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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


quote:

one could read books without opening them

For a "dud" talent, assuming that works for any sort of document that has multiple pages and/or a cover, and of course dependent on range and other things, that'd seem pretty useful for espionage. If it's got a bit of range, just have a chat with someone who HAS a document, don't even need to steal it or copy it, and you could read it right out of his pocket or off his desk without him ever knowing it.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



PurpleXVI posted:

For a "dud" talent, assuming that works for any sort of document that has multiple pages and/or a cover, and of course dependent on range and other things, that'd seem pretty useful for espionage. If it's got a bit of range, just have a chat with someone who HAS a document, don't even need to steal it or copy it, and you could read it right out of his pocket or off his desk without him ever knowing it.

"Steve, you seem distracted, is something wrong?"

"No, I just - uh - hang on a sec."

"...Steve, why are you staring at my desk?"

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



You would think Hoshi would get better at kamikaze attacks. Unless his heart wasn't into it, which could be likely.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




I'm pretty sure it was touch range.

Looking at it from the opposite direction, there are a lot of potential powers that we would consider potent, but that might as well be Duds in a combat zone. If your power is as dangerous as a handgun, well, everyone has a gun.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

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

PurpleXVI posted:

For a "dud" talent, assuming that works for any sort of document that has multiple pages and/or a cover, and of course dependent on range and other things, that'd seem pretty useful for espionage. If it's got a bit of range, just have a chat with someone who HAS a document, don't even need to steal it or copy it, and you could read it right out of his pocket or off his desk without him ever knowing it.

True, but just the idea of Roosevelt trolling Hoover out of sheer spite is the best thing.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Godbound


Theurgy and Invocations

Theurgy - aka the closest thing to standard d20 magic - is a power reserved for Godbound with the Sorcery Word, various supernatureal creatures and the mightest of mortal spellcasters (who more often than not had to make a pact with Eldritch forces that probably just want to screw you over).
This type of magic taps into the heavenly power of creation, which lets you mess around with reality and do all the wonderful things high-level spellcasters are known for. Theurgy allowed the empires of old to raid Heaven itself, build their own gods and caused the entire world to go FUBAR.

The spells of Theurgy - known as Invocations - are divided into three tiers, or degrees of initiation: the Gate offers basic reality-messing, the Way is more advanced, and the Throne lets you get as close to understanding and controlling the forces of creation itself as a mortal can ever hope to get. It's basically like learning Venderant Nalaberong.

Learning a new Invocation requires a lot of time to study (1 week for a Gate Invocation, 1 month for the Way, and 3 months for the Throne). Casting time is standardized for all Invocations of a certain tier, and each can be cast in three ways: slowly as a ritual (taking 1 hour / 12 hours / 1 day), cast quickly in combat (taking 1 round per tier and having you commit Effort for the scene), or cast instantly (which commits Effort for the day and deals 1d6 / 1d12 / 1d20 damage as the powers you're channeling fry your body).
Casting instantly really hurts (Throne invocations have a 55% chance of causing 4 points of damage, which is about half of what a Godbound starts with at level 1), but it might be worth it in combat because Invocations always fails if someone hits or otherwise disturbs you during the casting process (no Concentration check for you, sir).

Theurgy plays in a much higher league than Low Magic. Almost anything created or enchanted with Invocations is permanent, and you can - among other things - perform dimensional travel, or even create new life. There's theoretically no limit to what Theurgy can do, but the big issue is that it's pretty much impossible to create new Invocations, so even the mightiest Godbound has to content with what he finds in ancient tomes.
Speaking of Godbound, much like Low Magic, Theurgy stands little chance against the migt of Gifts. Though unlike Low Magic, there actually do exist very specialized Invocations that can beat Gifts.

As is typical in Godbound, lesser foes are generally automatically affected by Invocations, while worthy ones and Godbound can save.

Some Invocations have you go a bit Voodoo-ish and require an arcane connection to the target of your curse. This is generally some tiny bit of his body (like blood or hair), or an item that's very important to the target. Once taken from the target, the Theurge has about a day to conserve the arcane connection with a short ritual. It's also a good idea to get as many of these connections as possible, since they are typically only good for one use. Theurgy also generally has problems with making large-scale changes that are truly permanent in nature. Any magitek-like Theurgy artifacts that have survived the Shattering to the present day are probably in bad shape.

The Invocations themselves don't follow the standard layout of d20 spells (probably since casting time and duration and such is standardized, and other things like components aren't too important here), and they're just a paragraph worth of text. Their names and effects also remind me a lot of the Sorcery found in Silent Legions, and some are even a bit similar in their effect.

Invocations of the Gate
  • Barred Gates of Forbiddance: Ban a target from a place, be it a house or even an entire nation. If the target is inside the place when the ban is cast, or when brought inside of it against his will, he will try to flee ASAP.
  • Beacon of Celestial Purity: Bathes the area in a cleansing light. Not only does it get rid of dust and dirt, but it will also neutralize an poison or disease sources, and and makes lies visible in the form of smoke coming out of the lier's mouth. Unfortunately for you, these lies will hurt you from feedback. Naturally, the Word of Deception is too subtle for this light to work.
  • The Bright God's Canticle: A pretty funny Invocation that requires you to sing. As long as you keep singing, you and your nearby allies will gain an effect similar to the Shibboleth seen in Stars Without Number and Silent Legions: Observers are aware of you, but they are incapable of doing anything with that knowledge, like say stopping you or telling anyone about it. Now I picture Shibboleth to constantly sing "Hello, My Baby"
  • The Excision of Days: The classic "Kill other humans to prolong your lifespan" ritual, with younger victims granting you more extra time (up to 2 months for infants). Caveats include not being able to cast this Invocation quickly or even instantly, and after about a century or so you tend to mutate and become more monstrous. A bit like how the Apostles in Berserk tend to look quite freakish even before hulking out.
  • Kiss of the Crane: A bit like the snake arrow from Conan the Barbarian, this lets you use an arcane connection to turn a crane-shaped blade into a tiny cruise missile that will track down and hit the target for your level in d6 damage. Not really spammable as the Invocation stops working on the same target as long as the previous hit hasn't healed completely.
  • Open the Night Road: This one lets you track down a Night Road and open it if it was sealed (either because someone deliberately sealed it or because the entrance just kinda collapsed). You can either open the Night Road only temporarily, or you can just break the seal for good, which is what the Eldritch horrors of the Uncreated Night love trolling n00b Theurges into doing, after which they usually Zerg rush the entire realm.
  • Pore of Hell: Lets you inscribe a sigil on a solid surface to act as a magical remote or proximity mine, covering anything within 10 ft. with flames and obsidian splinters for your level in d6 damage.
  • Ranks of Pale Bone: Lets you animate the dead (your level in d6 Hit Dice), which are instantly loyal and stay around till they are destroyed or the Invocation gets dispelled. The bodies of destroyed Undead can't be raised again, but corpses that can don't actually need to be all that intact.
  • Seal of Regnal Dominion: It's mind control, more specifically the fun kind that will have the victim carry out even suicidal actions. Problems can arise if you don't share a language, or the target is an animal that might not be able to grasp complex orders.
  • Sunder the Lesser Spell: Dispells a single Gate Invocation and and Low Magic around it. Invocation dispelling sadly causes 1d10 damage from feedback.
  • The Tireless Iron Cavalcade: Summons up to a dozen horses made out of black iron and embers, which serve as never-tiring mounts for the Theurge and his buddies. Normal animals are freaked out by these constructs(?), and they drain a tiny bit of life essence from the land, leaving a handy trail of black hoofmarks on the ground for anyone to track.
  • The Trumpet of Far Utterance: Requires an arcane connection (or just being BFF with the target) and lets you communicate with the target via magical Star Wars holograms. You can even hand over a single inanimate object up to 10 pounds in weight through the hologram, though there's a 1/4 chance of it getting lost and ending up somewhere in between the two locations. At least you get to see a brief glimpse of where it is now.

