale isn't the size of the ships involved, but the speed the ships are moving at. When things are "pulled in", the assumption is that ships will be moving relatively slowly around each other; this is probably what you think of when you picture "spaceship combat". When ships are intended to be moving faster (such as a chase through a system), then the scale is pulled out to reflect the greater movement. It's even possible for the scale of a combat to change as the people involved increase or decrease by hitting a certain speed for so many turns.

One of the core concepts of starship combat is Velocity. Velocity represents both your ship's speed and your initiative. It goes from 1 to 6, and the game suggests putting a d6 next to your ship's mini to track it. Ships act in reverse Velocity order (i.e., fastest to slowest), with ties going to the larger ship.

At the start of your turn before you do anything else, your ship automatically moves forward a number of spaces equal to its Velocity. Facing matters in starship combat, and you can only turn in 45 degree increments as part of your normal actions. On the plus side, since space is pretty empty you can't accidentally collide with objects when you move; if you finish your movement on another ship, you just have to move to an adjacent space. There are some types of special environments that you can use in spaceship combat (dust clouds, nebulas, asteroids, gravity fields you can use to slingshot yourself), but in the interest of brevity I'm not going to get into them here.

Attacking and defense work fairly similar to personal combat; you make Attack rolls with appropriate skills, and Defenses reduce damage. There's no cover in space (of course), but some environmental effects will reduce an attacker's roll. PC Ships are destroyed when any of their stats reach -5, and NPC ships are destroyed when a stat hits 0. Unless the ship has a perk like Escape Pods, when a ship is destroyed everyone on board is killed.

Unlike personal combat, though, spaceship combat involves a crew of people controlling one "character". This is handled through System Rolls, and this is where things get a little complicated. Each turn, every character on a ship can make one of two types of System Rolls: a Command roll to control the ship's movement, or a Secondary roll to do pretty much everything else. Each character on a ship gets to make one roll of either type per round, and each action that's taken can only be succeeded once per round (barring special Traits). So if one person successfully makes a Full Burn roll on his action, someone else can't attempt it again until the next turn. But if the first person fails the roll, then someone else can attempt the action.

Command System Rolls happen first and are resolved for every ship before any other types of System rolls. There are four options for a Command roll, each of which requires hitting a certain difficulty: Full Burn (diff 8) lets you rotate the ship 45 degrees and adjust your Velocity up for down by the ship's Engine stat; Maneuver (diff Size x 4) lets you rotate 90 degrees and adjust Velocity by Engines-2; Direct Crew (14 - Crew) lets you rotate, improves your armor against Boarding attacks, and lets someone else make a free Secondary System Roll or launch a fighter; and Strafe (Size 1 and 2 ships only, diff is the target's Defense) lets you rotate your ship and attack at the same time.

Once each ship has performed their Command System Rolls, things move to the Support System Rolls, a.k.a. "what everyone else gets to do". The non-pilot PCs aren't just sitting around during dogfights; they're expected to be manning weapons systems, spraying fire extinguishers on fires in engineering, repelling boarding crews, things like that.

Ships act in highest-to-lowest order based on their CPU stat. Each PC can make one type of roll: Engineering (for repairs), Operations (for support actions or controlling missiles), and Gunnery (firing things at other things). Each roll type has four possible things you can do, and again each on has a specific difficulty. For example, the "Divert Power" Engineering action has a difficulty of (14 - Pow stat), and if successful will give another System roll a free Strong Hit, but reduces shields by 5. The Operations action "Dumb Fire" will launch a Warhead that will attack (vs. Def), but instead of following its target will blow up at the end of the round if it misses. The Gunnery action "Volley" lets you attack with a weapons battery, getting +1 Shield damage.



The last chapter on starships is a breakdown of the various weapon types. Fighters are effectively the same as personal drones, only on a larger scale. The main new concept here are how Boarding Parties work.

Boarding Parties are treated as an abstract condition on the ship, and can be stacked up to five times. Boarding attacks are generally delivered via docked ships or special types of weapons. At the start of a ship's turn, every boarding party on that ship gets to make an Attack roll, not only as a free action but against an effective armor of 0. If the attack fails, though, then the boarding party is killed and you remove one level of the effect. And of course there are traits you can put on your ship (such as crew) that will help defend against boarders.

I know that sounds odd ("why can't people inside the ship fight back?"), but the idea is to keep things simple so you don't have to try and have two simultaneous combats with different scales going on at the same time. Which I get; but it's still a little too abstract. I think the idea is that boarding parties aren't the kinds of things you deal with a lot, or at least not in detail at the same time as a big fight's going on. Like, you can't man the guns and have a hallway shootout at the same time.

Overall the starship combat is interesting, but in all honesty I found it the only real confusing part of the whole system. I feel like it's one of those situations where things have shifted just far enough from how the rest of the game works that it feels more different than it should. Fortunately, the game is very up-front about how the starship stuff is completely optional; in addition to theater-of-the-mind rules that boil down to just making rolls until one side gets X more successes first, there's also a "No Starship Combat" option that reduces things even further down to just "whoever succeeds first, wins". And really, the nice thing about the fact that the starship systems aren't tied closely to the rest of things is that you can just flat-out not use them at all without worrying about breaking anything. No skills become irrelevant; at most some Traits aren't needed anymore. It's nice to know that you can skip this part of the book and not worry about some skills becoming trap choices.

And with that, we're mostly done with the mechanics, or at least we're done with the player-facing mechanics. There's some GM-facing stuff that we'll get to in a few chapters' time, but before then it's time to start digging into the setting itself.

NEXT TIME: The major galactic players.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 19:57 on Aug 30, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I actually really like the starship combat, but I grant you that it took me a while to figure out how it worked. I just love the dynamic constant movement and how that plus facing makes it so even though much of any space battlefield is going to be, well, empty space, it's still really tactical. That said: you're wrong about Command System Rolls. The game explicitly notes that you can make multiple Command System rolls in a single turn to rotate quickly, and since any given character can only make one system roll per turn, you have to be able to have multiple Command System users to do that.

Each specific type of roll can only succeed once per turn, though, so you can't Full Burn twice, say, but you could Full Burn and someone else can Manoeuvre.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Aug 30, 2016

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Mors Rattus posted:

I actually really like the starship combat, but I grant you that it took me a while to figure out how it worked. I just love the dynamic constant movement and how that plus facing makes it so even though much of any space battlefield is going to be, well, empty space, it's still really tactical.
I honestly do like the "everything is always moving" factor of starship combat. That's the kind of thing that needs to feel dynamic and always in motion. It's Star Wars combat, not Star Trek.

e: I also like how heavy ordinance like missiles are treated as drones, so you can do things like lead them into asteroid fields or such.

quote:

That said: you're wrong about Command System Rolls. The game explicitly notes that you can make multiple Command System rolls in a single turn to rotate quickly, and since any given character can only make one system roll per turn, you have to be able to have multiple Command System users to do that.

Each specific type of roll can only succeed once per turn, though, so you can't Full Burn twice, say, but you could Full Burn and someone else can Manoeuvre.
Oops; thanks for catching that. I'll go back and fix that.

Evil Mastermind fucked around with this message at 19:58 on Aug 30, 2016

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Legend of the Five Rings First Edition

Way of the Lion: HEAR ME ROAR



Let's see what the big mean Lion is all about! This one is helmed by Patrick Kapera, Ree Soesbee and John Wick, along with the AEG gang. Special thanks are given to Saving Private Ryan, which "arrived at the eleventh hour (with thirty seconds to go) and put us back on the path." I hope no one takes their kabuto off for a black comedy death :ohdear:

The RPG FICTION we get saddled up with is kinda weird as it shifts points of view. A battle is starting, bright banners up in the air. On one hand, we have the Kami Akodo and Lady Matsu: Akodo is telling her how GLORIOUS things are going to be while Matsu just smiles and wants to murder things. On the other, we have Akodo Arasou and Matsu Tsuko doing the same: they are about to take Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho (gently caress THAT NAME) back from the cowardly Crane. In the past, Akodo shouts orders, watch Matsu cleave oni, wonders "man, she would've been a sweet wife" and then has ogres jump his ogling rear end. In the present, Arasou tries to link back with Tsuko in the carnage, but he's got Daidoji spearmen to contend with as his troops get rejected again by the Crane defenses. Tsuko rallies the troops and cleaves through the Crane, and Arasou follows her through the gap she's made. In the past, Akodo and his men beat back the ogres, but the battle is going poorly: Kakita's men are clenched around the Emperor, Matsu's honor guard is dead, and Akodo himself gets a horrid splash of oni's blood. He is only saved by Matsu's intervention, and then she marches off to command in his stead. At the Emperor's camp, a healer tells Akodo his left eye is gone. He calls for Matsu, who tells her she is there with no submission or reverence. He realizes he has to let her take command, and tells her she's right. She answers that they can never fight side by side; it was never meant to be. In the present, Tsuko and Arasou charge the city gates: it is GLORIOUS! Tsuko hesitates for a moment, Arasou cuts a bloody swathe through the Daidoji, and ends up isolated while a Crane ambush blunts the Lion attack. Crane reinforcements arrive, and while killing many, Arasou eventually falls. In the past, Akodo has one last talk with Shinsei before he marches, taking Matsu with him. He asks Akodo if he wants to talk to her, but the Kami says she knows his heart. Shinsei advises him to stand with his brothers before leaving. In the present, Tsuko kneels before the new Akodo daimyo, and thinks him a fool. He has no grace, no skill with the sword, none of Arasou's fierceness - and now her family is bound to this rabbit. He bids her rise and she can't hide the hatred she feels for him. He regrets her loss and says that the Lion must fight as one; like her ancestor, Matsu Tsuko replies that they will never fight side to side, it is not meant to be. He will never be Arasou. That is fine, the daimyo says: he is Toturi and she will obey. She narrows her eyes, her lips curl into a snarl, and with a curt bow she retires.

quote:

It is much easier to speak of Lion philosophy than to live it. For a Lion, there is no value in material wealth or political power; those are fleeting and temporary. What a samurai owns will be whittled down by the winds of time, but what he says and does... these things live on forever.

