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Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Pictured: Poster prepares to celebrate Holy Communion (probablY)

This avatar made possible by a gift from the Religionthread Posters Relief Fund

theironjef posted:

I have a Dark Eldar army which I bought and built during the era of the codex that precedes the current one. The main story in that book is "Dark Eldar warp a Salamander ship right into their own main city specifically to kick marine rear end. Instead the marines casually beat the evil poo poo out of the Dark Eldar and leave. The end." In the Dark Eldar book!

To be fair that is the best Space Marine chapter that is doing the beating.


Dec 13, 2011

Evil Mastermind posted:

Godbound is one of those games that I know is straight up my jam (Jack Kirby-esque high fantasy? Hells yeah) but I really have a hard time getting into the OSR mechanics.

I haven't read any other OSR games, but I grabbed the free edition of Godlike. The rules are pretty streamlined and are actually summed up in one page at the end of the rules chapter, I believe. I really like what I've read so far.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
I get the impression Way of Shadow got shoehorned from being a fiction piece to a game supplement; it seems like the kind of thing I'd expect from AEG marketing at that point. If not, it just feels really, really misconceived. I would presume most of the story stuff is Jennifer, and most of the adventure and backmatter stuff is some combination of Patrick, Ree, and John. I think if it had been fiction alone or a frontpiece to a more robust backmatter section (or an unrelated adventure) it would work better; Kaagi's journal seems like the kind of thing you might dole out pieces of to PCs looking into the Shadow threat.

It bears mentioning by this point that the Ninube were already established as a ninja family in the corebook, which of course highlights the timeline issues with using Way of Shadow. Of course, even within that structure, having her be some sort of founder of an entire ninja family in the roughly two decades or so before the corebook comes out never made much sense and is never explained as far as I'm aware. In fact, she does have a kid even after her shadow corruption, who is about as un-ninja as a character can get. Also, she "dies" shortly before the RPG starts while still undercover and never shows up again. So go figure.

Jan 6, 2012


Yeah, when I started this writeup I mentioned how the corebook writeup of the ninja doesn't jive at all with the Scorpion writeup, and it should be obvious by now that Way of Shadow does not help matters in the slightest. The corebook ninja are a pseudo-Clan with families like the Bayushi (who are different from the Scorpion Bayushi but related to them), the Goju (described explicitly as the shugenja family) and the Ninube as masters of disguise.

It also insists that the events described here happened "more than ten years" before 1E's assumed time period, which is a very weird way of phrasing it especially in light of stuff like Ninube's child, who really needs to be twenty years old or more.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Josef bugman posted:

To be fair that is the best Space Marine chapter that is doing the beating.

Strange, he didn't mention Raven Guard. :v:

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Godbound is one of the games at the top of my list to try and run once I find the perfect three-person group for it. I've run Scarlet Heroes several times (another game by the same publisher that uses the over-the-top Solo Hero rules) and I'd love to see how a small group of even more over-powered PCs would impact the hosed-up setting the game describes.

Oct 20, 2003

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarian 2: Electric Boogaloo

It's an alien world that you can only get to through a wormhole on the edge of the solar system. It's 97% water and you have the help of intelligent dolphins and orcas. What lies within these mysterious fathoms below? Who knows! The book doesn't say and, as far as I can tell, it's all just corporate espionage and sea mining without really any thought given to the fact that you are on an alien goddamn planet. Anyway, here's System Mastery 77 - Blue Planet

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.
Clapping Larry
Goddamn that is a horrible treatment of a really great game.

Oct 21, 2012

Part 4: Training and Abilities

Alright, where was I?

In place of magic types, mortals can buy ranks in various training regimens and/or innate special abilities. (The book specifies what’s what. The only real difference between the two is fluff.) Starting characters get 5 free ranks to spend where they want and have the option of buying up to 3 extra ranks at creation at a cost of 15 + the next level number of voodollars. (Ranks in specific types of training have to be bought in order, natch.) The same cost applies when they’re buying ranks outside of creation. Starting characters can have only up to 3 ranks in a training/ability, free ranks included. They can also use the starting training ranks to raise an attribute 1 for 1 or buy skill ranks at a rate of 5 skill ranks for 1 rank of training/abilities.

The book also points out that yes, you can give these things to otherkin characters, but you run the risk of making them overpowered. You know, if you didn't manage to do that with the stuff in the core book.


I'm sure there are Directors and Stars out thee who would love to some of the things here to Otherkin Characters.

Yes an Immortal with Advanced Martial Arts is a no brainer, But such characters ca be over powered and you should be really careful and make sure that fit in your Adventures.

You could probably do better with stuff from the other books. These lists kind of suck.

Training/Abilities follow the same MTR, referred to as ATR (Ability Type Rank) when dealing with mortals, charts as Magic Types when determining how specific powers work at specific ranks. The only exception is Range.


the only change for mortals is range as it becomes a less a matter of line of sight and more about numbers.

The book also points out that the ATR mechanic will also be used in every Drama Dice game Channel M publishes from here on out.

Every type of training/ability except “Skeptic” has requirements. Protip: Give yourself Fighting 3 and/or Mysticism 3 and you’ll open yourself up to a good chunk of the stuff on this list. The blurbs for each also have a section for specific drawbacks. But most don’t have any.

Also, don’t tell anyone you can do this stuff.

Grady Barns posted:

Some of you reading this may only be part vampire or part witch. . You may even be psychic, Guess what? Keep that kind of thing to yourself.

And that mindset is probably part of the reason why you're dead, Grady.

Adrenal Surge: Hulk out and gain various physical advantages either whenever you want during combat or by succeeding on an Easy Will roll outside of combat. Half Immortals, Vampires, and Shapeshifters with a D8 or higher Body only. Makes you eat a lot and act roid-ragey as a drawback.

  • Rank 1: Immunity to fear-causing abilities and magic, heal 2 HP after combat.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to raise the Body attribute by 1. (Max 2.)
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to gain +2 Life per ATR in this ability for a minute.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to get +1 (per ATR) to Strength rolls, +1 hand-to-hand damage, and lift 500 pounds.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to get +1 Reflex, +1 to running based rolls, and +40 feet combat walking and running speed per ATR.

Spending over 6 zap in an hour using this ability makes you unable to use it for D6 hours and gives you -2 Reflex and -2 to Body rolls.

Advanced Martial Arts: Self-explanatory. Can’t have this and Adrenal Surge on the same character for whatever reason. Fighting 6 or the Martial Artist heritage required.
  • Rank 1: +1 hand-to-hand damage, +10 feet when jumping, +20 feet running speed.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to be Goku and do a Chi Strike, which does +2 hand-to-hand damage per ATR.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to do a Perfect Strike, a hand-to-hand… add-on, I guess, that lets you ignore all of a target’s natural armor and half of their artificial armor.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to remove all diseases and poisons from your body and heal 2 Life.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to gain another combat action, at a max of 2.

Archaist: The character is a master of one type of melee weapon, which is picked when they take this type of training. The blurb mentions that being a LARPer is training enough to have this. Requires Fighting 3.
  • Rank 1: +1 damage, parrying and blocking do half their normal damage to the weapon.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to +1 per ATR damage.
  • Rank 3: Spend a zap to block all incoming normal attacks.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to get a second attack that does half damage on the same target in the same action.
  • Rank 5: Spend 3 zap to turn a single attack into an area one that does full damage to every enemy in range.
Archer: The character is a whiz with bows. Fighting 3 required.
  • Rank 1: +1 damage; can reload as a free action.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to "fire an into a crowded arrow to hit a desired target with zero chance of hitting anything"
  • Rank 3: Doubled arrow range.
  • Rank 4: +1 per ATR damage to arrow attacks.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to hit a target from around a corner or barrier at half damage.
Dabbler: The description is the one for Archer copy/pasted, but this ability basically turns you into a hedge mage. This can be taken by witch-blooded characters of either sex. The chart near the front of the chapter lists it as a form of training, while the blurb says it’s an ability.
  • Rank 1: Can now put skill ranks in Alchemy, Enchantment, Potions, Leyology, and Naming. Also gives you a free rank to put in any of them.
  • Rank 2: Can disable spells using a Magic + ATR roll. The move costs twice the cost of the spell and takes D6 minutes to complete.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to double the height and damage of their levitation ability.
  • Rank 4: Spend 3 zap to give someone within range a +2 or -2 penalty to their next roll.
  • Rank 5: Lets the character use their life points as zap points if they run out.