Invocations of the Way
  • Curse of the Blighted Strand: Lets you put just about any curse you can think of on a target, as long as the curse itself is not fatal and only affects the cursed. Examples include rotting eyeballs, and suffering form just about any sickness known to man like Mr. Burns.
  • The Deafening Word of Truth: An interesting Invocation that lets you attack with a cone-shaped blast of sonic energy, which can knock down an temporarily deafen Lesser Foes. The catch? The spell is is powered by uttering a secret. Harmless secrets don't actually do anything, while embarassing once or those that would get you into serious trouble (like telling some weakness you've kept hidden) can really put on the hurt (up to 1d20 in damage). While you can kill any survivors, you can no longer keep the secret truly hidden, as Godbound with the Knowledge Word might pick it up with their powers (which would normally not be possible for knowledge that is kept a secret by every living being that knows it).
  • Delaying the Coming of Dawn: Stops time around you for 1d6 rounds. You can't damage anything, or steal from or move living beings. Anyone with the Word of Time will also be able to act normally during this time stop. And if you try to use this multiple times in the same Scene, there's an ever-increasing chance of the Invocation failing and frying you for 2d10 straight damage. Ouch.
  • The Far-Distant Lance: Use an arcane connection to pull off a save-or-die on your target (or just die for Lesser Foes). Even those that succeed their save will suffer your level in d10 damage. To prevent abuse, you'll also suffer feedback damage equal to half the target's max Hit Dice, and any other arcane connection you have of the same target will become useless.
  • Glyph of Crowned Impunity: This is like a very dickish version of the Shibboleth effect: You put a glowing sigil on your brow, and for one hour or until the glyph is concealed, you and up to half a dozen allies have diplomatic immunity cranked up to 11. You can commit any crime, and all bystanders (except friends or close allies of the victim) will just go on and ignore what's going on. That is until the effect ends and they realize that what they've seen was in fact a crime.
  • Mirrored Wheel of the Seasons: Changes the local weather conditions by fast-forwarding to a later season, as long as said weather would be normal for the area during that time. Lasts your level in days without issues, after which any additional day causes 1d6 damage that doesn't heal as long as the Invocation is going on. Once this effect does end, you can't affect the area gain until youo wait for as long as the weather change lasted.
  • Path of the Bright Sanctum: This lets you open a one-way gate between your current location and a sanctum, a place you've ritually prepared beforehand. You can only ever have a single sanctum, and the gate always stays open for 11 minutes, whether you want it to or not.
  • Shutting the Dark Way: This lets you seal off a Night Road entrance for good. That is until a Miracle or the above Invocation come along.
  • Sign of Avulsive Banishment: Usable once per Scene, this handy attack Invocation lets you smite a single target for 1d10 damage per level, or an area for 1d6 damage per level. The caveat is that the target must be from the mundane world (which in Godbound means its either an Angel or an Uncreated). If there's no such target around, you take the damage itself because you've just channeled a bunch of energy which nothing to vent it.
  • Sunder the Greater Spell: Like Sunder the Lesser Spell, except it can also dispell Invocations of the Way.
  • Tumulus of Sanctified Night: As seen before, Godbound of the Death Word can utterly curbstomp the undead. Necromancers of old had to deal with Made Gods that wielded similar power, so they came up with this little Invocation to protect their rotting legions. A Tumulus are three man-sized markers that encompass a graveyard or similar place. Inside the area and one mile per level around it, all undead are treated as greater undead (making them immune against most roflstomp Death Gifts), and inside the area any Gift or other divine power requires one to commit Effort for the day. The Theurge can also select a small group of undead as his bodyguards or lieutenants. These are no longer treated as undead for the purpose of hostile powers, and they keep this immunity for 10 times the normal radius. There might also exist similar Invocations for constructs, elementals and similar beings.

Invocations of the Throne
  • A Heart's Desire: A bit like a Luck Gift, this Invocation lets you make anything but the most impossible event come true. Unfortunately, this messes up your own fate, and you will automatically fail a saving throw or attribute check at a critical moment in the future with no chance to no-sell it. This won't happen if failing would actually kill you (though going by RAW, "This failure will never kill the Theurge" can be interpreted as save-or-dies just leaving you with 1 Hit Point I guess, or knocking you out), but you won't be able to use this Invocation again unless you do fail (to balance out fate).
  • Auspice of the Divine King: Lets anyone around you see you as their true ruler and master, becoming your loyal servants. Works fine for Lesser Foes, but Greater Foes get to save anytime an order goes against their principles, and you really don't want this to happen as this Invocations gives you a weakness against rebellion (aka anyone hitting you will always deal max damage).
  • Directed Convulsion of Law: This lets you and a couple allies go pretty bonkers, as it makes you immune against a single thing. Negate gravity and walk through the air. Ignore that stone wall and just go through it. Get rid of friction and slide down a mountain. Sadly of limited use for more mundane situations, as you can for example only negate a single specific swords, not swords in general.
  • Gifts of Spring and Winter: A stronger version of The Excision of Days. This one lets you take on any physical age you want. No mutation or anything, but you will age normally afterwards. Instead of human sacrifice (where each human will allow you to change your age by 1 year), you can also use Miracles from Words like Endurance, Health or Fertility to fuel this process, letting you stay young without having to kill people.
  • The Grinding Teeth of God: Lets you create a tear in reality for 10 rounds, which will suck in everything in a 30 ft. radius to be greeted by the gears of a celestial engine. Living beings can get away easily enough (though they suffer 1d20 damage each round they stay in the area), while everything else is grinded to dust. The gears will destroy anything but the strongest supernatural substances, and you really don't want to get them anywhere near the gears, as that will destroy them. Having a new Night Road pop into existance is the most harmless thing that could happen after the engine shuts down.
  • Legion of Marching Clay: Lets you summon one automaton per level from an inanimate material. The automatons have only 2 HD, but they get neat abilities depending on the material used: an automaton made out of a hard substance like metal or stone is immune against non-magical attacks, while one made out of soft substances like clay is much more sentient, developing their own identity and will (while still staying loyal to the Theurge).
  • Palace of the Sorcerer-Prince: Lets you create a fancy magical palace that you can summon at will if there's enough open space. It comes with free servants and offers enough space and provisions to accomodate a hundred guests forever. Both the endless food and the servants will crumble if they leave the palace.
  • Pierce the Veil of Night: Lets you create a temporary Night Road to another realm, be it Heaven, Hell, another shard of the world, or a different campaign setting. You have to study first to gain enough knowledge about your destination, and you can't pinpoint the exit point (though Night Roads tend to open in remote places far away from civilization). Travel time and how long it will last is random (1d6 and 1d10+7 days, respectively). Uncreated will probably try to eat you on the way, and if you're still on it when it collapses, which causes you to fall into whatever realm gets in your way. Better hope its not Hell
  • Summon the Black Iron Servitor: While Legion of the Marching Clay lets you create multiple weak constructs, this lets you create one powerhouse of a servitor. It's made out of inanimate materials or living flesh, and has twice your level in Hit Dice. You can only have one of these at one time, as they're pretty darn impressive: 30' movement, AC 0, a 1d10 straight damage attack that always hits, immunity against non-magical attacks, 3 GM-approved Gifts with 5 points of Effort to fuel them (preferably with at least 1 attack Gift to act as a laser beam). And not only is this servitor utterly loyal, but it is also intelligent.
  • Sunder Every Sorcery: This not only lets you dispell any Invocation, but Gifts as well as long as its not a constant effect. Dispelling a Gift causes 1d20 points of feedback damage however, so don't get too crazy.

Conversion Time!

Spells from your OSR game of choice can be readily converted into Invocations, assigning a tier based on the spell level (1-3 for the Gate, 4-6 for the Way, and 7-9 for the Throne).
Things to avoid are buffs (demigods shouldn't rely on static bonuses, and they shouldn't just be handed extra actions without a caveat), as well as direct-damage spells that are better than the attack Gifts and don't really bring anything new or interesting to the table. Also any damage is capped at 10d6.
Speaking of better than Gifts, if you come across a spell that is equal to or better than Gift, you probabl want to nerf it. On the other hand, many OSR spells probably require a buff or two. Most will probably require you to make their duration permanent in order to keep up with the above Invocations.

Next Time: A Gazetteer of Arcem - introducing zombie vikings, machine Russians, and Ebberon 2.0

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Night10194 posted:

Please no. Especially not with the direction some of the non-Original-Creator Gundam stuff made. We don't need an Imperial Japan apologist like the Unicorn author to get together with the weirdo neo-nazis (aside from Fantasy Flight, they did great work mostly) writing 40k these days.

It would be an Axis of Apologism we'd never survive.
Good news GW pulled the license from Fantasy Flight so you no longer need to make the distinction

Just imagine we could have Age of the New Type, and get reality balls touching in anime form.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008


After War Gundam X was really good, and a very nice argument against the series' fixation with New-Types.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Doresh posted:

Man, Gundam is like the anti-Disney. The grimdarkest place on Earth.

Depends on the show.

I mean, the current one is about a PMC made up of orphaned child soldiers, with the latest episode showing someone committing suicide after being crippled by invasive surgery, but there's also stuff like Turn A, which is mostly pleasant and has a relatively low body count (I mean, yes, some of the deaths are utterly horrifying, but there's less of them) or Build Fighters, where kids play with model kits and nobody dies in agony even a little.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Chapter 6: Beasts of the World


This would be better described as "Here's a bunch of sample locations and plot hooks". They're not particularly interesting, for example the location set in latin america has all the gangs titled "El" or "Los" something. Also there's a fairly racist depiction of Tokyo that I'm just gonna avoid(the Apex is the head of a Zaibatsu for starters). But there is one worth looking into once we've gotten past the two chapter intro bits.

quote:

Hero
The first hit came out of nowhere. Ben had barely entered his living room when something slammed into him from behind the door, sending him sprawling over the sofa. He landed hard, off-balance and hurting. Nothing had really so much as scratched him since his Devouring, and yet he could feel blood running down one side of his face and his side felt like it was on fire.