Shinsei said, "Choosing between two evils is still choosing evil." To a Lion, there are no truer words. The Lion's path is the most demanding, the most unforgiving, and sometimes, the most unrewarding of all the clans.

But if you are willing to walk it, I will show you the way.

And by the end, you will learn Akodo's first lesson:

A samurai's greatest strength is not what he is, but what he can be.

Our letters! A Shinjo daimyo recalls in his journal how the Ikoma daimyo lived with them for a spring along with his family as an arrangement imposed by the Emperor to bring peace between Unicorn and Lion. The daimyo feels the Lion ideals of honor and purpose are sometimes too high-minded to believe; at the same time, he realizes the Lion are not only swift to learn, but swift to apply that knowledge to combat. One day, the Ikoma daimyo's wife approached, and peacefully informed that their child was missing. Equally peacefully, the Ikoma told her to send samurai looking for her, while the Unicorn noted just how much the Ikoma lady was like the Otaku Battle Maidens. Night fell, nothing was heard of the girl. Next morning, the Unicorn offered his assistance, and also realized the Lion would rather let his girl be lost forever than ask for aid from a stranger. Unicorn scouts eventually found the three-year-old girl, stepping on a viper. One Unicorn soldier kills it swiftly, and notes how she must have been standing on the snake all night - had she moved her foot, it would have bitten her before she could escape. The soldier asks the Ikoma lady if all of her children are the same; she replies that she only has one child, but she is a Lion. The Ikoma daimyo asks the Shinjo daimyo about the name of the snake: it is called tsanuri, "patient death." A treatise on the Lion by Doji Hoturi narrates how Imperial orders have told the Crane and Lion to cease their war at once, and to send a son of each house to be fostered in the other. His brother, Kuwanan, will be chosen from the Crane. Akodo Toturi will see to his fosterage personally and Hoturi is relieved: they were both childhood friends, and he knows him to be a man of honor. Toturi invites Hoturi to the Lion Hall of Ancestors, a sacred place that only a few non-Lion have been invited to, and Toturi speaks of all the ancestors as they pass under their statues. When they stop in front of the statue of Lady Matsu, Hoturi feels something - a chill, a great weight of a thousand souls. When they leave the hall, the Crane asks his friend if he felt the same; Toturi replies that it's how he always feels. And one scrap of silk, written in the blood of a dead Phoenix, narrates his capture by a "Dark Man" (probably Iuchiban) and the tortures he was subjected to. They broke him, he would have done anything to escape them. But they also captured an Akodo woman with long, golden hair, who suffered stoically without yielding. Eventually she was impaled on a spike and left on her cell. The Phoenix insisted that she should talk, give them what they want - she refused to budge. She was dragged back outside, put in front of the Dark Man, who asked what she wished for: she spat on his face, and said she wished to be back on the spike. She died, of course, but the Phoenix found new courage - at least his soul, and hers, would find peace. And finally, a letter by one Akodo Rujo to his younger brother written while overlooking a battlefield narrates what just happened. It was a battle against the Scorpion and things did not go well: there was little cover from their arrows, and their shugenja rebuked the Lion charges with magic fire. The Lion keeps feeding men into the fray, and eventually Rujo's battalion is called. He felt fear, ugly fear telling him that he wouldn't be able to succeed where the others had failed - and then he realized, his men were looking at him. And he remembered who he was, and as he marched he started hearing a Song in his head, a Song of all the Lions that had died in war, of all who had bled and suffered and burned, who did it all for him. The Song was too much for a man to bear, but he was not a man: he was a soldier. His men were hearing the Song too, and they charged uphill against the Scorpion, fighting and bleeding and dying - but they arrived, and they cut the Scorpion archers down, and the Lion broke through. He fell, the Song gone, and a Matsu soldier with moist eyes tried to get him something to drink, but he had an Ikoma called. With his dying breaths, he narrated all of this, just so that his little brother knew what it was like - and how the Song, nothing compares to the Song of all of their ancestors.

When Akodo started gathering his Clan, he didn't want followers - he want people who stood with him. As such, the Lion choose to test their steel against the family daimyo on their gempukku: more than a ritual, it is a celebration of the courage in their hearts and part of what it means to be a Lion. They have been the right hand of the Emperor for a thousand years, recording the political and military interactions between the Clans, and their role as the largest standing army in Rokugan gives them a battle prowess unknown to any other Clan in the Empire. To the Lion, ancestors are more than just parables: they guide their everyday life, shape the destiny of their descendants, and walk alongside them. When Akodo went to search for worthy men, for every man that stood up to his challenge a hundred perished by his blade. Unworthy, weak, cowardly. People were said to have chastised Akodo in the Imperial court, proclaiming him a scourge upon the land. He returned every year to the palace without followers, simply saying that people should seek him instead of the opposite. Slowly, his forces grew, but he was not satisfied until he found and challenged the Lady Matsu, the greatest mortal warrior. The story is well known, and Matsu's portrayals in art and literature always have her standing alone, while Akodo stands with friends and companions. It was Matsu who became the Lion's Thunder: Ikoma tried to step forward, but Matsu knocked him out and dared anyone to deny her right. No one did.


The Akodo mon, a lion's face/war fan. Goofy as poo poo.

The Akodo family are the leaders of the Lion, known for their unswerving loyalty to the Emperor. Their version of history tends to be dry, comprising detailed accounts of battles and declarations of their legendary heroes. They feel all actions are watched by past Akodo, stretching through the family daimyo all the way back to Akodo himself. No Akodo is incapable of reciting their lineage back to him, and all do so at their gempukku (this may take hours) This not only honors the brave men and women of the family line, but also serve to remind the Akodo that they are part of the family too, brothers and sisters all. The Akodo family structure is very clear cut, and every member knows their place. It focuses in the whole instead of the individual, and where Matsu history is full of heroes single-handedly overcoming the odds, the Akodo hero is someone who gives their life for the legion, or sacrifices their own honor for the sake of the Clan. To the daimyo, the office is a service to the Clan: to bring the Lion glory instead of raising their own. Many of the duties of the daimyo take them far from Lion lands, and often they leave the actual fighting to the Matsu. This is not to say that the Akodo don't fight (their force is the most disciplined fighting legion in Rokugan), but they are as comfortable off the field as on and are expected to handle duties of honor and etiquette just as skillfully as a katana. The Akodo train for leadership: they're raised to know that they are part of an army, and take their duties very seriously. As leaders, honor is the most important virtue: without it, a leader is nothing more than a butcher of men. A properly led unit cannot be defeated, and for the Akodo this is an unarguable truth of the universe.

The current daimyo of the Lion is also the Akodo daimyo. Only three times in history this has not been so. At White Stag, the Akodo provided a guard for the Emperor as he went from Otosan Uchi to the coast to attempt a parley with the gaijin. A large volley from a nearby ship hit the party, and the Emperor, the Lion Champion and all the Akodo troops were wiped out. There were no Akodo of age left to take over, and a Matsu was called forth by the new Emperor to serve as Champion. Under her command, the Lion crushed the last bastions of the gaijin in Rokugan. The second non-Akodo Champion is thought to be an apocryphal tale, as only the Scorpion claim he existed: an Ikoma regent that ruled during a period when no clear Akodo line of succession could be established. The Ikoma themselves have no record of this occurence. The third non-Akodo Champion was Matsu Itagi, he who went on a foolish quest into the Shadowlands in Way of the Crab. The current daimyo is Akodo Toturi, one of the most unconventional and inventive generals in Rokugan. Taken from the Lion schools at an early age and sent to a monastery, he took the mantle of Champion at the time of his brother's death and has served for the last five years. Though his men serve him loyally, there are questions about his ability to lead - particularly from the Matsu.


LEADERSHIP

We also get a brief on the Lion army as well as an extract on Leadership, Akodo's treatise on "civilized" warfare. It was written near the end of the great warrior's life, but he left half of it unfinished so that his successors could add their own insights. Thus, Leadership is less a single work and more a collection of thoughts of all the Lion daimyo on the three most important aspects of Lion life: bushido, battle and leadership. The manuscript hasn't remained in original form over the centuries, as some of the document contains Lion battle secrets and other portions have been considered heretical. The "canon" versions agree about certain basic premises of leadership and honor; other versions detail subterfuge and deception and are often reviled as Scorpion treachery. In truth, Leadership discuss various "dishonorable" means of warfare, like deception and thievery: Akodo's final words in his text are an admonishment to serve the Emperor and against protracted wars that waste lives, supplies and the Emperor's land.

quote:

THE TEN ORDERS
1.- Always carry a text with you. When you have nothing else to do, read. The mind must be exercised as well as the body.
2.- When your lord calls to you, run to him, fall at his feet and speak his name loudly and proudly. Proclaim your loyalty to him with a shout that is painful to the throat. Be convinced in your loyalty, for if you are not, then your lord will not be convinced either.
3.- Keep your sword close and ready and clean. Failing your sword is failing your lord.
4.- Keep servants if you must, but only if you must. If there are repairs to be done on the house, make them. If there are rooms to be cleaned, clean them. Idleness is an enemy, and it is always best for a samurai to understand a thing before he requires another to do it for him.
5.- Lady Sun and Lord Moon made us with a left hand and a right hand. In the left hand goes the text, and in the right hand goes the sword. Remember this.
6.- When you come before a superior, drop your hands at your sides and bow lower than they. Dropping your hands away from your sword shows your trust. Bowing your head does this as well. These two actions say, "My life is yours to take if you wish."
7.- Rise in the morning before your servants do and have half their duties done before they have even bathed. Men follow the example of those they admire.
8.- Assassins creep in the late hours, so go to bed early. Then, when they creep in at midnight, you will be fresh and rested and ready.
9.- Wash. A dirty man must itch and scratch. An itching and scratching man is slow.
10.- Be ready to die.