Genius: D8 Mind and up only.
  • Rank 1: +2 Basic and a +1 to a Mind skill of the character’s choice.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to read a hundred pages of text in a minute.
  • Rank 3: +1 per ATR to all Mind and Senses rolls to recall a situation with photographic memory.
  • Rank 4: Spend 3 zap to add “=+1” per ATR to a Body roll.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to give another character a +1 per ATR to any Body, Mind, or Senses skill roll.
Gun-Hand: Fighting 3 required.
  • Rank 1: +1 damage and can draw and reload as a free action.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to get +1 Initiative when using a pistol. This ability is called “skin the smoke wagon”.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to replace the damage on an attack with a -2 penalty to all rolls for D6 rounds of combat.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to ignore 1 point per ATR of armor.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to do +1 per ATR damage.
Hacker: One of the nicknames for Hackers in-verse is “L33t”. Does anyone actually use the term “l33t” unironically anymore? If I go to Defcon and say “How do you do, fellow l33ts?” Will I be accepted and not get my laptop destroyed? Requires Computer 4.
  • Rank 1: +5 Wealth to buy computer equipment; time needed to complete Computer related action is halved.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to find someone using cameras with a Hard roll.
  • Rank 3: Spend a zap to get a +1 per ATR bonus to skill rolls when breaking into other computers.
  • Rank 4: Spend a zap to instantly take control of a computer controlled device connected to the Internet.
  • Rank 5 The character can make a Computer roll to block or disable Cybermancy spells. They also have to spend the same amount of zap as the spell.
Healer: Faith healers, specifically. So atheist doctors need not apply, I guess. Pious talent required. (So you’ll get a free use of one of these once a game day.) Healers have to make a Hard Will roll whenever someone is in intense pain. If they fail, they get a -1 penalty to all of their rolls for an unspecified amount of time. They have to touch their target and use an action and they can’t heal themselves.
  • Rank 1: Spend 2 zap to either stabilize a character or give them a +1 to fight off a disease.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to heal 1 per ATR Life points.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to get +1 per ATR to rolls to resist poisons.
  • Rank 4: The rank 3 power, except with diseases.
  • Rank 5: Spend 4 zap to remove a Crack and give the target a +2 to resist Freak-Outs.
Mad-Science: The character can use their science based and Build/Repair skills like magical skills. Science 4 and D8 and up Mind required.
  • Rank 1: A free rank of Build/Repair and Computer.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to use the Science skill as the Potions skill.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to use Science in place of “Immolate the Animate” skill, which doesn't exist in any of the required books listed near the start.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to use Build/Repair to make Enchantment rolls.
  • Rank 5: Spend 3 zap to remove 1 per ATR Wealth to the cost of equipment.
Medium: The blurb is the one for Gun-Hand, but you actually can see and hunt ghosts. For some reason, you can't be this and a Dabbler, Healer, Medium (sic), or a Psionic at the same time.
  • Rank 1: +1 to rolls and damage when dealing with ghosts.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap per minute to sense ghosts within 20 feet of the character.
  • Rank 3: Spend a zap a minute to see ghosts.
  • Rank 4: Spend a zap to touch and damage ghosts. (So is the damage part of the Rank 1 power just useless until you get this?)
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to do +1 per ATR points of damage to ghosts.
Monster Hunter: A hunter that hunts stuff other than otherkin and ghosts. One of the nicknames for them is “saints”. Cute. Cryptozoology 4 required.
  • Rank 1: +1 Survival, +1 Tracking, +1 to Tracking rolls when tracking monsters.
  • Rank 2: Spend a zap to add your ATR to your Cryptozoology rolls.
  • Rank 3: Spend a zap to communicate with monsters via body language, roars, and so on. Because for some reason, you need to use magic to do that instead of figuring it out through research.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to get +1 x ATR damage to monsters.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to get +1 x ATR to Reflex for dodging monsters.
Psionics: Fabulous psychic powers. D8 Will and up or the Psychic heritage required. Due to the constant background noise in their head, if a Psionic character fails a Will roll, they lose a Life point and get a -1 penalty to all of their rolls for D6 minutes.
  • Rank 1: Spend a zap to detect other people’s emotions.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to get +1 x ATR to resist mind and emotion altering abilities.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to read a target’s thoughts.
  • Rank 4: Spend 3 zap to create a mind shield.
  • Rank 5: Spend 3 zap to give someone a -2 to their rolls for D4 minutes and lose their next action.
Skeptic: Skeptics so strongly disbelieve in the supernatural that they are able to suck zap out of the world. In as much as one can with a list of small bonuses and penalties to rolls. As a drawback, freaking out prevents them from using their skeptic abilities for D6 minutes. The book says they also can’t use their zap for Belief bonuses, but none of those bonuses require zap, so that doesn’t change anything.
  • Rank 1: +2 zap; +1 to Freak Out rolls.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to remove a crack point or give a +2 to Freak Out rolls to a person.
  • Rank 3: Spend 3 zap to add +1 per ATR to resist spells and other magical abilities.
  • Rank 4: Spend 4 zap to let someone else have the previous bonus.
  • Rank 5: Spend 3 zap per minute to give a -2 zap penalty to all non-mundanes in range.
Skinner: Shapeshifter hunters. Mysticism 3 required. They have a -1 Social penalty when dealing with shapeshifters because the shapeshifters… somehow know who they are.
  • Rank 1: +1 Hide, Survival, and Tracking.
  • Rank 2: +1 per ATR to recognize shapeshifters.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to get +1 per ATR to resist shapeshifter powers.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to get +1 per ATR damage to shapeshifters.
  • Rank 5: +1 to Reflex when one of the enemies in a combat scene is a shapeshifter.
Slayer: Vampire hunters. Mysticism 3 required. Characters who take this automatically get a Wanted (Vampires) knack.
  • Rank 1: +1 Athletics, Hide, and Investigation.
  • Rank 2: +1 per ATR to recognize vampires.
  • Rank 3: Spend 2 zap to it’s just the Skinner power set except with vampires. Moving on.
Thief: Urchin 3 required.
  • Rank 1: Gains full walk speed when climbing, and doesn’t gain penalties to movement speed or Reflex when climbing surfaces.
  • Rank 2: Spend 2 zap to get +1 per ATR to all Urchin rolls.
  • Rank 3: Spend a zap to instantly know if a character is carrying something of worth.
  • Rank 4: Spend 2 zap to gain +1 per ATR to Reflex when the character is cornered or chased to avoid… being hit.
  • Rank 5: Spend 2 zap to gain +1 per ATR to resist all Senses and spell rolls.

Witch Hunter: Mysticism 3 required. They also get a Wanted knack because the WWC keeps a log of every single active witch hunter. So there’s another thing they can do, but can’t/won’t track down criminals or kids that need to be put in schools. The ability list is the Slayer one with “vampires” replaced with “witches”.

This section ends with a smaller, black and white version of some art that was also used in Bellum Maga. Specifically, the picture of the perfect progressive girl from the lovely stupid podunk town that got burned to death because her school lost a football game.

Next: Equipment rules.

Apr 25, 2008

theironjef posted:

I have a Dark Eldar army which I bought and built during the era of the codex that precedes the current one. The main story in that book is "Dark Eldar warp a Salamander ship right into their own main city specifically to kick marine rear end. Instead the marines casually beat the evil poo poo out of the Dark Eldar and leave. The end." In the Dark Eldar book!

It was retconned in the most recent DE books to be Asdrubael Vect enacting a form of house-cleaning by getting the salamanders to eliminate all his rivals.

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy
Can someone tell me about the Castlemourn campaign setting? What was that like/all about? I just randomly came across the title one day and found out it was also an Ed Greenwood work, which surprised me as far as he would write outside Forgotten Realms.

Jan 10, 2013

The time for
has come!
GoogleFu to the rescue!


Castlemourn is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game by Ed Greenwood, published by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. The world of Castlemourn lost its past during a cataclysm, and now various races (including old, such as elves and dwarves, and new ones) try to find their history.

Castlemourn is a land searching for its past. Its people are unaware of their origins, the greatness of their history, or what disaster brought about the dark age that has engulfed the land. Some three hundred years before the setting’s current era, there existed a magical place of shining towers and marvelous wonders called the Realm of Castles. Legends tell of a great war against fell creatures that destroyed the realm, leaving scorched ruins and crumbling citadels. Whatever befell this realm was so terrible that the gods have "cordoned" it off. No one is permitted to leave Castlemourn and those who find their way there, do so at their own peril, as adventurers, treasure hunters, and questors scour the land searching for relics, artifacts, and clues to their past. Castlemourn is a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting where kingdoms fight for power through political intrigue and outright warfare; where the brave seek their fortunes in dangerous ruins, and where everyone fears the unspeakable evil that shadows their land.

In Castlemourn, one can find almost all of the core races, except half-orc. However, their base abilities all changed in some ways.

Dwarves: Dwarves are a stout miner race, just like in the core settings. However, they perceive the world as an illusion, so they are more prone to be affected by illusions, but can ignore real dangers, as if they were only illusions.
Elves: Elves are lithe creatures of the woods, who glow with light, and therefore hardly can hide from others.
Half-Elves: Just like their elven ancestors, they glow, but with a dimmer light.
Halflings: Small people, who are the masters of forging magical items.
Gnomes: Gnomes are little humanoids, who swore to commit a great task in their lives.
Godaunts: Fell beasts, who are looked down by other races. They are the equivalent of the half-orc.
Thaele: Vampire-like mysterious race.

There is only one extra class beside the core classes of D&D: the buccaneer. The buccaneers are pirates, seafaring swashbucklers. There are six prestige classes as well: dusked, faihless one, rhymesword, servant of the Seven, truesword knight and waymaster.

For further information, I´d lure you to either

On further note, it seems the setting died a quick and quiet death in abou 2008/09 as it never took flight as other settings did.

Mr.Misfit fucked around with this message at 18:59 on Sep 13, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

gradenko_2000 posted:

Can someone tell me about the Castlemourn campaign setting? What was that like/all about?

One day, a castle lost a puppy. It was very sad.

(Geez, that name. Sadfort! Bummerhold! Sobopolis!)

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer
Should have called it the Redacted Realms.

Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
Obvious synonym missed:


Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

unseenlibrarian posted:

Obvious synonym missed:



Aug 23, 2009

Mr.Misfit posted:

On further note, it seems the setting died a quick and quiet death in abou 2008/09 as it never took flight as other settings did.

Seems like it was meant as a one-shot. Side question, considering the Ctrl-Z that the Greenvatore-guided 5th Edition Forgotten Realms is supposed to be, how did WOTC pull of the Spellplague to begin with?

Also, Fort Lorn.

Kavak fucked around with this message at 19:27 on Sep 13, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Young Freud
Nov 26, 2006

Schloss Schadenfreude

Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

Dour Tower
Snivel Spell Citadel
Caer Despair

Oct 6, 2014

The Weeping City of Mhach


Hostile V
May 31, 2013

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

Visit scenic Chateau d'Grief, located next to the neighboring counties of Pining Palace, Bemoaning Bastion, Deplore Dugout and Goblin Forest Union Hideout Chapter 498.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso

Godlike, Chapter V, Part II

In the last update I covered the beginnings of the Talent phenomenon and the reaction to the world’s first parahuman: a fanatical Nazi. In this portion, the major events are far bigger than any one man, even a Nazi Übermensch.