“About loving time,” said a familiar voice. Ben rolled on his side and blinked up at the shape above him, but even when his eyes focused his shock didn’t go away. Ryan. The skinny kid was holding something hooked and almost as tall as he was, raised above his head to strike. “I’ve been waiting for this for weeks!”

“Ryan, you need to run the gently caress away right now,” Ben caught Ryan’s wide, manic eyes and tried to send the Nightmare to him, but the skinny kid just laughed in his face and slammed the hook down, ripping into Ben’s shoulder. He screamed and grabbed at the metal but it burned his hands just to touch it.

“Metal from a sunken ship’s anchor,” Ryan said with a look of great satisfaction, digging the hook in deeper. He looked down at Ben with pride and fished a necklace out from under his shirt, held it up for him to see. “Same deal here. I know how your kind work! I saw your tricks up close, remember?”

“gently caress you!” Nightmares might be off the table, but that wasn’t all he had to offer. Ben pushed back the pain and grabbed Ryan’s ankle, managing to snag it with one hand at the cost of digging the hook in even more. One hand was all he needed, though, and Ben felt his Horror’s strength surge through him, snapping Ryan’s ankle with a sharp cracking sound. Ryan fell backwards onto the couch, pulling the hook free in the process, and Ben dragged himself to his feet.

“Back!” Ryan shouted, holding up the necklace. Ben staggered backward as if he’d been punched, still not quite believing what was happening. James had warned him about this, but this was just unreal.

“Ben!” Noel burst through the doorway, sizing the scene up and heading straight for Ryan. “Bad call, fucker.” Noel growled, hands hooking into claws as
he advanced.

“Back!” Ryan shouted again, shoving at the advancing vampire.

“Oh, honey,” Noel said, almost apologetic, and tore out the boy’s throat out with a casual swipe of his hand. Ryan’s mouth fell open, but whatever words he had were lost in a gurgle as his blood streamed down his chest, turning his shirt black in the dim light. Noel hardly broke stride as he went to his boyfriend.

“What happened? Baby, you’re hurt!”

“I’ll be fine,” Ben managed, gritting his teeth. He put his arm around Noel and the vampire took his weight effortlessly. “We have to get out of here. Now.”

“Yeah, but we should probably clean up—”

“No,” Ben said, and his tone made Noel meet his gaze. “We need to leave. The three of us. Right now.” He was starting to feel faint, but fortunately Noel caught his meaning, and carried him out of the house without another word, leaving Ryan behind, entombed in the mausoleum of Ben’s old life.
So... two things, one: Ryan is that kid he rescued in like the first story. Two: Ben is now either gay or Bi, because of course he loving is this is Beast.

quote:

Tales of the Dark Mother: Malcom
No one visits the greenhouse at night. Very few visit it during the day to begin with; with severe municipal budget cuts, the park staff can’t afford to keep it maintained, deterring all but the most die-hard armchair horticulturalists, who marvel at the “anonymous” donations of rare varietals I bring here. I take care of my plants and they take care of me. The greenery here does not directly obey me like it does in the place I call home, but it doesn’t have to.
At night, even amorous teenagers and others looking for private dark corners stay away.

The brave ones who do visit the greenhouse at night never stick around for long, and their nightmares taste like candy.

Tonight, I’m sprawled out in the thick patch of mayapples in the back corner. The little blossoms that hide beneath their giant leaves have just begun to open. Only children bother to look underneath the leaves, and even then, only when they know the flowers are there. I normally don’t spend time in this patch, but tonight, it called to me, and the plants and the very earth cradle me, much like it did at my second birth. The leaves sway and brush my skin in a gentle caress, and the stems seem to move of their own accord, stroking my hair from my face. I know I am not alone in my verdant refuge, but the presence swallows me, my doubts, and those lingering fears that keep me all too human. For now, I am my Mother’s son, and nothing more. A deep soul-rumbling purr reverberates in my chest.

“…the gently caress was that?”

I can feel the adrenaline shoot through my body, tensing my muscles. Anger not my own turns that purr into a growl that I only just keep contained. I lie still as the scent of sweat and fear not my own travels straight to my nose. A glittering spray of broken glass lays inches from my feet, defiled by bootprints. Bright sweeps of light cross the leaves erratically.

“Never mind that!” another voice hisses. “Let’s just get the stuff and get out of here.”

The footsteps thump and crunch through, getting slightly fainter as these two fools mutter to each other and shatter pots in their search. Their own noises disguise the rustle of leaves as I rise from the mayapples. My footfalls are nowhere near as heavy; I know just where and how to step to follow them. I feel larger, fuller, and so much more than the skin, muscle, and bone that contains me. When I bear down upon these intruders, it is not just me, but this all-encompassing presence that fills my chest that demands to know who dares disturb our place and our moment.

The scent of fresh meat and offal fills the greenhouse as I return to my bed of mayapples. I sink my bloodied fingers into the dirt, and the blossoms open just for me. They close again when I leave at dawn.
Uhh.. sure... anyways

A Serpent’s Tooth

quote:

This is a legend of the First Nations:
When the gold rush came to Squamish lands — what would one day be Vancouver — the greed it inspired took hold of one of my people, a man named Shak-shak. Under the gold’s influence, Shakshak came to love wealth more than his own life. He spurned the potlatch, and as his neighbors starved in harsh winters, he reveled in his hoard. His avarice grew so vast that even the Great Spirit came to loathe him. It called down from heaven and transformed him into a two-headed serpent, so long its body threaded the entirety of our waters. He had become the Salt-Chuck Oluk, a thing made only to be despised. The Great Spirit promised that if a hero would pierce the serpent’s heart, greed would be banished from the land.

As it always is, that call was answered. The story ends with Shak-shak’s heart cut out and cast into the Capilano River, and the people rejoicing over the tremors of his death throes.

We Begotten had no pity.
—From the journals of George Wolf
Hoo boy this isn't going to be fun.

quote:

Decades after the serpent’s story had warped into its modern form, his hubris echoed, calling Heroes like moths to a light bulb. When the Great Vancouver Fire razed most of the new town and settlers turned to drunken rioting, a mob of Heroes set upon the Beasts. They boarded up the hideouts of the city’s broods, and doused them with stolen whiskey, chanting the Salt-Chuck’s name. Few survived.

In the aftermath, Family rivalries became vendettas. The Makara and Ugallu had always been at odds — such is the nature of a land where sea and mountain meet — and the Raptors blamed the Leviathans for Salt-Chuck Oluk’s bloody legacy. Though the serpent was dead, his relations would pay for his sins. The Raptors began secretly opening Pathways for Heroes into Makara Lairs, hoping they would wipe each other out. It didn’t work.
Here's the first real oddity here, they depict an internecine rivalry between Beast families that doesn't really have any kind of support anywhere else in the game. They just don't really band together like that.

quote:

In 1911, “The Legend of the Salt-Chuck Oluk” was published in a series of articles on Squamish folklore. The stories became popular across the country, and Heroes seemed to wake en masse in the aftermath. Vancouver’s vampires began to take notice. Always vigilant over their precious Masquerade, the vampires grew uneasy at the violence and attention being drawn to the supernatural world. The Raptors saw another opportunity. Masters of exploiting the fear of exposure, the Ugallu convinced the Kindred that the Leviathans were to blame and that it was in their best interest to call a blood hunt to stem the tide of Heroes. This time, it worked. Over the next forty years, the Nightmares of the Depths were nearly wiped out from Vancouver at the fangs of vampires and the swords of Heroes.

In 1951, the government began constructing North Vancouver’s Cleveland Dam. No one gave it a second thought, let alone any Beasts, but that changed the day workers began digging up the site.
Seriously what the hell. This is kind of insane on several levels, "Let's manipulate the entire supernatural world to kill the guys who we don't like because they're better at swimming than we are and can't fly."

quote:

When I looked inside my Lair, it was flooded. As water and debris flew past, I tried to return to my body. I couldn’t. Giant birds aren’t natural swimmers, but the animal part of my brain tried to glide with the current. My wings tore apart like wet paper, and I blacked out from the pain. I thought my Horror would drown, which is a terrible prospect to an 8-year-old.

Instead, I woke up in my bed with three broken ribs and a pint of puked up water. I don’t think my mother ever cried so hard in her life. She never understood what happened. For a long time, I didn’t either.
—From the journals of George Wolf
Also apparently George Wolf underwent his devouring at or before the age of eight.

quote:

A rift had torn between the river and the Primordial Dream, as if some plug in reality had dislodged. The immediate assumption was, of course, that a Makara had somehow become Apex of the area, but searching for this Leviathan proved futile. Whatever the truth, it benefited the despised Makara. The river formed paths between Chambers, floodways only accessible to Leviathans. Rumors spread that the workers had dislodged the remains of the Salt-Chuck’s heart from the river, and the pogrom reached a fever pitch. The Raptors pointed their vampire allies at the last brood of Leviathans, hiding near the dam construction site and hoping to find the source of the water.