The Matsu mon, a lion's paw holding a sword. Not much else to say.

The Matsu are a tall, proud family, who rarely dye their hair in the fashion of others in the Clan. Their ancestor (the book says 'ancestress', is that a word?), the first Matsu, was the last companion to join Akodo, and the only one that the Kami sought to join him. Matsu is said to have been tall, iron in her eyes and a spirit of steel, with unparalleled prowess in the battlefield. The story is known: she used to train warriors in the old ages, scorned the Kami's quest for men of worth, and when he finally sought her out she took it as an insult and challenged him. The legendary duel has been represented time and again, and it always ends with Akodo defeating Matsu but without her being forced to marry him. She still joined the Clan and it is said that Akodo continued trying to woo her, but that she refused all of her advances. She chose Akodo's fourth follower, a man whose name has been forgotten since as her husband - in one play, she tells Akodo that if she marries him she will be Akodo's bride, but if she marries the other man he will be Matsu's husband. Since that day, all men that marry into the house must take their wife's surname, and all Matsu men that marry outside the house must relinquish their family name. The other families do not dispute the Matsu's leadership in battle: Akodo give the orders, but Matsu charge into the field and direct the troops. They are hot-tempered, emotional and intractable, but also courageous, loyal and fierce. They epitomize other Clans' view of the Lion, for good or ill. The Matsu are torn in their attitude towards Akodo's philosophy just as much as the Akodo are undecided about the Matsu: they mock their cousins for their "silly circle-walking," while the Akodo reply with derision about their lack of control in the battlefield. They find court dull, the arts 'foppish' and the Tao a riddle to be contemplated after death. Only their idealism and vision of the importance of honor, justice and ethics separates them from the Hida family's pragmatism. Matsu children are trained for war since age six, and their gempukku is not a joyful ceremony but a brutal ordeal where the prospective adult must recite the tenets of Leadership from memory, demonstrate a working knowledge of twenty weapons of war, and quarter a pomegranate with their katana. The would-be samurai is also beaten four hundred times with a bamboo rod, must fast for three days and eat a bowl of gruel while surrounded by sumptuous meals, and is marked with a white-hot poker in the shape of the Matsu crest. Any show of discomfort or failure at any point is grounds for dishonor and seppuku, which the Matsu consider a great boon: the child failed to become an adult, but in their mercy the family allows them to carry out an adult's act. The Matsu daimyo is chosen in a contest where they must beat all other contenders in combat, sometimes to the death even though they use wooden blades. The Akodo don't understand this ferocity, and shun the Matsu's brutality and violence. Not even the Crab ignore the threat posed by a Matsu army, and no sane man knowingly questions a Matsu's honor. One of the most renowned units in Rokugan is the Lion's Pride, an all-women Matsu special force similar to the Unicorn Battle Maidens whose tactics remain virtually unchanged since the first group of women that came to serve Matsu: find the enemy leaders, and destroy them. No men is allowed to serve with them, but the Matsu daimyo must live with the unit for half a year to gain their loyalty, even the rare male Matsu daimyo. Many Lions are also part of the Deathseekers, originally the legion of a fallen minor Matsu daimyo who betrayed his people to the Scorpion. His own men torn him to pieces and requested seppuku of the Matsu family daimyo, who (since she could not risk losing that many soldiers) instead commanded them to lay their lives in the battlefield. Now, the Deathseekers are formed of the doomed and dishonored, leading the Lion forces into battle with viciousness matched only by their disregard for their own safety.


The Ikoma mon, supposed to be a gate to nothing:ghost:

The Ikoma family's records say that in his search for men, Akodo came upon an inn where "the strongest man" lived. He entered the inn, where everyone knelt before the Kami, and challenged them to test their skills. Silence followed, broken by the cackle of an old man who thought he was funny. Akodo started getting pissed, especially because the old man clearly had no respect for him, and even dared to call him "boy." The old man remarked that Akodo was ready to charge him witout even knowing his name: he was Ikoma, the strongest man in the world. He started showing him his scars: here from an oni's claw, there from a geisha-turned-bog hag, one eye lost to someone who trained under Kakita. Akodo said that he was lucky; Ikoma replied that the Fortunes had been at his throat all his life, but he beat them too. Finally, he said that if Akodo wanted to fight him, he could - but he would not walk away from it, even if he won. He would miss one eye, a finger or two, maybe keep his toes. And it would be a real fight. No swords, no knives, just them and their hands and feet and teeth until one cried for mommy, and Ikoma didn't know his mom's name. Finally, Akodo accepted that he was the strongest man in the world, and didn't want to fight him - that day. The Ikoma are the clan's historians, the keepers of all the records of battle. They are also fierce warriors and bold tacticians. Their bushi follow the Akodo path, and it's not uncommon for Ikoma to attend the Akodo school for at least part of their training. They are also more peaceful than other families in the. Their interest in accurate records of history means they'd rather learn from each incident than treating it as a loss of failure. A skilled Ikoma general can provide a depth of understanding to the Clan's battle strategy that otherwise might have been lost. They also have the ability to remain impartial and maintain neutrality even in the face of violent emotions: this puts them as the Akodo's right hand even in inter-Clan politics, while the Ikoma are also sent to the Imperial Court to bring balance and peaceful neutrality to Lion negotiations. To them, the courts are just another type of battlefield. Only once have the Ikoma lost their temper publicly, when Bayushi Kachiko was declared advisor to the Emperor: the offending Ikoma ambassador was swiftly forced into seppuku and the Lion diplomats were removed from the Emperor's presence for no less than an entire season. They keep full copies of all four major treatises in Warfare (Leadership, The Sword, Niten and Lies) and are said to own the only complete, unedited copy of Leadership, which routinely is changed to suit each Emperor's views on warfare. In truth, Akodo's text was declared heretical by the seventh Hantei, who claimed Akodo would have never written a treatise advocating for deception in the battlefield. When each Champion retires, they are expected to offer their journals to the Ikoma, who collect them and add them to the book of Leadership.


Not Photoshop, but it'll do.

Their tradition of omoidasu or bards serves a very important role: bards are historians, keepers of law and the Clan's heart. They are warriors, but they remember all actions - brave, cowardly or otherwise; they remind Akodo and Matsu of the consequences of their actions; they mourn publicly so that other Lions don't lose face showing their emotions. Becoming a bard is very rigurous work that requires the prospect to recite the lineage of at least three families at the age of twelve. The Ikoma also draw a distinction between true history and the folk tales that spring around them. The historians maintain history and bards tell stories: each has their purpose and the Ikoma don't allow them to become confused. Many Ikoma bards serve Lion daimyos but others are known to wander Rokugan or even serve at the side of other Clan daimyo in exchange for favors. Once a year, they return to their school to tell the stories they gather, and add them to the Ikoma histories.


The Kitsu mon, an image of the original kitsu leader. Confusingly, he was also named Kitsu.

The Kitsu family is one of the most unusual and enigmatic shugenja families of Rokugan, and they have the only school that forbids entrance to non-Clan members. They keep the ancestral lore of the Clan, rather than the physical histories of the Ikoma. Their duty is not just to their daimyo and Emperor, but to the thousands of Lions that have lived and died. The Kitsu keep their memories and protect their spirits. The reason their school is so selective concerns the initial founding of the house, the true story of which is disputed between Kitsu and Ikoma. Before humans were created, strange races roamed the world. Many storians believe this was the time of the Naga, strange snake-like beings with torsos like those of men. Some Crab historians also believe a race of Nezumi formed a society at the time, in cooperation with the Naga. If myth is to be believed, there was also a third great race, one with the form of huge cats with golden manes and ferocious claws. These kitsu wrere mighty hunters and keepers of the spirit realm. When the humans were created and Fu Leng fell, the ancient races were eradicated. The Naga descended into a great sleep, the Nezumi were scattered across the earth, and the kitsu took refuge in the mountains that would one day be ruled by the dragon. At first humans did not recognize the kitsu as sentient and hunted them, which the kitsu took as a declaration of war. At last, Hantei ordered Akodo to contain the "dangerous beasts," and he started genociding their whole species. At the end, when only a handful of kitsu remained, they gathered in a hidden valley to give their lives for their leader. Akodo fought their leader, but he escaped and roared loud enough to shake the walls of the valley, startling Akodo and making him fall to his knees. Instead of taking the opportunity to tear his head off, however, the kitsu stared at him with hate-filled eyes, waiting for him to rise. Akodo did, made his men stop, and after a long moment he bowed. The kitsu bowed in turn. It was relatively simple to make peace after that. For years thereafter, the Kitsu say, Akodo traveled to the valley and atoned for the innocent creatures he had massacred. Neither party broke the treaty, but the kitsu did not thrive. No new kitsu were born, and at the end the species was down to five individuals. The myth grows strangest here: it's said that Akodo went to the kitsu valley, then returned with five men with magnificent bronze-gold hair, which Akodo claimed were the last of the Kitsu transformed by the Sun Goddess into human form. The men swore their loyalty to Akodo and eventually married his daughters, and from these five the Kitsu family descends. Whether the tale is true or not, the family seems to have a tremendous gift for spirit magic, possessed only by pure-bred members of the Kitsu. The family has maintained rituals for nearly a thousand years, acting them out exactly as their ancestors did. They know this to be true, for their ancestors tell them so. They actualy travel to the land of the dead in search of their ancestor's wisdom, and sometimes can even bring the spirits of the dead back, allowing them to speak with their voice, see through their eyes or actually incarnate in the Kitsu's flesh. Kitsu children regularly see spirits and talk to "invisible" friends, and a child of the family showing little of the traces of the blood is a concern to all in the small family. Children without the talent are quickly married off to other families or encouraged to make their way in life through the other Lion schools. No outsiders ever attend Kitsu gempukku ceremonies, where they must recite their ancestors all the way back to their family's founding, and it is said that the ancestors judge the initiate in this ceremony. If the shugenja to be cannot convince the spirits that they are worthy, they are stripped of their abilities and forced to leave the family in disgrace; a few of these unfortunates turn to the darkness and become feared maho-tsukai.