7/7/1939, the Second Sino-Japanese War: Although Japan had occupied Manchuria for six months, few expected to make a grab for more territory. General Doihara led a full invasion of southern China, killing thousands of Chinese soldiers and claiming city after city.

*10/1/1938, Hitler Annexes Czechoslovakia: Germany forced Czechoslovakia to sign the Munich Pact, completely ceding control of the country on September 29th. Having already annexed Austria and border regions of Czechoslovakia, Hitler assured the world that this was the end of German expansionism, fulfilling the goal of bringing all culturally German people together under one nation. Infamously hailed by British PM Neville Chamberlain as bringing “peace for our time,” the Munich Pact was another step in Hitler’s plan to conquer Europe.

By October 1st, the swastika was flying over Prague. Nine days later, a scruffy young Czech man appeared at the British Ministry of Defense, claiming he was “blessed of God” and had escaped the Gestapo through a “passageway.” Though initially turned away, he kept appearing in the building, being thrown out again and again before they finally listened to his story and determined that, like Der Flieger, Briety Krizova had unexplainable superhuman powers.

Krizova became the backbone of a large British-backed Czech resistance movement, using his powers to move men and equipment and create a complex web of safehouses that allowed them to attack the Germans from behind their own lines. This earned him the name Pevnost (“Fortress”). Hitler inadvertently helped Krizova’s cause by refusing to entertain any notion that an “untermensch” with parahuman powers existed; his High Command learned to keep their mouths shut. The British, on the other hand, only gradually leaked information about Pevnost to the press, waiting until the war escalated to use him for propaganda purposes.


Pevnost (“Fortress”)

Powers: Pevnost could link any two doorways he had previously passed through, creating a supernatural portal between them.

The doorways had to be of similar shape and design, with a maximum size of 2.7x1.1 meters. He could carry other people through, one at a time, as well as anything he could carry. His powers grew with age, to a maximum distance of 2500 nautical miles. However, his powers fluctuated and the process was fatiguing; he risked brain damage or even death if he overused them.

Background: Briety Krizova was a Czechoslovakian from a small farm who was educated at the University of Linz. He was socialist and vocally anti-German, and discovered his powers while fleeing the Gestapo. Returning home, he found himself in London, which he had visited years before.

After demonstrating his powers to the British, Krizova led a resistance movement in his home country throughout the war, using his powers to transport troops and stockpile weapons. When the Communists took power in 1948, he used his powers to evacuate over 200 families (including his own) who were at risk of persecution.

Krizova lived the rest of his life in London, a hero and a citizen of the world. He wrote 4 autobiographical accounts of the war, all of them critically praised and well-received. He died of natural causes at the age of 67. The world mourned.

10/12/38, Zindel Haunts Ethiopia
: Italian occupiers in Ethiopia, already demoralized, were haunted by a “demon of the Badlands” that killed over a hundred soldiers in the span of a month. Authorities dismissed it as a rumour, but the salt effigies of the slain soldiers were difficult to ignore. Two of the effigies were sent to Rome for study. Scientists were surprised to find that they were indeed the bodies of the soldiers. Every part of them--clothing, skin, all the way down to their bones and internal organs--had been transformed into salt.

Zindel, as the Ethiopians called him, became a symbol of resistance even to those who had never seen him. Soon resistance fighters were battling the Italians with better organization and greater fervor than they had shown before. In the West, Zindel was dismissed as a popular myth and ignored along with the Ethiopian resistance. Ethiopia wasn’t front-page news, and they had yet to grasp that Talents were a growing phenomenon--as far as most people were concerned, there was an Axis superman and an Allied superman, and that was it.


Zindel (“Protector of Man”)

Powers: Zindel could instantly transform enemies into salt, including their clothes and gear. It sometimes reacted to threats he wasn’t consciously aware of. Using the power was fatiguing, and he sometimes went hours or days without using it.

Background: Amina Salasee was an Ethiopian Jew from a small village. He joined the resistance movement against the Italian invasion in 1936. Salasee was fervently religious, fascinated by pentateuchal stories of divine punishment and revenge. He likened the Italians to the sinful people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and often left religious graffiti on corpses and wrecked vehicles as a warning.

His power suddenly manifested when he and his comrades attacked an Italian squad. His power killed them before his men fired a shot; as a result, they blew apart an array of eight salt statues. Salasee took it as a sign from God, and learned to use “God’s will” to kill many more Italians. He became the leader of the largest resistance cell in Ethiopia and was loyal to the Ethiopian monarch in exile.

Salasee was killed by a landmine in 1941. His body was recovered and autopsied by the British SSO. They found no biological mechanism for his powers--a disappointing but important discovery.

5/22/1939, the Pact of Steel: Hitler and Mussolini signed the Pact of Steel, a mutual defense treaty. German High Command saw the pact as a formality, considering the Italian forces substandard.

8/23/1939, the Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact: Far more alarming was the Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact, a neutrality pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. Negotiations began at the order of Stalin, who was scared of Der Flieger and knew that the Soviet Union was not prepared for war. The pact essentially left Eastern European nations to fend for themselves, and created the right conditions for Hitler to wage wars of conquest.

9/1/1939, the Invasion of Poland: Realizing that he’d accomplished all he could through diplomacy, Hitler was poised to make his bid to conquer Europe. Twelve Polish prisoners were dressed in Polish military gear and murdered, the corpses shot and presented as evidence of incursions into German territory. This gave Hitler a flimsy pretext to invade Poland.

Having joined a defense pact with Poland and France, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Within hours, a German submarine torpedoed the passenger ship SS Athenia. The British moved four divisions into France, awaiting further hostilities.

9/4/1939, Der Flieger Attacks Poland: Although the Luftwaffe was heavily involved in the assault on Poland, Der Flieger personally downed 83 of the over 500 Polish aircraft destroyed (making him the most successful flying ace to date) before going on to attack troops on the ground. The attack was excellent propaganda for the Nazis, as photographs and fearful stories of of the man the Polish called “Thunderbolt” silenced those who asserted that parahumans would never be militarily useful.

9/4/1939, Darkness to Fight Darkness: In Krakow, a single Polish officer took on a platoon of Germans and won. Piotr Ciowiski took out 153 German soldiers and 4 light tanks with his power to telekinetically control anything touched by his shadow, and earned the name Cien (“Shadow”). He fled to London and gave his support to the Polish government in exile. The Allies now had two parahumans to the Nazis’ one.

PM Neville Chamberlain was happy to be photographed with the two men, and several newsreels were made demonstrating their powers. Public interest in the parahuman phenomenon ignited. Hundreds of people came forward claiming to have superhuman powers, and numerous articles and books with religious or occult overtones were published. The Pope issued a statement that the matter required further investigation, while American millionaire Howard Hughes offered a $25,000 reward to the first American to display parahuman powers.


Cien (“Shadow”)

Powers: Cien could “touch” anything touched by his shadow as if he were actually holding or striking it. The larger the shadow he cast, the greater his strength, and he could exert incredible force by miming grabbing and striking motions. At his greatest height, he picked up a 43-ton Panther tank and threw it 45 meters, killing thirty-some enemies in one blow.

Background: Piotr Ciowiski was a colonel in the Polish Army when the Nazis invaded. He discovered his power during bloody street fighting in Krakow, and escaped the city after inflicting heavy losses. He fled to London and joined the famous Polish First Airborne.

Cien worked closely with other Allied Talents like Pevnost and the Indestructible Man. On D-Day, he fought Der Flieger in a small French village. Der Flieger made the mistake of buzzing too low, and Cien swatted him out of the air. A picture of Der Flieger, lying dazed and injured in the muddy road, became one of the most famous photographs of the war.

Ciowiski was killed in action as part of Operation Market Garden. The German commanders somehow determined that he was present and launched an assault by 14 Ubermenschen. Cleverly using a German air defense spotlight to backlight himself, he crushed Der Ziegel (“The Brick”) in his shadow hands and dropped 2 tons of stone bridgework on Siegfried. But a German officer shot out his spotlight, whereupon he was quickly overwhelmed and killed by the Nazi parahuman Krieg. Ciowiski was posthumously decorated with the Victoria Cross.

9/17/1939, the Soviet Union Invades Poland: Acting on a secret agreement from months before, the Soviets invaded and occupied Bellorussian provinces in Poland. Photographs of friendly meetings between German and Soviet troops on the new border made front-page headlines worldwide. Though Hitler was loath to grant territory to Russia, he knew he wasn’t ready to fight a war on two fronts.

October 1939, U.S. Fleet moves to Pearl Harbor: An order from President Truman moved the Pacific fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to deter Japanese aggression.

10/14/1939, Sinking of the HMS Royal Oak: German U-Boat 47 attacked the HMS Royal Oak at its port in Scapa Flow, killing 833. Two days later, the Kriegsmarine issued a statement that any ship flying an Allied flag was subject to attack.

11/30/1939, the Winter War: After using “peace talks” as a pretext to establish bases in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the Soviet Union invades Finland. Rather than cede large territories and other concessions to the Soviets, the Finns chose to fight.

12/19/1939 Viljo, Death in Winter: Although massively outnumbered by troops and tanks, the Finnish soldiers held out. One small group was being hunted by an entire division for the affront of using a “Molotov cocktail” to attack several tanks. Hiding in a cave and unable to even light a campfire due to Soviet patrols, the men froze to death--except for one, Joseef Seppanen, who began to feel warm and comfortable in the terrible Finnish winter. Soon he found he could vanish into snowdrifts, track targets like a wolf, and fight with superhuman strength and speed.

A British reporter named Peter Viipuri, Finnish-born and embedded with their forces during the war, sent news of the legend the Finns called Viljo (“Resolute Protector”) back to London. After finding the bloody remains of an entire Soviet platoon, he took the only known photograph of Viljo, stark naked and whip-thin, carrying a huge knife through a snowdrift. Even tank platoons were afraid to cross areas where the Belaya Smert (“White Death”) was rumoured to operate.