The leeches easily overwhelmed them. As the brood’s Tyrant leader succumbed to fear of death for the first time since her Devouring, she experienced a vision. In her mind’s eye, a wave burst from the dam, washing over her and her tormenters. From its depths, a thundering voice cried out:

These are not your kin.
Seriously the ugallu wiped them out down to a single brood, and apparently a mono-family brood because those also happen.

quote:

In desperation, the Tyrant reached out with her Kinship, and found a thread she’d never felt before. She pulled, and she was enlightened. As the waves in her mind’s eye receded, the powers of every vampire in her presence failed. Makara still celebrate the massacre that followed.

The Tyrant gathered every sibling she had left, and together they immolated the leaders of the Kindred court. They gave the remaining bloodsuckers a choice: servitude or death. All chose servitude. With their new minions, the brood turned on their estranged siblings. Travelling through floodways, they stole into the Lairs of their Raptor enemies. The choice was given again. Most Ugallu, too proud to see their sins repaid, chose a third option: exile. In memory of their martyred sibling, the Disciples of Salt-Chuck Oluk have dominated the supernatural denizens of Vancouver ever since.

Yeah let's talk about that Kinship then.

quote:

The Disciples practice their anti-Kinship through a powerful Nightmare. Only Leviathans who’ve swum through the floodways can learn it, and only the Disciples know how to teach it. Unlike other Nightmares, this power benefits from teamwork actions (p. 161), though not all actors need to know it. This power doesn’t work on Beasts, Heroes, or mages.

Outside Vancouver, it doesn’t work at all.

Your Strength Is Your Weakness
You’re a fraud! You’ve never built anything of worth without some magical cheat. Now you’ll see what you really are, without your cheap tricks.

Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety – Resolve

Normal: The victim gains the Abruption Condition.

High Satiety: The Beast gains the 8-again quality when using Social Maneuvering against her victim, or the rote quality when using Hard Leverage.

Satiety Expenditure: As long as he suffers the Abruption Condition, the victim takes lethal damage equal to the Beast’s successes each time he tries to
use a power.
Exceptional Success: The victim also gains the Shaken Condition

quote:

ABRUPTION
Your character’s supernatural gifts are hobbled. Each time he attempts to use a power, whether inherent or learned, he loses a number of successes equal to the inflicting Beast’s Lair plus one. If the power isn’t rolled, it simply fails. If multiple Beasts caused this Condition, the penalty is equal to their combined Lairs. This Condition fades at the end of the scene.

Possible Sources: Magical effect disrupting supernatural powers.

Resolution: Your character accepts her inferiority and takes the Beaten Down Tilt (p.327) or an appropriate Condition.
Yeah, Makara can just shut off other supernatural powers and force them to acquiesce to their demands and they can never fight back because there's only one way to resolve the Abruption tilt. And they've got hordes of Vampires and Werewolves under their power. Also because the Werewolves are busy being the gophers of the Makara the spirit world is absolutely hosed.


This is not an interesting place to adventure, this is a great place to stay the gently caress away from at all costs.

Next time: The Storyteller Chapter

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



chiasaur11 posted:

Depends on the show.

I mean, the current one is about a PMC made up of orphaned child soldiers, with the latest episode showing someone committing suicide after being crippled by invasive surgery, but there's also stuff like Turn A, which is mostly pleasant and has a relatively low body count (I mean, yes, some of the deaths are utterly horrifying, but there's less of them) or Build Fighters, where kids play with model kits and nobody dies in agony even a little.

Build Fighters is also openly self-referential to the other series and could be considered a big "what-if" of Gundam characters living in a time of peace, since there's not just background cameos of all major characters from various series, but one of the main characters is inexplicably Ramba Ral, a character from the first UC Gundam series.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I know I'm stupid behind on pretty much all my reviews, but I wanted to share this find at the Full Of Old Games game store.



It touts itself as "the realistic RPG" and seems to be chock full of charts. I didn't buy it this go-round, though.

And yes, that's a copy of "Don't Look Back: Terror Is Never Far Behind". This store is chock full of ancient RPG books and could keep System Mastery going for years. They even have a copy of The Foundation.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Kurieg posted:

Yeah, Makara can just shut off other supernatural powers and force them to acquiesce to their demands and they can never fight back because there's only one way to resolve the Abruption tilt. And they've got hordes of Vampires and Werewolves under their power. Also because the Werewolves are busy being the gophers of the Makara the spirit world is absolutely hosed.


This is not an interesting place to adventure, this is a great place to stay the gently caress away from at all costs.

Next time: The Storyteller Chapter
Wow. That sounds less like "look how cool Beasts are" and more of a teamup adventure idea, starring primarily mages and those few other supernaturals who haven't been affected yet they can whip up a defense against the effect for.

Because Mages are completely unaffected by it. Lowercase-h heroic mages taking down the horrible Beast overlords.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Zereth posted:

Wow. That sounds less like "look how cool Beasts are" and more of a teamup adventure idea, starring primarily mages and those few other supernaturals who haven't been affected yet they can whip up a defense against the effect for.

Because Mages are completely unaffected by it. Lowercase-h heroic mages taking down the horrible Beast overlords.

It's only Beasts and Mages, since you can't play Heroes. And I'm not sure if it can turn off Hunter powers either.

But, any Beasts in the area are subject to the lair trait that lets Makara invade their lairs and kill their hearts if they don't play ball.

e: Also the mage council in Vancouver explicitly doesn't give a gently caress.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Evil Mastermind posted:

I know I'm stupid behind on pretty much all my reviews, but I wanted to share this find at the Full Of Old Games game store.



It touts itself as "the realistic RPG" and seems to be chock full of charts. I didn't buy it this go-round, though.

And yes, that's a copy of "Don't Look Back: Terror Is Never Far Behind". This store is chock full of ancient RPG books and could keep System Mastery going for years. They even have a copy of The Foundation.

Where is this store and how much would it cost to get there from Northern California?

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Kurieg posted:

It's only Beasts and Mages, since you can't play Heroes. And I'm not sure if it can turn off Hunter powers either.

But, any Beasts in the area are subject to the lair trait that lets Makara invade their lairs and kill their hearts if they don't play ball.

e: Also the mage council in Vancouver explicitly doesn't give a gently caress.
Yes, that's why I specified heroic, not Heroic. And I'm assuming that in a game where the point is "stop this" the PC mages could, like, do a magic thing to protect an area or person from it.

Use sympathetic magic bullshit to make it so they're mystically considered Not In Vancouver even when physically present, for one thing.

EDIT: This is just more evidence that Beast has horribly failed at whatever it's trying to do, anyway. Like, literally the only story hook I can see in this thing is trying to break it. I have no idea what they were trying for.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The simple Mage solution to this problem is either 'guns, many' or 'get the Life 4 guy in here, turn the beasts into rats'. They can also fix the conditions with magic - not resolve, but just remove.

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

Kavak posted:

Where is this store and how much would it cost to get there from Northern California?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






It's not really an interesting setting to engage with. It might be an interesting one to destroy but the idea being that the Vancouver Beasts can just sick an army of vampires and 2e Uratha on you if you try to oppose them. So it's something you'd need to nuke from afar which means avoiding basically everything that got set up.

And Abrogation is basically just a less powerful version of Soulless and they excised the nightmare that let Beasts toss that around willy nilly.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


It's a bad setting because it has beasts in it. They just somehow managed to make it worse than that.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Kavak posted:

Where is this store and how much would it cost to get there from Northern California?

It's in northern Connecticut, so...

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Well if I ever visit my family in Connecticut again...

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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




poo poo, I need to go visit there, I hadn't heard of this one. I mostly go to the new board game shop on the Newington/New Britain border.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Spiderfist Island, I wanted to thank you for your work on the Runequest 2nd Edition F&F.

I started reading the book itself over a long plane ride last week, and it was shocking how readable it was. While there are some issues with organization (like not actually knowing your "base chance" until much later), and while I don't always agree with how "in-universe" the guild-training character progression mechanics are, this feels like the kind of thing you could read and grasp as a newcomer to the hobby without having to rely on all the built-up cruft of decades of assumed institutional knowledge.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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





BOOK ONE: Part Two

Or

Even More "Pronoun But"


SOCIETY


Hey kids, let's play "guess the social class"!

So I'm an American and I was born in 1990. I have a much more different view of society than a Victorian British person would. Basically, British society's stratification isn't just money; it's mostly land, property and breeding. In the real life sense, this meant a lot of loving your cousins to keep power in the family. In the sense of this book, this means that by Victorian racism standards, certain subspecies can't "rise above their station". Hell, you really can't leave your class without marrying into it. This is awful and it sucks and I hate it. No really I do, lemme drop the semi-serious tone. I hate this. Not even loving Unhallowed Metropolis included rules and restrictions for social stratification and that's a game that spends the majority of its time slowly jerking off Victorian society.