Nice camo, also those arms :stare:

Next: that was almost half the book, holy poo poo

Traveller fucked around with this message at 01:16 on Aug 31, 2016

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Strange Matter posted:

I've never played Godlike but I've been playing it's successor Wild Talents on a weekly basis for like two years now and I can say that it's completely coincidental how well Jojo fits into it; and if anything Wild Talents fits it even better because it has a more robust power creation system. I think I've been subconsciously moving the game I've been playing in that direction more and more, in fact.
Or is it the work of an enemy stand?

Also man Eternal Hearts sounds AWFUL. I did hear that Sascha Vykos vissicituded off his hog and threw it at someone in disgust at some big Sabbat meeting, which is kind of hilarious.

Adnachiel
Oct 21, 2012



Part 10: “Cowardly, Dishonest Rot”

In Chapter 16, Lucita has found Jan’s real haven. Multiple paragraphs in the chapter are dedicated to describing it.

quote:

Tall hedges set against a high, wrought-iron fence surrounded the Tudor-style mansion that had once been home to a visiting dignitary from France. Lighted fountains illuminated the home's ivied facade and the gleaming luxury cars parked in the circular drive -- a gleaming Bentley, a silver Rolls Royce, a dark blue, late-model Mercedes.

[…]

Its interior opulence remind her of certain rooms in London's Victoria and Albert Museum, or the most grand and gilded of French chateaux. Exquisitely carved wood paneling along walls hung with medieval tapestries; ornately designed chairs cushioned with velvet; a curving marble staircase displaying banisters embellished with gleaming mahogany falcons. On the second floor, Pieterzoon's bent toward furnishing his home with museum-quality art was still more in evidence. A huge painting that Lucita recognized as Delacroix's Rape of the Sabines hung at the top of the stairs. Voluptuous nude women helpless to fend off the assault of enemy soldiers. Other, less familiar, paintings depicted lascivious-eyed satyrs molesting willowy nymphs, a leering centaur galloping away with a captive maiden on his back.

Jan, like a lot of people in this book, has a rape fetish. Rape victims are the only people he can feed on, as per his clan (Ventrue) weakness.

He even keeps people chained up in his bedroom.

quote:

Other, less refined evidence of Pieterzoon's erotic predilections could be found in the enormous master bedroom: wooden stocks like those used on miscreants in Colonial America, a leather horse of the type used by gymnasts for vaulting -- this one complete with leather manacles for the wrists and ankles of the person bending over -- a plush-lined, slide-out bed equipped with manacles beneath the larger one -- presumably for the convenient storing away of slaves after a hard night's play.

Honestly, the entire description of Jan’s house is just… a thing.

quote:

A leather riding crop and red leather rose formed an "X" in the middle of the bedspread.

Jan Pieterzoon: Christian Grey before Christian Grey was a blast of current across Stephenie Meyer’s unconscious mind.

Lucita can’t find anything unusual beyond the sex equipment, but can’t shake off the feeling that she should be on her guard. As she searches, a ghoul comes out of one of the bedrooms she investigated.

quote:

A bolt of saffron-colored silk wrapped her torso; silk scarves draped her arms and hung down, concealing her hands. Thick makeup masked her features, lips lined with black and painted scarlet, eyes outlined red against a heavy fringe of lashes.

The ghoul doesn’t know where Jan is, but says that she can probably help Lucita find him…

…by killing her!

quote:

Suddenly the silks fell away. An arm holding a snake flashed out and slashed at Lucita's neck. Another arm, another serpent snapping at her eyes. Then another and another. The woman's arms, four fleshcrafted monstrosities, didn't hold the snakes, they were snakes. From the shoulders down the first pair undulated; a second pair emerged from her lower ribs. Where her hands should have been, hissed fanged heads.

[...]

The ghoul screeched and let the last silk draping fall away. There were snakes embedded in her ghastly skin; they crawled and rippled in the flesh of her ribcage. Snakes dangled from her genitals and anus, writhed to life in the matted snarls of hair between her thighs.

Have a picture.

:nws:http://imgur.com/DC6G9DO:nws:

They fight. Lucita wins. The book doesn’t mention it, but Lucita apparently also takes her clothes off, drinks from the ghoul, then drools and smears the blood all over her tits and stomach. As you do.

:nws:http://imgur.com/0qLla59:nws:

Knowing that all of this is Vykos’s doing, Lucita beats feet, fighting a couple more ghouls along the way. Eventually, she gets to the foyer, and almost accidentally cuts Victoria’s head off. There’s a picture of Victoria posing on the steps.

:nws:http://imgur.com/7onznyH:nws:

This scene, by the way, specifically mentions that Victoria’s hair is red.

quote:

It was too late to abort her strike -- she could only add a wrist-flick to the final motion that redirected the blade a few millimeters off-target so that it hissed harmlessly through the tangled red tresses of Victoria Ash.

Also, the gunshot wound that she got from Tony (on her abdomen) is completely missing. But that’s because this is a porn book and gunshot wounds are not sexy if you don’t have some weird specific fetish. That and fast regeneration, I guess.

Victoria says that she came there to rest after the encounter with Tony because she assumed she would be safe. When Lucita asks her how she got in without tripping the security system, she says that she kicked in a door panel like Lucita did. Lucita calls her on her bluff, saying that she must have had the code to the system. Victoria whimpers some more about Gehenna and the Masquerade breaking. Lucita tells her to shut the gently caress up and help her protect it by telling her all that she knows.

Victoria asks if she knows about Jan’s fetish. She does.

quote:

"He claims that when he takes the blood of rape victims, he can vicariously relive the surge of sadistic power that the rapists felt. Sometimes he can even see images. I asked him once why he doesn't just rape the women himself, but that would prey on his conscience too much. When he fucks them, he does it consensually. He's a strange man, Pieterzoon. There are moments he likes to fancy he's still human. Like the rest of your Camarilla Kindred, I suppose."

It turns out Jan met a woman at that embassy party, fell in love/lust at first sight, and wanted to turn her. (He knows that she was raped at some point. My question is how did he figure that out? Does Becca just go around announcing that she was raped? Does Pieterzoon probe peoples’ minds? Does he ask around and get screamed at until he hits pay dirt? Does he Dominate ask?) He left the party with her, telling Victoria that they were going to the Cathedral of the Holy Order of Angels. The woman had a fantasy of loving him in the catacombs that only the Society of Leopold and the Nosferatu are supposed to know about, you see. Victoria told him it sounded like a set-up and he was being a loving idiot. She hasn’t seen him since.

By the way, during all this, it’s mentioned that Lucita can hear the rest of Sascha’s fleshcrafted hellspawn army running around on the upper floors. I guess neither of them are concerned with that when they were having that conversation.

Also, say goodbye to Victoria. She has fulfilled her purpose in the plot. Want to know what happens to Odette? Well, too bad.

We’re back with Rapunzel in Chapter 17. She’s still digging and still reliving her online chats with Dracon.

Dracon says that he’s going to meet her in a churchyard, and what he’s gonna do is gonna hurt, but it’s gonna be orgasmic and awesome and the tits. She says she’s not frightened, but Dracon doesn’t believe her. He also doesn’t believe that she is a bored housewife. She insists that if she were lying, she would have described herself as someone sexier. But Dracon points out that that’s so she sounds more believable, and insists that she tell the truth because he’s going to find out anyway.

quote:

And so, amazingly, she had described herself -- coolly and dispassionately, unforgiving of her defects while not too modest to point out her assets, too -- the exotic black and green tattoos encircling her breasts; the lustrous, long platinum-blonde hair she'd once had and which men had always told her was her finest feature.

[Rapunzel] My long hair, it's my favorite sex toy.

[Dracon] It sounds beautiful. Exotic.

[Rapunzel] Oh, it is. Except it's not attached to my head anymore. I shaved it off.

[Dracon] Your long blond hair? All of it?

[Rapunzel] I'm bald.

[Dracon] Fresh out of chemo, is that the look?

[Rapunzel] Oh, but I still have the hair. I braided it and hung it from the headboard of my bed. It's long and glossy and it feels like silk. Like silken rope.

[Dracon] Ahh, I think I'm getting the idea.

[Rapunzel] It feels so good around my neck. Like a long, delicate scarf, but so strong.

[Dracon] And is it long enough to loop around your neck twice?

[Rapunzel] Three times. I told you it was very long. Before I cut it off, I had a lover who used to gather it up in his fist and wind it around my neck. Loosely at first, but then he'd tighten it. At first it hurt, but then --

[Dracon] Then you loved it. It felt like sinking into a blissful dream. Like floating away on a sea of sensuality.

[Rapunzel] How did you know?

[Dracon] You won't be the first person I've choked back and forth along the brink of consciousness.

And that’s why she calls herself ‘Rapunzel’ online. I’m sure you all feel sufficiently enlightened now.

Dracon talks more about what he plans to do, saying that he’s going to bring in people to help. She says that she should have a say in her own death, but he insists that she should trust him because he’s the “artist”. He insists again that this isn’t a game and that she needs to say so if this is just a fantasy for her. But she’s deadset on going through with it.

Becca heads home for the night in Chapter 18, faced with the task of cleaning up her entire bedroom, sans Francine’s corpse, because the cops weren’t getting paid to clean it up. She laments and reflects, exhaustedly, on her situation and what her father told her.

quote:

"I would have left the Church altogether," he'd told her, "but being a minister was too good a cover-up, too close to people in positions of authority who might know something. I used all that pain of losing your mother to find energy to fight them. You have to do that, too. For Francine."

But she had no energy. Grief had drained her of it as thoroughly as the exsanguinating bastards had emptied Francine's corpse of blood.