Viljo (“Resolute Protector”)


Background: Josef Sepannen raised reindeer in a family farm outside a small Finnish village. He probably would have remained their his whole life, wanting nothing from the outside world, had the Winter War not forced itself upon them.

When the Soviets invaded, Sepannen joined a group of Finnish soldiers and hid them at his farm. His knowledge of the terrain helped them cut off a tank platoon,and soon an entire division was tasked with destroying them. He discovered his powers in the wilderness and began operating alone, cutting a bloody swath through the Red Army with nothing but a hunting knife. He killed so many soldiers that Stalin himself declared that Viljo must be killed at all costs.

The Red Army set a trap for Viljo, leading him to believe that his brother and over a hundred political prisoners were being held at a certain camp. When he arrived, the Soviets blanketed the camp with an intense artillery barrage, killing him and some of their own soldiers placed there as decoys. No body was ever found, but he was never seen again and presumed KIA.

12/17/1939, the Graf Spee Is Destroyed: The German “pocket battleship” Graf Spee, patrolling the South Atlantic, attacked three British cruisers despite direct orders to the contrary. After the British were driven off, they cornered the Graf Spee at the port in Montevideo. Refused docking due to diplomatic pressure from the British, the Graf Spee’s captain scuttled the ship and committed suicide. It was a surprising defeat for the Kriegsmarine.

1/9/1940, the Nazis Lose Case Yellow: Only a month before the Nazis’ planned invasion of Holland, Belgium, and France, two German officers carrying a copy of the invasion plan, “Case Yellow,” crashed their plane in Belgium. The Belgians captured them before they could destroy the plans. The Belgian commander dismissed their importance--surely the Nazis would not enact it now that it had fallen into enemy hands! Fearing the loss of their neutrality, the Belgians only allowed a brief synopsis to circulate among the Allies. The Allies, too,assumed that if Hitler were going to invade, he would have done so before the French and British mobilized their forces. They were wrong.

2/14/1940, the Term “Talent” is Coined: New York Times science editor Stephen J. Whelan releases the last of a series of articles on the parahuman phenomenon. The articles considered everything from the known “super-men,” possible parahumans in early human history, and their correspondence with psychic phenomenena, citing a book by Charles A. Fort. “If the powers reflected in Fort’s book are called ‘Wild Talents’, I suppose what we are seeing now could be called ‘Talents’. Perhaps this is not an example of a new array of human capability, but simply the honing of some inherent and previously secret human skill which is just now coming to light.” Talent would soon become the most popular and enduring term to describe parahuman powers.

3/12/1940, End of the Soviet-Finnish War: After pulling back and reorganizing their forces, the Red Army broke the Finnish line and forced the nation to sign the Moscow Treaty, preserving Finnish independence but extracting even larger concessions than they originally demanded. The Allied nations were shocked at the defeat after the Finns had held out for so long, and the treaty scuttled plans to land three brigades to support the Finnish forces. Viljo continued fighting along with scattered groups of resistance fighters.

4/8/1940, Allies Mine the North Sea: British cruisers began mining Norwegian waters, in violation of international law, to stop them from shipping iron ore to the Germans. The Nazis responded with an invasion of Denmark and Norway the very next day. The Allies landed an expeditionary force, supported by the formerly neutral Norwegians. The German invasion saw the first use of airborne troops in warfare, with glider teams capturing forward airfields. Unfortunately, the Allied force was only prepared for preventive occupation, not counterinvasion.

4/11/1940, Vogel Appears: Although Denmark quickly capitulated, it produced one of the Allies’ most famous Talents. Part of a rag-tag group of resistance fighters captured while trying to liberate an armory, Jan Dinesen was the only one who escaped death by firing squad. He survived two rounds of rifle fire followed by three attempts by an Oberstleutnant to shoot him at point-blank range. Then he disarmed the officer, killed him with his own pistol, and quipped “Your aim is terrible” before calmly walking into the street followed by ineffectual hails of bullets. After the war, the story was corroborated by a German member of the firing squad. He fled to Britain and acquired the moniker Vogel (“Bird”).

Two months later, Vogel made a radio address widely heard across Britain, albeit in Danish. “Those who see this and do nothing, those who wait and watch with wide eyes and do not act, are worse than those who commit these crimes. Hitler and his armies are set to march as far and as wide as any will let them. Now is the time to stand and fight. The coming battle will be the measure of us all.” He soon returned to Denmark to aid resistance fighters there.


Vogel (“Bird”)

Powers: Vogel had the power to redirect incoming missiles so that they barely missed him. His power was subconscious and worked as long as he was aware he was in danger. It did not work against hand-to-hand attacks or attacks of which he was completely unaware.

Background: Jan Dinesen was the son of a prosperous enamellist in Copenhagen, Denmark. Though he grew up in the shadow of a younger brother who showed greater talent for the family business, the 1940 invasion of Denmark convinced him he could make a difference. He was caught while trying to liberate weapons from an armory before the Nazis could seize them, and discovered his power while being shot at by a firing squad. He escaped and became a leader in the Danish resistance.

Dinesen was good friends with the Polish parahuman Cien, and blamed himself for being unable to come to Cien’s aid during Operation Market Garden. Later, Dinesen and the Indestructible Man confronted and killed Krieg, the Nazi Talent who had killed Cien. Dinesen’s testimony helped exonerate the Indestructible Man from charges of allegedly killing Krieg after he surrendered.

Dinesen was one of the few veteran Talents to enjoy a high profile after the war. He became a Hollywood actor, aided by his good looks, charisma, and fame. He died in an automobile accident in Los Angeles in 1963.

4/12/1940, Aesgir Appears: In Norway, a Talent appeared fighting Nazi tanks with nothing but a toy. Fifteen-year-old Christian Hansen lost his home and family to the Nazi Wehrmacht Group II, but survived an artillery barrage to become the seventh known Talent. He claimed his powers came from a stage-prop spear he discovered while taking shelter in the ruins of a theatre. The spear, which he claimed called itself Aesgir, made him almost invincible and could be hurled through tank armor before instantly leaping back to his hand. He could also open a portal to an icy world he called Valhalla, using it to cross intervening distance in the real world. When he fled Norway, he took several refugees with him, and after days of walking through tundra they emerged on the shores of Scotland.

Aesgir made headlines around the world. Some groups protested the induction of a young teenager into the British military, but the scandal soon died down. Winston Churchill privately made it known that all Talent-related news must pass through British Intelligence before publication, or else.


Aesgir (“Spear of the Gods”)

Powers: Aesgir believed his powers were fueled by a magic spear which was actually a flimsy stage prop. However, in his possession, the spear became an incredible weapon. He could throw it great distances with great accuracy--it sometimes homed in on its target--and it could pierce tank armor. While holding the spear, he was tough enough to deflect 88mm shells with his hands. He could also use the sphere to open a portal to another world, which he called Valhalla, and take several others with him. By traveling on foot, they could cross an equal amount of distance in the real world. However, since Valhalla was endless, lifeless tundra, this was exhausting and dangerous. Aesgir also claimed the spear spoke to him and gave him advice about the future, but these abilities were not verified.

Background: Little is known about Christian Hansen before he manifested his powers while fighting off German invaders in his native city of Eivaan, Norway in 1940. He fought the Nazis for three weeks before fleeing to Britain to join the Norwegian forces there. Christian’s young age provoked a scandal at the idea of sending him into battle, but his powers were too great to ignore. The British Special Operations Executive trained him, and had him using his powers to cross “Valhalla” to lead missions behind enemy lines.

Hansen died in Caen, France in an assault to relieve Canadian troops. The gun emplacement they thought they were attacking turned out to be the 12th SS Panzer Division. Hansen was unable to open a portal in the heat of battle, and died protecting his troops. Fourteen made it back alive. He was posthumously decorated with the Victoria Cross.

Rumour has it that his spear--only a stage prop made of cheap wood and steel--was mounted on the wall in the Hauptamt SS by order of Himmler.

5/2/1940, Allies Retreat from Norway: Realizing that Norway was lost, the Allies evacuated their troops. The loss resulted in a political shakeup culminating in the resignation of Neville Chamberlain.

5/8/1940, Churchill Appointed Prime Minister: Winston Churchill, a seasoned British politician and former military man, had long opposed the Nazi regime. Upon his appointment as Prime Minister he immediately asked President Roosevelt for aid, continuing a correspondence that had begun when he was First Lord of the Admiralty. The Nazis, in turn, immediately launched their invasion of France and the Low Countries.

5/10/1940, the Invasion of France: The Luftwaffe launched attacks on French airfields at the same time as German Army Group B swept through Belgium and Holland. The Allies had predicted this, but had not predicted that it was a feint to lure them away from the Ardennes forest. German Army Group A easily pushed through the Ardennes and pushed Allied troops back to the river Meuse. In less than two weeks, remaining British, French, and Belgian forces were surrounded at Dunkirk, where only a German order to halt the advance (to consolidate forces and prevent a breakout) allowed the Allies to organize a massive evacuation of over 300,000 troops. After only 11 days of fighting, Britain was now the last European nation defying the Third Reich.

Next time on Godlike: Lots more history. Lots more Talents.

Jan 7, 2015

The Rules of the Game

The average day of a Godbound looks a lot like a heavy metal album cover.

These actually come after character creation, but I'd like to cover these first to quickly highlight the major rule changes.

Like in every Crawford game I know of, the game uses descending AC values, eschewing ThAC0 by just having the character add his target's AC to his roll and checking if the total is equal or greater than 20.
Godbound also does that thing where the ranged attacks add the DEX modifier to damage, and light weapons let you substitute STR for DEX.

Like in Exemplars & Eidolons, skills don't really exist, and everything is done with Ability Checks. In Godbound's case you have a target number to beat that is equal to 21 minus your Attribute Score, which gets its own box on the character sheet. I'd probably houserule this to work more like attack rolls for more consistency.