Upper Class

The Upper Class lives a life of desperate ennui brought on by the crushing existence of an empty life of inactivity doesn't work for a living. Nobles own land, they collect rent and the money goes into government and other things like industry and expedition. Because they don't work, their lives are mostly made up of hobbies and interests or if they have noble titles they go into the House of Lords. The firstborn son is groomed to inherit the estate and nobody really cares about all subsequent sons. Subsequent sons generally go into the clergy, join the Guild if they know magic or join the military as officers even if they don't know much about the military (come World War I, this will have repercussions). The only thing required of the other sons is to not have bastards out of wedlock and to keep their misadventures discrete. For the gentry (men who are upper class but not nobles, not to be confused with Arcadian jerks) they need professions but it's unseemly to do manual labor.

Things ain't great for women. If you're a normal woman, you host parties, balls and look pretty without saying anything. If you have magical aptitude, you get to go off and study that. Or you can go off and become an adventuress. That's it.

Middle Class

Upper middle class folks are bureaucrats, military officers, educated professionals. The majority of middle class people are magicians, bankers, factory owners, people with a good education. Lower middle class contains shopkeepers, missionaries and clerical workers. The middle class is less beholden to the rules of society and socialization so they can mostly just do their own thing. Women are still expected to get married, pump out an heir and run the home. Women can work but it's viewed as being cruel to them. The main exception is if they know magic, then they're viewed as competent and people will step out of their way. Women are also among the biggest innovators in technology.

In addition to going abroad for missionary work amongst the "heathens" by spreading the word of the Aluminat, a lot of middle class people like going to India. This is because they get a taste of social freedom and because their empire is doing poo poo to India, white foreigners are now King poo poo of Calcutta and get to live the upper class dream.

Lower Class

The lower class makes up 75% of the population of England and the majority of the subspecies. Education isn't good among them and child labor laws don't exist yet. People who would have grown up tilling the lands in the country have fled to London to lose limbs in industrial machinery. Because of this flight to the city, life has gotten harder in the rural environments of London Upper lower class has artisans, bakers, skilled laborers. Women work but tend to get paid less than men. Also your life expectancy isn't great due to pollution, risk and hard living.

Etiquette and Fashion

Yeah uh. I don't feel like including all of this. It's Victorian England, you know just what's in here. Really the only thing that's interesting here is that it's not frowned up for two married Eldren to divorce or for an Eldren to have a sort of low-key party after their not-Eldren spouse dies, they finish grieving and they put themselves back out in the world.

THE WORLD


Not all of these appear in the book. Also, Kvenland is lightly cut off there in the north from the picture I took.

Today we're going to play a game called "is this a real thing?" and I will be doing my best to make 22ish pages of countries tolerable.

EUROPE

Great Britain: Britain is at war with Russia in the Crimea. This is the main thing going on. Britain is made of Scotland, Ireland and Wales and is ruled by Queen Victoria who is an Eldren. Sickness, pollution and crime are becoming major problems and the British people are pretty patronizing towards other nations and their beliefs.

Ireland: Ireland really doesn't like being part of the United Kingdom and the Time of Troubles and Potato Famine are less than a decade old. Most of this article on Ireland is the history of the acquisition of Ireland. Because Ireland has been suffering and there's a general poverty, a lot of Irish are either leaving for America, Australia or New Zealand or being shipped to London to become cops, soldiers or laborers. Also they have a growing Irish republican movement.

France: The Revolution killed most of the Eldren aristocracy. Then Napoleon (now a dwarf) took over the First Republic, turned it into an empire and then lost it at Waterloo before being sent to St. Helena. His replacement, Louis VIII, was chased out of France after a second revolution in 1848 and now France is in a Second Republic ruled by Louis Eugene Cavaignac instead of Napoleon III. Since France has been spent from fighting the Napoleonic Wars and from helping in Crimea, most of France's efforts are directed towards maintaining their colonies and worrying about Prussia. Is this a real thing? Well, originally Napoleon III turned the Second Republic into a Second Empire which necessitated another war. However, it looks like the Second Republic is going to fall apart under revolution because Cavaignac is not a popular ruler. The people feel like he manipulated them and France's poor showing in Crimea isn't making him any friends, so it looks like the rise of the Third Republic is going to happen anyway, just not with another Napoleon involved.

Spain: Spain is ruled by Isabela II (a Huldu)who is disliked for her heritage, her religious preferences and the fact that people think the throne should have gone to the late King's brother Carlos due to law. People sympathetic to Carlos have attempted two failed revolutions and might be planning a third. Most of the info on Spain is just a lot about how the government is unstable and basic knowledge of Spain. Is this a real thing? Yes, Isabela II was a real person and Carlos did attempt civil wars against her rule. They succeeded on the third attempt.

Portugal: Portugal is dealing with the fallout of the reign of Miguel I and his deposition by Maria II. It's more complicated than that but I'm not really familiar with this history; long story short Maria was supposed to be the Queen and Miguel stole the throne with the help of the Aluminat. The current ruler is Maria's son, Pedro. Portugal's doing alright, all things considered. They're leery of the Aluminat and they still have their colonies. Did this happen? Yes.

The Low Countries: Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg are united under the Dutch Republic, aka the Low Countries. Holland's dominance of the seas collapsed and their Indian Companies had the bubble burst and then came Napoleon. Now Belgium has its own independence and the Dutch Republic is learning a lot from Prussia. Belgium is continuing its appalling treatment of its African colonies as well as trying to remain a neutral party between Europe and Russia (Leopold is related to Victoria's husband Albert but he was involved in Russian military affairs).

The Scandinavian Confederation: The SC is made up of five nations loosely connected. Denmark, Finland, Kvenland (real country, now defunct with its land divided up), Norway and Sweden are the members of the coalition. Finland is under Russian control while Norway and Sweden are ruled by the same king. The entire confederation was made in response to the German confederation to help protect Scandinavian interests and as a result they're butting heads with the Prussians. The only real interesting thing is Kvenland. Kvenland is an isolationist nation of Beastfolk, Giants and Dwarves ruled by a Giant king. The only reason they're in the Confederation is to keep people from loving with their countrymen.

The German Confederation: The GC is made up of many small states leftover from the Napoleonic Wars and the remains of the Holy Roman Empire. Austria was in control of the GC, but now that mostly falls to Prussia under the control of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. But Friedrich is a Boarman Beastfolk, and his subspecies has resulted in powers like Britain dismissing him as any kind of threat. He has the help of Otto von Bismarck to control Germany and King George V of Hanover and his clairvoyant powers supporting Austria. This all pretty accurate except for Friedrich being a Boarman and King George having clairvoyance.


Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Otto von Bismarck and George V who is wearing his magical glasses that let him see despite his blindness. No I'm not kidding.

The Swiss Confederation: A collection of small groups that are now neutral and revamping their economy to use one currency. Not much happening in Switzerland that I feel is worth mentioning.

The Austrian Empire: Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (now a gnome) and Franz Karl I run Austria with Franz letting Metternich do his own thing. Austria's mostly focused on solidifying its power within its area and that's really it.

The Italian States: Sardinia wants to unify the states and bring it back together into one kingdom under the control of Victor Emmanuel II. The Kingdom of Two Sicilies, ruled by Ferdinand II, would rather rule all of Italy. Then there's the Aluminat States in the middle and how everything else is ruled by Austria.

Greece: Ruled by King Otto, they're trying to steal Constantinople from the Ottoman Empire. Also Lord Byron fought in the Greek War of Independence, which is actually true but hardly relevant to anything.

Russia: Russia is controlled by Ekaterina I, or Catherine the Great if you're more Western. She's a Steppegoblin which is basically a type of Eldren. Her first husband, Peter the Great, got her on the throne and then died five years into their marriage. Because she's a Steppegoblin, she's still ruling Russia and for some reason every husband she's had has died within five years of marriage. She's done a good job of making women equal to men and for keeping the serf class oppressed while modernizing Russia. Nowadays her, uh, eccentricities are catching up with her and her daughter Princess Nadja is the face of Russia. Russia is known for being weak in tech and rich in magic, making them a force to reckon with in Crimea.

The Ottoman Empire: The good days are far behind the Ottomans despite Sultan Abdulmecid I's attempts to modernize. The war in Crimea is threatening their control over the area around the Black Sea, Greece has become independent, Balkan nationalist movements are threatening more uprising and Russia is waiting to sink its teeth into the empire like an alligator and bust out the death-roll.

THE ORIENT

Note: you should not call this area "The Orient" anymore. The area contains the Middle East and the Pacific nations as well as India and China.

Persia: Originally the hub of science and intellect in the Middle East after the collapse of Europe during the Dark Ages, Persia has had some problems. The biggest problem is wars with Russia, which has been hungry enough for land and resources to push aggressively and cause Persia losses which have made countries start to consider Persia as a target.

India: India is being exploited by the British through the East Indian Company and general British rule. Originally the occupation was tolerated, but now the commute between nations has gotten shorter and the British have gotten more pushy and intolerant of Indian culture. A rebellion is certain.