Unbeknownst to her, the chronic masturbator has snuck into her house. She kicks him in the face and asks him why the gently caress he’s there.

quote:

He cringed and got to his knees. He wore a beige vest of the type favored by hunters, and his long blond hair was tied back in a ponytail. Tears gathered in his eyes.

"Your girlfriend died."

She nodded grimly. "Who the hell are you? What do you know about Francine?"

"She was a nice woman. She used to leave food for the Devil, but I'd eat it instead. One time she tried to take me to a shelter, but Leo didn't like it, so we left."

That detail about the vest sounds like it’s a bit of foreshadowing. But it’s not.

He says that Leo lives in the park and that that was who Becca met the other day. Whoever this is came to tell her he was sorry for what Leo did the other day.

As she assumes, the man has Dissociative Identity Disorder. The personality she’s speaking to calls himself Moss. When she asks him if he saw anything the night Francine was murdered, his mood becomes dark.

quote:

"I won't talk to the cops. I don't care what you do. I don't talk to cops. They hurt Leo 'cause he lives in the park, 'cause he shits on the street and 'cause he plays with himself where people can see him."

With some coaxing, Moss says that Leo saw a man in the park that night. He thought he wanted to pay for sex, so he offered. When Becca asks what the man looked like, Moss produces a well-drawn picture of a familiar face.

No, the chronic masturbator isn’t Caine or anything interesting like that. He’s just there to point Becca towards David.

A scene change later, Becca is traveling down into the cathedral’s second level of catacombs, a place that Emmet never encouraged her to go or forbid her but she’s interested in seeing what goes on down there, but then again she’s not because that won’t make her guilty.

quote:

What cowardly, dishonest rot!

After talking to Moss, Becca called Harmony on the Hills and learned of David’s escape, got her dad’s answering machine when calling him about it, and found the signs of the struggle between him and Sascha when she went into his office.

So against her best judgment, she’s gone into the catacombs. Eventually, she finds Emmet chained up in one of the prison cells along the walls, scratched the gently caress up and covered in his own blood. He begs her to leave, saying that there’s no way he’s getting out since “it’s” got the key and he broke his ankle trying to run. She insists that she can go get help, but he’s not hearing any of it.

quote:

"Becca, listen to me." Despite his injuries, his voice exuded power, command. She hadn't heard him sound like that in years, not even when he addressed the congregation. The old Emmet, before the madness started.

"You can help me and you will. But it's going to be difficult."

"Anything, Dad. Just tell me."

He tells her to bring him a knife that’s hidden in one of the skulls embedded in the walls nearby. He wants her to stab him in the heart with it. She refuses and says that she’s going to get help.

quote:

"It'll be too late. Don't you understand -- in only a short time, the church will be packed with people. You were right -- I was an idiot to plan a nighttime service, to use myself as bait. If it hadn't had some further use for me, it wouldn't have left me alive. And if that's the case then I -- and all of us -- are better off if I'm dead."

Becca still refuses and says she’s going to get help. Before she hands him her flashlight (she can somehow find her way around without it) and leaves, she tells him that David was in her house when Francine was murdered and she thinks he killed her. Emmet doesn’t believe her, but she tells him they’ll discuss it later.

After a while, she comes across a strange light.

quote:

Then, off to her right, she saw an extremely narrow branch of corridor, at the end of which a pale blue light flickered wanly. Something about the light proved irresistible, and Becca moved toward it.

Quick Question: You are a vampire hunter. You have just captured a vampire and need to store him somewhere without killing him. What do you do?

If you answered “throw him in a giant fish tank full of water and let him float sexily in it”, then congratulations. You have the same weird mindset as Emmet.

quote:

She found herself in a room, at one end of which there appeared to be, incongruously enough, a huge television. Against a deep blue backdrop appeared the image of an alabaster figure, so pale and perfectly sculpted that it might have been Michelangelo's David. Even in the dim lighting, she could tell the figure was that of a male and that its proportions and musculature were exquisitely formed.

There had been a few occasions in Becca's life, notably at the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery of the Arts, when the beauty of a work of art had overwhelmed her, but never had she found herself so captivated by the sheer aesthetic perfection of an image, especially one she was unable to see completely clearly. She could only think that her mind, in turmoil with guilt and grief, was somehow more susceptible to distraction and that the limpid image on the screen, which surely she thought now must be an angel, offered a soothing visual oasis.

She eventually realizes that she’s looking at an actual person, and becomes aroused.

quote:

An angel, yes, but a man, too, for now as her eyes adjusted to the light, she saw the fleshy swaying of his heavy genitals. Male beauty never had greatly moved her -- it was usually the female form that made her blood rush and her vulva moisten -- but now she felt an unfamiliar, almost mortifying stirring of physical response.

She also realizes that the “TV’ is actually a fish tank, and that the sight of the man brings back some unwanted memories, despite the fact that she’s almost compelled to look at him.

quote:

With a sudden pang of horror, she saw herself running through the alleyway behind the church, running till the cold air hitched in her throat, then hurling herself through a doorway that led down to these very catacombs. Hearing his footfalls on the stairs behind her as she hid, waiting for him to come closer.

Come on, come on, you bastard, get a little closer. Come see what my father's got planned for you.

I thought he had consented to going down there… Oh whatever.

Yes, she’s looking at Jan Pieterzoon. Though her father didn’t actually tell her that he was going to put him on display in a fish tank. Was he seriously going to try to sell this to Torres as an art piece?

quote:

The thing that floated in the tank opened its heavy-lidded eyes and fixed her with a languid, knowing stare. Its full lips parted seductively.

He's drowning, I've got to save him," a part of Becca's mind though wildly, even as another part acknowledged the absurdity of that idea. What floated in the tank couldn't drown -- it was already dead -- and certainly, as her father would attest, it merited no "saving".

And yet, she tries to get him out anyway. As she works to get the pile of stones keeping the lid of the tank on off, Jan floats around to look at her, his arms open and his genitals hard. Before she started doing this, she had bit her hand for some reason. Blood from the wound gets on the side of the tank and sends Pieterzoon into a frenzy.

quote:

The reaction from the beautiful, drowned man was immediate and terrifying. His body stiffened so that the muscles of his neck corded and quivered. The languid blue eyes bulged froggishly and filled with hate. A wild energy pulsed through him. He gave a silent snarl and let Becca see his fangs.

The transformation from seductive capture to blood-hungry beast did more to snap her free of the enchantment than if she'd run a screwdriver through her wrist. She screamed and leaped to the floor, fleeing back in the direction she had come, convinced that, at any moment, the smell and sight of blood would renew his strength sufficiently to allow him to break the glass and follow.

She leaves the room and slams the door just as Pieterzoon tries impotently to lick the blood off the glass. When she reaches the door leading to the outside, someone grabs her from behind.

quote:

"Who'd have thought it?" said a familiar voice. "You finally get turned on by someone of the opposite gender, and he turns out to be a dead guy."

Didn't the book make a somewhat big to-do about how she's bisexual near the start?

Adnachiel fucked around with this message at 02:33 on Aug 31, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Nessus posted:

Or is it the work of an enemy stand?

Also man Eternal Hearts sounds AWFUL. I did hear that Sascha Vykos vissicituded off his hog and threw it at someone in disgust at some big Sabbat meeting, which is kind of hilarious.
If you speak against the Sabbat you are about to enter a world where the only activity that exists is tasting my hog.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Halloween Jack posted:

If you speak against the Sabbat you are about to enter a world where the only activity that exists is tasting my hog.

You diss my Nod you fluff my hog

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009





That must hurt like a sickness.

Sorry if the Vykos comment sounded transphobic, it's just that-

Nessus posted:

I did hear that Sascha Vykos vissicituded off his hog and threw it at someone in disgust at some big Sabbat meeting, which is kind of hilarious.

Actually nevermind, I don't think this book or the old World of Darkness as a whole deserves this kind of analysis.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Kavak posted:

That must hurt like a sickness.

Sorry if the Vykos comment sounded transphobic, it's just that-


Actually nevermind, I don't think this book or the old World of Darkness as a whole deserves this kind of analysis.
Oh like YOU wouldn't use Vicissitude to throw your junk at your political enemies.

So this is Pieterzoon's thing, huh? I remember him being Johnny Ventrue in that "Gehenna" scenario where the Camarilla goes "gently caress it, True Blood time, we need the kine to help us out here" and breaks the Masquerade. It is actually not impossible that he inspired Christian Grey; all it would require was the 50 Shades lady to have read this dumb book in addition to Twilight, and that doesn't seem like much of a leap.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Nessus posted:

Oh like YOU wouldn't use Vicissitude to throw your junk at your political enemies.

No, -I'd- make it super long and windmill it at them. :colbert: A detachable penis is too much trouble.

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 Chronic Public Masturbator not being Caine is the kind of tricky feint Caine would pull off to mess with people.

Also wow does a woven hair noose not sound, like, anything near fun. Yes, nooses are not fun. But hair? Disregarding that it's her own hair, a hair noose.

Also considering how Sascha's junk is already pierced they totally could lengthen it and treat it like a spiked chain when they swing it around, forcing people to move away but take hits from attacks of opportunity because they would love to get away from the spiked vampire penis flail.

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.



More Characters, More Creation… Let’s Read Cryptomancer! (Part 7)
First off, something kinda cool – the author reached out to me on Reddit to say he was enjoying the review, which makes the fact that I’m about to dump on the game a little awkward. If you’re reading, Chad, I love your game, but the Talent system… well, I’m not much of a fan. He also gave me permission to include some of the art, which I’ve done below – I’ll sprinkle some more throughout my future posts because I think it’s all pretty awesome.