Saving Throws are descending like AC, and they come in three varieties: Hardiness is your not-Toughness, Evasion is not-Reflex, and Spirit is not-Willpower. Taking cues from later editions, each Saving Throw is assigned two Attributes, and you always pick the one that offers the best modifier.

Now onto what the Solo Hero rules are all about : Basically, damage resolution has been tweaked so that Hit Dice act like Hit Points. So a HD 2 Gnoll can take 2 points of damage before being defeated.
Instead of reading your damage rolls normally, you compare it to a handy little chart: A result of 1 or less deals no damage, a 2-5 deals 1 point of damage, a 6-9 equals 2 points and a 10+ does a whooping 4 points of damage.
When rolling multiple dice, each one has its damage determined individually. Any static bonus attached to your damage roll is only added to one dice.

PCs in Godbound also come with a sort of built-in Cleave: If you overkill a target (aka deal more damage than you need to kill it), you can assign the leftover points to any other target in range, provided its AC isn't better than the original target's. AoE effects don't overkill.
If you don't feel like being a murder hobo, you can just deal non-lethal damage, provided you declare it so and it seems possible to do with the attack in question.

Some attacks - namely those by boss creatures, or some PC powers in specific situations - deal their damage "straight", aka you just read it like in every other d20 game.

A major feature of a Godbound and any Solo Hero is the Fray Dice (which in a Godbound's case is a d8 by default). The Fray Dice is a free auto-hit you do every turn. You just roll the die and apply the damage to to a single lesser foe (a being with less HD than you) in sight, with overkill and everything.

The Fray Dice not only means that any character has a baseline competency when it comes to dealing with hordes of nobodies, but it lends itself well to getting creative when describing your character's actions. Maybe your rogueish Godbound throw a bunch of throwing knives all over the place while duelling some necromancer. Or your wizard-like Godbound spends several turns figuring out an ancient door locked with a magical seal, all while casually blasting any cannon fodder that tries to disturb him.

Since save-or-die effects are very annoying for a Solo Hero, there's a way to survive that. But that's something for the character creation rules.

Character Creation

Never trigger a potential Godbound.

Like in Exemplars & Eidolons, Godbound are made from tougher stuff than your typical OSR guy, even if we ignore the Solo Hero rules for the comparison. As such, your Attributes are determined by rolling 4d6, dropping the lowest, and assigning the totals however you want.
Unlike many OSR games, there are a select few ways to raise your Attributes after the fact, though you can't go below the starting maximum of 18 (for a +3 modifier).

So, what kind of races and classes can you pick from? Well, races aren't really a thing, or at least they are handled much, much differently from what you're used to (but more on that in a minute).
As for classes, there is only the Godbound, though this class is quite customizable for an OSR class.

What makes each Godbound stand out from the others is his selection of Words. Each Godbound starts with three, and can spend a number of points on either Gifts (powers belonging to a Word) or additional Words.
Words are similar to Cleric domains in that they describe which concepts you have control over with your demi-divineness. They don't directly correlate to classic domains however. Alignment Words for example are absent, largely because Alignments don't exist in Godbound.
As such, Words tend to be a bit more on the ambivalent side. Sure, the Death Word allows you to raise undead armies and stare people to death, but you can also perform the mother of all Turn Undead. And while the Health Word is largely for healbot duties, it also allows you to shoot cancer at people.

Each Godbound starts with 8 Hit Points (aka a HD 8 creature), plus their CON modifier. Each further level ads +4 plus half your CON modifier (rounded up). Attack Bonus and Saving Throws are easy to keep track of as they improve by one each level.


Also like in Exemplars & Eidolons, each PC has a number of Facts (three to be exact). These are very FATE-esque descriptions of your character, things about his origin, profession and connections.
If you make an Attribute Check and the action in question fits to at least one of your Facts, you gain a +4 bonus to the roll. Magic-related Facts might also have you start out with knowledge of lesser forms of magic, which unlike your typical d20 magic is very limited in scope, and not too useful against worthy foes anyways because beings with divine powers are generally not impressed by petty cantrips.

Facts are also how you can bring in races into the game. You want to play as a dwarf Godbound who hasn't lost his dwarven ways after turning into a demigod? Well, just make up the "I'm a dwarf" Fact, and you're good to go. You gain the +4 bonus on dwarf-related tasks, and the GM might even allow you access to racial abilities. Who cares if you can see better in the dark or are good at finding hidden doors? You're a demigod now, it's not a big deal.
If you want to play as someting more unconventional like a Beholder or dragon, you can do that too. Just pick your Fact and get the right combination of Words and Gifts to emulate your monster powers.


To keep most of your divine powers going, you also have a pool of :effort:.
Effort represents your life force, willpower and divine energy. Your starting amount is 2, and even the lowest of dirt farmer has 1, though he generally has no way of using it himself.

Whenever you use a point of Effort, it is said to be "committed". Committed Effort typically returns to you after the scene/encounter in which it was used. If used to fuel an on-going effect, it stays committed until you end the effect. More powerful effects force you to commit Effort for a day, returning only at morning.

So what can you do with Effort? A lot. Most Gifts require you to commit Effort in some form or another, and you and similar powerful beings can commit Effort for a day in order to no-sell any failed Saving Throw.
Effort is also were we find Crawford's preference for limiting how much health characters can pump into each other during an adventure day, as magical healing requires one to commit Effort for a day as well.
Limited healing however is not a big deal for a Godbound that takes his time, for even a single day of resting is enough to restore all Hit Points.


Money and such is handled with a Wealth stat. The default starting value is 0, on a scale where 1 is the richest man in a village and 10 is an emperor. PCs also start with whatever basic equipment makes sense for them, though they can also start with a fancy artifact if they spent a Fact for it.
Generally, Godbounds themselves have little use for gold. It's pretty handy when dealing with mortals, but the only possessions worthy of a Godbound are those he earns as loot in ancient tombs and dungeons, or those he forges himself (which in turn requires him to loot the precious ingredients required for such a masterpiece).

Equipment is handled very lite, with weapons and armor coming in Light, Medium and Heavy variety, plus one- and two-handed weapons and a shield.
If you want to use DEX in melee, you typicall have to settle for Light weapons (1d6 damage), or you dual-wield, which works like a Heavy weapon (1d10 damage) that allows DEX.

Armor is pretty interesting in that the Medium (AC 5) and Heavy (AC 3) versions come with -4 Saving Throw penalties, with Medium affecting one and Heavy affecting two Saves.
Which Saves are affected? Well, that's up to the player, and how he describes the armor. Is it stiff and hard to move in? Heavy and exhausting? Or is it somehow cursed or otherwise inflicted with bad Feng Shui?


Every Godbound needs to start out with at least one goal. Pretty obvious, seeing how they have the world in their hands and Crawfords loves himself some sandbox adventures.

Character Advancement

Godbound gain XP solely by accomplishing "worthy" goals, ones where the opposition actually puts up a challenge.
But XP is not everything for a Godbound. He must also spent Dominion, which he gains from heroic deeds and the prayers of his worshippers. Dominion is spent when a Godbound wants to create lasting changes with his powers, which in turn means that a demigod can't become stronger if he is unwilling to leave his mark on the world.

Each new level bumps up your Hit Points and various bonuses, and you also get a new Fact and points to spend on Words and Gifts. While there is no upper limit to your character level, the game is heavily built around a cap of 10 to prevent things from getting too ridiculous. Mind you that at that point, the average Godbound is a HD 44 monstrosity (albeit without the absurdly inflated bonuses you'd expect).
This also means that your base attack bonus maxes out at +10, adding a sort of bounded accuracy to the mix.

As a Godbound gains levels, he starts to automatically accumulate Gifts of the Apotheosis Word, which is the closest thing to hard-coded Class Abilities for a Godbound. I'll cover Words in the next one or two entries, so let's just say Apotheosis gradually puts more emphasize on the "god" in "demigod".

Drawbacks of being a Godbound

You thought being a rad demigod doesn't come with a couple caveats? Well, it does.

For starters, swinging around divine powers isn't a very precise art. As such, there are very few ways fo a Godbound to gain multiple attacks or even actions per turn (not counting the Fray Dice).
NPCs on the other hand often do have multiple attacks and/or actions to offer a challenge to the party, be it a big hulking monster or a badass-but-still-very-squishy mortal hero who probably needs those multiple actions to get the Godbounds' attention.

In a rather shocking twist for d20 in general, Godbounds can't into magical +x bonuses. Their own divine power is so strong that numerical bonuses from magical items just don't register. A Godbound will still want a magical weapon because it deals magical damage (provided the Godbound has no other means of doing so), but he won't care if it's a simple +1 longsword or a Holy Avenger. This is again far more interesting for mortal heroes in order to be somewhat threatening.
With simple bonuses out of the question, artifacts in this game focus more on granting unique powers and other effects.

Finally, Godbound play in Ironman Mode. If a Godbound or being of similar divine power dies, he stays dead, as no Resurrection spell can restore a creature of such might.
Fortunately, Godbounds have a few aces up their sleeves aside from being pretty darn powerful and badass. The faster natural healing rate was already mentioned. Furthermore, they don't automatically die upon hitting 0 Hit Points like most OSR characters. They will automatically regain 1 Hit Point after an hour, and can only die if someone whacks them again before that time. This also means that you can't really one-shot a Godbound, not that this is likely to occur.
Finally, once per level, a Godbound brought down to zero Hit Points can trigger Divine Fury, a second wind that partially restores their Hit Points and Effort. Seeing how this knocks them out for a while after a number of rounds equal to their level, Divine Fury is probably best used to get the hell away from whatever managed to drain all your health in the first place.

Example Character - Part 1

This game probably deserves a more serious example character, but when am I ever gonna find an OSR game that let's me build Nippon Ichi characters?

Overlord Zetta

At least I'm not creating him during that awkward time he was a book.

Attribute Scores: 14, 12, 13, 13, 14, 10

I'll wait with assigning them for now, as will become clear next time when I pick his Words and Gifts.