China: The Manchu Dynasty (really the Qing Dynasty) is in charge of China. 20 years ago they lost the Opium War to the British who have started to flood the nation with missionaries, trading post and cheap Afghan poppies. China possesses a strong magical background, like the Mandarin Sorcerers, but modern weapons and tactics proved a bit much for them. Nowadays China has to deal with every major power forcing them to trade and keep the borders open. The other thing they have to contend with is Hong Xiuquan and his religious movement rebellion in the aftermath of the Taiping Rebellion. The Taiping Rebels are currently in control of most of South China, but there's 8 more years before they historically lose to the Qing government.


British merchants: no sense of right or wrong!

Japan: Japan has only relatively recently opened its borders to outsiders and that's only because American Commodore Matthew Perry forced them to at cannon-point. The Shogunate is still the real seat of power and Japan is home to the Oni, a sort of relative of the Ogre subspecies. Also the military is afraid of modernization.

Dutch East Indies: Better known as the islands of Indonesia, the Dutch East Indies are controlled by the Dutch East Indian company as the last true hold they have on the area. And it's quite a tight grip despite the threat of piracy.

Australia: The Aboriginals of Australia have a proud grasp of the magical art of magnetism aaaaaaand hello English colonists/prisoners. The colonization of Australia has had enough of a grip for 2% of the empire to immigrate to the island, mostly due to crime or because they're looking for gold. New Zealand is also being colonized and their relationship with the Maori isn't great either.



THE DARK CONTINENT

AKA Africa, you also should not call this area The Dark Continent anymore.

Egypt: Only nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire, Napoleon's invasion gave them the chance to become their own sovereign nation without declaring total independence from the crumbling empire. Britain has a fascination with Egypt and has dedicated time to putting money into the Suez Canal, hunting for treasure and Seeking The Name putting artifacts in museums. Eldren Khedive Muhammad Ali doesn't seem to mind much because British money paid for these expeditions is helping the country. Right now he's just waiting for the right moment to break free from the Ottomans proper.

Ashanti Empire: The Ashanti Empire of the Gold Coast practices haemomancy and has a good hold on the magical arts along with the help of ex-Dutch East Indian vets recruited into their army. Britain would really like to conquer them. The nominal reason is that they still practice slavery but the real reason is because they're still sore about losing a border dispute. Was this a real place? Well, strip out the blood magic and you'll find that Ashanti Empire still exists, albeit with a different name and in a much smaller form. The entire empire is where Ghana is now but the monarchy of the empire still exists within Ghana as a nation state/traditional state protected by the government after the territory was freed from Britain in the 1930s.

Kingdom of Dahomey: Dahomey made a good deal of money off the slave trade which allowed it to expand into a proper power. Now that the trade is dying up, they're turning to opening their borders and selling palm oil. They're ruled by Eldren Queen Sinkutin who has an elite cadre of female warriors and the tenacity of Catherine the Great. Was this a real place? Yes, actually. Dahomey was located in modern-day Benin and existed until 1894 when the French annexed them after defeating them in conquest. They really did make money off slavery, they really were famous for elite female warriors and they were fans of traditional Vodun.

Sierra Leone and Liberia: Sierra Leone was settled from escaped American slaves relocated by the British. They have a pretty good hermetic college and magical tradition. Liberia was also colonized by slaves who adopted the American constitution to be the legal basis of their nation. They're doing their best, but both countries have issues with engaging in black market practices such as slavery. They both exist in the modern day and age but unfortunately I'm not as well informed on what they're like to give them a fair shake. The only thing I can tell you is that Raiden from Metal Gear Solid was a Liberian child soldier and I can't really call that historical fact.


I really couldn't tell you which nation this is supposed to be because the book doesn't say.

Sultanate of Zanzibar: Sultan Mahid bin Sahid rules the Sultanate which has clove plantations and also slaves. That's pretty much it.

Kingdom of Merina: Really the only thing of note is that Merina is a country of Dwarves, Gnomes, Huldufolk, Karaka (a type of possible Eldren offshoot that is native to Africa) and Naacal (a sea-faring race of fish people). Also they trade slaves and are ruled by an Indonesian Karaka. Is this a real thing? Yes. The Kingdom of Merina is what is now known as Madagascar. Merina was pretty isolated until 1883 when the French invaded and then became totally annexed in 1896 after a decade of war and debate over Britain over who gets what. Britain walked away with Zanzibar instead of Madagascar. Sorry Zanzibar, should've mentioned this in the entry above.

Cape Colony: Formed by the Dutch before Britain got control over it, control over the Cape Colony also includes the Boers and native nations such as the Zulu. Britain is trying to woo the Boers back to the colony (they are currently in the process of settling elsewhere due to not liking British policy) and the Zulu Kingdom is ruled by Shaka Zulu who is now a Lion Beastman because why not. Some people might recognize Cape Colony by the name "South Africa" in the future.



THE NEW WORLD

Hoo boy. So fun fact: healing magic of the Americas was not used to healing European diseases so the intentional/unintentional genocide of the American Indian still happens. In 1856, pretty much most of North American history happens albeit with some slight changes. The following changes don't get much play later in the chapter so I'll share them here.
  • Quebec successfully secedes from Canada and forms the Kingdom of Quebec under the control of King Louis VIII/Louis Philipe I after the 1848 revolutions kick him out and form the Second Republic. This is not something that happens in the real world, for reference.
  • The Republic of California is formed and still around. While this actually happened, the Republic lasted 25 days in 1846 because the Mexican-American war intruded and American forces setting up shop in California and flying their own flags meant they had technically been put down by the American military. The only thing the Republic of California is known for is the Bear Flag.
  • A lot of nations in South America are becoming independent due to a mix of the French, Spanish, British and Portuguese losing their colonies.
  • The Republic of Yucatan is formed and is friends with the Republic of Texas, keeping the Mexican forces at bay. The Republic of Yucatan was in fact a real nation (first in 1823 for 7 months, then from 1841-1848). It was in fact friends with Texas and this formation helped spark the Mexican-American War. It's still around because Mexico lost control over the Yucatan as a result of the war unlike real life.
  • Nicaragua is ruled by an American by the name of William Walker. This actually happened, due to the practice of filibustering. Filibustering, in the military sense, meant to mount an armed insurrection in a foreign land for personal gain and for governmental gain. In essence they're like freebooters. Anyway, William Walker was in fact president of Nicaragua for a year, 1856-1857, with the help of private mercenaries. He was overthrown by the militaries of Honduras, Guatemala, Salvador and assorted Costa Rican efforts. The people of Nicaragua also hated him because Walker treated them awfully; he was a physician and lawyer and overall prodigy who thought he knew more than he did and developed dumb ideologies he decided to execute by attempting to create a slave-holding empire under his/American control in South America. He escaped Nicaragua in 1857 to the American Navy, who brought him back. Up until his death in 1860, he spend the rest of his life repeatedly returning to South America to try and attain his dream. He was eventually captured by the Honduran military who chose to execute him by firing squad instead of listening to America's demands that he be returned. In Costa Rica, April 11th is a national holiday commemorating a military victory against Walker and President Juan Rafael Mora Poras and soldier Juan Santamaria are national heroes for their actions against him. That was long-winded and indulgent and I apologize but I felt like including this legitimately interesting real piece of history before I go back to the boring fantasy stuff.
The United States of America: America is in full-bore Manifest Destiny mode, hot off the heels of a victory against Mexico and ready for more. And that war is coming soon; the Missouri Compromise was repealed two years ago and the Supreme Court is mulling over the case of Freeman vs. Tennessee (not a real thing) regarding slavery. The main argument of the case is "steampunk robots exist now so why the hell should black people like me be forced to be slaves when robots fit the bill better?". Plus it's an election year and current President Franklin Pierce is confident he'll be nominated again. He won't. James Buchanan will win the nomination and the presidency and this will just set the table further for the Civil War that'll happen in 1861. Really there's nothing to say about America besides "the specter of The Civil War looms also they're pretty technologically advanced".



Republic of Texas: This also actually happened but it only lasted until 1846. They also support slavery along with California and Yucatan. The Texas Rangers are super sleuths and the government is set up so you can be elected as President indefinitely but you can only run after a term other than yours has passed (Sam Houston has basically won every election he's been able to run in). That's it for Texas! Kinda says a lot about how this game behaves like every other two-bit 19th century AU game: Texas is still its own country but they can't come up with a drat interesting thing about it.



Comancheria: The Comancheria is not a proper nation but a confederation of American Indian tribes pushed west of the Mississippi or already living there. The Comanche tribe controls the Comancheria and gather the other tribes regularly to commune. They are not on good terms with the US, Texas, Yucatan, Mexico or California due to ignored treaties, trespassing and general violence. As a result, the US has to tread carefully when dealing with tribes that fall under the control of the Comancheria like the Ute, Sioux and Ute. Also the Eldren of the Comancheria are known as the Armouch/Blood Eldren for allegedly surrendering themselves to the Pale for power and they like to steal children. Y'know, your typical xenophobic rumor that's used as an excuse to steal land through force unless it's actually true but the book doesn't really say if it is.