A Risk Eater agent using the Dissemble spell, which is some spooky fuckin’ poo poo, I tells ya

New characters begin with a pool of 10 points to spend between Talents and Magic, which is interesting: if you want to focus on magic, you’re going to be significantly less versatile and skilled than pure martial characters. So: Talents. They’re kinda like Feats or Advantages or whatever – little perks that give you specific advantages in specific situations. I’m not going to describe every one (since this book just came out, and since it’s hard to summarize when each talent is already one or two sentences), but there’s a few distinct types I can sum up:
  • Skill talents. These are talents like Artisan, Entertainer, Grappler. Basically, you get to ignore one botch roll when using a specific skill. For instance, Grappler lets you ignore 1 botch for all Unarmed Melee skill checks. Not super exciting, but still a reliable way to make your character more skilled in a specific area. These talents mostly cost 1 or 2 points. I’d say like half the talents fit into this area.
  • Stat talents. These let you use one stat instead of another under specific circumstances – stuff like using Strength instead of Presence to make Menace skill checks. Martial Artist lets you use Dexterity instead of Strength to make unarmed attacks. There’s also the 2-cost +1 HP or +1MP talents that you can take a bunch of times if you’ve already taken the talents that interest you otherwise.
  • Magic talents. There’re only a few of these guys. Adept lets you spend MP to convert failed rolls to successes, while Bottled Magic lets you cast spells into alchemical bottles. Sanguine Rite lets you convert HP to MP, and Spellbreaker lets you immediately gain initiative when someone else starts casting a spell.
  • Battle talents. You can probably guess what a lot of these are like – deal more damage with your fists, cleave through multiple enemies with big weapons, etc.
  • Human shield talents. For some reason, there are three different kinds of human shield talents. One lets you use enemies as a shield, one lets you use friends as a shield, and one lets you use yourself as a shield.
  • loving stupid talents. These are talents that no one should ever take for any reason. For example: Polevaulter, which lets “[a character] use staffs and spears to leap heights and distances that others could not even attempt.” Is polevaulting a common occupation in Sphere? I’d also lump Codebreaker into this category, which gives you a 1% chance to just automatically know a keyphrase. It’s too low a chance to ever be realistically useful, and even if it does work – all it lets players do is short-circuit a GM’s cool plot. One last entry to the Hall of Bad Talents: Gross, which lets you automatically succeed on Willpower checks involving gross-out situations. Do not take these talents.
I think the Talent system needed a rework. It feels like they wanted to give players some more mechanical differentiation between characters, but couldn’t think of anything interesting beyond “gently caress, I dunno, ignore some failed rolls?” I’m admittedly a *world fanboy, but I think a playbook system with unique moves (“The Dwarven Smuggler”) would have helped a lot. It’s also weird that there’s talents like Polevaulter or Demolitionist, because their presence implies characters can’t rig bombs or do poo poo with poles without the talents. I’m sure that’s not the intention, but the wording on those talents (for example, Demolitionist says that “[a player] can use the Traps skill to rig bombs”) makes it sound like you need a talent to do these slightly unusual things – which is further complicated by the fact that there just aren’t that many Talents, so some things are sectioned off into the “gotta buy it to do it” box and others are just left under the skill’s normal penumbra. Anyway, enough ranting – let’s move on to magic, which is way way way cooler!


Doesn’t this guy look like he’s having the time of his life?

Magic
In Sphere, fewer than 1 in 50 people possess any magical acumen. They cast spells by gesturing symbols into the air and speaking in a forgotten tongue. Magic isn’t seen as inherently good or evil – it’s a tool like any other, and its uses are hotly debated in Sphere. The book points out that while a healing spell is great, but how does the healer who makes her living doing surgery feel about a bunch of white mages running around, ruining her living? The state obviously has an interest in controlling magic, but just as they can’t outlaw shard communications for fear of falling behind economically, they know businesses will leave if they aren’t able to use their customary magic to conduct business. As always, I wish there was a little more detail given, but it’s still nice that there’s some thought put into how magic would affect society.

Mechanics! Characters begin the game with 5MP, plus whatever their Willpower rank is (between 1 and 5). Spells cost between 1 and 5 mana, and mana recovers very slowly – only coming back when you spend a session of downtime meditating (time that could be used looking for leads or networking). Mana potions are rare and expensive, which leaves soma as a common option for mages looking to cast more than a handful of spells before taking a nap.
I’m going to go through the spell list, but I’m only going to talk about the really cool and unique spells, skipping over the stuff you’ll find in other games. (Don’t think this thread needs another summary of a Fireball stat block!) Up first: cantrips.

Cantrips
Cantrips all cost 1 MP to cast, and 1 Talent Point to learn at character creation.

Babel: The caster touches the target’s neck and speaks a keyphrase. Until the caster dies or revokes the spell, everything the person says or writes will look and sound like complete gibberish to anyone who doesn’t know the keyphrase. You have to make an opposed Willpower vs. Resolve skill check against an unwilling target, but after that – the effect lasts forever, which seems pretty crazy. You can use it on yourself, too, if you want to do some cryptomantic business without being eavesdropped on. This spells seems crazy useful and crazy overpowered. If you win one contested roll, that person is effectively unable to communicate forever. I’d make this spell last only until the next dawn or something similar – it seems incredibly useful both offensively and defensively.

Denier: The caster holds onto a shard and basically DDoSes it. You make a Willpower check against a difficulty based on the size of the network, and on a success, no new echoes can be broadcast for the next turn. Remember that you can also use shards as a walky-talky, more or less, so you can use this spell to short-circuit an enemy’s command structure. It’s not effective to take down a shardnet longterm (although there are methods for that coming up!)

Dissemble: Same as Babel, but for a face: after succeeding on an opposed check, the target’s face will be encrypted into an unrecognizable jumble of shifting facial features. Even those who know the target will still feel they are looking at a stranger, regardless of other distinguishing features (tattoos, clothes) that may exist.

Messenger: This cantrip summons a “small and resourceful” animal that will do everything it can to deliver a small object to someone whose true name is known to the caster. They travel very, very fast (quick as a hawk) and are generally ignored by the populace (it’s implied they look like rats), but perceptive enemies do have a chance to roll against their Agility to detect their presence.

Tracer: Lets you divine the rough location of every shard in a given shardnet. Bounty hunters often combine this ability with Messenger (having the messenger familiar bring a shard) to track down their targets.

Basic Spells
Basic spells cost 3MP to cast, and 2 Talent Points to learn at character creation. A lot of these are your fantasy workhorses – magic armor, heal light wounds, etc. I’ve picked out the fun ones:

Bloom Bomb: Two words for y’all: Weaponized. Flowers. Basically, this spell summons an explosion of dangerous flora in, on, and around a given target, which is pretty :kickinrad:. It can summon poisonous death gourds, entangling creep vines, or firey dragon pods, all of which sound like things I would not like to be surrounded by. It’s not stated, but I wonder if you could summon non-deadly plants. Would be a great spell for mass agriculture if you could just summon a field’s-worth of quick-growing wheat (or whatever) on a whim. (If I run this game, I’m ruling that you can also summon pumpkins, because I imagine it’s very painful to have 50 full-size pumpkins dumped on you, and also hilarious).

Maze: Like Dissemble and Babel, but for an entire entrance. You can turn the door leading to your secret clubhouse into an Escheresque nightmare at a whim, which is cool – but there’s also nothing stopping the Banksy of Sphere from running around, encrypting every door he sees while chugging soma. You could probably ruin an enemy city if you sneak a few mages in during the night and have them encrypt all the entrances to the barracks and keep. Probably another spell that needs a little nerfing to prevent shenanigans, I’d think.

Shadow Cache: I don’t know why, but I’m a big fan of shadow-based magic. This spell lets you hide objects within a shadow, creating a cache that can later be accessed from any shadow in the world. The contents of the cache can take some time to materialize, depending on how you roll, and you can only use shadows that have been “stationary for at least a day” (there’s a can of worms if I ever saw it), but otherwise – it’s a dope magic box that lets you literally pull rabbits (or swords) out of a hat. Not too powerful, but very cool.

Shard Scry: You can grab a shard and see everything that every shard in the connected network perceives, as if you suddenly have access to some magic-rear end security cameras. Obviously great for spying, but I’d imagine it’s also useful for sysadmins or handlers, who could use the shards as “eyes in the sky” to literally watch the backs of her agents. Could also work as a city-wide surveillance system, if you have enough mages working in shifts.

Shard Spike: This lets you embed lethal malware into enemy shardnets. Using the spell lets you create an encrypted echo that looks very similar to any other in the ‘net. When it’s viewed and decrypted (you can use your enemy’s true name, if you know it, to make sure they’re the ones to see it) the caster is alerted, and the enemy takes 4HP of psychic damage, which is a lot – remember, you only start with 5HP + a max of 5 more. I love the idea of psychic traps, but there’s also not really any way to avoid a shard spike, since as written you can’t choose to not decrypt a specific echo. I guess the advice is “don’t let a hostile actor get access to your shardnet and you won’t get psychically stabbed in the ear,” which is fair enough.

Greater Spells
Greater spells cost 3 Talent Points to acquire and a whopping 5MP to cast. They’re so big and powerful that their backfires can be especially unpleasant – the author includes a few ideas for possible backfires for every spell, which I quite enjoy.

Dead Host: Transfer your consciousness into a fresh humanoid cadaver. I love this spell – it’s creepy, thematic, and not ludicrously powerful. I can definitely imagine a City of the Dead that’s run by networked necromancer-slaves, operating hacked-together corpses to carry out their master’s dark bidding. (Or whatever). Favourite backfire: The ol’ Freaky Friday, when the cadaver’s soul gets resurrected in the caster’s body. That has some serious potential.

Mind Write: A classic. Insert false memories or erase real ones – up to a week’s worth forgotten at max successes. Favourite backfire: Caster accidentally inserts a Manchurian kill-switch in herself instead of her target. (I like that they just straight-up call it Manchurian.)