  • Badass Freakin' Overlord
  • Demon from a Netherworld
  • Rivalies and acquaintances with fellow Overlords spanning thousands of years
Armor: Leather (Light, AC 7)
Weapon: Greatsword (Heavy, 1d10)
Goals: Rebuild own Netherworld (which probably went kablooey when those pesky humans broke everything.)

Next Time: Words and Gifts. Or how to beat Lord of the Rings like a boss.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:45 on Sep 13, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
That all said, the A Wind Named Amnesia setup is a pretty cool excuse to to engage in exploration and delving, even if the world feels relatively stock.

Palace Mopes.

Jan 6, 2012


Legend of the Five Rings First Edition

Way of Shadow: You Can (Not) Win

Let's wrap this RPG FICTION up! Our man Kaagi is pretty tired already after hours of walking, but he presses on. The instructions the Unicorn gave him let him found the path to the temple he is looking for. It's overgrown and unkempt: apparently the temple fell out of use some twenty years back. A storm is brewing and he hastens as best he can, given his foot. Just as the first drops of rain start falling, he finds the forgotten temple. It's old, worn and empty. While he gathers wood for starting a fire, he thinks on how he's come to be here, and how Mei would laugh in his face if she knew that he came here guided by a dream, but if Iyekao is still alive and a prisoner of the shadows, then he must know, out of familial loyalty and his own curiosity. A shadow moves, then, and Kaagi has half his sword drawn before he even registers the figure. It is a man, about as tall as him, and as he walks into the fire light he can see that he is Iyekao, his own brother. In disbelief, Kaagi asks why and how he is here. Iyekao sits by the fire and starts telling him his story.

It's a trap, mang.

Iyekao was fourteen when the brothers' family was murdered, and his gempukku was only a year in the future. He went to the head of his school to ask for his right of vengeance, but he refused, as well as refusing him permission to seek redress in the Emperor's court. Looking back, Iyekao thinks he was just trying to prevent his senseless death, but he was young and could not let things stand. One night, he grabbed his stuff and left. He sought a way to make his enemies pay for his crime, but he had no training, skills or contacts to make that happen. Without regular means, he turned to legends of assassins that struck in the night leaving no trace. He forgot about honor and bushido, and went after any rumor of the ninja. It's ironic - Kaagi has sort of been doing the same, he says, and the magistrate feels a chill down his spine. Eventually, he found an old fisherman that told him that every man finds what he deserves, but rarely what he wants - later, he came upon a compound, a school of sorts, where he was told that if he wanted to learn the Masters would teach him everything to know about the darkness. The ninja of the stories were the barest shadow of reality, and by the time his training finished he would know everything and no man could harm him again. The compound's buildings were made of dark wood that he has never seen anywhere else. It was hard to track time and he doesn't know how long he spent there. His lessons were taught at dusk, and Iyekao and his fellow students - new friends - lived by night. There was the implicit idea that the Masters would not like them going out into the sun. The lessons were strange - repeating lines in a strange dialect of Rokugani until the whole class could do so in unison without missing one syllable.

With time, Iyekao found it hard to remember his past - the face of his former Phoenix friends, the voice of his father and so on. Kaagi was the only one he could remember clearly and he dreamed of visiting him at night to tell him about his exploits. Kaagi is just a little disturbed thinking of his own dreams. One night, perhaps years after he started training, Iyekao noticed that his friends' faces were wrong - the distinctive traits of his faces were disappearing, as if their faces were pebbles rounded by water. They still acted friendly, but he was terrified, and then he noticed that nowhere in the compound were mirrors or reflective surfaces. He thought of finding a way out, but he could not remember how he got into the compound. Then, the students started disappearing in twos and threes, going out of their room while the Masters instructed the rest to stay inside. Iyekao followed his last two friends when it was their turn, following them in pitch darkness with his new skills, and ended up at a bonfire. It gave shadows, long and dancing, without any figures to cast them. His friends walked forward, into the fire, and then another two shadows joined the dance. Iyekao screamed and ran, jumped into a river and never looked back. Kaagi tries to gather his wits and offers Iyekao a way back to the Kitsuki castle, to find help, but his brother replies that he doesn't really understand what he is dealing with. He looks up...


Kaagi is not pleased.


Iyekao's body collapses in smoke and Kaagi doesn't stop to watch. He runs outside into the rain, and with each flash of lightning under the storm he sees shadows, faces: Sokoi and Kohi and Kurusu are all smiling, a fourteen-year old Iyekao pleads for him to stay, and still he runs. He falls on a ravine, sees a very sad Mei offering him her hand, but then the river's icy waters take him and he loses consciousness. He wakes up in a peasant home: the woman there informs him that he was found in the bank of the White Shore Lake and been with fever for days. He recovers and resolves to move on immediately, with new provisions and clothes given by the villagers. Most of his possessions were too badly soaked, except for his journal in its protective box. He reaches a small village between Dragon and Unicorn lands and thinks on his last encounter with the Shadow, and what concerns him most is seeing Mei at the end of his fugue. Did they get to her? Did they take her all the way back in Ichime Castle? Did she ever arrive at the Kitsuki castle? The strange dreams plague him still, and now he dreams of being in Iyekao's compound and studying with the Masters. He goes out for a stroll under the sunlight to calm himself down, narrowly misses a woman carrying a basket. He realizes he's lost in the village, looks around to get his bearings... and sees Iyekao smiling from around a corner. Kaagi races back to the inn, gets his stuff and bolts.

As he travels, the dreams get worse: now his dream self sees the bonfire, and walks closer every night. Just as he is only a day from the castle, he realizes this is it. The Shadow won't let him go any further. The dreams are his initiation, his transformation. The Iyekao from his childhood nightmares was the monster he was becoming. Kaagi doesn't know if he drew their attention to him, but now they won't let go. He realized this when he walked past a peasant woman on the way: they both mumbled polite greetings, but then she looked at him with wide eyes, touched her face as if to make sure everything was in its place. Kaagi started doing the same, and then ran to get his shaving mirror. His face wasn't his own. It could've been anyone's face. The Shadow let him catch up with it, and now he is done for. He is becoming part of them, losing his identity, and when they're done he will have no name and no face. They did it faster with Sokoi, as a young boy, but if they take their time they can take Kaagi completely. He knows this, because the shadows told him.

His last gambit is paying a boy to take his journal back to the Kitsuki: the Shadow is trying to stop him, but the journal meditation technique keeps it at bay. With care, he can still hide things from them. Wishing good luck to his fellow Kitsuki, Kaagi ends his journal.

So, what's going on. The Darkness has many nicknames as people have encountered it: Kaagi refers to it constantly as the Shadow, but the Unicorn know it as the Lying Darkness. It's also the Living Darkness, the Deep Shadow and so on. These are all nicknames, of course, because no mortal can name the Darkness. Basically, Hiroru's tale is right: the Darkness is as old as the world, the last remnant of the primordial soup that made up the universe. The Darkness is a single entity: it is aware, and it is hungry. By accident or design, in the millennia since the creation of the world it stumbled into a sentient entity and devoured it, and it discovered it could be that entity without losing its "nothingness." And by being, it could affect. The Darkness devours and absorbs, keeping all that it destroys. In a way, its prey also has changed the Darkness: the primitive hunter-gatherer humans led to a primitive hunter-gatherer Darkness, from the first agrarian humans it learned contentment, and when these humans started warring and conquering it learned ambition and hunger for power. It's not out to devour every daimyo and karo in Rokugan, but those people in positions where they can exert incredible influence without drawing attention. Maybe it seeks the key to Rokugani magic for real ultimate power, maybe it's raising nameless legions to wipe out humanity, maybe it really wants to take all names to unmake creation. Few people know of the Darkness in Rokugan, and even fewer have any real understanding of its actions.

"Not surprisingly," it's the Scorpion who know the most about the Darkness. Specifically, it's the Shosuro family that knows there's deeper shadows. First year Shosuro ninja cadets are called to a special review ceremony where they are inspected by a mysterious stranger that touches their shoulders in turn. For some the touch is light, for some it causes frostbite. Some cadets go mad on the spot and fall to the ground frothing and convulsing, and their families receive polite letters that they did not survive training. Always, one or two students fail to return to class the next day; their fellows are told they will receive special training and their families are told they won't come home. The Darkness remembers the bargain it did with Shosuro, and some Scorpion tell a variant of the tale of the Thunder's return, one where she returned changed - and when she was seen no more, Soshi appeared with his shadow brands. There were no witnesses to her cremation, after all. The truth is that Shosuro had realized in the long days of their battle with Fu Leng that there was another dark entity, observing but not letting itself be known. Badly wounded and knowing she would not make it back to the Empire otherwise, she called out to the Living Darkness, who wanted to take over the Thunders but was still too small to overtake them. It eagerly came to her call. Shosuro made a bargain to survive with the Darkness, but it would be only on her terms. The Darkness agreed and both gave themselves to each other, and the reborn Shosuro returned. She realized the danger, but she preferred the Darkness to Fu Leng's carnage. She hoped Rokugan would be able to stop the Darkness in time, but overestimated her ability to contain it. The Obsidian Hand that she brought back along with the Black Scrolls also had a piece of the Shadow with it. She played out her own death and funeral, and took the persona of Soshi with his new shadow magic. She gave this magic to his allies, and one of every fifteen people touched by Scorpion shadow brands are taken by the Darkness never to return; such was the pact. Soshi/Shosuro thought she could keep the Darkness under control, but the change of identity made her doubt that it was her own idea, and slowly she lost her thoughts and self to the Darkness while Bayushi watched helplessly. He asked things of the Shosuro-Darkness meld, sometimes occult knowledge, sometimes just her favorite season to see if she remembered. The Soshi deception continued, but Bayushi was never the same.