Mexico: First of all, the Aztecs probably came from Atlantis. Second of all, their encounter with the Spanish also didn't go well. Eventually Mexico becomes a republic after the rebellion against Spain lead by Aluminat priest Father Miguel Hidalgo. Also Santa Anna's failures were responsible for the formation of all of these Republics that folded already in our time. Santa Anna is still in charge of Mexico and that's really it to Mexico.



Republic of Columbia: Controlled by Simon Bolivar (who is an Eldren because, again, why not), Columbia contains Colombia, Ecuador, New Grenada, Santa Domingo and Venezuela. He made the government's structure with the help of Gnome Alexander Hamilton who is currently hanging out with him and running the government. This could not have and did not happen in real life; Hamilton died in 1804 in a duel against Aaron Burr but whatever now he's helping Columbia write their constitution with all of the ideas he wasn't allowed to use on the US. They're already working on trying to build the Panama Canal ahead of schedule and to overthrow that jerk Walker in Nicaragua. Did this really happen? Yes but it collapsed in 1830 and it most certainly did not have Hamilton.

Empire of Brazil: Currently under control of Pedro II, son of Pedro I who had to return to Portugal due to war, Brazil is the hotbed of education and magical learning in South America (so much so that the Hermeticist Guild is considering relocating there). They've overthrown the Argentinean government and Brazil is doing well for itself technologically. The empire is planning on exploring the Amazon deeper using aerostats and steamships to try and find a lost empire. So far they've managed to find tribes of female warriors and the nation of Patagonia, a nation of Cyclops who warn them not to explore further.



The State of Buenos Aires: Made from Argentinean land, it's engaged in economic warfare with Argentina while attempting to become as modern and tech-savvy as Brazil. They're not doing so hot but the Cyclops of Patagonia are helping.

Thoughts: Oh god why was I so drat thorough summarizing most of this, this was a huge mistake.

Did your eyes glaze over reading that because mine sure did. It's all pretty historically accurate up until we get to the Americas and consider the existence of magic but christ that is some dull poo poo. It's painfully dull and unimaginative and just so uninspired. Just, ugh. There was nothing that grabbed me in the slightest and through most of Europe all I could do was think "wow so it really is just our history but with Elves". It's not even suffering from the problem Unhallowed Metropolis had where I wanted to go somewhere else or what you're all mentioning in the thread where a better game would take place elsewhere in the shadow of the British Empire. There is barely anywhere interesting in the world to actually set a game, it's all just business as usual and the grinding march of history will just bring more war and atrocities and the modern day but with Elves.

I need to get some Tylenol. See you next time.

NEXT TIME: Book Two, character creation. Remember Rocket Age's character creation? Imagine that but not good or interesting.

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.




Doresh posted:

I did. One of my earlier ones. I'm still embarrassed that I failed to properly highlight how ridiculous the distances are in this hardish sci-fi setting. The Jovians have a space train that goes through their entire territory and takes like eight years for the whole trip. How is anyone supposed to defend that?

Cool! Although there's about a dozen supplements that could be covered too, where things get even Gundamier, so I wasn't completely wrong.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009





OH BOY I GET TO CRITIQUE lovely RPG HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY AGAIN!

What's the Time of Troubles in Ireland? The real world one was the civil war-y interregnum between the Rurikovich and Romanov dynasties in Russia, while The Troubles were a 20th century thing.

If France skips the Second Empire, I can't wait to see what it does after the Franco-Prussian War...

Does it actually mention the Belgians in the Congo? Because the Congo Free State wasn't a thing until 1885.

Russia having a immortal competent ruler would do some interesting things to its politics and future that this book is not cut out to talk about at all. Really that's the case for all these people that are still alive well after their time- they want to have their cake of real-life steampunk fantasy without baking it.

Who is protecting Quebec and stopping the British from marching back in, the US? That could almost be interesting, so I doubt they'll do it.

We attacked Mexico specifically for California- hell, we only took Nevada et. al. because they were in the way of California. Why the hell would we leave it independent after that?

Why is Sudan in the middle of the goddamn Sahara where modern Chad and Mali are? Why is Ethiopia dead north of the Congo while Abyssinia (WHICH WAS JUST ANOTHER NAME FOR IT) is in the right place?

I'm really surprised they remembered stuff like Comancheria in the midst of all this.

Crasical
Apr 22, 2014

GG!*
*GET GOOD


HAW! HAW!

Napoleon is a dwarf!

Gettit?

'Cause he's short!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



Kavak posted:

OH BOY I GET TO CRITIQUE lovely RPG HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY AGAIN!

What's the Time of Troubles in Ireland? The real world one was the civil war-y interregnum between the Rurikovich and Romanov dynasties in Russia, while The Troubles were a 20th century thing.

If France skips the Second Empire, I can't wait to see what it does after the Franco-Prussian War...

Does it actually mention the Belgians in the Congo? Because the Congo Free State wasn't a thing until 1885.

Russia having a immortal competent ruler would do some interesting things to its politics and future that this book is not cut out to talk about at all. Really that's the case for all these people that are still alive well after their time- they want to have their cake of real-life steampunk fantasy without baking it.

Who is protecting Quebec and stopping the British from marching back in, the US? That could almost be interesting, so I doubt they'll do it.

We attacked Mexico specifically for California- hell, we only took Nevada et. al. because they were in the way of California. Why the hell would we leave it independent after that?

Why is Sudan in the middle of the goddamn Sahara where modern Chad and Mali are? Why is Ethiopia dead north of the Congo while Abyssinia (WHICH WAS JUST ANOTHER NAME FOR IT) is in the right place?

I'm really surprised they remembered stuff like Comancheria in the midst of all this.
In order:

1848's famine and other shenanigans it looks like.
It's in the second empire but under a different, less popular ruler. Revolution has not yet come.

Doesn't say poo poo about the Belgian Congo.

Unfortunately Eldren and Steppegoblins aren't immortal, they just live around 200 years. I do agree and the book acknowledges the disconnect of age and the times and then doesn't do much.

I have no idea, they say jack poo poo about Canada itself.

I really have no idea.

Bad cartography?

Same.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Hostile V posted:

1848's famine and other shenanigans it looks like.

We don't call it that, it's just the Famine or The Great Hunger. There were attempted uprisings in and around 1848 like the rest of Europe, so I guess that's what they were talking about and wires got crossed?

quote:

Doesn't say poo poo about the Belgian Congo.

Well they definitely didn't have colonies then, so that's a mistake.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





I'm super disappointed that apparently all the Nazis had to do was change the formula in the gas chambers to avoid getting shitloads of hell-bent Stand users out to kill every Nazi, but I guess they had to do something in order to keep the war on anything resembling the broad outline of history. "Moshe Kujo Oraoraoras Hitler to death in Feb 1943" is a little disappointing.

I mean, I hope SOMEONE kills Hitler.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

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



In retrospect my headache is making me mix up dates and events vis-a-vis the Congo. That's my bad.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Kurieg posted:


Chapter 6: Beasts of the World

Now here's a rhetorical question for a potential "snarky bullshit" section: How exactly are Beasts subverting the classic hero myth? The only relevant twist is "Our heroes are assholes!", but that's about it*. They're still doing the world a service by getting rid of Beasts.

*) Then again it's not uncommon for mythical heroes to be brought down by their own hubris.

chiasaur11 posted:

Depends on the show.

I mean, the current one is about a PMC made up of orphaned child soldiers, with the latest episode showing someone committing suicide after being crippled by invasive surgery, but there's also stuff like Turn A, which is mostly pleasant and has a relatively low body count (I mean, yes, some of the deaths are utterly horrifying, but there's less of them) or Build Fighters, where kids play with model kits and nobody dies in agony even a little.

There's also this chibi Gundam show I think. Well, if you're making a franchise about death and mysery, you better lighten up occasionally to draw in younger folks!

Young Freud posted:

Build Fighters is also openly self-referential to the other series and could be considered a big "what-if" of Gundam characters living in a time of peace, since there's not just background cameos of all major characters from various series, but one of the main characters is inexplicably Ramba Ral, a character from the first UC Gundam series.

You mean the old guy who was the first Zaku pilot to actually kick Amuro's rear end (whereas things always ended up with a draw or Amurao getting away when battling Char)? That's a weird choice, but I like it.

MonsieurChoc posted:

Cool! Although there's about a dozen supplements that could be covered too, where things get even Gundamier, so I wasn't completely wrong.

True, there's a lot more to cover in the edition before the one I covered. I heard there's one about what would happen if the interplanetary cold war went hot, and it's apparently very stupid.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 07:59 on Oct 16, 2016

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Doresh posted:


You mean the old guy who was the first Zaku pilot to actually kick Amuro's rear end (whereas things always ended up with a draw or Amurao getting away when battling Char)? That's a weird choice, but I like it.



He was no Zaku pilot, Doresh. No Zaku.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


chiasaur11 posted:

He was no Zaku pilot, Doresh. No Zaku.