Name Wraith: This is pretty much the primo “be a dick” spell. The caster speaks the true name of their target and belches up a viscious black wraith, who will torment the target on the caster’s behalf. At low successes, the victim unwittingly starts encrypting everything with a keyphrase chosen by the caster. At high successes, the wraith will whisper orders in the victim’s ear, forcing them to become suspicious and hateful of their friends and to become susceptible to basic orders. Favourite backfire: The wraith colludes with the victim to torment and deceive the caster. Imagine a pissed-off genie and your worst enemy working together – might be time to cast Dissemble and disappear for a bit.

Shard Warp: I read the first sentence of this spell description and really hoped it was some Tron-enter-the-Internet poo poo, but it’s more like a fax machine than anything else. You can teleport yourself (but not your clothes) through a shardnet and reappear next to a shard that sent a recent echo. If you only roll one success, you take some serious damage from the trip, while a high-success roll means you can choose an exact place and position to reappear. No matter what, you’re arriving Terminator-naked, so better hope you’re ready to fight or run when you get there. Favourite backfire: Caster gets stuck and becomes a bodiless consciousness existing in the shard (TROOOOOOOOOOON!)

So that’s the cream of the crop, spell-wise. While I think some of the subterfuge-related spells are more powerful than they need to be, on the whole I’m a fan of how appropriate to the setting the spellbook is. Oh – there’s ritual magic, too. No rules or guidelines for it but if your players ask where some magic poo poo comes from, just wave your hands and say “ritual magic” until they shut up.

There’s enchanted items, which are supposed to be rare but not impossible to find, and also relics, which are more on the “enchanted superweapon buried by an ancient civilization for being too dangerous” side of things. Favourite item: the Death Draught, which is an enchanted horn that springs eternal with healing potions – but only refills every time its owner kills another mortal. Favourite relic: The Midas Engine, which is a dwarven machine that chews up people and spits out 1,000 golden coins of any chosen design. It doesn’t have a ritual cost, but it does have a moral one – i.e., feeding people to a machine to make money should make you think twice about your life choices.

Next time: the end of character creation! (I promise). Also combat maybe?

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


If the author is apparently following along: Cryptomancer is absolutely fascinating and I'll definitely be buying a copy because of this review. I would have never, ever thought to combine fantasy and cryptography, but everything seems to hold together so well. It's like the premise of Shadowrun approached from the opposite direction.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




BinaryDoubts posted:

Favourite relic: The Midas Engine, which is a dwarven machine that chews up people and spits out 1,000 golden coins of any chosen design. It doesn’t have a ritual cost, but it does have a moral one – i.e., feeding people to a machine to make money should make you think twice about your life choices.
Does it require live people or would corpses work?

Of course, if you routinely fed all your city's dead into a machine that turned them into gold coins you wouldn't get rich, you'd just cause inflation...

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.


Zereth posted:

Does it require live people or would corpses work?

Of course, if you routinely fed all your city's dead into a machine that turned them into gold coins you wouldn't get rich, you'd just cause inflation...

Yeah, you'd have to use it judiciously. You could use it to weaponize inflation by copying a rival empire's coins, maybe. (I am not an economist).

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Nessus posted:

Oh like YOU wouldn't use Vicissitude to throw your junk at your political enemies.

So this is Pieterzoon's thing, huh? I remember him being Johnny Ventrue in that "Gehenna" scenario where the Camarilla goes "gently caress it, True Blood time, we need the kine to help us out here" and breaks the Masquerade. It is actually not impossible that he inspired Christian Grey; all it would require was the 50 Shades lady to have read this dumb book in addition to Twilight, and that doesn't seem like much of a leap.

I haven't been following the Eternal Hearts write up too closely, I browse the forums at work, but I was reading up on Jan on the White Wolf wiki.

White Wolf Wiki posted:

Jan suffers from a extreme case of the Ventrue Clan's weakness in that he can only feed from rape victims. After being ambushed in Washington DC by Sabbat, his entire herd is wiped out and though he is saved by Theo Bell, he has to use his dominate powers to cause a rape and then again to erase the memory of it in the victim in order to feed after the loss of his herd.

Holy poo poo. I see some of this is in Eternal Hearts but that's a pretty loving classic, over the top edgy White Wolf character. You see, he's not the rapist, he just preys on the victims of rapists. It's all consensual, though he does get off on the supernatural rape porn memories he absorbs. This is until his herd is wiped out and he has to create rape victims to survive. He's not doing the raping though, he's still an alright guy, you see.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



BinaryDoubts posted:

Yeah, you'd have to use it judiciously. You could use it to weaponize inflation by copying a rival empire's coins, maybe. (I am not an economist).

They'd presumably pretty quickly switch to fiat currency, or at minimum, off the gold standard if you tried to flood the market. It's only useful in limited, personal batches where the 1,000 gold is smoothly introduced into the economy over time in a way people didn't notice it, so basically its the perfect item if you want to roleplay a weird graveyard owner who nobody says anything bad about because you're suddenly awful rich.

Alternately, since it says nothing about not then turning the gold into other things, it would revolutionize the Grillz n' Goldschlagger industry.

Barudak fucked around with this message at 04:10 on Aug 31, 2016

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.


Barudak posted:

They'd presumably pretty quickly switch to fiat currency, or at minimum, off the gold standard if you tried to flood the market. It's only useful in limited, personal batches where the 1,000 gold is smoothly introduced into the economy over time in a way people didn't notice it, so basically its the perfect item if you want to roleplay a weird graveyard owner who nobody says anything bad about because you're suddenly awful rich.

Alternately, since it says nothing about not then turning the gold into other things, it would revolutionize the Grillz n' Goldschlagger industry.

Honestly I just want a Baru Cormorant game at this point. That book made weaponized economics an art form.

Yeah, it would be a very short term attack, but maybe enough to create some momentary confusion. Probably better ways to achieve that goal, though. Maybe instead of exactly duplicating the currency, you duplicate a pretty good counterfeit, wait for it to circulate, then leak word to the Merchant's Guild that that nation has a huge counterfeiting problem. Could create serious distrust between foreign traders and the nation? Again, not efficient, but fun to think about.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I haven't been following the Eternal Hearts write up too closely, I browse the forums at work, but I was reading up on Jan on the White Wolf wiki.


Holy poo poo. I see some of this is in Eternal Hearts but that's a pretty loving classic, over the top edgy White Wolf character. You see, he's not the rapist, he just preys on the victims of rapists. It's all consensual, though he does get off on the supernatural rape porn memories he absorbs. This is until his herd is wiped out and he has to create rape victims to survive. He's not doing the raping though, he's still an alright guy, you see.
I read that as "saved by Taco Bell" and the mental image I have right now is better than anything Eternal Hearts can come up with.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Wait, does this device leave any residue and how big is it? Because right now it's sounding like an industrial grade man-chipper except it turns the victims straight into gold. Like good googly moogly suddenly when people who are supposed to testify disappear, they turn into their own hush money to cover up the crime.

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 there's no doubt in my mind that there are a bunch of Dwarves who are like "I never really studied ethics in university, is the thing" who constantly feed people into the chipper to keep their flaming trainwreck of a civilization going through inflation and murder.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I haven't been following the Eternal Hearts write up too closely, I browse the forums at work, but I was reading up on Jan on the White Wolf wiki.


Holy poo poo. I see some of this is in Eternal Hearts but that's a pretty loving classic, over the top edgy White Wolf character. You see, he's not the rapist, he just preys on the victims of rapists. It's all consensual, though he does get off on the supernatural rape porn memories he absorbs. This is until his herd is wiped out and he has to create rape victims to survive. He's not doing the raping though, he's still an alright guy, you see.
I'd say he's lucked out on his Ventrue blood weakness, unfortunately.

I always wondered: Can Ventrue automatically tell if someone is their kind of food, or do they have to take a bite first?

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Hostile V posted:

Yeah there's no doubt in my mind that there are a bunch of Dwarves who are like "I never really studied ethics in university, is the thing" who constantly feed people into the chipper to keep their flaming trainwreck of a civilization going through inflation and murder.

There's a lot to like about this game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Hostile V posted:

Yeah there's no doubt in my mind that there are a bunch of Dwarves who are like "I never really studied ethics in university, is the thing" who constantly feed people into the chipper to keep their flaming trainwreck of a civilization going through inflation and murder.

This sounds like a normal Dwarf Fortress.

Dav
Nov 5, 2009


Traveller posted:

7.- Rise in the morning before your servants do and have half their duties done before they have even bathed. Men follow the example of those they admire.
8.- Assassins creep in the late hours, so go to bed early. Then, when they creep in at midnight, you will be fresh and rested and ready.

A slightly different take on "early to bed and early to rise."


Bedtime for little Lions:
"Can't I stay up just a little longer? Pleeeeease?"
"No dear, you know you need to be rested when the assassins come."
"I never get to have any fun!"

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Nessus posted:

I always wondered: Can Ventrue automatically tell if someone is their kind of food, or do they have to take a bite first?

As far as memory serves, no, but there might be a merit for that.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




BinaryDoubts posted:

Yeah, you'd have to use it judiciously. You could use it to weaponize inflation by copying a rival empire's coins, maybe. (I am not an economist).
Nah, gold coins are valued because of the gold in them, so you'd just be making gold less valuable across the board.

Either abruptly, if the general public is aware of the machine, or slowly over time as people notice there's just more gold around.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




ninjaiguana posted:

Unfortunately, they apparently overlooked the equally busted ability from Hypercool when they fixed Go First. When I run Godlike - and I've run quite a few games of it, in both 1st and 2nd edition - I remove the initiative bonus from Hypercool. In a game where Mental Stability checks can mess you the hell up and Base Will is amazing, Hypercool is still worth it even without the initiative bonus.
Another note on this: another houserule might be to let Hypercool 7+ grant +1 effective Width for initiative, but no more. Or, Hypercool could add to Sense for determining the order in which characters declare actions--so you're not moving with superhuman efficiency, but you're so self-possessed you always have the chance to choose the optimal course of action.