The Goju are a lost family, of which the only remainder is a text known as the Celestial Agonies, the compilation of the first Goju's knowledge of the Darkness. None of the great Clan libraries possesses this text. Little is known of Goju other than he was a mortal that fled the Kami when they fell to the earth and started gathering the Clans. Perhaps his weakness drew the Darkness to him or it recognized in his fear something akin to its own. The Goju are not a "family" in blood terms, but they include the actual descendants of Goju as well as all of those taken over by the Darkness. They are all the Shosuro wish they could be. Goju had no Bayushi to remain loyal to, so the Goju are fully given to the Darkness. Their magic is true shinobi, shadow magic, and they are loyal to a fault to their dark master in a twisted parody of bushido. They expect nothing more than being fully absorbed by the Darkness and thus attain a sort of immortality. All Goju have a Void of 0 to represent their separation from Sun and Moon and the theft of their identity. It's important to note that not every ninja in Rokugan is a pawn of the Living Darkness, though. Goju start their new life having names like other Rokugani, but eventually they keep only their personal name, and later being referred to only by their role (Spy, Kidnapper, Thief, etc.) Goju Sanado, the boss from the third adventure, is about to lose his name and become just "Ninja Leader" for instance.

The Darkness's best weapon is its nature, unbound to any shape. It can take whatever form it chooses and can't be harmed by regular weapons, though it might pretend to be hurt if it suits it. It's not affected by normal light, either. Only crystal can affect it, as the Unicorn discovered in their journeys. The Darkness cannot go through crystal as it can through other solid objects, and while it has never been recorded it's possible that a large enough burst of light through a crystal could conceivably outright dispel a shadow manifestation. Crystal light projected on physical minions deals them 1 die of Wounds per round. The Darkness can only directly affect those who invite it to themselves, but over the centuries it has developed a myriad ways to get under people's skin. And if they happen to be resistant, the Goju and other physical pawns are there. The best defense against Darkness intrusion is passive (a high Void score). Those who have obsessive qualities or let desire or ambition cloud their judgment - or worse, accept gifts from the Darkness, give it a way in. Fear is another powerful tool. The Darkness can absorb creatures, drawing in a victim one piece at a time. Sometimes the process is voluntary as it happens with the Shosuro cadets, though they may not understand the enormity of what is happening. Slowly, they lose their identity to it. After this is over the Darkness can use any knowledge or ability the original being had except for magic, because the Darkness cannot wield raw elemental force. It can also use the absorbed form whenever it chooses. Those with high Void scores can avoid this attack, but end up fuddled as if waking from a deep sleep, like when Mei had no idea what she was doing in the first adventure. The Darkness can also mimic any form it chooses. This does not affect the copied individual in any way, but usually the Darkness will do away with the original if it intends to use the shape for a long time. This is faster than absorption, but the Darkness gets none of the benefits, and the doppleganger will always be wrong in some form that those familiar with the original can recognize. It did this to Sokoi: no one pays attention to children, and the only one who could tell the difference (Amai) had failing eyesight and tended to ignore disturbances. The Darkness can also corrupt minions, granting them power in exchange for service. Of course, the powers it grants are essentially incompatible with physical forms, which is why the Goju bandits are grossly mutated. Eventually keeping the deformed body together is too much of a hassle for the Darkness, at which point it withdraws its support and leaves the poor sod to die horribly. The Darkness has also learned that humans are more vulnerable in dreams and an usual tactic is visiting sleepers and offering them gifts or spooking them so that their fear gives the Darkness a way in. Any Void rolls made against the Shadow while asleep are at TN +10, and if dreamers suffer from fear effects while attacked by dream Darkness beings they can't use Void Points the next day. Dream Hida Dasan is an example, playing on the Rokugani fear of the dead to wreak havoc on the PC's psyches. Shinjo Renari was also affected by the Darkness' dream powers: if a dream manifestation of the Darkness attacks and "kills" a dreamer, they must roll Void against TN 5 (without informing the player of the TN) and on a failure they literally die. :stonk: Fortunately, the Darkness rarely does this, as it wants to absorb rather than kill and considers it a waste. If the Darkness uses the form of someone close to the PC, the Void resistance rolls are at TN +5 too: examples are Ujina with Ninube and Kaagi with Iyekao.

Minions of the Shadow can use the very stuff of the shadow to attack: these are shadow bolts that can be used by a minion with six Shadow points, that can deal years of corruption to someone in one go. The shadow bolt roll is 5k5 against the target's TN to be hit, and on a success the target must make a Void roll against the Shadow's to hit roll. On a failure, the target takes 3k3 Wounds and will be injected by the Living Darkness, thus never being able to get rid of its influence ever again. The bolts are not physical and have nothing to do with the Shadowlands Taint. The Darkness can also do things like the creepy owl or the swarm of bugs in the third adventure, or create temporary areas of pitch darkness by "unnaming" the things characters see. Also, who knows what happens when a Shadow-possessed being and a human have a child... what's that, Ninube had a baby? WELP. There is precious little other than getting crystal (the pure tears of Lady Sun that fell to the earth when Lord Moon devoured the Kami), keeping a high Void and staying clear of temptation to ward off the Darkness. Light from a crystal deals 3k2 wounds (didn't you say one die of Wounds just before? :argh:) to a Shadow minion, and physical minions can also be fought physically. But ultimately the PCs cannot win against the Darkness: it is much more powerful than them, and the PCs can't stop it anymore than they can stop typhoons. The PCs cannot defeat the Darkness, so the GM shouldn't put them in a position where they have to.

So, Shadow points! The Void roll to avoid possession is TN 20, +5 if the Darkness is using the face of a loved one or they have been hit by a shadow bolt. On a failure, the PC gains one Shadow point. When the character's Shadow points grow over the character's highest Ring, the Darkness has fully taken over and the PC becomes an NPC. Willingly receiving a boon from the Darkness raises the TN for all further rolls in +5.

  • 1 Shadow point: the PC gets +2 rolled and kept for any rolls involving stealth.
  • 2 Shadow points: the PC can travel (100 x total Shadow points) feet instantly by stepping through shadows, and can do this a number of times equal to their Shadow points. This does not let the PC pass through objects.
  • 3 Shadow points: the PC takes half damage from normal weapons but twice as much from crystal weapons. With 1 round of concentration, they can pass through solid objects with a Stamina roll. The TN depends on the object's material, from 5 for paper to 30 to metal or flesh. They can do this (Shadow points) times per day.
  • 4 Shadow points: this is basically the last stage where the player still retains control. The PC can appear as anyone they meet, like the Darkness' mimicry power. Observers can only determine the real nature of the deception with a Perception roll vs a TN of the PC's Intelligence x 5.

Getting PCs corrupted by the Darkness brings up several issues for the GM. The general gist is that PCs should have a choice in their doom so that they can look back and go "oh right, what I did back when affected the end of the game" Just like the Darkness would, the GM should develop plans of attack tailored to the PCs and their weaknesses. The story of the Monkey's Paw is brought up. The GM should offer the players whatever they want (getting rid of Dark Secrets, new advantages, whatever) and tie everything with Shadow strings attached. There are definite mechanical benefits for letting the Darkness in, but they're all short lived. Any PCs that are contaminated are marked by the Darkness, and this mark becomes more and more visible with the accumulation of Shadow points. The design is often that of bloody chains that are somehow flat against the skin in spite of appearing three dimensional. Also, the Darkness can try to influence or outright command actions of the PCs. It rolls one die per Shadow point against a TN of the character's Willpower x 2 if the action is in line with their character, x5 if it's out of character or x10 if it's wildly out of character like striking down another PC on the spot. They also start losing their distinctive features, and other characters can roll their Air against a TN of 40 - (Shadow points x 5) to notice anything amiss.

Adventure hooks! The PCs may stumble into knowledge of the Darkness and make it their mission to encounter proof of its existence and reveal it to the rest of Rokugan. One or more PCs can be infected by the Darkness and they are on the lookout for any way to stop or reverse the process. This is impossible, but it can be slowed down, and Isawa Ujina is the closest anyone has managed to do so. Another option is not revealing the Darkness at all, but just making it appear as seemingly unrelated effects in other adventures. One sidebar suggests that the PCs never even know about the Darkness influencing an adventure, which I find kinda really pointless except as a pat on the back for smug GMs. Another seed is an incoming war between the Hida and Iuchi families where the extremely delicate negotiations are handled by a Phoenix magistrate that both sides trust: as it turns out, the magistrate is a Goju, but for whatever reason the Goju really want to keep both sides from going to war. Is it worth revealing his identity when any interference will set off war between Crab and Unicorn? And the PCs may find a girl that asks them for help in finding her maddened brother, but warns them that when they find him they must leave her alone to deal with him and not interfere. The woman is, of course, Meilekki and the "brother" is Kaagi. And there's a rumor that the Togashi can remove shadow brands and perhaps the Shadow itself. (The rumor is actually wrong; the Togashi can remove corrupted tattoos, not shadow brands. Get hosed, PCs.)

As for the journal, years after it was recovered the complete work remains unread. Kitsuki Yasu eventually received permission for one of his yojimbo, his own son Jusai, to read it. He read far enough to realize that anyone reading the journal would be corrupted just like Kaagi, and also figured out the protective effects of crystal. The journal and Jusai were locked in a room made of pure crystal in the deepest corner of the Mirumoto castle, and Jusai kept reading until it was clear that his voice was not his own. Eventually, the yojimbo lost substance and became invisible, and from then all that was left of him were sobs pleading to get out, hideous laughter or long screams. Since that time, two old Kitsuki magistrates with few years left of service have gone into the room to keep reading: their fates were the same but the Kitsuki gained more insight into the Darkness. They have since determined the existence of the Goju as the Darkness' sorcerous minions and they call any shapeshifting ninja "Ninube", which is strictly wrong since Ninube became a Goju but it's how they roll. The walls of the room continue to crack and darken, and no one has gone inside in months since the last wails were heard from it.