Man, I could swear this went "This is no ordinary Zaku". Then again, it's been a while since I watched it.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Doresh posted:

There's also this chibi Gundam show I think. Well, if you're making a franchise about death and mysery, you better lighten up occasionally to draw in younger folks!

All that death and misery also makes for parodies taking the best effort to take the wind out of it's sails...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKM_QFgTUEk

Doresh posted:

You mean the old guy who was the first Zaku pilot to actually kick Amuro's rear end (whereas things always ended up with a draw or Amurao getting away when battling Char)? That's a weird choice, but I like it.

Oh man, I'm not sure if that's a trap but I'll fall into it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyGleM-B1zI

e:fb

Doresh posted:

Man, I could swear this went "This is no ordinary Zaku". Then again, it's been a while since I watched it.

TBF, the Gouf was further evolution on the Zaku, built specifically for Earth ground combat. That's why it has the 60mm handjob of death for working on infantry, ground vehicles, and aircraft.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 09:45 on Oct 16, 2016

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Young Freud posted:

TBF, the Gouf was further evolution on the Zaku, built specifically for Earth ground combat. That's why it has the 60mm handjob of death for working on infantry, ground vehicles, and aircraft.

My long-term memory somehow turned that particular Gouf into some custom Zaku with an electro-whip. Weird.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 10:04 on Oct 16, 2016

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

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




Hostile V posted:

Upper Class

The Upper Class lives a life of desperate ennui brought on by the crushing existence of an empty life of inactivity doesn't work for a living. Nobles own land, they collect rent and the money goes into government and other things like industry and expedition. Because they don't work, their lives are mostly made up of hobbies and interests or if they have noble titles they go into the House of Lords. The firstborn son is groomed to inherit the estate and nobody really cares about all subsequent sons. Subsequent sons generally go into the clergy, join the Guild if they know magic or join the military as officers even if they don't know much about the military (come World War I, this will have repercussions). The only thing required of the other sons is to not have bastards out of wedlock and to keep their misadventures discrete. For the gentry (men who are upper class but not nobles, not to be confused with Arcadian jerks) they need professions but it's unseemly to do manual labor.

Things ain't great for women. If you're a normal woman, you host parties, balls and look pretty without saying anything. If you have magical aptitude, you get to go off and study that. Or you can go off and become an adventuress. That's it.

Middle Class

Upper middle class folks are bureaucrats, military officers, educated professionals. The majority of middle class people are magicians, bankers, factory owners, people with a good education. Lower middle class contains shopkeepers, missionaries and clerical workers. The middle class is less beholden to the rules of society and socialization so they can mostly just do their own thing. Women are still expected to get married, pump out an heir and run the home. Women can work but it's viewed as being cruel to them. The main exception is if they know magic, then they're viewed as competent and people will step out of their way. Women are also among the biggest innovators in technology.

In addition to going abroad for missionary work amongst the "heathens" by spreading the word of the Aluminat, a lot of middle class people like going to India. This is because they get a taste of social freedom and because their empire is doing poo poo to India, white foreigners are now King poo poo of Calcutta and get to live the upper class dream.
Christ on a spike.

It's impossible to talk about class in 19th-20th century Britain without even touching on the tensions of people whose income didn't rise to the level of their class. And I don't just mean Austenian stories of upper-crust families suddenly finding themselves penniless, but the many "middle class" people who constantly struggled to maintain their traditions.

The Road to Wigan Pier posted:

I was born into what you might describe as the lower-upper-middle class. The upper-middle class, which had its heyday in the eighties and nineties, with Kipling as its poet laureate, was a sort of mound of wreckage left behind when the tide of Victorian prosperity receded. Or perhaps it would be better to change the metaphor and describe it not as a mound but as a layer — the layer of society lying between L2000 and L300 a year: my own family was not far from the bottom. You notice that I define it in terms of money, because that is always the quickest way of making yourself understood. Nevertheless, the essential point about the English class-system is that it is not entirely explicable in terms of money. Roughly speaking it is a money-stratification, but it is also interpenetrated by a sort of shadowy caste-system; rather like a jerrybuilt modem bungalow haunted by medieval ghosts. Hence the fact that the upper-middle class extends or extended to incomes as low as L300 a year — to incomes, that is, much lower than those of merely middle-class people with no social pretensions. Probably there are countries where you can predict a man’s opinions from his income, but it is never quite safe to do so in England; you have always got to take his traditions into consideration as well. A naval officer and his grocer very likely have the same income, but they are not equivalent persons and they would only be on the same side in very large issues such as a war or a general strike — possibly not even then.

Of course it is obvious now that the upper-middle class is done for. In every country town in Southern England, not to mention the dreary wastes of Kensington and Earl’s Court, those who knew it in the days of its glory are dying, vaguely embittered by a world which has not behaved as it ought. I never open one of Kipling’s books or go into one of the huge dull shops which were once the favourite haunt of the upper-middle class, without thinking ‘Change and decay in all around I see’. But before the war the upper-middle class, though already none too prosperous, still felt sure of itself. Before the war you were either a gentleman or not a gentleman, and if you were a gentleman you struggled to behave as such, whatever your income might be. Between those with L400 a year and those with L2000 or even L1000 a year there was a great gulf fixed, but it was a gulf which those with L400 a year did their best to ignore. Probably the distinguishing mark of the upper-middle class was that its traditions were not to any extent commercial, but mainly military, official, and professional.

People in this class owned no land, but they felt that they were landowners in the sight of God and kept up a semi-aristocratic outlook by going into the professions and the fighting services rather than into trade. Small boys used to count the plum stones on their plates and foretell their destiny by chanting, ‘Army, Navy, Church, Medicine, Law’; and even of these ‘Medicine’ was faintly inferior to the others and only put in for the sake of symmetry. To belong to this class when you were at the L400 a year level was a queer business, for it meant that your gentility was almost purely theoretical. You lived, so to speak, at two levels simultaneously. Theoretically you knew all about servants and how to tip them, although in practice you had one, at most, two resident servants. Theoretically you knew how to wear your clothes and how to order a dinner, although in practice you could never afford to go to a decent tailor or a decent restaurant. Theoretically you knew how to shoot and ride, although in practice you had no horses to ride and not an inch of ground to shoot over. It was this that explained the attraction of India (more recently Kenya, Nigeria, etc.) for the lower-upper-middle class. The people who went there as soldiers and officials did not go there to make money, for a soldier or an official does not want money; they went there because in India, with cheap horses, free shooting, and hordes of black servants, it was so easy to play at being a gentleman.

In the kind of shabby-genteel family that I am talking about there is far more consciousness of poverty than in any working-class family above the level of the dole. Rent and clothes and school-bills are an unending nightmare, and every luxury, even a glass of beer, is an unwarrantable extravagance. Practically the whole family income goes in keeping up appearances. It is obvious that people of this kind are in an anomalous position, and one might ‘be tempted to write them off as mere exceptions and therefore unimportant. Actually, however, they are or were fairly numerous. Most clergymen and schoolmasters, for instance, nearly all Anglo-Indian officials, a sprinkling of soldiers and sailors, and a fair number of professional men and artists, fall into this category. But the real importance of this class is that they are the shock-absorbers of the bourgeoisie. The real bourgeoisie, those in the L2000 a year class and over, have their money as a thick layer of padding between themselves and the class they plunder; in so far as they are aware of the Lower Orders at all they are aware of them as employees, servants, and tradesmen. But it is quite different for the poor devils lower down who are struggling to live genteel lives on what are virtually working-class incomes. These last are forced into close and, in a sense, intimate contact with the working class, and I suspect it is from them that the traditional upper-class attitude towards ‘common’ people is derived.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


ZeroCount posted:

The Modrons are all certified cuties and they're one of the things that have remained unique to D&D. A lot of the D&D outsiders are pretty generic (angels, devils, demons) but modrons are as far out as you get.
That whole plane is amazing. Apparently, the whole plane where modrons come from where designed by sentient calculators concerned with calculating the value of Pi. Also, in 4th edition I believe they were actually stated to be like Voltron where if you did enough damage to one they would tumble apart into lesser Modrons.

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Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






Doresh posted:

Now here's a rhetorical question for a potential "snarky bullshit" section: How exactly are Beasts subverting the classic hero myth? The only relevant twist is "Our heroes are assholes!", but that's about it*. They're still doing the world a service by getting rid of Beasts.

*) Then again it's not uncommon for mythical heroes to be brought down by their own hubris.
The only real way is "Not every beast is actively malicious, but every single hero that kills Beasts is an rear end in a top hat because we've created the rules to force them that way! "

quote:

You mean the old guy who was the first Zaku pilot to actually kick Amuro's rear end (whereas things always ended up with a draw or Amurao getting away when battling Char)? That's a weird choice, but I like it.

Within the context of the show he's an old-hat Battler who's retired but stops by the school's hobby club from time to time to see how things are going and give advice/support. He also serves as a surrogate father to the main character because his real dad is away most of the time being a member of the secret gunpla interpol.

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