Strange Matter
Oct 5, 2009

Ask me about Genocide


Halloween Jack posted:

Another note on this: another houserule might be to let Hypercool 7+ grant +1 effective Width for initiative, but no more. Or, Hypercool could add to Sense for determining the order in which characters declare actions--so you're not moving with superhuman efficiency, but you're so self-possessed you always have the chance to choose the optimal course of action.
This makes more sense; Hypercool should be about being centered and unfazed by battle, so it makes sense that it gives you the advantage when it comes to planning your moves.

It's interesting that these complex Stat effects were basically entirely stripped out of Wild Talents, except for Body to a certain extent. Had I known this before I started playing WT I probably would have incorporated them back-in in some way.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


When my circle of High School friends started playing L5R CCG, I was given someone's Lion Deck, so I always had a soft-spot for them.

Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Legend of the Five Rings First Edition

Way of the Lion: FOR THE EMPRAH

New character options! For new Skills, we have Bujutsu. Instead of having all weapons use individual skills except for Kenjutsu, now we have a number of skills that cover a group of similar weapons. Characters are considered to have the relevant weapon skill at the same level as the bujutsu, except for Ninjutsu that works in a slightly different way. Iaijutsu is explicitly not a bujutsu skill. We have Bojutsu (bo stick: bo, jo) Chisaijutsu (war fan: tessen), Jiujutsu (hand to hand: Kaze-do, Mizu-do, they probably don't mean mastery of both skills but :ohdear:), Kenjutsu (swords: katana, bo-dachi, wakizashi), Kyujutsu (archery: dai-kyu, yumi) Nofujutsu (peasant weapons: jitte, kama, nunchaku, sai, tonfa; this is considered a Low Skill), Subojutsu (tetsubo: dai tsuchi, tetsubo, ono), Tantojutsu (knife: aiguchi, tanto, kama), Umayarijutsu (lance), Yarijutsu (spears: nagamaki, naginata, yari, nage-yari, sasumata, sodegarami) and Ninjutsu (ninja weapons: ninja-to, shuriken, blowgun, nageteppo, tetsubishi, han-kyu). Ninjutsu is different in that getting one rank in the skill only gives the character competence with one of the weapons it covers. With each rank, the skill with the chosen weapons increase and they gain access to a new weapon. There is also Lore (Ancestors) to know all about them ancestors, as a High skill. For new Advantages we have Balance (ignore any modifiers to Honor rolls, get Void + 2 in Raises during Iaijutsu - holy poop, but Matsu can't take it) Bloodlines (Kitsu only, they keep two extra dice in spells and abilities involving clan ancestors and they cost only half their original CP value), Combat Reflexes (for 6 points you can change initiative with the character right above you), Natural Leader (grants followers one rank in a skill that the character is using when leading by example, the leader must have the skill at 3 or better) and Tactician (trained at the Akodo War College, can modify Battle rolls by 3 points up or down). New Disadvantages are Antisocial (uranurd, 2 points for keeping -1 die in all social rolls or 4 points for -2, keeping 0 dice is an automatic failure), Coward (roll and keep -1 die when facing someone with a higher Glory rating for 3 points, 4 for Lion; -2 for a 6/8 version, and both can be canceled for one round by spending one Void Point), Deathseeker (character starts with no Glory and can never gain it, gg), Dishonored (character starts with 0 Glory, can't spend any XP until they gain Rank 1 Glory and then can only buy up to three skill ranks, 1 Ring Rank or 1 Trait Rank (total) per adventure, ouch) Forsaken (the ancestors don't talk to or care about this character, not quite a Dark Secret but pretty bad), Idealistic (Honor gains/losses are increased by 1 point for every 5, so a 5 point gain becomes 6 and a 10 point loss becomes 12), and Proud (you're the best, around! Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!)


Those arms... I'm rooting for the Lion on account of the hat, though.

The Akodo have the Akodo War College. This school is just like the corebook Akodo bushi school, except that the benefit is +1 Perception and the skills are Archery, Kenjutsu, Battle 2, Bard, History 2. :effort:

The Ikoma family (+1 Intelligence) teaches the Ikoma Bard school. +1 Intelligence, 3.5 Honor. Their skills are Bard, Calligraphy, Heraldry, History, Law, and any two Lore skills. Bards don't have techniques. They spend a great deal of time seeking out samurai whose experiences they can turn into great tales of glory and honor. In game terms, the bard must seek out a patron samurai at every School Rank. At the game's start they are considered to have already found and made known one samurai's tale for their Rank 1, and the player is encouraged to detail this samurai's history. They must find a new patron before they can hit Rank 2. After the samurai's story is done, the bard must take their findings back to their daimyo and present them in court with an Intelligence + Bard check with a TN equal to the samurai's Glory x 5. If this succeeds, the samurai gains Glory points equal to the bard's School Rank, which can push them to their next Glory rank without their daimyo's permission (though it would be rare for a daimyo to deny a samurai honored by the Ikoma) The only restriction is that the bard cannot raise someone's Glory higher than twice their own. The bard also gains an equal number of Honor points and the samurai becomes a Major Ally. Finally, Ikoma don't lose Honor or Glory for expressing emotions in public.

Eh. I'm not really sure about these guys. They bring little to the table and their major mechanic thing is a end-of-adventure bonus for someone else.

Some members of the Kitsu family can commune with the lingering spirits that haunt Rokugan. These are known as the Sodan-senzo, those who speak to the ancestors. Many Kitsu have little or no traces of their ancestors' blood, and these are trained like regular Kitsu shugenja. Kitsu characters that wish to be more connected to their ancestors must purchase the Half-Blood Kitsu Ancestry (3 points, can Sense ancestors, if they are shugenja their starting spells are reduced to 2 Water and 1 Fire) or Full-Blood Kitsu Ancestry (6 points, the character can Sense, Commune and Summon ancestors, but can't cast spells) The Sodan-senzo school (+1 Intelligence, same Honor and outfit as shugenja) teaches how to get in touch with the ancestors - not just Lion ancestors, but those of all major families in Rokugan. The sodan-senzo can only commune or summon ancestors whose Character Points value (when bought as an Advantage) doesn't exceed twice their School Rank. For spirits that don't have a CP cost, this value is their Air Ring x 2. Sensing ancestors takes no roll, and the shugenja can see, hear, touch and even smell the spirit. Spirits can normally become invisible at will, but not from a Kitsu that uses Sense. Even if they are not present, the Kitsu may feel if a spirit has a particular connection to a place, person or thing. Communing with ancestors also takes no roll, though it bears noting that not all ancestors are amiable and many refuse to speak with the living, especially if they had a bad death. Summoning ancestors is an Intelligence + School Rank roll against a TN of the ancestor's CP value x 5. No Raises are allowed in this roll, and the character must also spend a Void Point as an additional cost. If successful, the Kitsu is filled with the essence of the ancestor for their Void Ring in hours, and gain all advantages and disadvantages of the ancestor as if they had been created using them as an advantage. The Kitsu can summon a number of simultaneous ancestors up to their Honor.

Eeeeh. Giving up spells for this seems like a bad deal, even if you can score Kakita Rensei as a Lion. The idea of sensing and communing with the old spirits is cool, just not "make a non-casting caster school for it" cool.


CAN'T GET A GRIP

The Matsu teach the Matsu Bushi school. +1 Reflexes, 3.5 Honor. Their skills are Archery, Battle, Hand to Hand, History, Kenjutsu and any two Bugei skills that aren't Defense.

  • Rank 1: the bushi creates a Fear effect equal to their School Rank +1 when making a Full Attack. (opponents must roll Willpower against the Fear rating x 5, failing this means they can't use Void Points and drop all dice that roll lower than the Fear rating)
  • Rank 2: the bushi gets two attacks per turn when making a Full Attack.
  • Rank 3: the bushi roll initiative dice equal to their Honor.
  • Rank 4: the bushi may attack twice per turn. If using the Rank 2 Full Attack, they get three attacks per turn.
  • Rank 5: if the bushi makes a Full Attack, they ignore Wound penalties up to their Honor rank. This doesn't apply to Down, Out and Dead levels.

Yeah, now this is what I'm talking about. That Fear effect only gets better in time, they will go first with their Rank 3 and then gently caress your poo poo up with multiple Full Attacks. Much better than the other :effort: Lion schools.

The heritage tables follow, of course. Instead of having only one BAD EVENTS table, the bad events are spread across all the other tables. The Shamed Ancestor table is still there, though it bears noting that there aren't "haha, you're a lovely ronin now" events. Just the chance to start with the Forsaken or Deathseeker disadvantages for no points, or a lot of Black Sheep results. Also their Fortune Table rolls cost 3 CP instead of 4, and you have a chance to get a cat so like why aren't you buying yourself a cat right now.


Matsu-san you're not a Dragon stop that right this mom--urk

Next: rev up that metaplot.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Lion is the most cool, edgy rebellious clan, because you're playing samurai in a game full of samurai trying to be something other than samurai, by an author who says he really cares about samurai and wants you to play samurai but also really wants to poo poo on you for it. Akodo > rest of you.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Ikoma bards are probably hands-down the worst school in the game in first edition. Glory isn't particularly useful and the work required to obtain it is time that could be spent... gaining glory in other ways.

Kaiu Engineers are better. True Ronin are better.

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potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


Traveller posted:

The heritage tables follow, of course. Instead of having only one BAD EVENTS table, the bad events are spread across all the other tables. The Shamed Ancestor table is still there, though it bears noting that there aren't "haha, you're a lovely ronin now" events. Just the chance to start with the Forsaken or Deathseeker disadvantages for no points, or a lot of Black Sheep results. Also their Fortune Table rolls cost 3 CP instead of 4, and you have a chance to get a cat so like why aren't you buying yourself a cat right now.

Given the Lion's penchant for terrible harsh childhoods that border on abuse, I was mildly disappointed that none of the Lion fortune tables contained 'you failed your gempukku and your mother killed you for it -- make a new character' or something similar.

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