Aside from stats on Matsu Hiroru, younger than his Way of the Lion incarnation, and his wonderful kimono (+15 to the TN to be hit, spend a Void Point to match the surroundings, Perception rolls to locate him are at TN 30 and cannot reroll 10s and he is invisible to Shadow minions with 3+ points and gets a +10 bonus to all mental attacks) we get stats on Kitsuki Kaagi himself for use in other adventures. He is a Kitsuki Magistrate at 4, pretty reasonable. He's got a Great Destiny and a Kharmic Tie (to Mei, probably) and Driven as a disadvantage. He is also Soft-Hearted, which is weird because while he was never the best fighter he had no trouble chopping up assholes in his adventures. As for Mei, she has three different pasts and stat blocks to choose from. Otaku Meilekki was an Unicorn Battle Maiden, who by the age of sixteen had already mastered the second technique of her school. Late in the summer of that year, a fire broke out near her village, and she and the other Maidens rode out to cut the grass and contain it. In spite of her sisters' warnings, she rode as close to the fire as she could, thinking this would be courageous and glorious. They managed to stop the fire, but suddenly her beloved horse collapsed under her and died from smoke inhalation. With her heart broken, she packed up her stuff and left, taking odd jobs here and there to survive and forgetting her bushi heritage. In Kaagi, she found some of the idealism she thought lost. She had heard of the Lying Darkness tales when she was a child, but never gave them much credence until now. She tries to steer Kaagi away from his quest, but fails. When he sends her away, she turns around once out of sight and follows him, but stops when she reaches the Unicorn caravan out of fear that they would recognize her. She loses his trail after this, and when returning to the Kitsuki castle she finds the peasant boy with Kaagi's journal. She bribes him, delivers the journal herself, and sets off to find Kaagi. Otaku Battle Maiden 3, somehow she only has 1 in Knife. On another incarnation, Mei was Shosuro Sashen, a Scorpion infiltrator. Kaagi had attracted the attention of Scorpion powers early on, but rather than killing him they sent one of their top agents to stay close to him. She manipulated her Crane "master" into giving her away to Kaagi, and served the magistrate dutifully while every now and then changing evidence to suit Scorpion plans. Sashen also had an agenda of her own: she was high enough in the Shosuro hierarchy to know about the deal with the Darkness and worried that Shosuro's bargain came with too high a price. She hoped Kaagi could shed some light on the Darkness with his methods. When she leaves Kaagi, she turns around and infiltrates the Unicorn caravan to stay at his side. She then goes off following him when he goes to the temple: in fact, it was the real Mei that Kaagi saw on his mad escape, and she tried to catch him before he fell into the river. She follows him some more, realizes that the Darkness has a hold on him, and takes the form of the peasant boy to take his journal and deliver it to the Kitsuki in hopes they can become a threat to the Darkness. Shosuro Actor 4, 5 in Knife and with a Geisha and a Servant persona. Lots of skill points! And yet in another incarnation, Meilekki was really the daughter of a tea merchant who ended up working at a geisha house when his father was executed. She was curious and inquisitive and learned a lot from the Scorpion ladies, and wanted to travel and see new things. This is how she joined the Crane's entourage and how she ended up in Kaagi's service. Unfortunately, her own curiosity was her downfall: in Ichime Castle, the Darkness got a hold on her by promising her she would find new things. She gained her first Shadow point there, and on the other adventures the Darkness corrupted her little by little. In the third adventure, she bargains to save Kaagi's life, and ends further corrupted. Hiroru sensed the Darkness in her and made Kaagi send her away for his safety, When Kaagi leaves her, the Darkness has no more use for her identity and fully absorbs her. It then uses her face to deliver the journal to the Kitsuki in hopes of spreading its contamination. No school for this version, just a lot of skills, Benten's Blessing and Luck, and three Shadow points. All three Mei stat blocks have 0 Honor, and the samurai ones have 0.6 and 0.5 Glory respectively. :v:

I bet the Darkness doesn't even buy marshmellows. Dick.


Traveller fucked around with this message at 00:12 on Sep 14, 2016

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
The Shadow: it's spooky and you lose.

Oh, unless you're an metaplot character then you get to ride a loving dragon while wielding a sword of fire into the land of the dead to chop the immortal avatar of the Darkness in half and allow it to be named and transmute all the ninjas into Lion samurai.

Legend of the Five Rings, everyone!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

The Naming will then never be mentioned again.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Lot of those Godlike sample characters are very Jojo-esque, telekinetic shadow, turning people into salt.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Mors Rattus posted:

The Naming will then never be mentioned again.

Ikoma Sume stared in disbelief. "I have to falsify the family records of how many samurai?"" He reached for his second bottle of sake. "Contact the Shosuro daimyo and tell them we've got overtime for both families writing some ridiculous lies."

Feb 13, 2012

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

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The Shadow: it's spooky and you lose.

Oh, unless you're an metaplot character then you get to ride a loving dragon while wielding a sword of fire into the land of the dead to chop the immortal avatar of the Darkness in half and allow it to be named and transmute all the ninjas into Lion samurai.

Legend of the Five Rings, everyone!

In a good RPG, of course, you'd be playing the latter guy because that actually sounds like fun.

Opposing Farce
Apr 1, 2010

Ever since our drop-off service, I never read a book.
There's always something else around, plus I owe the library nineteen bucks.

Night10194 posted:

In a good RPG, of course, you'd be playing the latter guy because that actually sounds like fun.

Look at this dork who wants their RPG character to be a powerful and cool hero. Nice power fantasy, nerdlinger, but real roleplayers know that making your PC a garbage idiot nobody is the only way to preserve the meaningful realism of the fiction.

Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn
Soiled Meat

Opposing Farce posted:

Look at this dork who wants their RPG character to be a powerful and cool hero. Nice power fantasy, nerdlinger, but real roleplayers know that making your PC a garbage idiot nobody is the only way to preserve the meaningful realism of the fiction.

I mean, starting out as a garbage idiot nobody whose kinda good at one or two things can be fun, but only if the system allows for you to take that garbage nobody and become a cool and powerful hero. But I somehow doubt that's what John Wick is going for.

Opposing Farce
Apr 1, 2010

Ever since our drop-off service, I never read a book.
There's always something else around, plus I owe the library nineteen bucks.

mcclay posted:

I mean, starting out as a garbage idiot nobody whose kinda good at one or two things can be fun, but only if the system allows for you to take that garbage nobody and become a cool and powerful hero. But I somehow doubt that's what John Wick is going for.

I mean, there's no reason why a game can't be about playing a bunch of garbage idiot nobodies if that's what you want your game to be about, but this L5R stuff doesn't feel like that so much as it feels like a GM being all "you're just some guy you can't be as cool and powerful and important as the real movers and shakers in this world." Like, it doesn't seem like it's coming from a place of thoughtful and considered design, it feels more like a smug writer valuing how good he thinks his ideas are above what makes for a fun and interesting game.

Opposing Farce fucked around with this message at 01:27 on Sep 14, 2016

Aug 23, 2009

Robindaybird posted:

Lot of those Godlike sample characters are very Jojo-esque, telekinetic shadow, turning people into salt.

New game: Stand names for Godlike characters!

Pevnost- The Doors

Zindel- Mr. Sandman

Cien- Invisible Touch

Vogel- Fly Like an Eagle

Jan 6, 2012


It's not necessarily a bad thing to have a game where PCs are nobodies struggling against a force beyond their comprehension. Hell, Call of Cthulhu is all about that and keeps going strong edition after edition. The fucky thing with the Darkness here is that it's completely out of context when the game's pitch is a world of Japanese fantasy where honor is stronger than steel. Even the Shadowlands and its Taint make sense in the game's larger context, and most importantly it's something PCs can avoid by simply staying away from the Shadowlands: in fact it's precisely because people can outright ignore the Shadowlands that the Crab are so gruff and angry. The Darkness, on the other hand, is a sentient thought-meme that can be anywhere, and the knowledge of its existence alone is cripplingly dangerous. It's something that transhuman PCs in an Eclipse Phase game could go up against, but the low-powered PCs of a game sold as samurai fantasy are completely hosed. Then an NPC comes out of nowhere to solve the thing and makes the struggles of any PC that has been in a Darkness game all the more pointless.

Feb 13, 2012

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

mcclay posted:

I mean, starting out as a garbage idiot nobody whose kinda good at one or two things can be fun, but only if the system allows for you to take that garbage nobody and become a cool and powerful hero. But I somehow doubt that's what John Wick is going for.

I am a big fan of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e, so I am obviously down with this. The problem in a Wick game is you don't climb up from 'I am a fencer from Not-Spain who has come to naively try to fight the forces of darkness' to 'Actually I've been fighting darkness for awhile now and now I'm a badass mercenary captain with a griffin whose idealism has born out as strength'. You just go to 'I threw your PC on the ground. NOW I'M AN ADULT! WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD MAAAAAN!'

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Kavak posted:

New game: Stand names for Godlike characters!

Pevnost- The Doors

Zindel- Mr. Sandman

Cien- Invisible Touch

Vogel- Fly Like an Eagle

I'll swap Fly like an Eagle for Eagles Fly Free, Christian gets Lion of the North, and Zindel Dust in the Wind

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Well, whether or not John Wick would have... gone the direction they took with the Shadow is a mystery, but he was at least on the sidelines (he ran the LARP where Kachiko goes to confront Shosuro) when it was going down. Granted, Ree was the story head at the time the Shadow became the core antagonist, and she contributed at least some chunk of Way of Shadow.

But yeah, I think the Shadow runs pretty counter to the initial pitch of the game, but it's hardly the only element that does. Granted, almost every time they devise a major antagonist group early on (Shadowlands, Bloodspeakers, Shadow, Kolat) they have a tone of being an implacable force that no PC can upend, but the Shadow is a clear winner in that it basically has no rules you can use to oppose it reasonably. It can just throw dice at you until you lose. "Hey, I'm in your dreams, roll until dead."


Aug 23, 2009

We also have to account for Stand names that have nothing to do with their powers. Viljo's could be Big Bopper.

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